The world of voiceover has changed dramatically in the past decade, Derek Chappell said.
Voiceovers have permeated our society. Chappell, who has done voice professionally for the past two decades and is a marketing executive for KOFO radio, said examples of every day voiceovers are the person on the GPS giving you directions or the person that talks to you on the phone giving instructions.
“All of those aspects are what we call ‘voiceover’ because the words are spoken by a person you don’t see,” he said.
Chappell was the featured speaker at First Friday Forum at Neosho County Community College, 900 E. Logan St., Ottawa.
“There are so many genres in voiceover that you don’t even realize that are out there,” he said. “Audio books, somebody has to record those, animation and cartoons. There are people out there in voiceover that do nothing but make noises.”
Chappell said voiceover used to be a big-city business where people needed to live in New York, Los Angles or Chicago.
“You would go to the studio and you would have an engineer, a director and a producer,” he said. “You would be asked to do a voiceover with a script on the spot. Now days, through modern technology, most of what you hear today is done by people like myself in a home studio.”
Chappell said home studios run the gamut, some being elaborate, while others are like his, a small closet.
“It has created a whole new aspect for the business,” Chappell said. “You don’t have a producer, director or engineer sitting there telling you what you did wrong or what you have to do different. You have to learn to self-direct yourself. You would never know it, but some of the most important things you hear on radio or TV are done by people in home studios. That is what you can do with that kind of technology today. The fun part about doing things at home is the creativity you can have.”
Chappell said he does mostly narration and explainer videos for corporations.
“I work with production companies from all over the world,” he said. “They send you a script. You get scripts by email. You record it and send it back. Most of what I do is you don’t have to put all the pieces together. My part is the voice. I work for these people that I never have seen, never talked to. It is all done by email. They pay me to do this. It is a pretty good gig.”
He said part of the job is convincing others that you are the expert on what you are talking about.
“That is where the words come in,” Chappell said. “It is not about the sound of your voice. It is what you do with your voice. It is how you convey the message. What you are doing is communicating. a feeling, an emotion or you are asking people to do something. That is where the voice acting comes in. As a voice actor, your job is to get the point across, talk to that listener one-on-one and make them feel they are on the only person you are talking to. Make them do what the call of action is. If you get that across, you can be successful in this business.”
Chappell said the advertising world has changed a lot in recent years. He said the less words, the better.
“Sometimes you have to get a lot in in a 30-second commercial,” he said. “Right now the new trend is six-second commercials. Our attention spans have become so short now the marketing industry is doing six-second commercials. That is where we are headed. We are going from 60 to 30 to 15 down to six.”