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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Different Types of Voice Over

When you think of actors, you may think first of the A-listers who appear in box office hits.  But, of course, there are other actors out there too. Television actors, theater actors, commercial actors, and so on are some of them.  Voice over actors are no different; there are a several different areas of voice talent, each with its own style and purpose.

Instructor voices are exactly what it sounds like – these actors provide instruction on everything from corporate training to children’s educational videos.  The scripts associated with this type of work are usually very straightforward, requiring an actor who can deliver informative material in a voice that is engaging and professional without being stiff.

Confident, charismatic, and self-assured are a few words that would describe a spokesperson voice.  Spokespeople are responsible for selling products, services, and even causes. As such, they need to sound intelligent and believable, and they must be able to present the material with some authority.

Real Person
“Real person” voices invoke feelings of trust and friendship. These roles require a voice that is more natural-sounding, like what you would use in conversation with a friendly neighbor. There should be a bit of familiarity, as these voices are meant to be interpreted as more intimate than an instructor or spokesperson.

Narrators are essentially storytellers, so being engaging is an absolute must. Sometimes there is a visual piece accompanying the audio component that a narrator provides, but that is not always the case.   In these instances, it is more important than ever to give listeners a complete picture.  Narrators must be able to turn a script into a nuanced story, giving it a richness and allowing listeners to connect on an emotional level.


Anyone that’s ever listened to the radio or watched a sporting event on TV is familiar with the announcer style of voice over. Announcer voices are confident and assertive, able to introduce ideas with ease and deliver a call for action at just the right moment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

So You Want to Become a Voice Actor: A Very Real Guide

Contrary to some beliefs, getting into the voice over business is very similar to breaking into other areas of the entertainment industry, like film and TV acting or singing. Some people think that voice over actors simply read from a script with little or no practice, and that’s all there is to it. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. There is a lot of prep work involved with beginning a voice over career, and it takes time and dedication to be a successful voice actor.

Practice, practice, practice
Even if you have a natural aptitude for doing voices, you MUST practice to develop your talent.  Consider hiring a voice coach who can help you expand your range and work with you on sound and volume control. Acting classes or workshops are also a good idea, as you can learn from others in the industry, getting tips and other pointers to help you get started.  

Have a demo reel
A demo reel is a sample of your work that is used to showcase your skills to prospective employers.  This is what you’ll send out when you’re looking for voice over jobs, so make sure it includes your best work – preferably within the first 30 seconds so you grab their attention.  Remember to include a variety of sounds and voices as well to diversify your demo reel.

Get an agent

Just like film and TV actors, voice actors need agents too.  An agent will help you find and book jobs, letting you know about casting calls and matching you with work that suits your voice.  When you’re searching for an agent, look for one that specializes in voice over. You can narrow it down even further by deciding which area of voice acting you want to get into – TV, radio, film – and finding an agent that deals exclusively with that type of work. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Do Demographics Play a Role in Choosing the Right Voice Over Talent?

There are a number of determining factors that make the difference between the “right” and “wrong” voice over.  One of these – and arguably one of the most important – is demographics.  The people that make up your target audience play a huge role in choosing the right voice for your project. Here’s why:

Niche-Oriented Marketing
Marketing today is very niche-orienting, meaning that products and services are designed with a very specific market in mind.  For instance, a company selling power tools is generally going to appeal to a male audience, young adult to middle aged.  Knowing this, that company will want voice talent which appeals to that demographic, or market niche, because this will help them sell their products.  

Gender Stereotypes
Gender stereotypes also factor in. The power tool scenario is a good example of this, as gender stereotypes dictate that men are the ones most likely to use tools.  And while we as a society have moved past many of these stereotypes, most consumers still respond to them. A recent survey by Adweek asked respondents to pair male and female voices with certain adjectives, like “forceful” or “soothing.” An overwhelming number of the responses described the male voices as forceful, while female ones were soothing.  These results are not surprising, and they prove once again that demographics must be taken into consideration when casting voice talent.

Across the board, whatever the target market is, there needs to be a connection between consumers and the product.  There has to be relatability, and voice talent is tasked with providing this. In order to be relatable, though, a voice actor must know to what demographic he or she is speaking.  If a local salon is selling spa packages, for example, they will probably use a female voice as women are likely their target audience.  Female consumers will be able to relate more to another female, especially with that type of product.

So yes, demographics absolutely play a role in choosing the right voice over talent.  Honing in on a specific demographic will help voice actors better understand who their audience is, enabling them to connect with listeners and give a project the sound it needs.