If you're a local and you have listened to our mobile app, you may recognize the voice behind the app as that of voiceover-talent Jamie Murray.
Jamie was the first person we turned to when we decided to create our mobile app. Jamie, along with another local talent, Joe Eisenberg, helped us create our introductory video. So it just seemed logical to ask Jamie to read the script we'd written.
There are a variety of stages in the creation of a mobile app. There is also a great deal of work necessary to make all the parts come together. We wanted to learn more about the process from Jamie.
Here is a snippet from a recent interview.
*We've updated our app over the years and it's now been downloaded hundreds of times.
[Jamie] Coming from a background in television, I had a basic understanding of audio and working with scripts in production, but when I started voiceover work, I had no clue as far as what equipment to get or how to edit audio (how to tweak it with compression, equalization, etc), so it’s been a “learn as you go” process.
I had a microphone and a basic editing program that we used in video production, and then I read everything I could find on voiceover work, what to do [and] what not to do. And even now, I listen to some of the early recordings I had done and they sound really terrible because I pretty much didn’t know what I was doing!
Basically, you need a microphone, good headphones, and an editing program to get stuff done. You have to have a solid base in acting talent so that you can express what you’re reading…you don’t want it to sound like you’re reading, it should sound as if you’re talking to somebody standing in front of you. And, like any talent, hopefully you get better as you experience the work. Practice makes perfect!
[Jamie] The first thing I do is read the script, making notes of words I have to research for proper pronunciation. Also, most of the scripts I get are not written by scriptwriters. There’s a big difference between sentences that are written for a thesis and sentences written to be spoken. I once had a sentence that covered 3½ lines on the page, with no punctuation, so I had to figure the best places to pause and take a breath. Also, to make the narration more “conversational”, I try to “deprofessionalize” it by shortening words, using contractions, or by “humanizing” the script – I tend to say “gonna” instead of “going to”, or “lemme” instead of “let me”.
Back in [my] TV production days, the scriptwriter always had to read the script out loud before turning it in, so they could see if what they wrote was speakable.
You must stay hydrated. I drink a glass of water 30-45 minutes before I start, keep water with lemon by my side, and take breaks every 20-30 minutes, not only to rest the vocal cords, but also to relax the eyes, after straining to read the script on the computer screen. Some say a green apple helps the throat. I’ve found that Ricola natural herb throat lozenges really work in keeping my throat in order, though I have to remind myself to let them dissolve and not to chew them.
Just like before a gym workout or jog, you have to warm up. Humming a tune is good, reciting tongue-twisters are good, too. Repeating troublesome words over and over can help – one word that I constantly stumble over is “rural”. I really hate that word!!
I have sinus problems, and allergy season is the worst. If I think I’m going to have a troublesome day with sinuses, I’ll use a spray like Flonase Sensimist…it’s half the normal dose of Flonase, you can use it every day, if needed, and it keeps me sounding not so nasally.
To keep things “conversational” while narrating a tour, it helps to imagine I’m speaking to an old friend who came to visit and I’m showing them one of my favorite places.