Some radio or TV commercials catch your attention immediately due to the visuals as well as the voice used in the commercial, which is proof that voice-over for commercials is an essential part of the ad campaign.
Not all commercials use the original voice of the talents featured in the commercials. Often a voice actor is cast for the part. Likewise voice actors are used for the narrative part of the ad. It's part of the strategy since a good voice actor can help attract attention to a product or service by providing the right character and tone to the advertising message.
For bigger companies, they often have a specific voice actor, whose attractive voice becomes associated with their brand, turning a product from just another shelf-filler to being a recognized figure beloved by many consumers, who identify the product as a good friend.
Influence of an Excellent Commercial Voice-over Person
In a commercial, the most important element is the voice. It conveys the brand's tone and provides the information about a service or product. The voice used in a commercial depends on consumer demographic and the target market. Therefore, the voice can be an expert on a particular subject, a scholar, an informed educator or a friendly person next door.
Producing a commercial is an intricate process that involves deliberate planning and careful decision making by the client, the director and the advertising agency. A commercial voice actor is primarily chosen to reach a specific audience. So you typically hear a talent with a big solid voice for a truck commercial.
The selection of a voice-over artist is not only about accent or voice tone. Other factors considered are the rate of changes in speech. Calculated and slower cadence in the speech is usually applied when the commercial discusses dramatic emotions, complex topics or intimate things.
When the commercial wants to convey a feeling of urgency or it is aimed at younger audiences, enthusiastic and faster voices are used.
Thus, it is vital for a voice-over artist to know the different tones of voice, the different speech patterns and cadence that fit his or her particular voice. It is up to you to create a memorable and distinct voice for the brand.
Definition of a Voice-over Artist
A voice-over artist reads the commercial's script to provide an overlaid recording to give the target audience additional information not shown in the commercial's visuals. The voice-over artist is not seen in the video. His or her participation in the commercial is off-camera. The main role of the voice-over artist is to do the dialogue or narration for the commercial, either to build excitement about a service or product or to give more information.
A voice-over artist should have excellent speaking voice. He or she should be able to read a script with the correct enunciation, clarity, emotion and tone.
The voice-over artists' primary role is to bring the commercial's script to life while delivering the product's message. Further, a voice-over artist uses a wide range of voice acting methods to give emotion and life to the script as well as maintain a believable and correct tone and attitude. Their voice acting is what brings out an emotional feeling on the viewer or listener.
The second role of a voice-over artist is to craft a distinct voice for a specific product. Having a unique voice helps in the branding of a product, giving it a specific voice and character. This requires training and acting experience.
How Do You Become a Voice-over Artist for Commercials?
Doing voice-over work for commercials is quite exciting. But did you know that several celebrities also lent their voices to some of the commercials that you've seen through the years? Here are some of them.
- K. Simmons – M&Ms (the bumbling yellow goofball)
- Zach Braff – Cottonelle (puppy)
- Jon Hamm – Mercedes-Benz
- Tina Fey – Walgreens
- Julia Roberts – Nationwide Insurance
- Chris Pine – BMW
- John Krasinski – Esurance
- Paul Rudd – Hyundai
- George Clooney – Budweiser
- Morgan Freeman – Visa
- Jeff Bridges – Duracell
- Will Arnett – GMC trucks
- Ving Rhames – Arby's
- Matt Damon – TD Ameritrade
- David Duchovny – Pedigree
- John Goodman – Dunkin’ Donuts
Aside from their popularity, they were chosen because their voices are familiar, trustworthy and relatable. The voice should speak to the audience all the time.
If you're thinking of being a voice-over artist for commercials, keep in mind that they are likewise chosen because of their accent, gender and age.
Since many products are sold internationally, fluency in a language is a consideration. You should be able to highlight the local nuances, as this will have an influence on the target consumers.
Versatility is also an asset. Different commercials require a different set of tones, so be prepared to show your versatility in voice acting.
Remember that the way you speak and how your voice sounds are the things that are noticed first by listeners. A voice-over actor should understand the required tone of voice of the product or service, since the voice will be associated with a specific brand. In the absence of a brand guideline, the artist should think of the brand personality, whether it is strong, trust-worthy, light-hearted, friendly, humorous or vibrant. Once the client, the ad agency, the director of the commercial and you agree on the personality, ensure that you keep that tone consistently.
The voice-over actor is responsible for the delivery of the message in the style that best fits the brand. Three approaches are commonly used for the delivery of the message.
- Hard sell. This requires a forceful delivery with the sense of urgency. The voice actor usually provides the listener with as much information as the time of the commercial allows. Often, the voice-over artist sounds urgent, energetic and enthusiastic.
- Soft sell. The approach here is not as forceful. Instead, the voice-over artist typically uses a more conversational approach. The voice is relaxed and reasonable, which typically fits luxury products and perfumes.
- This type of voice-over usually has two or more voice actors, as the script is prepared as a conversational piece. The actors usually talk about a new product they have recently tried.
Developing Your Skills
You may have a good voice but this does not automatically make you a voice-over artist. You should build your voice acting skills first. As a voice-over artist for commercials, you will be reading different scripts and proper enunciation is critical to your craft.
- One of the first things you should do to develop your voice acting skills is to constantly read aloud. Read news articles, magazines, books and other printed materials so you can be very comfortable when you're reading scripts. Do it for at least 30 minutes each day, concentrating on enunciation and intonation. Remember that you should not sound like you're reading. Instead you should be performing.
- Record your voice while reading a script or doing a monologue. Listen to the playback and make notes about things that need to be improved. Continue the practice so you can improve and become more comfortable when you're finally in front of a microphone.
- Learn to use your diaphragm, as the voice coming from the chest is the most pleasant-sounding and powerful. A nasal voice sound whiny, while a mouth voice is a bit on the quiet side. A chest voice sounds good as well.
- Do vocal exercises to improve and control your voice. Vocal exercises involve breathing. You can hum a scale while blowing the air through a straw, lie on the floor and take inhale/exhale deeply. Sit up straight and push your shoulders back. You should also try reciting tongue twisters. These exercises will help you improve your voice.
- Learn to imitate different sounds and the voices of popular actors. Imitation will help you build tone, pitch and flexibility. Imitating other sounds enables you to change the way your voice sounds and helps you become more versatile.
- This is one of the things required from a commercial voice talent, so keep on improvising while in character when you practice. This will help you to take on the character or personality of a product later.
- Take acting classes and voice lessons, as well. It is beneficial to your career. Doing so will help you extend your voice range, control the volume of your voice and the way it sounds. Acting classes will help you to deliver your lines effectively.
Start to Market Yourself
Once you have honed your skills and you're confident that you're ready for commercial voice acting work, you should know how to market yourself. Here are some tips:
- Produce a demo reel which may include your imitations of existing scripts and characters or your original work. See to it that your skill set and your range are highlighted in the demo reel. Ensure that your demo reel is professionally done and the sound quality is very good.
- Start building your resume. Since you do not have any work yet, you can start by attending workshops, taking voice and acting classes, show your original work on YouTube, or get involved in the various activities within your community that are connected to voice acting.
- Get a talent agent to represent you. At the same time, submit your resume and demo reel to various studios that often work with commercials. It is advantageous to have a portfolio available online as most casting directors search for talents via the Internet.
- Attend open call auditions and participate in online auditions. Be sure you are always prepared. When you receive a call for audition, ensure that you arrive ahead of time. Moreover, you should dress appropriately, so you exude the impression of being a professional.
There are some of the most relevant suggestions on how you can become a voice-over artist for commercials. Remember, it's how you prepare to become one that matters.
Do You Need Voice-Over Artists for Your Commercials and Audiovisual Productions? Contact Us!
You do not have to search for a long time to find the right voice actors for your commercials. At Day Translations, Inc. we have a roster of top-notch voice-over actors to fit your audiovisual productions. We provide a wide range of voice-over services for any type of video and audio projects in one place so you do not have to find several service providers. Give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us and let us discuss your requirements in detail. There is no waiting when you work with us at Day Translations because we are available 24/7, every day of the year.