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How To Take 'Announcery' Read
Out Of Voice Over Promo Copy
Note: The author presents a Commercial Intensive Voice-Over Workshop in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. Please click here for details, and then click the WORKSHOP tab.
By Rodney Saulsberry
Voice Talent & Trainer
One of the most annoying things about reading promo voice over copy these days is this current trend of not sounding like an announcer when the copy is obviously written for an announcer.
It seems like every VO direction I read lately has words like "not too announcery" and "non-announcerish."
If you check your dictionary, those two words don't exist. Producers and writers of commercial copy created this form of directional slang.
Here are some tips on how to take the announcer read out of your promo copy.
  • Don't articulate so much
  • More legato and less staccato
  • End each line going down or level
  • Make it more conversational
  • Don't shout
  • Less melody or variation throughout the line
  • Don't over sell
Let your voice follow the arrows at the end of each sentence.
First is the traditional announcer read. Notice how the lines end up or straight.
The seating on this plane is the most comfortable seating on a plane today.­ ­­↑
The cost to fly on this airline is the most economical in the industry. →
Join us and sit in the lap of air travel luxury.­ ↑
With more savings. →
More space.­ ↑
Free movies.­ ↑
And more friendly service. →
The choice is simple, pay less and fly with the best.­ ↑
Now, take the announcer read out. Notice how the lines end down or straight.
The seating on this plane is the most comfortable seating on a plane today. ↓
The cost to fly on this airline is the most economical in the industry. →
Join us and sit in the lap of air travel luxury. ↓
With more savings. →
More space. →
Free movies. →
And more friendly service. ↓
The choice is simple, pay less and fly with the best. ↓
A rhythm change is another way to take the announcer read out of promo copy.
Sometimes, the traditional announcer rhythm is fast, choppy and succinct with a marching tempo.
When you change the rhythm to a flowing trot-like gliding tempo, you bring a natural pace to the read that makes it more soothing and less frantic.
If I were to use playing drums as an analogy, I would say, use your brushes instead of your sticks. Think smooth jazz instead of up-tempo rock and roll.
But please don't totally abandon your ability to read announcer copy like a traditional announcer. A trend is just that a trend - and they are forever changing.
Rodney Saulsberry is one of the most sought-after promo announcers in the U.S., voicing promos for PBS FOX, CBS, ABC, CNN and the BBC. He’s promoted hit network shows like Dancing with the Stars, The Country Music Awards, The Grammys and several Tyler Perry theatrical and DVD releases. Also a top voice over coach, his next Commercial Intensive Voice-Over Workshop will be in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. Workshop attendance is limited to 12 students (link to details below).
Oct. 22 Workshop (click the WORKSHOP tab):
Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
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Comments (8)
Josh Murtha
9/26/2014 at 4:18 PM
Thank you for the information. I've just retired from the Arny after 20yrs and that whole time I've always wanted to get into VO work, but never knew how and really still really kind of don't, but I'll keep pushing on. My mother "RIP" always said I had the face for radio... :)
Lesa Vander Bie
6/25/2014 at 7:54 PM
Very helpful!! I love being taught by the best in the industry. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and expertise. I greatly appreciate it. :)
Cat Smith
12/2/2011 at 2:57 AM
I saved this in my "favorites" file so I can refer back when I get those "not announcery" requests. It's true... those usually are the ones written as if for an announcer!
Elizabeth Holmes
9/18/2011 at 2:55 PM
Rodney --

This is THE most helpful advice I've encountered to date on the topic of "announcerish" vs "conversational."

Thank you, so much, for breaking this down into manageable steps that can actually be practiced. Your music analogies are especially helpful as well.

Best wishes,
Elizabeth Holmes
Ann S. Utterback
9/15/2011 at 5:15 PM
I like what you suggest, Rodney! Very clear and easy tips to apply for that illusive conversational sound.
Andy Bowyer
9/13/2011 at 11:49 AM
My favorite scenario for this is the dreaded one-two punch:

Go faster, but sound conversational. *sigh*

Great pointers, Rodney. Thanks for sharing this!

Lisa Rice
9/13/2011 at 7:24 AM
Thanks for a great article, Rodney. I'm going to keep a printed version on my copy stand as a reference.
Peter J. Marx
9/12/2011 at 11:57 AM
Very helpful, thank you. But use of brushes is not limited to smooth (uninteresting!) jazz.
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