What makes a voice-over a voice-over?

Posted in For Beginners by Administrator on the February 2nd, 2009

By Jim Conlan
Copyright Jim Conlan, Voice Overs 2009
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Voiceovers are an essential part of a great many forms of communication. Although there are lots of differences among various types of voice talent, they all share one goal: to communicate clearly and memorably.

They also share one challenge: to communicate without being seen – they are simply a “voice,” unsupported by facial or body gestures. This means that you’ll have to re-route all your physical communication cues into your voice. It can be a challenge… but if you listen to any good voice-over talent, you’ll be amazed at how much expression can be communicated this way.

Voice artists are hired for many reasons:

broadcast advertising – radio and TV
TV and film narration
cartoon and anime
video games
corporate communication – internal and external
institutional and non-profit communication
online audiovisual applications
“books on tape” – audiobooks
CD Rom and DVD Rom projects

There’s one other aspect of voice overs worth mentioning. Since you exist only as a “voice,” you may experience an amazing surge of freedom – of being able to really let go, because nobody is watching! As a fairly shy person, I have found that doing voice overs gives me the liberty to try new approaches, to experiment with vocal techniques and deliveries, even to occasionally pretend to be “somebody else.” Not only does this freedom keep you growing as a talent… it keeps you from ever, ever getting stale.

Houston residents can find out more about the voice-over profession by attending one of my Introductions to Announcing and Voice Acting, through Leisure Learning Unlimited. More information is available at

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