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Voiceover? That’s the last thing you need!

I'm a professionally trained voiceover artist, broadcaster and copywriter. I have worked as a voiceover artist since 2013 on projects for films, radio & TV.

As a voiceover artist it can be really difficult to plan my work – because I hardly ever know what’s coming! The usual pattern is that I wake up on a Monday morning unemployed and wondering whether I’ll get any work that week, and by the end of the week I’ll have recorded several different projects for different clients – none of which I was necessarily ‘expecting’.

The reason for the lack of notice is because voiceover is generally the last thing that is added to a project. The filming and editing have largely been done, or the animation has been finished, and the last thing to do is add the voice. (However, you never want to set your video timings in stone until you’ve got the voiceover because it’s much easier to fit the pictures to the voice than the other way round, and it will sound much more natural).

Now, even though video/commercial/explainer makers know they are going to need a voice, it seems they tend not to engage one until the last minute! This means that voiceover artists will often receive frantic emails from production companies asking for something to be recorded and sent back that day because it’s a ‘rush job’…In the case of radio adverts it can literally be needed there and then, or within the hour.

There are exceptions of course. If a directed session is required then there might be a few days’ notice because the time slot has got to work for both parties (though I’ve also had directed sessions at 10 minutes notice). For longer projects like an e-learning course I might get a heads up that the script is coming my way – though it’s never actually certain until the day the script lands in my in-box and even then there is usually a short turnaround window.

All this means that as a voiceover artist I have to be really flexible! Sometimes things that I had planned to do (like writing this blog post for example) have to take a back seat whilst I complete whatever my clients need.

Oh, and you can bet that everyone suddenly comes out the woodwork wanting recordings when a) I’m going on holiday or b) I’m ill. Work is guaranteed to come flooding in in both those situations!

Luckily as I have a home recording studio I have the ability to turn work around quickly. It’s a short walk from my desk to my recording booth so I can often start straight away.

It would be nice though to get a bit more notice sometimes, so if you’re planning a project that requires a voiceover, although it’s the last thing you need, your voice talent would love it if you could let them know a bit more than an hour or two ahead…