As with any of performing arts, an effective voiceover begins with a well-crafted script. You don’t have to have many years of writing experience to create copy that is both effective and a pleasure for voice actor to perform. Here are some ideas to consider before you put your pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
COMMERICALS: RADIO AND TV
Determine purpose of ad, e.g. drive traffic to a store, produce direct response inquiries, announce a grand opening, move end-of-season merchandise, etc.
Determine who your customer is and speak to that person one to one, and, ideally, present one main idea in copy.
Use A.I.D.A.: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Get listener’s attention to ad; get listener interested in what you’re offering; get listener to want to take some action on your offer; give listener a means to act and urge that action.
NARRATIONS (ALSO CALLED “INDUSTRIALS”)
For a video script, use storyboard, if you have one, to guide development of script. This will help you time voice over to video’s scenes.
For audio only, where no storyboard exists, do a rough outline. This will help you create a basic logical structure before you start writing. The result will be a script that flows much better for narrator and intended listener.
Leave room for “verbal white space.” Just as a large block of densely printed copy is intimidating and difficult to read, a voice-over script that’s crammed with copy is difficult to follow and understand. A good rule of thumb for 30-second radio or TV copy is eight lines down (double-spaced), 10 words across page. For a slower, more intimate read, go with seven lines, 10 words across. The same idea applies for a briskly paced 60-second ad: 16 lines down, 10 words across. For a slower pace, 14 lines, 10 words across. This 60-second guideline is helpful in timing long-form scripts, too. Just count pages and you have total number of minutes. Numbers are words, so be sure to consider them in your word count. A phone number, such as 1-860-291-9476, is eleven words. That’s more than one entire line of copy! Try spelling out numbers as words to get a good handle on actual length of your copy. For example: