Finding the Target: Comparing VO Niches

by | Jun 3, 2013 | Techniques

targetingFirst, can we agree that very few voice-actors can “do it all”?…and find equal success.

With the wide array of possible ways to apply your voice to paying gigs, the smart money says you might want to find the BEST way to apply your talent, and make that your bread ‘n’ butter.

Beyond that, adding genrés is gravy.


So, the person with an extremely measured and articulate — patient — delivery might find technical or medical narrations is their bailiwick. The marathon runner with a theatrical background might see that audiobooks are a landing place for her/his talents. The energetic character voice talent may find animation or video games is the best use of their time.  Capice?

Knowing the specific demands of each genré…and more importantly the subculture that surrounds that particular niche will help you immeasurably in your search for prospect clients.


Never does that hit home more than when I’m immersed in the AudioBook community, such as I was this past week at the APA Conference (Audio Publishers Association).

The context of that corner of the creative universe demands you love books, authors, writing, character development, theatre, and draw on your worldly experience.  There’s more than that of course…much more…but publishers are looking for people with the insightfulness to capture the author’s intent and the patience to faithfully reproduce that intent over many many hours of recording.  Slow down and savor those words.  Know the publisher’s needs.  This is a subculture with subcultures.

Study with Cliff Zellman in the category of automobile dealerships, and you’ll discover the subtle and yet overstated nuances of vocal salesmanship in a hard-knock advertising world.  The client/decision-maker in this world knows it when he/she hears what he wants…and it better follow a specific tried-and-true formula.  Wouldn’t you want to understand the vibe of that wing of the advertising ward?

Land an audition involving a 60-second heartfelt “anthem” story/commercial, and be prepared to analyze every word for the special significance it carries in the storytelling line.  If you’ve been handed this specialized type of script, think why the agent/producer chose YOU for it.  What quality of your voice, tempo, timbre, and interpretation captured their attention in the first place?  Are you savvy enough to read between the lines of this copy and make it your own?


Think of it this way:  A story about the tornadoes in Oklahoma is best portrayed one way on TV, another way on Twitter, yet another on USAToday’s website, and still another on Facebook.  Each medium demands the same storyline be adapted to the unique qualities of the distribution stream.

Your voice is the content, but it won’t play the same way in the commercial world, as it does in the videogame universe, as it does in the network promo category, as it does in the E-Learning field.

Find out where it best fits, and make it your own.  When you’ve got THAT down… move ahead to another department if you want, maybe you’re one of those who CAN do-it-all.  Bravo!  Now get to work!




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