What and How?
Most people cannot comprehend the fact that just reading aloud words
written by somebody, in other words doing a voice over is actually a
job, and a highly specialized one at that! Speaking is something we
all do all the time! So what is the big deal about doing a voice
over? Can’t any can one of us who probably has a good voice become a
professional voice over talent or a voice artist?
Small wonder, that every next person feels he can bid for what is
famously known as “the best job in the world!” Better still,
moonlight in the voice over industry at leisure, whenever he/she can
take time off from his main profession, be it a doctor, an engineer,
a stock-broker or a museum curator!
Unfortunately, it does not work that way.
Like every successful professional, a voice over artist needs to
feel a burning passion for his job, a single-minded focus on his
work and plenty more…. as we shall see..
And yet if using your voice well comes naturally to you, and you
have made it big in the voice over industry, you might still find
yourself wondering secretly at what the big deal is about? After
all, you are just “mouthing” words, so to speak!
BUT, is it really so? It takes just one sitting for a novice in
front of a microphone to realize what it all is about. “Is that me?
Gosh, I sound so different!” is the crestfallen reaction more often
So what is it that makes a voice sell? Several things-
A voice that has a microphone “presence”
Clear diction and correct pronunciation
A sincere tone
Vocal acting skills that give credibility to whatever be
Personal style (in certain genres of narration)
And above all a passion for speaking.
Can one train to imbibe the above mentioned attributes of a good
voice over talent? Well, to an extent, yes, ///apart from what you
are born with. Every city offers various kinds of training for
individuals looking at doing voice overs professionally. But
remember, your best teacher is your own ears.
Listen to others – their plus points and even more
essentially their negative points. Record and listen to
your own voice and evaluate your performance on the
measure of lucidity of communication, clarity,
Muster up a sense of wonderment and curiosity for the
text that you are reading.
Be relaxed but not necessarily natural, as doing voice overs is, in
the final analysis, make believe and acting of sorts.
In the past fifteen years, with the exponential growth of
audio-visual media, including Internet, the need for
audio content has grown beyond imagination. The
number of people pursuing voice recordings as a full-
time profession is increasing by the minute.
The good thing today is that one can find a niche suitable to one’s
own specific talent.
1. Voice Overs: A pleasant, preferably sonorous voice.
A voice wherein the personality of the speaker does
not stand out, but a certain style, microphone
presence is essential. Radio and TV commercials,
Industrial Corporate and Documentary narrations
come under this category
2. Voice Acting: Feature films
dubbed in world languages
for international distribution provide an ever growing
market for voice talents with a penchant for acting.
3. Radio Jockeys: This is
essentially a personality
based space. No dulcet voice quality or crystal clear
clarity here. It is about youth and rebellion, all
spewed out in contemporary lingo.
4. Yet another area to explore is TV and stage
Presentations / anchoring. Here, how you look is as
important as – if not more than – how you speak.
If you write your own lines and have a sense of
humor you can go places.
For a well rounded and lasting career in this field, it helps to be
versatile and not stick to just any one of the above genres –
whether it be narration, IVRs, prompts, corporate video, elearning
A sound knowledge of your language of work and a flair for languages
in general - particularly in a multi-lingual country such as India -
goes a long way in building a durable career.