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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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Get Your Audiobook Narrated by a Professional Voice Talent



The audiobook industry has seen an explosion in sales over the past three years. While the audiobook is not a new format, they are the fastest growing format.

Listening to an audiobook while on a smartphone is popular and helped increase audiobook sales. With a fast-paced, busy life, audiobooks are a hot commodity. 

Benefits of Turning Your Book into An Audiobook

You can make more money as it allows you to tap into a profitable market. It also gives you a second stream of income by having more buying options to a large audience of potential readers.

Audiobooks are listened to while in the car, a plane, at the gym, multitasking at home, or even at work. Audiobooks give options to the reader.

While a printed book can sell out a digital audiobook never sells out, when your book becomes popular you never have to worry about stock.

Should You Hire A Voice Narrator?

Once you have decided to take your book and turn it into an audiobook, the next piece is should you hire a voice narrator? While you can do it yourself when it comes to an audiobook, there are many red flags against it.

Time and resources is a huge consideration. Do you have the time to invest in learning the voice over industry and then actually recording it? You need to have the equipment to record, edit and a location to do it.

A professional voice narrator will have the knowledge and resources to handle your audiobook. They will also be able to give you a timeline of how long it will take them to record your book. Having a working timeline gives you a realistic project end date.

Finding the Right Voice Narrator

Once you have decided on hiring a voice narrator, choosing the right person is the next step.

Be sure that they understand the proper pacing for your style narrative. Different scenes will require different reads based upon the content. Most importantly you do not want a voice narrator that reads too quickly.

The voice it the priority, be sure to pick a voice narrator that understands the art of character voices, or the subtle art of using tones to define the characters or the story so that the listener can flow along easily. 

Technology matters

The artist will know exactly how to record and what works best with their voice. The echo should be okay, the sound should be sharp, and when you listen to the recording, it needs to be clear and clean. 

An Ideal Talent Will Make You Feel Teleported

Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, the right voice narrator will have your audience feel like they are transported into the plot of the story. With the right voice narrator your audiobook sales will explode.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a Professional Voice Over Actor for Your Explainer Video



If you are thinking of creating an explainer video for your business, then a professional voiceover actor is critical. The video will make your company’s brand stand out from the crowd. These videos have proven to be a great jumpstart to a new business and a great boost to increase conversion rates with an established business or brand when produced correctly.

What is an Explainer Video?

An explainer video is a short marketing video that is placed on a company’s home page, landing page, or product page. Online videos are a huge asset for a business. An explainer video has personality and catches the attention of potential customers.

The typical styles of an explainer video are animated, live action, whiteboard, or kick starter. While the styles are different, the one thing that they all need is a professional voice over actor.

Here are the top 5 reasons why you need to hire a professional voice over actor for your brands marketing video.

They Offer Versatility

A professional voice over actor has the ability to deliver and meet the needs of your video.They will be able to look at the project and the brand and collaborate with you to achieve the perfect style for your video marketing. They will understand how to engage your potential clients and grab their attention.

They are Authentic
If a voice over actor has a large body of work and has been in the industry for a while, they will have the diverse work experience you need. They’ll have tried and tested methods and styles. Which means they will be able to work with you on your direction, and will be accurate and authentic.

Understanding Your Companies Needs and Audience

Your explainer video may cover different subjects, which means you need a voice over actor that can be flexible. They’ll understand the significance of video marketing and are will become a crucial part of your production team. A professional voice over actor has experience on tutorials, animation and live videos, educational, and corporate. So, whatever style your company needs, they understand and will tailor the character and personality to fit the content.

Of course, not all voice actors are created equal. You’ll need to listen to several samples of other work they’ve done. And perhaps ask them to record a short section of your video script to hear if they are compatible to your video message.

You want a voice that will grab your audience and be relatable. The right voice over actor brings all the pieces of the video together.

They Have a Recording Studio

Most professional voice over actors have high quality recording studios They use top quality equipment and some may add in effects and create a voice over and soundtrack that will suit your video’s needs. They are also proficient in technical skills as required to edit the recordings. Chances are they understand the dynamics of sound better than you do. A good voice over actor will add a third dimension to your video and personalize your brand. Their expertise will help create a more film-like feel, increasing plays, making your video more likely to succeed.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How to Become an Audiobook Narrator



Audiobooks are a growing industry within the publishing world. With on-the-go lifestyles,
reading a book is not always possible but on-the-go listening is. While audiobooks have been around for a long time mostly for educational uses, they are more popular now than ever. Writers and publishers want to get their books out especially on Amazon and iTunes and Audible which is another revenue area for voice over talent or narrators… also know as readers.

Audiobooks are an Added Avenue for Voice Over Work

For voice over actors doing an audiobook is often easy. Actors are trained to do characters, narration, understand tones and subtle voice changes. They understand how to make a book interesting to listen to and draw the audience in.

Finding Your Niche

As with any actor, you have a niche of work; the same applies to audiobooks. Fiction books are character-based so you have to be able to switch between characters. Non-Fiction might be more your speed, fewer characters, and the storytelling is more about vocal inflection. While doing both is a possibility, it depends on your skill set and range.

Where to Start

For a voice over actor audiobooks give another line of potential jobs. There are several places to get your foot in the door. Many voice over actors find that audiobook training with a coach is helpful.

Listen to audiobooks to learn what to do and what not to do. This is also a way of seeing what potential authors will like and not like. When narrating a book, you are painting a picture for the listener. A picture that is as close to what the author intends to be seen. Which is why narrating fiction can be harder for a non-actor. Non-Fiction content
can tend to be dry so making it enjoyable to listen to and interesting is essential.

Production of the Audiobook

Audiobooks do require editing. Depending on how you are hired they may expect you to do the editing, which can take additional time. There are freelance editors for hire that will edit as per your instructions fr very reasonable fees. This also gives you as narrator/reader the chance to “get out from under” your POV and get another’s.

If you are not experienced in editing, then start with smaller projects and work your way up to larger more extensive editing projects.

There are several freelance broker options for finding audiobooks, some are sites that have many job types listed and others like Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX) that is solely for audiobook work.

Fees

There are two main ways that a voice narrator gets paid for audiobook work. The two payment options are a flat rate per hour or royalties. Royalties are more commonly offered, as it reduces the authors’ upfront costs. Per hour, you will get paid after the completion of the book. Remember that a per hour rate is a more stable way of getting paid. Royalties do involve risk.

Royalties are paid out monthly on sales for the previous month. If you choose royalties, then research the author before reaching an agreement. Check for the author’s platform and decide if you want more projects with that author. If you are looking for a long-term relationship, then a royalty deal may mean more audiobook deals.

Places to Find Audiobook work

Connecting through a client or a broker in your network is one way to get an audiobook job.This will also allow you to set your rate and make the most money on a job.

Upwork, Freelancer, and Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX) are sites that have jobs and are based on bidding, so you will find that you are getting paid less per job. These sites have pros and cons. If you are newer to the industry or not working on a job, they give you a huge range of jobs and you can build your portfolio. However, the rates are not as favorable for you. And remember that you each time you accept a fee or terms you are also representing the industry as a talent. So, do be aware of accepting or requiring reasonable rates that uphold industry standards as a professional talent.

With the popularity and rise of audiobooks there is a clear area for jobs that a voice narrator is a perfect fit for. With some knowledge of editing and communication with the author about what they are looking for, and an interesting “easy to listen to” narration style, Audio Book narration can be work that you may have not have previously considered and can benefit from moving forward.