Voice-over is a good side gig for a freelance with a decent mic and a few acoustic foam tiles. Businesses want pleasing voices for their corporate videos, instructional content and answering machines.
There’s competition for the well-paid jobs. Being English with ‘no regional accent'1 helps.
Lots of North American firms embrace the stereotype of RP sophistication. Ditto Australian pep or Californian malleability 2.
If you want to sell to the English, chirpy Geordie and hint-of-London-youth (nothing too realistic) are in vogue.
Whatever your charming vocal twang, you must send an audio sample. If you have clips from relevant past gigs, use those. If not, you’ll need to record something.
When I began applying for voice work, I wasn’t sure what to record for my samples. Parroting existing videos seemed wrong, as did researching and recording clips for each application. So, I put together a couple of generic sample voice-overs.
Feel free to use my scripts but, if you’re in the mood to procrastinate, it’s fun to write your own. Limit the clip to 30-60 seconds.
Also make a version with inspirational background music (royalty free). Indiemusicbox.com is my favourite source. You can download suitably stirring tracks for a few quid. Some firms prefer clips without music, so keep the original.
Write your own generic corporate nonsense script
A corporate video can be business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), or the manifestation of an executive ego with too high a budget (EE2HB).
Parks and Recreation aired a superb pastiche of this genre, although your gigs will be more niche industry than international conglomerate. Here’s a big business example, and a lower-budget intro from a company that designs stands for trade conferences (übermeta).
- Company name.
You might overlap two business-related words (try the splendid Invent-a-word tool), stitch together a profitable-sounding prefix and suffix (MorphEssence? Pansophic?) or, if you’re lazy, pick two Greek letter names.
Three alliterative words, something vague about connection, or the evergreen ‘do business better‘.
- Corporate nonsense.
Pioneering this, development in that, hybrid cloud technology, flexible efficiency, tailored solutions3… Don’t spend too long on this, or your brain will dribble through your nostrils.
- I used the Corporate B.S. Generator. Big thanks to the creator.
- Andrew Davidson’s Corporate Gibberish Generator™ is also fantastic, but harder to pass off as earnest.
Sample corporate voice-over script (B2B)
Your business relies on cross-functional infrastructure. You need to be flexible, frictionless and future-proof.
Aggregate economically sound results with next-generation methodologies. Dynamically communicate outside-the-box metrics.
Each firm is different. But every firm needs functionality.
So, what do we do? You tell us.
Write your own generic wellness/self-care wankery script
The meditation app, the self-care service and the motivational quote feed. Don’t be fooled by the pastels and handwriting fonts: This is big business, and you can exploit the exploiters if you’ve got a neutral, soothing voice.
- Company name.
These firms are usually one word (Calm, Within, Mindfully). It doesn’t have to be a real word – stick on a suffix for faux whimsy (Selfify, Joyable, Mindology).
- Wellness nonsense.
Vague rhetorical questions (Why limit yourself? What is wellness?) and short aspirational commands (Live your best life. Find peace within.)
Sample self care/pseudo-health app voice-over script (B2C)
Ignite your passion. Unleash your creativity. Live without limits.
Don’t contain yourself – be everything you want to be and share it with the world. Track your progress in real time. Connect with others on the path to self-actualisation.
Colour outside the lines with Self.
- London, Sussex etc. don’t count as regions. What they mean is, ‘Do you sound more like the BBC Two newsreader or the lass they found for the vox pop?
- I’ve been brushing up my transatlantic accent and keenly await its resurgence
- Not ‘synergy’. Even the wankiest corporate wankers stopped using that.