How much can I voice for thee? Let me count the ways.

how many types of voiceover are there?Oh my goodness, imagine if I wrote an entire blog post in iambic pentameter and 14-line sonnet format. Imagine the delight. How glorious.

I’m sorry, I am not going to do that today, but I am inspired by the ol’ Bard’s quote up there, so let’s run with it.

How many voices can a voiceover voice, if a voiceover can voice voice? Wait, that’s not Shakespeare.

Sumara, get to the point.

Have you ever stopped to think about just how many ways a voiceover can be used? The obvious things that come to mind are radio and TV commercials. But even those old faithful formats aren’t so simple these days, what with different types of online TV, mobile content, online radio, music and video streaming, podcasts… what else?

And then there’s audiobooks, which are going rather ballistic in popularity lately, because who wants to listen to the ordinary world around them (especially the 2020 world!) when they could listen to a deliciously talented voice telling them a long, entertaining story for hours?

There’s corporate voiceover – explainer videos, business presentations, B2B promo videos, website intro videos – and telephony, to make your business sound as professional and organized and fabulous as it is!

so much eLearning, babyeLearning. From preschool learning apps (technology, man!), all the way through the school years to tertiary courses, and then corporate, industrial and medical training for the grown-ups. I’m actually pretty excited to think about how much a person can learn online these days. Like… everything! It’s amazing.

And, aha, the fun part – character voices! I’ve been doing a few character voices for games and animation lately and I LOVE it. Makes me think my drama teachers from way back when would be so proud of me. I was lucky enough to have an amazing acting teacher when I was young called Maxwell Vayne – he trained at the Royal Academy in London, he was SO posh and British and he drilled the name Stanislavsky very well into my brain. I like to think he’d be tickled pink to hear my zombie-like cannibalistic cult leader voice.

What other voiceover is there?

[Disclaimer: I just thought to myself “where can I find a good list of voiceover types?” and my first thought was Sarah Kennedy’s lovely website, so kudos to Sarah and her website team for this list]

Okay, so there’s also:

  1. Announcements
  2. ADR
  3. Documentary
  4. Government
  5. Imaging / Radio
  6. Infomercials
  7. Medical Narration
  8. Narration
  9. Pharmaceuticals
  10. Podcast
  11. Political Spots
  12. Promo & Trailers
  13. PSAs
  14. Self-check / kiosk voice
  15. Technical narration
  16. Tours
  17. Zombies (sorry, I really wanted the list to end with a Z. Zombie voiceover is totally a thing.)

I reckon every voiceover artist has their favourite one or two of these genres, and some that they are more or less skilled in. My favourites are medical narration, eLearning and characters for animation. I also do a lot of corporate video narration, and I’ve done a couple of audiobooks that mean a lot to me. I would LOVE to do some live announce VO when live events are safe again. I don’t do much commercial, and I won’t do political spots. To each their own!

What have I missed? If you’re a voice actor, please tell me your favourites! We can have a magnificent internet argument over who’s favourite voiceover genre is the best, instead of all those exhausting arguments about whether all humans deserve the same human rights.

this gal don't want no arguments

spoiler alert: THEY DO.

Thank you for hanging out with me for a bit, lovely humans. Please get in touch with me if you need some voiceover (info at sumarameers dot com), or check out my demos over here.

Oh, and please pop your email in the subscribe box below this post, so you can get this deliciousness delivered to your inbox on the regular!

Have a fabulous day, and go be kind to someone.

Child with phone image by @makenamedia  , child in sunnies image by @Britpix via Twenty20

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8 comments… add one
  • Kasper Michaels Jun 24, 2020 @ 19:32

    The biggest “miss” is the one of the biggest catagories… Animation, and I’m not sure where you would include this one, or if you have under another section, but Voice of god for events and TV programs is another

    • Sumara Meers Jun 25, 2020 @ 14:55

      Thanks for commenting Kasper!

      Ah yes, thank you, I forgot the correct term for Voice of God… I was just calling it Live Announcing but Voice of God is much cooler. 🙂

  • Kasper Michaels Jun 24, 2020 @ 19:33

    ah, you have it listed in another area. my bad. well done writing the article. it was fun to read.

    • Sumara Meers Jun 26, 2020 @ 13:54

      Thank you Kasper! 🙂

  • Joshua Alexander Jun 24, 2020 @ 22:20

    Haha! “I like to think he’d be tickled pink to hear my zombie-like cannibalistic cult leader voice” had me rolling. Yet Another fantastic and delicious blog from Sumara, ladies and gentlemen!

    • Sumara Meers Jun 25, 2020 @ 14:56

      Yay, I always like to make people roll… I think… 😂

  • Shane Graham Jun 26, 2020 @ 0:15

    Live announcing is exhilarating! (to put it mildly). Whether its on camera or off camera, the fact that you are ‘on’ and your pickups are ‘live’ adds a level of excitement and nervousness to properly prepare and execute the first time. I often feel more vulnerable when doing live events because while its not about me, the crowd doesn’t always approve of the outcome (or message I have to deliver). Its still one of the coolest jobs on planet Earth though 🙂

    • Sumara Meers Jun 26, 2020 @ 13:54

      Thanks Shane! I used to be a Stage Manager in theatre, and I love the high-pressure, crazy energy of live events so I think I’d love live announcing, too. 🙂

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