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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tips for Finding Voice Over Work and Understanding the Posting

As a voice over actor, you need to be on the lookout for opportunities, while some may naturally come your way, not everything will. For a new voice over actor, getting established will take some time, so put in the energy and time and it will pay off.

Finding Voice Over Work
There are four main ways to find voice over work, online sites often called pay-to-play, local businesses, advertising agencies, production companies... plus, word-of-mouth (no pun intended).

· Pay to Play (online sites) – The most common ones that are around are voices.com, voice123.com, Voices Pro, Bodalgo.com and a few others. The businesses that post jobs here are anywhere from small to large. They want professional voice over actors to work for them and on their projects. A range of types of jobs can be found on these sites. But use discretion when auditioning with these sites. Choose projects that suit your voice/style best. Don't waste time auditioning for those that don't.

Read the Entire Posting. Understanding all the details in the posting will help you not only decide if it is a good fit for you, it will also help you nail the audition. Some keys in a posting that are important to take into consideration.

· Work Type – When it comes to the types of work for voice over actors there are many. Each with unique and specific requirements. Think about your ability and strengths and focus on those. If you want to add more opportunity, you may want to consider training in workshops or with a private coach.

· Language, accent, and dialect – Make sure that you have the skill or have time to train with these. If there is a specific accent they want, no matter how amazing a voice over actor you are, it won’t matter. Hone in on your skillset.

· Consider the Specifications – Clients will always set a deadline for accepting auditions and when the final product needs to be done. If you are not able to meet these deadlines, then don’t apply. Never set yourself up to be considered unreliable. That could follow you around your whole career. Be sure you can realistically meet all the requirements needed for a specific project.

· Gender – Some voice over actors have the amazing ability to transform their voice to that of a different gender. However, this is a small group of people. Unless you are able to carry that voice transformation throughout the entire project, don’t take the job. There will be other opportunities that are a better fit.

Local Businesses
If you are in a larger city or near a larger city, then the opportunities are more available. From networking, to presenting to owners, to cold calling, emailing, you can actively look for ways to connect with people. And of course, if you are savvy with your email there is work to be found simply by contacting the right voice seekers.

Advertising Agencies and Production Companies 
Building a relationship with advertising agencies and production companies is going to help over time. They have a roster of voice over actors and will call first when opportunities arise. They have opportunities in video, radio, television, web advertising, audiobook, e-learning, and more.

Always Have an Excellent Demo Reel
Demo reels and audio samples are crucial. You want them to showcase your best work. Have them ready to send at a moment’s notice. Waiting will only allow more time for you to be eliminated in favor of other talent. The VO world moves swiftly and you have to be ready for it!

Talent Agencies
These companies will prove to be a vital source of premium paying jobs and high level industry connections. But you have to be far enough along with your skill level to approach them. Your demos must be steller and your work ethic very strong. They are in the business of finding work opportunities for their roster of talent. The best agencies are already full of many talented voice actors. You will need to impress them to become part of their stable. And supply them with all the tools they need to work with you to find work opportunity.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Build a Voice Talent Studio in Your Home

Being a voice talent with easy access to record anytime is essential to being successful in the voice acting industry. By setting up a studio, you are now able to produce quality recordings from the comfort of your home. It is a great way to subsidize your income and put the work in on a schedule that fits you. As a voice talent, it also makes it easier in times of crisis to be able to continue to work.
Here is some basic information you can use.

Voice Over Equipment You Will Need
· Microphone – The type of mic that you need is one that works best for your voice and your budget. A large diaphragm mic is good for a warmer tone and lower frequencies, like a bass guitar or deeper male voices. A small diaphragm mic or small capsule mic is good for higher frequencies like cymbals or a female voices. But these can be used interchangeably to suit your desired sound. Look at polarity of each mic, cardiod (wider direction) and hypercardiod mic’s (more directional) are the best type for voiceovers. There are many very popular mics available now and vary greatly in price. The best way to choose a mic is to visit your local music store, if possible, and listen through your favorite headphones and choose your favorites from a variety of mics. Best to spend your money on a good mic than almost any other thing... other than the room acoustics you will be recording in.

· Pop Filter – This is vital to your setup. It decreases the amount of distracting noises that the mic picks up by blocking the air that’s pushed out from your mouth when you speak. They give you a nice clean read without the annoying "popping" sounds.

· Audio Interface – This is a piece of hardware that is necessary to connect your mic to your computer. It operates on 48 volt (phantom power) and may enhance the sound of your voice as the signal travels to your computer. Again, these are relatively inexpensive and have become much improved in terms of power, clean sound and portability. Be sure to buy one that is popular amoung voice talent.

· Computer – You will need to use a computer that has the capabilities to run all of your programs and software successfully and quietly... as to avoid background noise while recording.

· Recording and Editing Software – The software is a big deal, it allows you to enhance your voice overs with music, sound effects, and edit out pauses and loud breaths. However, I caution newer VO talent to use very minimal voice processing. It is best to provide your client with simple clean audio files recorded at the proper levels. Allowing THEM to enhance your voice as they see fit.

Additional items that are great supplements. If you have the budget, then purchase them right away. However, if not these can slowly be added to your studio later.

· Headphones and/or studio monitor speakers
· Music Stand or Mic stand
· USB Flash Drive or Hard Drive for file storage

Choosing and Sound Proofing Your Space
Start with looking at the rooms in your house, a cozy space that has enough room for you to stand or sit comfortably in is fine. If the room has carpet, it can effectively absorb sound versus wood flooring. Does the room share walls with neighboring rooms that are noisy, like a kitchen, laundry room, or a bathroom? Try to avoid these rooms if possible. If you live with others, arrange for recording during those quiet times.

Soundproofing your voiceover studio is important. It is more important to prevent sound from entering the room rather than preventing the sound of your voice exiting.

Soundproofing can be expensive. However, there are tricks that will help you soundproof it yourself. You will want to install insulation over windows, walls, and ceilings. Cork, rubber, or foam insulations are good options for soundproofing. Hang heavy curtains around the room to help absorb sound. Keep in mind that you may be creating an airtight box, and you will need to have quiet ventilation.

Voice Talent really can work from a studio anywhere now. There are portable options now available. But that's for another blog article to discuss. Meanwhile, get busy setting up your home studio.