Tag Archives: voiceover scripts

No Small Scripts in VO

Short scripts in VoiceOver are often more challenging to actors for a few reasons. Often they are filled with information-only text because they have such a small amount of time to sell a message. This emotional vacuum leaves people wondering how to avoid reading it as an announcer. The most important thing to remember with any script, however, is that regardless of the length of the “story” the delivery with the most engagement and authenticity is the one that almost always wins. This means digging for that subtext. 
Let’s use an example:Sometimes you just want a great latte. Come to McDonalds for free latte Fridays and try any flavor latte, made with bold rich espresso, on us. 
You might think this is an empty short script with nothing “to it.”  However when you examine the first sentence you will see subtext: assumption, familiarity, we all share these things in common, etc…This alone tells you how to approach the read totally. The next sentence starts out with an invitation. We have easy reference for this tone in our own lives when we invite anyone over to our home, or to engage in a positive activity. This is the tone you use.  We also have a tone when romancing something (bold rich espresso) and we chew on those words a little more slowly than normal conversational pace dictates. Two sentences, plenty of personality. 
Here’s another:In 100 years, you may come back to be an eagle, a lion, or even a fruit fly. But I will still be a Red Ox. 
This one is for Red Ox luggage. Clearly the message is that their pieces stand the test of time because they are durable. This tells you to deliver that last sentence with confidence and conviction. Maybe even pride. Because the first sentence shouldn’t compete with that, and because it’s conveying the other possibilities, it can have a sense of wonder, but maybe a little flimsier, and certainly not with the solidity of the product line. Once again, tone!  
When you are in doubt with any script because it is short and/or seems completely information heavy and therefore devoid of any emotional angle, your default can always simply be Engaged. Interested. When you think about it, we can convey anything with this attitude and have an audience because if we are interested, others will sense that there is something interesting being shared and pay attention!  It’s a win. 
The important thing to remember about small scripts is that less words does not ever mean less emotion. Think about how right now you could say just a single word like YES with sincerity, excitement, sadness, or confidence. Just one word, but intention is behind it. Then there’s the tiny little chili pepper, small, but, you know – WHOA.