Need a Voice Talent? Call a Plumber
How is hiring a voice talent like calling a plumber? Well, in both cases, you expect that the person who walks in the door can read the situation, get out their tools and use pipes to make it all work. But what if the voice talent you’ve hired doesn’t make the copy sound the way you thought they would? How do you get the performance you had in mind? Here we offer some time-tested tips that will work with just about anyone, and could end up making you look like a rock star when you present the finished recording!
Hooked on a Feeling
It’s all about feelings. As a creative person, you know that good copy will evoke a feeling in the reader. That’s the goal, right? So, when talking to a voice talent, talk feelings – and not just feelings, but intense feelings:
“You’re excited …You love… You are intensely curious …You are angry…You’re astounded…You can’t wait…You are extremely happy…” This may seem foolish to you when you first try it, but believe me, it really works. Click here to listen to Claire Pegg sounding angry at the top of her commercial demo.
NEXT…Where does the feeling change in the script?
Changes in the copy make it interesting and compelling for the listener. So point out those changes to the voice talent, again in terms of feelings. For instance: “And now you’re so relieved…And now you’re blown away…And now you’re on top of the world… And now you feel deep love for the person you’re talking to…” Remember, you’re talking to an actor, so talk their language. In this sample from his commercial demo, Carl Ames is the warrior vanquishing all foes.
NEXT…Who are they sharing those feelings with?
This is the most overlooked and important element in a good voiceover performance. So you would say to them, “Who are you talking to?”
They must always imagine they’re talking to only one person, with whom they have a burning desire to share the story or information. For instance, if the script is directed at young mothers with finicky babies, they might answer, “I’m talking to young mothers out there.” Believe me, that doesn’t inspire them to communicate anything interesting! If instead they say, “I’m talking to my sister who is heartbroken when her baby cries day and night”, they will have a visceral feeling as they speak that will reach right into the heart of the listener. Here’s an example on Cyrilla Baer’s commercial demo of someone who sounds like she could be madly in love. This may all seem like a foreign language to you, so don’t hesitate to give me a call and I’ll show you how I’d talk about feelings with your particular script. After a while you’ll wonder how you ever produced a recording session without this handy tool!
Got Anything Else?
If you’re still not happy with the performance, tell them! A professional talent is supposed to be a collaborator, so you should be able to say, “This approach isn’t working for me. Got anything else?” and they should be able to give you at least 2 or 3 other interpretations. So go ahead, demand excellence from your voiceover “plumber.”