Speak The Speech I Pray You …

“Speak the speech I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.” William Shakespeare

Willy, I feel your pain. We’re in the process of casting voice talent for a spec radio spot. Since we will use this spot as a sample of our work, we want it to be really great. Gripping. Emotional. Life changing. Okay, maybe not life changing. But we would like to get some business from it, which could change OUR lives, so yeah, life changing.

I would like to talk a little about the audition process. I realize that doing a great voice over is hard. You have to get the right inflection, with everything timed perfectly, and just enough energy without sounding rushed. Plus you’ve got to sound like you’re REALLY jazzed about whatever service or product is being touted, no matter how utterly mundane or silly it may be. Pants on sale? AMAZING! Toilet bowl cleaner? YES PLEASE! Jalapeno-flavored water? CAN’T GET ENOUGH! It’s not easy. However, since a top voice over actor can make more money in one afternoon than most people make in a month, it’s not bad work if you can get it.

For the most part, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to voice over auditions. Most people will come in and read the spot just fine. But often it’s just not what the producer wants. Maybe it’s not what they heard in their head. Maybe the voice sounds too old, or too young, or just too voicy. “Can you try that again, but this time really make me believe you’re a disembodied head.”

And believe me, as the writer, I KNOW the words I have written are not great literature. However, I have labored long and hard over them. Each and every one. Shakespeare I’m not, but I assure you, great thought and care has been put into the particular arrangement of each word, each sentence. Please – I implore you – read the words as written, and resist the temptation to add, change, molest, or alter the language. It will be truly appreciated!

And so, I thank you, Kind and Gentle Voice Over Person. Without your voice, my words are nothing. Together, you and I – we will create ART! We will come together in a cosmic dance of love and understanding, and we will inspire and provoke and delight. We will reach new heights of vocal communication. Thank you! Oh – and on your way out can you please send in the town-crier?

2 Comments on “Speak The Speech I Pray You …”

  1. Pray thee disembowel the voice actor that pretends he be the writer as well for many actors of voice can hardly write or scarcely spell.

    Ye best to my lady,

    Lord O’Connell, Duke of Voiceovers

  2. Bob Souer says:


    I found your site from my friend Karen Commins’ blog. What a great place you have here. I’m going to have to come and drink deeply when I have just a bit more time.

    As for this post, terrific thoughts. I’ve never felt very comfortable with the whole “ad-lib to show how creative you can be” with auditions thing. Thanks for giving us this view from the other side of the glass, as it were.

    Be well,

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