Let’s Make a Book Trailer — Part 17

Hello Everyone!

This is part 17 of my series: Let’s Make a Book Trailer.

The list of previous parts is getting a bit long, so I will merely link to the first and most recent posts:  Part 1 and Part 16 respectively.

As with the previous posts, the following are merely my thoughts on the trailer construction process.  Feel free to use or snort with derision.

Last time we looked at sourcing music to use in the book trailer.  Recall that our video application is Microsoft Movie Maker,  available with Windows Essentials 2012. You can download a copy here.

In today’s post we’ll look at finding voice over talent for the book trailer.

Recall that our constraints for creating our trailer are:

  • We’re creating a “Teaser” trailer
  • Using PowerPoint to create most of the content
  • No video, music, animation or voice overs
  • Working with stock images or some commissioned images

We’ve now strayed from the original constraints considerably.  Pan and zoom and be considered animation, and music, is, well, music.  As this post is concerned with finding voice over narration, we’ve pretty much scrapped the third bullet point in our constraint list.

Do You Need a Voice Over?

It depends. Book trailers take their inspiration from movie trailers, and many movie trailers have a voice over (“In a world where …).  If your trailer works well with only graphic elements (text and images) you may not want a voice over.  There are two types of voice overs:

  • The omniscient narrator
  • A character’s narration

If your trailer is set up to give an overview of the book without focusing too heavily on a character, you can likely design it so that a voice over is not needed.  However,  I would argue if the book trailer is designed from a particular character’s point of view, you should consider a voice over for that character

The Right Voice

Finding the “right” voice for your book trailer is critical.

And, let’s face it, that voice is probably not yours.

Unless you are doing a sort of “author speaks directly to the readers” type of trailer, you should engage others to do the work.  Very few us have the type of speaking voice that produces a pleasing recording.  Moreover, if your trailer is going to involve a character speaking, you’ll want the right kind of voice in such terms as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Accent
  • Tone & timbre
  • Delivery speed

For example, if you’re a thirty-year old male French Canadian, you likely are not going to be doing narration for your sixty-year old Alabama grandmother.  In fact, finding the right voice for a character can very very challenging. 

We all have an idea of what our characters sound like when they speak; finding voice over talent which matches our idea may involve a long search.  This last consideration is a bit of a challenge for me as Lady Merreth’s voice is a mix of a British accent and a Texas drawl.

Script Preparation

Before you begin hunting for the right voice, you should have prepared a script document that will be given to the voice over talent.

The document will contain the following:

  • Project description
  • Script text
  • Total script word count (some voice talent charges by the word, others by the time duration of the work)
  • Any special directions to the narrator

If you are having the voice over talent provide a character narration, the following information should also be included:

  • A short character description
  • A short description of the character’s speaking voice

In a slide-based trailer, such as we are producing, it may be helpful to provide thumbnails of each slide, along with the accompanying script text.  Below is a an example screen shot of the document I provided to the voice over talent I selected.

Western Watch Trailer Script Sample, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng

You will note that in the Special Directions to the narrator I specifically requested that each slide script be separated with one or two “beats”.  I did this because I want to be able to easily split the narration up into separate “pieces” if the finished script arrived as one file.   I later found that narrators are frequently happy to do this for you.  Live and learn.

Finding the Voice

There are three sources of voice narration talent (excluding yourself or your friends):

  • Dedicated sourcing websites such as VoiceBunny
  • Freelancers advertising on Craig’s List
  • Freelancers available through Fiverr.

All of them will require the outlay of some money, but costs can be quite reasonable.

I looked at VoiceBunny but ultimately decided that the costs were a little high.  For a 40 words script, a middle-aged Australian female voice over for a video game (the closest category they had to book trailer), costs ranged from $90 to $315 Canadian.  A pity because the voices were all very good.

I didn’t go with Craig’s list because it’s basically a crap-shoot; you are not quite sure what you will get.

In the end I went with Fiverr.  Fiverr has the following features:

  • A significant cost advantage over VoiceBunny; my script cost me less than $30 Canadian
  • A rating system so you can see what others have thought about the supplier (to be fair, VoiceBunny does this as well)
  • A fairly wide selection of voice over talent, though nowhere near that of VoiceBunny
  • An attractive, easy to navigate site

The last point, admittedly, has little to do with the quality of quantity of talent available, but it does make the site that much more pleasant on which to spend time.

Finding talent on Fiverr is easy to do. Select Voice Over from the Music & Audio main menu then use the filters to more narrowly define the talent you want. 

Searching Fiverr for Voice Over Talent, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng

One you have narrow down the list of providers you can go about selecting your desired options.  For example, below is my invoice for a 36 word script, including the various options I asked for:

Fiverr Voice Over Talent Invoice, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng

The price is exceptionally attractive and I was very pleased with the provider.  In the next post you’ll hear her work in the draft of the book trailer being constructed.

If you haven’t checked out Fiverr, I strongly urge you do so for voice overs (and many other author-oriented services).

What about it, authors?  Have you used Fiverr for book trailer related work?  Let me know how it went in the comments!

Thanks for reading, and I will see you again next time.







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