As with most aspects of media production, when it comes to recording a voiceover, time is money. Here are some ways to save time by making it easy for your talent. Not only will these tips help save you money, they will allow your talent to give a more effective read.(1) Double Space your script.
Double spacing allows your talent to make corrections or notes between the lines. Double spacing is also easier to read.
(2) Use a Font With Serifs.
Fonts come in two basic styles - serifed and san-serifed. The "serifs" on the Times Roman font are there to guide the eye and make the text easier to read. Helvetica or Arial fonts (non-serifed) are intended to be used as titles. While Helvetica or Arial looks cleaner, with a more "graphic" look, it's actually harder to read. This font (Times New Roman) has serifs. This one (Arial) does not. And this is the standard Font for Hollywood scripts. It is -12-point Courier, which is a serifed font.
(3) Write Out Loud.
Be sure your writer actually speaks the words as they write. Otherwise the words will be written for the eye, instead of for the ear.
(4) Don't write in all caps.
Many years ago, the teletype machines used in radio and TV stations didn't have lower case characters, so the copy that the talent read was always in capital letters. As a result, some people mistakenly thought that the scripts were written all in uppercase because they were easier to read--a belief that has persisted to this day. This is wrong. Capital letters inform the reader that a sentence has started, that a particular noun is a proper one, or that a group of words is actually a title.
(5) Be careful with run-on sentences.
In written text, if a sentence is complicated, we can easily go back and re-read that sentence if we don't understand something. That's difficult to do with the spoken word. Also, when a sentence is long, your voice talent might need to take a breath mid-sentence, which disturbs the flow and the listener's comprehension. Always keep your sentences as short and direct as possible.
I'll see you at the next recording session!
Note: This Article was originally published in the newsletter from Travis Voice Services. It is used here with permission from the Author. Copyright (C) 2010 Travis Voice Services All rights reserved.
About the Author: Travis has been a member of the MCAi longer than he cares to admit. And he's been a voice talent even longer. Despite having only one name, he was recently honored to narrate the Los Angeles Philharmonic's virtual tour of Disney Concert Hall, which won a Telly award. Awards are not new however. He's narrated dozens of training programs for Honda, Mazda, Mercedes, The Los Angeles Fire Department, and quite a few other companies. Travis also works on TV and radio spots and documentary films, most recently doing the voices of George Washington and Cuban Revolutionary Ambrosio Gonzales (on separate films of course.)
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