All too often, we find ourselves watching a TV commercial or an animated feature and we will be convinced that we know the voice we’re hearing. Well, it might not be that we know who is speaking, but we’ll know that we’ve heard that voice somewhere before.
It’s kind of like what used to happen when you watched TV with your mum. You’d be enjoying a particularly good bit of telly when the inevitable question would arise, “Where do I know him from? No, don’t tell me, I know his face…Oh go on, you know, he was in that thing..that one you used to like.” And armed with these incredibly helpful clues you’re meant to instantly know what your mum was talking about.
I can only assume that the people behind IMDB came up with the idea after a similar conversation with their own mothers. Oh, and for the record, don’t use the words “Don’t tell me,” if you actually want me to tell you the answer!
Well IMDB does cover voiceovers, but not when it comes to commercials, so we live in hope that someone with a bit more time on their hands than me decides to build the site in question.
I myself have a funny story when it comes to character voices, and it’s kind of the point of this blog post. Some time ago I was approached by a production company who were looking for an upper class auctioneer type character. In their own minds they had pictured the likes of Leslie Phillips and Terry Thomas, and those were great characters to emulate.
Now time was of the essence, as the finished product was scheduled to be going on air within about 24 hours of the recording session. That’s actually fairly common in TV, but I love the thrill of a last minute panic!
Well the job was done and everyone was very happy. It looked like this:
What happened next was particularly interesting. Foxy Bingo were about to launch their service in Sweden and were running a TV commercial. As luck would have it, they had brought in the services of the same production company and they were once again looking for a smooth and sophisticated upper class voice, and as they had not yet used it in the Swedish market, it made sense to use the same voice again.
And so it is that I became the voice of Foxy Bingo in Sweden. I don’t speak Swedish, they had to write it all out for me, and half the joke was the Foxy was an English gentleman trying to speak the language but getting the pronunciation slightly wrong, so they wrote out the words for me, but not phonetically, and that became part of the joke.
You can watch the advert here:
I don’t know if Foxy is still active in Sweden, but if it is, it’s good to know that I helped to kick things off.