7 Voice Over Artists You Might End Up Booking

October 17, 2014 / Humour

By Jamie Grant

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.

Type 1
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.

Type 2
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.

Type 3
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!”).

Type 4
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.

Type 5
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”).

Type 6
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.

Type 7
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.

Agony Jim: The Parable of the Noble Spark

February 6, 2014 / Humour

By Jim Watkins

Veteran producer and sage cum digital native Jim Watkins solves your advertising conundra.

Illustration ©  Zoe More O'Ferrall

 

Dear Jim,

Too often in this business you only hear complaints. As a corrective, I wanted to share with your readers a memorable and heartening experience I had with the electrical department on a recent shoot.

At lunch on the second day, due a series of events that I won’t go into here, the wardrobe lady caught fire. Fortunately a Spark was on hand. Without so much as tracking down his Gaffer to request instructions, he rushed to the rescue - slowly folding his newspaper, standing and stretching a crick in his neck before walking at a leisurely pace towards a nearby fire extinguisher as the blazing costumier wheeled and howled like a flaming dervish.

I saw this act of heroism with my own eyes on the (frankly gruesome) CCTV footage.

It was only on arriving at the extinguisher some minutes later that the electrician tragically realised he didn’t have his gloves, rendering it impossible for him to ‘work’.

Undeterred by this seemingly impassible obstacle, our hero sent a text message to another member of the department, and after some time spent waiting for a reply and then searching underneath the discarded Greggs bags on the dashboard of the lighting truck, the gloves were located.

Sadly, this was too late to save the costume designer, but in a show of profoundly moving solidarity for their fallen colleague, the electrical department remained behind to sweep up her charred remains at a reduced overtime rate of time and a half.

A triumph of the human spirit I’m sure you’ll agree.

Yours in teary-eyed reverie,
Zachary J. Frond
Upton-Under-Lyme

-

Dear Zachary,

An interesting account. You don’t say what your question is, should I assume it’s “what is the correct overtime rate for trying to put out a combustible woman?” This is a grey area, which to you means uncertainty but to a spark spells creativity. I certainly don’t think you can just pay them time and a half and leave with your knackers intact though.

I’m not fully up on these kind of details- or the detail of anything to be fair- I leave that to my executive assistant and personal wellness coach. So I asked her, who asked a production assistant, who asked the spark he identified as the most congenial to reasoned argument, Fraser “Mad Dog” McDuff for his view.

Mad Dog asserted that under section 35 of The Way Things Used To Work In The 1960’s document that governs such matters, the spark concerned is entitled to triple time, plus time off the clock and overtime at the Doctors plus a share of the hypothetical future earnings of the lady they near saved. So he is looking for around £5k. Pay up or the lights will go out!

Yours in commercials,
Jim

Weird Ad of the Month

November 22, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

You can always rely on Russian advertising to make you completely reassess your perception of the world.

This might look a bit NSFW at first, but trust us. It's safe to watch at work. You shouldn't get fired for watching it, anyway, but if you show it to anyone else we can't guarantee they will hold you in the same esteem as before. Only in Russia...

Weird Ad of the Month

October 22, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

Thinking outside the box, creatives? The guys behind this have never even seen the box.

Well, you can't accuse it of being too obvious. We hope the people behind this were high on something when they came up with it, because if they weren't, we fear for their mental wellbeing. But, hey, we get the idea. This tea makes your tummy smaller and your boobs bigger, right? Of course, we all know tea can do that.

Weird Ad of the Month

September 18, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

We're pretty sure this script wasn't driven by Nissan's market research. Brazil, we take our hats off.

This is one way to get attention. As always with this oddball ideas, it's fun to think about the meeting where the client said "Demonic ponies? That sounds fine. Yep. Completely bang on for our target market." The official, unsubtitled version has over had over 15 million views, though, so it's turned heads. Mind you, that's no good if it's for the wrong reasons.

Weird Ad of the Month

August 27, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

Oh, what it must be like to work in a Japanese ad agency.

Japan, how we love you. The people who wrote this script weren't thinking anywhere near the box, or anything cubic in shape for that matter. And it's actually quite a good idea for getting across a very simple point. Sheer joy.

Weird Ad of the Month

July 21, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

We sort of understand this idea. But it's still rather odd. Good job Ukraine.

It certainly grabs your attention, but this Ukrainian ice cream commercial is actually pretty disturbing. Make sure you're regularly eating this brand of frozen goodness so it doesn't ever have to come to this.

Weird Ad of the Month

June 27, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

What better way to sell sushi than via an overly literal piece of dance?

Yet another idea that boogles the mind when you imagine how it it ever got signed off. This time it's from Norway. It's probably something to do with those long winter nights. Watch it a few times and you'll begin to really appreciate the beauty of the dance though, especially wasabi man. He's a babe.