According to WiseGeek.com, a voice over, often abbreviated VO in script notation, is a narrative technique in which an unseen actor's lines are heard over visual elements in a movie or commercial. The narrator of a documentary or the announcer introducing a talk show host would be considered a voice over artist. By eliminating the need for a human spokesman, more time can be spent showing the product or visually setting up the storyline of a movie. During the introduction sequence of the film To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, an adult actress provides a voice over to help set the film in her childhood.
A talented voice over artist can have a very long and lucrative career, but there is a significant amount of competition for assignments. Many screen and television actors with distinctive voices are highly in demand for commercial voice over work. Some exude an authoritarian voice over quality, notably British actor Patrick Stewart. If Patrick Stewart provides a voice over for a particular product, the target audience should sense an overall feeling of distinction and quality craftsmanship. A different voice over artist, such as the late Mason Adams, would provide a warmer, folksier tone for products such as Smucker's Jelly.
Voice Over Talent:
- Sometimes a line may be changed if it proves too difficult to read or runs over the time allotted, but more often than not, a voice over artist must create a unique sound from whatever the client wants to emphasize in the commercial. Voice over work is generally found through open auditions, talent agency representation or an introductory voice reel containing the candidate's best work to date.
- You will also want to make a demo tape that you can send to potential employers or talent agents to illustrate your abilities and demonstrate your voice-over talents. Then find local opportunities for you to get experience with voice-over work, or find an agent to represent you to larger businesses that will help you continue in your career.
- Some people train in traditional acting, others have had specific voice-acting training, and a few people come to the business naturally talented. Many voice-over actor parts are located near major recording venues, but some actors can make a living outside big cities. Now, many voice talents even do their work from home as long as there's internet connection available
- Then find local opportunities for you to get experience with voice-over work, or find an agent to represent you to larger businesses that will help you continue in your career.
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