Why Writing Skills Matter for Voice Artists

1211761346538131220DooFi_Keyboard.svg.med[1]I came across a very thought-provoking article on the website for PBS Newshour today. It’s a discussion of how writing skills, in particular grammar and spelling, really matter if you’re looking for a job.

Here’s a short excerpt from the article that sums up the essentials.

I don’t care what field you work in, how much you earn, or whether you’re a production worker or a vice president. The way you use language reveals who you are, how you think, and how you work. And that will affect your career profoundly. You can pretend otherwise, but you can also walk around buck-naked believing you’re invisible because you’ve got your eyes closed.

Go read the entire article, it’s worth it. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

What does this have to do with voiceover?

11954236801897803973Machovka_Microphone.svg.med[1]You’d think that we as voice talent wouldn’t have to really be great writers, would you?  After all, we spend our days talking into a microphone- we don’t need to know how to write- right?

Well, you would be wrong. I’ve been doing this for a little while now, and looking back over my nascent career, I can count the number of  conversations that involved actually speaking with my clients that took place before I booked a job on one hand. I’ve spoken to many of my clients in person or on the phone, but the initial contact is always by email.

Don’t look like you’re illiterate.

If you want to book work with a client, don’t present yourself poorly in written correspondence. As much as you might think that email is an informal communication medium, it still reflects on you personally when people read it. If your correspondence is riddled with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, poor punctuation or strange slang, you will not be seen in as favorable a light.

People do notice.

As freelancers, we’re not out there with our resumes in hand, so when we speak with our potential clients via email, that’s the closest we have to a resume. Everything they know about you personally will come from those pixels on the screen, so use them wisely!

Put your best foot forward in all interactions with your clients. Don’t rely on spell check too much, and proofread anything before you send it. It WILL make a difference.

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