It’s a question we get asked a lot at Voice123: “I need a fully-produced and packaged commercial mastered for broadcast. Who can I talk to who’ll do that for me?” Well, if you need more than just a great voice, ask the actor!
Because actors tend to be jacks-of-all-trades-and masters-of-most. And it’s not necessarily because we’re all still thrashing our way through a global pandemic and we’re trapped behind locked doors and shuttered windows to keep the constantly mutating coronavirus at bay.
Many voice acting professionals have been working from home studios for some time. The age of digitization, the rise of the Web, and online casting platforms have changed the way ads are recorded forever. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that sprawling commercial studios that used to generate considerable income from the advertising industry have gone the way of the dodo.
Especially actors who have broadcasting experience tend to be multi-skilled and can play a variety of roles. We’re not talking about in the booth as an anime character or as a teacher in an eLearning video, either.
If you’re in the business of making a living using your vocal chords today, you need to establish as many related income streams as possible. We like to refer to it as VO-entrepreneurship. Successful voice actors are their own agents, directors, coaches, audio engineers and more. They’re a whole business of one.
Consequently, when you’re booking a talent on Voice123, you’re booking more than just someone to make a recording!
More than just a voice over
The shift from studio to online platforms has transformed a number of jobs in our industry.
What we mean by that is simply this: agents, directors, coaches, audio engineers and so on, are no longer distinctly separate roles. Necessity has prescribed that they be rolled into one. That said, you as a client still need to ensure that each role can be played to the level required by your recording project and that the professional you book can wear each hat comfortably.
Direction: experienced voice actors will self-direct, while less-experienced voice actors will need a helping hand.
Who’s to say how a line should be said, which words should be emphasized, or what tone fits the phrase perfectly? The director.
If you’re lucky, you’ll land yourself with a voice actor who’s proficient with self-direction, and generally knows the appropriate thing to do in each situation. That level of insight tends to come with a lot of experience, and it’s not expected of the voice actor to self-direct during the entire project. So it’s a blessing if your chosen actor can interpret your brief and understands what you’re trying to say.
Otherwise, if you’re booking a complete newbie as a voice actor — don’t be afraid to give them a shot; they could be great! But be prepared to offer direction. If you’re feeling up to it, climb in, get your hands dirty, and learn how to direct your project voice session from A to Z. You’ll end up a seasoned pro yourself soon enough and that’s a good thing, no?
One of the most important pieces of the recording puzzle is the script. If the script isn’t timed, punctuated, personalized, and perfected, there’ll be inevitable issues during recording.
A poorly-written script can be a nightmare to work with. It can bog down the process, scatter focus, and absorb time like a needy toddler. Think about constant back-and-forth adjustments between the voice actor and yourself as producer/project manager; it’s to be avoided!
Often, there are small adjustments and better ways to phrase things which naturally arise during the recording process. Here’s where the writer steps in. Experienced professionals should be able to sort a script out for you almost intuitively. Such a voice actor can be a godsend; they might end up transforming your script into something better than you could’ve imagined!
Sound engineering is an art. Of course, experienced pros know their own voice intimately and know how to get the best out of it. They’ll also know how to adjust their recording chain (that consists of the microphone, the computer interface, recording software, and audio plugins) to let their voice sound powerful and immaculate. They’ll also take care of all the editing and remove distracting breaths, pauses, etc.
In any broadcasting environment, the right amount of compression matters too as does great audio mixing for maximum impact. Numerous voice actors on Voice123 list mixing skills on their profile, so choose your voice actor both carefully and wisely.
There’s a lot of work that goes into making an outstanding commercial. You’re likely to find, however, that many voice actors will be able to provide exactly what you need – and save you the time and expense of having to find a dedicated studio pro.
Thus: need more than just a great voice? Ask the actor – and may your recording project be a tremendous success with the help of Voice123!