In the industry of voice-over, there are many genres. When most think of voice-over, they usually think of stars from Animation shows and TV Ads, In-Show Narration, and Documentaries. These are prevalent genres within the industry, such as the luxurious voices of David Attenborough narrating Geography documentaries such as Planet Earth and other shows narrated by Morgan Freeman. There has been quite an increase in documentaries over the years as producers realize that they are generally lower in budget and relatively quick to create. That being said, there is quite a demand nowadays for TV narration/documentary voiceover.
Voice Talents Choose TV Narration/Documentary
When considering a career in voiceover, this genre is one that many are interested in. Documentaries have become popular over the years. Once a talent learns how the industry works, they are confident it’s in their best interest to start coaching in commercial voice-over. Once your commercial career is established, you can branch out into other genres.
Here are some of the different types of in-show narration and what they entail.
Crime and Fraud TV Narration/Documentary
This is one genre of in-show narration that is quite popular. Reality TV shows about crime and fraud include Dateline, 20/20, and America’s Most Wanted, amongst many others on other networks. Usually, the voice actor for this genre has a serious tone, typically lower in pitch. The opening of the show is quite firm, alarming, and exciting. As the show begins, the pitch changes to a more story-telling tone which suits the beginning of the storyline. Once the drama begins, the voice pitch changes, and the viewer is left at the edge of their seat.
Competition Show Narration
Shows such as Top Chef, America’s Got Talent, The Bachelor, and American Idol use voice-over to narrate the shows. Many don’t realize that a narrator is used because it blends into the show so well it doesn’t stand out. The tone of voice used for Competition TV is typically excitable, dynamic, and clear. The opening and mid-show narration are energetic and spirited, leaving viewers itching for more.
TV Narration/Documentary Voiceover for Kid’s
Kids’ TV narration is generally an exciting genre of voice-over. Children’s attention span tends to be less focused than adults, meaning the voice actor has to maintain high energy to keep children engaged. Their timbre is louder, and brighter and more inflections are used for creative effect. Sometimes the voice actor can sound cuter and younger if they are narrating a show with animation or babies or animals, then they can switch on a dime to something crazier and louder if the show is about another subject, such as video gaming or monster trucks. An actor with a lot of personality and energy is generally required for the in-show narration of kid’s programs.
TV Narration/Documentary Voiceover for Animal Programs
The genre of animal shows is quite popular among voice actors. Whether it is a National Geographic show or Animal planet, the voice can make a difference in the tone of the overall show. David Attenborough is the most famous animal show narrator with his ethereal, soft, and tender voice. His tone is famous for a perspective of hiding behind a tree and watching the animal in plain sight. He reads as though he knows and understands the animal and can help ease fears and improve their situation.
Animal Planet tends to specialize in wacky or cute animal shows. The voice actor usually has a light-hearted and pleasant tone, and their timbre can make you laugh.
VOX and Podcast Style Documentary
This newer narration style resembles a tone you would hear in a podcast. There is a very natural quality to the tone of voice, and it is less commercial and less pronounced, and it’s more flat, reflective, and professional in tone.
In-Show Narration Voiceover for Biographies
Biography narration can be in various styles, depending on the subject matter. Whether it’s a historical figure, music actor, or reality show celebrity will determine the type of voice actor. Historical figures tend to use an older voice actor with a more severe and professional tone, and musical documentaries use younger voice actors with a more laid-back approach. A reality show documentary will use a millennial voiceover or Generation Z actor with a trendy style and optimistic approach.
The Benefits of Using Professional TV Narration/Documentary Voiceover
Using a professional voice actor can boost your project’s credibility. Some of the best have trained them to change their tone and express themselves appropriately. They understand the concept of cold open, body, and close. They also know when to “turn the curve.” They understand what parts of the script need to shine, so the viewer knows what information to pay attention to.
With time and patience, one can dissect the script, finding colors and nuances to lend to the drama. Taking time to understand the purpose of the show and dissecting the script will lead to better performance and make the viewer more interested in what they are watching.
Whether you are working on a crime, reality TV podcast, or biography, Leah is exceptionally qualified to handle the in-show narration voiceover and would love to assist you with your next series. Reach out so she can learn about your next project!
Looking forward to working with you!