Before Recording Educational Voiceover, Guide your Voice Actor with this method.
To my friends in Instructional Design and to the CD’s and EP’s at Media Production companies, your educational course or study is powerful, with well-considered and thought-out design at its core. The spoken audio ‘heard’ by a course participant can support or strengthen course modules, as well as help retention. Longer form audio that is scripted into online courses is a very viable medium for a voice actor to bring their acting ‘chops’ to the collaboration, aside from their stamina and microphone technique.
In this article, I’m focusing on a simple and powerful method for the Instructional Designer or Media Company to prep the voice actor (VO) for the recording session. I call it the ‘VO Logline’.
As a voice actor, my role is to make the words I read sound real, authentic and conversational. During my collaborations with Instructional Designers and course study Writers, I’ve adapted my acting technique to breathe life into learning – educational courses. I just renamed this method as the VO Logline. With a simple and powerful VO Logline for your project, a VO can grab ahold of that ‘essence’ while they record for you.
What is a logline anyway? Usually that’s a term used for TV, defined as a one-sentence summary of your TV story. A logline answers the question: What is your story about? It’s the kind of thing that TV Guide writes up about a program. So, a VO Logline for any kind of learning course informs the VO who they are speaking as, to whom they are speaking, and the context of that dialog. In essence, the ‘learning story’.
Now, all those of you who are familiar with a TV logline might immediately think ‘ah ha’! Nice idea. Those of you who aren’t, let me explain. You’ll use the simple steps below to create elements of the VO Logline – the single sentence providing insight to the VO before they record for you. It’s a simple way to guide your voice actor using what you already know.
Create a VO Logline using these 3 steps before the script is recorded. Then share the VO Logline with the person recording your script. This dials them into the vocal attitude and tone to match your objectives, like a shortcut.
1. Define “Who” Is Speaking.
Think of the written words to be recorded.
- ‘Who’ would say this to the course participant? What is their job title, role in the organization, and level of experience?
- What is their role with the course participant?
You’ve just defined who the VO is speaking as. Nice!
2. Define the course participant.
- What is their job title, role in the organization, level of experience?
- Who are they hearing from: a peer, a higher-up, a Subject Matter Expert (SME)?
You’ve just defined the person that the voice actor is speaking to. Great.
3. Write your VO Logline as a simple sentence about the participant, speaker and course value.
Here are real-world samples from courses I have personally recorded:
- An experienced senior foster care social worker is teaching new social workers the State rules they’ll need to follow for their job.
- An expert sales manager motivating and demonstrating to the veteran sales team how to use and maximize a new CRM.
- A retail clothes buyer teaching a new company-wide inventory and sales system to her peers, so they all run it effectively.
What is your VO Logline? Write me and share it.
Now it feels like a story about the people who are touchpoints within your learning course.
VO Loglines create dramatic context for an actor.
‘Dramatic’ in the sense of how an actor can approach your script. Many course designers already know these definitions or can figure it out because it’s inherent to the course design process. Providing this single sentence, the VO Logline, to your voice actor or narrator will create a tangible context for them. This is a wonderful tool to provide your voice actor.
Did you already know all this? Or was this something new for your consideration? Let me know.
As a trained actor, I create narrative ‘worlds’ to contribute to successful educational projects. Thank you for taking the time to review these ideas, and please reply back with your inspired thoughts and advice.