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  • Writer's pictureTom Dheere

Classifying Voiceovers – The GKN Weekly Update 2/11/14

Hello and Happy Soon-To-Be-Valentine’s Day! Gentlemen, did you get a special something for that special someone? You’d better!

NEWS AND NOTES! I have the honor and privilege of being a panelist at the Audio Publishers Association Conference! A huge thank you to the radiant Tavia Gilbert for asking me to be a part of it. Details to follow!

A few weeks ago I booked a gig for Verizon. The client called it an “Installation Piece”. It was played along with a video in a big tent they pitched in Bryant Park in NYC during Super Bowl Week. The script looked and felt like commercial copy but it won’t show anywhere else, but it wasn’t exactly an Explainer Video, either. What genre of voiceover would you call it?

I put that question to some of my voiceover friends and here are some of the answers:

  1. Non-broadcast Corporate or Industrial

  2. Tradeshow

  3. Kiosk

  4. Point-of-sale

  5. Category II Corporate Promo-non broadcast

  6. Non-broadcast AV

  7. Product Loop

See, now my brain hurts.

This is a common problem in the voiceover industry: how to classify the voiceover work you do.

Why is it a problem?

For one thing; not everyone necessarily agrees on the vocabulary, as the Verizon example illustrates. For example, what is the difference between “E-Learning” and “Industrials”? I’ve asked many voice talents this question and have gotten a huge variety of answers, many of them directly opposite to each other!

For another thing; marketing. I want to know what kind of voiceover work I’m getting and how I got it so I can promote myself effectively. For example, I want to SEO my website with the right keywords & strings so when a voice seeker starts Google-ing for voice talents, what they type in should direct them to my website.

These are my voiceover categories for marketing, billing, and analytics purposes:

  1. Audio Books

  2. Commercials

  3. E-Learning: for me this means anything that is used to educate a student

  4. Explainer Video: I do enough of these to require its own category

  5. Industrial: for me this means anything that is used to educate an employee

  6. Medical Narration

  7. Phone Prompts/MOH/Telephony: I do very few of these so they get clumped

  8. Video Games/Animation: same reasoning as Phone Prompts

  9. Video News Release (VNR): same reasoning as Explainer Videos

  10. VO Strategist: that’s for any time I have a speaking engagement or coach publicly/privately

  11. Other: duh!

TIP OF THE WEEK: These classifications work for me, but they won’t necessarily work for you. They’ve developed after noticing patterns of the kind of work I’ve done over the years. I encourage you to examine your voiceover career from a genre point of view. Figure out what type of work you’re getting and why. That way you can do more of that type of work or explore new genres of voiceovers!


STUFF!: I did something I’ve never done before; a Netflix binge! I hear that people do it all the time. I don’t watch any Primetime TV, but friends have been telling me about some amazing shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc. so I though I’d give The Walking Dead a try. I hate horror movies and I think the obsession with zombies is a bit of a juvenile fetish, but after watching a few episodes I can see the appeal of this show! It’s a gripping drama with very complicated layers of story-telling & relationships and a who’s-who of great character actors (Jeff DeMunn, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and Noah Emmerich to name a few). Good stuff, minus the gross-ness.

From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere: GKN News…


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