Arttia Creative - Associate Spotlight
Jo Whitfield,Voice Over Artist - Giving your words a voice
Except it really isn’t! There’s so much more to voice-over work than might first meet the eye (or ear!)
Voice-over work is a wonderful, creative, ever-changing and growing profession which I love being part of. It’s a privilege to help businesses to get their message out there and in this exciting, digital age, where video and audio are now the norm, the trick is how to make your business appealing and stand out from the rest- reviewing regularly to keep your message fresh.
Jo Whitfield Voice Over Artist - Radio & TV, Commercials, Corporate Videos and Training, E-learning, On Hold / Ivr, Narrations, Animations, Computer Games, Podcast intro and outro.
Whether recording info/explainer/corporate website videos, staff training modules, induction/e-learning courses, promos, TV and national/regional radio commercials or even something as simple as your business answer phone message (hugely important as the first voice a caller might hear, representing you and all your business stands for), no day is ever the same for me-and I love that! The gaming sector has overtaken the film industry and is booming! Think of everything from interactive displays at museums and tourist spots, to those voices in lifts, in-flight safety messages, audio books, even cash machines these days- everything is talking to you! Some lucky souls have the job of providing those voices, and I’m proud to be one of them!
I’ve had great fun working on a huge variety of jobs, such as NHS training courses, TV commercials for Sudocrem and hair products; safety videos for yachts in Florida; radio campaigns e.g. Newcastle City Council adoption and fostering promotion, washing machines, Tyne & Wear Metro & bras! Lengthy GCSE revision guides, numerous website videos in various business sectors- e.g. legal, accounting, business, IT, a spa; Scottish Export Awards ceremony nominations video; telephone systems for companies such as Sintons Law, Carillion & EDMI; in-house training for Procter & Gamble; promos for spas, lingerie, even a Spanish pub.!! The list goes on.
My road to voice-over world!
I suppose this really began back in primary school, when I was always the one with my hand up wanting to read aloud in class! That led to some acting exams, speech and drama competitions and legal debating at University and, eventually, to a career in Law!
While 20 years as a Family solicitor handling divorces, high value financial negotiations and hotly contested children matters might seem a touch removed from where I am now, in fact it gave me so much experience and other skills that I wouldn’t change a thing!
From developing the skill of getting tricky, technical information across to distressed clients on a one-on-one basis in a clear, friendly, user-friendly way, encouraging a rapport and their trust, to the more formal style of presenting submissions in court, to delivering in-house marketing seminars or training sessions to clients and members of the team, I’ve always worked with words and communication- and people.
A new challenge
Some years ago, I decided I needed a change. I did lots of research, spent some time with an expert putting together professional showreels, bought some basic equipment and began to practise. The best advice I was given? “The 3 P’s- Persistence, Patience and Practice”. I’d add to that “self-belief”. These apply to anyone setting up in business, setting goals and having a dream. I’m a firm believer that you get out of life what you put in and have never been shy of hard work! I traded services with another relatively new start-up at the time- the sumptuous and sexy Tallulah Love lingerie range (she got free voice-over for her promo video, I was paid in (v sexy!) pants!! That job led to an introduction to a local production company, which led to more work. I attended local business networking groups, co-working days, upped my social media knowledge (still working on that!) and joined a national voice-over network to continue CPD. We are always, all of us, still learning!
I love the flexibility of being self-employed now and also the variety of working alone in my home studio or -best of all! - going into an external local studio with a skilled production team- always good fun., I can even work remotely with producers across the globe thanks to whizzy modern technology! I feel so lucky to have achieved that holy grail of doing something I genuinely love- so it doesn’t feel like work at all!
What do you need to consider if you need a voice for your business?
- Male or female- most clients have a feel for what will fit best, but you can always ask for demos from both to give you a flavour.
- Age/ type of voice?
- A rough idea of how you think the end product should sound- though it’s often work in progress and you won’t know till you hear it! A professional voice-over artist will happily take direction before/during recording to ensure the end product is exactly what you had in mind.
- How best to get your message across- Belinda at Arttia Creative and other members of her team can work with you on content, script, video/animation. We all share the same commitment to quality, efficient and professional service and customer care- we all care very much!
- DO give very serious consideration to including a video on your website, as it is very current and is proven to maximises views and business approaches.
When might my business need a voice at all?
- Website video- a link on your home page perhaps to introduce you/ your team and business
- Explainer video- e.g. about your product, service, whatever you think would enhance the customer’s user-experience and boost business, positive feedback and referrals
- User guides- “how to” for customers
- Podcast intros and outros
- Internal staff training – to introduce flexibility and ensure that all staff receive the same training and can listen at a time to suit them, like webinars. Also ideal for accessibility concerns.
- Office manuel/ other office documents
- Telephone answering system and on hold message- the perfect opportunity to do some subtle marketing while your customer is on hold, with history about the business/other services/products etc without subjecting the listener to some tinny, repetitive music!
- To accompany a video/animation- e.g. product guide, video for your business in-house awards evening or Christmas party (!)-much more “listenable to” and watchable than just delivering a PowerPoint show of end of year information/figs!
- Charity calls to action, information videos, TV campaigns/appeals
My dream job?
Hard to choose. Can I be greedy and pick a few?!
- To salivate over the M &S Christmas food advert
- to get all smooth and classy in a watch/perfume/sleek car commercial
- to take over from Dawn French and make Terry’s chocolate orange mine not hers (or any Cadbury’s product- I will take part-payment in kind!)
- Voice a Nick Junior/CBeebies/Disney/Pixar character!
Give your business a professional voice and take your digital marketing to it's next level. I’d love to be involved in your project and help to break through that noise so that it’s your unique business voice which stands out! I look forward to working with you!