What is a copy and how to handle the tricky ones?
Well to start with, let me first explain to the uninitiated what a copy means…basically a copy is the script or the text that the agencies/studios/clients have finalized and would like the voice artist to read and record.
Now a copy can be great, good, subpar or downright totally bizarre!
And yes you can’t always pick and choose which ones you get...
A great copy will speak to you instantaneously, you would know what the message is right away! It will be tight and to the point!
A good copy can be fun to record as well. It will enhance your performance and you will be able to give it the exact emotions that it needs.
The challenge comes when you get a subpar or a weird copy. And yes, these copies or scripts can have grammatical errors, sentences which are so tedious that making them engaging will call for all of your artistic acumen.
Though I must admit image here looks nothing short of nightmare. But really, recording a poorly written copy can seem like a nightmare too :)
Case in point, when a client gives you a script which has been translated from another language. And since I work in four different languages (English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu), so I totally get the challenges involved in trying to convey the sentiment while keeping the language and timing for a script intact. And to make matters worse, sometimes clients don’t even get professional translators for their script, instead they would simply use standard translation software and assume that it makes no difference!
But trust me, no software can ever do what a seasoned translator can do for your script! They can localize your translated script, make it relatable to your audience in a way that no software can match.
And as a voice artist, when I get a well translated script, I can totally appreciate the effort someone has put in translating not just the text but the feel of the script too.
But on the other hand, when I get a script which has some glaring and unforgiving issues, I try to handle them in the following way:
Step 1: I first start by being honest (not rude) about how I think the copy sounds. I think this is very important that I convey to my client if I feel that the copy is lacking.
After all we are all in it together, trying to make ensure best results.
I might even offer some suggestions about how I think the copy might be tweaked to fit the timings better or to make it more localized for their audience. Now they may or may not choose to act on that feedback, but I believe that they deserve to have an honest feedback about the copy in hand, so that they can make an informed decision about the message their want to convey.
If they like my ideas, then it could go two ways:
First: They might want me to work on the script and make it more effective, more relatable to their target audience. And I am more than happy to do it. Afterall making those changes only means that my performance as a voice artist will shine too. OR
Second: They might take my feedback in and go back to their translators or copywriters to amend the script and come back with a copy which sounds more authentic and heartfelt. Sometimes they might even want to involve me in this process, which means I get to work with their language directors or translators, which is an added bonus!
And since life isn’t always perfect, so sometimes they will totally ignore me! In that case, there isn’t much that I can do about it, isn’t it! So, I will do my best to make my performance sound as sincere, engaging and fit the timings (if required). But beyond that things are out of my control. But hey, at least I tried!!
So here you go, a basic understanding of what a copy or a script is and a breakdown of how to handle when you get a script which you know has some issues in it.
I hope this approach helps you during your course of work as well. Good luck!