I’ve been following the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) for over 25 years. Just as in any sport, a lot more goes into “just throwing a ball” for example. In NASCAR, there are many components and behind-the-scenes aspects go into a fast car. Teamwork, technical precision, engineering, data analysis, endurance, marketing, risk management, motivation, competition, and, of course, the sheer heart-pounding horsepower. It’s a little more than just “cars going around in circles.”
But years ago while watching a race, I recall hearing the venerable Mark Martin (retired now) radio to his team, “you have a real good car here”. “You” have a good car?! But, Mark, you’re the driver – don’t you have a good car? I realized at that point, that to Mark, the sport wasn’t just about getting himself into victory lane, but getting the car into victory lane. To him, he was just the driver. To him, the car represented his team and his sponsors. His job – the same as the tire changers and engine builders – was to get the team’s car into victory lane.
So what the heck does this have to do with voiceovers?
Well, one may think that just hearing our voice on the radio or TV is the end goal. While the voice is one aspect to it, the goal is to get the client and their product or service across the finish line. So, if we’re reading some words just because we have a decent voice, then we’re missing the point.
The client has a reason for their product or service, and it is my goal to help deliver that need to the consumer. We’re reading stories, feelings, and emotions. Finding that backstory helps with the delivery and feel. This is what connects the script to the audience and helps “drive” a marketing campaign. I constantly strive to find the message sweet spot which takes considerable thought beforehand. And practice, too – that’s why I enjoyed posting daily CTVoiceQuotes – and now CTVideoQuotes – so that I can have fun with the nuances of funny and inspiring quotes on social media. (click here for my YouTube video archive)
We are also part of a group effort, including marketers, producers, directors, audio engineers, and accountants, to help the client win the trophy. The work isn’t just reading the script. Quality audio recording, editing, and delivery are needed. Coordination with producers and clients on production is needed. How well are you at receiving and understanding direction from clients and producers? Production changes need to be managed on tight deadlines and communication needs to be prompt and professional.
I consider it a privilege to have worked with many incredible clients, but approaching voiceover projects is not about me and just reading words. I focus on the overall marketing effort, message, and team. It’s not about hearing myself, it’s about helping the client and our team to the checkered flag.