There are lots and lots of voice overs that we all hear each and every day. They fill the airwaves with the information that makes our modern world go around.
A voice-over talent is an actor or actress who lends his or her voice in order to give personality to an animated character or to be featured in an advertisement to name a few. The voice over can be presented live and in person or by a specialist voice actor someone who the crowd usually does NOT see. There are many different ways to use a voice over. These can be used in building character, creative influences in film, education, or in sales and marketing.
One of the most common ways to use vocalization is in animated films and television. For instance, cartoon characters (like the kids from the show ‘South Park’) are animated. They need voice-over artists in order to give them personalities and to make the show work. There are times where well known actors are used as the voice actors, such as Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz, who lent their voices for the ‘Shrek’ movies, or, it is a specialized voice actor, not a screen-actor who portrays the characters. Obviously, using an actor’s voice is critical to building the animated character and bringing them to life.
In other instances, there are no cartoon characters, but the need for off screen articulation is still there. A voice-over can be used to manufacture an ironic counterpoint, or to make a statement in the movie. This is the creative element. It can be a member of the cast narrating, or miss-matched voices speaking and the speaking does not match the characters on screen. This creates a sense of imbalance and lends to the movies’ inventiveness, such as the film ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, where this technique is applied.
Moving away from use in films, voice-overs can also be used for educational or descriptive purposes. Our television news is presented with video clips and commentary by the reporters, who are describing and explaining the significance of the
clips being shown. Sports broadcasts also have spoken observations, particularly when cast over the radio. There are also narrations that are used as a critique by a critic or historian, possibly even production personnel about when a new movie or DVD will be released.
Sometimes, instead of just commentary or news programs, voices are also used for advertising and marketing applications. We don’t the actor that is speaking in the advertising or marketing ad, but we hear it on TV, radio, in stores and the mall, to name a few places. Voice-overs were primarily used on radio, but since the development of the TV, this practice has crossed over into television as well.
Some well known and iconic voice-over artists are Hank Azaria, Nancy Cartwright, Hal Douglas, & James Earl Jones. These artists and the utilization of their articulation talents are ubiquitous in many different facets of our daily lives. It is not just for showbiz. It can be used creatively and commercially, and almost all people come into contact with it daily.