• The quintessentially British voice

Getting the best from a script.

Voice artists get scripts in all shapes and sizes, most are well crafted and considered, enabling the Voice Over to do the best possible job for their client.  However, there are a few which don’t do the client any favours and, in reality, harm their message.

Lets look at a few simple ideas which will make your script come to life and do beyond what you imagined.

Few people enjoy writing copy, so the temptation is to get it over and done with and throw it to the Voice Talent to sort out.  You can do better than that.

  1. Grab a coffee, forget the script for a few minutes, you will be amazed what you spot when you look again with fresh eyes.
  2. Think about what you really want to achieve.  Have you conveyed that to the Voice talent and are you sure they understand.?
  3. Do you want to direct the Voice during the session? its not as easy as it would seem.  A professional ,VO, will be happy for you do this. But wait a minute, if you have produced a clear and concise brief in the first place do you really want to bother?
  4. Mood and atmosphere.  It’s not enough to say. “It’s a straightforward corporate read” and hope the Voice Over knows what you want.  Is the read subtle, gentle and quiet or brash, exciting and fast?
  5. “More information out, better results back”   The more information you share with the Voice Over, the more you share your thoughts, the more the Voice over will help you.

It’s always great to have someone on your side. Someone who does the job day in – day out.  It’s also less stressful for you.  Why not make life easier for yourself?



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StephenRyder,adding audio gravitas to your media

I asked Tanya Rich (Richcraft.biz) to help me to produce a new showreel which would reflect my strapline, “Adding audio gravitas to your media”
I wanted a showcase that would demonstrate a quintessentially British voice; Mature, warm and trusted.

“So how did we achieve this?”

Well, unlike many “so-called” coaches who produce a mediocre piece which neither fits the brief nor does the voice any favours. Tanya will listen and improve your presentation before even thinking about producing a showreel.
How can a studio promise to produce something so important when they haven’t even met you, don’t know your strengths and rarely care?.

I’m delighted by what has been achieved. Take a listen, see what you think?

So, what next?

Were coming up to Christmas so I suspect that some “Jovial gravitas” is called for.

Santa’s voice is to be heard all over the place so back to the studio to record more for Soundcloud.

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Voice over diction.

We all want our reads to be understood by the listener. However, this is not as easy as it appears because we are competing with years of habit. Many,many years in my case.

1.”The” and “a”.
We pronounce “the” with a soft “e.” Pronounce “a” with a soft “a”. This is how we generally say these words in everyday conversation. Unfortunately, when reading scripts, we tend to over-enunciate and, use hard vowels.
One would imagine that over-enunciation would be a great way to cope with lazy diction. However, it’s not; in fact it only goes to highlight the fact that you’re reading from a script.

2. Slur words.
I had a terrible problem “slurring” my words. It drove me nuts, but no matter how many times I looked at a script I found it almost impossible to spot the words which were going to be a problem.
Remember that your voice over is often mixed with sound effects and music, so it’s not that easy to pick out slurred words anyway. Listeners rarely hang on your every word, no matter how much you may like them to do so.

At the “Edge Studios,” they suggest to look for multi-syllable words, break them into separate syllables and concentrate on each one, pronouncing each of them individually. For example, if “particularly” is particularly difficult to pronounce, pronounce it with a space between each syllable, like this:
Then, connect the syllables, while still concentrating on each one individually:
So ensuring that your delivery is clear enough for the most casual listener to understand.

3. Complicated “tongue twister” phrases.
When similar sounds are connected in a phrase they become “Tounge Twisters” usually because the scriptwriter concentrates on the message and not the delivery.
The problem comes when you attempt to connect the words.
So, break the sentence down into individual words and pronounce each word separately.
To illustrate the point, pronounce each word with a space between it, like this:
“The…Sensational …One…Day…Super…Sale…a.t…Sainsbury’s,…starting…this…Saturday…at…6!
Then, connect the words while still concentrating on each word individually:
“The sensational One-Day Super Sale at Sainsbury’s, starting this Saturday at 6 am!
If you want to get in some practice, because that’s all it takes, have a look at the Guilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Patter’ songs such as the “Lord Chancellors nightmare” or as the “Edge Studio” suggest:
• Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?
• Sally sells seashells by the seashore.
4. Over-articulation.
If you over articulate it will stick out like a sore thumb and sound completely daft.
For example:
• effective (The first “e” should be soft, not hard.)
• often (The “t” should not be pronounced.)
• vegetable (The “et” should not be pronounced.)
5. Use the dictionary.
Always carry a pocket dictionary with you because if you don’t know how to pronounce a word, you won’t sound confident, so look it up.
Once decided, stick with it throughout the script.
A point to remember. If the producer wants you to pronounce it one way, then so be it, it’s his call.
* TIP * Most website dictionaries include an audible pronunciation guide.
6. Contractions.
For informal scripts, you will read in an informal way. Because in ‘real life’ no one crosses the ’t’s and dots the ‘i’s’
You know when it is hot…I grab a cold beer.
…should be read like this:
Ya’ know when it’s hot, I grab a cold beer.

So, there you are. Perhaps not the most comprehensive guide, but it works for me.

With thanks to the “Edge Studio” from whom great blogs come.

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Bringing words to life.

Bringing words to life is  the essence of what a Voiceover artist does.  As the name implies, an artist paints a picture, a Voiceover artists job is to colour it in with emotion.

The world over, talent show judges will wax lyrical about artists who have impressed them.

“You owned the stage” or “You made the song your own” are hackneyed phrases, but they do make a  point.

In the same way, a Voiceover artist will make the script his(or her) own. they will infuse it with meaning and style making a unique product, but more importantly, making the market audience “Sit up and listen”.

So How is it done?   A voiceover artist will imagine the person they are aiming the piece at to be in the studio with them, Maybe it’s someone they are familiar with, or perhaps it’s the type from imagination.  What will motivate them?  the VO talent will make the script feel natural, conversational and fresh.  as if they are saying the words for the very first time.

There needs to be a complete understanding of the script, an intimate knowledge of what they’re talking about, almost as if the product they’re selling is their own.

It’s, therefore, essential that the VO can identify keywords and phrases in the piece so that these will resonate with the listener, mix with pace and, voila, colour and shade is added

How a VO interprets information and understands the subtext of the scripts allows them to resonate the various nuances in the words so that the message gets across.

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Voice of God

I’ve been asked to Narrate a Nativity play on radio this year.  I play the “Voice of God” and      of course I’m very excited about the prospect.

Firstly I’m thrilled to be asked, because it’s not every day that someone sees you as “God” (Not even the cat) but also, I can let my ego run riot……..or can I?

In reality, I’m there to read someone else’s’ words in the way the producer imagines God to sound, so whilst I might think that God might sound like Brian Blessed on speed and the narrator should sound a bit like David Kossof, I must do as I’m told.

Of course the wonderful thing to which I look forward  is telling the Parish Priest that God really is in his congregation.

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Voiceover artist play blog

Setting up a website is one thing. Understanding how it works is another



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When you have a cold

Oh, no!

Cold viruses can infect us when we: (1) Touch environmental surfaces that have cold germs on them and then touch our eyes, nose or mouth; and (2) Inhale microscopic droplets of mucus full of cold germs from them

We Have Met the Enemy and it is the Public Restroom

Fact: the object with the highest concentration of germs is the inside door handle of a public or office restroom. The restroom fixtures run a close second. This is because so many people do not wash their hands correctly or at all.

When using a public restroom, first check before washing your hands whether you can get a paper towel without having to touch anything, such as a crank or lever, etc. If this isn’t possible, get your towel(s) first and stick them in your pocket. Then, wash your hands. But don’t turn off the water until after you’ve dried your hands. Then, turn off the water with the towel in your hand. Use the same method again to open the door on your way out. If you can hold the door open with your elbow or foot while you toss the towel to a nearby wastebasket, do so. Otherwise throw the towel away after you’ve left the restroom.

In Summary: Second Nature Doesn’t Mean Obsession

Whether or not your livelihood relies on your not catching a cold, keeping your fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth, and washing your hands correctly can easily become second nature if you really want them to. Just like remembering to bring your cell phone. And you WILL notice a difference after some months go by. A typical disclaimer holds true, however: results may vary. Of course, trying to eat right, being adequately hydrated, and getting enough rest is important, too.

Our computers have firewalls. By instituting a firewall strategy to prevent germs from entering our bodies, we can stay well longer and medicate less.

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