What I’d like to do is get a sharp rock and attach it to whatever screen you click on to read this knocking some sense into you.
You want to ask me about VO work, huh?
You will never make it Voice Over.
You think you can do it?
You don’t have a chance.
If you’re still reading, I’ll tell you everything I know about VO.
What is Voice Over, affectionately shortened, VO? VO stands for Voice Over. Have you ever heard the spoken whilst witnessing visual content and wonder — ‘where is that sound coming from?’ Out of the mouth of a paid voice actor! Now hear this: a human pays another human to record another being speaking.
Voice Over is a mic’ed human voice recording audio content prior or live edited into a mosaic of media. A paid voice over actor seasons the words you hear.
This fascinating process starts with ideas.
Copy generated by canyon recluse screen writers, millionaire nerds crafting sentences in Marilyn Monroe’s old office (currently occupants The Simpson’s writer’s room), copyright editors of ad agencies (like Bates USA) illustrated on Mad Men communicating brand.
Voice Overs are uniquely packed with a powerful vitality not quite present in other collaborative art forms because they depend on a hidden treasure to reveal info, introduce inventory and establish legacies in a flash of a thought.
Combined letters become messages for art destinations that include every facet our one and only lives. Make sense? Like when you are streaming *insert current binge* and you hear a . . .
Radio (National or Regional), Television (National or Regional) or streaming music on Pandora and hear an ad (another word for advertisement or commercial) on the web. Or that annoying pop up on the web that starts talking and you are like “mute.” Polite pop-ups invite you to CLICK FOR SOUND.
What else does it sound like? In a movie theater viewing . . .
Pixar for example or my fav The Box Trolls by Laika, way more than voice over but rather voice acting. When you read the credits for example, you have no way of recognizing that Tracey Morgan played blah blah blah vs Ellen in Nemo.
Or in the cineplex staring at the screen before the film starts, you hear . . .
MOVIE TRAILERS –
In a World. . . You. Get. It. Enticing you to see the next feature. How bout when you play . . .
VIDEO GAMES –
Known in the industry as interactive. THOR not only was a movie, it has a game based on the movie or stand alone games like Halo are beloved by gamers. Another form of interactive are the voices recorded for rides at amusement parks.
ADR DUBBING & LOOPING –
ADR stands for “Automated” or “Automatic” Dialog Replacement. Dialog that cannot be salvaged from production tracks must be laid down after in the studio through a process called looping or ADR. In post production, this voice can be replaced by the original actor or a hired voice actor who performs what is called a voice match. Some actors are too busy or expensive to do their own looping so an expert can match their tone / phrasing / emotional content dubbing their voice in the lip flaps of Jennifer Anniston. Or Angie.
Anime. Foreign markets need voice replacements for their actors. I recently dubbed the lead actress’ voice for dramatic Turkish film. The effects such as “nose pulls” when she is crying are a hoot except the part where you really have to cry to match her tears. Netflix. They need a black thirty year old Portuguese speaking actress dubbed to English for their pilot. Loop Groups. A band of eccentrics who provide believable atmosphere for the shows you adore like Homeland. It is a coveted troop to break into and pays a pretty penny for session fee (like over a grand). It is serious business as these gems must use medical or legal terms with improv ease.
Stunt person for voice.
Micky Mouse. People die. That creature has been dubbed for decades and matched by an incredible man who can capture Walt’s wonder. Optimus Prime. Dark Vader. These are integral key characters that has made franchises with Peter Cullin’s and James Earl Jones voice overs.
Documentaries. Or an effective vehicle used in feature films. Also used in many programs with animals or educational focused. Opens most film best when used as voice of inner thoughts. My all time unforgettable female voice over is in Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing when she utters Shakespeare’s, “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,” setting the tone with whimsical entrance to this period piece set in Italy.
Break a Lip,
P.S. Did you discover there’s more to the mysterious world of vo beyond commercials and cartoons?
P.P.S. Six fresh categories in next post – Part 2.