With the arrival of the talkies in the 1930’s, LA became a magnet for a torrent of movie actor wanna-be’s, which, according to my ol’ dad, literally upped the gene pool in the resulting proliferation of pretty people. Surely, he was talking about me – I just wish he’d have quit calling me Shirley – ba-dum pum. It certainly filled the city with an unparalleled variety of trained actors at the ready. Which is the point.
At VoiceOver LA, our talent base of over a thousand hand-picked professionals is overwhelmingly local, to the tune of about 96%. So while most of our competitors welcome phone-in talent from around the country, we keep ours to within driving distance. Why? Because with voice-over, you can’t beat the advantage of working face-to-face.
When you book one of our talent, you get an invitation to join us at our studios for the final recording. And whether that’s live and in-person or via skype, isdn or phone patch, you know there will be at least two people devoted to the success of your job: the talent and the engineer/producer at the controls. That’s a visceral advantage over simply booking someone, somewhere, on their home rig.
First, there’s a professional at the controls. And while many talents are good at self-recording, everyone does better when they concentrate on the thing they do best. A performer is freed to commune with the copy instead of sweating the ongoing technical details of the digital product. And that’s truly, impactfully, freeing.
Second, an additional individual in the room – of the professional variety – is a client’s best ally. Your engineer will not only be minding the recording rig, but will also be listening intently to what’s going into the mic. He or she is your quality control person for a host of happenstances: a subtle mistake in the reading of the wording; a pencil hitting the music stand; a plural word that just sounded like a singular because of a too-soft “s;” a siren from outside that might have crept into the recording background; a gentle suggestion of another take, to be sure you net enough good takes to work with.
And that’s just the technical side. A good engineer/producer is also there to provide better coverage than a singular artist can provide. Your engineer may suggest additional takes to change the emphasis of a word in a phrase; to try a slightly different attitude; or to ask you the style of message you’re trying to relate, after hearing something that may benefit from an alternate take.
That’s not about taking over, but rather to insure and improve the product you get, which often means suggesting additional ways to record that will result in wider and more diverse coverage. Which will net you more choices in the final mix, whether that’s an hour or a month down the road.
Finally, working side-be-side is a great psychological advantage for everyone. We’re social animals who relate best when we’re together, and that’s from a mixture of visual cues, pooled energy and the sheer electricity of the moment, all of which impacts the ultimate performance that sticks to a digital file.
So whether you join us in town or remote yourself in from Nova Scotia, take advantage of the eye contact going on, moment to moment, in our studios. We’re there to enhance the experience – and we know our talent! They’re our friends and local actors whose voice and style we know from previous session experiences — who’ve just motored in to give it their best for your project. And damn, if they ain’t some fine good-lookers!