Podcasts Voice Over Experts Narration Styles with Anthony Reece
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Narration Styles with Anthony Reece

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Geoff Bremner
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Listen in as Anthony Reece explores the six primary narrative styles for you to consider the next time you’re working on a project. Which one of these styles fits the project you’re working on?

  1. Technical Read: Often found in business or corporate projects like medical industrial training or pharmaceutical clinician recordings, the technical read requires a more authoritative and professional tone. The focus is on delivering a serious, disciplined, and matter-of-fact performance that resonates with the target audience.
  2. Audiobook: The audiobook style offers a storytelling approach, where voice actors create an audible soundscape to transport listeners to different worlds and evoke vivid imagery. Whether it’s narrating novels, mysteries, romance, or historical accounts, the audiobook genre allows for diverse tones and themes.
  3. Promotional: Promotional projects aim to captivate consumers by offering an escape to an adventurous and fantastical realm. These projects, commonly associated with brands like Disney, Sandals, or Viking Cruise Line, require a more dramatic delivery that motivates listeners to take action. The tone and inflection should be flexible and over-the-top to engage the audience.
  4. Educational: The educational style focuses on instructing, informing, or training the audience. Whether it’s online university courses, vocational training, or in-house educational tools, the delivery should be casual, friendly, conversational, and relatable. Sounding confident and competent in your narration is crucial for building trust with the listener.
  5. Explainer Videos: Explainer videos or how-to videos follow a step-by-step format, guiding viewers through specific tasks or procedures. Just like in broadcast imaging, each step should be presented individually, allowing the audience to easily follow along. The delivery is typically concise, clear, and organized.
  6. Documentaries: Documentary narration differs from traditional sales-focused broadcast projects. The voice over serves as a supporting actor, complementing the visuals and providing informative commentary. While documentaries are broadcasted, the delivery style is less aggressive and dramatic, focusing more on supporting the overall content.

Find Anthony Reece: https://www.vo101.com/

Hey, I'm Anthony Reece, and I want to say welcome to Voiceover experts. This is your monthly educational podcast helping you bring your voice over acting career into the next th level and offering some insightful lessons presented by us voiceover experts. I'm Anthony Reese With Vo 101 September's featured Coach Before we get started, a little bit about myself. I'm a 35 year veteran. I've been in the industry in every capacity you can think of, from a voice actor, to a producer, to a casting director, to a teacher, mentor, to a studio head, a partner, worked in broadcasting, animation, gaming, pretty much everything there is in the industry, I've done. So I guess you could say I've kind of been there and done that. My philosophy as a coach is street smart coaching. So let's get started.

So, since we are kind of limited on this podcast, I'm not going to be able to get into details, but I'd like to explore the six primary narrative styles for you to consider the next time you're working on a project and which one of these might fit that particular project. The first one is a technical read. Now, a technical read is typically more of a business or corporate style or flavor. We usually find these when we're working in medical industrial training projects. Pharmaceutical clinician projects are basically technical, cyber, It stuff and things of that sort. This is typically a colder and more calculated read, a little bit more business authority sounding and a little bit more down to business, so to say. The idea is to develop a sound pack that is going to be more professional, business or corporate style. In the overall sound. The attitude is more serious, it's more disciplined and it's more to the point or matter of fact. So when you develop and build that sound for a technical type of project, keep that in mind as you move forward and look into this.

The second one is the audiobook project. Now, we all love the audiobook world because in audiobooks there basically is no boundaries. This is a more storytelling approach. We are basically painting a visual picture using an audible soundscape. We're using our voice to take consumers to a place we want them to go to in their mind. Usually the consumer is sitting by a pool, commuting to work, driving in their car, hanging out on a cruise ship, sitting in the subway, whatever have you, and to kill time and past time, they typically listen to an audiobook on their MP3 player or nowadays on their cell phone using earbuds. The audiobook is a more storytelling approach. We are basically creating a theatrical performance using our voice. You know, the old ACX or Audible or whoever it was slogan was years ago. It's about the performance. Well, it really is. Audiobooks have no boundaries with regards to the tones we use. They can be narrations for novels, mysteries, romance, historical, business, finance and a variety of other things. So with that in mind, when you're approaching an audiobook, whatever you and the client or prospect decide you want the overall sound, tone and feel and pace and tempo to be. That is what we're going to do when we deliver an audiobook. So the beauty about audiobooks is there really is no boundaries.

The third project we're going to run into is what we call the promotional or the promo. Promotional projects are usually a little bit more sounding like a magical escape, an adventure, take them to consumers somewhere. You can think of projects like Disney, Sandals, Beaches, Viking Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, anything that is to create an escape type of environment, escapism. Taking the consumer on an adventure, letting them get away from the real world and real life and escape to a fantasy, if you will. The idea of promotional is not necessarily to sell or inform. It's a common to do a combination of both. The sound scape that we create for the promotional piece is meant to make the consumer want to take action without this being an automotive commercial or an advertisement. It is more of a longer piece, promotional, typically a promotional video that lasts from three to several minutes, even up to ten minutes. Typically we are going to motivate the consumer to go on an adventure of a lifetime, so to say. So the overall inflection is a little bit more dramatic. Our flexible tone and our overall delivery is going to be a little bit over the top, what we consider to be overacting in a lot of the circles. So the promotional piece is meant to be a little bit more of that. Take the consumer somewhere, make them want to escape and take them to another world using the drama and the overall fantastic, if you will, sound of the voice we're delivering for that particular subgenre narrative.

The fourth one is the educational piece. The educational pieces are typically used to instructor, inform or train. You can think of them as college online university courses, training courses, vocational courses, in house educational training tools. Anything that is an informative educational piece falls under what is the educational. Now, typically my experience over the 35 years that I've been banging heads in this industry is when a client or prospect wants an educational piece delivered. They typically want it to be casual, friendly, conversational, as though you are talking to that potential student or that client or that particular employee one on one. The idea is to be relatable, believable and more than anything competent that you are going to be able to sound confident in what you're reading. Let me repeat that, that they are going to believe you're confident in what you're reading. That means you're going to deliver a read that is confident. Nobody's going to listen to you teaching mechanics if you don't sound like you know what you're talking about. If you're talking about finance or you're delivering stockbroker stuff, you have to sound competent to come across as confident. They're not going to believe you if they don't think you know what you're talking about. So the key to an educational piece is to deliver a sound scape that we develop so that we sound conversational, casual and friendly, yet professional enough to where we sound confident that we are competent in what we're reading. So the overall sound is delivered much more casual, but yet much more professional and as though we're speaking one on one with the consumer.

The fifth substitute that I call fifth primary narrative style is the explainer videos. We've all done them. If not, we all should have experience in how to be prepared to deliver an explainer video. Explainer videos or how to videos are delivered in a how to tone. Typically, they are developed in a stepbystep type of order. In other words, we're teaching them how to deliver everything relevant to that project as a task. You can think of it as an application or tool, or how to cook something in the kitchen, or how to change the oil in your car, or how to grow avocados, or how to plant your garden properly, or how to wash your car. Whatever the topic may be, it should be more of a step by step process. A lot of people that do imaging understand this. In broadcast imaging station imaging, most of the stuff we do are delivered in steps. In other words, coming up next, 60 minutes of the best music ever made, from the Beach Boys to the Beatles, Elton John and sticks and so forth. These are delivered in stabs what we call statements or bullets. So explainer video and the how to video is delivered the same way we are going to deliver it in more of a one by one by one process. Each of those steps, even though they sent you in a paragraph form, you want to go through the paragraph and read the paragraph to yourself and make notes along the way, marking up the script with a pencil or something and divide the individual steps into individual commands. First, do the following second, do the following. Third, do the following. And fourth, do the following. And finally fifth, do the following so that each of these are presented in a step by step type of process. That is the best way to deliver an video, an explainer how to project.

The final number six is documentaries. And documentaries are delivered even though they're broadcast, they're not necessarily sales in the commercial world. Our job is to sell the consumer. Our job is to make the consumer take action. We call it call to action. We deliver broadcast to basically sell the next product the consumer must have. In other words, we are manipulating them to take action. They need a new cell phone. They have to buy the newest car. He has to lose weight. She has to go on nutrition system. He needs an Ed pill. They got to move to the village. Whatever the broadcast purposes is more of a sales feel in the documentary world. Even though documentaries typically most of the time run on broadcast, they are not necessarily sold like a broadcast style. We are more supportive. We are the costar in the play. Our part is to be the supporting actor. We are supporting the visual, the topic, whatever you have. We are not trying to be the star. We are being the audible support of that visual element. In other words, you can think along the lines of Ancient Aliens with Robert Clotworthy narrating it. He doesn't try to be the star. He tries to support the ancient alien theorists. Bill Curtis and Forensic files. What's his name? David Attenborough or whoever he is. You can think of great narrators that historically have done well with long term projects. They aren't selling as much as they are supporting the visual or the documentary. Whether it's ID Channel or Dateline or any of these mystery type of shows, or whether it's historical stuff, you're going to find that the style of delivery soundscape we create for documentary is much less aggressive, much less dramatic, a little bit more supporting, and a little bit less sales. Even though it is broadcast typically in television or on YouTube or what have you.

So those are the six primary narrative delivery styles that I teach. I recommend you practice creating your technical sound, creating your audiobook sound, creating your promotional sound, creating your educational field, creating your explainer how to step by step type of delivery, and make sure that you practice on documentaries. These six primary narrative styles cover almost everything you're going to run into as a voice talent. If you have a client, say we're looking for a medical pharmaceutical clinician type of ream, you're automatically going to technical. If you have a client says we're looking for an audiobook, you're going to build the audiobook sound based upon that project. If you're being told this is for a resort in Mexico, it's all inclusive and it's going to be an in house promotional piece for Yellowstone National Park, it's obviously promotional. If it's for an online training program, university of Arizona, et cetera, it falls on the educational. And if it's going to be a how to step by step teaching someone something in a how to explain or type of process, it's typically going to be a step by step explainer video feel and the documentary is going to be relevant to what you're talking about, but it's going to be more of a supporting role. When you work with those six styles, you have developed six different fields, six different flavors, six different overall subgenre sound packs or what I call soundscapes. Therefore, you have your six go to narrative money voices. Now, when a project comes along, you take that raw core feel and then you adhere to it and you deliver it for that particular project. However, you now have six primary Narrative delivery types.

I hope this has been informative to you. Be sure to go to Vo 101 Dot.com and consider taking my online Intermediate or Advanced course. Or if you're a bit beginner, consider the Beginner program. Or you can work with me live by taking my Live classes, and I do a 30 day Intermediate Live, a 30 day Advanced Live, and a 30 day Beginner Live. All the topics of each one of those courses are featured on the website. I also offer demo production services, so if you're looking at having a new broadcast demo, narrative, Democrat, Demo, Imaging Demo, whatever kind of demo, I love to work with you and help you bring your sound to life and push you outside of your comfort zone. That is. The key to a good coach, teacher and mentor is to make you step out of the booth, so to say. I'm Anthony Reese with V One One. And thanks for listening to this podcast. Good luck on your journey in the voiceover industry.

Geoff Bremner
Hi! I'm Geoff. I'm passionate about audio. Giving people the platform for their voice, music, or film to be heard is what gets me up in the morning. I love removing technical, logistical, and emotional barriers for my clients to allow their creative expression to be fully realized.
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