As a voiceover, I receive a lot of scripts of from all sorts of industry types, genres, complexities; you name it, I’ve probably seen it and voiced it. For the most part, they’re usually very well written and engaging, as a lot of them will have been written by professional writers and/or PR or ad agencies, so it will flow really nicely when read.
On the odd occasion though, you do receive one that stands out, and not necessarily for the right reasons. It’s usually nothing that bad, at all; just a writing style that quite often works absolutely fine on paper when you read it to yourself, but when read aloud it can sound messy and clunky, as Paul Feig above talks about.
As Paul Feig states above, if it doesn’t sound good when read out loud, don’t expect a voice over artist to be able to improve it!
It can be anything from using phrasing that contains too many sharp consonants in a very short space of time, t’s, d’s etc. Or language that involves rapid changes in mouth shape etc – the equivalent I suppose of a guitarist sliding from one end of the fret board to the other continuously, in a short space of time!
Thankfully, fixing it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge – it’s just a case of finding the right combination of words that flow nicely together, words that dance off the tongue rather than trip off it cartoon-style! And that way, you’ll have a piece of writing, and, ultimately a voiceover, that sounds great, is easy to listen to, and engages your audience for the content it contains.
So the moral of the tale; if you have a project that needs voicing – read it to yourself, out loud. Does it flow well, or is it a challenge to read? If it’s a challenge to read aloud, it could well be a challenge to listen to for the audience as well.
Something to remember for the future…