Can You Sound Like You’re Talking To A Friend?-Use These Simple Words To Direct VO

One of the greatest advents to voice over recording is the phone patch. Recording using a phone patch allows you to listen in on the recording session while the talent records the script, allowing you to give direction as needed.

However, while this is great for giving direction right then and there, I’ve run into a problem with multiple project producers. While the script is perfectly fine, the producer is not sure how to describe what they want in the performance.

Luckily I’m here to help. The following is a short list of common voice over directing terms that will help make directing talent much easier and quicker.

First and foremost.

Tone – The overall vocal feeling of the voice over. A few examples of tones are “conversational” or “Announcer”.

Conversational – The voice over tone that sounds like you are chatting with someone. However, be aware, there can be a range of conversational tones from literal talking or stream of thought, like you are thinking something through in your head. Where as somewhat conversational can have a dynamic range in variety and emphasis in the read, but still sounds like your chatting.

Announcer – This tone is like your classic big boomy dj voice.

Variety – The use of raising your pitch on some sentences and lowering it on other sentences. This can help animate a read and make it less monotonous or boring.

Emphasis – Adding a little more energy to a certain word to make that word stand out. Usually used to make product or company names stand out from the rest of the copy.

Pitch – Much like singing, when delivering a sentence, you can end the sentence on a higher musical note or end the sentence on a lower musical note. Ending a sentence on a higher note can give the sentence a lighter feel or leave it open ended. While ending a sentence on a lower note can make the idea sound final or authoritative.

Pace – The overall speed of the read. This greatly depends on the project use such as a 30s commercial or a 2 minute corporate web video.

Take – A general acting term used to describe one full read of the script.

Pick Up – Re-recording one sentence when desiring an alternative delivery.

And most important.

That’s A Wrap – When you are happy with all of the reads and any pick ups performed.

This list should get you started directing talent like a pro. However, if you are not sure what the word is to describe what you want performed, ask the talent.

Because in the end, we want what you want, to satisfy the client with the finished product. And better communication between directors and talent is the first step in achieving this goal.

This is a short list, what’s one word that you can’t direct without? Leave it in the comments below!

If these simple words helped you, share it with one friend.




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