Jamie Grant goes over the usual suspects of the voiceover session.
Summon up your best Scouse accent and ask “What's yer name, and where do you come from...?” Cilla Black's catchphrase was a game-show staple of the 80s and 90s. The screen that prevented the chooser connecting the face to the voice made it all the more fun. But booking a voice artist you've not worked with before can be a similarly blind date; the talent's credentials may impress on paper, but the guy or girl who walks through the door might not be quite what you expected.
London’s newest voice agency Loud and Clear Voices has conducted the most up-to-date (unscientifically provable) survey in ad-land history to bring you the following data so that you, dear booker, can have some idea of what you might be getting.
The artist who walks in armed with two backpacks full of Nurofen, a tube of Berocca up each sleeve, and a flask of herbal concoction from the Far East. They will crave your indulgence after each take to check that you didn’t want a horse-sounding delivery stating “There's definitely something going round”, but you suspect he / she might actually have just stayed up all night clubbing in Ibiza before jumping on a 5.50am flight back to Luton.
The artist who seemed ok on the way in, but is now glassy-eyed and wet of cheek. Worry not; it's nothing you've said. They're bound to be The Vegan Who Silently Weeps whilst voicing your hamburger chain campaign... Don’t tell Morrissey.
The 40-year-old FVO who looks so much older than her publicity shot that you don't recognise her. The worry-lines are from being hugely in debt to the vocal osteopath; every day she's asked to voice tiny children (“we just need a dozen RP 4-year-old girl and boy voices, please; make sure they're all different. Light coming!”).
The guy who really wants you to know he has a movie coming out in the spring: “End of day two, and I'm Facebook friends with Tom Hanks and Colin Firth, can you believe that?” It's hard to tell whether he's flirting with you or with his own reflection in the sound booth window.
The guy who wants you to know he can do EVERY accent...in the world: “Could I just try it again, and I'll give you three in a row: South Shields, Lanarkshire borders, and Isle of Wight” (All you needed him to say was “Toshiba”).
The MVO who, after insisting on shaking everybody's hand (cue awkward pulling in of chairs as he snakes his way round the tiny control-room), announces he's got 'flu. That “light, gentle tone” which the client had their heart set on, today sounds more like Barry White on a hangover.
The pristine voice actor whose velvety tones are everything you hoped for and more. This campaign for the new Renault Rialto featuring animated footage of Roger Rabbit is going to be fabulous...until you realise he can't say his “R”s. (A rapid review of his voice demo reveals that it avoided any R-words. Playing to his strengths?)
Of course you won’t find any of these delightful examples at Loud and Clear Voices.