Taking direction as a voiceover artist

Taking direction as a voiceover artist

One of the most important qualities you can have as a voiceover artist is an ability to take direction. Here are our top tips for using feedback to get the best from your next recording session.

Be prepared, but stay flexible

Before coming to the session read the script aloud a couple of times to get a feel for the flow and any tricky spots. But don’t get too wedded to a particular read, as the producer/director may have a different idea for what they want from the read. Once you’re in the recording booth don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as:
  • Who is the audience?
  • What is my relationship to them?
  • Where will the recording be used?
  • What tone or style are you looking for?
And if you aren’t sure about how to say a particular word or name ask the sound engineer or client. It’s very common to need clarification with names or technical terms so there’s no reason to feel embarrassed. While it’s always best to be prepared it’s not uncommon for scripts to be finished right before your recording session. Sometimes changes are even made to the script while you are in the booth, so it’s important that you stay flexible to both feedback and script changes.

Check your ego at the door

No matter how long you’ve been doing voiceovers it’s best to come to each job with an open mind. Your experience will be appreciated, but it’s important not to let it go to your head. Even veteran voiceover artists need feedback. You are there to give the client what they are looking for, so regardless of how you think the read should sound you need to be open to any ideas and feedback from the client.

Clarify what is being asked of you

After a take clients often say something along the lines of “That was great, but can you try it with a little more X and little less Y.” At this point it’s good to repeat back to them what they’ve said. This gives you a chance to absorb the feedback and make sure you understand it. If you still aren’t sure what they are looking for ask them to explain it further.

Remember, the client is on your side

Sometimes it can feel like criticism when the client asks for a different read than what you’ve given them – it’s not. Like you, they just want to get the best take possible. Recording a voiceover is a collaborative process with both sides bringing their expertise to the session. This also goes for the sound engineer who often has helpful suggestions along the way.

Have fun

Sure it’s work, but there’s no reason you can’t have a good time while you are recording your voiceover session. Clients love to work with people who are professional, but also don’t take themselves too seriously. So relax and bring a positive attitude to the booth. Not only will you have a better time, you’ll probably end up with a better recording too.