I recently booked two national TV commercials for a couple of Dora products. If you’re not familiar with children’s shows, Dora the Explorer is an American cartoon created by Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh, and Eric Weinea. Throughout the show Dora goes on exciting adventures with friends and strategically teaches her viewers Spanish words and phrases.
Part of being a successful voiceover artist is doing your homework. If you’re not familiar with the product, or who the consumer/audience is, you need to do some research before your audition or recording session. I have young nieces and nephews so my knowledge of Nickelodeon programs, such as Dora the Explorer is current. Had it not been, I’d have been googling, youtubing and netflixing all things Dora. This time I had it easy. My sister’s kids are the client’s demographic so I was completely comfortable with my intended audience.
At the recording session they wanted even more range and energy than I was giving. They needed more excitement that reached beyond using a cool toy to capture attention of kids. To do this I needed to make a few adjustments.
I nailed the direction I was given because I immediately knew who I needed to be talking to in that booth. I focused exactly on who makes my voice raise a notch and instantly puts an energetic smile on my face-Charlie, my dog! Once I mentally put him on the floor in front of me in that audio booth, everything clicked. My niece is still the audience but my dog is the magic behind the curtain.
Remember you are the artist. The director or production team can only tell you what they think they want. It’s up to you to interpret the script as well as any direction you’re given and make it yours. They’ll always want to make tweaks or ask for alternate takes so for every note you get it’s best to make a distinct choice so you can recreate it time and time again. And if you’ve already done something with the copy you find unique or bold and they didn’t comment on it, it means you’re nailing it so keep doing what you’re doing!