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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Many Actors and Actresses Like Voiceover Work at Certain Ages

In recent years, I have read many articles related to the entertainment industry, which all suggest ideas for those actors and actresses looking to find work in their ‘gap years’.  What are the gap years?  They vary for different artists, depending upon when those individuals break into the industry.  For those who start very young, the gap years can occur multiple times.  There are some ages at which there are simply more casting calls.  Generally, it is the “between generations” span that can be difficult.  Consider that most shows and movies feature people that can fit into the stereotypical roles of “grandparent”, “parent”, “young adult/teen”, or “child”.  While an actor or actresses is of an age that doesn’t allow him or her to clearly fit into one of those categories, he or she may find it difficult to find work.

These are the gap years that the previously mentioned advice-articles refer to.  There are many suggestions given for those in their gap years, including getting a side job, taking more acting classes, or stepping outside one’s comfort area.  However, there is something else – or perhaps a combination of these tips – that many actors and actresses have found success with.

Voiceover work allows for all of those well-honed acting skills to be put to use, but without the pressure of “looking” the part.  Therefore, the gap years can be filled with paying work that allows the person to continue growing within the industry.  It also keeps him or her involved with others working in the entertainment field, which means more doors may open, and fewer are shut while he or she passed from one age category to another.

There are, of course, a few differences between the type of acting done for stage or screen, versus that done before a microphone.  Therefore, it is worth taking some classes or practicing voiceover acting before trying to make the jump.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Should You Hire One- or More Voiceover Talents for Audiobooks?

There are a lot of audiobooks on the market, but not all are frequent downloads.  In fact, only a small percentage of authors will see real success in the audio book market.  The rest will be lucky to make a little money after paying for the related expenses.  There are a number of factors that can determine whether or not an audio book is successful.  These include, of course, the status of the author, the topic of the book, and the marketing skills of the author and those working for him or her.  There is one other, big factor to consider though – the quality of the voiceover work. 

Many, many times, customers will completely pass by an audio book or buy it only to immediately “return” it because the voiceover work is not appealing to them. Most people know what it is like to listen to awkward audio.  It could be just the tone or the pitch of the voice that is troubling to the listener.  It could be that the voiceover artist has a tendency to sound monotone after reading for a period of time.  Or, it could be that the story is too hard to follow before there is only one voice and multiple characters in the book.

All of these situations can be very frustrating for the author, but all are preventable.  For the sake of this article, let us consider the latter – the need for multiple voices.  This can be managed in two ways:

#1. Hiring Multiple Voiceover Artists: They can work together in the same recording studio or all make their recordings separately, to have them digitally combined later.  Either way, you wind up with a distinct voice for each character.  For novels that feature many characters, this can be a good way to go, because it really can be difficult for a single voice actor to manage all of the voices while ensuring that the lister can discern one from another.

#2. Have One Artist that Can Speak in Many Voices There are many voiceover talents that can seemly transition from one style of speaking to another, allowing them to give a distinct voice to each of the characters in the book.

It is also possible to combine these methods.  For instance, some authors choose to hire both a female- and a male voiceover artist.  The female speaks for all female characters, while the male manages all masculine parts.  So, the answer to the initial question is “no” because there are multiple methods of managing the problem.  You don’t have to hire more than one voiceover talent, but you may want to consider it, if you think it will provide a more enjoyable listening experience for the consumer.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Get Customers Talking to Build Corporate Voiceover Business

Have you ever been to an art opening with just one or two people walking around the space?  Have you ever witnessed a free concert that had almost no one in attendance?  Such failures don't just occur in the art world.  On a regular basis, in this country, and surely in other areas of the world, businesses face disappointment when sales, promotions, and other marketing schemes fall flat.  In the voice over industry, a failed attempt to reach potential clients can be very costly.  The good news is that many of those failures suffered by artists, musicians, retailers, and voiceover artists in the past were likely preventable.  How do you avoid such a disappointment?  You rely on the longest standing marketing principle – word of mouth.

The era of social media has made word of mouth more powerful than ever before.  People have greater reach when they want to share their reviews of businesses and performers.  They can spread the word without even leaving their own homes.  But, how do you get your former clients, friends, and others talking about your brand?

Encourage Reviews Often, all you have to do is ask, and a former client or customer will happily write up a review that can be shared on your website, as well as on your social media feeds.

Get Chatty The best way to get a conversation going about your business is to be the one to start the conversation.  Don’t forget that the primary purpose of social media is to be social.  Really take the time to speak with former customers as well as potential future clients.  Above all else, always take the time to respond to comments or messages from others.  Not only can this turn a simple comment into an actual conversation, it will also showcase your professional nature, and make that person more likely to say a kind word about you to others.

Offer Up a Reward When someone has done you the kindness of referring you to potential customers or clients, take the time to return the kindness.  Send a thank you note, provide a small gift, or offer a reasonable discount on his or her next project.  You can be sure that this will increase the likelihood that they refer your services again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Getting Your Talented Child into the Voiceover Studio

If you have a child who has shown a lot of interest in acting, then you might be considering getting him or her into voiceover work.  While it certainly differs from stage acting, many young, creative children have done very well in the recording studio.  There are a few things that you should consider if you are trying to break into the industry on behalf of your child.

Age Though personality and maturity will be gauged above all else, many casting directors will have an age cut-off (on both ends).  Although there is an awareness that working with children is not quite the same as working with adults, the client is most concerned with getting a good recording, and will, therefore, stipulate an age range most likely to fulfill those needs while in the studio.

Training It is not impossible to land a voiceover job without professional training, but your child is going to be much better off if he has something to put on his resume.  Stage experience is great, professional training is even better.  Acting classes are offered all over the country, many devoted to young children.  There are also professional voiceover coaches, although these professionals are more commonly found in large cities (where live auditions are most likely to take place).

Making the Transition A voice over coach will be able to provide additional input on where to look for audition and casting opportunities.  There are also websites devoted to voiceover work, where you can upload your child’s resume and demo reel.  Another option is to seek the assistance of a talent agent.  You, as the parent, will also have to take responsibility for the other end of the voiceover business – the marketing, accounting, and time management concerns, for instance. And check online for other opportunities.

With a bit of luck and the investment of some of your time, your children can start a voiceover career at a very young age.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Many Misconceptions About Voiceover

If you are new to the voiceover industry, or you are considering changing career paths in order to give your voice the chance to shine, you will want to be very careful to avoid the many myths and misconceptions related to this field.  There are many of them, but here we will touch on a few that could be very misleading and cause your new career to fail in no time.

It’s Not About the Imitations There are so many people who come into this industry who believe that the name of the game is to be able to mimic the stars and cartoon characters well known to people throughout the country.  They create entire demo reels showcasing their ability to mimic others.  This is not what voiceover is about and, in fact, that sort of demo reel can actually hurt your chances to sign with potential clients.  Why?  In most cases, the casting directors want to hear your voice, not someone else’s.  A little bit of imitation work can be beneficial, but the majority of your work will be done in your own voice.

It’s More Than Audiobooks and Cartoons While it is true that audiobooks and animation have been a source of income for many voiceover artists, they are not the only forms of voiceover work.  In fact, they don’t even represent the majority of the work.  Be sure that you aren’t limiting yourself as a VO professional.  There is work to be had recording for commercials, internet spots, video games, narration, training videos, introduction videos, and other corporate work.

Not Everyone Can Do Voiceover Anyone with a voice can be recorded, right?  While that may be true, it doesn’t mean that the recording will be worth anything.  And, more importantly, there is much more involved with working as a voiceover artist than speaking into a microphone.  You will be operating your own business, which means marketing, accounting, time management, and much more.  Not everyone can make it as a voiceover artist.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

5 Things That Make Voiceover Script Great

Just as not all voiceover artists are created equally, not all voiceover scripts are of the same caliber.  Whether you are a VO artist or you are preparing a script, there are a few things that you should be considering to determine whether it is a script worth reading.  These are the five things that you should be seeking as you do a first read through:

1.    A Consistent Message Whether it is a training video, a commercial, or an audio book, there should be a consistency to the writing.  No one is going to be happy with the recording – especially the intended audience – if the message isn’t clear or the script is difficult to follow.  Be sure, as the writer, that you know what you want to convey and keep to that theme throughout.  As a VO artist, avoid scripts that are confusing or difficult to understand, if possible. At least seek clarification before recording.

2.    Proper Formatting This is especially important if there is dialogue occurring within the script.  Whether there is one VO artist or multiple readers, the ability of the voiceover talents will be greatly hindered if the formatting is wrong or inconsistent.

3.    Easy Reading We’ve touched on this a little, but it is worth saying again.  When doing a final readthrough, as the writer, or an initial readthrough, as the VO artist, be sure that you read aloud.  This can help you pick out tricky spots.  If you can’t comfortably read the majority of script clearly the first time, it is probably not worth taking into the studio. And DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPS! All caps are "visually" hard on the eyes! They also don't allow room for emphasis to be placed on any particular words or phrases. So, use upper and lower case in complete sentences.

4.    No Slashes, but Many Contractions Unless this is an extremely formal script, chances are that the VO artist and the client are going to be happier if contractions are used in voicing the script.  It will sound more natural and pleasant that way, so write the contractions in, rather than expecting the VO artist to mentally make those changes in the studio.  Similarly, avoid confusion created with symbols like a slash (i.e. he/she).  The script should be written as it is to be read (i.e. he or she).  These may seem like little issues, but when they come up many times throughout the script, they can make the recording process a much bigger challenge for the VO artist.

5.    Client Notes There should be notes included with all scripts.  Undoubtedly, there will be words, names, or concepts that must be explained.  As a VO artist, you should be carefully considering those notes (or lack thereof).  For instance, if, when reading the script, you come across multiple names that are difficult to pronounce, but there are no notes provided offering pronunciation, that should send up a mental red flag.  You certainly don’t want to have your pronunciation corrected after you have spent hours in the recording studio.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Build Your Resume – Help Friends Create Winning Websites

Throughout the country, marketing managers have made the switch from focusing on written content and pictures, to placing much more emphasis on video.  All over the web, articles have popped up about the advantages of including video on company websites.

Google Loves Video Actually, it’s not so much that Google loves video as much as it is that the Google algorithm values time, as in the amount of time that the average visitors stays at a website once arriving.  Video, of course, gives visitors something to linger over, which means the average time spent at the website increases, and so does the Google ranking.

Great Way to Make the Brand Approachable Though marketers talk a lot about brand loyalty, in truth people are far more apt to feel loyalty for other people than they are to have loyalty for a brand.  Give the brand a face and a personality, and people are more likely to remember it when they are ready to buy.  Video can provide that.

Video Appeals to Mobile Users It is much easier to watch a video on a small screen than it is to scroll side-to-side, up-and-down to read the same information. Consumers spend a great deal of time on mobile devices these days.

Show the Products in Action Very often, it is difficult to really portray how great a product is in a photo.  Video may be the answer, providing potential customers a real vision of how the product would make life easier or more enjoyable.

These are just some of the advantages that you should be mentioning to friends and family members who own or operate a business.  All of the video is going to call for some voiceover work.  Offer your services at a discount, provide them a professional-sounding video for their companies, and get yourself some new additions to your VO resume. And of course, get your voice out there!