It’s time for another round of voice over script analysis. To book voiceover jobs, you MUST know what you are talking about, and more importantly, HOW they want you to talk about it. As usual, we will cover both these areas….the BIG picture being the tone they want you to evoke, and the LITTLE picture being all the keywords on each line that support the tone and also the message. If you’re brand new to voice over technique you may want to start with understanding an overview of all the basic elements of voiceover first.
We are working today with a commercial script from Tudor Watches:
We’re devoted to the classic, but reject the status quo. We keep the best of the past. The best watchmaking practices, the best designs. And push the boundaries of what’s new. Born for a purpose. Field-tested to the extreme. For those who are up for anything. Those who face their fears. Those who reinvent themselves every day. A tudor….is born to dare.
So, first off is that TONE we are seeking to understand. Here I am getting around to tone by first noticing the audience they are speaking to: adventurists, those who take chances and make bold moves in life. They also speak to the romantic traditionalist, the one who favors things that are done the way they have been for centuries. With these two aspects clearly defined in the writing, I get a sense of an overall sophistication and also a sense of pride and challenge, as if the speaker is daring you to be this best and boldest version of yourself. The way this tone is now put into practice easier is to focus on the points being made here that actually support this tone, and therefore make it sound more authentic and more purposeful.
The first sentence is a classic setup of contrast, thereby highlighting what’s there in opposition. DEVOTED/CLASSIC and REJECT/STATUS QUO. This is a few more words than I normally like to emphasize in a sentence, but making sure the surrounding words are played down assures that the listener gets a rest in between the words you will “hit” and also makes them have more impact. Yes, emphasizing keywords is equally about downplaying the words that surround it, lest they steal the spotlight from your point. Next we have BEST and PAST, because this is what they are saying is at the heart of what makes their watches tick. Sorry, can’t even resist a bad pun. Love ‘em. Now they go on to give you an example, so you don’t need to repeat the word best, you need to emphasize what it is they are pointing towards: WATCHMAKING PRACTICES and DESIGNS. We then have PUSH, BOUNDARIES, NEW. You could also just hit NEW and let the other words just be lead words that get to the real point, that they do explore the future of watchmaking as well, when it works. Then, PURPOSE. Next up is EXTREME. Next, THOSE and ANYTHING. Then, FACE and FEARS. And, REINVENT, and perhaps for dramatic emphasis EVERY DAY. Then of course we emphasize the only one mention of the product, as well as any elements of its tag line such as BORN and DARE. The reason you keep both words at the end there is that BORN IS EMPTY without it….BORN to what? To DARE. You could perhaps get rid of BORN however, because it is mentioned earlier in the script, and you usually want to stay away from emphasizing words that have already been called out. So in this instance, we get that we are speaking of, and have already spoken of, ways in which this watch was born for – leaving the new piece of information all on the word DARE. Just like a spare use of the most essential words only makes for good editing in a writer, hitting only what’s necessary in a script makes for good voice acting.