Voiceovers by Gregory Houser
A man, a martini, and a lot of microphones.: Bill Moyers and voiceover

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bill Moyers and voiceover

If you've never listened to, or watched Bill Moyers, you've missed out on some pretty interesting stuff from a host who has the rare talent to captivate his audience with just a few words. Moyers crossed nearly every medium available as an analyst, publisher, TV host, etc. It's hard to find someone in this day and age who represents the ideals of journalism as Bill does.

And after four decades in the news industry, he decided to retire. April 30th, 2010 marked the last night of the Bill Moyers Journal, because in his words, "there are some things left to do that the deadlines and demands of a weekly broadcast don't permit."

You have to admire the man's dedication.

Of all the accolades which Moyers has received, there was a blurb in an article I read on The Daily Beast that caught my attention. It was the correlation which Randy Bean made regarding the writing style Moyers imparted to those who worked with him. Moyers never wanted the writers to use a common style for the copy, but to always imagine the copy being read aloud when they wrote. In the article, she states:

"He taught all of us on his production staff how to write evocatively for the spoken word. Writing voiceover narration is very different from writing for print publication. The ear hears differently than the eye sees.

Plus there are pictures, always pictures, so you work hard to avoid the ever-present "see it, say it" trap. Moyers has impeccable standards when it comes to writing. Listen to one of his commentaries sometime, with your eyes closed. It's lyrical stuff-expressive, deeply felt, personal yet globally relevant, beautifully constructed".

While Moyers wasn't known so much for his voice over, he was known for his commentaries and for his ability to draw you into the story by his ability to use the copy to hit your emotions. The late, great Don LaFontaine simply put it by saying "love the words", and regardless of where you are in your voice over career, I can think of no better advice for those who wish to share the copy they're recording with others, and have it leave a meaningful impression.

The original article can be found here.

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