Tips for Good Voiceover Script Writing

Written by Ian. Posted in Blog, Generic Ramblings, Voiceover

Getting the best out of your voiceover

voiceover script

Choosing the right voice for your production is clearly an important decision, but so is the quality of your voiceover script. It’s the voiceover’s job to bring life to your words, but you can help the performance by ensuring the script makes life easy for the VO..!

I work with scripts every single day, some written by award winning creatives with many years of experience under their belt, and some by complete first timers thrown into a situation. The aim of this post is to offer a few tips when writing for a VO, based on my own experience of what helps me perform better. This is by no means an exhaustive list but merely a few pointers that certainly make life easier for me, and hopefully others too.

1. Be conversational

Fairly simple one but ideally you’re going to want your narration to sound natural. Always try to write in a conversational manner and basically write as you would expect someone to speak. Or at least write using words of how you expect the voiceover to sound. This doesn’t have to make a heavy subject lighthearted, that all comes in the delivery. What is important is that the words flow well conversationally.

Perhaps once you’ve written your script, read it out loud a number of times. If there are sections you find hard to navigate, likely the voiceover will too, so it’s always worth trying this test. This goes for any tongue twisters which may have found their way in too, if it’s possible to use alternative words which flow better then perhaps worth considering. You may also notice places where you need to take a breath, in which case don’t be afraid to add in some punctuation. Voiceovers need to breathe too, in fact I personally insist on it..!

2. Less is more

One of the biggest problems comes when scripts are overwritten. You have a 2 minute film, and 3 minutes worth of script! Can you say the same message with less words? On Twitter you have just 160 characters to make your point, and with a bit of thought you can get your point across. Leaving some breathing space in your script allows things to flow more steadily, and sound less manic. It also allows the voiceover to slow the pace down a touch too, which will probably give you a better quality of read. For a laid back read aim for 150 words for a minute of audio, and a normal pace read would be around 180 words per minute on average.

3. Make it easy on the eye

Choosing a clear font and some basic page formatting can help immeasurably..! I’ve had hand written scripts scanned and emailed to me, and some using font type and size you need a microscope to see. Formatting your script in either a PDF or Word document with a nice clear font (Ariel always works well) a nice size (probably no less that 12pt) and double spaced will make things a lot easier to read. Voices will be able to increase the font size if they need, but certainly having things laid out nice and clearly helps the sight reading process. It also provides extra space to make notes relative to the script too.

4. Avoid all doubt

If there’s one thing that trips me up when reading a script, it’s being unsure of a pronunciation. If there are any unusual words, names or acronyms, always include who you would prefer this to be said phonetically. For example Keighley in Yorkshire would be Keith-Lee, and NATO would be Nay-Toe. Perhaps that’s a slightly obvious example but you get the idea. In fact where names are concerned, feel free to just write it as you would say it in the first place. Remember, with a voiceover it’s all about how it sounds not how its spelt.

The same goes for numbers, be clear. For example with 1500, do you want me to say fifteen hundred or one thousand five hundred?

Sometimes I work with other nationalities and words can be complex, sending an audio clip of you saying the word is also a great help.

5. What’s the direction?

The clearer you are about direction and how you imagine it should sound, the better.

Be sure to include the kind of feel you are hoping for with this read. Will it be upbeat or conversational? Relaxed and formal? Wacky and straight? Giving an indication of the mood you are hoping to create really helps to ensure you get the read you’re hoping for. The same goes for the accent, do you want something quite neutral, or more regional? If you already know the music you are intending to use then it’s always handy to hear that too. Plus if you have heard a style on a showreel then point it out, it all helps to give you what you want.

6. Double check the voiceover script

Before you send the final script for voicing read through it one final time. Is everything there? Often one small missing word can spoil the whole production. It’s very hard to just insert the missing word  involves a re-take of the section which could be an expense to fix. Expect for a voiceover to read the script exactly as provided so take care to avoid simple mistakes.

Hopefully these pointers help you on the way, of course if you have any other questions, or would like help with scriptwriting for your project them don’t hesitate to get in touch!

And to hear some audio samples of the final product sounds, you can find my showreels here

Max Verstappen & Exact

Written by Ian. Posted in Uncategorized

Virtual F1

Max Verstappen has enjoyed a tremendous Formula 1 season behind the wheel of his Red Bull car. But what has given the Dutchman the advantage? Well part of his success surely is thanks to the mixed reality software his partner Exact have created. Meaning we has the feel of racing the car, whilst getting to know each circuit without using a drop of fuel. This is important as real world practice and testing times are quite limited in the sport.

I’m proud to have been asked to provide the voiceover on a series of films looking behind the scenes at this technology. And you can see some of the results below.

 

We Buy Any Car Voiceover….?

Written by Ian. Posted in Blog, Generic Ramblings

We Buy Any Car Voiceover Pic

The questions the people are asking..

It’s a Thursday evening, the rain is hammering on the windows as well befits July in the UK. Before I head off to bed to dream of whatever comes to mind this time (The other day I dreamt I accidentally torched a local tourist attraction) I have just had a quick look at the stats for this website.

It’s really interesting reading actually and fascinating the amount of information that our friends at Google collect. I can tell you things like are you reading this on a desktop computer, or a phone? Are you using an Apple device, or a Windows machine? Let me tell you on that score it is bad news for Bill Gates, as only 4% of visitors to my website use one of those, it’s all Apple and Samsung here it seems!

I also know which town you’re in, the colour of your front door, the names of your pets, and just what is in the top drawer of your bedside table. Ok, maybe not quite that much, but you get the idea of just how much some of the mega corporations we buy from must know about us, cos well they know what you buy and where you live for starters..

So, to the title question

Within all of this information Google have sent me is a list of search terms that people have entered into Google, and have subsequently clicked onto my site based on that. Sure you get all the voiceover terms you’d expect, but there was a bit of a curveball in there. One of the most common terms sending people to me over the past month has been “who is the voiceover for the We Buy Any Car advert”, referring to the WeBuyAnyCar.com series like this one…

Lots of people have been searching Google for the answer, and as people frantically search voiceover websites to work it out a fair few have headed here. If you’re one of them, welcome along, I have good news for you..!

In case you’re wondering, the voiceover for the We Buy Any Car commercial is not me (unfortunately), however to help you sleep easier tonight and to save you further searching, you will find the answer to the million dollar Google question is (Drumroll SFX)

 

JAMES CORDEN!

We Buy Any Car, James Corden

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re welcome!

Yorkshire Voiceover for Channel 5 Documentary

Written by Ian. Posted in Blog, Voiceover

Yorkshire Voiceover Channel 5

Yorkshire Voiceover

Recently I have provided a voiceover for a new Channel 5 mini series called Yorkshire: A Year In The Wild. It’s a beautiful look at the 4 different seasons in Britain’s biggest and of course I would say greatest county. You can hear me providing the Yorkshire voiceover for the competition promo which runs ahead of some of the commercial breaks. And hey if you enter then you too could find yourself VIP style in the ‘shire!

Watch again…

The show itself is over a period of 4 x 1 hour episodes, and if you would like to catch up you can watch again here.. http://www.channel5.com/show/yorkshire-a-year-in-the-wild/

Blog: Teesside Caravans TV Voiceover

Written by Ian. Posted in Blog, Generic Ramblings, Uncategorized, Voiceover

Teesside Caravans TV Voiceover

TV voiceover

It’s the time of year where everything is awakening from the winter slumber.. The Daffodils are appearing, buds breaking through on the trees, everything is gradually getting warmer.

Not least, Britain’s millions of caravaners are dusting down the ‘van ready for another season of get aways..!

Here’s a nice little commercial I have voiced which has recently aired in the northeast UK Tyne Tees region at the moment for Teesside Caravans. There’s a warm and friendly holiday vibe to this one, hope you enjoy!