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Why Strategic Listening to Voice Over Matters

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 18, 2010

Comments (6)

Woman listening to an iPod walking by Big BenHave you ever thought about how important the act of listening is to your voice over career?

Voice overs are part of the day-to-day landscape and grace your ears whether you were aware of them or not.

Just as the average person sees about 3000 advertisements a day, the average person hears more messages than one might expect each day, numbering in the hundreds, potentially thousands depending on your exposure to advertisements and voice-over heavy mediums such as broadcast.

When you think about it, there's a lot of work out there for voice over talent... and if you listen hard enough, you'll be able to tap into trends, figure out whose booking and why.

In today's VOX Daily, we're going to talk about the benefits of listening and why you need to lend an ear so to speak and keep your finger on the pulse of the industry, particularly where your areas of expertise and interest are concerned.

Voice Overs All Around Us

Have you ever thought about just how ubiquitous voice over is? Just think, if any of the following applies to you, it's likely that you've heard hundreds of thousands if not millions of voice overs over the course of your lifetime.

Do you:

๏ Have a phone?
๏ Own a TV?
๏ Listen to the radio?
๏ Watch movies?
๏ Consume audiobooks?
๏ Love cartoons?
๏ Subscribe to or download podcasts?
๏ Play videogames?
๏ Use a GPS?
๏ Have access to the Internet?

Voice actors are generally more attentive than the average person and listen with purpose to the voice overs around them.

Listening = Researching

As a professional voice over talent, the simple act of listening to voice overs with purpose enables you to gather some free market research. Working doesn't always mean recording or speaking... sometimes it means listening.

Listening to Voice Overs Helps You Know More About:

๏ The kind of work that is out there
๏ The sort of voices and deliveries that are in demand
๏ Identifies companies by name who are using voice over to communicate

There is no trade magazine that tells you about every company under the sun using voice over nor any trade magazine that tells you who got every gig on God's green earth.

By listening to voice talent you admire and seeking out the work of your peers, you will develop an ear for who is booking and also what their areas of expertise are.

Additionally, you should have a good understanding of your own voice. Here's a link to a neat article that explores getting to know your voice.

How Has Listening Benefited You?

Looking forward to your response!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/hammondovi

Related Topics: acting, advertisements, cartoons, demos, GPS, industry, listening, radio, SAG, talent, TV, videogames, voice overs, voiceover


Comments


    Hi Stephanie, What I enjoy most about listening to VOs with intent is that I particularly focus on those VOs done in a way that I wouldn't expect. For example, if I hear a commercial that lacks emotion where I expected more emotion to be used, (even if a conversational VO), then I take note as to what was read, how it was read and think about why it was read that way. I find this stretches my thinking a bit and gives me something else to consider the next time I prepare or audition for a VO opportunity.

    Posted by:

      Hiya Stephanie.
      It would be interesting to know what the average number of audio impressions is per day!
      I listen to everything, all the time. Whenever there's a voiceover to be heard...male or female...I'm all ears!
      All The Best,
      Bobbin Beam

      Posted by:

        Hi all - oh, yes, listening to VO is a free education, all the time! For those of us already working, it helps us to stretch, explore, appreciate the skill and creativity of our peers.

        For the new VO talent, it's a different experience to listen once you've had some training and know what you're listening for - you can be aware of tone, pitch, articulation, tempo, delivery - instead of "gee, that sounds good" you'll be thinking "what a great choice for the overall tone...I love the way he pitched that phrase...Wow, she mumbled in"!

        Kinda like watching figure skating before and after taking a few ice skating lessons yourself - boy, does it up your appreciation and learning level. Thanks for a great discussion

        Posted by:

          Stephanie and all,
          From the perspective of a studio owner who works with a lot of local voices, I think you've touched on something important. If the client gives you the direction,"off the cuff; non-announcery," you have to know what that is.

          All voiceover is stylized, to a degree, and part of your job is to be aware of what the different popular styles are. You should have a reference-point in your head for "documentary" and "movie trailer" and "cosmetics" reads - because your client does. If you can't move into those styles quickly, without a lot of explanation, you're not as Directable as your competitors who have been paying attention.

          Posted by:

            Hi Stephanie. I believe that listening is vitally important to your success. I have learned a lot from listening to my coaches and other VO talent but also by listening to the VO styles and trends that are in the market.

            I was chatting with a friend about how he used to earn a very nice living in VOs with the "announcer" voice. Today, it's rare to see that type of delivery asked for. In fact, most clients specifically say "No Announcer Guy Voices". In this line of work I think listening and paying attention is a must.

            Posted by:

              Yes yes - sometimes I listen to the commercials on the radio and find myself more interested in them than the program/music I was listening to before the commercials came on!
              A lot can be learned/gleaned, both in terms of "how-to" and "how NOT to".

              Posted by:

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