Voice actor Chris Edgerly is back again with the fourteenth video in the #VONotes series and today he’s talking about voice acting in commercials! The #VONotes series is a video series designed to answer questions that you may have about the voice acting industry and it provides some great tips and references for aspiring voice actors everywhere! If you missed the previous videos in the #VONotes series you can catch up on those here.
Voice Acting in Commercials: Commercial Voice Over Work #VONotes
Today on #VONotes I’m gonna talk about commercials!
Commercials are a very broad category in voice acting which can include TV commercials, radio spots, things on the internet, even stuff that plays in front of movies!
TV commercial VO tends to be a bit flatter than radio where the voice has to leap out at you and command your attention because they don’t have the advantage of visuals and you have to pay special attention to the breakdown. That is, what they’re looking for in that spot! Do they want a drier read? Do they want something very energetic?
The words you see most commonly are “warm”, “confident”, “friendly”, “approachable”… There’s always a flavor of the month and you’ll hear some actor’s name get dropped. They’re looking for something like “this”…which is another way of saying they don’t wanna pay that person, they just want somebody that reminds you of them.
I’ve done quite a few commercials over my career and what I’ve found is a big help for me is my standup background. A lot of commercial copy is funny…or at least it’s meant to be, and getting the joke is key.
Here are some examples of spots that are definitely timed for laughs and then here are some that are more about a nice, dry, cool, confident read.
[Man 1]: “Let’s go Sparky!”
[Man 2]: “Okay.”
[Chris Edgerly Voiceover]: When it comes to antifreeze, your inner car guy knows only Prestone is Prestone.
Galaxy Camera Commercial
[Chris Edgerly Voiceover]: Since the invention of the camera, photographers have always faced tough challenges…like the photo bomber…
[Man 1]: “That’s not true…”
[Man 2]:”No, it’s not…”
[Chris Edgerly Voiceover]: Stop the excuses. When your feet hurt, your work suffers. Get the Timberland Pro Gridworks boot with anti-fatigue technology.
[Chris Edgerly Voiceover]: That’s why Purina Dog Chow is made with high-quality ingredients, including 23 vitamins and minerals to help keep them strong…Dog Chow strong!
[Chris Edgerly Voiceover]: Levi’s 501 CT, the next original.
Versatility is key…which is not to say that doing one thing well won’t take care of you because there are a lot of VO actors that do one thing really well and they work all the time!
A lot of radio spots will also have something they call “legal”. That’s the type of read that comes at the end of a lot of spots that have certain offers attached and there are limits to them. That’s another skill set completely and one that I’m only sort of capable at…
[Chris Edgerly practices legal speak]
The most important thing to keep in mind for commercials is: each piece of copy tells it’s own little story. Follow that breakdown, give it your best shot, and remember, timing, rhythm, find that punchline if it’s in there if it’s a funny spot. You have to know what you’re reading for and adjust!
Hope this has answered a few questions for you if you have more put them in the comments section below and hit that subscribe button so you can see more #VONotes as I make them!
…I can’t believe I got that!