Basic voice over script construction

Voice over script constructionThere are a lot of different flavors of commercials out there that voice over artists are expected to interpret and deliver with amazing spot-on accuracy. An important step to making that sparkling performance a reality is to first know how the script is constructed so you can flow from one section to the next with ease — making the necessary vocal adjustments along the way.

If you are a beginner to voice overs, memorize the following list:

  • Setup
  • Body
  • Resolve
  • Button (optional)

Let’s look at each in a little more detail shall we?

The Steup

The purpose of the setup is to grab the listeners attention and draw them into the vocal world you are creating.

The Body

In the body, the meat of the message is delivered. It is designed to hold the listener’s attention by answering the vital who, what, where, when, why, and how questions. Often the solution to the problem and the thinking behind solution appear here.

The Resolve

The final must-have section is the resolve where the most important information is restated along with the product and/or company name plus a slogan (if there is one.) The restated information MUST linger in the listeners mind for the spot to be effective.

The Button (optional)

Tagging along at the very end of some commercials is the “button”. You won’t find any life-or-death information here. But a well crafted button will add humor, cleverness, or finality to the spot helping it to remain even longer in the mind of the listeners.

Finally: an example!

Let’s take a look at an example of a real script. I’ve gone ahead and colored each section to make them easier to spot SetupBodyResolveButton:

Ever since man first put soup in a can, not much has changed. It still tastes like soup in a can. Now there’s something better: Myers Country Fresh frozen soups. Frozen as soon as they’re cooked, so they taste the closest to homemade. Rich Cream of Broccoli, hearty Chicken Noodle, creamy Seafood Bisque, and more. Fresh frozen in their own microwaveable bowls. Myers Country Fresh frozen soups. So fresh, we just couldn’t put them in a can. Now, go grab your spoon!

One thing to keep in mind is that a company’s slogan is not necessarily a button at the end of a script. In the example, “So fresh, we just couldn’t put them in a can.” is the slogan. The button is the “Now, go grab your spoon!” portion.

One final tip: when reading the copy of your latest voice over job, remember to shift your body weight from one foot to the other as you transition from one section to the next. This physical motion will actually help your voice make the aural transition as well; just remember to stay on mic!