Pronunciation Guide, Please
The Curse of Knowledge
It's surprising - shocking, really - how many scripts contain uncommon words with zero guidance on pronunciation. I often wonder if it's a test to see if the voice talent will do the extra work to look it up. But I suspect what's really happening is "the curse of knowledge," meaning you don't realize how unfamiliar a name or a word might be to someone else. You just assume everyone knows how to pronounce it because you do.
Non providing a pronunciation guide doesn't just make the job more difficult for the voice talent, it often slows down the entire project by requiring corrections later on that could have been avoided with a little guidance up front.
Words That Give VOs Trouble
What kinds of words am I talking about? Here are some of the types of words that may be common to an "insider", but not so much to every one else:
This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.
As usual, It's an Easy Fix
The remedy is to take an extra proofing pass through your script and look for the types of words I just mentioned. Write a quick pronunciation guide, preferably at the top of the script where the talent will see it right away.
If you want to be absolutely sure the pronunciation will be delivered correctly, talk to the talent directly or record yourself pronouncing the word and send it to them. It is ALWAYS helpful and appreciated.
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I'm a successful, hard-working voice actor for commercials, videos, e-learning, audiobooks, and more. These are tips I wish every writer, director, producer, and engineer knew to get the most out of their VO.