This is the Lucas Media brand logo used on our website


Getting To Know More About...Ian Brannan

This week on Lucas Media's video podcast series called Getting To Know More About...Marc Lucas speaks to Ian Brannan who is a professional voiceover artist.

Ian has voiced a number of Radio and TV commercials along with appearing on various radio stations throughout the UK.

When you sat down with your career adviser at school did they suggest for you to became a voiceover artist?

No they didn’t, however, I did say that there were two things I wanted to be one was to be an airline pilot and the other was to be a radio presenter. Those are the two things that I said I wanted to be and both were equally laughed out of the careers meeting. They did offer me all the advice to join the RAF but the radio thing was the career that I followed. I went down that route and luckily my school did have a hospital radio club on a lunchtime this fulfilled a desire of radio.

Radio was the thing I wanted to do I didn't want to get sidetracked by doing anything else. I just kept going until I kind of got somewhere I started reading the travel news and worked for the BBC in Leeds then got into commercial radio and been winging it ever since.

Did the voiceover career and radio presenting come naturally or did you have to work at it?

Oh yeah it took work I don't think it comes naturally really to anyone it's a skill it's something that I had to learn because you have to learn to get to a point where somebody is going to hire you. There's a certain style to it, I suppose, but at the same time you've got to be yourself because if you're being someone else, that's not what people want. It's a funny kind of balancing act of taking influence from various other presenters that you enjoy and then taking bits from them and adding in your own personality. Producing voiceovers was a whole separate thing but they are connected. A lot of people in the voiceover world come from one or two camps they've either come from an acting background or they've come from a radio background.

How was the last 18 months for you has it affected the way you work, has it affected your business?

The majority of voiceover artist have been working from home long before everybody else has been working from home. When covid came along the majority of voiceover artist, I would say, didn't affect their work because we're kind of used to working in complete isolation anyway. What it did change, of course, was the work coming along particularly people who were doing live events. That all of a suddenly stopped all those conferences and events went out the window.

Advertising slowed down a bit, but covid did create work I think it has made people work differently. It has brought new technologies such as Zoom and things like that into the spotlight more which we probably weren't overly as aware of before all the restrictions happened.

There are more websites and services now offering automated voiceovers via AI driven technologies, will these services ever replace the human voice?

I think it's something to be aware of I think currently it's on the horizon as a possibility. These services will undoubtedly take some of the work but then again, it already is there are people using Siri, and they're quite happy with how it sounds right? I think for the people who want a professional sounding video I don't think that it really will because people do business with people I think that people relate to the human voice. So far they've been pretty good for me because I've re-voiced quite a few jobs that have been done with A.I. voices and they've realised, oh, this is actually not very good we'd better get somebody to do it so they've paid twice!

Two areas where they need improvements are accents a lot of them are American the British ones are fairly neutral, London or the south sort of accents. They have not perfected accents in anyway especially regional ones. There's a big difference even within say, Yorkshire, between the accents of the different towns and cities.
The other thing is emotion there has been a computer generated voiceover project that has achieved emotion and they spent millions on it so yes, they've done it, but it's like it's not something that you can roll out and perfect. It took a lot of work and money to achieve.

Have you got any kind of affiliations with any brands or any radio stations?

I do have a few I am the voice of Eon, when you phone Eon to pay your bill the automated voice is me. I've been doing that for a few years, and I think it's taken a few years to actually get all the messages done because there are lot of menus.

Probably the biggest TV commercial I do is for Lavazza Coffee, they're doing a big campaign with a snazzy new coffee machine that you're all going to want because it's connected to a certain smart speaker. A lot of what I do neutral but originally being from Yorkshire, I do quite a lot of Yorkshire stuff as well. I do Pets in a Pickle, which is on all the global radio stations across the country there's a series of 12 ads and it's all about pets getting in trouble.

You can find out more about Ian