Have You Toured the Audio Tours Genre Lately


The Audio Tours genre is a very interesting subject and a potentially rewarding specialty, especially considering that it’s a bigger field than many people realize.

Many people think of it only in terms of museum tours. That’s obviously a huge segment, but there are many other kinds of audio tours, too. All the following settings, and more, have audio tour potential:

* Museums and other exhibitions -- Might as well start with the obvious. Like Audiobooks, this genre, too, can be tremendously satisfying. If you have special or extensive knowledge in the subject that’s on exhibit, here is a great way to apply what you know, while providing extra value to your client. Or, if like most curious people you’re a “knowledge generalist,” voicing audio tours gives you an opportunity to learn while you earn. In either case, it’s also satisfying to know that you’re providing a meaningful service to people who take the tour. And while the articles you describe will be the star of the show, the overall goal of any audio tour is to be entertaining. You will be an important contributor to that.

* Tourist locations -- Not every museum has walls. Historic sites feature “progressive tours” that the visitor listens to while moving from place to place. The site could be a group of historic structures, a battlefield, an archaeological dig, anything. In these situations, an audio tour is more convenient and more personal than a guidebook. And you will help make it more interesting.

* Campus tours -- How many prospective students and their families visit college campuses every year? There are only so many administrators and/or student guides to show them around. Recorded audio tours fill this major gap. Life decisions may be affected by the quality of your work.

* Walking tours -- There are other tour situations similar to those above, except that they range more widely, perhaps covering an entire county. The listener might be expected to start and stop the recording while moving from place to place, or the tour might be timed to account for walking from place to place. Sometimes, if the listener walks more slowly than typical or is delayed on public transportation, there are options for skipping certain waypoints in order to catch up.

* Driving tours - These are similar to a walking audio tours, except there might be some “GPS-style” guidance included. If ever there was a need for talent who is easily understandable and non-confusing, a driving tour is it.

* Company tours -- Although these are more likely to be personally guided, maybe the tourer is a trusted employee. Depending on the company and its facilities, this might resemble a museum tour, a campus walking tour, a driving tour. A company is likely to have other voice over needs, as well.

* Children’s tours -- Like eLearning, this may be simply a voice recording, or might be much more sophisticated, even including character voices, games and sound effects.

This list could be as long as your imagination. As tour technology, usage and awareness expands, the genre continues to grow. Some tours or tour users have special needs, such as non-English speakers, visual or hearing impairment, video components, etc.

Just as audio tour situations vary, so do audio tour clients vary. Some are very experienced at writing and producing tours. Some are independent producers specializing in the genre. But some are producing a tour for the first time.

You can make yourself especially valuable to any of these prospects. As a VO expert in the genre, you’re just what the more experienced clients are looking for. One tour job often leads to another, in a fruitful ongoing relationship.

You might be even more valuable to the novice producer, because there are so many matters that they may not be aware of. (If you have experience as a “live” tour leader or teacher, that background will also be helpful.) Depending on your own knowledge and interests, and theirs, you might offer insight on anything from the subject matter, to hardware and app technology, to a reminder that they should allow for possible rest-room breaks. Like many newcomers to voice over recording, a novice producer may underestimate the time required for the listener to absorb what they hear. The writing, voicing and production issues vary from client to client.

As usual in voice over recording, the client may expect you to limit your creativity to the performance aspect and leave the writing, direction and production to them, thank you. But some clients will appreciate the added contribution, for which you might charge more.

There’s only one way to tell. As you tour the world of prospective clients, sneak a peek behind their façade. And offer them what they appear to need.

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To learn more about our Audio Tours training, call our studio at 888-321-3343 or email training@edgestudio.com.

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