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  1. Natural Voice Over talent

    A great voice over has the power to completely transform a video or audio book. Thanks to their speaking skills and acting talents, voiceovers are able to conjure moods, evoke sadness or happy memories, bring characters to life and capture the audience in an almost spellbinding way.

    There are no limits for voiceovers with unique gifts, and with so many types of VO work to choose from in this industry you won’t fail to find a genre you don’t enjoy. So do you have voice over talent that’s worth celebrating? Keep reading to see if you have what it takes.

    Here I’ve put together a list of qualities every great voice over artist should have to succeed in the industry.

    1. Creativity

    A good narrator or storyteller must be able to capture the audience. To do this, you have to enjoy speaking confidently and letting your creative side run wild. It will be obvious to the audience if the narrator is not enjoying themselves because what they are listening to will come across a little lifeless.

    Great voice overs can hold the audience under a spell, taking them on an emotional journey through the highs and lows of the tale. This is where the VO’s creative side comes out too.  You should be able to capture the essence of every character by adding your own inflections to the way that they speak.  If you are unable to imagine what a character may sound like, then you will struggle to bring that character to life.

    2. Good articulation

    There is a fine art to articulating a script perfectly. If a VO under-articulates their words they can sound tired and the performance may appear quite dull. On the other hand, over-articulation of words can sound unnatural, over-rehearsed and generally not believable.

    Good narration calls for finding a balance between the two and adapting the style to suit the script. After all, a character in an audiobook may not require the same articulation as the voice over for an instructional corporate video.

     Much like an actor who rehearses their lines for a play, a professional VO will spend time reading and re-reading their script to ensure they understand what is required of them and what sounds best to fit the story.

    3. Intuitive pacing

    A good voice actor knows how to pace the dialogue to suit the script. For example, they may use subtle pauses for added realism, or they may speed up the dialogue for intense action scenes.

    In an audio book little pauses and breaths can add a human touch to the character, or perhaps extra intensity to a descriptive scene. Alternatively, in a corporate video for instance, the steady speed and slight pauses give the listener time to take in what they have just heard.

    A natural pacing ability can help the VOA immerse their audience in the story while making the characters sound more realistic. A VO that has this talent will know the best times to use these pauses and will know not to over do it. The listener should never be aware of these subtle stops because it should sound natural and be in keeping with the pace.

    4. Knowing the best time to use an accent

    Firstly, it’s not necessary for VO’s to have 20 different accents in their repertoire, but it can help if you can deliver 2-3 different believable accents when required.  But again, this isn’t essential because everyone has an accent of his or her own.

    Good voice actors know when a character or voice over role is suited to them and have the ability to take their accent out of the narration and deliver a more neutral diction when required.

    5. Consistency

    Some voice over work, such as audio book and film narration, can take several days to complete. One of the pressures voice actors have to work with is fatigue or waning concentration, and how this can take its toll on the actor’s voice.

    Being able to provide consistent voice over throughout an entire book or film is a much-admired quality of a VOA. Try listening to a recording of yourself reading a book out loud from cover to cover to see if you have the stamina to produce a consistent performance.

    Do you have what it takes?

    If you have the above qualities and enjoy bringing characters to life through speech, or you particularly enjoy acting and reading aloud, then voice-over work may be for you.

    As I mentioned earlier, there are many different styles of voice acting and productions to get into.  If you are interested in creating voice over work, but don’t know which area is right for you, then here are a few ways to try and find your own sound.

    1. Practice—Read out loud and then read out loud some more. You can never practice too much. Find your favourite books and perform them as if you were producing an audio book. If there are characters, think about their identity and how they might sound. Have a go at creating accents for them and what the pace of their dialogue might be.  

    2. Listen—If you’re interested in this industry then you may already be aware of the amount of voice-over work we here on a daily basis. If not, pay close attention to adverts and online videos and listen to the voice over to get a better idea of how they sound. Listen to the pacing, the articulation and subtle nuances. Click for some of my examples

    3. Record—If you are keen to get into the industry, it may be worth investing in some quality recording equipment. These days, quality recording equipment is readily available at affordable prices.  Start with the basic equipment and practice recording various productions, whether its explainer videos or audio books, then play them back to see how you sound.

    Remember, have fun and enjoy every part you play.

  2. The Power of Voice Narration

    There are many elements that go into creating outstanding video content: captivating visuals, compelling characters, creative scripts and a strong sense of place, to name just a few. But one essential component that is often overlooked is the narration.

    A voiceover has the power to drastically change and improve any visual content, be that films, commercials, video games or audio books. We as humans have long been enticed by oral storytelling, and not just because its easier to listen, but because the voice brings so much more to the story.  Here’s how voice narration has the ability to enhance your video content.

    Giving your video credibility

    In today’s tech-savvy society we are constantly listening to voice overs, whether that’s on the radio, in films, advertisements, televised sports, or documentary films. As the audience, we have developed a sense of trust when we here narration, and we’ve even come to anticipate it when we’re watching visual content.

    The voice we hear not only creates trust, but it also has the ability to encourage action from the audience.  Think about televised charity appeals for instance. The striking visuals captivate our attention, but it is the voice over, often a famous actor, who humanises what we are witnessing and encourages us to take action. The same can be said for insurance sales campaigns or marketing ads. It is the human voice that sets the message and compels us to sign up or buy a product.  

    Clear, concise and to the point

    Sometimes it can be hard to convey entire details of the subject matter just through the visuals—if filmmakers tried, the video would be too long. But by utilising a voice over, a long message can be portrayed using only a few key visuals.  A narrative voice fills conceptual gaps and allows you to explain details that may be harder to express visually. And when you get the voice over to match the concept perfectly, it can even reinforce an idea you’ve illustrated and give it more power.

    Improving your brand through a voice

    A recognisable voice has the power to catch the audience’s attention.  The tone of voice, its cadences, and that precise timing all lend to give your video a personality. Whether you’re trying to give your brand an upbeat, familiar and friendly element, or a professional and reliable quality, the right voiceover can also make your audience feel spoken to and represented.

    Expanding your audience

    Professional voiceovers can help to localise your content to fit in with your marketing strategies. Whether you use videos for entertaining your audiences or for marketing campaigns, it is a good idea to pass the language barrier and reach larger audiences. This may also apply for audiobooks and podcasts.

    But localising content means going beyond a simple translation of the script.  It must be adapted to keep the correct meaning but so that it also recognises cultural norms.

    The right voiceover who has the correct tone and accent has the ability to conquer audiences. Plus a professional will not only record the content themselves but more often that not they will be able to take care of the editing and translation too. This is where it pays to use professional voice-overs.

    Do’s and Don’ts when hiring a professional voice over

    DON’T forget to listen to voice reels

    An experienced VO should be able to send you example reels. It can be good to see if their previous work matches with your target demographic- that way you know you’re on the right lines and the voice could work well with your brand.

    DON’T disregard the female voice

    It is often said that a female voice can target a wider audience.  A study in the Journal of Advertising looking at the effects of male and female voices in ads, found that although the voice over gender didn’t matter for male-oriented or neutral products, the gender did matter for female oriented products. That means, that a female voice can be effective for male-associated products, but a male voice is rarely suitable for those targeting a female audience.

    DO think about longevity

    When you’re making your selection think about choosing a voice over who can represent your brand in the long run. Chopping and changing the voice over for each new video makes your brand incoherent, so perhaps choose a VO talent that is versatile to suit your future projects. 

    Do test with your target audience

    Once you have made a pre-selection and have the demo reels, it can be a good idea to see how the voice resonates with your audience. If your target market is females aged 25-50 then a voice that fits this description is likely to have the most credibility.