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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Tips for Booking E-Learning Voice Over Narrator Jobs



E-Learning is a fast and efficient way to teach courses online.  Businesses find that this is the best way to train employees and customers.  It is a huge market for voice-over narrators and can be consistent with regular work.  E-Learning also gives the opportunity for repeat voice over jobs.

What is E-Learning?

E-Learning is different from documentary narration or corporate video.  Unlike audiobook voice over jobs, E-Learning places a greater emphasis on the voice engaging the audience without being able to use character voices.  The voice-over narrator has to keep interested over a long period of time.  It is all about using personality and clarity in the voice.

Different Types of E-Learning

There are four main categories that are commonly used in E-Learning, each one has its own style and its important to understand them when discussing the videos with the potential client.

  • Pure Video Narration
  • Click-through / text-based (similar to a PowerPoint presentation)
  • Interactive (includes additional media and interaction)
  • Simulations (highly interactive)

Tips for Researching and Preparing

Listen to E-learning demos from demo producers and other voice talent.

Check out the performance styles the client has used in the past when possible.  It will give you a feel for what their preferences are. See how you can fit in.

Ideally, as a voice-over narrator, you have multiple styles that you can switch between for different jobs.  Moderately paced professional, more upbeat, quick-paced. Work on adjusting your pace and speed to what the client wants. 

Qualities that A Company Looks for in A Voice Over Narrator

In addition to liking your work or your personality, there are several factors that a company will use to make a final decision when hiring a voice-over narrator.

Voice Quality – The voice-over narration should be crisp, clear, and pleasant to listen to.  It is about the likeability of the voice.

Audio Quality – It is not easy to listen to the audio if it is full of white noise, pops, and other distractions.  Many E-Learning videos are listened to with headphones, so pristine audio quality is a necessity.

Fast Turnaround – These projects require lots of editing.  Which means the recording needs to be completed in a timely manner.  Whether you are only doing the voice-over narration or the voice and editing, it needs to be a fast turnaround.  Companies do not want to wait, be mindful of the timeline.

Audio Technical Specs – The audio file format can vary greatly.  As the voice-over narrator, you are the expert and should have the ability to recommend the best format and/or be able to set it up in the preference of the company.

Voice Over Acting is a Business

You need to think of your voice over acting as a business, not a job.  When you train your mindset to consider yourself a brand, and your voice-over narration as a service, it will help you book jobs.

Marketing is a huge part of making the connections to book the jobs. 

When looking on job boards you want to search for companies who are looking for someone who will hire, manage, and work with voice actors.  This is an indicator that they have projects in the works and will have opportunities for voice-over narrators.  Reach out to the company and ask if they happen to need voice actors.  Many times, you will find they are responsive and ready to discuss right away or put you on the list when the time comes to reach out.  You are then top of mind.


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Email Marketing Tips for Voice Over Actors



One of the challenges of voice over work is finding new customers and booking jobs.  Marketing is often one of the most intimidating and confusing parts of running your own business.  There are multiple ways that voice over actors find business, whether it is agents, referrals, websites, ads, and email marketing.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that promotes a product or service while developing a relationship with potential clients.  For voice over it is focused, targeted, personal outreach to potential clients who will hire you.

It is a long-term strategy that keeps you top of mind.  Keep in mind, it will not get you booked immediately.  The goal is for them to be interested to learn more about you by either listening to your demos or visiting your website.

Set up Your Strategy

First, take into account what your strengths are and what types of jobs you are best suited for.  Think about who your clients are, is its commercial work, corporate, radio, e-books, etc.

If you are a voice-over actor that works in several areas, you will need to create more than one template.  You want to have an email that speaks directly to the type of voice over actor their projects will require.  The content will vary as well as the links that you share showcasing your work.

Intriguing Subject Line and Personalize It

The subject line is the first thing that they see, and so you want to make sure that it is opened.  You want the reader to understand what the email is about and interested to read it.

The email needs to be personalized, it should have their name and other key points, their company, the type of work they hire for.  Doing the research and making it personalized will give you the edge.

Keep your message simple, informative, and short.  The worst thing is a long drawn out email.

Focus on Your Client

A strong email marketing campaign focuses on what they are looking for, what their needs are, and then how you can help them achieve that.

You want them to see you as the voice over actor expert.  Keep your tone friendly, casual, and professional.  Be sure the content of the email states clearly you are a voice-over actor and how you are ready to help them. What is the one unique thing that you alone can bring to their projects.

Call to Action

You need to give them something to do, also known as a call to action.  If you end it with something like “hope to work with you in the future”, it doesn’t make them reach out or contact you.  You want them to reply to discuss with you opportunities or go to a demo reel, so they can hear your work.  It is far better to have a link so they can hear your voice versus describing your sound.

Stay Connected with Previous Clients

Email marketing is a great way to stay connected with previous clients.  This way they don’t forget about you.  Have you added a new voice over skill set, increased your level of production work or added editing options, anything that will make working with you a better solution... a better value to them.

 


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Auditioning Tips from A Seasoned Voice Over Actor



Voice over work has tons of opportunities based on your style and expertise.  However, when it comes to auditioning, it can be overwhelming.

Unlike other acting professions, it is just your voice being reviewed and how you choose to read the piece makes all the difference between being hired or being passed over.  There are things that you can do to prepare before you arrive at or digitally submit the audition that will improve your chances of being hired.

The List of Jobs

Choose jobs that best showcase your style, your tone, and your training.  While it is good to add to your list of possibilities, some voice-over actor jobs may not be the best fit.  If you like nonfiction audiobook reads, then look for more of those types of jobs to gain employment, and then look for other jobs to try out to expand your resume.

Review the Script

Read and study the script multiple times to get familiar with the words, the pronunciation, and any group of words that may get your tongue-tied.  When it comes to specifics make sure that you are saying the names of cities, places, etc. the correct way.  The best impression is getting it correct at the voice-over audition without a correction.  It will show that you did your homework and took it seriously.

Take Notice of the Clues

In a script, there are hints about the character, product, or piece.  When you are representing a character, you will see the style that they speak, the tone, or the emotions.  When the script is about a product, it is about making that product stand out, a must-have.  However, it must not be overly salesy, or you will not book the job.  Scripts have details in the text and subtext that a seasoned voice-over actor will look for and so should you.

Keep in mind that you have your voice style and that within the guidelines and clues you are giving them your unique voice.  It is always a blend of giving them what they want and giving them a fresh way of hearing it with your sound.


The Delivery

Many times, the client will have a very specific idea about what they want to hear at the audition.  Practice the delivery using their notes.  You can also have some alternative versions of your own for the audition.  However, they may never hear these based on the notes they give or details that you get when meeting them.  Be flexible.

Take A Deep Breath

Nerves can make a skilled voice crack under pressure.  Before you read take a deep breath and it will bring a calmness and readiness to your performance.

Above All Take Direction

There many times that you have given an excellent read and they will give you feedback. Listen to the feedback from the client and agent, take it in, and then give it to them.  Feedback and notes are not a bad sign.  They have some guidelines for specifics that they want.  If you can take the feedback and re-do the read with it, you have a stronger chance of getting the job.  It also shows that you can take direction and make it work.  A voice-over actor that is easy to work with and will give the best work.

Don’t Let a No Get You Down

Voice-over acting is a tough field, especially when you are starting out.  There are many jobs out there that will be perfect for your voice and style.  Take notes and always work on honing your skills and finding good matches for what you bring to the voice-over acting industry.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Finding Your Unique Signature Voice to Define Your Voice Over Niche



When you are in the voice over business it is a common question that is asked of you or you may be asking yourself, “What is my signature sound”?

Finding your niche

Just like an actor who you notice is always in comedies, or action movies, they know what genre they fit best in.  Finding your voice style, your genres where you can make your voice work best for you and in turn your clients.

If you are unsure about where to start, ask yourself some questions.  Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers, just your answers.

·         Age Range – When you read different characters what age range do they fit in?  Can you sound younger or older than your age?

·         Sex of the Characters – Can you do the voice of the opposite sex?  Or do you stick to male or female-only?

·         Traits – Does your voice have a serious tone?  Warm?  Cheerful?  Inviting?  Deep?  It's about pairing your voice to adjectives that best describe them.  Once you have a list of these adjectives, it is easy to translate them into characters and into genres.  If you have a serious voice, then non-fiction books, or PSA’s with a seriously important message will be perfect for you.

Do Your Personality and Signature Voice Match?

Your voice over work will often coincide with your interests and personality.  If your personality and signature voice matchup, it can be very easy to start working right away.  Whereas, some voice-over actors find that they are consistently hired for a niche, that is not what they are naturally drawn to.  One way to think of it is as your “alter ego” is your signature voice.  Incredibly famous singers often refer to their stage presences as an alter ego.

Multiple Avenues or A Specific Niche

Once you answer some of these questions, you may find that you can transform your voice into several different characters offering you a greater list of opportunities.  It is great if you are able to adapt to the job and gives you opportunity to work more.  However, narrowing down to a specific niche helps you create your brand and establish a well-known reputation.  A brand and reputation that will get you noticed and hired without auditioning if that is the style the client is looking for. Sometimes all you need to do is listen to your clients review of your work. What terminology do they use when they describe your work? What kind of work keeps repeating itself? It may be more obvious than it appears at first. When you hone in on that... make that your signature sound and work to further refine it. 

Your Signature Voice is Your Money Maker

Your signature voice is what gets people to hire you, it is your money maker.  It tends to be the vocal sound that you deliver on a narration; it is the one that comes most naturally to you.  It is the one that you should consider your go-to.  While you may have trained and mastered fun cartoon styles, but the voice that is the most natural is the one that is your signature and it is what you will be most hired for. 

Discover Your Particular Voice Over Qualities

Finding your signature voice and style may take a while.  Don’t worry, the most important thing is to discover your particular voice qualities and sound.  There are so many opportunities in the voice-over industry that you will be successful by using what you have. Once you've got a grip on those qualities, keep your focus on that sound and direct your marketing efforts in that direction.


Friday, May 15, 2020

Steps to Start a Voice Over Acting Career



Voice over talent brings a book to life, a guide through a learning module, a fun voice in a commercial, a GPS device, there are so many times a day you hear a VO talent.  If you are thinking about starting your voice over career here are some steps to get you down the career path.

Understanding Your Voice

When deciding to be a voice-over talent you need to have an idea of your voice and the ranges, and what skills you naturally have.  Giving you a good starting point on what you can leverage and what skills you need to work on.  Here are some things to consider.
  • Is your voice low pitched or high pitched?
  • Can you make your voice sound older or younger? This speaks to your vocal range.
  • What acting or musical skills do you have, dramatic voices, fun sing song, or types of narratives.
  • Can you take direction? Can you mimic the delivery of another actor?
  • Are you a good speaker?
  • Can you read out loud flawlessly? Can you read something the first time – a dry read and do it well?
  • Are you fluent in several languages?
What Voice Over Talent Category of Work?

There are several types of work categories for voice-over talent.  The three main categories are character, commercial, and narration.
  • Character VO – This includes live-action, animation, automated dialogue recording (ADR), and video games. This category requires acting skills, vocal versatility and stamina.
  • Commercial VO – This includes radio, television and online ads and promos, and marketing videos. Voice over talent needs to get a message across or compel the audience to buy a product. It requires adaptability as you may work with directors, reps, and clients on a project and receive lots of notes or direction during a live session.
  • Narration VO – This type of work has three subcategories. Educational narration, corporate, and narrative. Educational includes e-learning and audio guide, corporate narration contains training modules, corporate videos, and narrative involves documentaries, audiobooks, and audio description. The scripts for these projects may be long and being a good reader is going to make a huge difference.
Training for the Type of Work

If you have an idea of the category that most speaks to your natural talents and interests, then it is time to find the best training and coaching for you.

There are a variety of opportunities that are available schools, online lessons, coaches.  Some schools offer opportunities to acquire professional automation, demo reels to take with you, and job opportunities for graduates.   Do your due diligence when choosing the best opportunity.  Training is the most important to take your career to the next level.  Just be very particular about the on-line coaches you choose to work with. Go with only the most popular instructors out there. Many are simply trying to make a quick buck! Also, remember training and honing your craft is a never-ending process.

Industry Associations and the VoiceOver Community

Taking an active role in learning the industry will further your job possibilities.  Look at both associations and online communities to make connections, learn more and have access to resources.  There are a ton of online opportunities if you don’t live in a major city.  The tips and information is endless when you have connections. Join some professional groups and learn from your colleagues.

Friday, May 1, 2020

COVID-19 and the Voice Over Actor



The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way the world operates right now, and that is true in the voice over and acting industry as well.  While there are many changes to the way the industry is working, there are also many opportunities out there for a voice-over actor.

In-Home Recording Studio

While many have some type of studio set it up, it might be time to develop a more technically savvy set up so that you can offer more options.  If you don’t have a studio at home, it may be the time to start working on putting one together, even if it is just the basics.

For many that have or are creating a professional studio in-home that produces quality work, this may be the opening that you have been waiting to get into bigger markets.  It is the chance to get auditions and opportunities for more lucrative brands and campaigns.  With auditions being online or submitting virtually, the location is not a factor to hold you back. It's your opportunity to launch yourself... maybe even convince yourself... into the next level of professionalism in the VO business.
NOTE: Be sure your studio is getting hooked up with the necessary client connection tools such as ipDTL, Source Connect, Skype, Zoom and digital phone patch. 

Training

Some agencies are offering a virtual booth platform.  This allows voice over actors to connect with agents, audio directors, and engineers to get feedback on projects.  This may be the time if you are looking for feedback to connect with your agent and see if this is a possibility.  Or perhaps find a mastermind or voice over talent teacher to work with virtually. I just began working with a well-known coach specializing in TV narration. 

Companies like Backstage are creating a new on-camera series called The Slate.  It is featuring insights and direct feedback from casting directors, trainers, agents, actors, and creators.  These interactive group classes will focus on a variety of industry processes and knowledge.

Job Opportunities

Voice over talent are still needed in different types of jobs than you may normally take on.
While retail advertising may be slowing down for a while, there are some other jobs that are picking up.

· Company Phone Messages regarding COVID-19

· Revised messages about changing schedules for hotels, showrooms, and other large venues.

· Advertising messages and PSAs including the newest "We're all in this together”campaigns.

· Science and medical voice-over regarding protecting oneself, hygiene, training modules.

· Life science companies promoting treatments and research

· Companies putting together more training videos and online learning resources.

· PSA work towards mitigating the effects of the virus.

. And manufacturing companies trying to get ready for an upcoming explosion of new products.

Audiobooks

The audiobook market has been huge over the last few years and with that voice-over job opportunities are flourishing.  Voice actors are a perfect fit as narrators. Authors realize that having a trained voice is the best option for them. The book needs to be read by an engaging professional, whether it is a non-fiction or fiction book. Many authors feel "left out" if they don't have an audio book version of their latest book.

Many authors who already have a book(s) out there are finding now that they have the time to turn it into an audiobook.  And now is the perfect time to take on an audiobook project as they do tend to be a longer narration jobs.

The Future

While the future is unclear on exactly what will stay the same and what will go back to the way it was.  The home studio will serve you whether it is for auditioning virtually or having the option to work from home when you can.

During this time, it could be a great season to take on some new projects, train on skills to perfect your craft, or update your older demos. There will always be opportunities out there for voice over actors. Just don't lose faith!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Create a Powerful Voice Over Talent Brand Online



Are you taking advantage of the online opportunities to get hired?  As a voice-over talent, it is critical that you are strategic.  You want to be sure that you are visible in searches and that once they find you, they can see your portfolio of audio/video work.  Here are some digital strategies to help increase your visibility and book more jobs.

Google My Business

Google is the largest search engine out there that reaches millions of people daily.  In 2019, it was estimated that 97% of searches online were to find a business.  Are you taking advantage of that?
Google my business is free and helps you appear on google search and maps.  It is the perfect way to get your information out there, whether you are a seasoned voice-over talent or new to the industry.  It makes it easier for customers to find you.  Google Business dramatically increases your search visibility.  For example, if someone types in “voice over talent in Nashville, Tennessee”, businesses matching that will pop up. Hey, including mine!

Not only does it help with customers finding you physically, but it improves your digital search visibility in Google.  When a prospective customer is looking for local businesses, they are ready to hire.

Google Business lets you post useful information and makes it easier for customers to leave reviews.  Add information like your name, what you do, location (if you don’t want your home studio to appear, a city is fine), phone number, website, and pictures.  You can capture their interest in your listing.

Social Media Presence

Be consistent with your brand and imagery.  Keep your content interesting, informative, and fun, followers want to be entertained.  Include your website information on your social media and cross-promote your social media channels with one another to increase your brand’s visibility. 
  • Instagram – Showcase your voice in videos, behind the scenes of a job you are working on or a training that you are doing. Think of Instagram as a portfolio of photos and videos of your studio, equipment, events, trainings, and clients.
  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn is mainly a professional networking platform. Your content should be focused on potential clients. It is the perfect place to link to your demos, your resume, and completed projects. Your aim should be showcasing your professional personality.
  • YouTube – Set up your YouTube channel to stream your demos and voiceover recordings.
No matter what social media channels you post on, you want to plan a schedule relatable content consistently. Consistency is major. Also, be aware of trending hashtags and ones that include your location. People follow hashtags and if you include one, they will find you easier.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You should already have a website, if not that is the first step.  Once your website is live, you will want to make sure that your voice over talent website appears in Google searches.  That is what SEO is all about! It's about making sure that your website has the correct keywords in the content.  For example, you can look at the common search result suggestion of people when they type in the word “voice acting”.  From there, you can study the pattern on what keywords are mostly used for researching voice over talent and be sure that your content has them built-in.  This way, Google will find your site and potential jobs will be for your consideration. These days Google search engines seem to be more sensitive to images and video as well as keywords and content.

Tracking Your Results

You can make use of google analytics to track the engagement of your website and your social media.  This way you can see what is working best for you and ways to improve your online presence.  Your efforts will help get your voiceover talent brand more visibility.  More visibility will give you more opportunities for potential jobs to come your way.