Ask anyone who knows me in my voice over life. I love video ads. In fact, if I had to choose only one form of voice work to do for the rest of my life, it would be commercial voice overs. The kind that sells things to the everyday Jane & Joe. Like this 15 second gem for Sears.
Creativity within a Constraint
I hanker for a good set of boundaries within which to play. I first realized this during a year long stint on a weather channel, where I had to spiel off weather report after weather report in 4 minute and 50 second chunks over and over again for hours on end. Hotter than Hades you say? I did succumb to initial tedium, for about a minute. Maybe two. But then, I realized there was a secret challenge locked in “sunny today with a cold front moving in.” Yes, the basic info was pretty much the same from set to set, hour to hour, but I could change the delivery. Experiment within it. Improv it up. Find ways to make it more natural, more serious, more conversational. Roll it around in some humor, find out how to make commercial voice over funny, get busy with it. Same thing applies for that 15 or 30 second mini-saga centered around advertising toilet paper. It’s a creative constraint I love to play in.
Seriously Kim? You’re going to say convincing people to load up on discounted toothpaste and deodorant is helping humanity? Yes. I am. Because I am genuine in my approach to retail ads. And health and cosmetic ads are not exception. What does that mean? It means knowing that for the pensioner or single mom, the money they save on those toiletries may mean the difference in being able to spend it on something nice for themselves, or in some cases, in just being able to make ends meet. So I do get excited about deodorant 3 for $5 because that is my way of helping people. Cynics may see it another way. That’s their view. This is mine.
The McLuhan Spice Blend
Marshall McLuhan, father of media theory, said “Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century.” I grew up believing this and hearing the greatest minds are not in the universities, hospitals or on Wall street – they’re on Madison Avenue churning out ads. Whether that’s true or not, as a voice over talent, I bathe in the notion that adding human sound to ads is my predominant art form. Some of them are arty ads. Some of them are family friendly ads. A lot of them are not. But they are all different. Like curry, cumin or chili powder, they all have their own flavor. They all reach out creatively to tap someone on the shoulder and send what could be a very impactful message.
Looking for a great voice to help you sell your message? I’d love to help.
Michelle Blenker says
Wonderful SAGE advice (wink wink) Kim….I find that breathing life into copy and exploring its nuances is a gift we have as Voice Talent! BRAVO!
It’s the fun stuff we work so hard to get to do, right Michelle? Thanks for your comment 🙂
Diana L Birdsall says
Hit the nail on the head! Great article!
Kim Handysides says
Thanks so much Diana 😉