Tag Archives: Bill Rock

The Five-Second Voice-Over Billboard: How Hard Can it Be?

My first billboard for NBC! What a pleasure to be directed and produced by the fabulous Bill Rock, who has been one of the voices of NBC for years and is one of the voice-over greats. I pinned his studio on Pinterest on my “Great Places to Record Audio” Board.

Bill and I were talking about why it can take so long – well, let’s just say more than 5 seconds – to record “short, easy” pieces like this.
What do you need? When to market yourself to this work?

  • First of all, you need to be able to deliver variety – so the client has choice and can pick the one they want.
  • Secondly, timing is of the essence, down to the hundredth of a second.
    voice over brain

    technique plus imagination...

    As in many shorter reads, to really deliver the tone the actor in you wants to perform, you’d need a little more time. You don’t have it! It helps to have a master producer/director like Bill, who can make an extra tenth of a second go away without adjusting speed.

  • Third, techniques like articulation, pitch, coloring words, phrasing, tempo changes are all vital here. Some of the variety will come from these “left-brain” techniques, some will come from your “right-brain” sense of play and imagination. And be willing and able to take direction, especially from a pro like Bill.

Fascinating, too, to hear the listening expertise of the client from NBC – one listen to all 7 takes, and she knew: “let me hear 3,4, and 7”. Then “Let me hear 4 and 7” Then, number 7 it is. Whew! And I can’t even decide which pair of jeans to put on in the morning (and, um, they all pretty much look the same).

So – it didn’t really take that long (I mean, way under an hour) to come up with seven reads to play for the client, all under 5 seconds – but, as Bill said, “People think this is easy; it’s not! It’s hard work.” Indeed. Okay, maybe not compared to, say, police officers, construction workers, and middle school teachers. (not delusional…I know voice-over is cushy compared to that!)  But, harder than the average person might expect.

Thanks again to Bill – and if you want to hear the 5-second result it’ll be part of “Fashion Star” on April 24 and it’s about Maybelline.  Yeah, I’m taping it. It’s my first one.  Guilty!


Filed under Voiceover, Voice Talent, Voice Acting