If you spend time reading about Voiceover Artists, which to be fair, I do, then you will often see VOs describe themselves as being versatile.
I wanted to unpack what my feelings are about this and I think that “versatility” can be viewed in two key ways.
- A Versatile Voice
For me, this means that a VO has a wide range of accents (languages even), skills that mean you can sound like pretty much anything on demand. I have huge respect for these folks who can walk into a big Soho studio and lay down countless characters with masses of separation (that’s important in this setting).
You can probably do impersonations, improvise the heck out of a scene then head home and deliver a home studio recording that is very straight and no one would every know your secret stash of voices and characters.
Type 1 is brilliant at delivering authentic characters – they can be found on games, in animations, often recording audiobooks (BIG RESPECT)
2. A Versatile Voiceover
A subtle difference! I see this as someone who doesn’t have a huge stash of voices and characters but who works, as versions of “themselves”, on a wide variety of Voiceover genres. One minute you might be recording a very chirpy explainer video, the next – narrating a serious documentary – and all points in-between.
This “type 2” isn’t playing shed loads of characters but needs to rely on themselves and their sense of self and a huge understanding of not only mic technique but also of the capabilities and range of their own voice and actually – their personality.
Type 2 has huge awareness of not only their voice but of their own impact and how to dig deep into their own authenticity to fully understand how they would deliver that line.. how they would ACTUALLY say it.
3. Ultimately Versatile Voiceover
This is that very special space dedicated to those who are fully brilliant across the characters and their own authenticity and range.
All of the best voiceovers are constantly learning, gaining new skills and awareness and upping their games. 3s really have their work cut out here – staying on top of their Library of characters and voices, keeping up with current clients wants and needs and pushing the boundaries of who, as well as what they can do. All this as well as dedicating time and effort to keeping in touch with their authentic selves and making sure they have all the skills and techniques needed to deliver VO performances across genres.
I see myself as a 2. I’m dedicated to using my personality to connect businesses and brands to the people they need to reach. For me, my VO performances are a combination of the client and brand’s needs and the aspects of “authentic Clare” that I can bring forward to help them achieve their goals.
I work across the full spectrum of Corporate (including corporate film, internal coms, elearning, IVR, voice of god, narration, explainers and probably things I’ve missed off here) and Commercial, which includes TV, online, Radio, Instore and connected devices and who knows where in future!?
I know my strengths and I play to them, but I’m also curious to explore and push myself into the zones of “type 1s”. The thing with a career as a Voiceover Artist is that all of us are totally different and no two careers are the same. Which is so exciting and one of the reasons I love what I do.
As a side note, “versatile” is not always the best way to describe yourself.. think about what it is that you really do and really excel in..? Using the V word might mean that you are missing the opportunities that your work deserves. It might mean that you are seen as a jack of all trades but master of none.. careful!
What do you think?
Thanks for reading – while you’re here, please do have a listen to some of my Commercial work