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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.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Are Your Demos Over Produced?






Before I explain the title of this article I should mention a few things first. Like many beginning voice talent back in in the early 1990s I did not have a lot of actual recorded work to create a good demo from. So I had to fake it a bit by recording sound clips from scripts I found or wrote myself. Back then, I was recorded on 2” analog tape. Which was then transferred to DAT tape from which I made my cassette tape copies. Whoopie! Pretty high tech stuff, huh? 
The recording quality, however, was excellent since I was being recorded by a good engineer in a famous Nashville studio known for it’s music production. But still, every cut on the demo sounded the same… too similar. So, it was really obvious that my demo did not consist of actual work but was all “fake” work, recorded at the same in the same place. Music and SFX were created by the engineer. I can spot this type of demo easily when I listen to some demos from newer talent. 

When faced with this dilemma I suggest you at least record your “clips” at different studios or with different mics to vary the sound a bit. Not that you are trying to fool anyone but that it shows that you are at least getting around doing voiceovers. This will also add interest and diversity to your demos. 

Just make sure that your demos are not overly “produced”.
Back when I made my first few demos, all the production work was BIG. But I believe that today a HUGE, over produced demo from a voice actor/voiceover talent is overkill. Most clients… film & commercial producers, TV/radio producers, video production companies, etc.
are more interested in hearing your VOICE and a good strong, authentic performance. Rather than an overblown demo, all recorded at the same time, same place. But you still must maintain a broadcast quality sound throughout your demo. 

Now, having said that… here’s the thing! When you have enough great material to put together a strong, interesting demo that is a good repeatable representation of your voice and what you can do with it, then by all means make your demo by combining those clips. Now, what’s pretty slick is… those clips you have from actual work have already been fully produced. So, you simply have to put the clips together in an interesting, clever, professional way to create an effective demo. Since your voice is often EQed/processed and/or mixed differently by different producers, you will have a diverse sounding demo that showcases you as an obviously working talent. 

These days I produce my own demos. Many of which are geared toward the various industries that I tend to work in. Such as with my Agriculture Demo, Health Care Demo, Financial Demo, etc. Maybe the word “produce” is a bit of a stretch since I’m using clips from the work I’ve done (already fully produced), tweaking the levels or EQ a bit maybe and overlapping/quick-fading each clip to create a 1:00-1:30 demo. 

Now, I don’t always recommend that talent create their own demos. Especially if they are a newbie and are still learning their editing equipment. And some talent just don’t have the “ear” for that. 

When I create my own demos, I have to “sit” on them for a while. Getting opinions and simply coming back on different days with fresh ears to review what I’ve done to make sure I’ve put together a dynamic, effective demo. This can be a tedious process but is well worth the result. I’ve found that my self-made demos work quite well helping to secure new work.

There is much more to consider on this topic… much more to talk about regarding the creation of VO talent demos. I’ll have to cover that in future articles. 

So.. go out there and make some great demos!

*If you'd like, check out some of my DYI demos at www.ricklancesudio.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

TOP 10 FACTS ABOUT VOICEOVER:



Voiceover is not just the narrated sound behind your video but a connection that audience feels. The voiceover actors are not restricted to a particular region, but they are providing their services around the world from the comfort of their homes. It is definitely the new trend in Nashville, Tennessee and the rest of the world which has caught everyone’s attention. Read on to know everything about this new trend.

1.      TRAINING IS REQUIRED:
A lot of people believe that voiceover talent is natural and no training is needed. However, it is not completely true. Voiceover artists may have some skills naturally but still they need training to enhance and polish their skills to make their art professional.

2.      ONLY GOOD VOICE IS NOT Enough:
For voiceover, you definitely need great vocals but voice is not the only thing required. You also need to have the accent, skills and the kind of energy, the medium requires.

3.      COPYING OTHER VOICES IS NOT WRONG:
Copying voices of other voiceover artists is very common among voiceover actors and it is not considered as imitation. It helps you with learning and constructive self-criticism.

4.      THE MONEY DOES NOT COME ROLLING:
A lot of people who start their career as voiceover actors assume that once they get trained, they can make easy money. This is true only in a fantasy world. In the real world, you have to get and pass the auditions and still work out of the box to gain a significant position.

5.      CONNECTING WITH AGENCIES CAN BE BENEFICIAL:
Voiceover agencies services might be underrated but they play a key role in the career of voiceover actors. These agencies work as a catalyst in getting the job, they can put your ad on the casting list for voiceover actors and get you your desired roles.

6.      EXPERIENCE AND PROFESIONALISM WINS:
The voiceover talent is professional and experienced because they understand the medium and the objective the brand requires for the voice. The voiceover actors are versatile and can be cast for several diverse roles. 

7.      80/20 RULE:
A fact about voiceover acting industry a lot of people may not be aware of is that only 20% of voiceover actors are hired and they make 80% of the money.

8.      EQUIPMENT:
The voiceover actors possess some basic equipment required to record their voices. The equipment includes a quiet place, recorder, microphone, and an editing software.

9.      MOST OF THE VOICEOVER ARTISTS ARE HOME BASED:
Since the voiceover artists have basic equipment at home, they prefer to work from their home premises. Voice actors are trained to work with diversity and for different regions. Therefore, they work with a lot of companies around the world.

10.  VOICEOVER ACTORS KEEP MOVING:
There are endless opportunities for voiceover actors around the world. That is why, they don’t always depend on just long term projects. They keep on looking for bigger and better opportunities.

These are some facts about voiceover jobs and actors. Although, being a voiceover actor is not as easy as it looks, but if you are good and honest with what you do, you can make a decent future out of it.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

How To Build A Budget Recording Studio For Voice Actor

A home recording studio is something most VO professionals need to have. A professional-grade studio setup might seem out of reach for most beginners in this field.

After all, quality audio equipment does not come cheap now, do they?
However, it costs are much cheaper than previous years.

But these days, even if you are a rookie Voice Actor on a tight budget, you too can set up a decent recording studio with minimal investment. Here is how it can be done.

The Lynchpin - A Decent Mic

At the heart of your home recording studio lies the mic. This is where you should spend most of your budget... starting with a top notch mic. In these days of podcasting frenzy, you can find tons of mic options in the budget and bargain basement segments online.

While some USB mics can be had for as low as $25, it is recommended that you aim much higher than that for a cleaner sound, more natural sound.

Ideally, you should be looking somewhere around the $200-$300.00 range for a decent recording mic. The keywords to look for are “cardioid condensor microphone.”

These microphones are ideal for voice recording as they have excellent noise canceling qualities. Audio Technica and Blue are two newer brands that have some strong contenders around this price bracket.

Essential Accessories - Pop Filters and Pre-Amps

Every aspiring voice actor should have a decent interface between their recording mic and the PC/mobile devices.

You can look for simple pre-amp interfaces that cost under $100. Although, the better pre-amp/interfaces will cost more. Look for devices that have a power rating that matches your mic specifications. If they can hook to both Android and iOS devices, that is another plus point.

If you are a beginner voice over talent, you will also need a pop filter to weed out the nasty “booms” that arise every time you utter a word involving a “B” or “P”.

These sounds create air bursts from your mouth, called “plosives” in professional VO circles. A good quality pop filter worth all of $10-$20.00 will put an end to your worries about unwanted booms in your recordings.  

Sound-Proofing Your Studio For Voice Acting

To produce the best quality audio, you need a sound-proofed recording space. This can be had by using some good quality acoustic foam. Numerous options are available in the market at various prices. For a small room, around $100 worth of foam might be enough.  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Three Insights You Learn When You Work On Audiobooks As An American Voice Actor

Professionals in the field of voice over recording often get to work on different types of material.

Some are as short as a few seconds worth of ad scripts, while other gigs can involve reading an entire book (even boring non-fiction works no less!). Working on audiobooks can be a mixed bag.

Some can deliver a very pleasing and fulfilling experience, while others yield nothing but a dull, endless grind. Here are some pieces of wisdom that experience in audiobook creation brings to one’s mind:

The Importance of Time Management For Voice Over Recording Nashville, TN

An American voice actor once noted, the longer the source material, the more crucial time management becomes for a professional. It doesn't matter whether you are dealing with a piece of fiction or non-fiction.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the number of pages and chapters you have to finish. You need to plan in advance to get the job done properly. Mad dashes towards the end of the deadline will not work here. That will suffer your performances.

The World Is Full Of Things You Had No Clue About

There are folks all over the place writing about the strangest, weirdest things possible under the sun! And as an American voice actor you often get to read in-depth about some of them.

Not only do you get to learn about new stuff, but you might also turn into a bit of an expert on some of them as well. The whole process of reading the text aloud and then listening to the recording gives you a chance to absorb all that stuff into your brain.

Editing is Important & Underrated

When you buy a poorly edited book, you don’t have any compulsion to finish it off. In fact, many books in the realm of non-fiction are never completed by their readers, which is often not the case in fiction.

But when you delve into the world of voice over recording , you have no choice but to complete the book to satisfy your paying clients.

In the course of your work, you will inevitably come across long, rambling tomes that feel as though they were never put through the wringer that is the editing process. Once that happens, you will truly start to appreciate the effort put in by editors out there in the world of publishing!