How To Personalize Commercial Copy and Sound More Believable

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    Do you know how to make commercial copy conversational? Bruce Kronenberg of Abacus Entertainment shares what it takes to sound natural while communicating effectively to the person hearing your voice-over recording. Over the years, personalization of copy and interpret it with an opinion, you will sound real and conversational, not fake and announcer like.

    Links from today’s show:

    Bruce Kronenberg
    Abacus Entertainment

    Your Instructor this week:

    BRUCE KRONENBERG (Owner/Instructor) has been a professional voice over instructor for almost a decade. With a strong focus on mining the emotional point of view of a piece of copy in conjunction with perfecting technical precision, Bruce has led his students to not only book lucrative voice over work but also to sign as clients with some of the biggest voice over agents in New York City. Bruce’s expertise comes from his 25-year voice over career and his work as an actor. Some ofBruce’s campaigns include Mountain Dew, Campbell’s Soup, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Pepsi Cola, Taco Bell, Pringles, Castrol Motor Oil and Planters Nuts. As a promo artist, he has worked for CBS, ESPN, MTV, VH1, Spike TV, CNN, National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. Bruce has a fresh and original technique when working with his students. Not only do his students learn the art of voice over, they understand how to present themselves as competitive artists in an ever-changing business.

    Transcript

    [Opening Music]
    Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform and succeed from the privacy of your own home, and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else. Now for our special guest.
    Bruce Kronenberg: Hi. I’m Bruce Kronenberg, and I’m the voice over instructor at Abacus Entertainment in New York City. I’m also one of the owners. We’re just a boutique performing arts studio, and we specialize in voice overs. We’re a production media house, as well.
    I want to talk a little bit today about how to keep your voice over reads conversational. Now this is something that’s become very pervasive in our business, and the more you make that a go-to approach to interpreting copy, the greater your chances are for booking some more work. At least, that’s my opinion and my experience.
    And some of you might ask, what does conversational mean exactly? Well, when you’re having a talk with your friend, right, you’re not thinking about the words. You’re not thinking about what you’re going to say next. It just sort of comes out of you, right? You just say it as an idea, as a thought, as a feeling. That’s conversational, and, of course, you know, you have an opinion about what you’re talking about if you’re in a conversation, right, and a strong point of view about something, right? And it’s personal. Okay? It’s – opinions are personal. Having a point of view is personal. And the major thing is that you’re doing it for another person. You’re not doing it for yourself. You’re not in a vacuum, and when you’re talking to somebody else and you have a strong opinion, it’s even stronger if you’re trying to convince them.
    So, at this point you might think, what does any of this have to do with a voice over read? In my personal opinion, just about everything. If you can personalize commercial copy and interpret it with an opinion, you will sound real and conversational, not fake and announcer-like, and I’m a big believer in the idea that voice over isn’t about your voice, so much as it is about how well you can get behind what you’re saying and make it sound like it’s coming from you, not the page. And it’s important to know that this is the standard for most voice over reads.
    Also, with TV commercial copy, it can be really tricky. Most TV commercial copy is not written conversationally. We are being asked to say things that we normally don’t have any personal opinion about, let alone talk about in a conversation with someone. So, to demonstrate some of the elements that I’ve discussed, plus a couple of little technical tips on how to make the read more conversational, I’m going to interpret two lines of TV commercial copy a few different ways as an example.
    The copy is Kelson’s Handi Wipes. You could use them anywhere. That’s a pretty generic, straightforward piece of copy. A lot of ways to do it. Let’s start with this one.
    Kelson’s Handi Wipes. You could use them anywhere.
    Okay. I know I exaggerated a little bit. I know it was a bit much, and I just want to apologize to all my promo buddies who do that kind of read so well. So that announcer style I just did is really like someone talking at someone else, almost as if you’re stuck in a supermarket with a salesperson giving a demo of a product, and they’re desperate for you not to leave and think swamping you with sound will cement you in place, or make you purchase. Not.
    Now, in a conversational style, try imagining yourself standing next to the person you’re talking to. Imagine you’re both looking at the product on the shelf at the same time, and you have some personal experience with the product. Here we go.
    Kelson’s Handi Wipes. You could use them anywhere.
    And there are many other conversational ways to read this copy.
    Kelson’s Handi Wipes. You could use them anywhere.
    Or, Kelson’s Handi Wipes. You could use them anywhere.
    All those options are honestly what makes voice over so interesting and a lot of fun. Yes, they are many technical aspects of voice over you must be aware of, [lifts 00:04:57] versus LANs, bantering product, doing threes, etcetera, but that comfortable conversational style is the contemporary type of read that really catches people’s ear and gets you jobs.
    You know, there is so much more I can go in to on this topic. I mean, getting a conversational read is a lot trickier than you think, but that will take a full lesson, and, well, I have to sign off now announcer style.
    I’m Bruce Kronenberg from Abacus Entertainment. Thank you for listening, and always keep learning conversational style. I’m Bruce Kronenberg from Abacus Entertainment. Thanks for listening and always keep learning.
    Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first-time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory, or by visiting podcasts.voices.com. To start your voice over career online, go to Voices.com and register for voice talent membership today.

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    Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

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