Many months back I talked a lot about voice over script analysis as the key to winning the job(s). Not much has changed in my belief that understanding the script is more important that anything, but there are certainly plenty more key pieces to actually executing that and making it a reality. There are many ways to reach a destination, many strategies and techniques. I would like to focus on a mistake that many people need to avoid when analyzing copy. Avoiding this mistake will inevitably lead you to doing the analysis the right way, if not by anything but default. But that’s ok. Whatever it takes to get you there!
The most common voiceover analysis mistake being made is deciding what kind of direction to take the script in based on the product alone. I have students who do this all the time. I ask them to analyze the following script:
You asked for it. You got it.
The McRib is back at Mcdonald’s for a limited time.
Smothered in tangy bbq sauce. Served on a toasted bun.
The results of the analysis usually sounds something like this: It’s selling deliciousness, toastiness, yummy bbq-sauce ness…..They’re trying to tantalize you with the tasty sandwich they’re offering….
In actuality, that is just telling you about a McDonald’s product. That is not necessarily telling you what the WRITER was trying to do with this specific McDonald’s script. More often than not it is the writer who will choose the performer. The “product people” might only get involved if they are looking for the ongoing voice of a campaign they will be doing which involves multiple spots. So, please the writer, not the people at McDonald’s. And to do so, you must understand the style, the set-up, the story that the writer is using to build around the product they are advertising. To do this means to see the two separate things at play in a script: the information, and the “style/story”. Your focus should be on the style and story if you want to appeal to the writer and show him/her you connect to their intention.
In the next blog, stay tuned for the specifics on how to do that.