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What does a voice over artist do all day? Part 13.

If ever there was a week that would highlight how varied working as a voiceover artist is, this was it.

I know I always bang on about the vastness of this industry, but it never ceases to amaze me. It's worth saying that not all jobs are completely different from each other - explainers, for example, can all have quite a similar feel to them. Especially if they're of the "This is Bob" ilk.

But every week it seems to be a given that I'll receive a script that is a little bit out there.

A bearded man pulling a funny face to come across as a bit crazy

Photo by yns plt on Unsplash

Amongst the corporate narrations and telephone answer messages, the past few days saw a couple of real gems. (NOTE: I enjoy all my work, but it has to be said, some more than others. I'm only human!)

First off was a voice over for a video. But only part of a video. Only part because it was for a pitch. If the production company got the job, I'd get the rest of the work to finish it off. This is really interesting to me. My voice is being used very much behind the scenes, to just a handful of people, to show what their video could be like. If that's not flying under the radar, I don't know what is, but flying under the radar is a really cool feeling. It's a bit private, a little bit secret.

ANYWAY, that's not really the 'out there' thing about it. The script was for an instructional safety video at a go kart track. How cool?! I'll answer for you. Very. It's very cool. (Potentially if the pitch is successful) I'll be on a TV at a go kart track telling people not to crash. That's just another type of job that had never entered my head til it popped into my email box.

A solitary go kart races around a track

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Next I learnt that red forest ants have been around for more than 100 million years, yet, are an endangered species. And did you know, the population of one of their colonies can reach 1,000,000 and they can protect a hectare of forest?! I didn't.

My role in this? A narrator. An ant narrator.

Wait. I'm going to go for a pun here.

NarrANTor. Nailed it.

But that's not all. The project was for a virtual reality thing. I don't know what to call it really...someone puts the headset on and walks around the forest listening to me. A walkaround? Answers on a contact form please.

I've done a few VR voiceovers before but it was for scenarios confined to a single room. This however, is set in the forest, so more of an adventure for the...player? viewer?! headset wearer?!?!... with me guiding them through and teaching them about how great those particular ants are.

I love the idea that I'm part of an amazing new technology without actually having to work out how to make or use it. (You can tell I know nothing about it by my lack of meaningful vocabulary on the topic!)

A red ant walking along a rocky surface

Photo by Vineeth Kumar on Unsplash

After those two jobs, there were some of what might be considered the usual - or what comes to mind first when people think about what a voiceover artist does.

Sf Stefan are a civil engineering company in London. They needed a corporate voiceover for a short film that shows behind the scenes footage and sit down interviews that dig into the ethos of their business.

Even though I've put this in the more standard job bracket, it's still exciting for me - being part of a 'production' is a really great feeling. My voice is there to provide some background information and break up the interviews, letting them take centre stage. This is one my favourite things to have worked on recently.

A previous client came back to me this week for some telephone messages. I've worked on several voiceover narrations about their products recently and it was super to be asked to do something else for them.

I wanted to mention this because if you 'get in with a company', there's a good chance they'll come back for your voice in the future.

If you get the opportunity to work with a startup, DO IT. You could become their brand's identity early on and they'll need you again and again.

A few months back I phoned a well known hardware store and was pleasantly surprised to hear their phone message was voiced by the same person who does their TV commercial voice overs. It immediately let me know I was in the right place - brand recognition. The familiarity of it made me feel comfortable. If I wasn't a voice over artist I probably wouldn't have analysed it like that, but I still would've felt the same emotions - but it would have been sub-concious instead.

To round off the week there was a short ad for a mobile mechanics - perhaps a product of the times we're in. Many people are still afraid to go to places that are inside or confined, so to be able to have someone come to you is quite frankly, brilliant.

There's nothing wrong with marketing during times like these, businesses need to do what they can to continue working.

And that's exactly what I'm going to do.

A piece of card that says "hire me" being held up by a peg

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Go back to "What does a voice over artist do all day? Part 12."

Skip forward to "What does a voice over artist do all day? Part 14."

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