Hello and welcome to my blog. I am a Russian voice over artist based in London. I love to work with my voice, as I have done working as a TV and radio presenter in Russia and as a voice over artist in UK. It is that genuine feeling of satisfaction when you can give everything you have got and listen back to the finished product, always striving for perfection. And perfection is not something that I take lightly. Do take your time to look around my site and listen to my demos. And if you have a project in mind, drop me a line.
Of the world’s around 6,500 languages, UNESCO believe that up to half are critically endangered and may pass out of use before the end of this century.
Immediately we think of remote Himalayan valleys or the highlands of Papua New Guinea, bucolic rural villages where little known languages are still spoken by handfuls of speakers.
But languages can die on the 26th floor of skyscrapers too.
New York City is one of the most linguistically rich locations on earth, the perfect location to conduct research on endangered languages.
A recent Census Bureau report notes that in the United States, the number of people speaking a language other than English at home increased by 140% over the last 30 years, with at least 303 languages recorded in this category.
Studio Engineer Tim O’Donoghue has recorded enough voice-reels to know everything about making a first impression. We think he’s one of the best people to dish out advice, so we decided to turn the microphone on him…
Surely a producer can hear what I sound like on the phone. Why do I need a voice-reel?
A reel really helps to show that you are capable of delivering a finished product. It lets a producer judge what your voice sounds like in the right context and proves that you are capable of handling yourself in a recording environment.
Right, I’ve booked an appointment at a studio. What should I prepare? This depends on the type of reel. For a Commercial reel typically we’re looking for six scripts showcasing different types of read plus a short piece of narrative to show what your undirected voice is like. The six scripts can be picked from TV or radio, but radio scripts tend to work better in an audio–only reel for obvious reasons so avoid TV scripts with sight gags. Listen out for products that you can genuinely imagine your voice selling. A good engineer can help you with suggestions in the session, but it is important to think about this yourself before you get in the studio – if you have a clear idea of what type of voice you are and what type of work you are looking to get then you are more likely to succeed!
Celebrity voice-overs have been a part of the advertising world for decades. The phenomenon usually occurs when a big star becomes the voice of a campaign, but seems to do so without any fanfare. Julia Roberts was the voice of AOL in the mid-2000s, and Tom Selleck did AT&T ads two decades ago. Gene Hackman was the voice of Lowe’s for many years before people even realized it. In many cases, the celebrity voice had been directed to sound more “announcerly,” which obscured the famous voice’s familiarity to viewers.
But in today’s advertising environment, where getting attention is harder than ever, the celebrity voices marketers are using are not only more publicized, but the celebs themselves are encouraged to connect with viewers using their natural talents.
Other recent examples of high-profile and familiar voices doing commercials are Tim Allen for Chevrolet and Campbell’s, Matt Damon for TD Ameritrade, Catherine Keener for Chrysler, Jon Hamm for Mercedes-Benz and Robert Downey, Jr. for Nissan. Those heralded hires go along with folks who have been in the VO game for years. That gravelly voice you hear on Duracell and Hyundai ads? That’s Jeff Bridges. The deep voice extolling the virtues of GMC trucks? Will Arnett. The tough-sounding guy talking about The Home Depot? Ed Harris. And the smooth, authoritarian voice in Acura ads? None other than James Spader.
Why do big stars do these campaigns? Well, for one it’s a relatively easy gig. “I think a lot of celebs are kind of realizing that it’s a relatively low time commitment and image commitment way to make some money in commercials,” says Sean Bryan, McCann’s co-CCO. “In other words, it doesn’t take a ton of time as opposed to being an on-camera spokesperson, it doesn’t impact the way people feel about you that much to be a voice.”
The Christmas season is a merry one for voice talents, as clients request more holiday greetings and winter updates to entertain their captive callers. “It gets very busy because people want specifics. They want to change the music on their program to have holiday music,” said Tom Kane, a voiceover artist and former radio personality at Magic 102.7 FM in the late 1980s.Kane is one of several South Florida voiceover artists who make a living narrating ads for local and national businesses — and they say companies seek out their services to avoid having idle callers and potential customers hear generic recordings or gasp! radio silence during their hold time. Some messages promote the business’ history, while others inform listeners about new sales and products.”They want us to make it a little personal,” Kane said. “We try to get out a message, a personality of the business with their on-hold program. We want it to be innate to that company.”