Voice Over Education Blog

August 2015

Is that really a mistake in the copy? Don’t be too smart for your own good.


Nobody’s perfect. But isn’t it sometimes tempting to show the client how close to perfection you are? For example, every so often, you encounter what looks like mistake in a script, and have to decide how – or whether – to point it out to the client, director or producer.

But is it really an error? Here are some apparent mistakes that aren’t, and what to do (or not do) about them.

What's in a word? Or the absence of one?

The script, talking about doors, said, "They lead different places." Shouldn’t that be "lead to different places"? Well, yes it could, but it’s also okay without the proposition. Before citing an error, consider other possible meanings of a word. One way to test that is by substitution. One sense of the word “lead” means “go.” And although the doors themselves don’t “go,” the paths from them do, and “they go different places” would surely be decent vernacular speech, so the script as written seems okay. Another test would be to search with the core phrase enclosed in quotes (so the search engine will find examples with that exact construction). In this case, “lead different places” turns up lots of cases, many of them in professionally edited publications. For that matter, “lead different directions” produces yet more.

Furthermore, if you include the word “to,” your listeners might think you meant “two.” The statement that “they lead two different places” has a very different meaning!

How much can you say in 6 words? A tool for practice.


Have you ever read a 6-word story? This literary genre, which has gained popularity in the past few years, is attributed to Ernest Hemingway for having written:

For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

It’s unlikely he actually invented the genre (a form of “flash fiction”), or even those words, supposedly jotted on a restaurant napkin; similar examples predate Papa’s nanotome, and recent authority suggests his agent wrote it. It’s also unlikely that you’ll earn much by narrating such stories, should they catch on as standalone audiobooks. But nevertheless, in addition to being an intriguing literary challenge, the genre is also an interesting voice over challenge -- it’s a fun way to enrich your practice sessions.

Here are some other examples, published by NarrativeMagazine.com in their call for submissions:

Without thinking, I made two cups. — Alistair Daniel
Revenge is living well, without you. — Joyce Carol Oates
Longed for him. Got him. Shit. — Margaret Atwood
All those pages in the fire. — Janet Burroway

(By the way, Narrative pays for accepted stories, but charges a fee for each submission.)

Here’s the challenge for practice: How many ways can you read each story?

The Language of Dubbing


Dubbing isn’t the most active, populated VO genre, but with the continuing impact of electronic communications, expanding genres, and international markets, it’s more relevant than ever. Or at least, more relevant since the early days of Talkies, when dubbing was its original heyday. Some dubbing terminology dates back that far, some is new. And some (surprise!) have been replaced.

ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement, Automated Dialog Replacement, Additional Dialog Recording) – The words behind the acronym vary because the objectives and methods vary. But essentially this is the modern version of what was originally called “looping.” A short segment of film (or video) is looped, to repeat again and again. The actor speaks the line until able to say it exactly in synch. Using this technique, only about a dozen lines can be recorded per hour.

Rythmo Band – No, this has nothing do with R&B musicians. It’s a technology where the script and various vocal cues (e.g., laughs, breaths, lip smacks, whatever) scroll in synch with the video. This enables the actor to record many more lines per hour, but takes a lot more time to prepare, so acceptance of this process varies.

Job– This means the same thing in Dubbing as in any genre. But the nature of the jobs varies. Sometimes the original production is in another language. Sometimes it’s because the background was noisy. Or the script was changed, or the actor mumbled, or has the wrong voice or accent, or ... well, there are a lot of opportunities.

Lip flap – Lip movement. When dubbing, your words should match the movements of the original dialog. Sometimes it calls for skillful revision of the script. Sometimes it involves the actor adding various non-verbal sounds such as “um,” or “eh” or a grunt, in a natural-sounding way.

The Language of Dubbing


Dubbing isn’t the most active, populated VO genre, but with the continuing impact of electronic communications, expanding genres, and international markets, it’s more relevant than ever. Or at least, more relevant since the early days of Talkies, when dubbing was its original heyday. Some dubbing terminology dates back that far, some is new. And some (surprise!) have been replaced.

ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement, Automated Dialog Replacement, Additional Dialog Recording) – The words behind the acronym vary because the objectives and methods vary. But essentially this is the modern version of what was originally called “looping.” A short segment of film (or video) is looped, to repeat again and again. The actor speaks the line until able to say it exactly in synch. Using this technique, only about a dozen lines can be recorded per hour.

Rythmo Band – No, this has nothing do with R&B musicians. It’s a technology where the script and various vocal cues (e.g., laughs, breaths, lip smacks, whatever) scroll in synch with the video. This enables the actor to record many more lines per hour, but takes a lot more time to prepare, so acceptance of this process varies.

Job– This means the same thing in Dubbing as in any genre. But the nature of the jobs varies. Sometimes the original production is in another language. Sometimes it’s because the background was noisy. Or the script was changed, or the actor mumbled, or has the wrong voice or accent, or ... well, there are a lot of opportunities.

Lip flap – Lip movement. When dubbing, your words should match the movements of the original dialog. Sometimes it calls for skillful revision of the script. Sometimes it involves the actor adding various non-verbal sounds such as “um,” or “eh” or a grunt, in a natural-sounding way.

Jon Stewart has left The Daily Show ... and these lessons in voice over


In the past week, the worlds of comedy, politics and journalism said not so much “Goodbye” to The Daily Show host Jon Stewart as probably “See you later.” Retiring from the program at or near the top of his game, over the years he has displayed a wide range of comedic and acting skills (despite his self-professed lack of the latter). His personal resume includes some voice over work -- as animated characters in films, and not-so-off-camera voices for puppets (such as Gitmo), inanimate objects, etc. on The Daily Show. But we’re not writing here about his voice work. This is larger than that.

This is a list of voice over lessons gleaned from his statements and life experiences. If we have applied these examples in a contrived, gratuitous or even tortuous way, so be it. In any case, they’re grounded in truth.

Jon Stewart: Although Stewart tried his hand at standup soon after college, his early employment history was extremely varied. He was a bartender, soccer coach, a puppeteer for children with disabilities; he even collected mosquitoes (for testing) in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Apparently in homage to those years, or perhaps in characteristic humility, his production company is named Busboy Productions.

Applied to Voice Over: A varied background and broad world view sooner or later comes in handy.

Jon Stewart: “I finally found the plug for my socket. My brain always felt like the rhythm of it didn’t make sense to me in general work situations and school situations in conversation. But comedy, it was like oh, that’s what this thing is for.”

Applied to Voice Over: Never stop learning about voice performance and the VO industry, or about the world in general. That’s how you find your socket.

How to Reach Us

Call us 888-321-3343
Email us training@edgestudio.com

Click for Edge location information...

Meet Your Coaches

Edge Alumni Work Everyday

Get free educational
voice over newsletters!

Get free, educational voice over newsletters

Where should we send them?