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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

4 Ways to Make Yourself a More Desirable Voiceover Artist

In any profession, the best way to ensure that you continue to advance is to improve your skill set, so that you become indispensable, and more desirable to those who hire- or manage you.  Voiceover is certainly not an exception.  There is much you can do to make yourself a more attractive candidate, and those efforts are entirely worthwhile.

Secure Some Work on Stage or on Camera Obviously, your intent, when advertising yourself as a voiceover artist, is to secure work that does not involve video or stage.  However, many of the casting directors today are seeking those voiceover talents that also have stage- or camera experience.  There is much to be gained by that sort of experience, and the casting directors know it. A big part of the job when reading a voiceover spot is the ability to ‘become the character’.  Also, in video game creation, for instance, some jobs may require that you physically act out the spot, so animators can use your movements to create a realistic character on screen. 

Invest in the Right Equipment at the Right Time Too many voiceover artists hesitate to invest in creating a worthwhile studio at the start.  It is important to understand that having a decent studio, and especially a high-quality microphone, can really impact the quality of your recordings – including the demos that you send out to the potential clients.  A nice studio set up will make life easier for you, but it will also help you turn out great material that will attract casting directors.

Practice at Home While acting classes are highly recommended, you can also get a lot of practice at home in your free moments.  Watch commercials, listen to advertisements, and even visit the audio book samples online. Or listen to other talents demos on their websites.  Determine what you like about them, and what you don’t like.  You can even create sample scripts from those that you favor most, and then attempt to create your own recording.  This is a great way to keep growing your skill set.

Show Up Early When it comes time to audition in person, be there at least ten minutes early.  In fact, most would say that it is helpful to be there 15-20 minutes early, because this provides time to get checked in, find the right location, and read through the provided copy a time or two.  That preparation time can really make all of the difference.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Three Tricks Kids Can Teach You for Better Voiceover Performances

Parents, teachers, and sitters spend a great deal of time teaching children new skills and preparing them for the life laid out before them.  However, kids can also teach us a great deal if you allow them to.  For instance, there are some skills that kids are notoriously better at than adults.  There are a few of those skills that would make a person a better voiceover artist.  Don’t believe it?  Consider the following:

1.    Make Your Own Hiding Spot Kids learn very early that there are certain things in life – physical possessions, emotions, and other treasures – that simply shouldn’t be shared.  Often those kids will create their own hiding place.  This could be a fort, under a bed, or in a tree.  As a voiceover artist, it is a good idea to have your own hiding spot, where you can go when you need the world to be silent.  The recording studio, of course, must be shut off to the other noises that regular surround you, but a hiding spot can also be a place you go to read through new scripts, to try new voices, and simply to destress after a hard day.

2.    Use Your Imagination Kids are wonderful at creating imaginary friends, developing entirely new games, and building worlds inside their heads.  There is much that you can learn from them in that regard, beginning with the imaginary friends.  It is much easier to read a script in a convincing manner if you imagine yourself speaking to another person or to an audience.  This is where a strong imagination can benefit you as a voiceover artist.

3.    Don’t Be Afraid to Play Most voiceover talents, due to human nature, will stick to one or two variations of their own voice when recording.  However, it isn’t a bad thing to play – just as the kids.  Instead of diving into the new project with the usual approach, schedule yourself a little extra time in the recording booth to try out a couple of new voices.  You may be surprised at what you can create when you allow yourself time to play.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Voiceover 101: Breathe Better

There are many tips to be found online that discuss various methods that can be utilized to help those with respiratory conditions breathe easier.  If you are a voiceover artist, however, you may find that reading through these hints and suggestions can actually help you avoid awkward loss of breath when recording.

Destress This is often the first piece of advice given to those who are struggling to control respiratory illness.  The same can be very effective if you are finding that you are having difficulty controlling your breathing while recording voiceover.  There are many ways that you can reduce the stress in your life, but let’s assume, in this instance, the anxiety is related to your job.  Very often voiceover artists have bad breathing habits when they are trying to rush through the recording.  You should allow yourself plenty of time in the studio to create a clean copy.  Trouble arises when you overbook yourself.  Take care to have a regularly updated calendar, so you can avoid this problem, and you can check off items as they are completed. 

Exercise Voiceover is more taxing than some would believe.  It requires a lot of lung power to read aloud for long periods of time.  You can improve your longevity in the recording studio by doing regular cardio activity.  Over time, cardio exercise increases lung capacity and helps you achieve better endurance.  All of that will extend into the recording booth.

Practice Even breathing can be improved with regular practice.  Over time, you will find it easier to do long recording sessions, simply because you are experienced.  However, you can help that process along by regularly doing breathing exercises.  There are videos online that can teach you proper ‘pursed lip’ and ‘diaphragmatic’ breathing exercises.

Decongest If you have a cold or allergies, you will find that it is more difficult to create clean, clear recordings.  Decongestants, antihistamines, hot tea, certain essential oils, and hot showers can help you break up that troubling congestion.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Six Things That Could Cost You Your Voiceover Career, Part 2

In the last post, we wrote a bit about two of the conditions that can wreak havoc on a person’s voice.  It was also clearly mentioned that such damage to the voice would cause serious harm to a voiceover actor’s career.  Those two are not the only conditions that can cause such problems for professional voice talents. 

Voice Strain It is a real thing.  If you have ever gone to a sport event, concert, dance club or other such venue and awaken the next morning to find your voice scratchy, then you already know it is.  Voice strain wouldn’t be a big problem for the average person, but when your job depends on your ability to speak clearly, voice strain can be downright terrifying.  That, of course, means that you must take proper care of your voice.  Sporting events can be fun without the screaming.  Clubs, bars, concerts, and other such entertainments can certainly be enjoyed, but you should definitely remain aware of how you are treating your voice.  In most cases, the symptoms of voice strain alleviate themselves within a few days, sometimes even within a few hours.  Some damage can be longer lasting, though, and may call for some medical treatment.

Vocal Chord Trauma While most cases of vocal strain will heal quickly, there are greater dangers associated with misuse of your voice.  Trying to give a presentation to a crowd without a microphone, for instance, would result in your speak at uncomfortable levels for a prolonged period of time.  In most cases, this might lead to a bit of soreness and a scratchy voice for the next day or two.  In worse situations, though, it could lead to vocal cord lesions or hemorrhage.  The non-cancerous growths known as lesions can actually result from vocal misuse.  Fortunately, these can be treated, but the healing process can certainly be longer than you’d like when you depend on your voice to earn a living.  Hemorrhaging can be even worse, and may also result from misuse of your voice.  The blood vessels of the vocal chords can actually rupture and fill the surrounding tissue with blood.  This is considered an emergency situation, will require medical intervention, and you will ultimately be commanded to rest your voice for a prolonged period of time.  That means no work.

Paralysis Surgery, illness, tumor growth, or several other problems can cause paralysis of the vocal chords.  In some cases, the cause isn’t ever determined.  This would be a devastating diagnosis for a voiceover artist because it can rob a person of his or her voice for a very long period of time.  In some cases, it is permanent.  Fortunately, it is very, very rare.

Cancer Obviously, this is the scariest diagnosis, but the medical community has made many strides.  The fight against cancer is getting stronger every day.  That said, any sign of throat cancer should be a reason to seek immediate medical care.  Chronic throat or ear pain, trouble swallowing, sudden vocal chances, or a lump in the neck or throat should all be considered very serious symptoms.  Caught in its early stages, this type of cancer is curable, and in many cases, the voice returns to normal after treatment.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Six Things That Could Cost You Your Voiceover Career, Part I

There are many aspects of the voiceover profession that many on the outside wouldn’t immediately recognize.  The job depends on your ability to self-promote, to manage time effectively, to network and work well with others, and more.  However, the one thing that even the outsiders understand is that without your voice, you wouldn’t have a job.  This is an undeniable truth in this industry, which is the very reason that voiceover artists do everything they can to protect their most valuable instruments.  Unfortunately, there are at least six things that could ultimately steal your voice, and possibly your paycheck.

Laryngitis For most people, this condition is acute.  That is to say that the loss of the voice is only temporary.  In that case, it would be a major nuisance, but not necessarily a threat to your job.  However, there is also something called chronic laryngitis, often caused by untreated (or uncontrolled) acid reflux or infection.  It can also be caused by smoking, which is just one more reason why voiceover actors should definitely not be smokers.  Chronic laryngitis can be very long lasting, something that a person could battle for weeks, months, or even years.  Treatments are aimed at alleviating the underlying cause, so healing times vary substantially.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease (LPRD) Though this condition can appear without any of the typical symptoms of acid reflux, in many cases, those diagnosed have already suffered from heartburn and other such complaints for quite some time.  This condition can cause the voice to become hoarse or raspy.  That and other symptoms can be very long lasting depending on the damage done by the stomach acid that was allowed to enter the esophagus.  Obviously, this should serve as a warning to ensure that you see a doctor about any acid reflux related symptoms you may suffer with.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Should You Take Your Work on Vacation

In the last blog post, it was highly recommended that you set aside time to take a vacation.  It was also highly recommended that you use this time to disconnect from technology, and from all those contacts that claim your time the rest of the year.  However, some of us are simply bad at taking holidays.  If that is you, or you simply can’t afford to completely disconnect, then you may consider taking your work with you.  At least that means that you go to the destination vacation with your family, without missing out on the potential to sign another job.

In order to do that, though, you will need to consider what it would take to create an audition tape from a resort (possibly hundreds or thousands of miles from home).  That said, you shouldn’t try to bring along every piece of recording equipment you own, particularly if you intend to fly. 

In most cases, you can get away with a decent microphone, your laptop, and the corresponding cords.  It is possible to get affordable, padded cases that will hold all of this equipment in a compact form that you will be able to carry on an airplane.  Do be prepared, however, for an extensive search by security. 

Although it is possible to bring your work with you, there are a few questions that you should be asking yourself before you do so:

#1. Is it absolutely essential that you take it along for the ride?  If you haven’t taken a family vacation or time off in a while, then perhaps your career would benefit more if you were simply to use the time to unwind.

#2. Can you afford to lose it?  Unfortunately, whenever you travel, there is the real risk that you won’t come back with everything you took with you.  Lost luggage, theft, hotel mishaps, and more could cost you some- or all of your equipment, which would be safer at home.  Even though we absolutely support time away from the recording studio, we do want to emphasize that you must be realistic about the risks you take when traveling with recording gear.

#3. How will you block out background noise?  What will be your method of soundproofing?  Can the hotel offer you and extra quiet location while you are away?  It may be necessary to record while hidden away under layers of blankets simply to negate some of the noise around you. The Konica Eyeball I've found is the best device yet for insulating the area around that mic from extraneous sound.

Should you bring your work along?  Yes.  If it means that you are able to sneak away with your family and enjoy a few hours of fun, you should.  However, if you can get away without it, then you should probably consider doing so.  After all, as we said in the last post, vacation time can be very beneficial to business professionals like you.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Voiceover 101: Importance of Taking an Annual Vacation

Working in voiceover can be a very rewarding career path.  Not only do you get to express your creativity when reading the various scripts for a large variety of different clients, but you can also make your own schedule and spend a lot of time in your home office.  For those who don’t love the idea of a standard 9-5 job, this is certainly an enticing profession.  However, it doesn’t come easily.  It does require a lot of hard work, networking, and patience with difficult clients.  It can also involve longer hours each day, because you never really leave the office and are likely tempted to answer emails, phone calls, and texts after the typical business hours.  In that way, it can be both rewarding and taxing.

This is exactly why it is highly recommended that you set aside time for yourself.  Whether that means traveling to an exotic island getaway for ten days, jumping on a ship bound for the coldest reaches of Alaska, or simply turning off electronics and enjoying a staycation, vacation time is important.  In fact, it has even been proven through extensive research that the upper echelon of management (i.e. CEOs) are actually more apt to receive raises, bonuses, and positive feedback if they take vacation time each year.  Why?

Vacations are a time to mentally and emotionally reboot.  There is a lot of stress that comes with holding down a job – whether it requires you to be in the boardroom or the recording studio.  That stress can really weigh a person down, making it more difficult to concentrate and make wise decisions.  Vacations wipe the slate clean, and provide you a fresh starting point when you return.
It's not just the break from the work stress, but also a bit of time away from technology.  Turning off the computer, phone, tablet, and other such devices can really be healing.  That is a large part of the reason why cruises and international trips can provide greater stress-relief.  The inability to stay in constant contact with everyone allows a person to unwind and enjoy the world around him or her.

So, take the vacation.  Not only will it provide you the chance to try something new; it may actually make you a better voiceover artist.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Give Your Voiceover Business a Boost

Building your business is very likely at the top of your list of objectives if you are a voiceover artist.  Working in this field very often requires an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a strong understanding of business.  If you have honed your voice, but you are still struggling to build a consistent business flow, you may want to consider the following tips.

Offer a Secondary Service One of the biggest pieces of advice offered by those who have been in the business to those who are new and struggling to find their footing is to offer a secondary service.  One of the most commonly mentioned is translation service.  You can’t speak another language?  It’s okay.  Find a company that does and contract their services.  Once the piece has been translated in writing, you can do the voiceover work as usual.  You can draw in more clientele, the translation company gets paid, and so do you.  Other services you might consider, depending on your strengths, are script editing, script writing, or you could even lease out your recording studio (if you have a nice one) at an hourly rate.

Consider Referrals If a voiceover job comes across your desk, but you know that you aren’t really the right fit for it, consider giving a referral.  This can be a very effective way to build connections and a sense of loyalty, if handled in the right manner.  Don’t refer to someone who would be seen as direct competition (i.e. someone with very similar vocal range and skillset) and do make direct contact with the other voiceover artist to let them know that you’ve made the referral and that he or she should expect a call or email.  This doesn’t guarantee that you will receive referrals in return, but it does increase the likelihood that you will.

Clean Up Your Own Work Additional services were mentioned above.  Post-production work wasn’t mentioned, but it is worth considering.  If you can hone your skills on the audio editing software, you can provide the post-production services that will increase your value in the eyes of potential clients.  You may be surprised to find that offering those services, even if they come at an added price, will lead to substantial increase in the number of voiceover jobs you secure.

Stalk the Successes Not literally.  You don't want to get arrested, after all.  However, there is nothing illegal about tracking the behaviors of competitors online.  Pick out proven successes in the voiceover world and watch what they are doing online.  You may find that mimicking their behaviors (to a reasonable degree) will result in a boost to your own business.  After all, they must be doing something right!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why You Should Consider Working with Others

Voiceover is an unusual career path, in that much of your time will be spent alone, especially if you do most of your recording in your home studio.  Even the hiring process can be done entirely via the internet, so you never actually meet the casting director or client in person.  For those who prefer to work alone, that can lead to a very comfortable routine.  However, there are good reasons to branch out and to consider the occasional collaboration.  If you haven’t yet considered it, you may want to look to join forces with another voiceover artist.  Working together can lead to great results.

Gain a Better Understanding of Your Own Objectives It is amazing how simply being forced to talk to someone else about your business plan can bring up points that you hadn’t really considered in depth before.  You will, undoubtedly, gain a better understanding of where you hope to be in the future and how you intend to reach those benchmarks, simply because you have to explain yourself to the person you may partner with.

Share Expenses There are expenses related to establishing an in-home studio.  Those costs rise substantially if you have to rent a space to do your recordings.  Sharing those expenses with another voiceover artist certainly makes sense.

Build Marketing Momentum You both have your own set of social accounts and your own websites.  If you work together, you can double your reach.  The added exposure is one of the most notable benefits of collaboration, and it can make an almost immediate impact.

Offer a Greater Range Some would be hesitant to partner with another voiceover artist, because ‘it’s like working with the competition’.  However, that doesn’t have to be the case.  Of course, if you choose to work with someone who shares similar vocal range and skillset, then it could be a conflict of interest.  But, if you work with someone who has a voice and talents that differ from your own, you can provide a greater range for potential clients by working together.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Voiceover 101: What You Should Know About Slating

If you are new to the voiceover industry, then there are undoubtedly many terms and phrases being thrown at you that are not at all familiar.  Some of those, you will learn as you go, and will be fine to do so.  However, ‘slate’ is a word that should be readily familiar to you from the start, as it is one of the most important ways to build your brand and increase recognition of your name.

Slate: The announcing of a name or assigned number at the start of a recording.  Often includes the name of the character being portrayed as well. 

The slate is helpful for the casting- or directing teams, as it helps them stay organized throughout the process, and ensures that they are crediting a work to the right actor or actress.   However, it can also be very beneficial for the voiceover talent.  This provides the perfect opportunity to put your name (your brand) in the mind of the casting director.  This also ensures that it is clear which part you are reading for or what type of reading you’re are performing.  Finally, it is a great way to ensure that a potential employer has a sample of your natural voice.

It's obvious that slating is good practice, so be sure that you are doing it correctly.  Here are a few things to consider:

Keep it Light This is just an introduction.  It shouldn’t be long, wordy, or stiff.  But, you should also sound professional.

Don’t Speak in Any Voice But Your Own The slate should absolutely be spoken in your own, natural voice.  This applies, regardless of what type of voiceover you will be performing in the recording.

Leave a Pause It is great that you can change your voice, tone, and pitch at a moment’s notice, but you should still leave enough of a pause for the person listening to process what you said.  Therefore, take a breath before you begin the actual take.

Practice There is nothing wrong with practicing slating.  It is important and the first thing the director will hear, so you want it to sound professional.  Give it a take or two (or more) before you do the actual recording.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Voiceover 101: Contending with the Misery of Seasonal Allergies

Read two lines.  Sneeze.  Read two lines.  Sneeze, Sneeze. Read two more lines…

Sound familiar?  The editing on this recording is going to be a nightmare, and you are undoubtedly cursing your family for passing on their seasonal allergy genes.  This is a tough time of year for many voice actors and actresses.  The sneezing, coughing, dry throat, and itchy eyes can make studio time more than a little frustrating.  Worse yet, for some, allergies also cause asthma symptoms, making it extremely difficult to read through a script without gasping for air. 

So, what do you do to put an end to the allergy symptoms?

There are plenty of over-the-counter medications that can be used to treat seasonal allergies.  Don’t be turned off if one of them doesn’t work for you.  The beauty of having several different options is that some may work better for you than others.  However, do read the box or bottle over thoroughly.  Some may cause drowsiness, which would be problematic in this line of work.  Also, in some areas of the country, the allergy medicines with decongestive properties are only found behind the pharmacy counter (for safety reasons).  However, those options can be best for reducing the nasal sound in your voice caused by allergies, so it might be worth asking.

If you simply can’t handle the antihistamines, then consider an anti-inflammatory medication.  You may be surprised to find just how much ibuprofen can help reduce your symptoms, because it will reduce swelling in your nasal passages and airways.  It can even help reduce discomfort in your eyes.

If you are looking for an all-natural solution, there are many recommendations to be found.  A teaspoon of local honey per day is said to stave off allergy symptoms.  Likewise, you can use peppermint oil in a diffuser if you want to naturally break up congestion.  Hot tea (particularly chamomile), lemon, and ginger are also said to help battle congestion and inflammation. And then there's Organic Throat Coat Tea. As a final tip, consider pampering yourself before entering the recording studio.  It has been found that facial- and hand massage can help reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.  Concentrate on the area over your sinus cavities, when massaging your face.  This can literally help break up congestion.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Importance of Confidence in a Voiceover Artist

In every profession, there is a need for confidence.  If you spend too much time doubting yourself, you will be more likely to make costly mistakes, and you run the risk of convincing others that you are not worthy of your position, your next scheduled raise, or consideration for promotion.  In this field, though, confidence is even more important.  A lack of it will be heard in your voiceover work, which can immediately turn off potential clients.  Walking into an audition overly nervous is very likely going to lead to a poor outcome.  And, if you lack confidence in yourself, you will miss valuable opportunities to go above and beyond for the clients who will serve as your leading source of recommendations. 

If you want to ensure repeat work with a client, or better yet, a referral to others looking for talent like yours, then you must showcase a supreme level of professionalism.  The ability to properly enunciate, to read with a larger-than-life personality, and to improvise as needed will be strongly rooted in your self-confidence.  If you don’t trust yourself, you will miss out on these opportunities to showcase your true strength as a voiceover artist.

So, how do you find your confidence, when it is lacking?  The greatest piece of advice that I was ever offered, in this regard, was to fake it until it feels real.  Here are a few ways that you can do just that.

Focus on Posture The taller and straighter you stand, the better you will feel, the better you will project, and the more confident you will appear to others.  If you don’t feel comfortable standing while recording voiceover work, then focus on sitting with better posture.

Pamper Yourself When you look good, you feel good.  This is a very true statement and something that most people have already experienced in their lives.  So, take the time to pamper yourself on a regular basis.  For some, this may mean a trip to the barber, the salon, or the spa.  For others, it could simply mean an investment in new additions to the wardrobe.  Although you don’t want to cause yourself financial hardship, it is important to spend a little bit on yourself, so you can feel your very best whenever entering a professional setting.

Follow Your Instincts When pre-reading a script, if you notice a section that simply does not sound natural, regardless how many different ways you attempt to read it, then suggest a minor edit, or just attempt to do that in your first reading. In most cases, this effort will be appreciated (or pleasantly unnoticed) by the client.  In those rare instances when a client is a stickler about wording, there is always the option to do a second reading or to dub it over later.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why Your Voiceover Career Will Involve a Lot of Writing

It is amazing how many new voiceover talents come and go from this industry, and the most common reason I hear for their decision not to continue with this line of work is because they did not realize that it would involve so much more than simply reading scripts.  Please, please, please, if you are considering a career in voiceover, understand that it requires far more than your ability to speak into a microphone.  You will have to run the actual business which means a lot of work related to accounting, marketing, and business development.  For instance, if you should start a voiceover business, you should plan to spend a lot of time with your keyboard.  Much of the content you create, you will find, will not involve any audio or video.

There are many reasons why written content can benefit your voiceover business, but for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll focus on marketing content.  For instance, a blog post.  While I do hope that this post benefits you and helps you as you build your own brand, there is another reason why I write these. 

Build a Reputation Online Blog posts, articles, newsletters and other such written content can help you establish yourself as a reliable source of information within the industry.  They can also showcase the level of knowledge that you have compiled as a result of experience as a voiceover artist.

Improve SEO This is yet another thing that you will have to consider as you build your voiceover business. You want people to be able to find your website when they are searching for voiceover artists.  That means that you need to appeal to the search engines that have the power to direct that traffic to your website.  Search engine optimization (SEO) is the way to do that and among the most powerful ways of improving SEO is to have a steady stream of worthwhile, fresh content on your website (i.e. blog posts).

Demonstrate Another Form of Communication While potential clients will undoubtedly be most concerned with your ability to speak fluently, comfortably, and naturally when recording, they will also be looking for evidence that you will be a reliable, professional person to work with. Written content, especially a blog that is regularly updated can demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively.  It can also showcase the level of dedication that you feel for your profession.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mastering Dialects to Make Yourself a More Attractive Voiceover Artist

If you have found that you are having trouble building up your voiceover business, despite many efforts to improve your marketing strategy, then you are likely considering what steps you could take to make yourself more attractive to potential employers.  For some, the decision is to attempt to learn a new language, but that is a very cumbersome and lengthy process.  Instead, you might consider mastering various dialects.  Particularly in recent years, there are many companies and artistic productions that want to hire voiceover artists from other countries, simply to take advantage of the accents in the region.  If they can get the same result without having to leave the country to find a talent, then they will happily do so.  So, become that talent.

If you haven’t learned a new dialect before, then you are undoubtedly overwhelmed at the idea of doing so now.  It is not easy to take on a convincing accent from a region that you have not resided in (or, in some cases, even ever visited).  You will have your work cut out for you.  The good news, however, is that you are not the first to attempt this task, so you will find many helpful references online.  YouTube for one source! There are a few general guidelines for those trying to learn a new dialect.

#1. It’s All About the Vowels In most cases, the biggest differences between your accent and that which you are attempting to master are the sounds of the vowels.  Consonant sounds are consistent throughout most dialects, but there can be quite substantial differences when it comes to the way that the vowels are pronounced.

#2. Research in the Right Places You might, if you are lucky, be able to pick up a bit of the accent by watching marathons of popular movies spoken in that dialect.  However, you aren’t going to master it in this fashion.  You will have to do your research in the right place.  Most importantly, choose video over audio, and select video that will allow you to closely watch the movements of the mouth and cheeks while the person speaks.  That brings me to #3.

#3. Watch While You Listen It isn’t enough, for most people to simply listen to the dialect being spoken.  There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but if you haven’t mastered a new dialect yet, chances are good that you are not among the exceptions to that rule.  So, choose that close-up video and really watch how the mouth, cheeks, teeth, and even the tongue moves as the person speaks.

#4. Practice Finally, once you have gotten grasp of the difference between your accent and that you are attempting to learn, set aside a good amount of time to practice your new learned skill.  Practice, particularly in this case, really does make perfect (or as close as one can get to perfect).  Only through practice, and repeated watching of the videos like that you studied, will you master the dialect well enough to market it to potential clients.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Choosing Your Own Audition Piece

In many cases, when it comes to voiceover work, you will be asked to read a sample of the script that will be used for the job you are auditioning for.  In some cases, it may be a cold read, but it is still pre-selected material that is handed to you.  There are some auditions, though, which will require you to bring your own material, and these can be wonderful opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.  There are many mistakes that a person can make when selecting audition material, however.  Before you go ahead and choose the piece you will read for the casting director, considering the following:

Mistake #1. Choosing something that fails to showcase what makes you unique. 

It is true of you, and it is true of every voiceover talent – within each of us, there is something that makes us different than everyone else in the business.  It is when you recognize that unique part of you that you can really make the most of the auditioning process. Take time to consider what makes you great and then select material that really highlights that.  It might be the ability to shift from one dialect to another seamlessly.  It may be the ability to really portray anguish.  Whatever it is, do your best to draw it out so the casting director has no choice but to fall for you.

Mistake #2. Opting for poorly written material.

Let’s assume that this would only happen because you found out about the audition last minute and in a panic grabbed at whatever material you happened to have lying around.  Because, otherwise, there simply isn’t any excuse.  Even this reason is weak at best.  You should have a good, well-written script always on hand in case such a situation arises.  Well-written material makes your job easier.

Mistake #3. Failing to research the potential client.

It still amazes me that people make this mistake, but they do.  If you walk into an audition completely blind to who you are reading for, how can you possibly showcase the aspects of your talent that will best suit the job?  You can’t.  So, don’t try it.  Take the time to do some research into the client and, if possible, into the type of work they are proposing.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Transition from Stage to Studio

In the last blog post, I wrote a bit about the major changes that one would have to contend with when trying to transition from stage acting to voiceover work.  With all of that said, however, there are a lot of advantages that come with having had acting experience.

Regardless of how the scene is set, acting is acting.  A person who can successfully ‘become’ another person on stage will find it much easier to accomplish the same feat in the recording studio. However, it is not just the skills of an actor that you bring to the table.

Likely, if you have spent very much time at all working toward a career as a stage actor or actress, then you have had to contend with the audition process many times.  This will most definitely give you a step up from those who are new to voiceover with no acting experience.  You will, of course, have a better idea of what is expected of you when you walk into a casting call or audition setting. Furthermore, you have likely already experienced harsh critique and failure in such a situation.

Though no one wants to experience these things, they are a part of the business, and you have the advantage of already knowing how to contend with them.

There is much more that your stage experience will have prepared you for:

1. The need for practice.  Undoubtedly, you partook in many hours of rehearsal before each show.  You can put to use that work ethic when it comes to voiceover work, which will require regular practice.  Many jobs will also require multiple read-throughs, not unlike having to read through the script with your fellow stage actors over and over again.

2. The occasional audience.  There may be times, as a voiceover artist, when you will have to do some of your auditioning or recording in front of an audience.  Hopefully, you will be able to draw on your stage experience to find a level of comfort in such a situation.

3. Proper breathing and enunciation.  You had to control these things on stage and it will be even more important to do so in the recording booth.

So, if you are considering making the switch from stage to voiceover, you may just find that you are able to carry many of your skills into your new profession.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Three Tips for a Better Voiceover Career

This can be a difficult, and occasionally discouraging industry to work in.  Therefore, it is important to keep a positive attitude and to avoid making common mistakes that will only serve to set you back.

Below, I’ve included a list of three of, in my opinion, the most important tips that you can receive as a new voiceover talent.

1. Avoid Over-Obsessing. You will receive negative feedback from time to time.  You will be disappointed when you are not selected to be the voice for an exciting project. While constructive criticism is worth listening to, it is important that you avoid becoming too obsessed with the way your voice sounds. There are many reasons why I say this, but the top two are:

a. Every client will want something different, which means that today’s constructive criticism may not apply at all tomorrow.

b. If you focus too much on how you sound, you won’t focus enough on the script, and, ultimately, you’ll end up sounding robotic and unnatural.

2. Practice! There is a great deal of truth in the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’.  Perfection is an unachievable goal, of course, but practice will make you better and more comfortable behind the microphone.  If you find that you have slow days, as you work to build up your voiceover business, then take advantage of them. Practice reading into the microphone. Listen to it and on the next practice run try to improve. This may mean achieving a more natural sound, reducing popping, or steadying your breathing. As you practice, you’ll find that your comfort level behind the microphone improves.

3. Care for Your Instrument. Of course, you should definitely attend your son’s basketball game.  That said, remember that the other fans do not necessarily rely on their voices to pay the bills. Take it easy on your voice and cheer at normal volumes, rather than trying to scream over the noise of the crowd. Sporting events, concerts, parties, and other such loud events can be hard on your voice, if you are always trying to be heard. Take care to prevent damaging your instrument, as you will be expected to perform well in the studio.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Voiceover 101: The Importance of Hydration

If you have just started in the voiceover field, then you may not have encountered dry mouth yet.  But, I can assure you that you will at some point.  It is a problem that plagues every actor and voiceover artist at some point during his or her career.  The best way to combat the problem, of course, is to maintain proper hydration. 

Drink Water Regularly Even more so than for most other careers, this profession will make it absolutely essential that you get at least the recommended 8 glasses of water per day.  On recording days, you may find that you drink even more than that.  The hydration keeps your voice smooth and prevents the troubling dry mouth.  The best thing to do is to keep a water bottle beside you at all times.

Choose Snacks Wisely Eating frequent, small meals throughout the day is great for the health of your body and will promote more consistent energy levels.  Conveniently, most voiceover artists work from home, which makes it easier to accomplish the many-meals-a-day plan.  This can also be a great way to increase your hydration, if you choose the right foods.  Many fruits, for instance, carry large amounts of water per bite. That said, you probably want to avoid salty foods and those that are overly dry, which may increase the chances of suffering from dry mouth.  For instance, crackers and pretzels will not help your hydration goals. A rather funny exception is potato chips ( I prefer kettle cooked). The oil in them actually coats your mouth lubricating the inside to battle mouth clicks. 

Invest in Mints Not only will they keep your breath fresh, in case you should have to meet face-to-face with a potential client, but they will also keep the saliva forming in your mouth.  That means less risk of dry mouth.  In particularly, look for mints containing Xylitol, a natural sweetener that does promote saliva.

Entertainer’s Secret If you do ever suffer with dry mouth, you will be very happy to know this secret.  The aptly named product is truly an entertainer’s best friend when dry mouth strikes.  It uses safe ingredients to mimic the natural mucus produced at the back of the mouth and in the throat.  A spritz of it can ensure that you don’t get that uncomfortable dry mouth feeling while trying to record a script.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Voiceover 101: Do You Need a YouTube Channel?

There are many industries that have greatly benefited from the creation of YouTube, but few have benefited more than voiceover.  Not only is this a great source of potential work – with so many people creating YouTube channels for business- and personal reasons, there are plenty of potential clients to be found in this social realm – but it is also a great place to advertise our skills. 

Consider it this way, if a potential client wants to hear a larger sample of your voice, something above and beyond the demo that you submitted, where would he or she most likely go?  There are really only two acceptable answers:

1. Your Website
2. YouTube

So, do you need a YouTube channel?  It certainly isn’t mandatory, but there really is no good reason to avoid making use of such a powerful marketing tool.  Not only can you create short videos that tell your personal story and showcase your vocal strengths for websurfers to discover on the social platform, but you can then take them and embed them on your website.  So, whether that potential client opts for option number one or option number two, he or she is certain to find what is being sought out.

With it established that you should most definitely consider creating a YouTube channel, it should be further stated that you must be careful about what you post there.  Remember, this channel is dedicated to showcasing everything that is great about you as a voiceover professional.  That means that you don’t really want to include any videos that fail to do that.  Your kids are undoubtedly precious, and your hobby is certainly worth capturing on film, but create a separate YouTube account for those pieces.  The YouTube channel under your professional name should be just that . . . professional. As a final note on this topic, here are three types of videos that you should definitely consider including on this channel:

1. An introductory video: This piece is created to give visitors more information about who you are as a human being, perhaps a bit about what made you decide to become a voiceover artist.

2. A tour of your studio: You can be certain that the potential client is searching your name to determine just how professional and trustworthy you would be, if hired. A studio tour provides a glimpse into your work space that would be valued by those considering hiring you.

3. A voiceover sample: If there were a few things that you would have liked to have done on your demo that you just didn’t have space for, create a separate recording and post it to your YouTube channel.  This provides that little bit extra that a potential client may seek out. I've placed my Video Narration Demo on my website, YouTube and Facebook. On Facebook It has been viewed over a million times and is referred to often by my clients/potential clients.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Voiceover Glossary

In nearly every industry, there are certain terms that are used that are entirely familiar and commonplace for those working within that field, but that would be unfamiliar to those not related to the industry.  The same is true in voiceover.  Unfortunately, you can unintentionally give away your level of inexperience if you make it clear that you aren’t familiar with the common voiceover terms.  To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of works and phrases that you will want to know:

Automatic Dialogue Replacement (more commonly said as ‘ADR’): This refers to voiceover work that will be dubbed over pre-recorded film.  This may also be referred to as ‘looping’.

Announcery: This is a term used to refer to a particular style of voiceover, particularly that which is very melodramatic or reminiscent of announcer of earlier eras.

Arc: Like the arc of a novel, the arc of voiceover work refers to the way the piece progresses from beginning, middle, to end.  It can also refer to the way the voiceover artist changes his or her approach to accompany the progression of the story.

Cold-Reading: If you are asked to do a cold-reading of something, it means that you will not have the opportunity to study it beforehand. 

Level: In order to calibrate the equipment properly, studio operators may ask you for a level, which simply means read the script into the microphone at the volume you would normal read at.

Pick-Up: If there is a flaw in the recording, you may be asked to do a pick-up, which means you will simply re-record a short excerpt of the script, so they can use it to repair the original recording.

Punch in: The studio can use the pick-up that you recorded to do a punch in, which simply means that the new recording is substituted for a portion of the original.  A punch in is not always done for straight editing purposes, though.

Residuals: If you are so fortunate as to hear these words uttered in regards to your contract, then you’ll be happy to know that it is additional compensation paid for future use of the recording, beyond the initial recording fee that you were paid.

These are just a few of the words that you will come across that tend to be unique to this line of work.  Learning them now will make your transition into this field much easier.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Preparing Your Voice for Great Voiceover

Practice makes perfect.  We are told that from the time we are very young.  Similarly athletes are told that they must warm up before each and every sporting event.  The same life lessons can be applied to voiceover. The more often you practice your skills, the better and more refined they will become.  And, this practice should absolutely begin with warm-ups to properly prepare your voice and to avoid strain.

Warming up your voice begins with breathing exercises.  Remember, steady breathing is very important in this line of work.  When you gulp for air or run out of breath before the end of the sentence, the recording will not live up to the clients’ expectations.  Therefore, it is important to practice proper breathing.  A lot of this happens when you simply stop to consider each breath that you take.  Focus on the air reaching all the way to your lungs, inflating them, and then being expelled steadily.

In addition to breathing, it is important to remain relaxed, as this has a big influence on the way that we breathe and speak.  Though proper posture is going to help you in this profession, don’t focus so much on it that you tense up.  As you breathe, think about relaxing your shoulders, your back, and your jaw.  Let them move freely with each breath.

After focusing on your breathing for a few minutes, take a few more to stretch.  Move your head about to stretch out your neck.  Yawn a few times to stretch the muscles around your jaw, and lift your arms high above your head to loosen up your upper body. Literally push the skin around your face in a massage like manner. 

Finally, do some light vocal warm-ups.  There are many that can be used to get your voice ready for the day.  This is where acting classes or singing lessons can come in handy, as you will learn a lot about vocal exercises.  However, if you are not familiar with any, then consider visiting videos like this on Youtube.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Unexpected Benefits of Improv Classes

In several past posts, I have written about the advantages of taking improv classes as a voiceover artist.  Most of those, of course, pertain to your ability to think on the spot, either when auditioning or recording for a particularly picky client.  However, improv classes can also assist you in the other side of the business.

Remember, as a voiceover artist, you will have to wear many hats, and many of those have little to do with the recording studio.  You’ll have to create a business plan, market your brand, manage the business accounting, and network.  These more business-oriented aspects of the job can be positively influenced by improv training too.

Learn to Accept Change Imagine yourself walking into an interview with a prospective agent.  You have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, but shortly after greeting you, the agent expresses ideas that vary substantially from yours.  Perhaps it won’t be the right fit, but you also don’t want to burn the bridge.  Improv classes can teach you to accept criticism and unexpected changes with grace.  With that sort of training, you will likely find it easier to let go of those preconceived ideas to consider, open-mindedly what the agent has to say.

Work Better with Others Facing a project that will involve working with other voiceover artists?  Working with an agent who insists on getting his talents together multiple times per year?  Need to hire office staff to keep up with the business end of the job?  Improv classes teach you to hear out others before reacting.  You can’t continue with the scene if you don’t hear what the other actor or actress is saying.  Thus, you learn to listen more carefully and to respond rationally in the moment. 

Accepting Failure Both general acting- and improv classes come with a healthy dose of critique (which can, at times, border on criticism). Though difficult to hear in the moment, that prepares you for many situations you will face in your career.  There are times when it will seem like agents, clients, and prospective employers have nothing good to say about your performance.  You have to accept those moments of failure and continue moving forward or your career will be doomed.  Improv will help you be better prepared for those difficult moments.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Three Costly Mistakes that Could Kill Your Voiceover Career

A career in the voiceover industry can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.  However, it can also be volatile.  You must avoid the costly mistakes that could cost you the career that you have learned to love.  Though there are many mistakes that one could make – from producing bad demo tapes to no proofreading cover letters – there are three that are extraordinarily common and often overlooked.

#1. Skipping Out on Classes You majored in performing arts, so the skill set is already there and honed, right?  That depends.  How long ago did you graduate with said degree?  The truth is that everyone can benefit from further acting classes, but the more time that passes between classes, the rustier your skills can get.  It is worth considering regular improv- or acting classes.  Each and every class will be unique and you're bound to learn something – about yourself, about your career, or about becoming a character – that will help you professionally.

#2. Overburdening Yourself It is tempting, when starting out in the voiceover industry to take every job that comes your way.  However, this can ultimately lead to your schedule being so bogged down with poor paying jobs that you don’t have the time or energy to seek the better, high-profile spots that would give your resume a big boost.  Of course, you don’t want to constantly turn down paying work, but schedule yourself at a reasonable pace, leaving block of time each week dedicated to networking and growing your business.

#3. Becoming Complacent This is sort of an extension of #2.  It isn’t just a lack of time and energy that can cause a person to forego important business building activities.  Complacency is the voiceover artist’s biggest enemy.  While the job you are working on right now is allowing you to live very comfortably, it isn’t going to last forever.  If you stop networking, building connections, and marketing your brand, you are likely to suffer a dangerous slowdown in the future.

Remember, you only get out of your career what you are willing to put into it.  Don’t forget to hone your skills and market your brand.  Doing so is the only way to ensure a future for your business.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Voiceover 101: Beware of Bad Advice

As with most things today, if you have a question pertaining to voiceover, you will find an answer online.  The trouble is that those answers don’t always contain the most accurate information.  There is both beauty and danger existing in the World Wide Web. Anyone can publish content and, in most cases, it is not fact checked or even proofread.  You can start working as a voiceover artist today, and publish a related how-to article tomorrow.  If you can do that, so can millions of others starting out in the industry. You must be aware of this.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to read through the content available online.  Just don’t stop reading after the first article or blog post on a topic.  Keep reading.  You’ll likely find that there are many different ways to accomplish the same goal.  For instance, one voiceover artist will tell you that you absolutely need headphones and you must stand while recording.  In an entirely different article, another author will tell you that headphones are not recommended because they make it difficult to detect background noises, but that sitting to record is the best way to go.  If you take the time to hear others out, then you can begin to create your own approach, finding the best method for you.

Bad advice comes in many forms and at many different price points.  There are several things that you will have to (or want to) spend money on to get your business going.  Those might include acting- or marketing courses, pay-per-click advertising, demo editing, website design, etc.  The one thing that you don’t have to pay for, though, is information.  It is readily available online, if you simply take the time to seek out the accurate and worthwhile.  Some will try to convince you to spend thousands of dollars on training courses and demo recording sessions.  Avoid the money traps.  Much of this you can do on your own, without breaking your budget. Look for information put out there by well respected talent whose reputation can guarantee accurate, honest information. Learn who those folks are and stick with them for reliable facts and info!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Writing a Voiceover Cover Letter

There will be many times when you will be required, as a voiceover artist, to submit a demo tape and cover letter to a prospective agent or employer.  Cover letters are challenging to write because most of us do not like writing about ourselves.  It is uncomfortable, not just for voiceover artists, but for most human beings.  Nevertheless, it is a necessary evil, so it is best to just get past the discomfort in order to sell yourself in the best possible light.

Don’t Rush It Whether you are just updating a previously written cover letter or writing an entirely new one, do not rush yourself.  Take your time, so you are less likely to make costly mistakes.  Typos can really turn prospective agents and employers off.  Worse yet, there have been occasions when people have left the wrong employer’s name in a cover letter, or mistyped a phone number.  Take your time and avoid missed opportunities.

Make it Personal People respond better to personalized messages.  Rather than writing a “Dear Sir or Madam” letter, take the time to track down the name of the person who will be reading your cover letter.

Do Your Research In addition to learning the name of the agent or casting director, learn more about the agency or the employer.  Know what sort of work they do, what industries they serve, and more, so you can appropriately reference these facts and make things as personalized as possible.

Don’t Be Shy About Your Enthusiasm Are you excited about the job?  Then make that abundantly clear.  You won’t sound desperate.  You will sound enthusiastic and that can be a very winning quality.  Agents and employers want to hire voiceover talents who want to show up to work each day.

Above all else, write in your own voice and don’t be shy to explain why you think you are a great candidate for the spot to be filled.  Part of working in voiceover is being able to sell yourself.  So, sell away!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Recipe for a Great Demo Tape

In the last blog post, I wrote about the frequent need for more than one demo tape.  In this blog post, I’ll focus more on the breakdown of a successful demo.  This is really aimed at those who are new to the industry, though this recipe can be one for success at any level of experience.

It is typically recommended that you include five ‘spots’ in your demo tape.  That simply means that you include five different examples of your voice.  It is a good idea to use these different spots to highlight the range of your talent.  For instance, in a narration demo, you might want one spot to be the reading of an audio book, the next to be a documentary-style reading, the following to be a children’s book, and so on.

Standard practice is to make each of these spots 5-15 seconds long, with the goal of the overall length of the demo being 60-90 seconds. You may also want to use a couple of seconds for musical intro and outro. As an example, here is what a 75 second demo might look like:

Musical intro: 2 seconds
Spot 1: 15 seconds
Spot 2: 15 seconds
Spot 3: 10 seconds
Spot 4: 10 seconds
Spot 5: 10 seconds
Closing Statements: 10 seconds
Musical outro: 3 seconds

This, of course, is just a guideline, and you may find that some spots fall slightly short of the time allotted.  Others may be a bit longer.  The same is true of the closing statements, but as long as your demo falls within the golden 60-90 seconds, and portrays your voice talents in the best light, then you can feel good about a job well done.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How Many Voiceover Demos Do You Need?

One of the biggest things on the minds of new voiceover talents is the creation of a demo tape.  This is a big part of building a business in this industry, and you should place a lot of focus on getting it right, but it may be that you are limiting yourself by putting so much emphasis on one demo tape.  The truth is that you will likely find that that demo is only one of a collection that you will ultimately create.

Consider this, when shopping for a computer, you may walk into a box store that sells them, but you will do no more than glance at the headphones, televisions, and video games sold in that same store.  When casting directors are on the hunt for the perfect voiceover talent for the job to be filled, they will not pay much heed to your demo if it doesn’t fit the niche they are operating within.

That is to say that there are different industries that seek voiceover talents.  If your demo is only catering to one of those, and your intent is to get work across multiple industries, then you are likely going to need to record multiple demos. If you are just getting started in the business, then chances are that you don’t really know where your voice best fits, so trying to narrow to a specific niche is going to be a challenge.  Consider recording three demos for the following three types of voiceover until you decide which fits you best:

Commercial This is a much smaller subsection of the voiceover industry than many would think, but it can be a lot of fun, and if you have the right voice for it, the casting directors may just want to hear more.  Focus on showing a wide range of tone in this demo – soft sell, hard sell, conversational voice, and public service announcement.

Narration This demo will be an important one and may ultimately be the one that you garner the most work from.  Narration is a big part of the voiceover business, though it comes in many forms.  Show a lot of diversity on this demo, considering that you may be hired to narrate documentaries, audio books, educational materials, and web content.

Corporate This is very similar to- and could even fall under the narration category, but corporate work does tend to differ quite substantially from other narration-style voiceover.  You can also really focus on a specialty, particularly if you have a lot of work experience in a particular field.  It will be essential to showcase a strong, authoritative, and attention-grabbing voice in this demo.

In truth, the number of demos that you record will depend on your goals as a voiceover artist.  However, if you are brand new to the industry, then it would be recommended that you record demos that will appeal to at least two of the above categories. I've utilized many demos on my website or have sent out to clients/potential clients. These are specific to the industries I work in. I.E my Agriculture Demo, Financial Demo, Health Care Demo and several more.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why You Shouldn’t Always Hide Behind Your Voice

As a voiceover artist, you will likely spend a lot of time at your desk and in front of your microphone.  However, you shouldn’t hide behind your voice all of the time.  There are two big reasons to get your face in front of others.

1.    People bond more easily with others when they can put a face to a name.  Whether you are literally meeting and greeting in person or simply sharing video of you in the recording studio that touch of human interaction can really make a difference in how potential clients respond to you.  It can make you more memorable.

2.    The more comfortable you are performing in person, the better you will be behind the mic.  A lot of voiceover work involves a healthy dose of acting.  That means that any practice you get performing will help you with your work.   It is also helpful to have average, everyday discussions with others.  It can help you when you have to portray a natural, conversational voice for one of your projects.

I’m not saying that you have to go perform a stand-up comedy act or that you have to put on a one-person show, but it might be a good idea to record your next promo with video, not just audio.  Or, take part in a play.  At very least, go out and sit in a cafĂ© and talk with a person or two while you are there.  Tell them about what you do.

If you are naturally introverted, understand that you are not alone.  Many voiceover artists share that in common with you.  That is why we are more comfortable behind a microphone than on a stage.  However, it is very good for your business to put your face forward from time to time.  So, hide away the majority of the time, if that is what makes you most comfortable, but do make yourself visible on occasion.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Creating a Convincing Voiceover Marketing Campaign

Ironically, marketers regularly hire voiceover artists to help with their advertising campaigns, but when it comes time to sell their own services, the very same voiceover artists don’t know where to begin.

I’ve had several people mention the overnight success of a man found on the streets.  The guy had a voice that was made for radio, but was living on the streets because he didn’t have a home to call his own.  His voice was discovered, and he was promptly whisked away to partake in interviews and voice spots.  This was an incredible story and the man does have an undeniably ‘golden voice’.  

However, there is a reason that he went 50+ years before his voice was discovered and sought after – he didn’t market it.  It goes to show that even the best voice won’t guarantee that you secure voiceover work.  You have to understand how to get your name and your skill in front of the right people.  There are four important elements to successfully marketing yourself:

1.    Create a Brand Technically, you aren’t creating anything.  You are your brand, but sit down and outline your objectives, and list the things more important to you, then use those as the focus of your brand.  This will help you maintain consistency as you network and build your business.

2.    Know your Audience Who is going to hire you?  What would those individuals valued most?  Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to create campaigns that speak directly to your intended audience.

3.    Stay Informed Read, read, read and listen, listen, listen.   If you do, you will learn about new technology, new services, new conversation platforms that can help you reach your audience more effectively.  You will also likely find connections between your brand and trending topics, which can be exploited for the purpose of growing your business.

4.    Keep it Simple All of this may sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.  Really people respond best to other people.  So, be you.  Create campaigns that match your beliefs and your voice, and you will draw the attention of other likeminded individuals in a real and meaningful way.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Voiceover Debate: Sit or Stand

This is a question that I have been asked by new voiceover talents on more than one occasion.  Should you sit or stand while recording?  There are varying opinions, and ultimately the decision will be yours, but there are a few pros and cons to each that should be considered as you prepare to set up your voiceover studio.

Achieving the Best Air Flow The flow of air through our bodies is an important part of the formation of words.  The better the air flow, the better our voice will carry and the stronger it will sound.  Obviously, when recording voiceover tracks, a stronger voice is a superior voice.  It will come across better when listened to the recording.   That means that standing scores a big point, because when we stand our airflow is less restricted.

Clocking Those Hours Time is money, they say.  The phrase certainly rings true when you are being per project doing voiceover work.  Therefore, you want to maximize the time that you spend in the studio, because that is where your profits are made.  This is why many voiceover artists forego the better airflow and opt to sit down.  We naturally tire faster when standing, and often feel more comfortable when supported by a chair.

The Good and Bad of Movement Typically, when recording voiceover, there is a need for a bit of acting.  Even though the client may never see our facial expressions and motions, they can help us achieve a more realistic character for the project.  Essentially, we commit to the role, even in the way that we move our bodies while recording.  That said, too much movement in the studio can be troubling because the noise can be picked up by the microphone. Obviously, standing allows a voiceover artist to move more freely, which can be both good and bad.  So, the point awarded in this category will depend on how much you like to move and how good your microphone does at blocking out background noise.

Obviously, take the time to consider the pros and cons, but in the end, choose the position that allows you to create recordings that you can be proud of.