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VOICE ACTING
The 'Best Friend' Read: How To Sound
Natural When Voicing 'Announcer' Copy
January 18, 2017

By Hugh Klitzke
Casting Director and Coach

Hugh MacLeod (great first name), cartoonist and author of Evil Plans (great title) wrote in one of his cartoons:  

"If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.”

There is great irony in this statement for me, because I remind people in classes all of the time that you cannot, not, NOT sound like an announcer when reading "announcer” copy and expect to be hired to work in the year 2017.

And yet - the copy is still written like, well, announcer copy.  

So what do we do?  

We talk to people we know. We make it as personal and connected as possible. And we imagine a reason to talk to someone, say - your best friend.   

YOUR BACKSTORY ...

Q: Who am I talking to?  
A: Drew - my best friend.  

Q: Why am I talking to him, and not Tony?  
A: Because Drew doesn’t have kids (or a girlfriend) and Tony does.  

Q: Where are we?  
A:  My kitchen.  

Q: Why not at Drew’s place?  
A: Because I’m sharing the beer I really like with Drew in my place on a weeknight. Because Drew doesn’t have somewhere else to be. He has the time…  

NOW VOICE THIS ...

VO:  Hey -  if life were perfect, magazines would never smell like perfume, dogs would walk themselves, and algebra would really come in handy. Well, look on the bright side, at least there’s AMSTEL LIGHT. It has only 95 calories, but you still get real imported taste. You don’t give up a thing. Who says nothing’s perfect? Amstel Light.
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ABOUT HUGH
Hugh P. Klitzke is studio manager and voice casting director for a leading bi-coastal talent agency, who in more than a decade has directed over 115,000 auditions for all voice over genres. Based in New York City, he is also a coach specializing in teaching voice over for actors, and blogs at voiceoverfortheactor.com, a twice-weekly blog with helpful voice acting tips.  


Web: www.hughpklitzke.com
Email: VO4TA@voiceoverfortheactor.com
Blog: www.voiceoverfortheactor.com

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Comments (4)
Drew
1/23/2017 at 12:25 PM
While all those suggestions are great (and they work!), I wouldn't consider THAT particular copy as "announcer" lines. They were already written in a conversational tone - Haha!

The tough part comes when you're approaching a script that sounds nothing like "conversation' - a script that's laden with technical or medical terms, for example.
Dave Harper
1/18/2017 at 1:22 PM
Can't remind us old pro's enough, not to sound like old pro's.
Quickest way out of that bag is to ditch the earphones and forget about voice and feel the message.
Tom Cupp
1/18/2017 at 9:22 AM
Good tips! Along the same line, what's the backstory? Or, what was happening with you two just before the recording began?
Howard Ellison
1/18/2017 at 6:50 AM
That's really helpful, Hugh.

Indeed, that script is clearly a copywriter's effort to 'write natural.' Not the worst example, fairly average. The marketer's constraint, I suppose, is to get the selling points across in 15 seconds, or maybe 20. Very few playwrights, even, fully succeed in writing true-to-life dialogue - so again it is up to the performer to create the illusion.

Who's for a beer?
Back to Articles
Terry Daniel and gang - lotsa info and laughs!
Scoop up this money-making advice from John Melley...
With Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano - check it out!