Professional Voice Overs

What Makes a Professional at Voice Overs?

What makes a voice over professional professional? If you've had trouble finding the right voice for your production, or if you find it a hassle, maybe this checklist will help.

It's more than a great voice. In fact, it might not even be a great voice.

It is all of these things:

  • The ability to read. Seems pretty obvious, but a lot of people don't read aloud the way they would simply speak aloud. They sound choppy, they miss words, make mistakes, and so on. Even a professional at voice overs make mistakes (occasionally a doozy), that's natural. But professionals know how to correct errors without wasting your time (and budget). Many amateurs don't.
  • The ability to interpret. Getting the words out correctly is not even half the job. Understanding them, discerning your intended meaning behind them, and conveying that meaning is essential, too. Whether the job is to record a professional voice greeting on your phone system, to introduce new employees to your company, or to voice your next Super Bowl commercial, communication is the name of this game.
  • Acting ability. Not necessarily "actor" acting. Many men and women who do professional voice overs are not formally trained as actors. They might not even have acting on their resume. But a true voice over professional does know how to take on the "personality" that your professional voice message requires.
  • Versatility within the genre. There's more than one way to read anything. Part of the voice pro's job is follow your (or your producer's) direction. But part of the job is also to help explore, efficiently contributing his or her special skills, to find the read that best communicates.
  • An open mind. It's just easier to work with.
  • Efficiency. Your time budget should be realistic. The voice over professional should respect it. Taking time is important to producing professional voice overs. Wasting it is another thing.
  • Naturalness. You be the judge of the sound you want, but if you're new to casting professional voice overs, be aware that the "natural" sound is what you're hearing almost everywhere these days. A "radio DJ sound" is great for radio DJ'ing, but for VO work (except for promos & trailers, broadcast announcer reads, and some character and animation work), the talent should sound unaffected. That doesn't mean nonchalant or amateurish. It does mean, well, natural.

Sounding natural while doing all the other stuff listed above is one of the definitions of "acting." But then, we've already mentioned that, so maybe we'd better talk person-to-person about your needs. There's much more involved in casting professional voice overs, and we love to help.

For assistance, simply call Edge Studio at 212-868-EDGE.

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