Written for BackStage by Terry Berland
Advertising reflects life itself. Life influenced by the Internet today is quick and loose with multiple resources of information, choices, visuals, and possibilities at our fingertips.
The culture we live in has changed the look and feel of commercials. Notice the bright, positive colors, the graphics, clothing, hairstyles, humor, environments, and storylines.
Voiceovers have greatly been effected by these influences, and the industry has changed as a result. Here are five current trends you should know:
The sound of the voiceover announcer is more real.
I have been casting and teaching voiceover technique for years and I stay acutely aware of what type of voices support the visuals and brands of a particular spot.
The announcer who sounds like he is talking to a large audience with a smooth, polished, stiff, stylized, unapproachable deep tone is pretty much gone.
The more “real” sound is referred to as the non-announcer announcer. This sound is approachable and connected to the listener. His sound is more in alignment to today’s world of accessibility. Companies want to be considered or branded as approachable, trusted, and relatable.
There are trends other than the sound of the voice.
Talent must be able to record auditions anywhere, at any time.
With Internet access, clients are asking for auditions to be submitted to them very quickly. For this reason talent should have the ability to record at home or even on the go in the car. There are inexpensive mics with good quality that you can use with your laptop or iPad to record auditions. Take a little time to visit any electronics store and test some out. Look into clever ways to semi-soundproof the space you are working in at a very low cost.
You’re expected to have a website.
Be visible on the Internet for searches. You want to have as much of an online presence as possible for any producer to find you easily. This website should be simple, but should include your demo. The colors and visuals should be branded to match the feel of your sound.
Self-submission Internet sites are available to you.
Auditions are available on voiceover sites for self-submissions. Where you are in your career will influence your desire to register and submit auditions online.
Voiceover agents are accessible in multiple cities.
There are voiceover agents all over the United States. It is common for talent to have a couple of different agents in different cities.
To be a successful, working voice actor, you must be prepared to be competitive, train consistently, and keep up with the ever-changing industry.
Do You Have What It Takes to Succeed in Voiceover?
Written by Terry Berland for Backstage
I have always cast both on-camera talent and voiceover for commercials, starting my career casting on staff at various ad agencies in NYC. At that time, the voiceover field was made up of a very exclusive group of New York and L.A. actors, and a limited amount of agents who represented them. Voiceover was pretty much a “closed field”—but not anymore.
Voiceover Opportunities on the Rise
Voiceover opportunites for actors is a wide open field.
The old school ways of voiceovers being close to unobtainable to break into are gone. Voiceover opportunities for actors is a wide-open field. In fact, it’s the Wild West out there. Talent agencies are opening up voice departments, and more Internet media sites are available affording opportunities for actors to find voice work more than ever before. Does that mean it’s easy to break into? No! But the playing field is wide open and equal. Everyone starts at the same place: ground zero.
Know Yourself, Know Your Voice
Every client wants interesting choices. I, myself, bring in actors for voiceover castings from past auditions, who I know will do a great job, but also spice up my casting sessions with talent I know from my on-camera castings or whom I’ve seen in theater productions around town. Agents are also constantly looking for new talent to keep their rosters fresh. But to audition well and do well at a final booking, you need to know what you are doing. You need to know how to make specific choices and also follow direction from the creative team.
The Voiceover Demo
Your calling card will be your voiceover demo. A big tip I can give you is, don’t waste your money to have your demo produced before you are ready. Any good demo producer can make you sound good by over-editing. But you’re wasting your money having a demo that sounds good if you don’t know how to make the right choices, execute your choices, and take direction.
Your voice is your instrument and you are the conductor. Voiceover is based on acting, but has its own unique technique. Some knowledge of technique you should know before you spend money on producing a demo include:
- Know the characteristics of your voice, known as your voice personality or your voice print. This is known as your branding.
Know how to make choices as to what kind of read you will give from the direction you are given or from reading the storyboard and/or on-camera direction.
- Know how to make choices as to what kind of read you will give from the direction you are given or from reading the storyboard and/or on-camera direction.
- Know how to execute many subtle differences. Some of which are non-announcer/announcer, warm, strong, upbeat, driven, inspirational, positive, and compassionate, just to name a few.
- Know the difference between TV and radio reads. The television read supports the picture, whereas the radio read creates the visuals.
- Know how to voice to music or visuals, sometimes referred to as donuts and pretzels. Many times your voice comes in between music. The music will be played for you and you will need to time your reading and be able to execute the right energy to go along with the music or visual. One space to insert your voice is referred to as a donut.
- Two or more spaces are referred to as a pretzel.
The trend now for voices of many spots is “real” and raw, not polished. Voiceovers can be another venue for your acting career. Have a plan for success. Start with knowing the basic technique and grow from there.