Discovering how a professional voice talent should be able to synthetize the brand essence.
A tv spot is just the tip of the iceberg of a long strategic planning process. The voice talent, expecially if an italian speaking one, is called to give its contribution exactly at the end of this creative process. That’s why in this moment lots of expectations are focused. This also means that the recording session is tipically a very intense and stressing moment. Professional voiceovering require abilities that are not just technical or about being talented, but being able to understand different sensitivities: the creative’s one who want to give life to his idea and the account’s, having in mind the will to satisfy any customer’s need. Never heard the quote: client is always right?
Today, in Italy as well in any corner of the world, tendancy in choosing a voice talent is searching in the real world. Spontaneity, naturalness, is preferred to perfection in diction. This can be very useful in an advertising recording session. Never heard about “street casting”, where common people are asked to give their voice to an adv? You’re not asking them to act. Just being themselves, otherwise the whole project may fail.
But when it’s time to express the essence of a brand with a very short sentence, often a professional voice talent may be essential.
I believe voice talent’s contribution can unfold its effects more on a subliminal aspect than being more significant. The voice artist can describe the brand’s world using his voice skills: tone, pace and delivery.
Tone: it’s the voice talent who’s in charge of positioning a product with a musical attitude.
Choosing one voice artist rather than another, determines which narrative universe will be hosting the product-service the adv is talking about. A young and fresh voice will define the dynamic attitude and the target who the message is directed to. And again: authoritative, self confident, friendly, warm, sensual… There’s a lot of definitions, each one capable of describing shades and details. It works like a wine tasting experience: any word can describe the tone, or, more generally, the delivery of a voice talent. The same can be stated about the radio host and, in this case, the voice is the product itself, rather than a medium.It’s the radio host who determines what kind of audience a specific radio station is supposed to engage. It is not by chance that the best dj’s are disputed by the broadcasters with millionaire fees. We’re obviously talking about different competences, the first, the voice talent, is more like a sprinter: she or he must give everything in very few seconds… The second, the radio host, is more like a marathoner: while the radio voice convince, creates profound, stable ties with the audience. Both have one solid common denominator: the microphone.
Pace: when there’s never enough time to say everything…
There’s always a great paradox in advertising, ready to unfold its effects: the voice talent is asked to stress a lot of important details in the limited time given. And possibly giving not the feeling to be in a hurry! Choosing a particular pace does not depend only on speed. Pace generates identity to the voice talent’s voice, which is fundamental for the adv results, even when there’s plenty of time! Pace is also a hot topic in the radio host job, in order to keep the audience engaged and avoid the risk of tuning on another station with a small tip on the steering wheel. It’s like a rethoric game: never stop talking, never close a sentence, force the audience to wait for the next key point to be said. Pace, talking about radio hosting, is something that imprints in the dna and become a footprint of a voice talent identity.
Delivery: Adding an accent can change meaning, logic, direction of a voice message.
No, I don’t want to give the idea that the advertising world is crowded by strange habits, but the delivery is one of the most unclear aspects of any adv voice recording. Giving an accent to one word can determine the meaning of the whole sentence. What if the voice talent is asked to give importance to each word of the body copy? “please stress the concept of freshness, but also zero calories, and also healthy” Anything else? You would agree that giving importance to all the concepts is equal not giving importance to any of them! Once again the difference between an amateur voice talent and a professional voiceartist one can be dramatic, solving in most of cases a lot of problems.
In conclusion, there are multiple aspects that make a professional voice talent, and it’s difficult to summarize them in one post. Frequently it’s about skills developed in many years of experience on a microphone, both in the advertising industry and in the radio world. Nowadays rules seem not to be so important than in the past. But you can always count on one fact: wether it’s a radio or tv adv or a radio show, the voice talent choice is always at the heart of the success, turning an adv message into sales and a radio program in a wide audience.