• Download your free audio program and get your questions answered now!

    • Contact Us

Blog

Keep up to date with the latest tips and trends in the world of voice over

Voice Over Script Techniques

26 January

Voice Over Script Techniques

How to Make an Ad Sound Like a Conversation!

You’ve all seen it in the brief or heard the engineer ask for it.

Can you make it sound conversational?  It’s the latest in ‘here to stay’, voice over trends.

Styles change in voice over over, and if we’re going to sustain a career or even make sure we get on-going work, we need to be across the ways and reasons why things change.

When I first started my career, the industry was heavily populated with big ‘radio’ voices. 

Often these were males from a radio background or those with a ‘voice of god’.

The bulk of the scripts written back then, that traditionally delivered information only, were eventually eclipsed by a style that’s much more grounded in connectedness. Conversational!

The voice is more engaging, so we’re more engaged.

The messages are delivered in language that we understand and relate to, so we hear the messages.

But before you approach a script with a ‘give me conversational’ brief, it helps to know just what ‘conversational’ in voice over terms means. To begin with, an ad is seldom a conversation. 

Of course, if it’s a dialogue read, it is, but mostly we’re working alone to deliver the advertisers message.

So, finding a way to take a script that’s basically stylised language wrapped around key words, phrases and concepts, and make it sound natural, is not always easy.

I have some techniques to share with you that may just take you from sounding too ‘announcery’ to helping you make the ‘conversational’ grade.

Voice Over Script Technique 1

First up, you need to sort out the language in the script –  find the words that are about the ad.  Only the words that relate to what you’re talking about are important.
And once you’ve isolated them, you’re well on your way to focusing your ‘conversation’.

Here’s an example of how to find ‘only’ the words that are important and ‘get out of the way’ of the one’s that aren’t.

The following ad asked for a conversational read – but it’s an ad! And it’s not particularly written in conversational language: it has product and key words everywhere. Let’s read through it…

 

When you think of Bakers Delight, don’t just think “bread.”

Think an entire menu – fresh-baked pastries, hot pies,

and specialty cakes.

And don’t forget…we can cater your next meeting or special event!

Bakers Delight – more than just bread.

 

Okay, so when we are in conversation, certain things we say are more important than other things.

To make this clear to the person we’re conversing with, we give these words or phrases emphasis.

In voice over terms, emphasis just means slowing down through the word or phrase.

I’m going to underline the words that are important for this ad.

This is where the emphasis that says, ‘this is what I’m talking about’ must be placed.

 

When you think of Bakers Delight, don’t just think “bread.”

Think an entire menufresh-baked pastries, hot pies,

and specialty cakes.

And don’t forget…we can cater your next meeting or special event!

Bakers Delight – more than just bread.

 

All the words not underlined are not ‘about’ the ad.   They have to be there to make it all make sense, but they are not the ad.

Look at the line  ‘And don’t forget…we can cater your next meeting or special event!’

Okay, so they want to let you know that you can do this, but it’s not the purpose of the ad. The purpose of the ad is to create an appetite in the listener to walk off the street and buy the goods. It’s about the concept that’s presented in the tag line ‘more than just bread’ – this phrase is the ‘reason’ for the ad.

 

Voice Over Script Technique 2

The next thing you do is mark your pauses.

Pausing is soooo important when you’re creating ‘conversational’ reads, because it mimics what we do in real life when we are having a conversation.

The correct place for a pause is not always obvious with written word.  Pauses are created when we move from one thought or idea to the next, so don’t just rely on comma’s to create a pause.

Look at the language –  how many different messages are there?

I’ll create some pause points.

 

When you think of Bakers Delight, /don’t just think “bread.”/

Think an entire menu / – fresh-baked pastries, / hot pies, /

and specialty cakes. /

And don’t forget/…we can cater your next meeting or special event!/

Bakers Delight /– more than just bread

 

We pause to get a reaction or hear a response.   

So, it can help you so much, to imagine a real person there.

Visualise that you are actually talking to someone and they’re responding to you.

Here’s an example of what you could ‘imagine’ that person saying. This help you sound more conversational because you are actually responding to a question.

 

When you think of Bakers Delight, don’t just think “bread.”

What should I think?

Think an entire menu – like what? fresh-baked pastries, what else? hot pies, anything else?

and specialty cakes.

And don’t forget…we can cater your next meeting or special event!

Bakers Delight – more than just bread.

 

So, just making these simple technical adjustments to the way you look at a script, can help to make it sound more conversational.

Happy voiceovering!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbe Holmes About Abbe Holmes
Find Your Voice As a Voice Over Actor And Artist With The Voice Over Coach. For over 30 years I've had a successful voiceover career. I work in mainstream voice over for radio and television, narration for the corporate sector, website content and documentaries, as well as characters for animation, IVR, ADR, on-hold and foreign film dubbing.

11 Responses to “Voice Over Script Techniques”

  1. Steve Latham January 27, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    I enjoy the lesson’s, thank you for posting.

  2. Larson Bennett January 28, 2015 at 1:42 am #

    Great post. Thanks.

  3. Peter Sardi January 28, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    Always love reading your great ‘tips’ Abbe. x

  4. Paul Gluck January 28, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    Very good. Short, sweet, and to the point. Keep ’em coming…

  5. Zeke Fogarty January 29, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

    Thanks Abbe. I came across your site and I’m going to take what you’ve taught and practice, practice and apply.

  6. John Davenport February 3, 2015 at 5:56 am #

    Your analysis…brings it home. The questions you posed after the phrase really helped. Too many times, we don’t MARK OUR COPY for pauses. Sometimes, you get caught up in the ok..is this going to be ok for 30sec or whatever client desired length.?

Leave a Reply