Saturday, November 1, 2008

"OUT" with announcers & "IN" with the guy/gal-next-door.

by: Michelle Summers

It is no longer necessary to have that deep, booming, announcery voice of God in order to have a successful career in the voice over world. In fact - we are finding that talent who book the most of our jobs these days tend to have that guy/gal-next-door sound... More and more we are hearing words like: quirky, friendly, conversational, hip, confident, believable, youthful, unique, real-person, trustworthy and approachable when clients are describing the voice they want for their projects.

Another trend we seem to be seeing a lot these days is the voice of the celebrity. Many clients don't have the budget to use "real" celebrity voices so they tend to ask us for sound-alikes. We keep hearing we want a George Clooney type or other actor or actress type when they are describing that perfect voice for their project.

The art of voice over no longer lies in how great of a voice you have... How deep, booming and articulate your voice is... Or even how long you have been in the industry... The "golden rule" - that "secret" to the perfect voice - that "magical key" to getting booked is simple! It lies within the following skills: acting, improvisation, confidence, knowing who your character is and what they are feeling then conveying it all within the script.

Before you audition for a project, look at your script closely... Who is your character? Who are you talking to? If you don't know, make it up! Improvise! What feelings are you trying to instill? Is there action within the script? If so, move your body to reflect the actions of the character you are reading - it provides that umph! Really put yourself into what you are doing and feel confident about what you are doing!

If you aren't sure what to do even after reading the specs of a script - call your agent & ask for guidance. Go over the script with the agent and see what their thoughts are. More times then not, they know the client well and what they are looking for or have booked in the past. It's your agents job to be there for you, guide you, help you, work with you!

So these are just some of my thoughts as to what experiences I have had in the last 10 years... Does this mean that if you have a deep booming voice that you are not going to get booked? No, it just means that you have to work a little harder... You have to get more creative with your marketing... You have to research more... Figure out where your niche is and market to the clients who are using those types of voices. Audition for projects that are right for your voice instead of spinning your wheels on projects where the client isn't looking for your kind of voice.

Just because the industry trend is that younger, guy/gal-next-door voice doesn't mean that the deep booming voice isn't getting booked any longer - it just means that more and more clients tend to lean in that direction. And, as you all know - the industry is constantly changing and many time clients don't even really know what they want until they hear it. We have to learn to mold, grow and change our voices and techniques with the winds of change. The more voices you have in your repertoire... The more versatility you have... The more confident you are in your voice... The more acting, improvisation and coaching classes you attend... The more you stay on top of industry trends... The more you are going to work.

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