The Commercial Voiceover Artist
Many people blur the lines between commercial and brand imaging. Even on the radio, it is a common issue. Similarly, it is hard to see the lines between commercial voiceover and narration should the ad adopt educational principles and narration sales-based qualities. It does all go back to the centre point. We have a voiceover artist looking to deliver a message on behalf of an organisation or individual to a designated audience.
Are commercials just sales? Does it count as a commercial if it’s online? Is a promo a commercial? All great questions and there is space to talk about styles, the crossovers, and the skills needed, but for now, I want to focus on my journey in this field. I had the honour of meeting and working with some of the world’s most talented commercial voiceover artists. They not only demonstrated in their work what good looks like but have also gone on to present webinars, write literature, and host workshops. Like everything else in voiceover training, it is so fundamentally essential, and if you are going to take a class, take it with the best, right? Why not?
Becoming a Northern British Commercial Voice Actor
A charity that is personal to me is ‘Premier,’ and they support mental health, help people get into work, and much more. I came across their radio stream ‘Premier Praise’ and always wondered how they found their voiceover artists and how I might one day work with them, but there was no clear direction. I became an active listener, engaging with the presenters, donating money to their projects, and entering their competitions as I felt committed to what they were doing, it felt right, and I was in alignment with some of their goals.
At one point, I did win one of their competitions too, and as the months went on, I made more connections and eventually, someone from the casting team asked me to send some content over, which I promptly did with a big smile on my face. Though it was not a quick turnaround eventually, they asked me if I could record for them. I was thrilled. However, they needed me to go into the booth within an hour of answering the call, which was highly inconvenient as I was two hundred miles from my studio.
I got a one hour break from one of my client’s activities, and she invited me to use her booth during that slot. This is an example of how sometimes it is about waiting. The actual job was everything I expected, informative, casual, with a bit of marketing thrown in there to. Advertising some products and the offers available in a conversational, authentic manner is the current key and top priority of any commercial voiceover artist regardless of accent.
British Voiceover is Multifunctional
Having a niche does not mean that you can only do one thing! It’s not like being typecast! There are always associations in entertainment. For example, the Irish voice bringing luck, or the deep stern voice being the chilling announcer. We find a lot of multipurpose in our voices. In my other blogs, you can read about my adventures with video games, animations, narrations, and anime. Still, for now, I’ll share with you radio commercials I’ve done, and a little bit into promos too.
I reference the last 12 months that from the time of writing this blog, I believe fundamentally it is essential to be current! Visually and audibly, the difference is that a promo is not a commercial advertising a brand or product. Instead, it is a medium for advertising a TV show or series. With respect to the BBC, the promos are typically aired before another show just starts.
Commercial Voiceover as Awareness
Promos are often advertised on their channel’s broadcasts. For example, the BBC might not advertise something on E4 and vice versa (though this is not always the case with the bigger broadcasters). I have used the BBC as an example as I have recently voiced a promo for them. I know what you’re thinking, the BBC does not have adverts, and this is true! However, the promo is advertising their own content on their own channel. They are not looking to advertise other companies for their sales or products. So, in many ways, promos are raising awareness of what’s out there as opposed to an advertisement, though there is a touch of that to.