When Ad-lib Creates Voice-Over GOLD

I am the biggest fan of copy that inspires a VO talent to go off-script. Straight-up call letters won’t do the trick, but fun, playful copy certainly will.

Dan O’Day has some great tips on how a program director can inspire their imaging director to create a fantastic on-air sound. Now, imagine trickling that inspiration down to the imaging talent, too. Suddenly, everyone becomes a team to help create a sound that is really special and listeners will love.

Here are 3 tips to help inspire your VO talent’s creative side:

  1. Set the scene. If you’re producing a catfight promo for a pair of Adele concert tickets, for instance; then send your voice talent a small glimpse into that scene. Words alone do not always show your dynamic vision, so offer a little direction. Are the characters sitting in side-by-side cubicles, fingers poised, counting down the seconds to the pre-sale, when suddenly, the boss needs the TPS Report ASAP! The seconds are winding down… who will get it?  Once the cubicles start tumbling, you know hair will be pulled and power slams will be made. This is where your talent will have some real fun, and whatever they come up with, it’s sure to be good!
  2. Wit. Copy that already includes creativity or humor will most definitely unleash the wild side of your imaging talent. This is true with audition copy, as well. If personality is key to your station’s imaging, then audition beyond the call letters. I recently auditioned for a rock station with some of the best rock copy I have ever read. Personality-driven copy helps a VO talent get into the character and add some of their own personal touches.
  3. Make it personal. Copy that brings back a fun or crazy memory will often inspire your voice talent to hilariously (or thoughtfully) reminisce. (i.e. an NKOTB concert they attended at the tender age of 30-something where they seriously thought the rabid fans were going to break Radio City Music Hall). It was awesome!

Speaking of which, several clients have kindly shared some of their favorite ad-libs that I’ve done over the years, but this one is a personal fave because it is so honest. No acting, just me sharing a fun adventure I once had with my longtime friend Missy.

My buddy Adam at Magic 105.3 in San Antonio knew it would make this contest promo really pop! LOVE.


Inspired? I sure am!

Have a fabulous weekend, my friends.



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