voiceover instruction f.a.q.

There are lots of factors that go into guiding your voiceover talent to get the delivery you want. The best thing to do is usually to let him or her "go for it." Chances are, they've read something very similar to your track before, since they do
hundreds of spots and shows every month.

There are, however, several basic things your VO talent will need to know,
in order to do the track properly.

1. Pronunciation
Probably the most important item is pronunciation. Take a GOOD look at your copy...there are many words and phrases that may be very familiar to you in your part of the country, but will not be apparent to the talent. For instance, did you know that Natchitoches is pronounced "KNACK a-dish?" Me, neither! Check for names, places, anything that might be misconstrued, and be sure to include CAP-i-tal letters to denote syllable EMphasis.

2. Word Count
The next thing to think about is word count. A calm, understandable read will have no more than about 2.5 words per second. Hard sell, pedal-to-the-metal reads could have as many as 3.5 words per second, but that's pushing it. You can't pack 115 words into 30 seconds and expect a warm, relaxed read. When you time the copy to see if it reads in 30 seconds, actually read it aloud. Reading in your head will make you think it can be read faster than it actually can. For long-form reads, figure 150 words per minute for a basic, instructional read.

3. Style of Read
Chances are, "regular guy" is what you're looking for, or you wouldn't have come this far. But if you want a character voice (old guy, farmer, NYC construction worker, etc.), soft-sell (warm, friendly, compassionate, understanding), corporate (authoritative, strong, confident) or hard-sell (SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY), let me know, and I'll give you what you need. Don't be afraid to be specific...the more specific you are, the better chance that you'll have exactly what you need when you play back the file!

4. Telephone Consultation
Because I'm almost always in the studio or on location, I generally am not available for telephone consultation. I've found that in almost all cases, if you'll write what you want in the boxes provided, I'll give you what you want and need. My clients love this about me, and this helps keep my prices among the lowest on the Web.
Thanks for understanding.

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