Education, Videos

Giving videos a voice


noun: voice-over; plural noun: voice-overs; noun: voiceover; plural noun: voiceovers

a piece of narration in a film or broadcast, not accompanied by an image of the speaker.

The face behind the voice. Teresa Lim

Often, when producing videos, there is a moment in pre-production when the following question comes up: “So, who are we going to get to do the voiceover?” This is a question to which there is never really an easy answer. Do you get a really famous voice because you are running a national ad campaign? Do you get a less well-known conversational trusting voice because you are doing an explainer video? Should the voice be male or a female? Do you need a character voice, or someone with a strong Aussie accent?

To give you an idea of how to approach some of these questions I spoke with Australian voice artist Teresa Lim, based in Brisbane, who kindly answered some questions about being a voice, often not accompanied by an image. Teresa is currently the TVC channel voice for Cartoon Network and Boomerang TV AUS NZ.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a voice artist?

I have always been completely captivated by audio since I was a young girl.
I especially loved listening to the voices on kids’ cartoons and shows- I would try to mimic them (and drive my family nuts!)
It’s truly been a dream come true to become the TVC channel voice for Cartoon Network and Boomerang TV AUS NZ.

How did you go about becoming one?

Seven years ago, an audio producer pal made a super short demo for me and I started emailing it around and putting it on creative agencies’ websites.
Thanks to word of mouth, I have had constant, daily voiceover work with amazing clients both in Australia and overseas in Asia, the UK and the US.

Do you remember your first paying job? What was it?

My first paid gig was, in 2009,  playing character voices and narrating a children’s audio book,
The Night Before Christmas for a Canadian production company. Such a blast!
I still voice for that company today.

What should people think about when they are looking at booking a voice artist? How do they decide what voice to use: Male or female?  Old or young, and so on?

My advice would be to think carefully about your audience.
Does the voice style and sound effectively communicate the message to your chosen target market?
This will help you work out factors including male/female/old/young.
It doesn’t matter how great the voice sounds if it can’t connect with your audience. In saying this, though, sometimes the unexpected can bring surprising results!
Also, to build a great working relationship with your voice talent. The more often you work together, the better you’ll be able to connect and collaborate on something awesome.

When someone is writing a script that will ultimately be read by a voice artist, what should they keep in mind?

When writing a script, I’d suggest you  read it out aloud. See if it sounds right. Sometimes things just don’t sound the way they are written- and a few adjustments of word or phrase is all you need.
Also, special attention to timing and word count; too much or too little can ruin the pace and fluidity of the read.
Take into consideration the use of music or sound effects and how to make the most of copy, voice and effects to best communicate your message.

You are in Brisbane, we are in Melbourne, but that doesn’t matter any more, right?

Absolutely not. Don’t you love the beauty of technology? These days, we can voice from any studio and have it back to you in a flash, wherever you are.

How does someone go about booking you for a job?

Directly through my website or by emailing:
Usually, clients send a script for quoting, and I give them a call or an email and then we discuss the session together.
Some clients opt for live Skype direction while others prefer me to just send over the finished file.
Payment is made easily through direct transfer or Paypal.

What would you say to people who would like to become voice artists; what should they be doing?

Once you have the basics of studio and demo sorted, I can’t stress enough the importance of networking.
I have been extremely blessed by an amazing professional team of producers and audio professionals who have been the backbone of Teresa Lim Studios.
From discussing new equipment, to updating demos, and approaching new clients or getting help with large projects- start today by building a great network of people you can trust professionally.
Also- always keep growing. Look for new ways to gain professional development. Reach out to new clients. Meet colleagues in your industry and connect. Email me if you have any questions. All the best x




Matt Jasper

Matt Jasper is the owner of The Jasper Picture Company. He is based in Melbourne but works around Australia and the world.