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What To Do When The Voice-Over Script
Needs Correcting Or You Suggest A Tweak
April 27, 2018

By Rick Lance

Voice Actor

As a voice-over talent, you are hired to read the script provided to you by the client. In most cases, that is exactly what you will do. With the exception of the possibility of multiple takes, it will go smoothly.

However, there are times when the script is difficult to read in in certain places, or when you recognize a problem with the verbiage.

The dilemma of whether or not to mention your concern with the client is one that most voice-over artists will face during their career, and likely on multiple occasions.

It is important to understand, though, that you and the client share the same desire - a good, clean recording. So, if you note problems or difficulties with the script, it is definitely worth addressing them in a professional and tactful manner.


First and foremost, introduce the matter as a need for greater artistic direction. For example, ask questions about what you're reading:

Uncomfortable sentences or phrasing: If you are stumbling over a particular phrase, simply ask if there is room for some minor rewording to make the sentence easier to speak clearly.

Difficult pronunciation:
If the problem is with the vocabulary used - particularly if it is industry jargon - consider asking the client to record him- or herself saying the term, or to read it if in a live session, so you can familiarize yourself with the pronunciation.

Need choices? If the problem is one of reading preference (i.e., how to read numbers), if the script is a short one, consider providing multiple readings, so the client can choose which suits their vision best. If this is a repeating concern within the script, then ask for clarification.

The most important thing to remember is that you need not fear the client.

Asking questions is more apt to turn out a high quality product than trying to make clumsy verbiage sound natural.

A rule to always fall back on is: First record the script the best you can, as it is written. Then ask if you may record it another way as YOU see fit. That way, you may not "step on someone's toes" (like the copywriter's) but will merely add an optional take to the mix.
Rick Lance has been working as a voice talent since 1993, transitioning from singing demos and personal projects in Nashville's music business to voicing hundreds of commercials, then promos, narrations, character voices and more. His vocal style is described as Americana, the voice of the Heartland. He is currently the voice (narrator) of three hunting programs and one outdoor program on the Sportsman Channel and the Outdoor Channel. His client list includes Toyota, Harley Davidson, Sony Entertainment, Coca Cola, Life Care Centers of America, John Deere, Jordan Outdoor Enterprises and Sacred Seasons II. He has also become a leading voice for the industries of construction, manufacturing, energy production, trucking, agriculture/equine, outdoor sports, travel, community banking, finance and health care. And he is a colorful voice for film, television, museum and corporate documentaries. "I'm lucky to be working within my comfort zone," he says, "literally living out my voice acting life as an outdoorsman, horseman, weekend cowboy and working man, gentleman farmer on my six acre mini ranch with my horses, dogs, cats and my wife near Nashville."



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Comments (2)
Howard Ellison
4/27/2018 at 3:40 PM
Clear and constructive, thank you, Rick. Much writing that reaches me is far from expert. Long years ago, I learned text subbing for print from a ruthless wielder of blue pencil (yes actual pencil!). Always, copy could shed one third of its words with no lost accuracy or appeal. Less (okay, "fewer"!) is more!
However, I feel editing is a step too far - even though it boosts ROI in paid media. I offer a trained eye for typos and colloquialisms, if welcomed, and leave it at that.
Conchita Congo
4/27/2018 at 10:40 AM
Great advice. Fantastic timing as I was struggling with how to approach a client to explain awkward phrasing. Thank you.
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