Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Voiceover Bakery...

Voiceover work is like making bread

One of the many things I enjoy doing when I'm not in the studio doing voiceovers is baking artisan breads. Every bread baker knows that the basic ingredients to a loaf of bread are : flour, water, yeast and salt.

To those you can add things to change it's appearance, flavor, texture and aroma.
Like in making bread, all voiceover artists start with the basic ingredient – the voice (flour), to that we add interest (water) and a desire to succeed (yeast). But left uncontrolled the mixture can become unwieldy. The bread will grow too fast, become course and full of holes. So we add a little salt to the mixture (training). And, then we bake it (make the demo). If left unattended to rise too long, the dough will fall once it hits the heat of the oven, resulting in a flat, unappealing mess suitable only as a door stop. It's the same in the voiceover world. Some are happy with the results and go no further. They have a product and it looks good and tastes OK, but not everyone likes plain white bread. So we add additional ingredients to give it texture, a special flavor and even an appealing aroma.

Voiceover Bakery image

In the voice world, we have to do the same thing. Some people do very well marketing their plain white bread (generic announcer read). Many bakers find that their customers want something different so they add some variety flours, perhaps some seeds, spices or nuts, or maybe something for appearance like a little sugar so the crust will brown up nicely. We might add some salad oil to the initial mixture so the bread is softer. We do that same thing in our voiceover world. We add variety, an accent or dialect, pitch and tone. We change our character for effect. Sometimes the client needs a curmudgeon and other times a caring grandfather.

Not everyone can or wants to be an artisan bread baker. But, those that do and have the perseverance can succeed. It takes time, patience and lots of practice till you get it right. Oh yes, there are snake oil salesmen in our midst, claiming that anyone can make a beautiful loaf of bread and live happily ever after, if you buy their special bread machine. “Oh it's guaranteed to make a beautiful loaf every time.” Sure they might look good at first but there's something half-baked about a machine-made loaf of bread. It lacks the character and the over-all appeal of a hand crafted loaf that comes from careful kneading and baked in a slow oven with event heat.  

Next week:  The Petrified Buffalo Heart


  1. Love this post! And the looks of those loaves.....
    You are a multi-talented man!

  2. Thanks Debbie. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  3. Great comparison, Jerry! And a tasty hobby you have there!

    At this point, I know I have plenty of spice, texture, salt (thank you US Navy), a bit doughy at times, half baked at others but, hey, I'm still rising!


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