What is the best process in adding voice to your creations and what are the best practices for working with voiceover talent?
If the budget allows for the added expense, casting directors and agents are still a valuable way to find the voice for your project. When there aren’t the funds or time to go that route, there are online resources like voicebanks where voice talent profiles, experience, and demos are available with a simple click.
Online you can listen through countless demos and decide on specific qualities you would like for your voiceover. Do you want a male or female? Someone young-sounding or mature? Someone’s whose voice commands attention or more of a guy/gal next door kind of sound? These are all things to consider.
Directing Voiceover Talent
In the world of voiceover today, where producers, casting directors, and agents are not always a part of the process, the task of directing falls on the talent herself. Depending on where the recording is taking place, for instance in a home studio, the talent might have to, in addition to acting, be the sound engineer and director as well. That’s a lot of hats for anyone to wear at once!
Let your talent know exactly what you are looking for. What’s the message you are trying to convey? What’s the emotion and message behind the words? Who is the audience and what is the message for? What do you want them to feel? Are they being spoken to as professionals, peers, or friends? Where will it be heard? What is the desired tone and tempo? What is the main goal, call to action, or intention?
By relaying the answers to these questions to your talent, you’ll be able to identify and direct your vision for the piece.
It is useful to give your talent a lexicon of descriptive words to achieve the type of read desired such as serious, soft dramatic, conversational, upbeat, intimate, inspirational, and so on.
“Action verbs lead to specific action through which actors discover and experience emotions– resulting in compelling performances.” – Steve Pak –
The creation of a video using voiceover is touched by many hands- videographers, animators, creative directors, writers- and the better able people are at communicating their vision, the more one can learn how to get the best out of the talent, the better the outcome will be!
Medical texts are often filled with tongue twisters and difficult to pronounce terms. It can be very helpful to provide a pronunciation key for any words that might cause a problem. This small task makes a world of a difference in how smoothly a voiceover goes and how quickly the client can get their audio!
Where will this piece be seen? At a trade show, in a hospital, a doctor’s office, on a sales rep’s iPad, on a kiosk, on TV, the radio or the web? Knowing the environment is important for determining whether or not music will add to or detract from the delivery of the message. By providing the talent with the sound bed, it will be helpful insofar as making sure the read and music are complimentary.
It is important to consider how modifying phrases will sound before finalizing the script. Often times medical scripts are dense and filled with esoteric language that can make figuring out the rhythm and pacing a difficult task.
Reviewing your script and identifying misplaced modifiers will save you the hassle if pickups and will make the recording sessions run smoothly. Remember, modifying phrases usually have to accompany or be as close as possible to the thing they are modifying, otherwise the message becomes muddled.
It is not uncommon to have medical scripts translated into multiple languages to appeal to a wider audience.
Localization is the act of taking into account the culture of the people you are trying to reach and adjusting the translation to fit the culture. Taking into account the vernacular of a region will make your message much more impactful.
While language is an important factor in the process of a localization text/video, one must also consider the culture as a whole too. How does the culture consume media? What kind of music bed would be more appealing/relatable?
Other Things to Consider When Working With Voiceover Talent
Romance languages will typically have 30% more words than English. This is especially important to keep in mind when a video has already been made, as re-rendering a video can be time-consuming and costly.
Mouth clicks are a common annoyance in voiceover recording. If your voice actor is having a hard time in the studio, a glass of water and a couple of bites of a green apple will eliminate a lot of mouth noise.
The relationship between a director and artist can be optimized by the utilization of concrete references and communication.
Remember to compliment your talent and know that constructive criticism is always welcomed and encouraged.