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8 Ways to Create Audio Samples for your Voquent Profile

October 4, 2019

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8 Ways to Create Audio Samples for your Voquent Profile

Voquent are pioneers of the most extensive and detailed audio attribution system ever created in the voice over industry.

We offer a global marketplace for producers, agents and casting directors to identify suitably skilled and experienced voice talent for their productions.

This might sound complex, but we make online voice-over casting simple by allowing prospective buyers to explore huge volumes of audio material and ultimately identify the exact attributes they are looking for in a voice and the emotion they are seeking to evoke from their respective audience.

So, if you’ve created a Voquent Profile but you’ve not uploaded any samples, your odds of getting regularly shortlisted for new jobs are drastically reduced. This is because most casting searches start with Voquent’s Find Voices functionality. Without samples in your profile, you won’t be found in search. Casting directors, producers and content creators typically have specific requirements e.g.

Young Male, UK Liverpool accent, Inspiring read.

If that’s you, and you’ve got a sample that matches those attributes, you’ve got a very good chance of being shortlisted and booked.

To help maximise your visibility in search, you need as many audio samples as possible. You’ll also maximise the visibility of your profile by uploading samples in the relevant tone(s) that best suit the style(s) you have focussed on.

If you voice-over in a variety of styles, we recommend uploading samples in the following specific tones for each accent you perform best in:

  • Authoritative Confident, Experienced, Powerful
  • Conversational Approachable, Friendly, Sincere
  • Eloquent Precise, Refined, Sophisticated
  • Enticing Intimate, Seductive, Tempting
  • Inspiring Courageous, Encouraging, Passionate
  • Nurturing Caring, Compassionate, Sympathetic

There are, in fact, 12 primary tones on Voquent that you can use to show off your skills. The six above offer the broadest cross-style reach, which means that having them on your profile will increase your chances of getting shortlisted for the most common voice over jobs such as corporate explainers, commercials, social promos and narration.

Each sample should ideally be 15 – 45 seconds in duration. For Narration style reads, we recommend up to 90 seconds. Longer samples are fine, but customers rarely listen past 30 secs (we can see the play stats).

We’re frequently asked the question…

Where do I get scripts to record?

Here are 8 ways to create audio samples for your Voquent profile:

1. Delve into your own portfolio

It sounds obvious, but if you’re an experienced voice-over actor, the best way to build your Voquent profile is to go through your work archive. Listen to what you’ve got. Then decide which ones best match the recommended styles and tones.

For example, a radio commercial where you play a whistling window cleaner might work well in the Conversational category. A chocolate dessert advert would be a good fit for the Enticing category. Or a serious appeal for the Red Cross would suit the Nurturing category.

Provided you have a decent catalogue of work, that’s half of the most commonly sought-after tones already covered.

But it’s also worth thinking about the age of your material.

Fashions change and content dates, so if the audio sounds behind the times – it probably is. Similarly, if one of your samples talks about a brand that went out of business, or was rocked by a scandal, you’ll probably want to avoid using it.

Voice-over casting is highly subjective, so be sure to use material that’s fresh, contemporary and relevant – and keep updating your profile with new samples as work comes in, so that you always have something new to share with the world.

2. Write and record your own copy

If you can write as well as you can voice, and you have access to a professional studio, then scripting and recording samples could be a great way to add to your Voquent profile.

You need to know your voice well to do this. Playing with words is fine, but you also need to play to your vocal strengths and make sure that the copy suits the style(s) and tone(s) you’re going to record in.

The overall message should also sound professional and credible. So, it might be best to stay away from name-dropping big brands (so as not to create a false impression that you’ve worked for them) or to invent company names that don’t sound right for their industry sector.

Credibility and relevant experience can be play an important role in the selection of a voice.

Unless you have real-world experience of writing good copy for a target audience and you can make a mock-up sound like the real deal, it might be a good idea to seek guidance from a professional who does. At Voquent we frequently help voices record new material for their profiles, but equally there are many companies offering showreel production services.

3. Read an excerpt from existing literature

Both classic and modern books can offer deeply evocative and memorable reference material that will engage with the kind of audiences you are most eager to work with, from meaningful self-reflections to compelling narratives and dialogues.

If you’ve developed a profound psychological connection with the written work of any author, this will inherently support and enhance the conviction and delivery of your performance. Remember that novels and fiction are best suited to Narrative and Character samples.

If you’re looking to record samples for Guides and Explainers, think about how many Instruction manuals and Quick Start references that you have laying around the house or even online via access to software applications and portals.

Non-fictional material on a subject of personal interest offers an outstanding resource for you to start offering Informational style samples such as documentaries and news.

Keep in mind that promotional material is the one area where existing literature won’t help. You’ll need to consider some of the other sources here if you want commercial orientated material for businesses or consumers.

ALSO READHow do you become a voice-over artist?

4. Work with an established voice coach or producer

If you’re still building your voice over portfolio and you’re not comfortable with writing your own material, working with a professional showreel/demo producer is also an option to build up a great collection of samples that will be relevant to the styles you’re seeking to gain work in.

There are many professional voice coaches and showreel/demo producers to choose from. First and foremost, we’d suggest asking trusted peers, colleagues and contacts for a personal recommendation. How well you gel with a voice-over coach or demo producer is super important. They need to help you deliver a performance that plays to your strengths.

It also helps to work with a voice-over coach that is focussed on working with people who have your level of experience. If you’re an ascending voice over actor at the early stage of your career, you should work with a coach that’s dedicated to helping you reach the next level. Equally, if you’ve been working in the voice over industry for several years, you’ll benefit more from working with a voice-over coach that specialises in techniques and styles that will help you to optimise and maximise your performances.

Most good coaches or showreel/demo producers have accumulated extensive libraries of copy for you to work with. Similarly, they should have an ear for what scripts will suit your voice best.

Of course, before working with a coach, it’s worth checking that you will have the rights to publish and promote your recordings of their scripts (or the audio you’ve recorded together) for your reel/demo, website or Voquent profile.

5. Work with a copywriter to build custom scripts

As with any professional, you generally get what you pay for when commissioning a skilled copywriter.

It makes a big difference to reach out to copywriters that already have experience writing for media producers and ideally, those who’ve specialised in a specific style. Voquent tracks twelve different key styles for voice-over audio:

  1. Announcer

  2. Business-2-Business (B2B)

  3. Characters

  4. Documentary

  5. Education

  6. Explainer

  7. Guide

  8. Narration

  9. News

  10. Promotional

  11. Comedy

  12. Singing

If you seek a copywriter that can produce material that will complete your existing portfolio of audio recordings, you can commission someone who earns a living writing material specific to one of these styles. If you don’t have any previous acting experience and you’re just starting out in the world of voiceovers, we’d suggest focussing on someone who can offer materials for business related styles and leave the challenging styles like Characters until you have more experience behind you.

It goes without saying, you want a copywriter that offers good value for money and a reliable service. Ideally, you’ll get your best results if you can speak with one who’s willing to listen to your voice and write the kind of material that suits the pitch, pace and tones that you feel most comfortable speaking in.

Social Media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer great platforms to gather recommendations for copywriters in the industry.

6. Adapt audition material

If you’re still short of Sample material for your Voquent profile, another alternative is to tweak and rewrite some audition copy.

Not every voice will feel comfortable with writing and editing copy or using material that resulted in somebody else getting a gig, so it’s up to you to decide how much the material needs to be altered where appropriate.

One reason that might put you off is that the voice who got the actual gig may complain that you appear to be passing-off their work as your own. The merits of such a concern are justified to the extent that if we (Voquent) receive complaints about this, we are likely to deactivate or remove the sample whilst the ownership of any copy is disputed and consequently resolved.

To minimise the chances of a complaint (and of Voquent being asked to remove your sample), it may be best (and less distracting for the listener) to drop any brand names from the read and to alter the copy in places. You could use the essence of the copy as inspiration for a message about another product or service entirely, which will also help distance you and your performance from the original wording.

Just remember, brands don’t sell a voice over performance. A good voice over performance sells the brand.

So, if you’re planning to go down this route, the most important thing is to focus on generating some compelling copy and reading it well.

7. Record royalty free voice over scripts

A quick search on Google for royalty free voice over scripts will lead to a range of sites that collectively offer tens of thousands of scripts to choose from. These sites may require you to register for full access but should not cost any money. Many offer a huge variety of material, giving you the opportunity to decide what works best for your voice and personality. This is also a good starting point for any male or female voice-over artists that need immediate access to copy or wants to break into a new style that they’ve never performed before.

Alternatively, it’s worth also noting that there are numerous websites and self-proclaimed trainers that market and sell access to private collections of voice over scripts as part of a paid membership plan. Unless you are working with an experienced voice coach that is handpicking specific material for you, this approach offers only minor advantages (if any at all) over the freely available scripts.

Again, you can edit any of these scripts to make your own distinct versions.

8. Borrow old scripts from a colleague or friend

Perhaps a safer way to demonstrate your skills as a voice-over artist (and fill your Voquent profile with all the samples that use the recommended styles and tones) is to borrow real scripts from a trusted mentor, colleague or friend.

Again, if it’s full of brand names and well-known slogans, it’s probably best to lose them for the reasons outlined previously. Name-dropping prestigious companies that did not actually commission you can have a negative effect on your credibility. Always be mindful that if your sample doesn’t sound genuinely believable or relevant to the script, neither will you.

In most cases, buyers just want to hear clear, honest reads the match the accent, gender style and tone they’ve searched for.

Credible copy, coupled with a convincing performance, will help sell your sample to the listener. And if you’re the right voice for the client, you’ll also be the right voice for the job.

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