Recently I've been reading about how to keep people on a web page for longer and "above the fold" crops up a lot. PUT ENGAGING CONTENT ABOVE THE FOLD. Fine. I'll do it.
I love this explainer video animation - it's beautiful. The colour palette and style are just so delightful. (I'm not an art critic, so my word choice here was quite lame). The brief was for an upbeat and welcoming voice to match up with the vibrancy of the video.
If you didn't watch it, don't worry, I'll transcribe it here for you (I won't). It's for a digital marketing agency based in Estonia called Revpanda. Their location raises something I've spoken about previously, but if you've never read these posts before, I'll just repeat myself for a bit.
As of 2019, 1.268 billion people speak English - the highest figure of all the languages in the world. You can work out quite easily what that means in terms of voice over work opportunities.
Conversely, having a version of a video with a British voice over artist opens up a much wider audience for businesses. Using this example as a comparison, there are only 1.1 million Estonian speakers. Easy maths.
Earlier on in the year there seemed to be a period where I was recording IVR prompts and telephone messages almost every day. After a few months of the Covid crisis, that fell away sharply but this week... IT'S BACK. Unlike cinema. But that's not for here.
I had a few this week which was great because I always enjoy recording telephone messages. Maybe it's because the majority of those jobs require a nice smile, so I always feel happy, comfortable and relaxed. After all, if you're hanging on the end of a phone, you don't want to be shouted at, sold to, or annoyed even more than you already are.
The first job was for a rather prestigious sounding hotel in Doncaster and the next was a for a company that sells pre chopped wood for people with fireplaces. I always bang on about the wide variety of jobs I come across in my voice over career and how diverse the companies are. So imagine how stunned I was when I received another phone job...for another... company that sells pre chopped wood for people with fireplaces.
So if you need logs, I know a couple of places that can sort you right out.
I had a really interesting "first" a few days ago.
In voiceover, the artist is always playing a role. That might be a car salesman, an IT tech or on odd occasions Dave the electrician on his voicemail (name changed to hide true identity). The point is, you embody the character to enable you to come across like you know what you're talking about, you have to be authentic.
This particular job was for a photographer and videographer who is making a CV video. These are still a relatively new thing but are probably becoming more popular due to the DAYS OF RESTRICTION. Cool, I thought, not done one of these before. My debut!
The first line of the script was "Hi, I'm Dave". Ok, so I'm gonna be the guy himself. I can do that. I think I just assumed I'd be voicing over some of his videos in a biographical and not autobiographical sense.
But, what really set this script apart was that it referenced the fact it was using a voiceover artist. MIND BLOWN. I don't even know what level of meta that is.
I'm me, Dave, but also me, Martin.
I always thought it was ventriloquists who have multiple personalities, I said. Me too. I agree.
The final job for the purposes of this post was for a company called Nau Drinks. They make drinks from natural ingredients that increase focus and memory. For gamers. Yes. Specifically for gamers. How do people come up with this stuff? I love being privy to all these amazing ideas that I otherwise would probably never hear of.
They're making an internet commercial that highlights, comedically, how someone might benefit from using these drinks.
I thought it might be interesting to go into a bit of detail here on how I prepare for comedic or funny scripts.
I'm a huge fan of comedy and I grew up watching things like The Young Ones and Bottom. Rik Mayall was my idol and I even got to meet...Adrian Edmondson backstage at a gig once. So when I get my hands on a script that requires a humorous tone or some quirkiness, I draw on some scenes from those shows which never fail to make me laugh.
I play them over in my head and let myself giggle and smile as if I were actually watching. At the moment, my go to scene is from The Young Ones episode Summer Holiday when they're playing cricket. It gives me a wry grin that informs my voice for the read. I find it much easier to draw on real memories I have, rather than made up scenarios.
When doing a voice over piece you should always be talking "to someone". Someone appropriate. Like with situational memories, I prefer to use real people that I know, whom within I can find links to the project. For this example, I know someone who loves video games and comedy. PERFECT.
If I'd have imagined talking to my dad about this, it would have been far less effective because he doesn't play video games and likes Mrs. Brown's Boys - and we all know that isn't real comedy.
Of all the voice over jobs I've done, I think this is the one that made me want to try the product the most. They genuinely sound delicious and no I'm not getting a kick back for saying that.
My plan for the coming week involves creating some "commercials" for different voiceover styles that don't appear on my demo reels. It will be nice to get a different sort of media out there so potential clients can hear AND see what an end product might be like.
There's my accountability for the week - I've said it here, so the next diary entry WILL have one.
Yes it will Martin!
(EDIT: I did it, I made the video!)