no No NO Announcers!
This blog was 'borrowed' from a fellow VO actor, Marc Scott, who's offered some great tips. I have edited a bit, but added what I believe is the most vital tip: STORY.
Most VO auditions have very specific direction notes. “No announcers please.” is a very common one lately. Gone are the days of 'rip and read': spots with hard sell, and little emotion or inflection. Exception: Small and medium market radio. Yes these old school tactics are still used a lot!
Most clients today (in major markets) want the same thing...REAL. Meaning a conversational style: friendly, casual, guy (or girl) next door, or even 'throw it away'. It should be easy being 'yourself' but if you come from a radio or news background, achieving this can sometimes be a big challenge.
With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when you’re looking over an audition script.
1) What is the story? Even one line tags have a story, albeit it pretty small. But still there is an intent of the writer which much first be honoured for any of the following tips to be effective
2) Who Are You in the script? Are you a trusted friend? Are you the boss? Is your role that of a mother or father?
You can’t portray your role authentically until you know what it is!
3) Who Are You Talking To? Who’s your audience? Men? Women? Children? Teenagers? Seniors? High income? Low income? Executives? Home owners? People will financial struggles? People suffering from illness?
Identify your audience and change your delivery and tone accordingly.
4) What Is The Purpose? In other words, what is the end goal of the piece you’re voicing? Is there a call to action? Are you trying to sell something? Are you providing instruction? Is the piece more informational? What does this piece intend to accomplish?
Understanding the purpose of the script upfront will make it easier to give a more effective delivery.
5) What’s The Key Line? This is more so for commercial reads. In every spot there is a key line. It could be a tag line. It might be a transitional line. There will always be that one line in the script that is meant to standout.
Identify the key line and give it the attention it deserves.
6) Who Is It For? In other words, what’s the name of the company, product or brand? Whether you’re voicing a commercial, an explainer video, or an on-hold system, there will always be a name. Find that name.
Give the name special attention. Nothing over the top. Just a little kick to make it stand out.
Mark The Script: Take a few minutes to look for these 5 things. Mark the script accordingly with pencil, highlighter, or mark text digitally with bold, italics or underlines if reading off a screen.
Then customize the script for you personally, whilst honouring the writers intent for the story.