Voice Over Education Blog

Are you a "voice actor," a "voice talent," a "voiceover" or what? Part 1 of 2.


NOTE: This is the first post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 2!

Some time ago, we discussed the issue of how to spell "voice-over," and concluded that, except maybe for Search Engine Optimization reasons, it doesn't much matter, as long as you're consistent. And that the SEO reasons are diminishing and secondary.

But what about "voice actor" and these similar descriptions of people at the mic? It's more than a question of spelling. Is there a functional and/or industry distinction between a "voice talent," "voice actor," "voice-over artist" and other variations? Does it matter what you call yourself and what you do?

Yes and no.

There's no hard dividing line between any of these terms. Each is just a slightly different shading of the others. Yet, each has certain connotations, which might be important to you and/or to potential clients. Consider it a matter of "positioning," in a marketing sense, or as your personal mindset. Or both.

Announcer. This is on the list because it's the traditional term, still found on many scripts. But, although a traditional "announcer" style involves certain qualities and skills (and is not necessarily bombastic or stylized), it's not what professional casting people generally want today. They usually want more than a perfect voice and clear speech. They want authenticity (which we'll talk more about, below.) Unless your target is broadcasting or stadium PA work and such, calling yourself simply an "announcer" limits your employment opportunities.

Are you a "voice actor," a "voice talent," a "voiceover" or what? Part 1 of 2.


NOTE: This is the first post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 2!

Some time ago, we discussed the issue of how to spell "voice-over," and concluded that, except maybe for Search Engine Optimization reasons, it doesn't much matter, as long as you're consistent. And that the SEO reasons are diminishing and secondary.

But what about "voice actor" and these similar descriptions of people at the mic? It's more than a question of spelling. Is there a functional and/or industry distinction between a "voice talent," "voice actor," "voice-over artist" and other variations? Does it matter what you call yourself and what you do?

Yes and no.

There's no hard dividing line between any of these terms. Each is just a slightly different shading of the others. Yet, each has certain connotations, which might be important to you and/or to potential clients. Consider it a matter of "positioning," in a marketing sense, or as your personal mindset. Or both.

Announcer. This is on the list because it's the traditional term, still found on many scripts. But, although a traditional "announcer" style involves certain qualities and skills (and is not necessarily bombastic or stylized), it's not what professional casting people generally want today. They usually want more than a perfect voice and clear speech. They want authenticity (which we'll talk more about, below.) Unless your target is broadcasting or stadium PA work and such, calling yourself simply an "announcer" limits your employment opportunities.

For vocal health, don't let your humidifier turn against you! Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

In Part One, we talked about the benefits a voice actor receives from proper indoor humidity, and discussed various types of humidifiers. Aahhhh! Instead of the raw feeling you get from air that's been overheated or air-conditioned, moist air is so soothing, right?

Right. Except for this unsettling thought:

It can also make you sick.

Although proper humidity promotes health, improper use of a humidifier can be harmful. The device itself can breed and spread microbes and allergens. Some types of humidifiers can also break water-borne minerals into fine particles (possibly appearing as white dust) that can be irritants or transportation for germs. (This has been a concern especially with ultrasonic types.) They might even distribute toxic metals.

You MUST keep a humidifier clean.

To avoid such complications, follow manufacturer instructions, but in general:

Vocal health calls for "Goldilocks" humidity this winter. Part 1 of 2.


NOTE: This is the first post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 2!

EdgeStudio.com has a lot of information about vocal health. You'll find links to much of it at the end of this article. One subject we've barely touched on, however, is the matter of indoor humidity. Moisture in the air is important to maintaining good vocal health, but you can also have too much humidity. There are various ways of maintaining humidity, each with certain advantages and dangers.

Important: We are not medical experts and cannot give medical advice. This is not exhaustive information. If you have any question or concern about your health or any symptom, consult your doctor without delay. If anyone has a respiratory difficulty (e.g., asthma, allergy to mites or mold), consult a physician before using a humidifier. Exercise suitable caution when dealing with steam or boiling water. Clean any device as instructed. If infants or young children are present, consult their physician before use, as microbes and particalized mineral deposits can be harmful to their lungs, and additives can also be problematic.

Cold air is dry, and heating dries it further, but humidity's not just a winter issue. Air conditioning dries the air, too. You feel cooler, but your sinuses may become raw. At some point, you may need to turn off the A/C, or open a window, or add humidity, or step outdoors.

So, at any time of year, what amount of humidity is "just right" and how should you maintain it?

Humidity has benefits

You read VO scripts clearly. Why don't people hear you? Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a two-part article. Click here to read Part 1!

In personal conversation, have you ever known someone who doesn't listen to you because they think they already know what you're going to say? Sometimes they've assumed correctly. But not always. And when they're wrong, it's kind of maddening, isn't it? Why don't they listen to what you're saying?

In that conversation, you might be able to bring your friend around to listening more politely. But in a spoken-voice recording, you can't do that with your unseen listener.

Or can you?

In some ways, you can encourage listeners to pay closer attention, to improve how they hear what you're saying.

The first step is to understand why they don't. There are various reasons:

A. They're distracted. This is virtually a given when the script is a commercial. In all but a handful of situations, people aren't listening for commercials, and in fact might be planning to do something else as soon as you start talking. (An exception would be a Super Bowl broadcast, where some people actually watch for the funny or edgy commercials. But how often is that?)

You'll encounter distracted listeners in plenty of other genres, too. For example, telephony ... scripts often say, "Please listen carefully, as our menu has recently changed." Everyone knows darn well that it probably hasn't, but a system has to do something to get the caller's attention. After all, they didn't phone for a menu – they called to tell a live representative that the flange on their widget broke, or to check the balance on their checking account, or to find out how to size new tennis shoes.

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