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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Advantages of Hiring New Voiceover Talent

If you have ever required voiceover services, you must be aware of the steep fee that most voiceover artists charge. When your budget is tight, you may want to look at less expensive options, and one of them is getting a newcomer voiceover artist. However, will the quality remain the same?

New vs. Experienced

In the voiceover industry, experience speaks the loudest. The more experience you have, the better your chances of getting good gigs. This also applies to someone hiring a voice actor. The more experience the professional has under his/her belt, the higher the fees he/she will charge. While this isn't a bad thing at all, it can prove financially difficult to sustain in the long run. That's when the need to hire an affordable talent arises.

The main advantage of hiring new voice talents is that they usually charge less than seasoned professionals. When compared to an experienced voice actor, a newbie will always charge reasonably lower rates because he is trying to build a portfolio. But DO expect to pay a reasonable fee! Don't expect them to giveaway their services for free simply because they are trying to establish themselves. That would not be good business practice in any profession.

If you're on a budget, hiring a new talent can be a good thing, especially if this is the first time you're hiring a voice actor or if you've just set up. In such cases, an expensive option may not be possible.

Fortunately for you, several new voiceover talents have extensive training and impressive skills. It helps to keep in mind that every seasoned voiceover actor started as a newbie – this is part of the process. If the newbie you are planning to hire has an impressive background and skill set, then you can feel safe with your choice.

Before you hire the actor, make sure to put them through a variety of tests. Asking them to perform different narrations will help you gauge their strengths and better understand what they have to offer. Even if they present a demo, it doesn't hurt to ask them do a performance live or to record a sample read for you. In that way, you will be able to know their confidence level, strengths, and weaknesses.
Just be respectful of the time the voice actor is giving you.. that may or may not become chargeable with a newer talent.

Rick Lance Studio Delivers the Best Voiceover Talent

For the past 25 years, Rick Lance has been providing voiceover talent to top brands around the country. Over the last few years, Rick has come to be known as "The Voice of Americana–Serving the basic industries that keep America moving." It's a slogan he earned because of his rich, deep, warm voice, and Americana style of storytelling.

Rick Lance Studio has been serving many different industries in the US and abroad over the last two and a half decades. So if you are in need of an All-American, rugged, workin' man, deep, warm and friendly type voiceover talent, look no further than Rick Lance Studio in Nashville.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Should You Walk Away from a Bad Voiceover Job?

Procuring work is one of the most important elements of a job in the voiceover industry.  Because most of us work as independent contractors, we must work hard to market ourselves, to get our demos in front of the right people, and to appeal to those who are hiring.  However, there are times when all of the hard work lands us in possession of a less-than-desirable voiceover job.  Whether it is a truly bad script, a disrespectful producer, or a list of responsibilities that does match the original job description, you may find yourself wondering whether it would be wise to walk away.

Recently, an article published by The Independent told the story of voiceover artist Matt Chapman, who was hired to play the part of commentator for Ireland’s Dancing On Ice.  It was reported that the Irish voiceover star decided to leave the position after just one show.  For some, this was a wise decision given that the pre-recorded work was not appealing to the audience.  Chapman decided to leave, in favor of work with ITV Racing.

Though some would find it crazy for a voiceover artist to walk away from a job, there are times when it is the best decision for all involved.  While you must remain humble in this industry, if you hope to be successful for years to come, and you must realize that not all clients will be easy to work with, there are instances when it is simply necessary to move on.  In this case, Chapman knew that he was out of his element and his work just wasn’t going to jive with the vision of his client, so he opted to return to the type of voiceover work that he is more familiar- and comfortable with.  He, of course, had another job lined up before he walked away, which is something that should be considered if you are thinking about making a similar move.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Voiceover 101: Avoiding the Red

It is easy to spend more than you make when you are getting started in the voiceover industry. You obviously need to have certain equipment, a reliable recording space, the appropriate software, and  demos, at the very least. Of course, these things cost money, but you must make wise decisions if you hope to end the year in the black. Many beginners make the mistake of overspending and therefore are forced out of the industry, back to the 9-5:00 job, in order to afford normal living expenses. There are few areas where beginners are most apt to spend all of their earnings.

1. The Demo  It is absolutely necessary to produce a good quality demo that showcases your best talents as a voiceover artist. This is something that you will likely replace as time goes by and you further hone your skills. While it is an essential tool, you don’t have to break the bank to produce something worth sending to casting directors and potential clients. Many make the mistake of thinking they must hire a professional recording studio and producer. This will represent a huge sum of money that is likely to be much more than will be made on those first jobs. It is often best to create a reasonable home studio, that provides you a quiet space to record, and to put together your own demo samples. There are freelance audio engineers who can help with final editing to give you the clean demo you are desiring, and that service will generally cost far less than the producer and recording studio time.

2. The Microphone The price of microphones for home recording studios vary substantially. While it would not be recommended that you use a cheap variety that does little to block the background noise that will add endless hours of editing, you don’t need to purchase a $1000 microphone to get good quality recordings. You can get a decent microphone ($200-$500.00) and accessories for a tenth of that price.

3. The Agent A voiceover agent can get you in many doors that might otherwise be closed to you, but not all agents are created equally, and most want to see you succeed on your own for a while before they take you on as a client. If the agent is promising a future too good to be true, while charging a steep upfront fee, then stay away. This is a good way to spend a lot of money for very little return.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What Makes a Voice Attractive?

This may be the question most asked by those considering a career in voiceover. After all, this profession is all about the voice, right?

Over the years there have been many articles, blog posts, and news broadcasts that refer to scientific research, which was intended to highlight the elements of speech that make one person’s voice more attractive than another’s.

It was ruled that:

1. Most listeners prefer an accent and language pattern similar to their own. That, of course, means that your voice is most apt to be enjoyed in the area where you have resided for the largest portion of your life. There are exceptions to this rule, because some people, even after living in an area for several decades, will still hold on to accents from the areas they were born and raised in. Nevertheless, find an audience that speaks like you do and market yourself where that audience resides if you want your voice to be deemed attractive.

2. Deeper pitch tends to be more attractive than higher pitch. It was long known that women found deeper voices attractive in men. However, it has also been found that women’s voices are considered less enjoyable if they are too high-pitched.

3. Last but not least, breathing is an important aspect of voice. If you hope to make it as a voiceover professional, this is the most essential point to understand. When a person breathes too deeply, too rapidly, or in an inconsistent pattern when speaking, people are generally turned off. Consistent, light breathes are less distracting and therefore allow the attractive elements of the voice be heard.

Does all of this matter? To an extent, it does. When you are trying to market your voice to potential clients, you want to provide the best possible demonstration of your speaking voice. Does that mean that you should rush out to take voice lessons? Not necessarily. But, it helps to know where your marketing efforts are going to be most effective and what you can do to make your voice more enjoyable to listen to. This profession isn’t really ‘all about the voice’, but an attractive voice will surely help you along the way.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Create a Blog People Want to Read

Blogging isn’t dead, as many would like to suggest.  It does, however, require a certain finesse and a degree of dedication if you hope to attract readers.  It can be a great SEO boost for your website, while providing worthwhile information to your audience base, if you approach it appropriately.  Consider the following tips as you create your blog space.

1.    Make it Easy to Navigate

Though a blog page is often looked at differently than a basic website page, the basic principles remain the same. A person is visiting this page in search of some piece of information. Make it easy for that person to find it or he or she is likely to surf away onto a new webpage. A lot of white space makes the page easier for the eye to take in, so avoid distracting design. Front and center navigation controls will generally make it easier to get around.

2. Give Them Content

Remember that the visitor came to view the content, so keep that as the center focus. Don’t use misleading headlines in the hopes of attracting more readers, as this can damage your credibility and deter repeat visits. Create high quality content that will keep them wanting more.

3. Headlines Should Be Engaging and Informative

Speaking of headlines, be sure that they are accurate and meaningful. Make it clear what you hope to achieve in the blog post. Avoid overly wordy or length headlines. Clear, concise, and connecting

4. Speak Consistently to Your Audience

When creating a blog post, know who is most apt to visit your blog and speak directly to that niche. Write about things that will interest that audience. Write in a way that will appeal to that audience. Market the content to that audience.

5. Be a Social Content Creator

Don’t just write a blog; be a blogger. That means visiting and reading other blogs. It means subscribing, commenting, and sharing other blogs of interest, and particularly those that are related (without competing) with your brand.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What Do I Need to Get Started in Voice Over?

There are many people who believe that all you need to start a career in voiceover is a great speaking voice or the ability to do impressions of recognizable characters.  That, however, isn’t really the case.  It can be difficult to gain solid footing in this industry.  Although the web and the many apps, services, and software have made the job easier in some ways, they have also opened the doors for more competition. There is a flood of available talent for those who are looking to hire a voiceover professional.  You have to have the right tools and the right base of knowledge if you hope to be picked out of the crowd.

There are certain physical items that you will need including a reliable computer.  I recommend a laptop, as there will likely be times in the future when you will find that you need to bring your work along on your travels.  While some get by with tablets, I have found that they still lack the full function of a laptop, however the hybrids are showing great promise. I use a MacBook Pro. It's very flexible and super quiet to 

In addition to a computer, you’ll need a good microphone.  Spend a little more to get one with great ratings, as your voice will only be as good as your microphone.

Internet access is an absolute necessity.  Again, it is worth spending a bit more to get truly high-speed access.

Editing software is something you will become very familiar with as you continue your work in the industry.  Start with one that is well recommended, reviewed, and commonly used.  It will make your transition into voiceover much more enjoyable.

A studio is also necessary.  Most will build a space into their home, and that is fine.  Be sure, though, that you can effectively block out background noise and get clean recordings every time.

In addition to the physical elements of building a recording space, you will need to be mentally committed to this profession if you hope to be a success. 

You’ll have to be willing to put in long hours creating demos that truly represent your talents. 
You’ll have to be willing to continue your education, so you continue to improve.

You’ll have to really focus on taking care of your health, and particularly your voice.  That means giving up tobacco, avoiding booze, staying hydrated, and learning methods of avoiding- or treating respiratory illnesses.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dubbing is Not the Same as Voiceover

The title should say it all, but still there are a lot of people who continually use these terms interchangeably.  In truth, they do not share the same definition. 

Dubbing does generally require voiceover.  In fact, there are quite often two pieces of voiceover work involved.  Dubbing can be used in a couple of ways.  If, for instance, a voiceover recording is completed, but it is later noted that something must be changed, voiceover engineers can get a quick voice recording from the voiceover artist and use that to dub over the error in the original recording.

Dubbing is also commonly used when remaking a movie for an international audience.  The original voiceover may not be understood by the new population of movie-goers, if they do not speak the same language.  Therefore, the studio will hire a new voiceover artist to speak the same story line in the audience’s primary language.  This new recording is ‘dubbed’ over the original, replacing it entirely.

Dubbing work can even be used to replace lines spoken in a movie.  Voiceover artists are hired to speak the lines of the original actors and actresses in the desired language.  This material is used to carefully replace the initial lines.  The hope is to deliver a seamless audio/video experience for the international audience.

Dubbing work can vary greatly in difficulty.  For long pieces, like the international movie example, the voiceover artist will often be required to work in a studio with engineers, line by line, to ensure they can get the audio to match up (as closely as possible) with the movements of the actors and actresses.  On the other hand, a simple dub over of your original recording for correction purposes is generally done quite easily and quickly.

The important thing to understand is that, especially as a voiceover artist, you should not misinterpret these terms or use them incorrectly.  It can damage your professional image.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

2 Methods of Breaking into the Commercial Voiceover Business

There are many avenues that you can travel as a voiceover professional.  You may choose to focus on audiobooks, animation, or corporate style voiceover, e-learning, film/TV narration and so much more these days. Many, though, will choose to do commercial voiceover.  That is the audio that will be used in television-, radio-, cinema-, or web-based advertising.  There are many ways to work your way into this niche of the voiceover industry.  Of course, first you will need to establish your studio, brand yourself a bit – create your website, social networks, business cards, stationary, etc. – and record those demos. Once those initial tasks are completed, you can begin marketing yourself.  This is, arguably, the hardest part of voiceover work, but here are a couple of places to start if you are trying to break into commercial voiceover.

 Voiceover Websites There are several websites, today, that are dedicated to helping voiceover professionals reach the clients who are looking to hire their services.  Some of these are legitimate, and some are less so. It is important to vet the various sites you are considering – check in with the Better Business Bureau, read site reviews, and ask other voiceover artists who you know.  For a beginner, especially, these sites can be a big help.  Often the work procured through these sites doesn’t pay as much, but it is a good way to build up your portfolio and establish some new- and valuable connections in the industry. But some will pay only absurdly low rates. For the good of the Industry, do us all a favor and stay away from participating on those sites. Often, these sites will let you focus on the particular niche that you are most interested in as well, so you can opt to seek out commercial work primarily.

Radio Stations Another way to approach commercial work is to cold call some of the biggest potential clients – radio stations.  Obviously, being an audio-only media, the stations have a great need for vocal talents.  Furthermore, the advertising spots sold are generally the biggest revenue makers for the stations, and therefore are a very necessary part of the business.  Call up and ask for the opportunity to trial recording or to send your demo (whichever they prefer).  If this goes well, you may be able to get yourself listed on their voice roster, which can certainly lead to a boost in your business.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Five Signs Your Child May be a VO Actor in the Future

If you have a child who loves to entertain, it is always possible that the girl or boy will go on to enjoy many hours before the bright lights on stage or screen.  It is also possible that your son or daughter will be a voiceover artist in the future.  Here are a few signs that could indicate he or she will spend some time in a recording booth.

Forever the Entertainer The first sign, of course, is that you have a little entertainer on your hand.  These are the kids who are forever hamming it up for anyone willing to watch or listen.  They always have a story to tell.  They love to tell jokes.  They will happily have a telephone conversation with anyone who may call.  This is a shared trait for those who will love singing, dancing, acting, or voiceover work.

Taking on the Character One of the commonalities between many successful voiceover artists is a love of mimicking on screen characters.  If your child doesn’t just watch cartoons, but tries out the accents or unusual speech patterns of every animated character on the screen, you may just have a VO star on your hands.

Empathetic Spirit These kids are generally the first to understand how someone is feeling.  They want to make others feel better when they are sad.  They feed off of positive moods, but are just as apt to feel down when others are upset.  This empathy makes it much easier for a person to ‘become a character’ on stage, screen, or in the recording booth.

Mimicking Lines I’ve already mentioned a love for trying new accents and dialects, but you may have also discovered that your child loves to repeat favorite movie lines… over and over again.  While it may drive you crazy now, it may just be a good sign for his or her voiceover career in the future.

Others Wanting to Listen Perhaps the greatest sign that your child is made to be a performer – in one sense or the other – is that others gravitate toward him or her.  When audiences seem to form out of nowhere around your kid, it is likely a good sign that he or she has a gift.