Giving character to your voice


Faces Behind The Voice: Justin, Nisha and Kej (sitting). Photo by Bindu Gopal RaoHow many times have you heard a voice in a radio spot, jingle or advertisement and felt that it conveyed so much more than actually seeing the person? Like you felt it was a television commercial for the blind? Chances are very often. Today, with the explosion of media and its myriad forms, voice-over is being considered as a serious career option. DH Education delves deeper.

The Concept

In any voice over, there are two kinds of voices - the main voice (also called the voice of God) and the character voice. Character voices are usually used in the beginning and belong to actors. The main voice is the voice that is used towards the end to emphasise the product and its values.

Musician, music director and ad jingle producer Ricky Kej says: “There is a lot of work available but the number of talented voice-over artists are very few and especially so in Bangalore. In fact, voice-overs are used in several forms like the interactive voice response system (IVRS), as a narrator in audiovisual presentations, in training videos and e-learning. The meltdown in the job market in the light of recession also means that this is a viable career option.”

The voice-over profession is completely recession-proof and isolated from the crisis that many other businesses face. Even during an economic crisis companies do advertise,
people still watch cartoons, corporations’ still need voicemail messages and the like, all of which make this an attractive back-up career option. Kej also believes that consistency is vital in the business and it is not just important to record a great voice-over. It is equally important to create relationships and pleasant experiences and that’s how he believes in ‘recession-proofing’.

The Profession

Author of India’s first book on radio jockeying, ‘Everything You Wanted to Know about Radio Jockeying...But Didn’t Know Whom to Ask’, Noel Keymer, says: “voice-overs as a secondary career is a great idea as mostly it is a part-time job, which one can do along with their regular full-time job. The best way to learn how to explore and exploit your voice is by joining a reputed voice academy.”

Justin Jacob, one of the most recognised voices in India, is also an emcee and a busy voice-over artiste, whose speciality is that he is main voice in several campaigns currently on air. He says, “My advice for potential voice-over artists is to be honest with oneself and do what it takes to be successful. You need to do your homework in terms of the market requirement and decide which category you fit in.”

Being professional is key in this field as an artiste may be required to be available on short notice and for a re-dubbing. “I am still doing voice-overs for my regular clients, and so are my students, who are also into voice-overs, dubbing, e-book narration as well as live compeering, and have not been hit by the recession. In fact, one of my students has just landed a plum job as a dubbing artist with a prime channel, and the plus point is that they are allowing her to do freelance dubbing in her part time too,” says Keymer.

Rahul Balyan, Cluster Business Head, Karnataka and Kerala, Radio Mirchi adds, “Today's generation is quite experimental about their career choices and a career in voice over is a new opportunity thrown up by the media sector. With the media and communication service sector booming, opportunities are aplenty. Anyone who has a great voice, a passion for mimicry or just a great way of verbal communication can attain a lot of success with basic training. It’s a dynamic career option, and definitely not mundane!”

Incidentally, Kej will be organising a Voice-Over Talent Hunt, a first of its kind initiative in Bangalore, which will give an opportunity for the professionals, housewives and students to showcase their talent and also provide a platform for young and upcoming artist to work with him. The contest will be in seven different languages - English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi. Best artists will be selected for the final audition in Ricky Kej Raveolution Studio. The Best Artist will get an opportunity to make his own CD and also work with Kej on ads and jingles, and will also earn Rs 2,000 per session. So if you believe you have it in new, go ahead and be heard!

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