Create a Compelling Scene: The Voice Over SCRIPT

Part one of a series that talks about the entire process, the components and the skills that allow the voice over actor to Create a Compelling Scene


The script is just a starting point in our craft. Black words on a white page. Just “the shell.”

The words of a script are the be all and end all – for the writer and the agency that got it finally approved by the client. For voice actor, the script is never simply about manipulating words on a page with your voice. There’s a scene to be created.

It may look like a monologue. But, it’s always a dialogue. A conversation.

There are always imaginary friends with you in the booth. You’re not alone in there.

And you have to have the creativity to hear these other character’s questions, answers and feedback in your head as you perform.

BUT, before you can create and communicate the scene, you have to understand what’s being said and why.

Understanding STRUCTURE helps you understand the meaning. For instance, a common commercial structure is: Problem >Solution>Call to Action. It’s a progression.

Problem: You can’t get a good night’s sleep.
Solution: You run into your neighbor at the supermarket and he says, “I got the new Sleep Atomic bed and now I sleep like a baby!”
Call to Action: “So where do I get one?” “You can get it at any Big Box Store or call 877-555-1212.”

A script is often presented in three Acts, often broken down into three Scenes per Act.
& sometimes finished with a “Button Line” that is ironic, comedic or simply observational.
Sometimes you’ll say to the producer, “I know what I did on the audition, but now that we’re doing it for real, what are you looking for here?” And she will say,

“It’s on the page.”

By this she means that the piece is written well enough and contains enough information or clues about who, what, why, where -that you should be able to figure it out.
The converse is – when it’s not on the page! Meaning it is not very well written and there are not a lot of clues and you have to work extra hard to create a compelling scene.

Regardless of how well the script is written you have to figure out the structure.

Once you understand the STRUCTURE of the script, you have the basic framework to begin developing a character, asking the actors questions and creating a compelling scene.