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Word play

education Updated: Oct 01, 2013 16:24 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown


How many times have you heard a voice in a radio spot, ­jingle or advertisement and felt that the person was ­virtually in front of you? Chances are, very often. Today, with the explosion of media and its myriad forms, voice-over is being considered as a lucrative career option. A voice-over artiste narrates documentaries, corporate ­videos — from product use to joint venture presentations, from safety videos to cell phone prompts and TV serial intros and recaps and radio commercials. Simply put, being a voice artiste means ­converting the written word to audio. You just need to sit in front of a microphone, say some words and get an ­enviable remuneration. And the fame is a welcome bonus! Making a career in so small a space, however, can be fraught with pitfalls, as there are many people competing for a very few openings. For those who are thinking of a career in voice recordings, however, the work space is expanding. In recent times, the entertainment industry has grown and matured enough to attract serious attention. One can also go for voice acting and radio jockeying. If you are versatile, you can be a master of it all

Clockwork
8am: Start the day
9am: Check emails of overseas clients
10am: Go for audio recording
11am: Discussion with client, ad agency, producers, director and writer
1pm: Project discussion
1.30pm: Break for lunch
2pm: Time for a power nap
3pm: Recording of an audio book
5pm: Meeting over an upcoming tour abroad
6pm: Call from a TV channel for a short promo recording
7.30pm: Hit the gym
9pm: Check your mails, read script/s for the following day before you call it a day

The ­payoff
Some voice artistes are known to reign for more than 36 years and never have to think of cutting ­prices to counter competitive ­pressures, if they keep ­reinventing themselves. But then there are those too who buckle soon after the first flush of ­success because they think ­‘lending’ voices did not mean working hard. But ­generally, if you are a consistent, ­hard-working person, you can earn as much as a ­corporate executive, but with no guarantee of sustenance beyond a couple of months! If you are complacent and suddenly find yourself out of favour, the ­impending abyss can be ­unbearable, sometimes leading to depression. And you have no one but you to blame. It’s a ­well-paying profession, with the attendant fun and some ­recognition that goes with it

Skills/TRAITS
* An arresting baritone might be the last thing you need
* Voice clarity is must
* Understanding what you are projecting or selling
* Be good at the language you choose
* Having fun while you work is extremely important
* Develop a style that conquers

Getting there
There’s a one-word answer — audition. Auditions are a great leveller. They’ll make you decide whether you belong to this ­industry or not

Institutes and URLs
There are no training courses. A phonetics course can be of great help. Unless the participant puts in the adequate input, all the ­guidelines given to him/her are of no use. For the rest, you are pretty much on your own

Pros and cons
* You will be considered a nobody, almost an outcast, if you’re not successful
* Income wise, you’ll be fine because there are a lot of work opportunities
* Keep reinventing yourself with the changing times

If you are a voice-over artist or want to become one, make sure that you bring a positive difference to the project at hand by adding value to the written word with your rendering ----- Harish Bhimani, a voice-over artist based in Mumbai