First and foremost, it’s important that voiceover artists are good at their trade; the ability to shape their voice to meet the clients needs and deliver that crisp narration first time is the Holy Grail in any busy studio environment. But there’s also much more that helps the session run smoothly. When those difficult scripts come in and time is against everyone, there are a few key attributes a voiceover talent can have that really help save the day:
Consistency: the ability to end a session with the same enthusiasm and vigour in your voice as when you started is so important. That subtle change in your voice for different characters needs to stay the same throughout.
Follow instructions: Be bold enough to make a suggestion if you feel it will help and improve the session, just don’t be offended if they decide to do it their way. The customer is always right (even when they’re wrong) !!
A friendly personality: Sometimes sessions can be long and tough, so that rapport you build with the sound engineer and everyone else in the session can be SO important and helps everybody stay sane.
Stay calm under pressure: It’s the tenth take of that stupid tag line and the session is meant to end in five minutes! Don’t panic, stay calm, follow the directions and nail it.
Ability to Multi-task/an ear for timing: When you’re working on a translated script, you need to be able to follow the original audio of a video for the timings of the lines. To do this you need to be listening to the original audio, reading what’s on the script AND concentrate on delivery. My tip is to start a heartbeat after the dialogue and make sure you finish a heartbeat after it too. It’s a great skill to master and it really makes the difference.
Attention to detail: It’s important to be prepared for the session and reading the script makes a real difference. Make sure you read every word in the script and remember that emphasis is everything when selling to the audience. In the business of translation it’s likely that the sound engineer is a little rusty on their Turkish/Japanese/French, so if you make a mistake or even if something in the script doesn’t quite work, let someone know (engineer/producer) so they can fix any problems and create a piece of work we can all be proud of.
Finally, keep your voice reel up-to-date, making sure it’s fresh and current for today’s markets. But most importantly, make sure that your voice reel still sounds like you!