How to Audition Voiceovers for Political Ads
Congratulations! You are oh-so-close to getting your political ad on the air: the concept is sound, the whole comms team is fully on board, the air time is purchased and, most importantly, everyone is excited to get this message out to the world. Now all you need is to audition voiceover talent to find the voice to tie the whole package together — after all, your voice over should be the cherry on top of your Democratic political ad sundae.
Blue Wave Voiceover is happy to share some helpful tips, tricks & best practices to audition voiceover, helping ensure that, at the end of the process, you’ve found the perfect voice over for your political (or, really, any) ad campaign.
Let’s start at the top and work together to find the right voice, the first time.
“Huh. What am I writing, exactly?”
It sounds more daunting than it is. Asking yourself a few quick, analytic questions will help you hone in on your ideal voiceover quickly:
- Who is your candidate or organization trying to talk to? What demographic?
- Once you reach that demographic, what do you want them to do? Do you want them to vote for your candidate or initiative? To make a donation? To change their daily behavior (use less water, recycle more, etc.)? Ensuring a clear call-to-action always helps the message cut through.
- And, finally — does the script convey all of that in a concise manner than can be clearly narrated in your allotted time (:06, :15, :30 seconds)?
So, let’s say you’re preparing an :30 ad for a student loan debt relief program that, if enacted, could help millions of Americans alleviate student loan debt within 5 years. That means, in 2020:
- Your demographic is primarily college-educated Millennials,
- They need to know where and how to register online for more information, and
- The ad should be roughly 70-80 words long (not counting any disclaimer)
Once you’ve answered these, you’re ready to write your casting spec — a very key step when you need to audition voiceover. (Check out our “How Many Words Are in a Political Ad Script?” feature for more ideas for making your script as impactful as possible.)
Not entirely accurate for our type of “casting,” but definitely not wrong, either.
Now that we’ve reaffirmed who we’re talking to, and on behalf of whom, it’s time to narrow down the perfect voice.
We’ve got a whole page dedicated to “Writing a Good & Compelling Voice Casting Spec” if you’d like to do a deeper dive. But, in essence, it boils down clarifying for voice talent a few key things:
- What demographic of voice will best resonate with your message and intended audience? Think age, gender, background, and personality.
- From there, describe your ideal, pie-in-the-sky spokesperson — celebrity archetypes are always welcome and give a great baseline for voice over actors to play with. Should they offer natural wisdom and gravitas to the audience? A heartfelt empathy? A smile and a wink? Obviously, there’s a huge, huge difference between Anna Kendrick and Helen Mirren, or Morgan Freeman and John C. Reilly. A little bit of guideline goes a long way!
- What tone do you want your voice (and ad) to strike? Is it hopeful & optimistic? Does it motivate through fear? What kind of picture of America does this voice over need to paint?
Using our :30 student loan debt relief ad example, a voice casting spec for that ad might look like:
Age: 25-40. An uplifting, empathetic Millennial sound. The ideal voice conveys some hard-won life experience without the bitterness. Male, Female, or Non-Binary; any ethnicity. Think Angel Haze, Michael B. Jordan, John Krasinski or Elizabeth Banks.
Holding a Casting
If only it were always this easy.
All you’ve got left to do is to pick the right voice. Easy, right?
Frankly, this might be the hardest part of all, because the “right” voice is incredibly subjective. But if you’ve done your script analysis & casting spec right, your top choices should reveal themselves fairly quickly.
We’ll assume your auditioning voice talent all followed your specs to the letter. From there…
- Who connects genuinely with the script? As in, which voice talent, in listening back, has authentically made your story their story?
- Who is the most likely to “cut through” in their delivery: to give the listener pause and engage them, spurring them to action?
- Who is actually available on your schedule? If you’ve got a tight turnaround, this is when having a “Top Five” really comes in handy.
Of course, we’ve got a whole page dedicated to casting best practices, too: Check out our “Holding a Casting” feature for more ideas for making your script as impactful as possible.
Got more questions? We’re happy to help you get to the bottom of your political voice over casting any way we can. Use the contact form below to get in touch or send us an email at email@example.com!