The Voice over Producer
A producer is someone who takes a kernel of an idea and out of that kernel, creates an actual event. In the world of Voice Over Production, they are responsible assembling all the principals needed to fulfill the ultimate vision of the project. If we use the analogy of The Wizard Of Oz, the producer would ultimately have to be The Wizard, that being said s/he can be the Wicked Witch as well.
Most of the producer’s responsibilities occur before and after the actual recording session. It is in the hiring or overseeing of the director, actors, engineers, music etc. where the producer shines. Once the principal jobs have been filled, the voice over session (complete with all the top-notch players doing the jobs they’ve been hired to do) should unfold organically.
Once the producer has chosen a voice over director to bring the project to life, s/he will let the director do what they do best. Prior to the actual recording session, the producer will have discussed at length, with the voice director what the objectives and goals they intend to achieve.
Throughout the voice over recording, the producer may have opinions on how various lines are written and read. Keep in mind that any notes from the producer are meant to enhance the ultimate vision of the project. These notes are not meant to be taken personally. The producer is the one with weight of the project on his/her shoulders and is ultimately responsible for its success.
The actual voice over recording session is but one piece of a much larger puzzle, a crucial piece to be sure, but a singular piece nonetheless. The producer is also responsible for the artwork, the production timeline, the music, the marketing etc.
At the end of the day, the producer job is to oversee the entire project from inception to execution and s/he often does it from behind the giant curtain.
The Voice Over Director
The voice over director has a myriad of responsibilities. They include, but are not limited to: The breaking down of the script by character, by scenes, beats within each scene and determining the flow of the voice actor’s performance as well as the correct edit and cut. Organizational and communication skills are paramount to the success of the director, as s/he is liaison between actors and the engineers, writers and producers, and must be as loved as the Scarecrow by all.
Prior to the voice over recording session, the director will have met with the producers and writers to fine-tune the tone of the project as well as the personalities and attitudes of each of the characters. In short, the director is, ostensibly, the ‘brains’ behind the voice over recording session.
The voice over director must have a strong, personal relationship with each of the actors and s/he must use that connection to help pull a perfect performance from them.
When an actor is being asked to repeat the same line for the eighty-fifth time, they need to trust the director. The actor needs to be reassured that the reason they are all on this journey is that the director will lead them to that perfect scene no matter how many times it’s performed.
The director must dance that fine line between repeatedly working an actor to the point where the words lose meaning and getting that exact inflection, that perfect line read that makes the scene sing off the page. The director does this by making sure the actors feel safe by assuring them that they are all on the same side.
The voice over director has the most hands on creative role during the voice record session. S/he is responsible for ensuring that the voice over recording goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We love you most of all Scarecrow.
Do you have producer or director experience? Share your experience below!
Todd Resnick is president of Resnick Interactive Group, a full service, results-driven voice over casting company specializing in games and animation. If you are interested in the voice over business, looking for talent or help in casting your show, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ResnickCasting. Or, visit us at http://resnickinteractive.com.