I was chatting with a few radio copywriters recently about voice overs and where they see things sitting at the moment. As with most things, change is the norm in the voice actor world. Preferences refine, twist and turn over time. The days of big booming, resonant tones have made way … for what?
I asked a few of the creative geniuses from around the country for their thoughts and summarised them here in this brief article. I’d like to thank them for their time and input… much appreciated.
What “voice type” do you think is most in vogue today?
NATURAL! (sung in chorus) Natural everyday voices are mostly requested by clients and writers alike. Not jocks, not characters or accents. The call for pulled-back, easy and conversational, outweighs the hard-sell voice by a long shot today.
Seems no one believes the big polished radio jock style VO as much anymore. It may still work for the clichéd Hard Sell call to action spots, but people respond better to reads that sound like they’re talking directly to each listener one on one, friendly (Talk TO you) not Authoriative (talk AT you) reads. Keep in mind that this naturalness needs to be delivered by a voice actor who “comprehends” the script. They need to deliver it like they’re living it, not reading it.
Are males used more than female voice talent and why?
Obviously the answer is dependent on what the product is and who the target is, however in general, males seem to be more predictable and less polarising. Males can talk to females generically, but sadly quite often the opposite is not true.
There is a belief (even amongst many females) that people prefer to listen to and will more likely trust a male voice. But scripts are still written with the voice that will best connect with the chosen target market for the product. Writers should let the script choose the voice.
So that’s good news for voiceover talent for sure. No longer is it the luck of the draw, based on your genetic voice sound… “Natural” is everyone. So it levels the playing field and opens up work opportunities for all sorts of voice types and styles. That of course does not negate the need for ability and talent to be brought to the table… natural does not mean amateur. The ability to be natural and real is essential – and funnily enough, it’s not easy to do.