Voiceover – A Friend or Foe?

Voiceovers may have one or more “stories” to tell about a producer, an engineer, a director, a studio manager or even about a client, but on the flip side, they may have the same amount of stories to tell about you. Don’t you just wish that all stories shared about you were fantastic? Though it is true that we can’t please everyone, there are ways to at least temper it.

As much as we see more and more voiceover talents turning into solopreneurs, they still need to work with others, be it just the client, or the whole production team to make magic happen. As soon as the tape starts rolling, voiceovers can be a friend or a foe; can make or break a project; can turn a coal of a script into a precious diamond or into ashes, so every little thing you can do to make work and life better, matters.

Here are some simple truths as to why clients / producers / directors / sound engineers / studio owners, or maybe even your agent may or may not like you:

Love it when you read your script beforehand. No one likes it when you do 2 or 3 takes of every line or paragraph because you don’t know where it’s going.

Love it when you know how to adjust your speed even by a nanosecond.

Love it when do small talk rather than sit in a corner. Love it even more when you share a story that’s amusing enough to be retold.

Hate it when you are easily distracted. Yes, delayed echo in the headphones can happen. Whispering producers and engineers too… love it when you can read on through all that.

Hate it when you smoke inside the booth. It is bad for your voice anyway.

Hate it when you wear clunky and noisy jewelry or a loud ticking watch.

Love it when you know not to breathe into words and not gasp out of it.

Love it when you know how play with words and timings to complement the background.

Love it when you know your Latin, especially for medical or technical narration.

Hate it when you leave stuff behind. No one is paid to pick up after you.

Hate it when you are late. You should schedule your bookings better.

Hate it when you rustle the paper when you turn. You should learn to do that silently… practice with your morning paper.

Love it when your agent knows your boundaries and moral stand before booking a job. It should never be a discussion just minutes before recording.

Love it when you ask the engineers if they need to take levels again when you come back inside the booth.

Love it when you know how to take directions.

Hate it when you overstay your welcome after the session… unless you are asked to stay.

Hate it when you carelessly spill over precious equipment.

Hate it when you are aggressive.

Love it when you do have fun and enjoy.

Love it when you are ready to learn new techniques.

Love it even more if you share one of your own. It’s a team effort anyway.

We hold a precarious relationship with the people we work with – one misstep can lead to losing a job or more… worst – a credibility. Having a great voice is just one part of being a good voiceover, it also requires other skills you develop though experience and application, and not just technical skills but also interpersonal ones.

It is true that sometimes talents, producers, directors, and engineers don’t see eye to eye – voiceovers too may have a list of things they may or may not like about the production team. But there is something brilliant about seeing pass through differences. Everyone has a role in getting the job done, but more importantly, everyone has to work together to get the job done right.

Love it when there is respect all around.

So… do you want to be a friend or a foe?


Rana King

Rana King has presented marketing, sales, and writing seminars around the globe. She is also experienced in business-to-business copywriting and technical writing. She is also an accomplished voice actor with regular clients from around the globe.