Call it a phone patch or just a nifty add-on feature of my Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) connection… I call it a lifesaver, which again came to the rescue just the other day to help identify and deliver the exact type of voice-over recording my client wanted. But let’s back up and explain things a bit.
What Is a Voice-Over Phone Patch?
A voice-over phone patch is a feature on my ISDN codec that lets me connect my voice-over recording studio directly to the phone line. I can still have a standard telephone conversation with my clients, but I can also go one better. Using a voice-over phone patch on my end lets my clients listen in and give direction to my real-time voice-over recordings using their regular phone line.
It’s like having my client right in the recording studio, a plus on so many levels. One of those levels involves clarifying what I mean when I say, “Perhaps I should take some smile out of the delivery.”
While taking smile out of the delivery may make sense to those in the voice-over industry, not everyone is familiar with certain terms or industry jargon. Voice-over clients often know the kind of delivery they want, but they may not be able to verbalize it. They want to hear it. My voice-over phone patch allows me to easily demonstrate these types of nuances in real time with the client on the phone.
How a Phone Patch Can Save the Day
Voice-over direction can be tricky, with talent typically receiving a script and a few emailed lines of directive explaining the vocal delivery the client is looking for. I often guide clients to my website where I have about 20 samples of different styles that I offer. Authoritative. Compassionate. High-energy. Conversational. Sultry. Sophisticated. Etc.
But there’s often a very fine and muddy line between what someone might deem as conversational and what I think is conversational. It can be a fairly subjective term. This grey area is the perfect reason to schedule a voice-over phone patch with my client because my primary objective is to give my client what he or she wants in one session. I’m all about being fast and efficient.
The phone patch recently came to the rescue when I received a last-minute request from an existing voice-over client. His client needed a voice-over recording to accompany a completed segment of animated video. The animated segment was about one minute long, and I recorded three or four options that I felt covered the bases very well. He brought them back to his client and soon responded to me with the following email:
“My client liked your voice over but wanted something a little less salesy.”
Hmmm… Less “salesy” can mean a lot of things (another subjective term), but here’s where I suggested taking some smile out of the delivery. That is what I intuitively felt was what his client was pointing at with the term “salesy.”
While he may have initially been unsure of what I meant by taking out some smile, a phone patch session cleared it right up. Once we were all on the line, I delivered a few real-time samples of what I meant by less smile, which did indeed match what he meant by less “salesy.”
In less than five minutes we had several takes, giving my client and his client exactly what they wanted. They were both extremely pleased and satisfied with my service.
Top 5 Benefits of Using a Voice-Over Phone Patch
I have found that there are many benefits to offering voice-over phone patch as part of my overall menu of voice-over services.
1. The voice-over phone patch saves time and enhances precision. Doing a phone patch helps to ensure that I won’t have to redo the script later on in a different style.
2. It’s an easy free service I can provide for my clients, since it’s a feature of my ISDN codec. It doesn’t cost me anything additional to flip the switch and let the client direct me. I know some voice-over talent charge for phone patch but I prefer to include it in my fee as a value-added bonus.
3. My clients and I can avoid lengthy back-and-forth emailed conversations trying to pinpoint exactly what is needed for the read. We’re all looking to save time and money, so this is a perfect way to do both. Once I sense from communication that I am not completely dialed into what a client is asking for in vocal delivery, I will suggest doing a phone patch so we get it right the first time!
4. A voice-over phone patch allows me to connect with my clients in real-time, virtually in person, which establishes a nice rapport and is much more personal than email communication. That’s a nice plus in this day and age, and offers a welcome alternative to the written word, which can sometimes leave things less than accurately explained.
5. Clients get the opportunity to be on the creative end of things, contributing in ways that they feel good about. It makes me feel good too. And ultimately, I look good when I can give them a better product. It’s all-around just a better way of doing things.
What have been your experiences with using the voice-over phone patch? Were there times when you wished you would have used a phone patch but didn’t? Has it ever saved the day for you? Please share your comments and stories.
Debbie Grattan has been in the voice acting profession for over 20 years, having collaborated on thousands of projects and partnered with hundreds of production companies, marketing and advertising firms, commercial voice-over recording studios and corporate/business clients around the United States and throughout the world. Check out her Voice-Over Acting Demos and discover the Top 10 Reasons to Hire Debbie for your upcoming project.