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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tips for Voice Over Talent Demo


Every voice over talent needs to have a demo.  Your demo reel needs to be your best work and best sample of what makes your voice unique. Your demo is your calling card. A well produced demo will showcase the styles of voice acting you can perform.  Whether you have one or you are looking to produce one, there are many considerations to make. 

When Is It Time for a New Demo Reel?

·        If your demo is more than three years old, it is time to think about an update.  Newer material is on-trend and prospects will be looking to see if you can do it.

·        Your agent or manager will want to make available to clients your latest demo.  They may just want you to add a new piece in with what they are currently promoting you with.  Keep in mind they use the demo to sell your talents.

·        When you feel like your demo is lacking something.  If you are not feeling as confident about your demo reel than it is time to produce a new one.

·        As you are evolving your craft as a voice over talent, your reel should reflect that change.  Maybe it is not the creation of a whole new reel. It could just be adding to your current reel.

·       Maybe Your brand is changing and you have started doing work in other areas and you want to add that to the reel and send it to people who have known you for years.  Or simply put it up on your website.
      Or your agent's website. It is a way to remind them you are out there and that they should consider you for other opportunities.

How Many Demos Do You Need?

A demo reflects your level of professionalism, your range, the value you offer to the client.  The uniqueness in you.

Your reel says who you are and what you are capable of doing.  You want to make sure that you are giving enough variety.  You want your range of abilities to be noted by a potential client, agency, or manager.

Online you can have samples so that all of your demos can be showcased, and the website will allow people to find exactly what they are looking for.  Create different demos for your different niches.

The basic three demos... Commercial, Narration and Character are still the best way to start.
These days I employ several demos on my website (www.ricklancestudio.com) that showcase my work in the various industries I work in. Such as Agriculture, Energy Production, Trucking, Health Care and Finance & Hometown Banking, etc. 

How Long Should the Voice Over Demo Be?

The length will depend on what type of work you are looking for.  The demo should have exceptional copy and production value. Commercial demos should be no longer than :90. Narration and Character or Animation demos can be a bit longer up to 2:00 or so.
· 
·        Audiobook and other long form narration should be about 5:00 minutes so that they can see your ability to stay in character for longer lengths of time.  Also, if there are multiple characters, they can hear the voice changes.  
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Calling Card

A demo is a voice over talent’s calling card. Kind of a business card and resume blended together.  It gives potential clients the opportunity to see if your work matches their brand and sound.  And make sure that however your demo is produced, that you are capable of reproducing the voice styles found on your demo for actual projects you are hired to work on. easing

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Utilizing Your Uniqueness for Radio Voice Work



When listening to the radio you should immediately be drawn to the radio voice.  They bring the information to you with an engaging tone. While many may think that this is just a loud voice, in fact, it requires a skill set that is best done by trained radio announcers. However, sometimes these days you may hear a voice actor instead. For a more natural sound. 

Radio Ads
There are 3 main types of radio advertising, live reads, sponsorships, or produced spots.  Live reads are where they are read in real-time either by the show host or announcer.  In radio, many stations sell sponsorships for the different segments and will be narrated before the segment begins.  Produced spots are your traditional commercials. Radio ads are anywhere from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. The most common is 30 or 60 seconds.  Radio ads tend to be read faster than TV ads and they are solely reliant on the voice.

The Role of the Voice Over Actor
Radio narration and commercials need trained voice over talent.  The voice is critical as it is the most important aspect of the advertisement.  A professional understands the natural ability to communicate.  The voice creates a picture in the listener’s mind, and it must catch and hold the attention of the listener. A voice over actor may also give it a twist that the writer did not imagine and yet improves the message. Many of these radio ads are produced by the radio stations themselves and not received from an outside source. However, the BIG ads you hear like... Coca Cola, Chevrolet or Rooms-To-Go for example are always produced by an outside source and are supplied to the radio stations for airing.

The Basic How To’s
When getting started, you need to learn how to use your voice to align with the advertiser or the station’s ambiance. Connect with the script in a convincing way. Be aware that it is easy to sound flat when reading from a script.  However, the flip side is using too much inflection, and it sounds sing-songy. Read it in a relaxed manner.  Don’t trail off leaving an idea or sentence unfinished.  As well as avoid dropping off.  You want to be constant and maintain a strong voice throughout the entire sentence. The trick is to not sound like you are giving a speech to a crowd. (That is best left to the radio announcer.) But to in fact, be personal.  A conversation naturally has peaks and valleys in inflection, speed, and emphasis. When reading a script act like you are talking to a friend. 

Your Uniqueness Will Work in Your Favor
Sound like you. Your uniqueness may get you the job. If you have an accent that may be your draw. 
Your accent and your style can define what type of industries will work with your style the best.  Find a radio format that highlights your voice and speaks to your interests.  
When you find one, it's easier to interpret that script.

Tips for Getting Radio Commercial Work
Direct market yourself to radio stations who you know produce their own spots. They will often hire out for radio voice over work and keep a roster of talent that they like to rely on.
The quality of the recording will make an impact, of course. You'll need to have a high quality home recording studio to produce the RAW VO to supply them with. They will then add all the bells-and-whistles and broadcast standard audio optimization that they need. One word of caution: This article does NOT address "radio imaging". Which is a whole other category of voiceover that requires the ability to create those high powered station promos you hear. Many of those today are also produced outside the station by freelancers with the talent and understanding of that style.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

4 Essential Tips to Winning a Voice Over Job



There are many factors that will help you win a voice over job on top of having the talent.  These top 4 will ensure that you have more jobs coming in and that you are as busy as you would like to be.

The Read
The most important part is your performance.  While the client may have an idea of what they want and if you give them that, then chances are you will get the job.  However, if you are not aware of what they are looking for, and this happens a lot, then take cues from the script.
What is the tone of the script?  Can you give real emotions from what you are reading?  The more you can reinforce the message of the script with your unique voice talents, the greater the chance that you will win them over. Another trick is to read the script as the consumer... a good POV.  This will let you hear it the way it is intended to be heard.  Your interpretation and read will be how the writer intended it. Be aware of the commas, the exclamation marks, and other grammar keys. And don't be afraid to put a few of your own natural pauses in there. I do this quite frequently to simply follow through on my own phrasing style. The copywriter may not have it written to be grammatically correct. But more to clue in the talent as to how to read it. As a side note, I learned in my acting classes, it's more important to "commit" to a basic feel of the script than it is to be right on with the script's intention. It shows professionalism and dedication to the subject matter. If it is not exactly what the copywriter or director intended they will correct you based on the fact that they feel you are the right fit for the script... with proper guidance.

Audio Quality
The second most significant part of winning a voiceover job is the audio quality of your demo.  The quality of the audio that you produce will sway the client.  Better quality audio will give them security that you can produce the same on a final product.  If it is a poor-quality sounding audition, then they will most likely pass.  No matter how perfect your read is. Remember, your "audio" is being auditioned as well. A high quality studio or equipment is a factor in getting more voice over jobs.  Your equipment needs to produce what I call "broadcast quality standard." The room that you record in must have a good "room sound" to it. Not too dead and not too live. The room needs to be soundproofed.  A pop filter and mic placement are also a key factor in making sure that the audio is up to par for landing voice over jobs.  If you set the studio up with this in mind, then your audition demos will sound high-quality. 

Be Specific
Letting the client know about the services that you are able to offer them as a voice over talent.
Do you have a quick turnaround on projects? Are you good at editing?  Can you add music or effects to the project? When adding these services, be sure that you are sufficiently skilled to do so.  While this does not make up for a good read and quality, it will help if you are in the running.  The proposal can differentiate you from the competition.

Quote
The quote is a part of the process that many people are not be confident in.  Find out if there is a budget range for the voice over talent.  Think about the time and work that you will put into the project. Consider how it will be used and get as much info about this as possible from the client. 
Then quote a price that is fair to you and hopefully in the range. If they had no clear budget in mind then you just helped create one for them. And you hopefully have helped to uphold the high standard and fair rates of the voiceover industry.

Don’t let the quote stress you out.  When you quote a price that is within the budget range then you should not have any problems.  If you determine that their budget range is simply too low for you to work with, then let them know and stick with your quote. Don't become intimidated. Simply elaborate on how you arrived at the figure and show them you're worth your quote. Personally, I will NEVER allow myself to compete with another talent based on price alone. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The 5 Ways You Should Market Yourself as a Voice Over Talent



Part of being a voice over talent is being a self-marketer and promoter.  If you are looking to create job opportunities for yourself then there are definite groups of people that you need to create relationships with in order to get more gigs.

Casting Director/Agent
A casting director or agent is the one that facilitates the casting of actors for all the roles in a project.  They will be the one to conduct the auditions and know exactly what the director and producer want.  If they are working with a high-volume company, they also may have a roster of voice over talent. So, when a project comes up, they know exactly who to call.  Having a relationship with a casting director or agent is a great start.  It's one way to have more opportunities presented to you.

Creative Director
A creative director is what a company may have if there isn’t a casting director or agent working on projects. You can find creative directors on LinkedIn and other social media to connect with. Send an email introduction to them.  They are a good contact to market yourself to as they will place actors and talent on projects.

Advertising Agencies
Advertising agencies produce projects that need voice over talent.  They may have a roster of voice over talents that they work with regularly.  However, building a relationship and impressing them with your talent may get you to be on the list.
It is best to start locally and work your way broader.  Be sure to have some demos of high-quality value and showcase what you can do.  They may do radio, video, explainer videos and audiobooks so if you have examples in several categories, have them ready.

Voice Over Marketplace
There are many voice over marketplaces online that will connect voice over talent with companies and brands.  On many marketplace sites, you can create a profile and upload demos.  Individuals can find you and there is a way to find jobs on the sites and bid on them.

Create a Website
A great website is an absolute MUST! It is a way to promote yourself, have demos on the site, and create a domain name that features you and helps establish your VO brand. Make your website easy for potential clients to use.  Make sure your demos are right on your Landing Page. Remember, voice seekers may be whipping through many websites at once and want to hear your demos as quickly as possible. Make it easy for them! Also, be mindful that people may be looking at it on a mobile device.  You want it to be usable on a computer and on a smartphone.  The last website tip is to have a call to action on every page.  A way for your potential clients to contact you.

Voice Over Talent Career
Having an account on Upwork or Freelancer, Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX) is a start.  You can bid on jobs that are out there. But be careful and don't sell yourself short by accepting "cheap" VO jobs! Don't forget that some of it is about reaching out promoting you and your work with individuals and corporations directly via email, snail mail and phone calls. It is best when reaching out to companies to find the person who oversees voice over talent.  Study their website for background information you can use to communicate knowledgeably with that person. When people have a connection with you, the more they are likely to feel confident about working with you.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Get Your Audiobook Narrated by a Professional Voice Talent



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

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

Benefits of Turning Your Book into An Audiobook

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

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

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

Should You Hire A Voice Narrator?

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

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

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

Finding the Right Voice Narrator

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

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

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

Technology matters

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

An Ideal Talent Will Make You Feel Teleported

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

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



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

What is an Explainer Video?

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

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

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

They Offer Versatility

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

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

Understanding Your Companies Needs and Audience

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

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

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

They Have a Recording Studio

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How to Become an Audiobook Narrator



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

Audiobooks are an Added Avenue for Voice Over Work

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

Finding Your Niche

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

Where to Start

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

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

Production of the Audiobook

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

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

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

Fees

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

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

Places to Find Audiobook work

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

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

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

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!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Why The Art Of Storytelling Is Important For A VO Narrator


If there is one thing I have learned in my long years in the business of voice over work, it is the importance of storytelling. When working as a professional Narrator, you will come across scripts of all styles and lengths.

Regardless of whether it is an ad for a new product, or a PSA, or a work of non-fiction, a script always has a story to tell. As the voice-over professional, it is your job to find the story hidden inside and relate it the best way you can to your audience. 

A Good American Storyteller Always Analyzes the Script

Never look at a script as just something that you need to mindlessly spew out of your mouth in style. That is simply the wrong way of working as a VO artist. All scripts have an underlying message for the audience.

Look at the words that try to speak to the listener, and thoroughly understand what they are trying to tell. Your's will become a much more convincing and persuasive voice when you know the story you need to tell with your own unique way of telling it.

Understanding The Product vs Becoming a Character

Some scripts for a narrator simply involve you delivering a few lines about a specific product. The storytelling aspect may seem a bit thin in these scripts, but they are nonetheless present.

The story here is all about the product: you need to understand it and how it relates to the audience. Visualize the situations where the product offers maximum value.

In other scripts, you are not just a floating voice, but an actual, concrete character. These scripts are easier to grasp as the storytelling aspect is often quite deep here. Character stories can be much easier to read and analyze.

If you want to become a great American storyteller, you need to learn the words and phrases in the script that need maximum emphasis.

The Art of Pause and Emphasis

Some bits of dialogue come across better when you say it with added gravitas and emotion. Often, slowing down the speed of your speech or using vocal dynamics is a nice trick to grab the attention of the listeners. To make the most of this technique, you need to focus on the keywords and phrases in the script.

This is where analysis of the script becomes so critical. When you start to look at every script as a kind of story, you learn to zoom in on the richness of content within the script.

But that kind of awareness does not happen overnight. It takes time to perfect, and that is why, as an American storyteller you should focus on the art of storytelling when you embark on a career in voice over acting and recording. 


Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Recording Studio Set Up Guide For Professional Voiceover


In another blog post, we examined how you can easily get all the equipment you need for a beginner recording studio for just a couple of hundred bucks or so. But having professional-grade equipment at your disposal is only half the battle won.

To get the best out of your voice over Nashville, TN studio, you will need to know the best way to create a recording environment.

Ideal Space For Recording Voiceover 

VO recording is best done is small, intimate spaces. All you need is enough room to comfortably accommodate one person, namely, the professional voiceover talent... which is probably YOU! When it comes to selecting the ideal space for your recording studio, always keep in mind that less is more.

Giving All Surfaces The Foam Treatment

This is a very crucial aspect of prepping your chosen space for professional-grade VO recording.

There is no such thing as too much soundproofing. If there is an open surface inside your recording space, cover it with foam. And we are not just talking about windows and doorways here. Get some foam over the walls, the ceiling, and every other surface around.  

You can use acoustic foam panels, bass traps, throw pillows, and even thick comforters to get the job done. Although, I highly recommend installing profesional acoustic foam such as that made by Auralex Acoustics.

One important area that many beginner voiceover talent miss out on is the wall surface behind them. Since the mic is positioned towards this space, you should be looking at making this surface as acoustically dead as possible. 

Where To Place The Mic

There is no single right answer to this conundrum. There are many different ways in which you can place a mic in your recording space to get the perfect sound. Some folks place it in a corner facing the rest of the space, allowing the person to speak into the corner, reducing reverbs and reflections.

Another option is to place the mic in the center of your recording space, ideally 7-8 inches away from your mouth, depending on the mic itself.

Make sure that the mic is angled away from your mouth, but still pointing towards it, This will help it avoid catching your breath (plosives)while still capturing the sounds coming from your mouth.

If you want to do pro voiceover you will also need a pop filter in your studio. Keep it right in front of your mouth so that it can deal with any plosives that you emit during your speech.

Of course there is more you will need in terms of recording/editing gear which I'll cover in another blog article.