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What does a voice over artist do all day? Part 10.

Part 10?! This is the longest I've stuck to something since the great selotape accident of 2003.

But as it happens, I'm really enjoying writing these weekly entries. It's allowing me to be creative in a way other than talking into a microphone.

Photo by Krissia Cruz on Unsplash

This has been a busy 5 days for me, which means a packed blog (maybe) with lots of different types of voice overs and one job that especially took me by surprise.

First up, I had a few ads for a couple of community radio stations. I've been involved with a station here in Kent for a while now - by "involved with", I mean I'm the sidekick on someone's show - but it hasn't stopped me from seeing all the great things that these stations get up to. Workshops, training opportunities, support for vulnerable people, helping local causes, the list is endless. To think that a lot of these stations are purely volunteer run is nothing short of incredible. Support yours! We're not all the stereotypical beardy man with a cardigan type (although that is my exact look most of the time).

The stations I did commercials for were Beat 103 up in Lancashire, for a new book release and Chelmsford Community Radio, for a local solicitors.

If you have chance, pop digitally over to the one I'm at - Sunlight Development Trust and nosey round at what they do. They have a recording studio!

Next up was a narration for a hotel in Bequia. I'd never heard of it but after a bit of research and careful consideration, I shall now be moving there to live for ever and ever. If anybody wants to visit me, it's the second largest island in the Grenadines, west of Barbados.

The brief was good for this, nice and detailed. They wanted a voice that was warm and welcoming with the aim of getting the older generation to the beach. It meant I could close my eyes and imagine being there, calm and relaxed, the sea lapping at my feet. I love that part of voice-over - shutting off and pretending I'm somewhere else (in a good way!)

I only just managed to fight off the urge to shout "come on dad, get yourself down Margate". He wouldn't have heard anyway, I was in my booth and he wasn't. That would be weird.

Photo by Matteo Di Iorio on Unsplash

The job that took me by surprise this week was just a handful of lines for a podcast interview. They'd forgotten to put the interviewer's mic on so needed his parts to cut in. Although a relatively small piece, it really stuck in my mind. The instructions included the line "the opposite of what you're used to". That was in terms of polishing the audio, in terms of style of voice, in terms of.... which way the microphone was pointing.

Obviously I'm used to a microphone pointing towards my face. So the literal opposite of that was to turn it 180 degrees. I had to come across as being "off camera", ultra relaxed and natural, like the friendly backstage behind the scenes chat before the interview actually started. I enjoy doing those types of read because there's a chance to ad lib and throw in some humanisation. Pausing for thought, filler words like "you know", even s...stu...stumbling over a word. It makes it feel so real.

I can quite honestly say I've never had a job before where I spoke purposely into the wrong side of the mic.

Quite ridiculously but not unsurprisingly, I did my test levels for the next job with the mic still the wrong way round.

No, YOU'RE silly.

There was a complete shift for the next project, which was a voice over narration about pesticide suicides for The Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention. I've done a few of these scripts now and I'm always shocked that this is such a widespread issue, and one I'd probably still not know about if it wasn't for voiceover. It's great to see the CPSP doing amazing work to remove highly hazardous pesticides from agricultural use in countries such as India and Sri Lanka.

I learnt quite a lot about mobility scooters this week during another narration piece. I don't know if they all do it, but these models come to a complete stop the moment you let go of the accelerator. I thought that was brilliant! I always assumed they were like a motorbike with an accelerator and a brake, but now I know better.

I also had an obligatory and always welcome telephone answer message to record. And no, before you ask, on this occasion I didn't phone them up after hours to listen to myself. But I haven't got anything on this weekend so it could still happen.

My final job of the week was for a short radio promo voiceover for a drive time show. I won't bog you down with too many details, just know that it ended with the instructions "Be like a badger!"

Me as a badger. Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

I don't think I've had to say the word "badger" for a job before. Or giraffe. Ok, now I'm thinking of a badger/giraffe hybrid which means I need to wrap this up very, very quickly. (Badgiraffe).

So if you're at a loose end at any point over the next few days, be like a badger - take shelter underground and sleep all day.

Sounds pretty appealing right now, to be honest.

Go back to "What does a voice over artist do all day? Part 9."

Skip forward to "What does a voice over artist do all day? Part 11."

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Martin Whiskin voiceover artist talking into a Rode NT1-a microphone
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