Tuesday, 21 August 2018

How to become a Voiceover Actor?

Simples – its simply speaking isn’t it? Actually it is as simple and as complicated as that. At the Big Fish Media Aquarium our 2000 + voices are skilled in all manners of speaking and in many languages as well.

But how did they become voiceover actors and be on our books? Yes speaking and speaking with confidence is part of it but we have a list of skills you need if you want to be a voiceover artist. These are essential in our field of work.

Sight Read – learning to read copy that you are given at the last minute and to read it fluently and conversationally is a real skill. Practice this daily, read social media posts, news headlines, newspaper stories out loud every day.

Listen - Taking direction is a huge part of being a voiceover talent. Accepting and understanding that the voice is part of the creative process is crucial. By listening, pausing to interpret the direction and then speaking is a true mark of a voiceover professional. 

Understand your voice - Where do you fit in the voice world? Know thyself and your path will be clear to discuss what your voice can and can't do with producers and casting directors. 

Patience - Be very patient, adverts, IVRs, audiobooks, video animations etc  need a voice. One day it will be yours. Also in a session things can take time, software and cables are involved and many directors as well so having a place where you can practice patience is important.

Be Nice - People work with people and they work with people they can go down to the pub with at the end of a session. So please be sweet and nice, you'll probably be back for a repeat session. 

All our voices at Big Fish Media are chosen to join the big ocean of voices. Each has talent, experience, professionalism, a great voice and are great people. Contact us here to book your next voice. 

Monday, 13 August 2018

How can I look after my voice?

All of us here at Big Fish HQ love nothing more than tackling a script bringing the words to life. Some days are long and after narrating thousands of words, it can be like a marathon. And that takes time, dedication and patience to get to that level.

Voiceovers are athletes, vocal athletes and like all athletes they take care of themselves holistically ensuring their physical and emotional well being are in tip top condition. Many voiceover jobs are long and even the short ones can become long if take after take is required. To meet the highest standards of narration all of our voices ensure several areas are covered.

Drink water – plenty of water, speaking is very drying to the vocal folds, voice box and mouth in general. By drinking at least two litres of water a day ensures the mouth is lubricated and avoids dry and sticky mouth sounds. When its hot as it has been recently then drink more and keep cool.

Learn to breathe – In and out, in and out and I bet you didn’t even notice that you are doing that all day, everyday. But voiceover talent know how important it is to actually breathe for the sentence, phrase or paragraph they need to record. Learning to breathe will ensure the voice will pause appropriately making a cleaner and also easier to edit read.

Articulation exercises – practise these daily, in the warm steamy shower first thing. The exercises will ensure that your tongue, vocal cords and mouth are stress free and ready to wrap themselves around word shapes easily without straining or stressing you. Releasing the tension in your tongue ensures a more fluid read.

Look out for your eyes – ensure you go to regular eye appointments. Reading long form narration in studios in dark or even bright light can make them tired and sore. Takes eye breaks and get some sleep to ensure they rest fully.

Check your ears – yes they are also connected to your breathing and vocal elements so keep them clean and watch out for them as well. If you can’t hear direction properly the director won’t be pleased.

When you need some professional voices then please contact us. 

Monday, 30 July 2018

How do I write a Voiceover Script?

Despite it being hotter than Hades out there and in here currently, Big Fish Media, The UK’s premier Voiceover Agency, has been busy working on some very fun audio projects.

The team have been schooled in copywriting over the years and over the past few months we have been working with clients old and new on refreshing and reworking their content.

With over 2000 voiceovers on our books we have worked on all sorts of audio projects. All of our voices are hand picked and put through their paces. They are experienced, professional and able to take direction. This month we took on some new clients who loved our voices and how conversational they are.

We’ve been busy writing scripts as well as tweaking clients copy. Does your script for your video animation need to be written? Or does your next TV Commercial need to be voiced and produced? Over the years we have written content and providing the voice actor to that audio production.

We have picked up a few copywriting tricks over the decades working with content. Take a look at the list we have;

  1.        The Rule of three – The holy Trinity of all content. The trio concept always emphasis a point and hammers home facts. 
  2.         Kiss – Keep it short and simple, yes it is that simple. Long and over-complicated sentences cause audiences to turn off and let their minds wander away from your brand, product or service.
  3.        Cut, cut, cut – content always ends up being too long. Less is always more. Be ruthless and understand that the narration is an indication and not a lecture. 
  4.        Audience – who is the content for? It makes a difference to language and words when you need to communicate a brand/product or service to a young audience vs an older audience.
  5.       CTA – Call to Action – Every script needs to have a call to action to bring it all together and ensure that the target audience does exactly that…take action.

Our voice talent have decades of experience reading copy for voiceover recordings. They are highly trained and know how to deliver lines to suit the copy's needs. Please get in touch with us when you need your own voiceover

Monday, 16 July 2018

How do I Record a Voiceover Audition?

We often get asked by various clients if we would provide demos to them. Our voices are speedy and as many of them record voiceover jobs daily morning, noon and night then we are more than happy to supply our clients with demos.

But why do they need a demo? Many clients know about our voices and have heard their reels. The varied voices on our books often have several reels showing off real voice, from corporate and explainer narration to commercials to video games and narration long form.

These voice actors are highly adept at reading a script and recording a few lines. It takes real skill to sight read a few lines with no real idea of the context and only bring content to life. Our 2000 voices are picked because they are experienced and know how to perform and take direction.

When our clients give us copy and ask for a demo we select voices that we know will work well for them. In order to nail the job from a demo audition read on to see what we suggest;

  1. Confirm receipt of the email; often demos take a few hours to days to collate depending on the voice requirements that have been requested. We prefer the voice to confirm they have received our email demo request and preferably send it back by receipt!
  2. Record one clean take; the end client is just listening for your voice and how it fits into their large marketing mix so one take and you are good to go. The clients know that they will do various takes in a session anyway of different emotions so the demo is simply to hear their lines in your voice.
  3. Dropbox or email; ideally the voice pops it into dropbox so that the client can just send the links all together.
  4. To produce or not to produce? Some voices do production and often will do takes with production. If you prefer this as a voice, please do but please always send a raw version as that is what the client is after.
  5. Patience; Choosing a voice client side can take a while due to many circumstances. Our voices are patient and understand that it can take a while for projects to get off the ground.

So, if you need a voiceover and you are after a bespoke demo then please get in touch Our ocean of voices would be happy to help.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

How do I get the best from a Voiceover Artist?

Today we had a fantastic session with a client and voice actor. Maybe it was the stars being aligned, maybe it was the summer weather or maybe it was a collaboration with all parties completely on board with the objective.

The session was like any other session here at the Big Fish Media HQ. The client had sent the final signed off script over a week before and on checking on the voice actor's availability booked them.

When the time came, the voice-over was in the booth, already prepared with script and annotations in the margins. They had read the copy and understood the emotional position, the pivot point and the aim of the copy.

Being able to lift of all the nuances of the content and convey that to an invisible audience is quite a talent and one that our voices are able to do with ease.

The client was also on hand and understood the copy and what they needed from the voiceover artist. They had written the copy so that it made sense to speak and had directed sessions before.

As with every voice over session, our duty engineer asked the client to go through the aim and objectives of the video production so that the voice would understand the voice over genre.

Despite a technical script both client and voiceover developed an emotional intention that was perfect for this job.

Why was the session such as success ensuring both voice and client were happy with the results?

1. Timely and Signed off Scripts : In this way the client can be sure that they have the final version which is necessary for the voice to practice with. Too many changes late on mean that everyone gets confused and mark ups can lead to more confusion.
2. Voice actor talent : Quick to inform of their availability and as they are both talented and professional, they know how to prepare for a session, with breathing exercises as well as sight reading skills.
3. Client communication : The client understood how sessions work and what words and emotional stances the voice needed to hear to place their voice in that role.

The result? A great session with all the takes the client was after in the time they needed. The voice over was happy as they were able to add in their years of experience of this technical subject and know how to elevate the copy from just reading to story telling.

If you would like to have one of our voiceovers to engage your target audience with your brand, product or service then please contact us - we would be happy to help!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Why should I use a Voiceover?

Lately we have had such an avalanche of jobs that we took some time to sort the scripts out. When we checked them all we found an encyclopedia of information.

Our voiceovers have narrated everything from financial forecasts, animal antics and even the Changing of the Guard as part of a London Tour. We love getting such a variety of copy.

This month alone our voiceover artists have been leaders of industry, Mindfulness Managers, Automobile agents and so much more.

As we sort through the pile of scripts we have information that not only would stand you well in a pub quiz (Do you know the century when the concept of Emotions was documented?) but information that expands your mind.

Our voiceover actors acknowledge the importance of the words they read out loud, knowing that it will be for an audience that has to connect directly to the information in front of them.

From blockchain arrangements and medical marvels, they each know that what they say must be understood by the listener, conveyed with the correct emotion. It ensures that the audience engages with the visual, text and product.

We have seen pretty much everything in our scripts and we have learnt a few things about the information in scripts. With this in mind we felt a rundown of the best 5 things we have learnt from the copy we have seen:

  1. Omnipresent Voice Actors: We have voiced pretty much every single industry, product, brand and service. Our voices can be heard globally
  2. Expect the unexpected: Either a script will be changed at the last minute or words may be asked to be said in a different way than you are used to, simply to cover all option bases.
  3. Pivot Points: All copy will have pivot point from a serious message to fun and/or back again. Content usually turns on a penny and so the voice must be able to see this and voice accordingly.
  4. Check copy: Always check that the script is the correct one before a voiceover session. Our voices can sight read but it is always best to give the voice a chance to read the lines, especially if they are verbose and using technical language.  
  5. Information: Copy and content are there to provide information, to tell a story, to get a message across. As the audience is made up of multi learning methods (visual, audio, kinaesthetic etc) then give them as much help as you can. Include both text, visuals and audio to ensure you touch and engage them on the level that works for them.

We find it incredible that content in the right context can make words jump off the page and engage consumers. To choose your next voice for your audio project then please get in touch.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

How Should I behave in a Voiceover session?

With our fantastic voiceovers as well as our great clients we school of fish here at Big Fish Media, pride ourselves on running effective, targeted and quick voiceover recording sessions.

We are lucky that our voices are experienced and know how to take on every challenge from verbose direction to even power cuts – we’ve seen it all.  

What should a voice do during a session?
When you are in a recording session in person or down the line from another studio there are several golden rules.

1.       Be prepared – sleep well the night before, do vocal warms ups, drink water and eat well. As you know you have a session that day, avoid going out the night before (we can always tell), avoid milk and dairy produce, avoid chocolate and avoid caffeine.
2.       Be prompt – goes without saying but if you are going to be late call or text or send a carrier pigeon to let us know. Arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed.
3.       Read the script – if you can and you have got the script (which sometimes isn’t the case – we know this happens) then please read it out loud at least twice to get your chops around the words. If you receive the script there and then before the session, get there early and read out loud as a level check for both the engineer and you.
4.       Listen – yes our voices can read out loud but what they do most impressively is actually listen, assimilate direction and then speak. Stop, think, speak. From directions in a session to directions to a studio, stop and think and then act.
5.       Be nice – Nice? Yes, you are more likely to get repeat work by being both nice and professional. This also means avoiding touching the microphone. Just. Don’t. Touch. It!

And one last thing, if you are sick or other wise indisposed please let the clients know asap. We encountered an incident where the voice was sick and couldn’t make the session. It took over 5 different companies and over 10 people to sort out another voice for the end client. We have amazing relationships to pull off such a feat but it could have been more easily avoided if the original voice had let us know the day before instead of being late to their session.

What should a client do during a session?

Many of our clients are experienced and know how to direct. With others, we guide them as they may be inexperienced and not know how to direct the voice.
1.       Be prepared – ensure that you have read the script or written it properly, we have had many a session interrupted when the client reads the script or rather hears it read by our voices and then realises it makes little sense.
2.       Listen – what should you listen for? Pace/style/overall melody. The voice should match the tone of your brand and service.
3.       Direct – if you need to make a note for the voice then try and put yourself in their shoes, how would you convey a change of pace/style? What words or images would you use? How would you suggest picking up the pace but without it sounding too fast?
4.       Be nice – being a good client ensures that the voice your use will want to do a good job. They will do a professional job but being nice ensures they enjoy the job and that will be heard on the recording session.
5.       Use the time wisely – you have an hour but how many takes are you after that you can realistically work with? How many final Call to actions do you want in different styles?

If you need a voiceover and you think we can help then just call, the Big Fish Media team!