What does a voice over artist do all day? Part 18.

Part 18?! I haven't stuck to something this long since the great Velcro incident of '92.

There's a few reasons I write these voiceover diary entries.

  1. History. It's important to reflect on past work to see how far one's self has come. Haha I said "one's self".

  2. To give an insight into the world of voice over. There's a lot of people that don't ever have to consider what it is and in some ways don't really know it "exists". It's just there.

  3. To show those thinking about getting into voice over work some of the types of job they'll come across, provide a few tips and tricks and possibly help keep them motivated to push on.

The theme for this post is going to centre around point 3 so I've picked out a selection of recent projects that stuck out for one reason or another.


A mug of coffee on a table. The mug has the word "begin" written on it.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Regular readers - prepare to get bored. I LOVE DOING VOICE OVER FOR TELEPHONE MESSAGES. Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you why, AGAIN. But do stick around - this one is fresh!

It was for a cleaning company, updating due to the current lockdown situation. Why was it different? Well, they asked for me to dial into their system and record it down the line.

Now, my booth is basically a nuclear bunker. There's no chance of getting any reception in there, and doing it in the open part of my studio would be too 'noisy'. Some argue that quality doesn't matter as much when it comes to IVR / voicemails etc because the audio gets so compressed on a call. But I still like to provide a good quality recording.

So I recorded the message as I would record any other job - in the booth. Then... THEN, after a quick bit of editing to make it pristine, I made the call... and held the phone up to my monitor speakers while playing the message. I gave it another call to check and it worked exactly as planned. The client was happy so it seems the improvised nature of it worked a treat. TECHNOLOGY!

Every so often I go out into the wild (the internet, I do NOT go outside) to have a look round for voice over projects I've been involved with. It's good to grab the links and use them to show prospective clients that you've done real work and not just your own demos.

I found one recently that I was quite looking forward to seeing. I sat down with a cup of tea (ginger), put my headphones on and settled in.

Oh wow, I sound different in this one. I don't remember doing it like that. Right. It's not me.

A senior male peering round a wall and looking surprised

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

But that's ok. There could be any number of reasons why an end client might go a different route. I still got paid so there's no complaining from me!

I've been on the other side of that arrangement before too - a client has a video but has changed their mind on the voiceover at the last minute. Swings and roundabouts.

I'm an E-learning convert and have been for some time, but for the purposes of this blog IT'S A NEW REVELATION.

There will be new VOs out there who think E-Learning must be boring. It's learning. You're basically teaching a lesson into a microphone. I'll admit, I thought that too. My first ever job was exactly that type of thing and was approximately 62 months long.

However, don't be put off by that thought. This month I've been working for a client who teaches English to non-English speakers. It would be easy to assume it's just pronouncing individual words over and over (and that work exists too) but this is much more interesting!

I've played the roles of boardroom executives, weathermen, news reporters, tv presenters.... the list goes on. Of course, it's really valuable to learn a language by hearing someone speaking it in sentences, in different contexts and situations. Hearing single words is good to build up vocabulary but you won't learn different intonations and nuances of language that way.

E-learning is just as varied as the other voice over genres.

A man with a panda head sits on a street, drunk.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Auditioning is a big part of a voice artist's working week. I'm not going to get into that too much but I wanted to quickly mention one that let me be my true north-Kent self.

The role: an angry drunk.

And swearing. Lots of swearing.

As a voiceover artist, I think it's important to create. I'm not talking about the jobs here. I'm saying record new demos, make videos, write blogs. Get yourself out there, get seen, get heard. Even if it takes months to complete because you're too busy with clients, so be it. But by creating, you're improving your skills and enhancing your library of work.

For a few weeks now I've been putting together a commercial of sorts that I want to release at Christmas. One week I wrote the script. Next was the voice work. Then came sourcing the music. Then the videos... and finally last week the editing was finished. Or so I thought.

It felt really weird without the sound of the action in the scenes! A lot of stock video comes without audio, which is fine, but I hadn't accounted for it not working with just voice and music.

I've been recording sound effects for a video game recently so it made sense to record my own for this video too. Today, after a couple of hours in the booth with an assortment of clothes, shelves, tools, and shoes, I'd recorded all the sounds I needed. Finally, I finished!

I could have just said "I'm gonna post a video soon" instead of typing all that but what did I just say? Write blogs! That my friends, is a call back and a half.

Right, I'm off to create some more. I'm going to shave some tramlines in my beard.

Martin Whiskin with beard tramlines

Sadly, it all came off afterwards. My son thought it was weird and the lines weren't straight enough.

Go back to What does a voiceover artist do all day? Part 17.

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