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I’d love you to join me on this magical flight through life. I’ll be sharing recommendations, snippets of wisdom and bits of work along the way.

Toast of London…been there! But I’ve also had sessions that run like a dream and I want you to enjoy that experience too. So, I’ve pulled together some tips for working with your voice over artist and getting the most out of your recording session:-

1. Send the script to your voice over artist in plenty of time.

Ensure that your voice actor and all involved (sound engineer etc) have a rough idea of what you’re aiming for.

Tips for working with your voice over artist - don't get in a flap

More on this below, but think about timings, music, audience, end result. Include any relevant information and links along with the script. Why? Because preparation saves precious studio time and ensures you get what you want faster. Win-win! (Obviously there are sometimes last minute re-writes for legal or other very good reasons, that’s understood.)

2. Record the voice over (vo) before editing the visuals if possible.

Why? Allowing the voice to set the pace is far better than finding that the words are having to be crammed in to fit the pictures. That said, I know it isn’t always possible, I often voice projects like explainer animations that for whatever reason have already been animated. Corporate videos or commercials may have been produced in another language and need to be re-voiced for the English-speaking market. But recording the voice over first really is the most prudent way forward.

Guide tracks: If the visuals are laid down first and you want to use a guide track, ideally ask your voice over actor to record it, or pace it as you’d like it to sound. A lot of clients now use AI for guide tracks, but be aware that some AI voices don’t breathe, pause in the wrong places, and randomly speed up or slow down. Best to make allowances!

3. How to get the feel you’re after.

a) This work is all about knowing how you want your audience to feel. So knowing the kind of vibe you’re aiming for really helps. Aside from the obvious direction, if you have examples and links you can include with the script before the session, great. This will give your voice over artist an insight into what you’re thinking. If the script & the vibe you have in your head are very different, it can really help.

b) Are you using music? Or do you have something that embodies the vibe you’re aiming for? Send it over before the session. It can often communicate as much, if not more than words. A client recently did just that and it completely changed the way I saw the script. As soon as I heard the music, I knew exactly what he was after and began the session feeling very well prepared. He’d also sent timings, which was incredibly helpful. Simply saying “Can you make it more purple?” may not result in the tone you’re after!

4. Context – who, how and what.

Let your voice talent know who the audience is, how you want them to feel & the desired outcomes. Context is key! Does the audience consist of experts, or is this product new to them? What sort of age might they be? Are we looking to inspire, motivate, empathise, inform, or something else entirely?

5. Basic prep.

a) Unusual pronunciations or names? Offer guidance. It’s a no-brainer, really.

b) Think the script may be too long for the slot? Edit it, or have edits in mind, to save valuable time in the studio.

6. Teamwork and etiquette.

a) Working as a team will bring out the best in your voice over artist. If something isn’t working as you’d hoped, there may be a good reason why. If you aren’t sure what the issue is, your vo can probably help! If they feel at ease & you’re responsive, they’ll be more comfortable about making suggestions.

b) “I can hear you Clem Fandango!” Yep, for good or ill, we can hear you unless the talkback is closed. Let the vo know if you’re going to close your talkback to have a discussion with the end client, engineer etc. We’re human beings, after all, not just gobs on sticks 😉

7. Getting in the flow and saving time.

a) Are you someone who likes to break everything down, one section or sentence at a time? If so, make sure you do one continuous take. Often the best studio reads (with options) are completed in half an hour or less and getting the flow of a story is vital. Then listen back for anything you might have missed first time (technical or in delivery) so you know you have what you need. Andy Porter of Veracity Digital says the mantra “Don’t overdo it has always worked for me – professional vo artists instinctively ‘get it’.”

Tips for working with your voice over artist

b) Has your voice over artist nailed the read you want well within the hour? Happy days! Don’t fret that you haven’t got your money’s worth, celebrate the fact that you’ve hired an experienced professional who brings added value as standard! Time is the one precious resource that can’t be renewed, so really is a bonus if you walk away with a little more of it.

c) If it’s a long script and a lengthy session, take breaks. That way you and your voice over artist stay fresh, and the end result will retain its sparkle.

8. And finally…

Have FUN! And remember that we all like and need to show people examples of our work. It benefits clients if we’re able to showcase it, too. So, if you’re able to send your voice over artist a copy of the finished piece, they’ll be eternally grateful.

Treats all round!

Free Gift With Every Voice Over - Neville Longbottom, studio dog of Sara Starling voice over catching a treat. Photo by Lauren of Woof Club.

Have I missed anything?

Intrigued and want to hear some of my work after reading this? You can listen to this little bird’s demo reels by both genre and mood.

Thanks for reading, may all your sessions be fun, fabulous and leave you eager for the next. I look forward to working with you soon!

(This post was first published in Feb 2020, and has now been updated).

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Like what you’ve heard and think you might want to work with me? Get in touch. I’d be happy to provide a short, free, bespoke demo to show you how I can bring your story to life

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