How to direct voiceover talent – Abe Udy’s 7 tips

Directing voiceover talent can result in a producer getting their best work.

Even the most professional voice-overs who record remote sessions and self-direct themselves on a daily basis can benefit from direction from the producer or creative writer.

Here are 7 tips on how to direct a voiceover to get their best read.

1. Make them feel comfortable. 

Even a quick joke or showing genuine interest in them will relax them and help build rapport between you, no matter how small.

2. Outline the feel of the script and the style you’re after. 

If it’s a script that requires them to act a part, give them a quick synopsis of the scene.

3. Roll ‘tape’ for the first take, and even a pre-read. 

Often I find the best takes, particularly when acting is required, happen before too much ‘thought’ has gone into the read.

4. Listen for the small things.

The difference between a good take and a great take is actually a lot less then you might think. I’ve often found myself directing a voice and asking for multiple takes of one line, with very small differences in how it’s read just to get it right.

5. Encourage them to ‘give it love’.

I’ve lost count the number of times clients have said “don;t just read the script, really ‘sell’ it”. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. If you owned the store, how would you want to sell it? Don’t just read the great specials, but ‘sell’ them. 

There’s a world of difference between a hard sell yelly read and an excited, emthused read with love for the product.

6. Be their ears

An inflection on a word may not sound natural or the tone of the read might not be quite right, and the voice artist may not be able to hear it. You need to be their ears – listening to make sure their delivery is the best it can be.

7.Don’t overwork the voice. 

If you haven’t got what you need in 3 or 4 takes, take a breath, get the voiceover to listen to the various takes, and then go again. 

Next week – tips on how to prepare for a voice session.

BTW, Did you know that drinking apple juice before recording as VO can be bad?