How Would You Describe Your Voice?
Some Tips For Reality In Your Marketing
July 8, 2015
By Gary Terzza
Voice Talent and Coach (UK)
Now, it may seem like a minor thing, but in voice overs a voice description is essential. How would you describe how you sound to a stranger?
I must admit I find it difficult to describe my own voice.
In fact it's my agent who came up with the words for me. She suggested something along the lines of "Intelligent, factual reader."
Of course, it does not mean I am an intelligent person! It is simply one person's perception of my voice. But it is a very useful handle to have.
Let's have a look at some adjectives that could be useful for describing your own voice:
PROBLEMS WITH DIY DESCRIPTIONS
But one of the problems of doing your own description is it can end up sounding like a cheese or wine! On occasion, the attributes end up like a restaurant menu.
It's also very easy to use cliches. Sometimes you have no choice to use a cliche in order to accurately describe your voice, but try not to if you can.
My pet hate is Sexy. A lot of people like to describe their voice as sexy, but I'm never quite sure what that means, exactly. It conjures up different images to different people, of course. It is too subjective, value-laden and hackneyed.
The other overused adjective is Professional. What does that mean? To me, professional means not being an amateur. Things like turning up to the studio on time or crafting your work to a very high standard and getting paid for the job. I don't quite know what that means in terms of of describing a voice. It's too vague, really, and very subjective.
The other thing is to think about is age. What age is your voice?
Remember, your real age and your voice age may be two totally different things. You could be 30, but your voice may sound, 20s or teens, or it may sound, 40s or 50s.
ASK OTHERS TO LISTEN
It's important to try and get objective opinions.
For example, record a few spoken vocal samples and then ask friends and family to sit down, put your recording on the speakers or smartphone and make notes.
They can then scribble down some useful adjectives.
I think that's a good way to get ideas about your voice from those who know you best.
ASK ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If you really want an objective opinion, use social media. Post your recording on to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Just say, "Hey everyone. What does my voice sound like?"
You might get some interesting views. The important bit about that, of course, is you're getting people who've never heard you before. Never seen you. Also, it's better if you don't put your face on, because that always colors and tarnishes how they might perceive you.
HONESTY FOR PROMOTION
It's important to have a voice description. You don't need too many adjectives - it's about honesty, but at the same time there is a promotional element.
Obviously don't be negative. You need to be positive about it and give your voice a good thumbs up.
Be as accurate as you can. Make sure that a potential voice over client does not have a nasty shock. If they read a description saying the voice is "elegantly British" and when they listen to the showreel they hear a regional accent - well, that's not going to do the voice actor much good. You have deceived the listener.
Your voice description needs to match the reality of what your voice actually sounds like.
So, how do you describe your voice?
Gary Terzza is a UK voice over coach based in London. He is also a long established voice over artist with a client list that includes Channel 4, BBC, ITV, Pepsi-Cola, Symantec, BAE Systems and Hitachi.
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