Ever been handed a voice over script that was overwritten?
Here’s a voice over script editing story to help you work out what to do next time it happens to you!
When you do get handed a voice over script that’s running over time, it’s almost always because the client (or writer) wants to get as much bang-for-their-buck as possible by cramming in as much information as they can!
Working with a script like this can be a real challenge – especially if the client definitely, positively must have all those words in there.
The challenge is that you’ll need to be able to read very fast, and still make sense of the message.
That’s no mean feat – and, it takes an experienced voice actor to pull this off!
Sure, there are ways of shrinking the read digitally, but the reality is, if there are too many words, it will always sound too fast.
Here’s a great technique I’ve discovered for getting through an overwritten script, without sounding like you’re racing.
You simply drop your volume!
It takes a lot of energy to talk at volume and pulling the level back makes it easier to get through a ton of words.
Beware: You need to make sure that when you drop your volume, you’re not dropping your energy as well.
In fact you’ll need to work with what I call ‘contained excitement’ – it’s a feeling like you’re just bursting to tell this news!
The other thing that can happen with an overwritten script, is that the producer hears the read and decides to edit.
This is when a pencil and rubber comes in really handy. Often a decision will be made by the producer, you’ll change it on the script, and then someone will have a better idea.
If your edits are all in pen, the script can look impossible messy really quickly.
I’m often asked when I’m coaching, if it’s okay to make script change suggestions in a session. Sometimes, the script will have been ‘signed-off’, and it wont be possible to make changes. That’s when you need to use your voice over skills to make it work, as is.
If you spot clunky writing or bad grammar, you’ll want to bring it to someone’s attention.
Firstly, just read the words off the page and try to make it work.
If it’s still sounding wrong, you can ask, ‘does that sound right to you?’ The answer may be, ‘yes, it does’, so be prepared for that.
However, if something is glaringly wrong, the producer will hear it and if changes can be made, they’ll do it. I’ll just add, that in voiceover it’s considering pretty poor etiquette to criticise a script. After all, the producer may also be the writer. 🙂
Now I want to share with you an experience I had recently where we needed to do some editing on the fly, with an overwritten script
I have some wonderful regular clients and jobs. One of them is the Melbourne based Agency Grant Day James, who have Zoos Victoria as a client.
They run a radio campaign leading up to every school holiday break – their market being parents who are looking for things to do with kids during the school holidays.
These scripts are always quite energised and full of information, so pace is always required.
A recent script though, was just too wordy, so we had to edit it in the studio – the producer made all the edit suggestions.
Her challenge was to do a word edit but make sure the story of the script still worked.
Just for your information and because you like scripts, here’s the original script with all the changes that were made on the day. Just click on the image to see to copy clearly.
It’s often about choosing a way to say the same thing, more economically.
The opening Female VO line is a good example of that.
In the other lines, the editing is about which elements are the most important as far as their target audience is concerned.
Our editing process removed about 17 words from the script, but as you can see, the story remained intact and in the end, the read still had the energy and excitement required. Here’s a listen to the track that went to air.
One of the the things I love most about voice over, is that day-in, day-out, I never know what I might be faced with.
I love the challenge of making words make sense – that’s our job – and I could do it all day 🙂
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.