Reading aloud: 7 tips for scripts that sound great

male voice over artist

Identifying a voice with the perfect tone for your project is only part of the story. To enable that voice artist to achieve an audio recording that meets your expectations, you must provide them with a great script. By putting in the extra effort when structuring your script, you will be able to get the best from your voice artist.

But what makes a script great? Essentially, clarity and concision. Fine tuning a script takes time. However, remember that this is the time that you will save when you’re paying by the hour for your voice artist’s talents!

1. Choosing your message

A great script begins before any words are put together. Take the time to discuss and brainstorm what your key points are. Be ruthless and remove any messages that overlap and duplicate other points. Whether your project is a corporate video or commercial advert, it is easy to become enthused with your business message. Try to limit the points that you are aiming to convey. It will mean that those messages that form the focus of your script are clearly represented.

2. Keeping it simple

Once your key message is identified, find ways to express it briefly and concisely. Remember that your audience has a finite amount of attention. This is one thing that all audiences have in common! You can keep listeners engaged by varying the tone and pace of sentences. Avoid delving too deeply into your topic with industry jargon and slang. This is more likely to alienate than engage.

3. Detailing what is spoken

There are potential stumbling blocks that sneak under the radar of most scripts. Look out for dates, acronyms and URLs. You should detail the exact way that you wish a date to be spoken. So: ‘fifth of June twenty eighteen’. Any acronyms should be fully detailed in the first instance and you should be clear to the voice artist whether they should say individual letters or pronounce it as a word. Don’t include the www prefix when referring to URLs. It is extremely clunky when spoken and is unnecessary for an audience’s comprehension.

4. Reading it aloud

Throughout your script writing process, read the words aloud. What appears clear to the eye may not be so to the ear. So if you stumble over some sections, it is likely that your voice artist may do the same. Even better than checking your script by reading aloud is to read it aloud TO someone who has not been working on the script. Any sections which were unclear on first listen or are repetitive should be revisited and altered.

5. Approving a script

For corporate projects, you may have several departments who will feedback and approve the script. So the text document may accumulate various thoughts and notes. For your final script, delete anything that you do not want to be spoken aloud. Keep any directorial notes completely separate to the voiceover script to avoid confusion. If you do not intend to dial into the recording of your voiceover this is even more vital.

6. Remaining flexible

To achieve the best possible voiceover product, it is important to remain flexible. This is why it is advisable for you to dial into the recording of your script. Communication with your voice artist is imperative. Remember that these are experienced professionals so if they have any comments or suggestions, be collaborative. You’re more likely to get a voiceover that ticks all the boxes and avoid the need to re-record.

7. Remembering silence

As important as words, pauses and short silences allow an audience to process the information that you wish to convey. Indicate pauses inside brackets, so: [pause]. If your project includes vibrant visual elements, consider how the use of pauses can complement the visual stimulation on display.