I Am One With the Voice and the Voice is With Me
Hello there, fellow padawans, and welcome to the beginning of our voice over exploration! I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to embark on this journey with you, exploring the ins and outs of the VO industry. I’m ready to dive deep into sharing what voice over is all about and help shed some light on some of the lesser-known facets of this diverse art form. One of the best ways to learn is to teach others, so as a VO Jedi-in-training myself, I’m excited to grow and learn with you as we explore together!
Don't hit the hyperdrive yet, though! As with any journey, it’ll probably be wise to make some preparations prior to launching into that galaxy far, far away that is VO! So, before we start navigating the plethora of Loth cat trails the VO conversation will inevitably offer us, let’s establish some baselines to get our feet wet.
First of all, allow me to return to the initial question of last week’s blog that started us down this path in the first place: What is voice over (or voiceover, voice-over, VO; you’ll see it written out in a variety of ways)? Put simply, voice over is the art of providing a voice for use in a piece of audio work. Still a bit vague? Think of it this way: imagine all the various voices you hear throughout your day that don’t come directly from another person speaking to you. When you turn on the radio, television, or holoprojector you hear voices. When you activate turn-by-turn navigation on your GPS, usually there is a voice to guide you (thanks L3!). When you switch on that audiobook or podcast during your workout, someone’s voice is relaying that information to you. When you’re put on call waiting and you hear those oh-so-lovely phrases, “Thank you for waiting,” “Your call is important to us,” and “The next available Gamorean Guard will be with you shortly,” someone provided their voice over services to make that possible (unless it was artificially generated, but that’s a conversation we can take a crack at later). I could go on and on. In short, whether you realize it or not, you more than likely encounter and experience voice over multiple times each and every day.
So, hopefully, it’s fairly evident that voice over covers a wide array of genres and services (and we’ll examine many of those genres on a deeper level in future blog posts). Likewise, it follows that voice acting applies to all of these genres, but in different ways. Each genre—and oftentimes even sub-genres—has its own unique nuances, quirks, and styles that differentiate it from others. That said, many voice actors tend to specialize in just a few voice over genres, honing those specific skills and traits over time.
Gravy for the Brain, an incredible VO resource, breaks voice actors up into five basic VO types:
“Voice Over Announcers: can be heard introducing segments of live television or radio broadcasts such as award shows, talk shows, continuity, promo, and sporting events
Voice Over Narrators: often specialize in audiobooks, documentaries, explainer videos, educational videos, business videos, medical videos, and act as audio tour guides
Voice Actors: heard performing in animated movies, TV cartoons, radio dramas, ADR, video games, puppet shows, and in foreign language dubbing
Voiceover Artists: versatile performers able to weave interchangeably between any of the above, as well as direct telephone prompts (IVR), welcoming visitors to a website, or guiding road trips as a GPS voice
Voice Talent: refers to all of the above, a catch-all term to easily reference all types of voice over performers and is often used by agencies/companies that hire voice overs”
Click here to check out the full article this list was taken from on Gravy for the Brain’s website!
There we have it, padawans (which Jedi Knight thought I was qualified to teach this course?!). Now that we have a basic understanding of what in the world voice over is and who are the key players in performing and producing said voice overs, I think we have enough of a foundation to start investigating what really makes the VO industry tick and avoid any bounty hunters along the way.
I’m excited that you’re on this journey with me! I’d love to hear your feedback as we go along and, if YOU have any specific VO-related questions, please let me know (leave a comment, send an e-mail, shoot me a WhatsApp, force project your thoughts into my mind—you know what to do) so we can discuss what you’re interested in knowing more about!
Until next time, friends! May the voice be with you!
Voice Actor | Storyteller | Professional Nerd
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