Being the voice-over in radio & TV commercials, countless promotional and instructional videos, as well as Mind The Gap on hold messages requires more than just a pleasant voice. Voice-over artist Audrey Bentham learned early in her career that how she interprets the script is, perhaps, the most important aspect of her job.
One of the lessons imparted by her vocal coach was “Don’t even open your mouth until you’ve read – and understood – the script!”
Audrey says that direction is crucial to being a successful voice-over artist. The inflections, the tempo, and the way you “act out” the script are just as important as the sound of your voice.
A Career On Both Sides of the Microphone
Even before Audrey began doing voice-overs, she understood the “mechanics” of the job. She’s a musician; and in many ways the voice is simply another instrument. So much of the training she received as a music major in college is applicable to her work as a voice-over artist.
She had a double major at Indiana University – music and audio engineering. In fact, her first exposure to professional voice work came as an engineer, first at her college radio station, then for NPR (National Public Radio). Today, she’s the engineer for NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The technical experience she’s acquired as an engineer certainly contributes to her talents as a voice-over artist. She knows what’s involved in producing the right sound.
A Soothing, Compassionate Voice
Audrey Bentham is the soothing, compassionate voice of everything from radio commercials and on hold messages to training videos for the U.S. military.
Much of the work she does is for long-form instructional videos. And when you speak for 5, 10, 15 minutes or more, you’d better know how to make your voice interesting and how to maintain the attention of the audience.
When Audrey first began pursuing voice-over work, she enlisted the help of a well-known vocal coach in California. In a series of over-the-phone vocal lessons, her coach taught her the techniques that make her a consummate professional able to project the right feel and emotion for each individual job. Her coach also taught her never to speak until she thoroughly understands what she’s talking about.
There’s a difference between “reading” a script and actually sounding like you’re talking. Audrey makes it seem like she’s really thinking the words she’s speaking. That’s a unique talent; and it comes partly from knowing when not to speak.