L9991641The clients are in the control room, the voice talent is in the recording booth, everyone is ready for the magic to happen.

“OK, we’re recording. This is Generic Script, Take 1.”

The voice talent opens their mouth, out come the words in lush, dulcet tones, and it’s sounding great. Then the script has a list of qualities for the product, and right at the end… BOOM. The voice talent flunks the phrasing.

“Yeah, can you put a pause there, just before the last one? Let’s do a pickup.”

This could have all been avoided with the Oxford Comma. That’s a comma just before the final item in a list of things. Some folks argue it’s pretentious; it’s also known as the Harvard Comma, and also known as the serial comma.

In a VO script, the oxford comma lets the voice know exactly where to put a pause to get the right cadence in a script. But that would short change the value of the comma in general for voice scripts. I feel that all scripts should use a comma where the script writer wants to have the voice pause: too many scripts now have run-on sentences that create massive blocks of words that make them all but indecipherable for a voice. That’s bad copywriting. No-one is going to submit a marked-up script anywhere for anyone else to see it, it’s only for a voice to understand at first sight how to phrase a sentence.

So for those prepping a script for a recording, read it aloud and drop in commas where you want a pause. Do this, and the VO session will be fun, fast, and fuss-free.