The temptation to “sell” is a big one when it comes to auditioning for voice overs. Whether it’s the product in a commercial, a character in a video game or a promotion for a network television show, we sometimes have it in our heads that we have to do something with the read that “sells” the producer on the idea that you are the right person for the job. What this will sometimes lead to is a read that’s one dimensional and overly polished. In the attempt to “sell it”, our own individual personalities get cancelled out and the read becomes predictable and without personality.
In other words, if you focus on the copy, figure out what the copywriter is asking you to do and not worry about selling the product (or yourself), your read will come from a place where you sound like you believe in what you are saying.
This starts with throwing out any preconceptions of what you think the read should “sound” like. Don’t concern yourself with the sound of it. Think more about the way the copy is written. Where are the main points? When you find them, don’t sell or push them. Approach them like you would if you were in a conversation with someone at a party and there is an important point you’re trying to make. You don’t sell that person on a particular point but, instead, let them know that you believe in that particular point.
When it comes to a product in a commercial, the concept of believing in what you’re talking about is not an easy one to grasp. But, in the ever-changing voice over industry, trying to “sell” your read or yourself will not book you the job. It’s when you use your interpretive skills and get behind the copy, that your read will truly come alive. The producer will hire you because they believed you…not because you “sold” it.