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The “Who” in “Who Are You Talking To?”

March 4, 2024 12:05 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

We often discuss the trend in today’s voice-over industry toward performances that are conversational, real, and relatable. Equally, we explore strategies for embodying these qualities when approaching voice-over scripts. A foundational strategy involves asking yourself some simple questions while examining a piece of copy. Consider the question, “Who am I talking to?” The common advice is, “Just be yourself!” For instance, voicing a car commercial doesn’t necessitate adopting the persona of a salesperson, fervently selling a Honda Civic to a customer named Jan on a sweltering July day in a crowded car lot somewhere. Instead, imagine you’re simply being yourself, sharing your enthusiasm about the new Honda Civic. But then arises the question: to whom? This “who” is what I’d like to delve into more deeply.

Let me share my approach as an example. When I review voice-over scripts, I generally envision myself speaking to someone from my personal life. The diverse individuals I know bring out various facets of my personality at different times. For example, I might giggle uncontrollably while planning a dinner with my friend Chelsea, yet adopt a more serious tone when having a difficult conversation with my mom (though, admittedly, we can share giggles like schoolgirls too at times).

The essence of asking, “Who are you talking to?” when analyzing a script is not meant to be a big ‘ole complicated question. It can simply refer to the people in your life whom you care about and who evoke genuine emotions and responses from you. It allows listeners to feel the care and nuanced complexity inherent in authentic and well-worn relationships. However, selection is key. If you’re currently annoyed with your younger sister, she might not be the ideal muse for an upbeat commercial about sugar-free granola.

Using my life and its many hilarious moments as fuel before I dive into a script can be super helpful too. If I need to smile and I’m not having a great day, I think about the last time my funniest friend said something..well…funny. It works like a charm. If I need to be serious and I’m in one of those weird moods where I laugh at the smallest thing, I remember something meaningful in my life that made me stop and be..well…serious. 

Essentially, in today’s need for authenticity in voice over, when we want to be believable, we can simply turn to things and people we believe in. When approaching copy, you don’t have to look too far to find the “Who” in “Who are you talking to?”



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This post was written by Simone Stevens

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