Working with a voice actor on your project should be a simple experience. You send them your script, they record it, you pay them, and you're done!
However, if you're not careful you can fall into a voiceover nightmare, where they send you not quite what you were looking for. Then there's the back and forth of revisions and redos which can cost you time, money and, frustration. When in fact a lot of this could be avoided with clear direction, and to help you out I've broken down directing voice talent into three simple parts.
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Placement includes not only where the voiceover will be experienced, but also the audience who will be listening to it. Will this be on a website or is it broadcast? Is the audience new to the product or service or have they been aware of it for years? The answer to these can really inform your voice actor how to initially approach the script.
Projection deals with the emotional intent of your script, and it can be summed up in this simple question: After listening to this how do you want your audience to feel? Do you want them to feel hopeful, curious, anxious, excited... Each of these should inform a different quality to the voice actor’s reading.
Prototype is how you want the voice actor read the script. Hopefully they have a demo that you can reference to say, “Sound like that ad.” Perhaps they sound like an actor and you want them have that quality, “Give me a Tom Hanks read.” Maybe you have a video or audio sample that you'd like them to emulate. Providing a prototype is one of the most straightforward ways to help get exactly the type read that you want.
So that's Three P’s of Direction: Placement, Projection, and Prototype. In subsequent articles I'm going to explain each of these a little bit more and help give you some more examples, so that the next time you hire a voice actor you'll be able to confidently direct them to get the performance you need for your project. We'll talk soon!