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Script analysis – how critical is it?

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Have you ever asked yourself how critical it is to analyze the voice over script that you are recording for a client? To find out who the audience is, who you are, and what is the objective of the script? Or do you simply glance over the words, make a few marks, and then read it in your best narrator voice? Let me tell you a story about a script that I recently came across, and my approach to it.

My first instinct is almost always to do the latter, which is the quickest way to getting it done. Because I’m at the point of my voice over career where I am doing a lot of custom auditions, speed seems to me to be the most important thing. The custom audition that I was going to submit was for a major city’s media company, so I glanced over the script in front of me, made my annotations, and then recorded it in the best manner I knew how. However, as I was editing it, I realized that I had done an average job at best. My delivery was technically flawless — after I took out the few mistakes that I made — but it didn’t “speak” to me. It didn’t have the zing that it needed to distinguish my recording from the others that were certainly better than mine.

I decided to take another stab at it. I asked myself, “Who is my audience?” That was easy. It was written to appeal to people to look at this city in a different way, to have the audience understand that there is a great reason for people to want to live there. Probably recent college graduates or those people contemplating a change of circumstances. OK, this is good. Next question.

“Who am I?” The answer was right at the bottom of the page. I was a representative of the client who wanted to attract the best and brightest to this great city of theirs. This client wanted to dispel the misunderstandings and myths that surrounded their home, and they were asking for someone to be their mouthpiece in delivering that message. OK, that was a little bit deeper than I originally thought, but this was REALLY good stuff, so I continued.

The last question I asked myself was, “What is the objective?” Now I was really diving in, cutting past the superficial and getting to the heart of the script. The objective seemed to be that despite the things that people see and hear about this city of theirs, that it really is a great place to raise a family, that there is a sense of community here, and that opportunities abound. Interesting.

Once I did my script analysis, I was better able to highlight the words that were important, the ones that I needed to emphasize, and when I recorded it again, the recording was soooo much better!

So, when it comes to doing custom auditions, don’t short-circuit the process. Take the time to find out who you are, who your audience is, and what the objective is that needs to be communicated. When you do that, your recording will be that much more natural, and the words will literally jump out of the TV or radio or podcast and the listener will feel compelled to act.

You will have a happy client, which could lead to future gigs, which could lead to greater success in this business.

Lesson learned…

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