Have you ever heard a client say, “I’ll know it when I hear it?” Most businesses auditioning talent via the online voiceover marketplace are open to hearing a variety of reads. That said, they often make decisions based upon factors directly relating to their brand and how they want to be represented.
So how do you know if you’re an ideal match for a project? In this article, you’ll discover four criteria clients use to determine which voice artist best resonates with their vision as they work toward achieving their goals. Be sure to take these into account before stepping up to the mic and submitting an audition.
1. Brand sound. Every brand has a personality. Oftentimes, the way a brand presents itself is a projection of its company culture. Google, for instance, has a hip, innovative brand that values education and the documentation, preservation, and sharing of information. Having been to the Googleplex, I know firsthand that the way the company lives outwardly is the same way it lives internally. Everywhere you turn, there are friendly people, there’s good food, and an abundance of resources designed to enable creativity and productivity. To be the voice of Google, or any other company, the sound of your voice and the worldview you bring to the table needs to align with the organization’s heart. In effect, your voice needs to embody the brand and sound intrinsically tied to it—especially if it is a larger, established brand.
2. Interpretation. Every brand has a story to tell. The way you read a script matters. Do your due diligence before getting behind the microphone. This might mean a Google search, reading the company’s “About Us” page on its website, watching brand-related videos on YouTube, reading customer reviews, or visiting a company’s social media channels. Really get a feel for the company’s voice. Take all of the information you’ve gathered, see how it connects, and determine the direction you want to take the read. Understanding the brand as discussed above is crucial to approaching the script in a meaningful way that does justice to the author’s intent. Sounding believable is a lot easier when you actually believe what you’re saying.
3. Motivation. Every brand has a mission. The motivation behind your performance should sound as if you worked there or are familiar with the product or service offering. Your voice, as the late, great Don LaFontaine would agree, is a vehicle for the words. For best results, really dig into the script to determine who you are (your role as narrator, presenter, etc.), who the audience is, and why what you’re saying should matter to those hearing the message. Knowing the audience improves communication and allows you to speak to them on a level worthy of their time and attention. Shape your read based upon what you’ve learned. Sounding knowledgeable and genuine goes a long way in establishing credibility.
4. Audio quality. Every brand has polish. Your audio quality needs to line up with the brands you hope to work with. Many talent get their demos produced at professional recording studios. While this is certainly a good thing, not all talent are able to live up to their demos when it comes to recording auditions on their own from home studios. As I’ve heard one producer say, the demo should reflect the skills of the voice talent and not the engineer. Building a solid recording studio, learning proper microphone technique, and honing your audio editing skills helps tremendously when it comes to delivering broadcast-ready audio.
Get your foot in the door with the right sound and feel for the brand. Engage the casting person with your knowledge of their product, service,a and audience. Seal the deal by reading with purpose and package that delivery in pristine audio.
In the voice acting business, half of the battle is knowing what’s expected of you. Do your homework and then decide if you’ll audition. Having that information is key to understanding whether or not your read meets a client’s criteria for hiring.
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