Corporate and eLearning Narration

Mark, say something controversial?

Being a voiceover artist isn’t all about voicing video games or TV commercials you know!

Oh, right, what do you mean?

I’m talking about the work that’s going to keep you busy while you’re waiting on the casting call for Fallout 76, or global TV commercial for Ford, all media, in perpetuity; It’s what is going to pay your bills and stop you from worrying how you’re going to fund your expensive globe-trotting lifestyle.

Ooh, I’m intrigued!

I know, right?

I’m talking about corporate and eLearning narration. The bread and butter of VO work.

I’ll be honest, it’s sometimes looked down upon as being the ‘boring’ side of VO work – which is crazy. This massively expanding market is ripe to be tapped by those with the skills to bring corporate and educational material to life.

For example, the global eLearning market is expected to reach $65 billion by 2023 – and some of that very large pie can be yours.

What do you mean when you talk about corporate narration?

Well, take my jobs today – I’ve narrated a script for the NHS about facilities management, talked about a polymer coating for industry and an internal chest thumping video for Deutche Bank. If it’s anything, it’s varied.

It can be anything from the executive board explaining to their employees about new processes or financial progress, to a company wanting to blow their own trumpet on their YouTube channel – the amount and breadth of work is frankly staggering and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

In fact, the growth of corporate video, like eLearning is going through the roof!

Sounds good. Now, eLearning, what’s all that about then?

eLearning is computer-based learning.

Anything that can be taught on a computer, tablet or phone is going to need someone to narrate it – why shouldn’t that someone be you?

My recent jobs have included helping teach English via an app (Busuu), to a course about Cyber Security, and a very long, dry course on programming in Java. When you narrate eLearning, every day is a school day!

I see, but doesn’t corporate equal boring?

No! Can you imagine if you were asked to listen to your company’s latest news video or take an eLearning course – the last thing you’d want it to be is boring! You’d either fall asleep or jump from a high window once complete.

Let me make one thing clear: Corporate voiceover IS acting. You’re using your skills as a VOA to do your best to make whatever you’re narrating entertaining to listen to. Entertaining doesn’t mean silly accents, or some-such, it means not being a boring narrator. You need to keep the listener interested – interest = learning. If you bore them, they’ll switch off.

Oh, didn’t think of that. Any tips?

I did a very useful course with Sean Pratt about narrating corporate/non-fiction work, I can highly recommend it.

He speaks about using different voices throughout the script – again, I don’t mean silly voices, I mean different voices to highlight certain parts.

Say… a voice for bullet points, a voice for headings, a ‘conversational voice’ for the main body of text and so on.

Mix it up, keep it interesting. They’ll come back to you again and again if they’re getting good feedback from the victims. Sorry, listeners.

Nice. How do you get the work?

I have fingers in most pies.

I do a lot of marketing and self-promotion. Hitting the local companies has been pretty successful.

I’m on a couple of P2P sites – although I’m being much more selective on what jobs I do via them these days. The rates have to be right.

I’m also on a freelancer site (no, not that one) that has been good for repeat clients. I often end up working direct as it’s much easier.

I get work via my agents too…

What’s your socials?

Glad you asked. MarkThomasVO on everything.

Give us a follow, although I apologise in advance, I do go on sometime, and it’s not always VO related. There might be GIF’s.

Thanks Mark, very interesting!

No problem. Where should I send the invoice?

Originally published in the Autumn 2018 edition of The Buzz Magazine

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