You may have heard the saying ‘a great head for radio’. It’s not the most flattering thing you can say about someone in the industry, but if you told the same person they had ‘a great mind for voice acting’, you would actually be paying them a huge compliment.
That’s because the really good voice actors all have great minds by necessity. Why? Have a great mind is imperitive to allow talent to get behind the words they are reading and find the meaning, the purpose and the voice within the script. And if you’re a production company or marketing firm needing to have a radio or TV commercial voiced, an on hold message produced or long form project needing narration, it’s important to find a voice with this ability to bring your words to life. That’s what you should be looking for; yes, a great voice, but far more importantly, a great mind working seamlessly behind the scenes controlling that voice.
A great voice over artist is able to deconstruct the text in front of them skillfully, naturally and automatically with the goal of isolating the author’s purpose, intent and desired result. A great voice can identify the key words and the most important thoughts that will get that message across clearly and give them the emphasis and ‘color’ that they need. That’s the difference between a voice over person and a voice actor; the difference between simply reading a some words on a page and actually breathing life and emotion into the words in front of them.
So when you’re sifting through talent banks and demo reels from prospective talent in the search for the perfect voice and all of a sudden you hear the one that “gets it”, that probably the type of person we’re talking about, the one that jumps out brightly; not because of the words they’re reading or the production values, but because of the mind behind the voice. You will hear it working or more precisely, feel it working and know instantly that this is the voice for your project.
Keep this in the back of you mind next time you’re looking for a voice professional and sifting through the voice demos on the websites or submissions and listen closely. Yes, to the tonal qualities of the mouth, but far more importantly to the cognitive juices flowing in the brain.
It becomes very clear very quickly just which voice talent have great heads for radio.