Gobs on Sticks

Thoughts mostly (but not always) about the voice-over business, from London Voiceover Artist, Mike Cooper

  • About the author

    My name is Mike Cooper. I'm a full time Voiceover Artist living and working in London, and this is my blog. Find out more about me on my main website (there's a link further down this column), or if you'd like to hear some of my work, check out the files below.

Content is king (…distance is nothing!)

Posted by MikeCooper on August 12, 2009

I recently provided the voiceover for a documentary film for a producer in Sydney, Australia called Craig Tanner. Craig is from South Africa and his film, “Fahrenheit 2010”, charts the ups and downs of his homeland’s preparations to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup football tournament.

You can read more about the project in the News section of my website here. With the film’s successful debut last week at the Durban International Film Festival, I took the opportunity to ask Craig a few questions about how the film was received, and about the process of collaborating with a voiceover artist who was 10,500 miles away!

MC: So, how was the Durban premiere, Craig?

CT: The film went down very well.  The Q and A following the screening involved positive feedback, and came to an end, not because the audience ran out of questions, but because the next film was due to start soon. An animated Q and A session the following day was also encouraging.  Input from “industry” people has also given me cause for optimism regarding TV sales. (You will be interested to hear that I have had several people enthusing about the voiceover.)

MC: <blush> That’s encouraging! The film’s a South African production, set it South Africa and looking in detail at that country’s struggles and challenges in the run-up to next year’s World Cup football tournament. So what made you want to hire a British voice?

CT: In making a film about South Africa, with its myriad of languages and accents, it was important for me that the voice of the film did not represent any particular class or ethnic group within that society.  I wanted a voice that had hallmarks of independence and neutrality, and would not itself involve an exotic distraction. Received pronunciation or Standard English meets those criteria. It is the voice of international news, and of documentary films.

MC: Understood. And how did you find our long-distance collaboration?

CT: It was really easy.  I sent the material via email.  We proceeded to have a discussion over Skype regarding the tenor of the voice, and the pronunciation of various African names.  I then listened in as you did your stuff.  We discussed the odd variation in emphasis, and you provided some alternatives.  The sound files arrived in my inbox within minutes, and my editor was working with the material later that day.  The distance between London and Sydney was no barrier at all.

MC: Thanks, Craig – and the best of luck with the next stage of selling the film to buyers!

Here’s a tip for you: As a voiceover artist I work on my own most of the time, and marketing is something I have to focus on for myself – there’s no one else to do it for me, after all! So, I always take an opportunity like this to ask for a few words by way of a testimonial from a happy client. I won’t publish them here to save further blushes, but if you’d like to read the very nice things that Craig said about me then check out my Testimonials page over at www.MikeCooperVoiceover.com.

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