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Observations, musings and rubbish from the mind of an IVO (International Voice Over)

March 21, 2019 1:15 pm

Sounding British…

Sounding British”…

British Voice Over

One of the main reasons clients book me for a variety of different reads – from radio and TV commercials to audio/visual narrations, documentaries, corporates, online v/o’s and on-hold messages – is because I do “good neutral”.

That is, I have a non-offensive (as opposed to inoffensive), non-discernible “accent”.

No recognisable dialect or curious inflections are to be found in a quintessential  Greg Marston delivery in the beginning, middle or end of a sentence or paragraph.


No especially rounded or just plain weird sounding vowels or consonants.

Nothing, really, which would make anyone say “Ah HAH! He hails from Bristol” – the place of my birth on the west coast of the UK (think the likes of Blackbeard, Long John Silver, Treasure Island and all things piratical in general).

I’m often surprised, therefore, when a studio or client books me for a recording, having already heard my showreel, demo, audio-sample, whatever, and then asks me to “dial-down the Brit”!

Any voice-artist who delivers in a “neutral accent” (a misnomer if ever I heard one) will invariably sound like they come from somewhere – the UK, Europe, the USA, the UAE, India, Asia, Africa, Australia.

Currently based in the latter of these countries, it’s especially peculiar when I get asked to voice a script which has, presumably, been bespoke-written for someone with that “neutral accent” – assuming they’ve chosen me specifically because they like the sound they’ve heard on the demo – and then I’m told to “make it less Brit” or, in other words, sound more, or at least slightly, Australian!


It’s the country where I’m most often given that directive.

As they say here, in the land where I’ve lived more than half my life, “Bewdy” – an Aussie expression which means “beauty”, “it’s a beautiful thing” or more precisely, in English speak, “nice one”!

The irony is that I can do “‘Strine” (slang for “Australian”), no worries.

But there are a thousand Aussie voice-overs out there already, so why book this pommy b*stard – who’s English – and then ask him to sound “more Australian?”

Greg Marston