What makes a good voice over?

As one of the experts for Voices.com I will be answering this question next week. This got me thinking…..

What specifically makes one VO better than another?

Well, it’s the Secret Sauce.

Similar to a tasty bbq, key ingredients make it extra mmm’ mmm’ good. The fact is, if your voice over doesn’t have these ‘ingredients’ it won’t be as good. It’s that simple.

A good voice over must:

  1. Move the listener emotionally

  2. Feel trustworthy or relatable

  3. Not repeat patterns

  4. Have high quality production

  5. Be the voice of the client

Let’s discuss…

  1. Move the listener emotionally. A good VO must cause the listener to feel something emotionally. It must leave them feeling:

Commercial – The urge to purchase or take action
eLearning – Inspired to learn
Audiobook – Engaged in a story
Video game – Wanting to fight for the needs of a character or take action

  1. Feel trustworthy or relatable. The voice must be something the listener can buy into. The voice can’t sound ‘off’ or be too emotionally distant (unless the copy is designed that way, such as playing an evil character).

  2. Not repeat patterns. Natural speech doesn’t have continuous repetitive patterns. Things such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics and emotional content vary when we speak in normal speech. They should also vary in the VO.

  3. Have high quality production. Recording quality and editing skills matter. For example, if requested by the client, breaths should be minimized. There should be no awkward or jagged cuts. Also, extraneous noises such as fans or other noises should be minimized.

  4. Be the voice of the client! A good voice over expresses the client or writer’s intentions. It’s important to understand the goal or meaning of the copy. So often voice actors start reading, focusing on how ‘good’ their voice sounds without really understanding the copy. This ends up sounding empty and impersonal which doesn’t represent the client.

So, now you know the secret sauce! I hope you have fun cooking up your next VO batch.

Here’s to making it mmm’ mmmm’ good!


contact: rachel@bigbitestudio.com

Voice Over Expert Rachel Alena

Thanks for reading this. I hope it was helpful!

I’m a national voice talent who brings over 25 years of experience in voice acting to my clients and students. I’ve been a voice over coach for more than 9 years for private students, talent agencies and universities. I’ve also worked as a talent agent.

My voice has been heard on thousands of narrations for clients such as Disney, Microsoft, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential.

As an expert in genres such as Commercial, eLearning, Animation, Audiobooks and more, I have a broad understanding of the voice over world as well as the business of voice acting.

Providing private voice over training for voice acting students and corporate communicators around the world. I’m also an expert for Voices.com .

Feel free to reach out to me directly regarding voice acting or voice talent coaching! I can’t wait to chat with you.

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