Dan Hurst - Voice Talent

Voiceovers In English or Spanish for commercials, narrations, Radio/TV Promos



Voiceovers by Dan Hurst in English or Spanish for commercials, narrations, and e-learning.



Published February 25, 2010

A few weeks ago John Melley posted a discussion in the Marketing For Fun And Profit Group of VoiceoverUniverse.com called “How Scarce Are You?”  It was brilliant.  I highly recommend you read it.

In the post John asked the question, “How can I get them to say ‘That’s the person I want to do all my voice over work?’”

A great question.  And one that I hope will generate some discussion here.

John goes on to say, "You do it with the words you use, the way you treat your clients, how you look after them, how you dress, speak on the phone, how you write your emails, your letterhead, demo packaging, the experience they have with you in the studio. Your “Presentation.”  Those are all great reminders.  Read them again and think about them.

Now, obviously talent and delivery are critical to success with your client.  And you’re not going to get ALL of a clients voice work unless it’s a very small client.  But you can position yourself to make yourself one of your client’s “go to” voices.  So, with that in mind, I’d like to add a few thoughts to that question.

1.  Your client pretty much already has a voice in mind.  It’s your job to figure out what he/she is looking for.  Ask them for ideas and samples.

I learned this lesson from my wife.

Several years ago she decided she wanted a new hair style.  When she went to her hair stylist, she was asked to bring in pictures of what she had in mind.

My wife, Marcia, knew what she was looking for.  The stylist wasn’t offended that she wasn’t leaving it up to her.  It was all about pleasing the client.

A side note: the picture changed several times before she decided on what she wanted.  But that’s for another blog.

2.  Study the copy.

Your client has a unique writing style.  It’s different from every other client.  There are little nuances and inflections that your client has already heard in his/her head.  Find out what the client is expecting. Learn their writing style and how they interpret their copy.

I totally blew this today.

A client sent me the copy for a voiceover – a car spot.  I always do the real hard sell delivery for this client.  So, I recorded it and sent them a couple of takes per his request.

Well, not exactly per his request.

A few minutes later I got a call from the client, who fortunately was laughing, to tell me that Cadillac spots sound better when they are not screamed.

I’m an idiot.

3.  Understand your client’s schedule.

By the time your client gets to the voiceover part of the production, he/she is already in a time crunch.  That’s just the way it is.

If you can move heaven and earth to accommodate their schedule, they will appreciate and remember you.

Will they take advantage of you?  Sure.  But no more than their client takes advantage of them.  It’s just the way the business works.

4.  Tell your client that you welcome their direction.

I make it a point to tell new clients to feel free to tell me what they want, to interrupt me if I’m not doing what they want, to tell me what they like and don’t like, and that I’m not offended or bothered by that.

I have clients that are comfortable interrupting a read.  I like that.  I don’t take it as an insult.  Why should I waste their time and mine doing something that they’re not going to use?  The way I figure it, every time they interrupt me I get a little closer to what they’re looking for.

It’s all about pleasing the customer.

A couple of years ago Marcia and I purchased our second original painting by P. Buckley Moss, one of our favorite artists.  In fact, this painting was essentially commissioned, not that she does that sort of thing, but she offered…and we were thrilled!  When we received the painting – one that represents her unique style – it was missing two things that Marcia really wanted in the painting.  When asked if it was what she wanted, Marcia mentioned the couple of things (Hey, she asked!).  Pat took the painting back and acted pleased…PLEASED…that she would be able to add those two items to the painting.

That blew me away.  An artist of her stature was more interested in pleasing a fan than in her own interpretation of a subject.

That painting is one of the pieces in our collection of which we are most proud.

Believe me, treat your clients that way and you will be one of their favorites!

5.  Become a fan!

Your client is a fan.  You need to be a fan of your client.

I learned the importance of this a couple of years ago when I got a call from a producer inquiring about using me for a project.  He said he got my name and phone number from a mutual friend “who says you’re a good friend of his.”  That referral was from another client that I really do admire.  I really am a fan.  I just didn’t know it showed.

Apparently it does.

So, there you have it.  Make yourself one of your client’s favorites and you’ll have work for life!

Most certainly there are many other things you can do to make yourself one of your client’s favorites.  What do you think?