The Voice in the Booth
Vocal Direction …
Tone, style, texture, emotion – All part of the direction and guidance given to a Voice Artist on how to interpret the script. It’s this vital information between the writer, directors, creative and the voice talent that ensures the desired feel is portrayed.
For example if you’re instructed to make it a little ‘darker’ – it’s time to lower the eye brows a bit, find some resonance and lower the tone, without scaring too many children.
‘Make it brighter’ means reach for that smile, conjure up Mr. Friendly and lift the pitch slightly.
‘More sell’ – Think “it’s all got to go, time is running out, you’ll never see anything like this again in your lifetime”.
‘Softer’ – try thinking of beautiful butterflies, beds of roses and dreamy white fluffy clouds – without putting everyone to sleep of course.
‘Make it Real’ – this requires a more personable approach, how do you talk day to day, out side the studio without the sell or the white fluffy clouds. Sometimes this can be the hardest to master!
It’s also so important to understand the audience you’ll talking to and mentally putting yourself in front of that audience as you deliver the words in a tone they can relate to.
Understanding the direction and audience you’re talking to are key. It can be the difference between a good read and something special, a client that is happy and client that is already booking you for the next voice over session.
But what if you’re asked to ‘add a squeeze of tangerine’ to the read? That’s a story for next time.
If you’ve got any handy tips on vocal direction – please share.
The Voice in the Booth
All Aboard ....
If you know me well, you’ll know I love to travel, particularly throughout Europe.
A few years ago, my wife and I took a trip to Vietnam. It’s a great country with an abundance of motorbikes and mopeds. After a big day of sight seeing around the capital, Hanoi, we went on our daily quest for a decent coffee (or our perception of a decent coffee anyway). We found a great spot overlooking one of the roundabouts in Hanoi. There were bikes, mopeds, motorbikes a few cars, people, dogs, chooks … you name it, going in every direction. It provided quite the show. Also enjoying the roundabout spectacular were a young Aussie couple, who joined us to say gidday and swap a few travel stories.
It turned out these guys were from Brisbane and it wasn’t long before the conversation turn to, so what do you do for a crust? After I explained I was a Voice Artist, they were very keen to know what TV or radio ads I’d voiced and they recognised a few. And as I voice all the announcements for Queensland Rail trains in Brisbane and South East Queensland, I thought they might also be familiar with these. It was at that point I realized I’d just opened up an almighty can of very wriggly worms.
“You’re joking” they said, “we catch the train every day”. And with that they started yelling out to another young couple in the café who were also from Brisbane – ‘”Hey come over here, this is the Train Voice man, you know the Doors opening, please stand behind the yellow line, voice.
They were very keen to hear a few live demos, so I thought I’d oblige with … Doors opening – please stand clear. This is a city bound train – the next station is Milton. This went on for sometime with requests for particular station announcements, warning announcements, evacuation announcements … the works!
Eventually it was time to go our separate ways and we got back to just being tourists again enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Vietnam.
The next day we made our way to Ha Long Bay, where we had booked an overnight stay and cruise on a houseboat. To our surprise, also waiting to board the houseboat were our new Aussie friends from Brisbane.
So for the next two days, those guys had me announcing everything, from safety signs … “In the event of an emergency, please wear your life jacket and evacuate in an orderly fashion” to meal times, “Dinner tonight will be served at 6:30, please assemble at the upstairs bar at 6 for pre dinner drinks and canapés”
Even though this started to wear a little thin towards the end, it turned out to be a bloody lot of fun. It just goes to prove; you never know where your Voice will be recognised.