Radio spots are like cooking…too many ingredients…and you spoil the meal.
So when you received a script to produce with multiple voices in it…99 percent of the time, it could have and SHOULD have been done with one voice or two. The radio is already chalk full of voices already, asking the audience to do way too much in the way of paying attention to their spots.
Multiple voices, (more than one or two) for the most part, equal clutter.
So when you have your own 30 second spot packed with voices, asking the audience to discern between female 1 and female 4 in a fast paced frenzy, you are literally asking too much. In my opinion, you are asking the audience to tune out.
Usually it’s one of 2 issues:
1) Neophytes: It’s easy to see why you would add so many voices when you first start out, as with anything, you just throw it at the wall and hope it sticks. But, once you become good at script writing, you realize that the less ingredients the better, because it shows how much more you can do with what’s perceived to be so little.
2) Client interference: I’ll admit, there is not much you can do about this…BUT it really is the same issue as #1…as the client is a business person, not a creative person…and certainly not in a position to see their shop from a potential clients point of view. Having the client involved is akin to having a beginner work on your script.
The only way to avoid the first one, is time…you will get better, you will find more tools in your arsenal than just more voices. You will find spacing, nuance, interesting conversational words, and hopefully, a voice or team of voices that can translate your beautiful script into a beautiful piece of audio that helps get the client more sales or puts them at top of mind for potential customers.
Number 2, client involvement, has only a couple of possible fixes, but even those are hit or miss. First, (and this is my choice)…you need to do more work. Ie: create their spot as best you can. AND create a BETTER spot with less clutter to present to them as a value added bonus. It seems like a lot of work to do, but in my experience, if you don’t do this, the only other way around it is…
Teaching the client: Some people are great at this. More power to them. I am not. But if i were, I am sure i would have been able to avoid producing multiple cuts of the same spot. Guiding a client through the process and teaching them the in’s and out’s of airing a commercial on broadcast or satellite radio is a tedious gig, and sometimes it doesn’t pay off at all.
Which brings me back to my first fix – provide multiple versions. It could be one extra version, or three. Whatever you think it takes to show the client that their over-crowded spot would be much clearer, much more to the point and probably much more classy as a one voice (or even bring it down to 2 voices) production. If you are a creative director, this means writing an extra script. If you are a producer, this means producing another spot.
Even if you think it might not reach the client after the account exec gets a hold of it, it’s still a weapon for the sales team to use in case it’s needed.
To be clear, I am not saying ALL multi-voice spots are clutter…i am arguing that a lot of them are…but for reasons beyond anyone’s control, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Moreover, providing an extra mix or script really goes a long way for your team AND you.
It could be for so many other reasons beyond voice numbers. The spot could be too long (even with one voice)…or the music the client chose is copyrighted, maybe they voiced it themselves and they need to hear something in comparison before they waste their money…whatever the case, it’s worth it to provide the extra work.
Because if worse comes to worse and corporate cuts your stations budget – who would want to get rid of the producer that actually helps out the sales team? Who would want to cut the writer whose extra script saved the sale that one day because they KNEW that the 4 voiced spot was just too cluttered to make any dent in sales.
Not me…i would fight for their survival…I would voice my opposition to corporate on their behalf. With one voice of course. Anything more is just clutter.