What Makes a Good Commercial Voice?

It is true that matching your commercial voice-over, aspect by aspect, to the job you are auditioning for will greatly increase your chances of success. There are, however, more general guidelines that apply to each and every audition, whether in person or via recording. Three of the most important of these basic guidelines that will help you in making a good commercial voice-over are as follows:

  1. Find the Best Balance as to Volume and Enunciation. In a voice-over, you will probably need to speak a little louder than in ordinary conversation and make extra efforts to enunciate clearly. However, do not over-compensate and end up sounding overly aggressive or a bit too robotic. Record yourself, review honestly, and strive for improvement.
  2. Use Appropriate Voice Inflection. Some voice-over "beginners" tend to end every phrase in an oddly rising tone that sounds like they are asking a question. Others may use a falling tone to the point of seeming monotone. A rising tone works well with a question or an exclamation. A falling tone fits with commands and authoritative statements. Make sure your tone matches your content throughout.
  3. Know Your Script Well. You want to familiarize yourself with the script before you ever attempt a voice-over. You can't afford to misstate technical terms, forget a whole sentence, or end up using filler words like "um." Since even well written scripts can be unnatural to speak at points, a "slightly edited version" may be fine, but don't wander farther than those auditioning you are comfortable with.