Tips from a VO professional for eLearning audio scriptwriters

Hi all, my wife is a professional Voicoever artist (www.maireadcurran.com) handy for me yes;) Anyway, I stole some stuff about preparing scrips for VO from her website to post here:

Overview
If you follow these tips below, you will get a better result from your voice artist and they will finish faster, saving you time and money.

Timing
If you want your audio track to adhere to a specific time, please specify the time and the allowed variance. (Eg a 30 second read, but between 28 and 30 seconds is OK). Also, once your script is ready to go, read it out loud and time it with a stopwatch. Otherwise you may get a read that is too fast, because I am trying to fit in all the words you have written in the time you have specified. As a result it may sounds rushed, too ‘hard sell’ or just plain hard to understand.

Naturalistic
Read your script out loud, does it sound like people would if they are just discussing or explaining something? If not then rewrite it. People understand and relate to natural dialogue more easily, than formal language.

Double spacing
If you double space your lines of text and use a sans-serif font like Helvetica, Arial or Verdana (a font without the squiggly bits hanging off the letters like Times New Roman) you will find your script easier to review and make comments on and easier to proof read.

Non-breaking lines
Also if your script spans several pages, avoid using paragraphs or blocks of text breaking over two pages. This will allow you to get a better feel for the flow of the script as it will be read by me and will make it easier for me to read in the studio.

Pronunciations
Please ensure you provide phonetic pronunciations for anything you think I may not know how to pronounce. This includes things like place names, technical terms, peoples names, words, not in common usage, slang and so on. Just put the pronunciation in brackets after the word using the following convention: phonetics (fon-et-icks).

Guide track
If you have very specific ideas about the rhythm, timing, breath, intonation, style etc for the voice over you want, a great idea is to record a guide track. A guide track is a recording you make reading the script exactly as you want it done. I will then copy your approach as closely as possible.

Multiple-talent reads
If you are going to combine my voice parts with another artist’s (eg like two people having a conversation), ideally, get us all together in one room. If that’s not possible, it is always helpful for me to hear the other voice talent’s audio part when recording mine. This makes it a lot more natural, because instead of acting as if I am responding or interacting with the other talent, I can genuinely react. If I’m the first one to record, send my parts to the other artist so they can react naturally. This will give you a better end product.

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