Find your natural voiceover delivery and it could just be what you need to help you get more voiceover work.
Something just wasn’t right. I had 20 years of radio experience behind me and EVERYBODY seemed to like my reels….
I was a noob in a world of (often somewhat cynical) voices and I was getting NOWHERE. The odd job on P2Ps and that was about it. I couldn’t work out what I was getting wrong, and nobody else could (or would) tell me what I was doing wrong. I needed a professional opinion from someone who didn’t see me as a possible competitor.
Looking for Professional Feedback
Trouble is, I’m pretty cynical too, so it needed to be advice from someone who was a success in the industry or else I was going to find it difficult to swallow. Then a guy I barely knew from one of the Facebook voiceover pages announced that he was setting up a mentoring service with Peter Dickson.
“Hello”, I said. They don’t get much bigger than that (I knew Peter a bit already from my radio days, but not enough to pick up the phone and call him).
I enrolled in January 2015 and uploaded my commercial reel. It was self produced, but I know what I’m doing as a producer, so I was pretty confident that they would like it in terms of production values, and indeed they did (other than a few easy to fix acoustic issues, and the fact that it wasn’t very varied), but Peter wasn’t happy with my delivery.
Finding My Natural Voiceover Delivery Style
Really? I thought it was pretty good, but this is what I signed up for, so what’s he going to tell me?
I wanted to hear the real Anthony.
Wha? I’m always the real Anthony, aren’t I?
He went on to say: “I want to deconstruct you! I get the sense that you feel that your own voice is not good enough.”
Ouch. The truth hurts. He was spot on.
“Believe me it is.”
“You are wearing a metaphorical mask and this only serves as an obstacle to the purity of the communication. Good communication must come from a place of sincerity and truth. your delivery lacks these qualities.”
He then asked me to read a script as conversationally as I could. I did. It sounded rubbish (to my ears, anyway). Peter then compressed it a bit and added a bed to the background.
Bingo! The penny dropped. It sounded like a pro voice.
Identify Your Natural Voiceover Delivery
I hadn’t been talking straight. I was projecting what I thought was a classy commercial voice when in fact it sounded fake and “read”. I think this is pretty common amongst broadcasters getting into V/O. In any case it was the one piece of the jigsaw that I couldn’t find previously.
I spent the next few months working on it. REALLY working on it. Peter gave me some vocal exercises to do while Hugh helped me to get the studio sound right and then acted as critic for new reels as I produced them. By July I was ready. I had 5 “killer reels” and the confidence to push them. Don’t get me wrong. You can’t hear me on the TV just yet, but I am now confident that I can market myself without making noob errors (which can sour a client relationship forever), and I am STARTING to see positive results. I’m having a conversation with The Discovery Channel in the next few days. Wish me luck!
So the upshot of this is do listen to others, don’t be too proud to get professional advice not matter how experience you have and always remember to connect with your natural voiceover delivery.