The day a Friend came to spend some time with me to find out what's involved in being a Voiceover...
When you let slip at the school gates that you are a professional voice over artist, you get a variety of reactions.. from blank looks, to people who think you live a Hollywood lifestyle and all points in between.
I met Esther a few years ago at the school gate and we got chatting. She's a teacher with 3 young children and I have a HUGE amount of respect for her work. She turned out to be really intrigued by mine.
Esther would ask really interesting questions of me, things that I'd never thought about as regards my work. She said she'd love to be a VO. So, I invited her over to have a go recently, to see what she thought.
It was great to have a friendly face about in the studio with me for a few hours and I showed her the booth and gave her a selection of scripts to have a look at. We started with a radio commercial, followed by some In-Store and then some Corporate and Documentary.
You can't learn how to do this job in a day and Esther recognised this but I wanted to give her a flavour of the variety of work being a professional voice over artist involves and the array of approaches we deploy to get each genre off the page!
So, I wanted to share the thoughts Esther noted down for me.. it's sometimes surprising to discover what people think when they aren't in the nitty gritty of our work every day
The view from the other side.. Esther's thoughts
It was terrific fun doing a voice over session but hard.
It was fun because you could play with a voice, an underrated and rarely explored muscle, or is it an organ?! It was fun to THINK about how to say something, then to say it and then to listen to the reality of your effort and to notice the difference.
It was hard because I had to try to consciously stress or explore aspects of a word or sentence whilst sounding as though the effort was utterly unconscious - it felt a bit like walking with people watching you walk, telling you to walk in a relaxed way and you know the conscious effort is making your bum is kind of stick out and your arms are swing weirdly! Suddenly it's all too unnatural!
What I thought would be difficult - pronouncing my 't's and general dictation actually seemed less of an issue. But the complexity seemed to lie in the 'journey' of each sentence - where to stress certain words, how to end the sentence, general tone, where to speed up, slow down.
So much to think about, and so many different ways to change 'Find them on the chilled aisle'!
Thank you so much Clare. I really enjoyed myself and have only further admiration for your skills!
You're so welcome Esther! Remember I said that Esther asks brilliant questions?
Well, I just had to include this one!
PS Do you ever go in there for a big swear-a-thon? End of a bad day - just shout and record profanities! Oh what fun!
Now there's a thought eh?
I think we don't really realise the skills we have acquired, banked and learned as pro VOs. That make the whole thing come together. Out technical and biz skills aside.. we are finely tuned machines (with a human soul!)
I learned how much we know. Mainly, how important it is to support each other and our industry in VALUING our skills. It is sooo much more than just talking and the emphasis on knowing your value and your price is vital.
You can hear Clare's work on her homepage
Voice over talent and broadcaster, speaking out.