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5 Voice Over Roles that Will Make You Money

Aug 17, 2007
While there are many ways to communicate a message, the art of voice over is tops for delivering the human touch.

Over the centuries, the art of communicating with other people about a given purpose and the transmission of the spoken word, the most powerful, persuasive, and distinctly human tool in any marketers arsenal, has evolved to the degree that you don't have to be in the same room to get a message across, even the same country for that matter.

Geographic locations and time zones afford little to no obstacle for communicating with others in a meaningful and cohesive way.

With all of the advantages this new world and new media bestows, it is very important that a message received is a message that is understood, believed and acted upon.

Much of this depends on the copy writing and voice over skills of the messengers, which brings us to five different character roles you can perform as a voice talent to get the message of your client across in a direct and effective way.

1. Instructor (formal, didactic voice over)
2. Real Person (informal voice over)
3. Spokesperson (advocate, authoritative voice over)
4. Narrator (omniscient storyteller)
5. Announcer (sets the stage and calls for action)

Let's explore these types of character roles in detail.

1. Instructor

When teaching someone on what to do, for example, a corporate training video or children's game, the voice over best suited for this kind of project is a straightforward, didactic and educated voice. The role of this particular voice talent is to instruct or provide information to fulfill a specific goal or purpose.

2. Real Person

Projects requiring a more casual approach often benefit from relatable, genuine voice overs. These voice overs are referred to as "Real Person" voice overs, commonly known as the "regular guy" or the "girl next door". The character is homegrown, sensible, and friendly with a touch of familiarity and provides a more intimate interpretation that instills trust.

3. Spokesperson

A Spokesperson can be on camera or off camera depending on the medium you are using. The role of a spokesperson is generally played by a confident, charismatic person able to promote a cause, product, or service with ease and authority. A voice over of this nature needs to be driven, optimistic and assured.

4. Narrator

Storytelling is where the Narrator is most at home. Omniscient, courteous and honest, a 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 their 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.

5. Announcer

The Announcer, often heard live at events, on commercials, promos or introducing segments for podcasts, is a product of the broadcast age, most celebrated at its height in the Golden Age of Radio and early television broadcasts. Announcers can introduce an idea and assertively make a call for action at the conclusion of a commercial advertisement or short video. One common misconception is that an announcer has to sound like an announcer from decades ago, however modern announcers act more like Narrators, and in many cases, adopt the Real Person approach.

Discovering which role suits your voice best is very important, because more often than not, you'll be hired again and again for the same kind of role.

Why is that? Your "signature voice" is at the heart of your business. It's what you sound like without pretending and is your greatest asset as a performer.

A professional voice over and branding coach can help you to develop your signature voice and maximize what it can do for you. Once you know where your strengths lie, you can do anything!
About the Author
Stephanie Ciccarelli is the VP of Marketing with Voices.com, the voice over marketplace hosting more than 10,000 professional voice talents. Stephanie is also the author of The Definitive Guide To Voice-Over Success.
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