Harry Legg – ALL CAPS

One of the cool things about working with Benztown is getting to communicate with so many of the best Voiceover Talents and Imaging Pros on the planet. Recently, fellow VO guy Jude Corbett sent some comments that I asked him to expand upon regarding scripts being written in all caps. I’ve even seen contracts that spell out the usual requirements of14 point font, double-spaced and all caps. I was always puzzled by that “all caps” part but never gave it a lot of thought. Jude explains the problems with this very well:

You’re probably not going to change the guys that have been reading copy forever but, younger folks in the business might want to experiment with the notion that upper and lowercase text is easier for the mind to absorb and easier for the eyes to keep their focus.

If you’re just reading a one liner, probably not too much of a noticeable difference but, longer form copy, in my opinion, is easier to perform when it’s upper and lower case.  IN AN ALL CAPS SENTENCE DO YOU KNOW WHETHER OR NOT A QUESTION MARK IS ON THE HORIZON OR, AN EXCLAMATION POINT!  With upper and lower, it’s much easier to tell that an exclamation point is on the way, right?  Did you feel like your mind turned into zombie mush reading the all caps?  Did you feel your shoulders shrug a little when you saw the comma and asked “right?”  Though it can be helpful, IN PLACES, the constant barrage of all caps is very taxing!

When electronic communication became the norm, we complained that all caps felt like you were angry.  I never personally felt that way.  Mainly because I was lazy and always used all upper case but, I adapted.  I feel like all copywriters should too!  Programmers should insist on it as well.  There’s nothing worse than hearing your live talent blaze through words without really giving them any emotional weight or thought to it.

It’s easy to hear a dj slip from hand written note or random thought, to all caps on the promo or sales reads, especially the first time through it.  They sound like they’re trudging through the copy like a zombie with zero emotion and it’s not going to stop until the copy runs out!  I equate it to the old EBS tone.  No up or down inflection, just a flat monotone line of noise – no compression necessary!

Many of us now are reading from monitors and that just compounds the zombie effect.  Especially if your iPad can’t interpret someone’s PC formatting.  Talk about a cluster…

I feel that upper and lower case can allow the voice to breathe a little bit and anticipate what’s coming up in the copy… a pause…. a – um – a stammer… a whisper…. at the very least, a little bit MORE personality.

Experiment by typing out a few jokes in all caps and some different but, equally paced out ones in upper and lower case and see which one the talent can deliver best.

Well said – THANK YOU JUDE…errr…Thank you, Jude!

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