Here's the situation, you want to tell potential clients all about your new cool product but want to be approachable and real. Oh and put it up on the interwebs so it can be social and stuff! Alright slow down there. You might miss a few keys steps to creating a specialized video that walks-n-talks while bathing your company in the best light. We are talking Explainer Videos!
The concept of an explainer video is not overly new, but the term is. Luckily for us, it's pretty self-explanatory (I think that was a pun). An explainer video is designed to get your message out to a potential audience in the most effective way possible. You've seem them as whiteboard animations, motion graphic tutorials, video promos, or sometimes called talkie videos (I like that one).
Being on both sides of the voice over glass in my career, I have a unique perceptive on explainer videos. I've wrote, conceptualized, agonized, fought, pondered, spec'd, and storyboarded a few in the last 15 years. Now a days, I'm more on the explainer video voice talent end, but I do still dabble as a creative director from time to time. There are certain themes in developing an explainer video that have been consistent. Great ways to make your life easier when creating an explainer video that carry over to either side of the glass!
Here are a few tips I like on creating a great explainer video:
As a voice actor on explainer videos, I have a unique perspective. I normally come in at the end, after all the storyboarding, script edits, and in-fighting has been done. I have a fresh take on the project and sometimes I like to give insight into what I'm seeing. It helps me connect with the read. Remember as a voice actor, you are still the audience of an explainer video. You may not be buying payroll software, but it will be out in the websphere for everyone (including you) to see. And if it's a cool video, you'll connect...even if payroll is not your thing.
A few Explainer Videos I like...because I'm bias and doing a shameless plug:
Not all explainer videos have to be motion graphics. Some are beautifully shot!
This one I'm particularly proud of. I was the Creative Director on this. From concept, to storyboard, to script, and even voice talent. I think I'm going to give myself a treat.
Shameless plug as a voice talent for explainer videos. I know. I know. Can't help it. Please don't judge. Still a fun video produced by good folks. Love the music track!
Other great explainer video resources:
"Get out of my head!!!", I screamed to myself while looking over copy. While this might be the actions of a delusional person (and maybe slightly), it needed to be said at that moment. I couldn't shake it. And whatever "it" was, it couldn't be identified! So yelling loudly seemed to be the only option. Didn't work.
Self-doubt, insecurity, static, confusion, uncertainty...whatever you call it, we all get into our own heads from time to time. Especially as performers! Be honest! We need the affirmation! We crave it! And no matter what the medium is, whether on-stage, voice over, comedian, film, or tv; getting lost in our minds can be devastating to a project. Plus, it doesn't just stop with acting, insecurities spill over to freelance creatives as well.
Recently, I was having a chat with a VO colleague about "letting go". She was talking about the online marketplace and getting a little discouraged about not booking work. I could see some pain and self-doubt in her eyes. That crushed me! She's very talented, (although hasn't totally found her voice yet because she's fairly new in the game), but still has the chops! I told her to just "throw it away". Once you send an audition, just forget about it. Don't let the "what-ifs" or lukewarm ratings get you down. There is so much more substance behind why you might not be cast. So who cares! It's not something to dwell on. Move on! I could see a little weight lift off her shoulders.
Ok back to my mess. Why was I in my own head? I DON'T KNOW! Was I thinking about rearranging the booth setup? Was my agent going to call me back about the spot I was on hold for? Do I need to eat more fiber? What's that sound? Should I change my shoes?
At the apex of my implosion, I was on the phone with my voice over coach. She could tell I wasn't right. And then she yelled at me. Not in the way you'd yell if someone just cut you off, but in the way you want a coach to get after you. She was right. I was alone with my own thoughts, stewing, not thinking about the copy, characters, connecting, or anything. I was just being a void with a voice.
I needed to decompress and take a little of my own advice...just let it go and move on! I've found a few ways to get myself right again and they might work for you. Or at least put you on the right direction:
So now what...well let's just say it took most of the night but I got out of my own head. I even ended up booking a job where I got to flex some character chops, and that made me feel great. I know the self-doubt demon will rear it's head again, but sometimes you just gotta take a deep breath and scream..."SHUT THE HELL UP, ME!!!"
Being a voice talent, sometimes puts you on an island. You're just sitting, waiting for that audition to get booked, or a client to sign off on you. It can get lonely, and when you're alone; your mind wanders. This aimless separation can lead to bad reads, or no attachment to the project. We've all know how crucial it is to connect to the copy, be a person and act. So, how can you connect when you're alone in your own world just waiting? For one thing, you can start to think like a creative.
I was a creative director for 15 years while still voicing projects. A huge advantage I had over others was the ability to understand the scope of projects. I could think like a producer, creative director, editor, client, etc...if you put yourself in the shoes of a creative team member it will give you great perspective on the overall project. Here are a few things I do to get me in that mindset:
Thinking like a creative person goes a long way to make you stand out from the crowd. My favorite clients foster a collaborative process that opens up new angles and options for any project. The key is to be flexible, adaptable, and quick to respond in order to maintain a good creative relationship with your clients.
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Tips, Tricks and Insights for casting, producers, agents, managers, creatives, and talent in the voice over industry.
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