Learn about how to prepare to produce and direct your voice recording session.
- As a producer, the better prepared you are for a voice over session, the better it'll run. So as a producer or a director, it's really important that the smoother the session will be, the less it's going to cost and the better performances you're likely to get. So one of the things you want to make sure is that prior to the session, you deliver sides to your actors. In fact, I like to deliver sides as well as the finished script so everyone understands as much as possible about the project.
You may also want to deliver images of characters especially in animation to your actors. The design can often influence what their performance is going to be. It's definitely an inspiration. Here's a couple different examples of designs from one of my projects called Dream Factory. I also deliver written character descriptions whenever possible. Again, the more that you can help an actor get into their role, the better they're going to be or if you're doing a piece that's an advertisement, product information.
Again, information is important. Now, you should also read through the entire script and then note whatever other sounds you might want from your characters. If you have access to the exercise files, you'll find this, script notes for additional audio PDF. I'm also going to put it up on the screen here. So this is for your reference. So if we take a look at this, we see that I have all of the dialogue lines numbered but between some of the dialogue lines, there's other audio that I'm going to need for my actors when I get them in there.
One thing you definitely don't want to do is end up being in an edit session and realize, oh, I don't have them reacting to this. See, 'cause there's a lot of things that aren't in dialogue that you still need to record. So for instance, looking at this sample, between lines 21 and 22, I've got a couple things that I need to record. 21A as you seen I've handwritten in here, Matt gulps. I need some sort of sound from him. Then I have Burp, his best friend, hopping off to one side.
So I might have a little, little bit of sound that goes along with their action. Between 22 and 23, I have a couple more. So 22A is Matt sounds and I have noted here strains and grunts. I have him being trained so he's going through a lot of physical activities so I'm going to get from my actor just a whole slew of sounds of running, jumping, punching, falling, whatever kind of vocal sounds I might need from that actor that I can then edit in as I need it.
And then 22B I've got Matt falling off of a wall. So when someone's falling, they might be, the initial sound of being shocked, wha, and then ugh when they hit, different sounds and I'll take them again through a number of different things small and big 'cause sometimes I might want a different type of take later. Now is the time to get that recorded. You also want to know the relationships between all the characters and be able to offer that out to your actors. Again, this can inspire them on how they might read certain lines.
Now, prior to a session, make sure that you remind your actors of their upcoming sessions and remind them of their call times. One of the things in production is time is money. So you need to make sure that you're prepared to start on time because the engineers and the audio studio is charging you for the time that you're there. Now, during a session, to keep things moving, you might also want to have an assistant there. Now, an assistant can help you with tracking the takes that you want to keep or anything else that you might need like going on a run or helping get something for an actor.
You need to be able to stay focused on your task at hand. So as a producer or director, make sure that you get to the studio early and one of the things you want to do is make sure everything's prepped properly, talk to your engineer about your needs and expectations. So for instance, maybe you're going to have more than one actor record at a time if you want to get some good interaction between them. Well, you want that all set up prior to your actors showing up. How do you want your files labeled? I actually bring an example of how I like mine labeled to keep everything organized so that I can move through my post really quickly.
You might want to bring anyone else who's a part of the session an extra copy of the script. So I like my engineer to have a copy of script so they can also make their notes on it. I bring extra scripts and pens and different paper for my clients as well as any assistant or anyone else who might be there. In fact, sometimes, my actors might forget to bring some paperwork. In fact, I had that happen just on the last session. Actually, two actors in a row forget to bring their scripts. So I had copies of the scripts and sides for them, everything already marked up.
You also want to prep your clients who may want to be part of the recording session. So if you've got an executive from an ad agency or a product line or the creator of a show, they're often going to want to give notes on how the actors are giving a certain line. However, let's be clear, only the producer or director should ever speak to the actor. Make sure it's just one person. So if a client has any notes, give it to the director and then the director gives that to the actor.
Your actors and your clients as well as your budget will be really happy when you are properly prepared.
- Finding and hiring voice-over talent
- Recording voice-over
- Becoming a professional voice artist
- Recording better line readings
- Creating a demo reel
- Recording your own voice-over projects
- Delivering and backing up audio files