If you're diving into the exciting world of voiceover commercials, then you've probably heard the buzzwords "conversational" and "natural read" thrown around. You might've even been told, "We want it to sound like you're just talking to a friend." So, what's all the fuss about? Today, let's break down these commercial techniques and why they're crucial for voice actors aiming to make it big in the commercial arena.
The days of the classic "announcer" voice in commercials are, for the most part, behind us. Brands have shifted their focus. Instead of the authoritative, "in-your-face" voice telling you what to buy, we've moved into an era of storytelling and connection. The modern audience craves authenticity. They want to feel like they're being spoken with, not at.
Remember that one time you were grabbing coffee with your friends, and they casually mentioned a product they loved? It didn't feel like a sales pitch. Instead, it was just genuine sharing of something cool. That's the essence of a conversational voiceover. It's like you're letting someone in on a secret or giving them a recommendation over brunch.
A natural read is similar to the conversational style, but it's more about being genuine and true to yourself. Think of it this way: You know when you're watching a movie and a line delivery feels forced, pulling you out of the story? A natural read is the antidote to that. It's you, in all your authenticity, lending your voice in a way that feels true to the message and the brand.
For instance, consider the last commercial you genuinely liked. Chances are, the voice behind it wasn't trying too hard to sell you something. Instead, they were just being themselves, letting the product's merits shine through their authentic delivery.
So how do you get into that sweet spot of conversational and natural read? Let's explore some techniques:
Relax and Be Yourself: Sounds easy, right? But it's surprising how many of us forget to do this in the booth. Before you start recording, take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself that you're not "performing." You're sharing. Imagine you're talking to a close friend or family member. How would you tell them about this product?
Understand the Product/Brand: It's much easier to sound genuine when you genuinely understand what you're talking about. Before diving into the script, research the product. What are its key benefits? Who's the target audience? How does it improve someone's life?
Feel the Words, Don't Just Say Them: There's a world of difference between merely reading a script and feeling it. Tap into the emotions behind the words. Are you conveying happiness, relief, excitement, nostalgia? Connect with those emotions genuinely.
Play with Pacing: While the conversation might be your target, remember that natural pacing varies. Sometimes we speed up in excitement, other times we slow down for emphasis. Play with your pacing, and don't be afraid to add organic pauses as if you're gathering your thoughts.
Voiceover work, especially in commercials, is evolving. With the rise of the conversational and natural read technique, brands aim to connect on a more personal level with their audiences. As a voice actor, it's crucial to adapt and refine your skills to fit this new mold. The key lies in authenticity. When you tap into that genuine space within yourself, not only will your reads feel more authentic, but you'll also find that they resonate more with listeners.
Remember, it's all about connection. So, next time you step into the booth, imagine you're sharing a cool find with a dear friend. Keep it real, keep it you, and watch as these commercial techniques open doors to more opportunities in the voiceover world.
Commercial Techniques for Voice Actors by Alan Shires