The voice over type, sometimes called the category of voice over, refers to the purpose or intended use of the voice over. Knowing the type of voice over will help the voice talent act appropriately for the role, and sometimes it will even affect the technical qualities of the delivered audio file(s). You should also know about these voice over types so that you know what will be involved when you are hired. Properly tagging your demos with the appropriate type or category will also help prospective clients find relevant examples of your work to evaluate you.
This is not an exhaustive list, however, it should serve as a basic reference.
Business to Business (B2B)
Examples: Internal corporate videos, Business-to-business (B2B) presentations, B2B sales promotions
These are most frequently used internally within a business or with a target or niche group of businesses. Internal training aids are sometimes included in this category, though they are more frequently classified as Educational. The scripts will be for internal announcements, information at trade shows, conferences, or on their websites.
Examples: Animations, Video games, Audio drama
When you talk to your friends about voice over work, this is most likely what they think of — a traditional “voice actor”. You are dramatizing and characterizing a specific role, usually in a fictional narrative of some type. This type of voice over is not limited to major studios like Disney (Walt Disney Animation Studio, Industrial Light & Magic, 20th Century Animation, Lucasfilm Animation, and Pixar Animation Studios) and Nickelodeon Animation Studios, but also covers small or even personal projects found on YouTube.
Examples: Documentary for TV, radio, or internet, Factual reporting of a specific subject
A subtype of Narration voice over, the documentary project usually has the script written after the film-making has been captured. It is a specific style of narration. Networks such as Discovery, The History Channel, and National Geographic are prime examples where you would find documentary voice over projects.
Examples: E-learning course, Educational applications, Training video, Teaching aids
The educational type of voice over is always in strong demand, targeting students of all ages and clients that range from educational institutions to websites to apps on mobile devices. The scripts can be as simple as pronunciation guides, as complex as university-style coursework, or very niche as for learning games.
Examples: Product or service explanation, Whiteboard animation, Brand identity
Closely related to the Education type of voice over, the explainer is frequently paired with a video that closely follows the script.
Examples: Telephone interactive voice response (IVR) systems, On-hold messages, Tour guides, Step-by-step instructions, Guided experiences
This type of voice over frequently requires the artist to present a list of options, and explanations for each one. Often, the voice over recording must be appropriately marked or split into separate files to match the required prompts or guide, so that the listener can jump to the required index as appropriate.
Examples: Event host, Presenter, Passenger/In-store/Public Service announcements
The announcer voice over is similar to corporate or Business to Business projects, however, the tone of the presentation must match the intended use. Frequently these require a more upbeat delivery, and may sometimes require the voice over artist to sound like they are presenting this year’s Oscars.
Examples: Audiobook, Fictional podcast, Audio series, Storyteller, Autobiography, News anchor, Reporter, Newsreader, Broadcaster, Bulletin, Weather report
Very closely related to the Documentary style, the narration style is frequently used for the dramatic telling of a story, sometimes requiring the voice over artist to alter their voices to differentiate between characters or to narrate with emotion. Some other types of narration are more straightforward and require the simple delivery of factual content.
Examples: Selling, TVC, Internet advertisement, Radio Advertisement, Video marketing, YouTube advertisement, Promotional video
For many voice over artists, the commercial voice over is the most popular and lucrative, but it is also the most competitive. The scripts are relatively short, however, the client has high expectations, as this voice over may impact their bottom line after investing years preparing a product for launch.
Examples: Any content where singing is the main focus of the Demo
Examples: Any content where being humorous is the primary function of the Demo
Examples: Impressions of historical figures or celebrities