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Monday, December 9, 2019

Voice Over Talent for Podcasts



Podcasts are so popular that 44 percent of Americans 12 and older have listened to a podcast, and 80 percent of them listen to a podcast on an average of seven shows a week.  It is a huge opportunity for voice-over talent.

When someone is thinking about starting a podcast, they may overlook the intro and outro.
The podcast world is worth looking into as a voice-over talent.  Podcasters cover a wide range of topics and they have a good following.  It is worth exploring as a voice-over talent.

A Podcast Intro

The podcast intro is the show’s opening that introduces the show and the host.  It sets the mood and the tone of the entire show. The music and words are key factors.  However, a critical part is the tone and clarity.

The intros need to be clear, concise and to the point.  The voice needs to match the music and who can do that better than a trained voice-over talent.  The audience will come to identify the voice and the music with the podcast.  Like any good television show, commercial or radio program.  The podcaster wants them to hear it and know it’s their show. The voice helps to brand the show.

Content of A Good Podcast Intro

An intro to a podcast should have several key elements to make it noteworthy. 
·         Name of Podcast
·         Episode Number and Title
·         Music or sound effects
·         Name of Host
·         Podcast Overview or Tagline
·         Intro of Episode

While the podcast host may know this as the expert, they may call upon you the voice over talent to help them with the details.  If they have ideas, you will want to make sure that they do not add anything that detracts without adding value.

A Podcast Outro

The podcast outro is the closing that wraps the entire show up into a tidy package.  It leaves the audience with a feeling of an ending... a summation.  This is the place where a tagline is the core of the podcast.  The outro is part of the branding that keeps the listeners loyal. 

Like the intro, the outro needs to be short and sweet with a call to action.  Inviting them to continue to listen, tell their friends, or share the content.  There needs to be a mention of a website name or address for them to go to.

What Makes Good Podcast Outro Content

There are key pieces to a good podcast outro that need to be included in the creation.
·         Thank the audience for tuning in.
·         Website address, Contact Info and How to Get More
·         A Call To Action (CTA)

Why Hire A Voice Over Talent for A Podcast?

The pressure of creating an intro and an outro is more than many podcasters want to handle.  While talking about a subject that is their passion is easy, these need to be fantastic. 

A voice-over talent has the experience and training to perfect, smooth out and records a flawless intro and outro.  You understand the key elements and dynamics in using a voice to capture and keep an audience.

When speaking with a podcaster, remind them that you lend credibility, professionalism, and sophistication to their podcast.  Like a speaker on stage, someone always introduces them before they start.  Same in the podcast world.  The intro and outro are the bookends of a podcast and help draw the audience in with great narration. An outside POV is always more impressive.

Who knows, once you get into the podcast world you may even think about talking about your passion and share your knowledge with the podcast world on being a voice-over talent.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Growth Mindset Can Take Your Voice Over Career to the Next Level



To have a successful voice-over actor career is to have the proper mindset. Of course, your skills and talent are important factors, however, your mind is a powerful tool.  A growth mindset is more than positive and negative thinking.  It's changing the way you think, your habits and behaviors.

What is Growth Mindset?

Having a growth mindset is the belief that learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience.  When a person believes that they can become smarter and better, their efforts have an effect on their success, so they put in the extra time leading to higher achievement.

Your basic abilities are a starting point for your potential.  Everything can be developed with effort, learning and persistence.

Don't see failures as proof that you are deficient, but as a lesson that will take you to the next level.

Steps to Take When Using the Skills of a Growth Mindset Develop Positive Habits

Your static beliefs will hold you back from making positive changes.  You need to readjust your thinking that habits are not fixed and they can be changed.  You can build a new skill, break a consistent habit that is not elevating you.

Acknowledge and Embrace Your Weaknesses

By changing the way in which you think your craft can improve drastically.  You will have the openness to work on a new skill set for your voice over career.  You can take your new way of thinking and expand your genre, your worklist.

Identify your weakness and then create habits that will improve it and help you tackle it.  For example, if you want to establish yourself as an audiobook narrator but have not worked in that area,  start by creating good habits for research, finding your niche, and before you know it, your weakness will be a strength.

Challenges are New Opportunities

Taking on challenges is part of development.  It can be overwhelming but the more you challenge yourself and hone in on your craft, the more success you will gain.  Venturing off the usual path will take your voice over career to a new level. You can work from your "root" voice and branch out from there.

Focus on the Process

As a voice-over actor you already understand focusing on the process.  You've focused on the process to become a professional in the industry.  It is important to learn the process and focus less on the results.  You will get more out of the experience when you are in it. The results will come.

Set A New Goal Each Time You Accomplish One

You will never be completely finished with learning.  There is always another goal to reach or more expanding to be done.  Set goals for learning more in the voice-over industry, marketing yourself, gaining new clients, creating new character voices or just stretching the parameters within your root tone. With each goal a milestone will be reached and more clients and business and satisfaction for you.

Growth Mindset Will Get You More Work

Mind over matter is an old saying; however, it is true.  A growth mindset will help you take your aim of success and lead you to develop it.  When auditions you send get no responses, seek advice from voice over pros or additional training to improve a weakness. At the same time, realize those circumstances regarding auditions that you cannot change. 

Over time, your career will have successes and failures, but each negative is an area to work on to turn it into a positive. You have the talent as a voice-over actor, with a positive mindset and working through the steps, you will make your career soar.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Vocal Exercises and Stretching for Voice Over Actors on the Job




As Voice Over Actors, you want to warm up your voice before recording sessions to get the best sound. A regular workout for facial muscles, lips, mouth and tongue is a good way to maintain articulation, breathing, and posture. You want your voice to be loud, resonant and clear.

However, keeping your muscles limber and tone clear is important as your voice is your instrument. These are some great stretches from voice to toes to keep you in the best working condition.

A quick five minutes will keep your voice in top-notch condition and another five minutes during a session will keep your body limber.


Vocal Warm-Ups
· Yawn-Sigh – This will help relax your voice and improve range. Simply yawn, taking in air with your mouth closed. Then exhale through your nose as if you are sighing.

· Lip Trills and Flutter – This will loosen facial muscles and get your vocal cords warmed up. Place lips loosely together and release air in a steady stream – “bbrrrrr”. Repeat.


Articulation Warm-Ups
Articulation refers to the clarity and expressiveness with which you speak. Voice warm-ups will help you train your vocal chords.

Breathing exercises will help you improve your lung capacity and breath control. You want to breathe from your diaphragm.

· “Hum” – Inhale and begin to hum while slowly exhaling all of your air. Repeat five times.

· “Ha” – Stand and place hands on the abdomen. Breathe in and expand your stomach outward. Repeat “Ha” with each exhale, pushing in your abdomen with every syllable. Repeat.

· Tongue Twisters – Start slowly and build up speed. Repeat. Examples of tongue twisters are: High roller, low roller, lower roller. Red leather, yellow leather. Peter Piper picked a pack of pickled peppers; If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?


Stretching the Body
Voice Over Actors immediately think of stretching and exercising vocal chords. However, long hours in a recording booth sitting or standing all day can have an adverse effect on your body.

· Stretch Your Shoulders – Doing shoulder shrugs can release tension and stress. Lift the shoulders up to the ears and hold for 1 to 2 seconds. Roll them back as you relax down.

· Stretch the Back of Your Neck – Drop your chin toward your chest and gently roll your head from one side to the other side.

· Spinal Twist – Sitting for long periods can leave it tight and achy. The spinal twist will work out the tension. From a seated position, feet flat on the floor, contract the abs and gently rotate the torso to twist. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

· Calf Stretching – Stand behind a chair, holding the back for support. Start with your feet flat on the floor, then raise your heels as you stand on your toes. Lower back down slowly. Repeat to complete a set of 10.

· Side Stretches – Loosen up your body and expanding your rib cage which will improve your vocals as well. Take a deep breath and raise your arms up to the sky. Exhale and slightly lean to the left, lengthening in your side body. Hold for a few seconds. Then switch to the other side.

Keep your vocal cords exercising and your body for long-term health benefits and a successful voice over career.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tips for Voice Over Talent Demo


Every voice over talent needs to have a demo.  Your demo reel needs to be your best work and best sample of what makes your voice unique. Your demo is your calling card. A well produced demo will showcase the styles of voice acting you can perform.  Whether you have one or you are looking to produce one, there are many considerations to make. 

When Is It Time for a New Demo Reel?

·        If your demo is more than three years old, it is time to think about an update.  Newer material is on-trend and prospects will be looking to see if you can do it.

·        Your agent or manager will want to make available to clients your latest demo.  They may just want you to add a new piece in with what they are currently promoting you with.  Keep in mind they use the demo to sell your talents.

·        When you feel like your demo is lacking something.  If you are not feeling as confident about your demo reel than it is time to produce a new one.

·        As you are evolving your craft as a voice over talent, your reel should reflect that change.  Maybe it is not the creation of a whole new reel. It could just be adding to your current reel.

·       Maybe Your brand is changing and you have started doing work in other areas and you want to add that to the reel and send it to people who have known you for years.  Or simply put it up on your website.
      Or your agent's website. It is a way to remind them you are out there and that they should consider you for other opportunities.

How Many Demos Do You Need?

A demo reflects your level of professionalism, your range, the value you offer to the client.  The uniqueness in you.

Your reel says who you are and what you are capable of doing.  You want to make sure that you are giving enough variety.  You want your range of abilities to be noted by a potential client, agency, or manager.

Online you can have samples so that all of your demos can be showcased, and the website will allow people to find exactly what they are looking for.  Create different demos for your different niches.

The basic three demos... Commercial, Narration and Character are still the best way to start.
These days I employ several demos on my website (www.ricklancestudio.com) that showcase my work in the various industries I work in. Such as Agriculture, Energy Production, Trucking, Health Care and Finance & Hometown Banking, etc. 

How Long Should the Voice Over Demo Be?

The length will depend on what type of work you are looking for.  The demo should have exceptional copy and production value. Commercial demos should be no longer than :90. Narration and Character or Animation demos can be a bit longer up to 2:00 or so.
· 
·        Audiobook and other long form narration should be about 5:00 minutes so that they can see your ability to stay in character for longer lengths of time.  Also, if there are multiple characters, they can hear the voice changes.  
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Calling Card

A demo is a voice over talent’s calling card. Kind of a business card and resume blended together.  It gives potential clients the opportunity to see if your work matches their brand and sound.  And make sure that however your demo is produced, that you are capable of reproducing the voice styles found on your demo for actual projects you are hired to work on. easing

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Utilizing Your Uniqueness for Radio Voice Work



When listening to the radio you should immediately be drawn to the radio voice.  They bring the information to you with an engaging tone. While many may think that this is just a loud voice, in fact, it requires a skill set that is best done by trained radio announcers. However, sometimes these days you may hear a voice actor instead. For a more natural sound. 

Radio Ads
There are 3 main types of radio advertising, live reads, sponsorships, or produced spots.  Live reads are where they are read in real-time either by the show host or announcer.  In radio, many stations sell sponsorships for the different segments and will be narrated before the segment begins.  Produced spots are your traditional commercials. Radio ads are anywhere from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. The most common is 30 or 60 seconds.  Radio ads tend to be read faster than TV ads and they are solely reliant on the voice.

The Role of the Voice Over Actor
Radio narration and commercials need trained voice over talent.  The voice is critical as it is the most important aspect of the advertisement.  A professional understands the natural ability to communicate.  The voice creates a picture in the listener’s mind, and it must catch and hold the attention of the listener. A voice over actor may also give it a twist that the writer did not imagine and yet improves the message. Many of these radio ads are produced by the radio stations themselves and not received from an outside source. However, the BIG ads you hear like... Coca Cola, Chevrolet or Rooms-To-Go for example are always produced by an outside source and are supplied to the radio stations for airing.

The Basic How To’s
When getting started, you need to learn how to use your voice to align with the advertiser or the station’s ambiance. Connect with the script in a convincing way. Be aware that it is easy to sound flat when reading from a script.  However, the flip side is using too much inflection, and it sounds sing-songy. Read it in a relaxed manner.  Don’t trail off leaving an idea or sentence unfinished.  As well as avoid dropping off.  You want to be constant and maintain a strong voice throughout the entire sentence. The trick is to not sound like you are giving a speech to a crowd. (That is best left to the radio announcer.) But to in fact, be personal.  A conversation naturally has peaks and valleys in inflection, speed, and emphasis. When reading a script act like you are talking to a friend. 

Your Uniqueness Will Work in Your Favor
Sound like you. Your uniqueness may get you the job. If you have an accent that may be your draw. 
Your accent and your style can define what type of industries will work with your style the best.  Find a radio format that highlights your voice and speaks to your interests.  
When you find one, it's easier to interpret that script.

Tips for Getting Radio Commercial Work
Direct market yourself to radio stations who you know produce their own spots. They will often hire out for radio voice over work and keep a roster of talent that they like to rely on.
The quality of the recording will make an impact, of course. You'll need to have a high quality home recording studio to produce the RAW VO to supply them with. They will then add all the bells-and-whistles and broadcast standard audio optimization that they need. One word of caution: This article does NOT address "radio imaging". Which is a whole other category of voiceover that requires the ability to create those high powered station promos you hear. Many of those today are also produced outside the station by freelancers with the talent and understanding of that style.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

4 Essential Tips to Winning a Voice Over Job



There are many factors that will help you win a voice over job on top of having the talent.  These top 4 will ensure that you have more jobs coming in and that you are as busy as you would like to be.

The Read
The most important part is your performance.  While the client may have an idea of what they want and if you give them that, then chances are you will get the job.  However, if you are not aware of what they are looking for, and this happens a lot, then take cues from the script.
What is the tone of the script?  Can you give real emotions from what you are reading?  The more you can reinforce the message of the script with your unique voice talents, the greater the chance that you will win them over. Another trick is to read the script as the consumer... a good POV.  This will let you hear it the way it is intended to be heard.  Your interpretation and read will be how the writer intended it. Be aware of the commas, the exclamation marks, and other grammar keys. And don't be afraid to put a few of your own natural pauses in there. I do this quite frequently to simply follow through on my own phrasing style. The copywriter may not have it written to be grammatically correct. But more to clue in the talent as to how to read it. As a side note, I learned in my acting classes, it's more important to "commit" to a basic feel of the script than it is to be right on with the script's intention. It shows professionalism and dedication to the subject matter. If it is not exactly what the copywriter or director intended they will correct you based on the fact that they feel you are the right fit for the script... with proper guidance.

Audio Quality
The second most significant part of winning a voiceover job is the audio quality of your demo.  The quality of the audio that you produce will sway the client.  Better quality audio will give them security that you can produce the same on a final product.  If it is a poor-quality sounding audition, then they will most likely pass.  No matter how perfect your read is. Remember, your "audio" is being auditioned as well. A high quality studio or equipment is a factor in getting more voice over jobs.  Your equipment needs to produce what I call "broadcast quality standard." The room that you record in must have a good "room sound" to it. Not too dead and not too live. The room needs to be soundproofed.  A pop filter and mic placement are also a key factor in making sure that the audio is up to par for landing voice over jobs.  If you set the studio up with this in mind, then your audition demos will sound high-quality. 

Be Specific
Letting the client know about the services that you are able to offer them as a voice over talent.
Do you have a quick turnaround on projects? Are you good at editing?  Can you add music or effects to the project? When adding these services, be sure that you are sufficiently skilled to do so.  While this does not make up for a good read and quality, it will help if you are in the running.  The proposal can differentiate you from the competition.

Quote
The quote is a part of the process that many people are not be confident in.  Find out if there is a budget range for the voice over talent.  Think about the time and work that you will put into the project. Consider how it will be used and get as much info about this as possible from the client. 
Then quote a price that is fair to you and hopefully in the range. If they had no clear budget in mind then you just helped create one for them. And you hopefully have helped to uphold the high standard and fair rates of the voiceover industry.

Don’t let the quote stress you out.  When you quote a price that is within the budget range then you should not have any problems.  If you determine that their budget range is simply too low for you to work with, then let them know and stick with your quote. Don't become intimidated. Simply elaborate on how you arrived at the figure and show them you're worth your quote. Personally, I will NEVER allow myself to compete with another talent based on price alone. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The 5 Ways You Should Market Yourself as a Voice Over Talent



Part of being a voice over talent is being a self-marketer and promoter.  If you are looking to create job opportunities for yourself then there are definite groups of people that you need to create relationships with in order to get more gigs.

Casting Director/Agent
A casting director or agent is the one that facilitates the casting of actors for all the roles in a project.  They will be the one to conduct the auditions and know exactly what the director and producer want.  If they are working with a high-volume company, they also may have a roster of voice over talent. So, when a project comes up, they know exactly who to call.  Having a relationship with a casting director or agent is a great start.  It's one way to have more opportunities presented to you.

Creative Director
A creative director is what a company may have if there isn’t a casting director or agent working on projects. You can find creative directors on LinkedIn and other social media to connect with. Send an email introduction to them.  They are a good contact to market yourself to as they will place actors and talent on projects.

Advertising Agencies
Advertising agencies produce projects that need voice over talent.  They may have a roster of voice over talents that they work with regularly.  However, building a relationship and impressing them with your talent may get you to be on the list.
It is best to start locally and work your way broader.  Be sure to have some demos of high-quality value and showcase what you can do.  They may do radio, video, explainer videos and audiobooks so if you have examples in several categories, have them ready.

Voice Over Marketplace
There are many voice over marketplaces online that will connect voice over talent with companies and brands.  On many marketplace sites, you can create a profile and upload demos.  Individuals can find you and there is a way to find jobs on the sites and bid on them.

Create a Website
A great website is an absolute MUST! It is a way to promote yourself, have demos on the site, and create a domain name that features you and helps establish your VO brand. Make your website easy for potential clients to use.  Make sure your demos are right on your Landing Page. Remember, voice seekers may be whipping through many websites at once and want to hear your demos as quickly as possible. Make it easy for them! Also, be mindful that people may be looking at it on a mobile device.  You want it to be usable on a computer and on a smartphone.  The last website tip is to have a call to action on every page.  A way for your potential clients to contact you.

Voice Over Talent Career
Having an account on Upwork or Freelancer, Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX) is a start.  You can bid on jobs that are out there. But be careful and don't sell yourself short by accepting "cheap" VO jobs! Don't forget that some of it is about reaching out promoting you and your work with individuals and corporations directly via email, snail mail and phone calls. It is best when reaching out to companies to find the person who oversees voice over talent.  Study their website for background information you can use to communicate knowledgeably with that person. When people have a connection with you, the more they are likely to feel confident about working with you.