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Tuesday, 27 January 2015 00:00

Both Sides of the Fence 2: Dear Production

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The grass is always greener they say… Over the last year, I’ve had more and more chances to see things from more than one side… 13 plus years with CBS Radio, AND I’m now taking on freelance Voice Over clients (thus the two sides).

I wouldn’t change a moment with CBS, I’ve worked with some of the best Voice Over artists, programmers, and yes some astoundingly suburb Market Managers/GMs and don’t plan on stopping as long as they will have me. And am having a blast being the voice for some amazing stations, big, small, near and far away.

Dear Production/Imaging/Programmer Director person:

  • Voice guy/gal gives me: Too much “extra” stuff OR doesn’t give me any “wild lines”
  • DON’T think they are sloppy, can’t read it right the first time, OR is lazy. Different stations want different things… Some want all the outtakes, others only want one take.
  • DO communicate with them, letting them know what you want. Most VO people will do their best to give you it.
  • Voice guy/gal is a “one trick pony”
  • DON’T ever assume that’s true!
  • DO give good copy notes! For example asking for something “edgy”, does that mean you want them to be breathy, quiet, with a darkish mood and a smile? Does that mean you want a dispassionate read with a bit of a bite? Do you want a raw, gravel, grrrrr-ish read? Be specific, give examples and most often you can get way closer to what you want.
  • DO Try to ask for it a different way, if you asked once (they may not have gotten it, but thought they did… Voice people are not mind readers, just because they can read
  • True story, I had a consultant AND a PD go on and on about how one, very very high profile VO guy was a “one trick pony”, but they were shocked at the reads I got out of him… Shockingly this voice guy, is considered universally  one of the voices with the biggest range, and BEST ACTING of almost any other voice… John Willyard!!!!! So before you pigeon hole voice “X” that way, work with them… you’ll be amazed at what you get!
  • Voice guy/gal X keeps messing up pronunciations/ dates OR Voice guy/gal takes way too long to get me the script!
  • DON’T think they are not BUSY too and/or don’t care. They are and do.
  • DO check what you are giving them.
  • Pronunciations: Give them a GOOD guide, and if it’s real tough, send them an mp3 of it!!!! Here in Detroit for example there is a road called “Gratiot”… How to you think you should say that?!?!?!!! Try before reading on… I’ll wait……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Answer: “Gra-shit”, yes, honestly! If you’re from Detroit that seems obvious, and it’s hard to think of anyone saying it wrong, which is exactly why you need a guide for the VO, because saying it wrong is not an option on air!
  • Dates/Small boo boos: Most often, on both sides of the fence, mistakes are caused by rushing, rushing is caused by long and/or late scripts (not just yours!). Sending a script with an oops, and/or reading one that way can be avoided by slowing down just a bit and double checking (on both sides), and eliminating clutter that causes confusion. For example a script and email that includes a start date and time, due date and time, and multiple updates on each of multiple scripts that you need “ASAP”, can all lead to OOopses… Plus are you sending it to them at their busiest time? (see below)

They take too long: Are you sending it to them at their busiest time? Just like someone walking in during a request show to talk about a sales pitch, or dropping a new full produce commercial on you at 5pm on Friday and expecting You to stop everything… sometimes we Prod people do that to Voice Over folks without knowing. Give them the benefit of the doubt, you would want it too.

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