When the words “voice over artist” are brought up what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Chances are you can hear that kid in grade school who could perfectly impersonate the 98-year-old librarian, or your Uncle Dave who used his best Donald Duck voice and made you laugh when you were 6 years old. You might close your eyes and think of the soothing intonation of the lady on your yoga DVD who helps you wind down from a long stressful day…”just brrreeeeaaattthhheeee,” and who could forget celebrities who brought your favorite Disney characters to life by giving them a voice? Now that’s magical! Regardless, the combination of tone, speed and inflection in a person’s voice makes you respond emotionally; whether it wakes you up, puts you to sleep, sets off alarm or makes you smile..OR..piques your interest in what is being said..or SOLD. Indeed, voices over artists are and should be our favorite people! Here are 8 reasons why…
1-VO Artists make us smile
Ydraw videos are power-packed, concentrated stories or overviews of a company or product that are used for marketing. We do what it takes to maintain the attention of your audience from the right script to the right art. It must catch attention and make a lasting memory—a memory they will revisit.
For example, eight years ago, on the last night of a humanitarian trip to Mexico, I was finally falling asleep in a tent. BOOM!!!! We were hit by a torrential thunder storm. All 50 twenty-somethings ran around frantically shoving muddy sleeping bags, tents and coolers into about a dozen cars, knowing we had just minutes to climb to the top of a very, very, very steep and slippery half-mile high dirt road in order to get back to the good old USA.
Our poor leader stood in the rain shouting out orders amidst the chaos. The driver of the car I was in sat wide-eyed and white-knuckled as the heaviness of dread almost buried us all. “You vill listen to vhat I say! You hear me?!” My friend Ben broke the semi-silence with a strong sharp German accent. “You must…stay in line! You must…move forwaaad…” The weight lifted instantly as we erupted in belly laughs with tears streaming down our faces. Ben’s irreverent impersonation of our leader (who actually had a California surfer boy accent) changed our mood in seconds.
We obviously made it out alive and Ben…well, he went on to be a key player in a reality TV show and supported himself for the next almost decade in Hollywood. His voice over talent definitely paid off! To this day that moment is one of my fondest memories and I can’t think about it without smiling!
2-What they say sticks
This is especially important with your video. Our imaging and the words are critical, but what helps a message stick even more is the way it is heard. Though it has been over 8 years since that car ride, Ben’s pseudo German tirade is still fresh in my mind. We want a similar result for your video. The combination of music, visual and the way things are said will create a sense of memorable happiness, possibly urgency and definitely a call to action.
3-What they do is NOT EASY!
It’s a known fact that getting ahead in the entertainment industry takes a lot of guts and sustained effort. Making money as an actor, a model, a hand model, a hair model, a rock and roll legend or a voice actor means sacrifice, lots of time, constantly putting your best foot forward and hoping people with a budget love you, and love you enough to keep hiring you.
Kendra, an instructor at Edge Studio, a voice over school and agency in New York, told me her feelings about what it takes to become a successful voice over artist. She said “If someone wants to get into (the industry), they need to know there is a lot of work to it and requires training. It isn’t a super easy get rich quick scheme that you can do at home in your PJs. Make sure you know you will be marketing yourself or need an agent.”
She said the most successful voice over artists are hard workers who take direction well, are coach-able, easy to work with and understand lots of practice is required in order to succeed. Great voice over generally cannot be done on the fly. Just because you made your 4th grade class laugh and your teacher angry doesn’t mean that same impersonation is going to feed your family. It is a fun profession, but takes real work and is not easy!
4-They will make you money
This point has already been addressed, but to drive it in, I’ll just remind you that the whole point of hiring a voice over artist is to make people love your product or service and to become customers. The old cliché “you get what you pay for” applies here. If you hire an inexperienced voice over artist, you are looking at investing in longer hours of recording to get the desired result, or gambling on a short session where you might end up settling with what you get in the time allotted.
5-The wrong voice can drive potential clients away
“Wake up! Allicia, you fall asleep every time I talk to you and it makes me feel bad.” Oops…it was true. I looked up apologetically at my roommate. Her soft, slow, slightly-slurred, verbal delivery put me to sleep despite my genuine interest in what she had to say.
Hiring the wrong voice talent can make your potential clients miss the message entirely or even worse, be like fingernails on the chalkboard and make them stop listening. If you try to pitch a medical product with a lazy accent dripping with slang or have a not-so-trained boisterous actor energetically push a call to action too hard you’re going lose credibility and drive people away.
6-For better or for worse, your voice over artist will set the tone of your video from the very beginning
The magic number for making a first impression is seven seconds. Those first seven seconds should be filled with an inviting sense of authority that keeps your audience captivated. The thing is, the absolute worst accent for one video might be the absolute best for another. Aunt Sally Mae with her sweet southern drawl might be the perfect person to talk about brisket night at your home town café, but please don’t let her invite people to invest in the stock market! You get the picture. Let’s set the tone well and keep your audience listening.
7-They can create zillions of different meanings out of the same sentence just by the way they make it sound.
“You bring that HERE!” “YOU bring that here!” “You bring THAT here!” You get the picture; the same four words request three totally different actions. We all know there are multiple facets to getting meaning from the spoken word. Intonation, just like music, can set the stage. A dark room on a movie screen can be terrifying, alluring, or hilarious, depending on what music is being played in the background. Where voice isn’t necessarily that powerful, it’s pretty darn close!
Just think about how the same sentence can sound hateful or complimentary, excited or exasperated depending on where the emphasis is and that the tones are. Even the slightest change of tone can change the entire meaning and mood.
Listen below as Mike O’Brien, one of our top voice over artists, gives an example of this.
8-They are just great people
At Ydraw we love our voice over artists for all the reasons above and the fact that they are just great people. We want the best videos for our clients so of course we only hire the best in the industry. Good grief, we even have the Little Ceasar’s guy and Barney the Dinosaur on our team! Before I end, I would like to introduce you to our most frequently requested voice talent and let you read and hear for yourselves why they are some of our favorite people!
When as a kid, Mike O’Brien asked Morgan Freeman for the chance to interview him, he couldn’t have dreamed that the next day he would be invited to the set of Shawshank Redemption and granted that interview by the actor himself. He also had no idea that years later he would own his own in-home art studio where he “works” as a voice actor 7 days a week. He has passed on his love for his career/hobby/way of life to his wife and three kids who have also earned a little cash on the side with their voice talents. Mike absolutely loves what he does and it shows in his work! He has been in the industry just ten years and has done commercials for Best Buy, Amazon, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Levis among countless others.
Acting was in Lauren’s blood from the time she was a tiny kid. She left the Poconos of Pennsylvania out of high school to shoot for the stars in New York City. After graduating with her BFA in Acting and booking her first radio ad she knew voice over was her passion. Her road was not an easy one with life changing events such as losing her mother to Lung Cancer. She left New York and followed her heart back to mountains and a small city vibe in Asheville, North Carolina where she found success. She is the Associate Producer for FaffConn, a voice over UN-conference and has companies like AT&T and Starbucks on her resume. As she helps others pursue their dreams we are so glad she pursued hers and ended up giving a perfect voice to so many of our characters!
Pizza! Pizza! Those two words immortalized by Dawson McKay have influenced the dinner decision for countless Americans for decades. Dawson started practicing for his career when he was 5 years old, but didn’t realize it until years later. As a working professional he successfully tried his hand in several creative industries such as cartooning, sound design, video editing, acting, magic and puppetry until he found his niche in and love for voice over. From X-Box games to electric cars to Marriott hotels to rock and roll announcements to voicing little old ladies and animated villains; Dawson McKay’s diversity speaks for itself and delights audiences across the board.
Stephanie Pam Roberts
When Stephanie graduated with her BFA in Musical Theater she never would have dreamed that she would find her professional passion behind the curtain. She enjoyed singing and dancing in front of audiences on professional New York City based tours like West Side Story and High School Musical. She has also delighted families on Disney Cruise Lines. When she took her first voice over class in 2009 she was hooked and hasn’t turned back. This singing, dancing photography loving actress now gives characters from Goody to Good Housekeepng a voice full time. And she’s only just beginning! We’re grateful she jumped the cruise ships and came aboard as one of our most requested voice over artists!
Some voices just make you feel comfortable and at home and Greg Simms’ talent is a textbook example. His voice carries a sense of calm authority that companies like Wal-Mart, BMW and Coca Cola among countless others have used frequently to market their brands. Greg is an LA based voice actor who honed his trade under some of the greatest legends in the industry, including the voice of Porky Pig. Besides being “the conversational guy next door” Greg also specializes in redneck, folksy, even a little leprechaun among other specialized dialects. This West Coast boy will bring the hometown feel to any script.
Kelley loves..her..job! She also loves Jeeps. On February 25, 2016 AdWeek featured her love for both in an article about an 8 video campaign she put together to get Jeep to hire her (read the article and watch one of her videos by clicking the link below). Where this voice of Amtrak Acela Express is not hurting in the slightest for paying customers, she hopes to combine two of her primary passions in the paying gig of her dreams! Kelley hadn’t planned on acting as a career. It was a fun hobby and side moneymaker for her through high school and as a DJ and VJ in college that spilled over into her post college life when the Michigan born Public Relations grad got a job at a country radio station in Tucson, Arizona. Moving forward she experienced success with several forms of media, ultimately choosing to go full time utilizing her signature voice to make a living and make money for her clients.
With professional background and training in acting, singing and even as a recording studio engineer Dean brings much more to the table than just his animated narrations. He has an impressive string of clients and accents worth mentioning but way too long to list. Dean has also been delighting children for decades! As the first DJ on Radio Disney and as Barney the Dinosaur he’s kept countless kids captivated. Unless you’ve spent your life under a rock, at some point you have heard and likely been influenced by the voice of Dean Wendt.
With talent like this you can see why we pride ourselves on every aspect of our videos! Pair up a Disney animator, one of our award winning creative directors, a highly organized and detail oriented project manager, and one of these rock stars, and you’ll have a memorable masterpiece of a video that will stick with your audience and make that call to action heard on a deeper level. Who do you want to tell your next story? We’re here to help, and so are our voice over artists!