What the Heck Am I Saying?

Have you ever picked up a voiceover script and said to yourself, “What the heck am I reading aloud here??”

Over the years we’ve been asked “what’s the difference between a ‘good’ VO talent and a ‘great’ one.” I had lots of responses that come to me that are more related to the business side of being a voice over talent. Things like showing up on time, prereading the script, being open to direction, etc. are all important aspects of being a professional. If you got selected for the VO job you must be good – or good enough, right?

But on further reflection, we’ve concluded that the one true benchmark between good enough and really good is the ability of the voice talent to express, with their voice, the feeling that they know what they are talking about.

Voice Studio Owner, Tim Keenan

So often, as a seasoned professional, you fall into a routine of getting a script, going over it for pronunciations and grammar and then just launching into a read. But did you really understand what you were reading? Did you know where you were going with that read and what all those terms you said aloud actually meant?

This is particularly important with corporate narration projects but even applies just as well to commercials. The true pros, the people who build a loyal following are the narrators who genuinely SOUND like they know what they are talking about – like they live this subject matter every day and are sharing their wealth of knowledge. In fact it is really the WRITER’s wealth of knowledge.

How do you get to “great?”

Stop a minute. Ask yourself: What am I talking about here? Where is this script going? How does this thing I’m talking about work?

Don’t be afraid to ask the client questions. How does this widget get made? What’s really going on when I talk about X? What did you mean about with Y? Look up words that are unfamiliar to you – not just for pronunciation but for meaning as well. Take the time to educate yourself about the client’s product or service.

The payoff? The client will know you truly care about the voiceover job you are doing which builds client loyalty. Also, your read will sound genuine and that “truth” of the copy will totally come though in your voice – in much the same way as when you plant a big smile on your face the listener can HEAR that smile come through.

Tim Keenan

For over 30 years Tim Keenan has owned and operated Creative Media Recording (www.creativemediarecording.com), a successful media recording studio that provides award winning audio production to independent producers and major corporations.

  • Tim Keenan

    Thx for the kind words, Rhonda! Homework, it is! It all helps. Tim K

  • Lisa Rice

    Understanding what we’re narrating makes a huge difference when it comes to emphasizing correct words and phrases. I’ve found that most customers are more than happy to explain the intricacies of their script. Several read-throughs of the copy might also need to take place along with a healthy dose of research via search engines and YouTube but I and the read am definitely all the better for it.

  • Rhonda Duncan

    Another words…
    “Do Your Homework,” it does makes a difference. This was another GREAT topic Tim. Thank you for sharing what I call another technique to connect BETTER with WHAT you are saying.