Podcasts The Voices Experience Getting to Know Your Voice
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Getting to Know Your Voice

Duration: 5:30
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David Ciccarelli
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How did you first get into voice over? Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned professional, successful voice actors hail from all walks of life. In this episode, David articulates the human element that comes with communicating a message through voice, and guides you through the five primary character roles voice actors are regularly hired to portray.

About The Voices Experience: The Voices Experience is presented by Voices.com. Produced and engineered by Randy Rektor. 

Hi, it’s David here. Thanks for joining me on The Voices Experience. My role is to be your guide, giving you a behind the scenes look at how things work at Voices.com as well as provide insights on the industry, trends and my perspective for the future. However, today is all about you, the role of the voice actor. People get into voice acting from all walks of life. Most often though, voice actors were actors in the performing arts, either on stage or on camera at some point. We also see those that have a background in radio and television and surprisingly, not always the on camera talent either. Sometimes it’s a producer or a scriptwriter or an editor that ultimately gets into voiceover. And even musicians have made the leap from playing an instrument to using their instrument, their voice. Now you probably have your own story of how you got into voiceover and I’d love to hear it. Just send me an email, [email protected]

Voiceover’s been around for a long time and while there’s many ways for a client to communicate a message, the art of voiceover, it’s just the best way to deliver that message because of the human touch. Now, trying to match up your style and your performance with the nature of the project, that’s where these roles come in. A lot of that depends on the copywriting and the type of job but that brings us to five different character roles that you can perform as a voice talent, to get the right message across to clients in a direct and an effective way. Let me go through the five and then I’ll go into more detail. The first one is the instructor, formal and didactic voiceover. Then real person, informal voiceover. Spokesperson, they’re the advocate or an authoritative voice. Then the narrator, they’re omniscient and a storyteller. And announcer, they set the stage and they give those calls to action.

So let’s explore each of these types of character roles in detail. First, the instructor. When teaching someone on what to do for example, a corporate training video or maybe a children’s game. This is the voiceover that’s best suited for this kind of project and it’s pretty straightforward. It has an educated and helpful tone. The role of this particular voice talent is to instruct and provide information and to fulfill that person’s specific goal or purpose. In addition to that voice being the helpful guide, they’re also there to share information in a way that is retained by that listener. Okay, next up we have the real person. Projects requiring a little bit more of a, let’s call it a casual approach, often benefit from a relatable, genuine voice. These voiceovers are referred to as the real person and commonly known as the guy next door or the girl next door. So this character’s pretty homegrown, that’s sensible, they’re friendly, with a touch of familiarity that provides a more intimate interpretation that ultimately, is going to instill trust with the listener.

Then we have the spokesperson, they can be on camera or off camera, meaning you don’t see them on screen, depending on the content that’s being produced. The role of the spokesperson is generally played by a confident, charismatic person, able to promote a cause or introduce a new product or service with ease and authority. A voiceover of this nature needs to be driven, optimistic and assured. Okay, we’ve got the narrator. Storytelling is where the narrator is most at home. Omniscient, courteous and honest, the narrator’s job is to provide an audio landscape for a listener. Briefing them on background information, posing questions and providing solutions as they guide the audience through a program or documentary. Narrators can be male or female and the most important factors are that they can communicate clearly and engagingly.

Finally, we have the announcer, the announcer is often heard at live events, sports shows or even award shows, on commercials and promos. Maybe even introducing a segment of a podcast. It is a product of the broadcast age and most celebrated at its height in the Golden Age of Radio and early television broadcasts. Announcers can introduce an idea assertively or make a call to action at the conclusion of a commercial or advertising and even a short video. One common misconception though, is that an announcer has to sound like the announcer of decades ago, that’s just not the case. Modern announcers act more like narrators and in many case, adopt the real person approach.

Now, great voice talent are flexible. You’re versatile that you can do any one of those at a drop of a hat. So the next time that you look at an audition, try to discern which of these five most commonly hired for roles does that audition sound like. The instructor, the real person, the spokesperson, the narrator or the announcer. Now, today we talked about the five voiceover roles. Next episode, I’m going to cover five key trends that we were able to identify in our annual trends report. So until then, send me a question or comment about today’s show and be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play, to catch the very next episode. Now, as I always say, use your voice to inform, entertain and inspire the world.

David Ciccarelli
David Ciccarelli is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Voices. As CEO, he is responsible for setting the vision, executing the growth strategy and managing the company on a day-to-day basis. He's been a finalist of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a Canadian Innovator Award. He often writes about his entrepreneurial journey in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes and for M.I.T. Executive Education. He graduated with honors from the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
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