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  • Writer's pictureTom Dheere

Voiceovers And Effectiveness – The Not Silent Blog 9/10/19

Effectiveness is everything in your voiceover career, especially in the booth during a live session. Here’s an example…

Last week I had a recording session for a commercial demo spot. That’s when they semi-produce a commercial and test it before they decide to fully produce it and put it on TV. I booked it via a representation-generated audition and we recorded it in a nearby studio here in NYC. I had a great time and both the producer and engineer were a pleasure to work with.

I’m not at liberty to discuss the product in question, but I do want to talk a bit about the process.

The session was an hour long for a fifteen-second spot (about five lines of copy). We did roughly ten takes of the entire spot and some ABC’s of a few lines. “ABC” is when they ask you to do the same line three times in a row, each time a little differently.

One thing that was nice was that the audio engineer was editing my takes to video so we could see the finished product as we were going. The music and Foley was edited in, too and that’s always a big help with helping me determine tone & pace.

Another nice thing about this session is that it quickly turned into a collaboration instead of a line-reading clinic. That’s when the client tells you exactly how to say each line. Some voice talent find that infuriating and others don’t mind. I used to hate it but it doesn’t bother me that much anymore. If giving me a line-reading gives them exactly what they want, everybody wins.

Anyway, the session went smoothly and even though we were focused and working hard, everyone had a good time.


Effectiveness: the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success.

How do you demonstrate effectiveness during a live session?

Listen, listen, listen. Good voice talents are good listeners. Your opinion of how think the copy should be read does not matter. Your job is to focus on what the producer/director tells you to do and by extension seek the author’s truth. That means getting out of your own way, internalizing their direction, and channeling it into your read.

Give them options. A huge part of effectiveness in the booth is to be able to deliver a variety of reads on command. There are an almost infinite variety of ways to do this. You can speed it up or slow it down (spot time permitting). You can alter the inflections (upward, downward, circumflex). You can add a “wink” or a bit more smile to a given word or line. And much, much more.

Your opinion only matters when they ask you for it. Do not share what you think of the writing or your takes unless they explicitly ask for it. And for Pete’s sake, don’t react to your takes! In other words, don’t sigh, heavily exhale, or many any other noises that express your dissatisfaction (or satisfaction) with a take. It’s their job to like or dislike your takes, not yours.

Effectiveness is achievable if you remember your training, stay calm, and use common sense.


Thursday, September 12th @8:oo PM EST: The Edge Studio “Business and Money 201” Webinar, ‘Workflow’. In this one-hour webinar, I’ll talk about how to run your voiceover business from home on a day-to-day basis without losing your mind. Click here to sign up!

September 13-15: VoCation NYC is THIS WEEK!!!

This shiny new conference will focus on the business and marketing side of the voiceover industry. There is an incredible lineup of presenters who specialize in the marketing and business side of the voiceover industry, including keynote speaker J. Michael Collins and…

Carli Silver Casting Tom Dheere Direct Marketing Dr. Rupal Patel (VocaliD) Future of Voiceover Tim Walsh (Atlas Talent) Agents Eileen Schellhorn (DDO) Agents Robyn Starr (ACM) Management Jill Kershaw Casting (CEO of Sound & Fury) Jim Kennelly Negotiation Melissa Exelberth Turn Non-Union Work Union Tracy Lindley Mastering LinkedIn Matt Dubois Online Casting Carin Gilfry Pay to Play Rob Sciglimpaglia Business Structure / Tax Joey Schaljo Working Pro Panel Maria Pendolino Working Pro Panel Andy Roth Casting Hugh Edwards Future of Voiceover Alissa Zea Working Pro Panel Jamie Muffett Home Studio Setup Johnny Heller Audiobooks Jo Anna Perrin Audiobooks Robert Fass Audiobooks Scott Jacobi Audiobooks Freddie Feldman Future of Voiceover Attendance is limited to 150 seats and they are selling fast. Go to to learn more and click here to register!

Thursday, September 26th @8PM EST: Edge Studio Marketing 201 webinar, ‘What Your Website Says About You’. In this one-hour webinar, I’ll talk about how your website can help you gain or lose clients without you ever knowing it. Click here to sign up!


Happy Salami Day and Make Your Bed Day! I make my bed every day. Wish I had more salami, though…


Tom Dheere is a 20+year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for hundreds of clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a voiceover business & marketing consultant known as the VOStrategist and produces the comic book “Agent 1.22”.


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