Unraveling Sofa Has Voice Over
Tie-In: A Lesson In Client Service
By Lisa Rice
There we sat. My lovely eight-way, hand-tied sofa and I.
Oh, the memories we’d shared. Morning devotions with tea. Lively visits with friends and family. Even a few all-nighters.
Yes, through sickness and health she’d been a constant.
Now her cushions were faded, tired and outdated.
However, her fabulous, sturdy frame gave me good reason to consider upcycling.
FOUND A DISCOUNT
Several trips to neighboring fabric stores yielded nothing. Then, a relaxing weekend away to a nearby state changed everything.
While window shopping, I spotted a fabric warehouse and before I knew it, 21 yards of discounted upholstery fabric were getting stuffed into the back of my diesel wagon.
Back home my haggard sofa’s transformation began. Because of a furniture factory layoff nearby, an accomplished upholsterer was secured.
DEAL WAS NO DEAL
Then came an unexpected call.
As the upholsterer began cutting and sewing, he noticed that the new fabric had an unraveling problem. Trusting his expertise, I knew his offer to bring a cushion to my home for closer inspection was of no use.
My deal of the day was done.
I thanked my fellow sofa aficionado, offered to pay him for his time to that point and hung up knowing I’d been saved subsequent grief and disappointment.
THE VO CONNECTION ...
What, you might ask, does this have anything to do with voiceover?
Ironically, the same day that my sofa dilemma began, I was set to begin voicing an e-learning project for a national pharmaceutical company.
These modules can be full of technical terms. I find myself reading sections three or four times just to wrap my head around what it means. After all, to "teach” such material the voice over must sound credible.
As the woodshedding began, several sentences didn’t read well.
Plurals popped up in the wrong places. Misused prepositions and dangling participles reared their ugly heads.
Experience has shown me that scripts like these arrive for various reasons. Either words and phrases were copied and pasted without final draft review or a legal department helped to transform what was once a fluid piece of copy into something choppy and difficult to read.
WHAT TO DO?
I was faced with two choices. Record the script as is, or hammer out the problem areas with the producer.
A phone call to my client identified the culprit.
The original script had been lost in translation. Add to that a complicated syntax and I chalked it up to just another day in the life of a voice actor.
We ended our conversation with a plan for each quandary to be voiced two ways. The first would be exactly as written, and the second would be the way it sounded best.
My client’s client would have options and future pickups would be headed off at the pass.
THE TIE-IN ...
Which brings me back to my sofa spiel.
Which upholsterer would you most likely hire? The one who saves you time and money up front or one who does a job just to get it done?
You’ll have to excuse me now; I’ve got some fabric shopping to do.
ABOUT LISA …
Lisa Rice landed her first job in voice over at the age of 18. She's worked as a writer, television and radio producer and on-camera talent. Her one-to-one broadcast interviews have extended from the White House and Capitol Hill to Nashville. She’s voiced commercials, narrations, e-learning projects, promos and telephone prompts for a wide range of customers including bareMinerals, Levolor, Nestlé, Bristol-Myers Squibb, PBS Kids!, Arm & Hammer, Walmart and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.
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My point is that some producers or clients don't want to hear anything about editing and prefer a voice over to read what they've been given to read with conviction. I've gone your route many times and offered clients a choice because I agree with you, but most of the clients here where I am in Japan (and I'm talking big name corporations now) just want their unintelligible version of the English language, or else...
As voice-overs, of course we'd like to perform great reading, logical scripts, but when the client wants only their own brand of jibberish and will hear of nothing else, I say we'd better put on our small station lilt and smile all the way to the bar.