The Producers Perch - Top 5 Tips for VO Talent from a Producers POV

April 10, 2014

He Said: Before becoming a voice talent, I worked solely as an audio producer for almost a decade.  The knowledge I gained while working with so many different voice artists proved very helpful when I decided to take the plunge into the world of voice overs.  Here are of a few tips and stories that may be helpful.


Check your work - Everyone makes mistakes, even the guy or girl who's been doing voice overs for 30 years. And most of the time, you won't even notice! Unless you go back and listen to your work along with the copy. Or, even better, if you are lucky enough to have an assistant or someone you work with, get them listen in while you record to make sure you are reading the copy correctly. I remember everyonce in a while I would get VO from a talent who read the script 3 or 4 times and each take they made the same mistake in the same spot. I would think to myself, "How the heck do you make the same exact mistake 3 times!?!?" And then one day, that talent became me, and I did the same exact thing! So just check your work before hitting send and prevent a mistake from ever leaving your studio!


Pick a setting and stick with it - If you're one of those people that love to tinker with things, this one is especially for you. Once you are happy and satisfied with a mic setting, stick with it! Don't keep playing with it and changing it every other week. Especially if you have clients that request pickup lines for spots produced from a previous month. Now I'm not saying you should never upgrade a mic or other equipment, just don't do it all the time. Consistency is key!


"Once you hit send with your VO file attached, you never know whose hands it will end up in, so keep your work as professional as possible."


Keep the jokes to yourself - The life of a VO artist can be a lonely one and sometimes the only communication you have with "co-workers" is when you're recording lines for that person. While it's perfectly fine to place a few comments here and there with that person throughout your recording, I would advise avoiding any negative comments or jokes about the script or the contents of that script. While you may think you're being funny, and the audio producer on the other end may think you're being funny...the client on the other hand would probably NOT think it's very funny! Once you hit send with your VO file attached, you never know whose hands it will end up in, so keep your work as professional as possible.


Session etiquette - Here's a somewhat funny story...I did a phone session once where I was the middle-man who connected the voice-talent with a client via a conference call.  The session went on a little longer than it probably needed to be, but the client was happy with the outcome so it's fine. We wrap up the session but before I hang up I need to give the talent my email address so I tell him to hold on and say goodbye to the client. I give the talent my address and then he goes on to say something like "man that was a pain in the neck wasn't it!? They should have figured out what they wanted before scheduling the session!"...or something like that. I don't really comment back to that and finish up our session and hang up. Well, later that day I get an email from the client saying they were still on the phone and heard the what the talent said and were not very happy!!! It didn't cost us the session but that client never wanted to work with that talent again! So ALWAYS be professional, you never know who's listening!


Producers are your friends - Just like you, producers want the best possible product to be sent out to the client. They're a pair of fresh ears to listen to your work and may hear something you don't. I've had some voice talent come back to me and explain why their read was fine and tell me they don't believe they need to re-cut it. Or insert snarky comments in the VO file before their reads. Producers are on deadlines too and would like a one and done first take just as much as you. So whenever they ask for a re-cut of something, know they aren't doing it to be difficult. And besides, producers are sometimes your link to the clients, so if you're a difficult to work with, the next time a client asks for a talent recommendation, you probably wont be mentioned.


I hope these tips were helpful! Do you have any tips that you've gained from working with someone else outside your recording booth? Or maybe you have some tips for audio producers from a voice talents point of view? Please share!


Best of luck in your voice over adventures!

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