So I’m parked in front of the TV and the commercials begin. For most people that’s the cue to get up and do… whatever. But not me. I am a woman in the industry and a gal that has always loved advertising, and this is the part of the program that most grabs my attention. And I’ll bet that’s true for you too, right?
Anyway, the spots start and suddenly I am like a dog hearing a high-pitched tone. What the ---? Is that voice track in there by accident? Or is it the client’s daughter/sister/niece? The read is monotone, the voice only barely there and I, as a voiceover professional, am flabbergasted. Stunned. Stupified. To sum it up, it’s a lousy read and it’s a national spot.
On to the next six or seven spots in the break and now I’m thinking maybe it was just a volume issue or I had nodded off and was having a v/o anxiety dream. Yeah, that’s gotta be it.
But no. Next night, same scenario: me, couch, TV and that same really amateur read. Only this time it’s followed by ANOTHER commercial, different product, no relation to the first except that maybe the voiceover announcer is also a relation.
Or, to zoom in on my big theory: Maybe this is the next trend in voiceovers.
Remember sometime back when the raspy, crackly female voice broke onto the scene in a big way? Everybody wanted Demi Moore in “Ghost”.
What if this is the new Demi? What if the proliferation of “Pay for Play” sites and the “Learn to do Voiceovers” ads, the recording software for computers and the promise to MAKE BIG MONEY IN YOUR SPARE TIME have combined to create a tidal wave of untrained voices that are flooding the market? Has this all created a sub-industry of a new type of voice artist?
Could it be possible that clients have gotten so used to hearing the rough read of the inexperienced that it’s become the new standard? Could it be the influence of YouTube and reality TV, where anyone (or anything) can get attention?
I really hope not. And not just because of the time I’ve spent training and practicing and perfecting the intonation, the voice, the interpretation, the breath control and timing. But because a crisp, clean read that nails the copy is a thing of beauty. Anything less and I may be tempted to skip the commercial breaks, too.