The church of Naranjo, Costa RicaHow much research do you do before you record a script?

There are many different kinds of research that one might engage in to better understand a voiceover project including text analysis, corporate culture and historical context to name a few.
In today’s VOX Daily, we’re going to focus on how a visual image can help to not only inform your read but make it more believable.

Using Visual Imagery To Ground A Read

Do you study your projects intently before hitting “record”?
Gaining a proper understanding of a topic before interpreting a script speaks volumes in terms of what a prepared read with committed choices can accomplish delivered by a trained actor versus the uneducated guesses of an untrained actor.

Terry Daniel avatarWhen discussing this topic recently, Terry Daniel shared “I find that after doing extensive research on a product or area, my delivery is SO much better! For example, when doing a vacation spot for Costa Rica, do as much research as possible. Do a Google image search and get those pictures embedded in your brain before you record!”

Even though the properties of a voiceover recording are sound, that is to say the content is consumed audibly via hearing, talent have an opportunity to paint their words using visual aids such as imagery thereby coloring the read and its words in meaningful ways. When visual resources align well with the content of a script they will enrich your read and make it more effective.
Doing research in general saves a lot of time going back and forth with the client for potential revisions. Terry went on to say, “Depending on the copy, we need think like a teacher sometimes. Know what you are talking about and know your audience!”

Knowledge Is Power

Certainly having a good backdrop for your script helps but knowing a thing or two about the client you are working for can also give you a unique perspective and understanding of where the company may want your read to go and how it should reflect them.

Dana Detrick avatarDana Detrick shared that “The more we really know our clients (or in some cases, our client’s clients), the more we can speak directly to them when we’re at the mic. It’s another reason I like the sites where you can see the client you’re auditioning for instead of flying blind. Not only can you see if you’re a good fit, but you can find the language and tone in that info, too!”

Relating this back to imagery, take a look at the logo(s) of the client you are working for and any images that they might feature on their website that are related to how they present their brand. Logos can sometimes embody more than just graphical insight but also display a slogan that may be helpful to you.
Visiting the client’s website will provide more information about them than what the script may tell you.

Finding A Theme

David A. BucciDavid A. Bucci recommended another means of interpreting a script as it is geared toward a target audience. “If there are enough specifics, like a general product line or even an industry focus, it helps to create the thought process on who to speak to in your delivery. It can only help to spend a few minutes of time doing a little research.”

To add to what David said, consider reviewing their previous ad campaigns around products in that line to see how they’ve tried to reach their audiences in the past. Is the script in line with how they campaigned before or are they trying a different approach?

Has This Worked For You?

If you’ve used images as a means to help paint a mental picture for yourself to enrich your voiceover performances, be sure to comment! How often do you use this technique and why does it work for you?
Best wishes,


  1. As a narrator of audio books, I have found that using pictures of people on which I am basing a “voice” helps me maintain the correct tone from chapter to chapter. This is especially true when a voice disappears in chapter 2, for example, only to reappear in chapter 30.

  2. Oh, imagery every time! Needing to re-create H.G.Wells, I studied wartime BBC recordings. Did it work? Not really – that was just mimicry. What clicked (I believe!) was putting his portrait on screen, in an old studio, adopting his facial expression and physical stance, imagining what he saw as he sat before that huge brass microphone, picturing even the acetate disc being cut in the dim lighting beyond the glass.
    It’s for others to judge the result, but for me the old codger felt spookily present – and sounded unlike me. Wells and others visualised are here:

  3. I have two great portraits (B&W photos) of my wife hanging in my studio. I look at those images with great frequency. I never buy her flowers, because flowers make her sneeze. In her words, “Oh, but Darling! Diamonds don’t make me sneeze!”
    That remark puts me in a good mood when I need an image of someone good looking and smart. It helps for the reads requiring a “smile.”
    For the darker reads, I think of certain politicians….


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