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A few months ago I took a voice-over class, a one-night affair in which those of us in attendance got to learn what a voice-over artist does and had a chance to do a couple of recorded readings. The man who taught the class, Bob, was a professional voice-over artist and he took the recordings home to analyze. For those of us who wanted it, he promised he would give a review of our voices in regards to voice-over work. He said it would take a few weeks to get this done as the classes were more popular than he anticipated and he was running behind.

A few weeks turned into a few more weeks, which turned into an email or two saying, “We haven’t forgotten the review!”, which turned into months. The review slipped my mind.

Tonight I got a call from the voice-over company. My review was ready. I missed the name of the man calling, but it wasn’t Bob. Bob had told us he wouldn’t be the one calling because it would be less awkward for him to do an honest review if he didn’t have to deliver it. Perfectly understandable.

The man asked if I had a pencil and paper so I could write down Bob’s review. I grabbed the requisite implements and took notes.

According to Bob’s review, I had done a nice job overall with my readings. He described my voice as versatile, expressive, enthusiastic, exuberant, eager, emotional, wholesome, likable and pleasant. I missed one of the descriptive words, but I think it was energetic. He also said I had a natural storytelling quality to my voice.

The man continued with vocal details that Bob had noted. The tone of my voice is bright, golden, warm, clear and high. (Golden? Really?) My energy was just right; my emotion good, my smile good. (I had to ask about the smile thing. Facial expressions affect vocal quality. That’s why the smile was important.) My inflection (the peaks and valleys in my voice) need work. My pronunciation and articulation were good. My pacing was just right. My breath control was good, and I did well with coachability (i.e. I took instruction well).

The age range of voice-over work I could be expected to do is Adult, age 35 to 45. (That’s dead on.)

The man then gave me a list of the types of commercials (faster paced voice work for selling) and narrations (slower paced informational & narrative pieces) my voice would be good for. In the commercial category, I could do ads for family care, home improvement, health care, real estate, childcare, everyday fashion, in-store ads, and pet care supplies. In the narrative category, I could do corporate/industrial audio instruction, documentaries (particularly in nature and food), medical, telephone messages, educational software, and audio books (specifically self-help and romance).

The man then gave me a list of brands and products as examples of the kinds of things I could hawk doing voice over work. My list: Nissan, Toyota (they could use some help now, couldn’t they?), Century 21, IBM, Visa, Dell, Avon, Old Navy (or, as we like to call it, Old Gravy), Betty Crocker, Crystal Light, Lunchables, Sara Lee, Green Peace, recycling, Beneful, Hearts pet products, JC Penney, Kmart, Swiffer (their commercials featuring old mops pining for their owners are memorable, but odd), Aqua Fresh, Crest, Wilson’s Sporting Goods, Expedia, Holiday Inn and United Air. (I am SO not tagging each of those for this post!)

Having my voice reviewed by someone who doesn’t know me, but who should know voices, is a strange experience. The review is way more positive than I expected. (Golden? Really?) Which makes this blog post sound like bragging. I was very pleased to hear that my voice is appropriate for audio books and documentaries. I’d like to turn Greenville into an audio book at some point, which is the main reason I took the voice-over class.

On a side, but still related, note, I popped over to Google to see if I could find the proper spelling of audio books (with space or without? – both appear correct) and found a website that offers free audio books from the public domain. It’s called LibriVox and it’s seeking volunteers to record chapters of audio books. How sweet is that? I may have to investigate further.

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