The REAL Voiceover Business – Working with Other Humans

I just saw a blog post from my virtual voiceover friend and prolific blogger, Derek Chappell that made me laugh out loud. Just what kinds of situations do REAL working voiceover talent face as they go about the business of recording a script?

He posted three videos produced by voice actor, Paul J. Kinney, a San Francisco based talent. These are not only extremely well produced pieces, but each is a true reflection of what actually happens in directed voiceover sessions. These clips happen to be in a studio environment where the producer is just on the other side of the glass, but the same thing happens during phone patch sessions and ISDN sessions.

If you are self-directing at this point, you may only get this kind of feedback well after you have recorded the words. (For example, in the past couple of months, I have had to redo files because I said the wrong word, flip-flopped words, mispronounced something, read something too fast, or too slow, or not perky enough or conversational enough.)

I beat myself up because of these mistakes, but these little videos remind me that we are human and we work with other humans! We do make mistakes now and then. This video (Guilty) illustrates how this can happen. One of my recent eLearning clients is a big stickler for contractions – they HATE to have things contracted. Other clients prefer a more conversational style and encourage contractions.


But sometimes, it really isn’t us. Sometimes we don’t get enough direction – or conflicting direction.


I had an ISDN session recently where I spent most of a good hour and a half futzing around my booth and just outside my booth (as far as my headsets would allow me to roam) while the client pieced together the spot, then called the client to approve it.

So, while this next video may be a LITTLE extreme, the occasional session with long wait times is reality.


So, while these videos are funny, please consider that if we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again –  if we get feedback that is relevant and ignore it – then we need to take a serious look at what we are doing.

If you are just getting started in voice acting – or are even at the stage before that – just thinking about the possibility of doing voice acting – you need to listen to everything that is voiceover and be able to determine what is good and what is not so good. Be able to understand if you have what it takes to compete, to produce, to satisfy – a whole world full of producers and clients who are human too.


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