Being conversational and friendly: The friend to friend read
Advertising, gaming, animation, corporate work and e-learning have all experienced a seismic shift in the last 10 years.
Long ago, this RP voice of logic and reason (almost always a man’s) announced in a booming tone from the mountain top what you should buy and where you should get it from. It followed the times. From king or Queen through the aristocracy to the lower classes. “Tell them how we live, so they can have a flavour of what it’s like to be us”, or so the idea was.
Nowadays things are much different. We live in a more connected age where people want to have experiences with people they know, like and trust: people they would consider friends. Facebook even went so far as to prioritise the stories of family and friends over businesses in a change to News feeds (though this was later reversed).
It makes sense then that advertising, gaming, animation, corporate and e-learning work all must develop a one-to-one relationship with their audiences, rather than the one-to-many of the past.
Let’s hear from an authority on the subject…
How does voiceover serve this trend?
Gone are the days of the announcer read in commercial and corporate copy and even in gaming characters.
How can a filmic, conversational quality, that, and this is key, really affects and moves the audience to take greater investment in the piece, make it's way into commercial, corporate and gaming / character work?
Here are tips that can be implemented in the voiceover sphere:
1. Truth Talking to a friend immediately puts us in a state of relaxation and ease. This holds true for hearing a voiceover. The human body subconsciously picks up on signals embedded deep within the vocal delivery. If it is put on the audience will feel it and react negatively to the experience. The voiceover should actively imagine the feeling state of talking to a friend and have that sit beneath the delivery.
2. Training The bedrock of any voiceover's skill is training. This takes practice, practice, practice. Continual practicing: reading different styles of copy, reading aloud a piece of text daily to ultimately feel the state of relaxation and ease. Once practiced it can be called upon quickly.
3. Breathe It is not called inspiration-expiration for nothing. The in-breath is about being receptive to the impulse and the idea and the out-breath is the execution and living of that idea.
4. What story am I telling? Find the flow of the piece by identifying the story and the journey and many variations through it.
5. Smile and have fun This comes through in the read and will make the audience feel like a conversation is being had with them, not at them.
What do you think?
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Paul Mclaughlin © Versatile Voiceovers