A voiceover is born from an idea - whether it is a catchy commercial, a promotional video, an on-hold message, or a dramatic story. Let us assume for a moment that it’s a promotional video. The entity interested in the production of the promotional video conveys their idea to a writer. Once the relevant text has been written, whether by the entity itself or by a professional copywriter, the text is sent to the voice talent who will then record a suitable voiceover.
Up to this point, everything’s clear, but try to think what happens if a voice talent receives the following sentence to record: "Our company located in Rishon Lezion includes over five hundred professional employees and specializes in providing solutions for our many clients in Israel and around the world." Try reading this sentence out loud. Can you do it in one breath? If so, congratulations to your diaphragm, but it is likely that you had to take a small breath while reading.
The above sentence (a completely made-up sentence) contains 27 words, which is quite a bit for an average person to read. This is an excellent example of the dilemma voice talents are occasionally confronted with: The entity requesting the voiceover wants to include as much information as possible in a single sentence, but they forgets that a person has to read it perfectly. In other words, the provided text is not written well for voiceover.
Three useful methods:
- Remember that a person will be reading the text out loud - When you are composing the voiceover text, or if you are a voice talent who received a script to record, try reading it out loud. If you feel that the sentences are too long, try changing them so that they can be read in a comfortable and relaxed manner.
- Write in short sentences – In direct continuation to the previous point, it is recommended to write short sentences that will enable the voice talent to read them easily and comfortably. Writing shorter and simpler sentences will result in better a voiceover. Let’s go back to the example sentence above. If we split it up into shorter sentences, it will be much easier to read: "Our company located in Rishon Lezion includes over five hundred professional employees. We specialize in providing solutions for our many clients in Israel and around the world." Note that we inserted a period in the middle of the sentence and changed the wording, and now it is much easier to read.
- Use plenty of punctuation and hyphens - When you write, use appropriate punctuation and even hyphens. This will allow the voice talent to take a short breath while reading, and will even help convey the meaning to the talent better. Once again, let’s go back to our example in order to illustrate our point: "Our company, located in Rishon Lezion, includes over five hundred professional employees – and specializes in providing solutions for our many clients in Israel and around the world."
Written by Itzik Zayat
Translated by Voxxers