From pen to paper, mouth to mic and cursor to waveform, I have a crazy passion for voiceover. But like most creative fields, it can be hard to find full-time work, especially early on, so a day job is a must. My day job that brings the most cash flow right now is promotions. I’ve been a promo gal for seven years and consider myself an expert.
At VoiceoverCity, where I teach Intro to VO, they say that improving ANY facet of communication improves communication skills all around. I totally agree, and comparing VO to promos is a great example.
VO and promos have a symbiotic relationship in my life, kinda like those crazy, teeth-cleaning birds that hang out in crocodiles’ mouths. They have this odd relationship that is mutually beneficial. Examples:
How Hard is the Sell?
There’s a huge difference between an infomercial announcer blaring “only $19.95 plus shipping and handling” and a commercial with a mom explaining how her favorite grocery store helps her feed her picky little ankle biters on a budget. The purpose of commercial VO is to sell something, but nowadays clients often want you to sound “conversational”…while selling something. Promos help me approach selling in a personal way, which helps me keep that balance in the recording booth, and on the flip side…
Keeping it Fresh
VO helps keep my spiel fresh at promos. Oftentimes in VO I do an “ABC Read.” This means the client says “Okay, just do that line three different ways.” I love taking that technique into promos, where I say the exact same facts over and over again. Frequently changing-up my flow on the fly keeps me sounding authentic and reduces boredom.
Making Boring Copy Shine
Speaking of getting bored with a sales pitch, here comes some more symbiosis! Both VO and promo work often require me to take words and info that is not necessarily exciting and make it sound compelling. I have to make awesome sauce out of e-learning copy or facts about why this liquor is great because it was aged in blah blah blah blah. With these two jobs, I get lots of practice.
Common Sense is Uncommon
In both the VO and promo world, people do stupid things that lose them future opportunities with clients (especially with other promo girls), and just a little common sense could have saved that gal who incriminated herself on a Facebook networking page or the dude who is never prepared and is always late or the person who decides to steal or the hot head who blows up over something that could have been solved in a civil manner. It’s amazing how things like manners, being on time and following directions can be such a commodity in these industries, especially with competition so high. Derp.
Knowing Your Worth
If you don’t value your time and talent, no client will. I find VO and promo jobs offering ridiculously low pay, and it can be hard to navigate through choosing jobs and negotiating rates. Research, make goals, have confidence and pick price points that feel right for you. Keep in mind your mileage, editing time, administrative duties and opportunity costs. Remember, YOU have worth. YOUR time is valuable, especially if YOU are your business (freelancing), and what YOU bring to the table has worth. Drops the mic!