How To Hire The Best Voiceover Talent For Your Medical Narration Project

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Congratulations! If you’re reading this you already know the value of hiring

a professional voice talent, the importance of the technical quality of the

audio, and the impact an excellent performance has when it engages you

and your audience. But, did you know that not all voiceover actors are

adept in all areas of VO? So, how do you choose which person to hire?

Here are 5 Critical Factors to Consider:

Know Your Audience

Who are your listeners and what’s the best way to reach their ears? Do they

want to hear from a man or woman? Someone mature or youthful?

Someone with a regional accent, or if the audience is global, a non-

accented American or British accent? If English is a second language, an

articulate voice will be understandable by most of your listeners.

Side Note:

Did you know there’s a common condition called presbycusis, which

affects older people and prevents them from hearing higher pitch ranges?

This phenomenon would suggest choosing a voiceover artist with a deeper

pitch (male or female) to ensure that your key messages are clearly heard.

2. Know Your Voice Actor

You’ve found a voice actor whose medical demo sounds great, but can they

deliver the same sound for you? How deep is their experience? Do they

have their own broadcast quality studio, or will they record at an outside

studio? Who will bear that expense? Who will edit the audio?

Are they comfortable with long-form narrations or are they better with short

projects (5 minutes or less)? Listen to other samples of their work. Pay

attention to details like pronunciation, articulation, modulation of energy and

tone to create interest and expressiveness— are these qualities present?

Side Note: NDAs- Non-Disclosure Agreements- often prevent voice actors

from posting their projects online, but sometimes they can share a private link.

3. Check References

Ask for references because a VO professional comes prepared to make

your job easier and help your project shine! Ask how well they took

directions? If they met or beat their deadlines. How well they communicated

throughout the project? Did they edit the text if needed and catch errors if

they existed?

4. Preparation is Paramount

How does the voice actor prepare? By its very nature, medical content can

be intellectually challenging, requiring someone who’ll roll up their sleeves

to understand your project. Repeated reviewing and rehearsing of the script

is mandatory, so questions for pronunciations, syntax, or meaning get

addressed in advance and the session (if directed by you and/or your

client), goes smoothly and quickly. Ask the voiceover talent to explain their

workflow process.

5. Longevity

Is the voice actor a full-time, well-established talent or are they

moonlighting? Are they able to turn your project around quickly? Science

and statistics often get updated, and revisions are needed months or years

after the recording session has been completed. Will that person be

around?

In my next article I’ll explain the process of working with a voice talent and

give you some tips on how to direct them when it comes to voicing

technical content—be it medical, legal, corporate, governmental or IT

(information technology).

One in Ten

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Blink, and you’ve made an assessment about someone, Malcolm Gladwell writes,

in his book by the same name. We do it all the time--whether consciously or not; we

size up people and situations, evaluate the pros and cons, assess the risks and

rewards.

In business, as in life, before investing in a company, or buying a home appliance,

for example, we perform ‘due diligence’, the act of making sure it’s wise to move

forward.

But in our hustle and bustle world of...

*I found you on the Internet.

*How fast can you turn this around?

*How many others are competing for the work?

*This sounds like an exciting project.

…it’s easy to forget the importance of crossing T’s and dotting I’s.

I’m the trusting type. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I give people the benefit of the doubt,

trusting that they won’t use my recordings without paying for the right to do so,

and after 10 years in the business, this is the first time I’ve been stiffed.

One in ten ain’t bad, right?

The person turned out to be a real con artist— trading on the semblance of a

relationship with a bona fide professional to convince me of his own legitimacy.

In turn, I referred him to colleagues to provide services for a project that was

beyond my domain, and naturally coming from me, they trusted that this ‘client’ was

legit (though I disclosed that my own relationship with him was nascent.) Through

this process he gets people to provide services, and a whole lot more from what I’ve

since heard.

It’s hard not to feel foolish for not heeding the warning signs.

Were there red flags? Yes. Did I heed them? No.

Have I learned my lesson? Yeah, but I’d rather continue to trust in humanity rather

than become rigid with fear of the next super Duper.

Kondified

Have you been Kondo-ed?

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I’m about ready to surrender. But it sure is hard to let go.

ANGST

What is it I’m clutching? Paper. I’ve got a huge file cabinet filed with folders for every

voiceover project I’ve ever had, every client I’ve ever served, with scripts, notes, invoices,

and pay stubs.

Not only do I feel a sense of maternal pride and protectiveness (these are my babies who I

tended to after all), but I also appreciate having resources to refer to when clients would

come back to me weeks, months, or sometimes years later, to work together again.

And there’s the wonderful feeling of flipping through the files and being reminded of people

and projects that have dotted my career. It’s like looking through an album of photographs,

something fundamentally gratifying, verses the scanning we do of tens of thousands of

photos when looking for that one image we’re trying to get our hands on.

Over the years (I’ve been at this for 15 now), I have culled the folders, tossing thousands of

pages of eLearning scripts, medical narrations, and audiobooks, but there are some projects

I can’t seem to cast aside— like the many museum audio tours I’ve voiced.

But here’s the good news. I’m willing to try. So I’m conferring with colleagues who have

blazed the trail before me, cut ties with paper and forged digital systems for managing

their businesses.

I’ll keep you posted on how I do. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Kondo-me, baby!

April 25, 2019

As if providence knew that I had taken on the challenge to clean up my act, two books came

into my life: Organized Enough by Amanda Sullivan, and Outer Order, Inner Calm, by

Gretchen Ruben.

They both spoke to me in meaningful ways and made me think about my behavior in various

areas of my life: work, home and travel.

Here are some of the key ideas that resonated with me:

FLOW

Forgive yourself for accumulating all the stuff— clothes, files, your kids’ artwork from the

time they were old enough to hold a crayon, magazines, digital files, conference swag,

travel moments, business cards, emails, etc.

Let go of anything you don’t need, haven’t used, doesn’t fit, or you have multiples of and

doesn’t really serve you.

Organize what’s left.

Weed on a consistent basis since it’s easier for things to come into our homes/computers

than it is to throw them out.

And here’s an interesting question to ask yourself as you sift through your items:

Is this me now, or is this who I was in the past, or who I hope to be in the future?

As I asked myself this question throughout the day over the past couple of months, it

seemed I have a ton of things to let go of everywhere in my life.

200,000 Emails.

I started with my emails. Since I had to change hosts from Go Daddy to G Suite, it only made

sense to clean up as many unwanted emails as I could before porting them over to the new

platform. If you’re moving from one house to another, who needs to pack up and schlep

unwanted things? So I, rather aggressively, got rid of lots of emails from the past decade.

I scanned them in blocks of 500 to isolate any that seemed important, and I’m sure some

slipped through the cracks, but I feel lighter for having done it. Sadly, I can’t delete new

ones as fast as they come in, but I’m trying.

Closets.

I don’t know where the term “clothes horse” comes from, but I have way more than I need

and many items waiting for me to lose 5 pounds so they can fit again. I’ve always donated

clothing to Good Will and the Salvation Army over the years, but I’m being more aggressive

(and honest) about what I just don’t want to wear and need to get rid of. Some of the items

are beautifully made, and I’ve started giving to family and friends— with great success!

They’re happy, I’m thrilled and the clothes have found new loving owners (so I assume they

are happy too).

Who Doesn’t Love Swag?

Everybody loves free stuff. Makeup samples, conference bags, branded coffee cups and

water bottles, you name it. Here’s a radical thought: If you wouldn’t pay for it, don’t take it.

Let me tell you, I’ve started asking myself that question and the answer has me saying

“Thank you, no thank you,” a lot more often. And you know what? It feels good!

Does that shirt from 10 years ago that you rarely wear (because it doesn’t fit, has a little

stain, or is out of style) reflect who you are today, or is it something you hope to someday

fit your body and your life? Does that check stub from a project you completed years ago

have any importance to you now?

May 13, 2019

As I am sorting, sifting and selecting, there’s an “Incredible Lightness of Being” that I feel.

Letting go seemed scary, and sometimes still does, but afterwards I don’t feel a sense of loss.

It’s good fuel to keep me on this path, which is taking a lot longer than I thought or hoped

it would.

I remind myself, little steps, big victory, and don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

enough.

June 9, 2019

What’s still left to do?

More email tossing.

More file tossing.

More clothes donating.

More book thinning.

More dead shrub removing.

Why I've Gone Missing

“ Life is growth . If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.”  Morihei Ueshiba

Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.” Morihei Ueshiba

Although I think the orange is snazzy, I opted for classic white to match my red and white checkered floors.

It's been a different kind of year so far. While my blog posts have been fewer, my focus on technical skill development has been greater. I've invested both time and money to improve my tools to record, edit and deliver the best quality audio for my clients. Also en route is an awesome new Studiobricks recording booth, coming from Spain, which will be delivered to my home in the Berkshires, where I spend a lot of time when I'm not in NYC.

It's there that I get to hang with my 3 year old grandson, tend to my garden, entertain family and friends and be in nature with the sights and sounds of streams, coyotes, hummingbirds, possums, whistle pigs— aka woodchucks and groundhogs— and the occasional bear.

Also, I've found inspiration in other people's writings:

Organized Enough, by Amanda Sullivan

Outer Order, Inner Calm, by Gretchen Rubin

These books really resonated with me as did their fundamental message: don't let perfection get in the way of good enough.

Now that's a hard concept for a gal like me, who was taught from a young age to always excel. Along with that comes a critical voice when perfection isn't reached. But is it ever, really? So while I continue to challenge myself to grow, to learn new things, and to be a better voice over talent, wife, mom, sister, friend and MomMom (grandma), I am also trying to be more accepting of who I am, where I am and what I can do for myself and others.

Still, I've taken some of the ideas in these books to heart and have begun to Kondo my life, by streamlining both my personal and professional spheres--files, clothes, emails, shoes, knickknacks-- you name it!

How is that going? I'll let you know in a blog post that's coming soon: Kondofied!