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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Exploring Podcast Work as A Voice Over Actor

 


The podcast world is worth exploring as a voice-over actor.  Podcasts cover a wide range of topics and many have huge followings.  Not only are there many job opportunities in the podcast world, but you may also decide to have your podcast to talk about a topic and let your voice be heard regularly.

Take Time to Engage

Take the time to listen to podcasts.  Listening will give you some ideas about how to start a podcast as well as the other jobs that podcasts bring.  Just like working on your voice over craft, it is important to do some research on the job opportunities so that you are prepared for auditioning and know what to focus on.

It also will give you some ideas and styles that you may want to adapt to your own podcast.  Are you teaching?  Or perhaps doing interviews with those in the industry?  Or maybe a storytime podcast reading for kids and showing off your character voices and skills.

Podcast Job Opportunities

Podcast voices connect directly with a listening audience.  It is what voice over actors have refined and built a career around.  So, it is only natural that a podcaster wants a professional to help them get the audience engaged.

Specifically, podcasts will hire a voice-over actor for the intro and outro.  The podcast intro is the show’s opening that introduces the show and the host.  It sets the mood and tone of the entire show.  Which is why many podcasters will hire a voice-over actor.  It adds a layer of professionalism and sophistication.

The podcast outro is the closing that ties the podcast all together and leaves the audience with a tag line.  In many outro’s there is a call to action asking them to listen or share the podcast with friends.  Again, having a voice-over actor makes the podcast sound like it is a full production instead of maybe someone in their bedroom chatting into a mic.

Use a Podcast for Your Brand

As a voice-over actor, you may already have a great recording set up at your home, so you already have that going for you as well as the knowledge of editing audio files.  You have the experience and a podcast is a perfect way to talk and share your voice.

Find Your Niche

Finding your niche n the podcast world is much like finding your vocal style.  Know exactly what your topic will entail having an interesting and engaging podcast series.  If your voice has range think of how to incorporate that into your podcast to market yourself and your diversity.

Many Voice Over Actors Are Podcasters

Many voice over actors are delving into the podcast world both as voices for others but also as having their podcast.  It can be used as a calling card and put into a demo reel.  Voice over actors understand that by using their voices they can make a subject interesting and fascinating which is why they are highly desired and what makes their podcasts interesting.  Whether you are looking for another work avenue or a creative project, podcasting has a lot of opportunities available.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Home Studio Equipment a Voice Over Talent Must Have

 


No matter how good your voice is, the script, the nest editing, there is one more ingredient to having the best voice-over clip, good equipment.  The quality of your recordings will separate you from the rest.  While prior to recent years options of going into studios were readily available, now your home studio needs to be fully equipped.

Here is a guide to help you get your home studio set up.

High-Quality Microphone and Accessories

A high-quality microphone is the first place to start when setting up your studio.  Investing in a quality mic is one investment that you will not regret.

Microphone stand, shock mount, and pop filter can enhance the sound quality.  No matter how good your mic is outside noises can easily ruin your recording. 

The microphone stand will keep the mic steady and free your hands up, no matter how you attach it, keep in mind that movement of the stand will cause vibration.  So, placement is important.  A shock mount will support the mic and help with vibrations and handling.

A pop screen will reduce and eliminate the popping sounds in vocal recordings.

Condensor microphones, most often used by the pros, require 48 volt "phantom power" from a PreAmplifier. There are many outhere to choose from. In many cases, the preamp is part of the computer interface you will need to connect to your computer with. See DAW below, as well.

Studio Headphones versus Standard Headphones

Studio headphones are a necessity.  They give a more realistic... "flat" sound your audio, versus standard headphones that tend to automatically modify the audio.  As a voice-over talent, you need to know how your voice truly sounds.  They also can detect background noises, unwanted clicks, pops allowing you to remove them later or record over.

Studio headphones are also made to be more durable, longer-lasting, and more comfortable than standard headphones. 

Digital Audio Software (DAW)

Recording and editing software is a must, along with a fast, quiet computer will improve your quality and productivity.  It is worth looking into the different types of software, the computer requirements to run them, and what is going to be easiest for you to use.

Mixer Options

This is one that is a preference of some voice-over talent prefer a hardware mixer, while others want a DAW or program that has the audio mixing capabilities mixed in. 

Mixers are meant for multi-source, live production, so live broadcasts or webcasts definitely need the options.  Mixers tend to add an analog step to your audio chain, which is not necessary or always a good thing.  However, your decision will be based on the type of work you are doing or planning to do in the future.

Remote Recording Platform

When working from home you need to have an Integrated Services Digital System (ISDN) that enables recording studios to connect with clients and other studios. However, conventional ISDN is no longer as popular, nor as easily available as it once was. Today there are more options for sending/receiving HIGH quality digital audio. There are several other platforms that offer remote recording sessions for recording studios and voice over talent.  These options include Source Connect, ipDTL, and others.  Not to be confused with platforms that allow audio/video transfer in LOW quality. Such as Zoom, Skype, Facetime and others. You will need to look at the pros and cons of each to find the best one for your skillset and needs. Just make sure you understand limitations of each. 

Studio Set-Up

Where you set up your studio is a big consideration especially since you need to keep external noises out, a dog barking, doorbell ringing, etc.  Professional audio quality really begins with the quality of the room you are recording in. It should be as "quiet" and as well insulated from exterior noise as you can make it. While you can edit out some noises it is not always possible to do that. Even the best editing software and operator can't make up for a "high" noise floor level... or noise tolerance level. Which should be kept as low as possible.

Things that you need to think of when choosing the room are HVAC systems, water pipes, buzzing lights and outdoor noises.  There are many acoustic treatments for walls and ceilings available for "deadening" the sound within a room. If you build your studio with these considerations and equipment you will be set to produce high-quality recordings at home.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Cartoon and Animation as a Voice Actor

 




Do you find yourself intrigued and creating a variety of voices in your head that would be perfect for animation? If you are still enjoying cartoons as an adult then maybe being an animation voice actor is the niche for you.

Types of Cartoon and Animation Voice Over Jobs

Gone are the days where the only cartoon voice over jobs are with big animation studios. Yes, there are still those opportunities, however, there are many more jobs within this niche.

TV cartoons, character commercials, video games, toys, direct to DVD, plus companies are using cartoons in their business videos. All of these jobs are leaning towards the voice actor to fulfill their needs.

Specific Skills to Focus On

While creating a voice for the character is important, there are other skills that work into cartoon voice acting. If you can master these skills, then you are on your way to being a successful animation voice actor career.

  • A long-form narration that hones the skill of stamina reading and clean character splits.
  • Commercial reads that focus on the art of the sale.
  • Animation projects that prepare for the development of special character work.
Creativity

With cartoon and animation voice acting it requires a great voice and creativity. A creative mind allows you to find the voice that perfectly suits the scripted character. Successful animation voice actors will work through hundreds of different voices until they settle on one.

Questions that Can Help You create the Character

Put yourself into the character and then ask yourself these questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Where am I?
  • When is it?
  • What do I want?
  • Where have I come from?

These questions will help you determine lots of key features about the character, including accents, pitch, tone, age, gender and more.

Practice and Study

Practice with sample scripts and work with a coach that specializes in cartoon and animation. Another way to be successful is by studying. Study those voice actors that are successful in cartoon voice overs. Researching and studying will give you ideas on the best way to practice and the skills to work on.

Versatility and Consistency

Versatility will enable you to adjust to different styles. With this skill, one can perform voice overs for a wide variety of styles within the cartoon realm. Even after being hired to feature in a single-role.

Consistency is also another key factor. A voice actor needs to be able to offer the same kind of sound throughout a performance involving the same character. Not only in the voice, but the characters laugh, crying and other reaction noises.

Take Every Opportunity

Cartoon and Animation voice over jobs are only expanding and growing as technology advances. So, start working on your craft and skills. It may also prove to be useful to take any cartoon voice actor job as it will build your resume and your demo reel. Furthermore, you will be networking with other professionals in the field who in the future might land you a bigger job. Every opportunity is a way to showcase your talent as you never know where your next opportunity will lie.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Tips on Creating Great Voiceover Demos

 




Your demo is your calling card. It showcases your voiceover work and what you are capable of doing. A voiceover demo is your pre-audition to an audition.

Many questions that I get asked are: How do I keep my demos current along the way to represent my new work and my expanded talents? How do I build a demo that represents me and will book me the most jobs?

Creating demos is an ongoing process, it is something that will need to be updated and kept current as you work on new jobs and projects. Here is some advice on creating a solid voiceover demo, or a set of demos to land jobs.

The Truth About Demos

Demos can be passed on in the first 15 seconds of listening because of simple mistakes. It is important to put the time in to ensure that your demo has the best quality and that you are showcasing the best of your work.

You want your demos to be fresh, contemporary, and relatable to the listener. A demo needs to reflect your skill and range. Consider replacing spots that are old, dated, and don’t sound like you anymore. You want to sound like the person showing up for the job.

Skip the intro music that will not get you the job. They want to hear your voice immediately when they listen.

A commercial demo is historically the type that agents expect above all others, so if you only make one demo this is the one to focus on. A commercial demo you can showcase multiple aspects of your talent.

The Length of a Voiceover Demo

Your voice over demo can range between 30 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on the type of demo. However, the ideal length for a demo that features multiple spots is 60 to 90 seconds, so that the listener gets a good sense of what you can do.

Different genres require different lengths of time, as do different markets.

A commercial demo that showcases your skills performing radio, TV and Web commercials should last around one minute. While an audiobook demo will be longer 4 to 5 minutes, so demonstrate your ability to stay in character for extended passages in a story, or to perform different voices from different characters. Narration demos (other than audio book demos) can fall in between but not much longer than 
2:00 or so.

If you are uploading your demo to an online marketplace, you will want to keep it to a minute which will load fast and sound great to the listener.

Send the Correct Type of Demo

The industry standard is to streamline the genre of reads to target your listener. You want to send them the demo of the style you are trying to book. You are working with people who have a short attention span, so you want to make sure they hear what they need. You want your best work up front. If they like what they hear in the first 15 seconds they will keep listening, if they don’t then they move on. I even have demos aimed at specific industries that I regularly work for. Such as Agriculture, Finance and Health Care.

If you record your demo in a studio and have it sound perfect, be sure that the quality of the work later matches. Once you get hired, be sure that your actual work is as good as the demo, if not better.

Focus on Your Strengths

Knowing your strengths and the style of work that you are best suited for is going to get you more work. Don’t worry about typecasting. While showing range in a demo is great, you want to target the types of pieces that you are most likely to get called and booked for.

A quality demo will help you create a successful voiceover career. Having training and skills is the first step. The second step is a quality voiceover demo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Expand Your Voice Over Job Opportunities with Video Game Voice Acting

 




The demand for voice talent has not let up. In fact, there has been an upswing in both union and nonunion opportunities. While there are many types of voice over jobs that are available based on your skills, there is one very large area that you may want to consider.


One of the largest sectors of the voice over acting industry is video game voice overs. Video games are a huge aspect in our culture. There are 2 billion gamers and the industry value of the market is continuously growing and is expected to hit $180 billion in the next year, especially since the pandemic and more people are at home. The skills that are in video game voice acting are similar to other jobs, and they are in high demand.

Video Game Franchises

The most popular video games are their own franchises and have production budgets, crews, and global audiences. The developers are constantly in search of diverse and skilled voice over actors that can perform an assortment of roles. It is essential for the creators to find the best voice over talent to bring the characters and stories to life.

Voice Over Types in Games

There are two primary categories of video game voice overs; video game voice actors and video game narrators.

Video game voice actors are needed for role-playing games. These feature thousands of lines of dialogue that require dynamic deliveries. Many of the phrases and lines are recorded in a variety of tones and attitudes that matches the player’s experience. While it is the same phrase with the change in tone it takes on a new meaning. This is why having a trained voice over actor is so important. It makes the game content. In this context it is similar to audiobook narration and animated movies.

Video game narrators are a major role in the game. Narration takes place when instructing the player on how to play the game and inform gamers of their progress within the games. Narrators also connect crucial aspects of the game to the storyline such as new characters, antagonists, settings, and more.

Why Book These Jobs

The diverse content on video games allows for you to further develop your voice acting skills. You will be representing diverse characters with unique personalities. It gives you an experience that can further your voice over acting career in a variety of industries.

The video game industry is only growing, so the opportunities are there to book jobs.

Finding the Voice Over Jobs

Just like looking for other types of voice over jobs, finding gaming jobs is fairly easy. Online voice over marketplaces will have postings as the jobs are available.

The video game industry is looking for unique voices, and voice over actors understand this. They want voices to be distinct and recognizable for the branding of the game. The best way to do this is to prepare before the read or sending over the audio of your audition. While it may not be a genre of work that you have considered it can produce some new skills while utilizing skills that you already have and create a new stream of jobs for you to work on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

5 Ways to Improve as a Voice Over Talent

 





The goal of any voice over talent should be to continuously work on their craft. Some people are born with a magnificent voice, however, all voice over talent work hard to train their voice to sound better. There is always room to improve and learn so that you are booking the jobs that you really want to have a successful career. Let’s look at the 5 ways you can improve as a voice over talent.


Take Care of Your Voice


The first step in improving is to care for your voice. In order to have the best performance, you need to loosen up the cords and get yourself ready. Incorporate vocal warm-ups as part of your morning routine. With only 10-20 minutes you can wake up your range and be ready to perform. Warming up can also help minimize the occurrence of mistakes, mouth noise, and voice cracks.

Understand Your Voice


Voice acting is a skill. In the past, voiceovers were all about having that “announcer” style, a deep booming voice with a consistent tone and enunciation. That is not so common anymore, a wide variety of styles are now being used. Voice overs now seemed to be more relaxed and conversational in style and tone.

The one thing that has not changed is the importance of speaking clearly and with vocal presence. Be sure that for any style of work that you are performing to the best of your ability. Understanding your individual style and tone will help you decide the best type of jobs you are suited for.

Learn the Material

Some jobs are very specific, and others give room for flexibility. In either case, you should know the material extremely well. The better you know it, the better you can deliver it. Just like an actor who's been over and over his/her lines until they feel second nature.

Once you have read it a few times test out different styles when practicing. This is an excellent way to train your voice. By testing out other styles, you may find that certain words or phrases sound better in one of the reads. Ultimately, it gives you a better read and performance for the client. It also gives you the voice over talent, the opportunity to learn new voiceover tricks.

Equipment Other Than Your Voice

There is more to selling your voice as talent in this business, it is also about editing and technical skills as well. It is crucial to know how your equipment works and be comfortable using it, while investing in a few quality pieces. Star by investing in a quality microphone/preamp/interface and good audio software.

The basic skills that you should understand are how to record, mix, and edit your audio. This will set you apart from the competition, as many voice over actors focus on their voices, not all can put together their own audio. With the movement to working from home studios, now, having the skills to produce your own audio makes the turn around time faster. It also means that you can market yourself as being a one-stop shop.

Learn from Others

Finally, listen to other voices as much as possible. In addition to coaching, this is a skill that can help train your voice. Learn from successful voice over talent and from your competition. You can find out what it was that landed them the gigs that you would have liked for yourself. DO they emphasize certain parts of the script differently. What type of tone do they use? There are multiple places that you can do the research and learn from. Even the best voice over talent learns from coaches, colleagues, and others to improve and continue training in order to improve themselves and be better at their job.





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.