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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Voice Acting Tips For Beginners

 


If you’ve decided that the time is now to get into the world of voice acting and make a go of it, congratulations!  Choosing to pursue your dream of wanting to be a professional voice actor is a bold and brave decision.  Whether you’re up and going on the world of voice acting and want a refresher, or coming at this from the point of view of a new student, here are the essential details to think about.

Top tips for starting out in voice acting

Voice acting is a fun, rewarding, and innovative career.  When you are hunting for a way to get into it, you’ll need to start with the basics and work your way up from there.  Some of the most important tips to consider include: 

     Know the terms and the industry: Simple, but important.  You’ll need to always keep in mind the terms for your jobs so that you can understand questions at interviews and even the job ads themselves.  Familiarize yourself with the industry terms and branch out to more complex ones as you need them.

     Figure out your “professional personality”: Some acting roles will suit your voice better than others.  Get a feel for what you are going to be best suited for, and use that to help you narrow in on the professional side of your applications and focus for education, even vocal coaches.

     Have a studio ready to work from: It could be through renting hours at a local studio, or it could be something more like a DIY home studio. Whatever you decide to be the right decision, just make sure that you understand your responsibilities and how to use everything without stupid mistakes! Really home studios are a must these days since jobs & auditions come up so quickly.

     Practice, experiment, learn: When you’re looking at the idea of enjoying your new career, it comes at the price of, well, working for it.  You need to practice your skills, experiment with tasks that feel outside of your comfort zone, and learn from everything that you do.  It all makes for a much stronger professional personality.

     Be patient and take your time applying for jobs: No matter how determined and how good you are, you’ll want to be careful to take your time in applying for jobs.  It’s a saturated industry, so it will take time to get your name out there.  Just be patient and focus on honing your skills so that you're ready when your time comes. 

Stardom is waiting

This is, of course, just a sample of what you’ll want to think about when it comes to the idea of focusing on the right professional details to help you get ready to enter the world of professional voice acting.  Regardless of what you end up deciding as far as your path, the amount of jobs that you choose, and how you determine success, these tips will be geared towards the beginner on the hunt.

Now is the time to break out as a professional voice actor.  These tips will help you to be ready to impress and also give you that sense of professionalism that you’re looking for from start to finish.  Just because you’re a beginner doesn’t mean that you need to be unprofessional, after all.  In fact, that’s what will separate you from the crowd and help you to land those jobs you seek.


Friday, September 10, 2021

Tips to Help You Get Voice Acting Jobs

 


Voice acting jobs are all over the place these days.  If you’re looking at putting yourself out there and making sure that you actually land the jobs that you are looking for within the niche of voice acting, you’ll want to consider some of the following tips for voice acting jobs.

Top tips to help you get the best voice acting jobs

Everyone wants the job they’re applying for, but only the best ones are going to get the role.  Make sure that you are focusing on all of the things that you need to in order to win the position.  Here are the details that voice seekers will find appealing.

     Learn your craft well: Perhaps this is through textbooks.  Maybe it’s online classes that you take to help give you extra certification.  Others will find learning their craft comes from watching years and years of past professionals at their craft.  Whatever you decide to use as your educational source, do it well! 

     Hire a vocal coach and an acting coach: coaches are crucial to helping learn the inside secrets.  Quite a few are connected to recruiters, too, who will ask them for referrals if a job falls through at the last minute, for instance.  You’ll want to hire both a vocal coach and an acting coach, since there are two main elements to focus on when it comes to being a vocal actor.  When you have to practice and do homework, make sure you do it. A voice seeker will be able to tell!

     Have a top notch demo: While not always required, it’s a good idea to have a professional top notch demo file ready to go with lots of variety in it.  This will show recruiters that you’re serious about the craft and that you are ready to dedicate yourself to doing it the right way.  It also shows that you can prove that you know what you’re doing and that you’ve, in fact, done it. Make sure there is nothing on the demo that you CANNOT reproduce live at a moment's notice.

     Spend time watching and listening to the trends: To help know that you are bringing the right skills to the table for each position you’re applying for, stay up to date on the trends that are in use.  Learn about what’s out, what’s in, and generally stay in the know.  This will also come through to the voice seeker in a good way, and it also helps you continue learning about your craft.

Land the job you love

Voice acting is a great career move in the days of remote working.  It’s also in high demand, and a whole lot of fun!  Just make sure that you are making your resume as strong as possible by putting these tips and suggestions to work in order to help you land the position you’re aiming for.

Whether it’s a big job or a tiny job, you’re going to really enjoy the idea of knowing that you’re doing everything possible to help yourself win the position that you’re considering.  The rest is up to the client and/or voice seeker.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Tips for Voice Over Acting Auditions from a Seasoned Professional

 


Pay Attention to All the Details

The first step when getting an email in the audition process is to thoroughly go over all the details and directions in the email.  A common mistake made is that you are so excited about the audition and the details in the email are skipped over.  The directions make give you the age, attitude, accent, backstory of the character.  All of those details will be what makes your read more successful.  They are giving you the information so that you can create a better voice-over for the client.

Research

If you do not know the company that you are reading for, Google it.  If you are reading about a product, check it out.  The more you understand the brand and the products or services, the better the audition will go.  Get as much information as you can.  The brand will see that you did your homework.  Being more prepared is always best.

Storyboards or Image Cues

Be sure to examine these images or visual cues. Don't just blow them off! They can give you an insight as to what is being seen at any given moment during a video, TV show, movie, etc. I know they may add a lot of extra length to reading a script. And sometimes make it difficult to even read the copy but it really helps orient you to the action within the script. Helping you feel more involved in the production as you read.

Rehearse

Once you have all the details, you’ve done your research, it is time to rehearse the script.  What makes a voice over actor book a job is that they put in the time to rehearse and not just read it cold.  You can tell the difference between someone who has rehearsed and someone that has just shown up and not done the work. Don't be afraid to put a little of your own personality into it. That could be what interests the client most and can set you apart from the other auditioning talent.

One Take or Multiple Takes

Once you have gone through rehearsal, it is time to lay it down.  Many times, I have found that I have an idea for a second take that is different from the first one and shows a different style.  However, if you do not have a second take, don’t worry. 

The key is to make sure the directions don’t say one take only. If they say that, then one take it is and give it your best one.  Sometimes, it will say two takes or nothing at all then if you have an alternative idea, then go for it. When you slate (if allowed) say "two takes" as part of your slate.


Audio Quality

The audio quality must be excellent.  No matter what equipment you are using, be sure that the audio quality is optimal.  Bad audio quality sends the message that you don’t have the equipment or knowledge to turn in a solid voiceover for the project.

The other important part of the audio is that now in the past year, with more remote work brands, casting directors, and agencies, expect to get quality work.

Forget About It

Once you are done with the audition, it is time to forget about it! It is better to move forward and look for the next opportunity while you are waiting.  Sitting around waiting for an answer will only drive you crazy and means you are waiting for one possible job.  Keep moving forward and you will get multiple job bookings. Jobs get thrown to various talent all the time for reasons unbeknownst to us. Sometimes even for the lamest of reasons. 

Good luck and remember preparation and choosing opportunities that showcase your talents and style will make you a successful voice over actor. Don't be afraid to "stretch" when deciding which auditions to accept; just be certain to work within your extended wheelhouse. ( your root voice)


Podcasting as a Voice Over Talent – Improve Your Career

 


Podcasting is becoming more and more popular.  What was once only on iTunes or Apple Podcast is now Amazon and Spotify offers podcast streaming.  Podcasting not only offers job opportunities, but it is a great way to connect, practice, and share.

Listen to podcasts

Listening to podcasts can open up your eyes and create new opportunities.  There are many podcasts for voice over actors and tons of information shared so that you are always learning and growing.  By listening to podcasts it also gives you an idea of what is out there and different styles that other voice over talent use.

The Power of Community

Podcasts have an amazing community.  Do you know how many people listen to podcasts, and it is all about the voice.  Agencies listen, and many connections are made within the podcast community.

Work on Your Skills

Podcasting is a great way to practice your microphone skills and getting your voice out there while having fun sharing about a topic.  Think about your niche that fits well with your vocal style.  Want to test out some new voice work?  A podcast can give you the arena to test run new ideas.  You want to share great information and showcase your skills while doing it.  You never know who is listening.

Get Your Brand Heard

Voice over talent already have the equipment and know how when it comes to podcasting.  Besides the recording equipment, you understand editing and audio files.  Podcasting is the perfect way to get your  brand out into the market.  Share your voice with others.

Think of a podcast like another calling card or demo reel.  Your gift of using your voice to make a subject interesting and fascinating is why you are desired.  Use your voice for yourself too.

Podcasts are Looking for Voice Over Talent

Podcasts understand that having a professional voice over talent will set them apart.  A voice over actor adds professionalism and understands how to engage with an audience.  This is why you will find job opportunities for the intro and outro of podcasts.  The intro sets the mood and the tone while introducing the show and the host.

The outro is what closes out the show and ties it all together and ends with a tagline or call to action.  The outro is an important piece for any podcast, so the show needs the listeners to be interested.  A voice over talent is trained in connecting.  The voice over talent makes the podcast sound like a full production whether someone is hosting it from their house or a larger studio.

Podcasts Offer Many Opportunities

Podcasts offer voice over talent many opportunities, not only to hone in on their craft but to also help other podcaster’s and book jobs.  If you have not considered podcasting as a possibility, the time is now. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Brand Anthem Videos are a Huge Job Opportunity for Voice Over Actors

 


There are many opportunities in voice over acting and corporate work that can make up a large part of your jobs.  Whether it is commercials, videos, training, or AI they all have one thing in common, the need for a trained voice over actor.  In addition to these opportunities, there is one that is sparking more attention for brands the “Brand Anthem Video”.  Brand anthem videos are a great opportunity to help a brand by being the voice and opening the doors to other jobs within that company.  Here is a look at what these videos are.

What is a Brand Anthem Video?

Brand anthem videos are a way to connect with customers and inspire them.  They focus on who the brand is and not on what they sell.  It gives clarity to the purpose and values a brand holds dear.  These videos are used to engage employees, investors, partners, and clients.

How they differ from A commercial or explainer video

Commercials and explainer videos focus on the product or service. They tell you about the what.  Brand anthem videos go deeper they tell about the why.  It is about the purpose behind the company.  Some people may say it is the passion of the brand.

The best brand anthems derive emotion from the viewer.  This is done by using powerful imagery, the right music, and most of all well-written voiceover copy.  A voice over can create a more human connection with the brand.  The conversation is what drives the video and can make it go viral.

While brand anthem videos are not new, they are increasing in popularity and are considered a necessity in this day and age.

Narration and Your Role as the Voice Over Actor

The voice over actor must match the tone and style of the brand so that it sounds real.  You must also evoke emotions in the audience.

As the professional read over the script and ask about the visuals being used so that you have a clear understanding of the video and all aspects.  Often the script shows a description of the imagery or the imagery itself in the form of a storyboard. Your voice is what ties it all together.  While this sounds like a huge task, a brand is going to look for a tone and voice that aligns with their message.  Your voice may also be branded as their consistent voice and lead to more opportunities for you.

Create Corporate Demos

If you have booked other corporate work with brands, then choose your best and create demos that focus entirely on this area.  However, if you do not have work that showcases your voice then you must create some reels.

What a brand is going to look for are the key elements in an effective video and how your voice brings those elements to life. These five elements are emotion, (story-based not sales-based,) a unified message, visuals, and narration.  Take these five elements and make sure your voice merges them while still showcasing your style.  Your unique voice traits will set you apart and give you the edge.  Brands want to stand out from the competition, and it is the voice over actor that does this for them.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Documentary Voice Over Talent Guide

 


Documentary voice overs require a specific skill set in order to be successful.  The role is about bringing the producer’s vision on a topic to life.  Voice over talent narration can create the entire mood of the film.

Documentaries are different from other voice over talent work as it is not about selling it is about sharing factual information in the nonfiction world.

The voice over talent has a way of connecting with the audience and keeping them engaged while sharing material.  Voice over talent who are skilled at interpreting the documentary are highly sought after and will find that they are continuously working.

A Look Into Documentaries

Documentaries tell stories of real people, places, and events.  The factual elements are woven into a narrative that is truthful but also interesting and passionate.  It is the visual combined with the script that brings life and entertainment to these stories while giving real knowledge.

What Directors and Casting Agents Look For

There are different voice attributes and characteristics that the directors or agents look for.

They are often written at the top of the script like this:

·         Gender – make, female, both, either

·         Age – child, teen, young adult, adult, senior

·         Language and Accent – native speaker, fluent, voice actor who can perform with an accent

·         Characteristics – hip, relaxing, trustworthy, raw, informative, educational, and more

While there are some specifics that you cannot adjust there are several that, with some training, will give you more versatility.

Matching the Films Tone

Everyone can read and all voice over actors can read a script however, in documentary work it is about matching the tone of the film with your voice.  The tone sets the scene and the mood to educate and captivate the audience.

It is important to read the script and understand the theme and the audience.  A calm voice may be preferred for a nature documentary with excited inflections for dramatic scenes.  While a cheerful and upbeat voice for documentaries geared towards children may be appropriate.

The tone also needs to not be monotone to keep the audience interested, so it is about changing the style within the story.  The key is to educate and captivate at the same time.

Timing is Key

As with many voice over jobs, timing is key when creating narration for documentaries.  It is about delivering the lines at the right speed so that it matches with the images and visuals as well as coming across as natural and likable. As talent, you need to stay in the moment throughout.

Timing is a part of rehearsing the script and getting into character.

An Updated Portfolio

Directors and Casting Agents will be looking to find experienced voice over talent that will be a good fit for the job.  By looking at your previous work they will determine if your voice is the right fit for their needs.

If you are breaking into the documentary work, study it and then create some demos to showcase your voice and styles that fit it the best.

Fit Your Style and Book More Voice Over Talent Jobs

Don’t forget to hone in on your voice style and the types of documentaries that fit with your characteristics best.  I found that my personal style is "Americana” with my deep, rich, earthy, and gritty, storytelling sound.  My niche has given me a successful career as a voice over talent.

The voice over talent is the tour guide and leads the film many believe it is the voice that gives spirit to the film.  Work with the producers and creators of the film and be adaptable to help create the vision.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Voice Over Talent and E-Learning for Companies HR

 


Within the e-learning world of voice over jobs there is a niche in employee training videos and HR communication.  The jobs within this niche include new employee onboarding, benefits information, company policies and procedures, training, and safety information.

HR departments need communication to keep teams informed and up to date as well as getting new employees trained. The e-learning niche was around before the pandemic however, it has grown and will continue to grow as remote working will continue.

Voice Over Talent and HR Communications

Most employees are not comfortable or have the right tone needed for e-learning videos.  That is where voice over talent comes in.  These videos and onboarding information set the tone for the company.  As a voice over talent, you are trained in how to create a tone that matches the company.  From financial institutions, IT, banks, software development, each brand needs a sound that will resonate with staff and match the vibe.  As the voice over professional, it is about establishing a tone and representing them in your performance. Also many in-person sales training meetings have been replaced with e-learning sessions.

Once hired by a company, there are many job opportunities initially as into the future as the voice of the brand.  Many voice over actors find that it is a great stream of income.

Onboarding

When a new employee is hired, there is a lot of information that needs to be given.  Voice over for onboarding is gaining popularity as an alternative to face-to-face training.  The voice over talent needs to be a calming, informational voice that sets expectations while getting the companies message across.  During the onboarding process, the employee is getting a sense of the company, which is why the voice over is so critical.

Benefits and Insurance Information

Benefits and insurance information can be confusing with so many options for a new hire.  Narrating benefits and training on how to handle the paperwork and options is another important area for HR.  The voice over talent needs to make it as easy to understand as possible and speak conversationally.  The other key component is keeping the delivery engaging, as the initial reaction of a new hire is to glaze over when the conversation starts getting long.

Safety

Safety training videos are important in many industries, like hospitals, plants, refineries, warehouses, construction, labs, food handling, and more.  Safety videos are a huge part of the e-learning experience for employees.

The voice over talent needs to deliver the information and keep the employee interested, so a monotone delivery is not going to work.  The audience needs to understand and comprehend in order to keep themselves and others safe when working.  This is a huge reason why companies are hiring voice over actors to narrate the safety videos.

Training  E-Learning Videos

Many e-learning videos that are being made.  Not only for new hires but for all employees, management, and even hiring and firing.  There are many opportunities for the voice over talent to create new projects as time goes on. 

Whether you already are working in the e-learning videos or not this corporate opportunity niche is only going to gain momentum and continue to be a great avenue for voice over actors. One thing of note: I personally believe that the best e-learning voices have a bit of a "generic" neutral sound to them. They are clear, concise and articulate. For women, I believe slightly deeper, mature strong voices work well. And for men, a clear tenor non raspy voice with excellent diction works best. Yes, you may have noticed that I just pretty much eliminated myself from e-learning voices. My voice is usually too deep, raspy and distinctive for e-learning. My voice often becomes too distracting from the original material to be properly listened to. And of course, it's the material subject matter at hand that is what's important.


Everything You Need to Know for Narration Voice Over Acting

 


Are you interested in doing narration voice over work?  Narration jobs make up a huge percentage of the work available.  Narration is still a competitive area, so you need to train as well as have a strong demo.  Here is a guide to working in narration and booking more voice over jobs.

Types of Narration

Narration is a broad range of job opportunities.  It could mean documentary, TV narration, audiobooks, and corporate.

Documentaries and television use narration to underscore the action and help tell the story.  Audiobook narration is a full storytelling of both nonfiction and fiction.  Audiobooks sometimes have one narrator or multiple narrators.  Corporate narration can vary from internal and external communications, annual report videos, training videos, conference openers, explainer videos, and e-learning.

Each narration type has a different style of narration that is used.  Think about what suits your voice and personal voice over style.  While you can train and work some voice over actors, find some types that are easiest to master and become sought-after actors.

What are Clients Looking For?

It is not always easy to know what sound a client is looking for out of a narration voice actor.  There are some general descriptors that you will see in the audition notes or job posting are, “real person”, “conversational”, “authoritative”, “inspirational”, and “genuine”.  While these tags can be vague, they give you a starting point. 

One of the things to think about is what clients respond to with your voice, what style is a good fit for you and them.  If you study the options, train, and use your unique gift, it will land the jobs.

Your Successes

When you are deciding upon your strategy for narration, think about what your wheelhouse is.  Think about the styles that you book.  You will want to make sure that you have updated demos that showcase that so you can continue to book those jobs.  However, you may decide that there is another segmented area that you want to book.  This is the time to work on those skills needed and expand.

Narration Demos

Demos need to show your range and the best work in order to get a callback and book a job.  Some think that your demo should be in a mixed-format while others feel that tracks should be separate.  The best option is to have both ready to go so that you can send what it is that they want.  Not everyone has time to listen to multiple tracks and narration demos tend to be a little longer than other demos.

Another tip for a narration demo is if you know the type of read the client is looking for send them that cut.  This will give them exactly what they are looking for and the stronger possibility of them hiring you.

Don’t forget about production in your demos whether you are exceptionally good or starting out, a strong demo has excellent sound.  If the demo does not sound professional, no matter how strong your voice is it will not get you booked.  Work with a professional producer and continue to work on your editing skills.  These days as more voice over actors are working from home studios there is a level of production and editing that is required by you.

Some narration for TV done for popular shows like on The Discovery Channel, Food Channel, Animal Planet, History Channel and many more require special "in-show" narration to enhance the action in the footage being shown. The demo for these shows need to sound exactly like what you hear on those programs. I just made my very first demo of this kind this year. Here's a link:

https://soundcloud.com/ricklancestudio/ricklancetvnarration-2


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Why Understanding Vocal Fry is So Important to Voice Over Talent

 


As a voice over talent, it is important to stay current with modern trends both in voice and recording styles. Vocal fry is a phrase that is often mentioned in the acting industry.  However, it is unhealthy for a voice over actor as it has the potential to create long-term damage to your vocal cords.  A voice over talent’s voice is their most important asset.  Here is a look at vocal fry and if there is a need for it and what it is.

What is Vocal Fry?

Vocal Fry is the lowest vocal register a person can produce.  Vocal fry is also known as the vocal fry register.  It occurs when a minimal amount of air is passed through the vocal cords and they vibrate slowly, creating a popping or sizzling sound.  This speech pattern is a fad seen in North America.

Trending Examples of Vocal Fry

Vocal fry has received more attention over the past few years in female actors.  A few common examples are Brittany Spears, the Kardashians, and Katy Perry.

Perceptions of Vocal Fry

The perception of vocal fry is that it sounds like a lack of confidence, authority, laziness, or aloofness.  The voice is there but barely it has a breathlessness sound.  The audience will start to wonder if the narrator or speaker not authentic do they not believe in what they are saying?

The audience that this speech pattern appeals to most is the millennial audience.  However, most brands do not want the perceptions to be affiliated with their brand.

Vocal Fry Can Damage Vocal Chords

While many say that this speech technique is linked to a relaxed voice, it can cause a sore throat at the end of the day of recording. By minimizing the amount of air other throat muscles need to constrict putting a strain on your throat.  This is want can cause vocal fatigue.  For voice over talent fatigue will make your voice sound tired the next day.  Which can affect the next job especially if you need to sound excited and perky.  Over an extended period of time, using vocal fry can cause you to lose your voice and end the recording session for the day or possibly a few days of no speaking. 

Is This Style For You?

There are times where the voice naturally drops into that low register.  Vocal fry is a style that many people like and relate to, while others have a strong distaste for it.  When it comes to using this speaking style as a voice over talent, it may be asked of you if the brand or story is trying to reach that younger audience.  However, be careful as a voice over talent you need to care for your vocal cords and protect them as it is your livelihood. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Voice Acting Techniques from A Seasoned Voice Over Actor

 


The first step is having a great voice and the desire to be a voice over actor.  However, having a great voice is not enough, you need to train and practice to be successful.  To book jobs will take time and a commitment to perfecting your abilities and submitting pieces. But one caveat here. Having a great voice has a bit of a new meaning in the VO world. Meaning traditionally a nice... often radio... nice voice is not as valued. Many times just an average sounding voice, in the traditional sense... can work quite well in voiceover. In other words, these days it's how you use that voice.

Work with Coaches and Take Classes

Being a voice actor is more than having a good voice and reading, it takes acting skills, pronunciation, and articulation.  Classes also allow you to meet other actors and network within the industry.  Collaboration opportunities give you a great chance to learn from others and improve your skills. And keep up with the current trends in the industry.

A voice acting coach will listen and help you train to get the best performance each and every time.  While you can practice and listen to yourself with recordings, they understand all the things that directors are looking for.  A coach can help guide you to the genres that will help you create a successful career. And maybe help you find your "signature.. or money" voice!

Study Other Voice Over Actors

The best voice over actors listen to other professionals not only when they were starting out but throughout their career.  Study commercials, cartoons, video games, eBooks, anywhere that a voice over actor is playing a character or narrating.  By studying you will also find which genres and styles appeal to you and which jobs you want to take. As the old saying goes... steal only from the best! Then make it your own.

Warm-ups

Just like an athlete voice over actors need to warm-up before an audition and jobs.  Warming up is so important to loosen up the vocal cords and it decreases the occurrence of voice cracks and mouth noises.  Breathing exercises and warm-ups will help get your voice to perform at its best and help you take care of your voice. 

Some of the most effective warm-ups are lip rolls, tongue trills, and the m, z, l, and n sounds.  For more vocal warm-up tips to get the best performance, read my warm-up post here.

Practice

Practice is important even when you are not preparing for an audition or job.  Set up a recording studio in your home and practice reading copy and then listening back to it.  This is also the time to work on tones, accents, and pitches so that you can be a versatile voice over actor.

Another area to practice is in the editing of your recordings.  Many jobs will require you to be able to edit the recording before sending it in.  In the last year, it has become even more important as the pandemic has changed the way recording studios operate and the opportunity to work in one.

Interpreting Scripts

A good voice actor needs to be able to look at a script, understand the purpose and then bring it to life.  It is about interpreting the emotions and engaging with the listener.  The key to interpreting a script is to know the audience that you are talking to and speak to them.  Imagine the setting of the scene and analysis the character when necessary.  The more you can interpret and understand the script the more the script will come to life with your voice.

The voice acting industry is an exciting and rewarding profession.  However, it is about doing the work and honing your skills so that the opportunities will come to you. 


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Virtual Reality is Still Opening Doors for Voice Over Talent

 


Virtual Reality is continuously developing new technology to make VR games and apps more and more advanced.  VR includes games, apps, how-to, and even companies are using VR as a way to tell stories.  As virtual reality keeps improving, there is one thing that is staying the same, the opportunities for voice over talent.  Here are some of the many opportunities virtual reality has for voice over talent.

Virtual Reality and Gaming

When people first hear Virtual Reality, they immediately think of gaming, and this is the biggest and most popular way VR became reality in homes.  There are many headsets on the market and the games keep improving and so many options since when flight one’s first, hit the scene.

Training and Marketing Videos

VR has improved the way companies are making training videos from cars to medical centers, these training videos are improving the way employees and customers see.  Car companies like Mercedes have created an app that lets consumers test drive their cars.  This marketing video has helped increase sales and interest in the E-class Mercedes.  Doctors use virtual reality to improve surgical skills without risking patient’s lives.

Doctors Prescribe VR

While a doctor will not prescribe a VR video game, they will advise a patient on therapy that uses Virtual Reality.  For anxiety, doctors have found that with the aid of VR they can help reduce anxiety attacks.  Post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias can be debilitating, however, with safe exposure therapy, they can learn to deal with circumstances, objects, and places while remaining safe in an office.

Visit Destinations

The travel industry and many popular destinations have always put together beautiful imagery and commercials showcasing their destination.  However, when the pandemic hit, travel, landmarks, parks, and destinations all felt the void.  Virtual Reality became extremely important to let visitors see and learn about their locations with VR technology.  Museums, zoos, National parks, have all changed their game by offering tours using technology.

What Do All of These Styles Have in Common?

The graphics and the feeling of being transported are a large part of what makes VR so popular.  However, that is not enough it is about the story, the script, and the voice.  That is where voice over talent comes in.  In all the examples of VR, there are many different voice over genre styles.  A video game needs an excited narrator leading the user down the path to a win.  Whereas in training videos, it is a moderate voice that is precise and yet doesn’t put the audience to sleep.

For therapy VR, a calm and soothing voice is what will help patients overcome their anxiety and PTSD.

These options are just many examples of the type of jobs that are out there for voice over talent.  As with all voice over job opportunities, not all may be the perfect fit for your style, however, it is worth looking into as you are working to create a carrier in the industry.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Customer Service Voice Over Opportunities are Out There

 


For all companies, customer service and the customer experience are everything.  How customers perceive a brand ultimately affects the bottom line.  Because of this, many brands are turning to hire professional voice over actors to communicate their brand effectively.  If you have not considered this type of job, it can be a great opportunity for you.

Customer Service or Customer Experience

The difference between customer service and the customer experience is that customer service handles the interaction with the customer typically when there is a problem.  The customer experience is the entire journey of a customer with a business. 

While customer service is still important to businesses these days, it is the customer experience that they are focusing on, which is where voice over actors come into the picture.

Why Brands Need Voice Over Actors

Companies are hiring voice over actors for phone and online customer service options.  Why?  Because of the absence of face-to-face communication, it is harder to get emotions across, the non-verbal cues play a role.  Relying solely on the voice brands find that customers can read messages very differently than it was intended.

Trained voice actors can effectively communicate, it is what you are trained for.  You can get the message across to their customers in their voice.

The content must be read clearly and easily understood by the customer, many brands prefer it to be conversational and believable.  Voice over actors that have experience in audiobooks and podcasts do very well with this genre.

Tone Matters

When it comes to customer service the tone of the voice is the difference between your words being heard or undermined.  The tone can make a difference between a positive or negative customer experience.  A negative experience typically means a lost customer, versus a lifelong relationship.

A voice actor understands the way to modulate and control vocal delivery.  Your goal as a professional is to be confident and welcoming while gaining the client’s trust simply with the recording that they hear.

Read Over the Script and Intentions

As a voice over actor, it is your goal to help the company that hires you with reading the script effectively but also making sure that your tone and delivery gives the right message.  Sometimes brands will think that humor is a good way to go on a customer service recording, however, with your expertise if you think it doesn’t sound authentic then let them know.  Part of your job is to make sure that the intention is what is delivered.

Many brands are looking for voice over actors so if it is a new type of work, study both good and bad and practice so you can give the best performance.  Once you get hired, it may be a good source for other in-house projects and even being the voice of their brand.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Radio Ads Need Voice Over Actors: Are you Ready?

 


Radio commercials can be national or local and can provide a voice over actor a regular income.  Radio ads are not dead and are still a great job source for voice over talent.

Voice over actors are so important for radio ads as it is your voice that brings credibility to the message and the brand.  They are counting on your voice to make listeners not only interested but represent their brand in the best light.

Voice Over Talent for Radio

Radio commercials or ads are anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds long.

Radio ads are typically read at a faster rate and require a lot of energy.  You must hold the attention of the audience and be persuasive without being pushy.  The voice is the most important part of the ad and can be told in a variety of styles based on the brand’s target audience.

Types of Radio Ads

There are four main types of radio ads that are used.  Each one has specific formatting that makes it important to understand how you should use your talent.

·         Jingle Ad – These ads are the ones that people are singing or humming long after, the ones with phrases that get stuck in a listener’s head.  The key is the wording and as a voice over actor it is about clearly getting the message out.

·         Sponsorship Ad – These ads typically come before or after a popular show.  It is a commanding voice that states, “This show is sponsored by….”

·         Straight Read Ad – These ads are an audio version of text ads.  They are ads that speak about the brand.

·         Customer Testimonial Ad – Brands often have compelling testimonials by customers that make for great promotion ads.  However, the customers are not the ones to read them.  That is where a skilled voice actor can give the read based on the customer’s words.  It is perfect for a professional actor who can give the statement life.

Practice is Key

The best way to become a radio voice over actor is to practice.  Work with a broad range of scripts so that you are prepared for the broad range of styles and can work on the subtle differences.  Record your practice runs and then play them back.

Listen to the current style you hear on the radio, styles change to keep up with trends.

A radio voice over coach will be able to help you work out the fine elements.  Look for a coach that specializes in radio teachings or a class that is specifically about radio voice over work.

Get Your Demo Reel Ready

If you are just starting in the radio ad world, create a demo with the styles that you have mastered.  Make sure that your reel is clean and would be ready to go straight to air.  This reel needs to impress agents, brands, anyone that you are sending a copy out to.

Keep in mind that your reel will constantly change and update as you book jobs and broaden your work.  A demo is about showcasing the best of your work and a variety or diversity of what you can do.

5 Things You Need To Have Professional Voice Over Recording Studio in Your Home

 



When setting up your home voice over recording studio, there are tons of items that are on the list and a variety of price points.  However, there are the top 5 items to start with and then from there, you can slowly build up.  The most important part is that you need high-quality audio recordings to not only get jobs but to keep booking jobs.

Microphone

The equipment starts with the microphone.  A high-quality microphone will get the best and cleanest sound.  You want to make sure that it will capture your voice as it impacts the overall quality of the recording. And YES, there are a lot of mics to choose from! THIS is where you should spend most of your gear money! 

There are two main types of microphones, USB and XLR.  Professional voice over talent uses an XLR, they have a wider dynamic range and more sensitivity.   USB microphones were created more for the everyday person who needs a mic for zoom calls. Although, the sound quality of these mics is improving constantly.

Pop Filter

The better your microphone is the more sensitive it can be, which makes the filter a necessity.  You want a sensitive microphone to give the rich texture and nuances of your voice.  However, you do not want all voice noises audible.

A pop filter will help with the plosive and sibilant sounds that the mouth makes, especially the “P” pop and the “S” hiss. 

Headphones

Studio quality headphones matter. It gives you a chance to hear all the unwanted noises and sounds, including lip smacks and small noises from the home studio.  Earbuds and headsets do not have the clarity of studio headphones. Nor are regular "music listening" stereo headphones a good choice either. Given that they do not produce a "flat" sound and "color" your voice too much. It is important that you can hear every little thing because the client certainly will when you send the recording.

Soundproofing

Having a quality microphone will get you the best sounding noises, yet not all sounds need to be on the recording.  When deciding on the best place to set up your recording area, think about the windows and outside noises.  Consider what walls you are sharing with, such as the laundry room.  If you live alone, then it makes some choices very easy, however, with roommates or family then you have to consider what they are doing in the house as well.

Before investing in a ton of soundproofing materials, a commonplace that voice-over talent finds has good recording is a closet, especially a walk-in closet.  There is space to set up an area and it has decent acoustics being a small space full of soft clothing and not a lot of furniture for sound to bounce off.

And remember, the best mic in the world will yield a lousy sound if the space it is in is poorly soundproofed. So, make sure that space is "tight" with no echo or outside noise entering it.

Digital Audio Workstations (DAW)

A digital audio workstation is the application software that is used for recording, editing, and producing audio files.  There are many options available on the market, including free ones like Audacity.  However, there are options that you must purchase like Adobe Audition that have all the plugins and editing options to produce quality audio files.

It is important to research the options and learn how to use the equipment, it is not enough to have the workstation; it is also about using it to create the highest quality recordings.

These are just the bare essentials of what you'll need. Research each area for greater detail.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Brands are Looking for Voice Over Talent are You Prepared?

 


As the business world is taking to more work at home opportunities, the market for voice over talent is expanding.  E-learning and explainer videos are part of this hugely expanding work from home market. As new employee training, updating employees, and clients on how to use devices are happening virtually the need for narrators are expanding and voice over talent is the best fit for the jobs.

The Differences Between E-Learning and Explainer Videos

E-Learning is an efficient way to teach courses online.  Businesses across the board are providing material on their websites, through intranets, to help customers and clients.  The topics cover a broad range of subjects and a wide range of jobs.

E-Learning places emphasis on the voice being engaging to keep the audience involved.  The narrator has to keep the interest over a long period of time without character voices or being too soothing.  Because of these reasons, businesses understand that voice over talent is the best investment instead of using in-house personnel.  Many voice over actors are finding that E-Learning videos are making up a large percentage of their jobs.

Explainer videos are short videos that are most often seen on a website, social media, or YouTube videos.  These 2 to 5-minute videos are a way to engage audiences while giving the brand a voice.  Explainer videos are a popular marketing strategy with brands.

Brands may create their own or work with companies that specialize in the production of these types of videos.  Contact the production companies as their list of clients may be in need of a fresh voice.

The Benefits of this Type of Voice Over Work

One of the biggest bonuses of working for a brand on these projects is that if they like your work then you can have reoccurring projects.  Both E-Learning and explainer videos in many cases will use the same narrator as it becomes the voice of the brand.

What Qualities Brands Look For

Brands look for a voice over actor that is a good match to what they need and have a strong work ethic.  Here is a list of what brands look for so that you can be prepared.

  • Voice and Audio Quality – Brands are looking for a voice that is pleasant and likable, you want to make sure that the audio is clean, clear, and crisp, with no pops or crackles. It is about having a likable voice especially for E-Learning work, it is a lot of emphasis on voice teaching
  • Fast Turnaround – While the videos make take time to edit, brands want the project to be done efficiently and as fast as possible. Whether you do the editing yourself or you outsource it, be sure to give a reasonable time on when it can be ready for them.
  • Technical Knowledge – The audio format can vary based on what the brand is using the video for. You need to be able to save them in the proper format as well as the delivery of the audio files.
  • Experience – If you have the experience, be sure to let brands know. The fact that you understand the ins and outs of these projects makes them more confident in booking you.

If you are looking for a new avenue of work, E-Learning and explainer videos are a great place to look.  If you can deliver a great narration, just make sure that you can technically make the work a success.  


A Guide To Becoming A Voice Over Actor in 2021

 


The voice over industry is growing, and it offers many opportunities as digital is driving demand for voice over actors.  But do you have what it takes?  Here is a guide to becoming a voice actor and what it looks like in 2021.

The voice over industry has changed over the years as technology has improved.  Voice over actors typically lived in major cities and worked in large recording studios, now everyone has a home studio to produce work from.

The good news is there are many opportunities and there is work out there, you have to put in the time and training to become a voice over actor.

Voice Over Opportunities

There are many genres and types of job opportunities for voice over talent.

  • Movies
  • Foreign Language Films
  • Radio
  • Commercials
  • Documentaries
  • Animation
  • Video Games
  • IVR phone systems
  • E-Learning
  • Trainer Videos
  • Audiobooks
  • Podcasts
  • Corporate/Industrial Videos

Get Training and Coaching

Many people that want to get into the voice over industry love to tell stories, talk, and have been told they have a great voice.  However, without the proper training and coaching reads can be flat or show exaggerated pronunciations.

Look into local theatre groups and see If they offer improv classes, or meet-ups so that you can get some practice in. 

Do your homework studying commercials, audiobooks, and then practice with a recording device, so that you can hear the differences.

There is nothing better than working with a professional voice acting coach that specializes in the voice over industry.  They can help guide you to what genres suit your voice best.

Let’s Talk Technical

While having the voice skills is a major part, now voice actors need to have technical skills as well.  With home recording studios you have the benefit of working from home, it does mean that you need the proper equipment and editing skills.

To initially start you can go small and work towards upgrading your equipment.  However, you are going to need clean demos that sound professional from the beginning.  First, think about your space.  It needs to be quiet away from traffic noises, appliances, and anyone that lives in the house with you, including pets.

When it comes to the equipment, you will need a microphone and pop shield, a mixer or interface, a computer, and recording software.

Getting Started

Starting out takes time and it takes some startup money for the equipment.  For many getting into the industry they start part-time and once bookings come in, then move it into a full-time career.

Having demos is critical whether you have been working or just starting.  If you have booked some gigs, then choose your best clips to use as your demos.  However, if you are starting out then you will want to create demos to showcase your voice.  Without demos, you are not going to get the audition.  Demo reels are a tool that will constantly need updating as you evolve into your voice over career.

In our digital world, a website is a must.  You will need to create a website that has your demos on it and your contact information at the least.  It is about branding yourself as voice over talent.  A website is about marketing yourself and establishing credibility.

Once you are ready to audition, look at online sites like Voice123, Voices.com, and other legitimate professional sites.  Just don't depend on those websites as anything more than just another tool to find work possibilities. They are overloaded with would-be talent and who are often not treated fairly. Also, look locally to see if radio stations or businesses are looking for voice over actors for commercials or marketing campaigns.  Create profiles on these sites as well so that companies and people can find you and your work. 

Finding Your Niche

A career in the voice over industry is an exciting one.  However, like any trade, it does take hard work and dedication to turn it into a career and not just a hobby.  It is also about finding your niche and excelling in it.  I found that my vocal style is Americana, the voice of the heartland.  Which lends itself to voice over projects in Nashville and a number of well-known industries that need that Americana sound.  Think about your voice style and what is a natural fit and go from there.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Voice Over Actor Vocal Warm ups that Will Improve Your Recordings

 


As a voice actor, your voice is critical to your livelihood.  It is important to warm up and care for your voice before work.  The difference between an impromptu vocal delivery and a script read following a warmup can make a tremendous difference in the final product.

The Benefits of Vocal Warmups

Vocal warm-ups have significant benefits.  They loosen your vocal cords, which improves your readings and helps keep them in good condition over time.  Using your voice for extended periods can have damaging effects in the long run.

The more you tone your vocal cords, the more range they will have.  Just like athletes stretch their bodies, voice actors must stretch their voices.  You are protecting yourself from the chance of injury.

Another benefit is that warming up helps get rid of anxieties or nervous energy.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises will help relax your vocal cords.  There are several breathing exercises that are a great option to practice.

Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose and then exhale deliberately and slowly through your mouth.  Repeat a few times, this will get you centered for your exercises. And increases your lung capacity.

Stretch Your Body

Several body exercises have proven to be important in the voice actor world, especially since many times you may be standing for long periods of time recording.

Start with some gentle neck rolls, around, forward, backward, side to side.  Start in one direction and then change to the other.

Shrug your shoulder up and down and then move to arm circles, to get your shoulders and arms loose as well.  Tension builds in the neck and can move down to the shoulders.

Stretch those ribs by raising your arms and then leaning to one side and hold for a few seconds and then switching to the other side.

Finally, shake it all out.  Shake your hands, then arms, and the rest of your body to get the remaining tension out and warm it all up.

Humming and Lip Flutters

Humming not only loosens up your vocal cords but is warms up your facial muscles.  Lip flutters or trills help bring back your vocal tone quality after sleeping or long periods of silence.  These practices are a perfect part of a morning routine.

Roll your tongue on the roof of your mouth to make the double rr sound.

Descending Nasal Consonants

There are several methods to warm up your sinuses and nasal passages.  One popular option is to say the word onion and stretch the ny sound and voice in a downward pitch.  Another set of word choices is words that end in z.  Fizz, whizz, and buzz are great examples and you will linger on the z to get resonating.

Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters sound funny and when repeated fast can be hilarious.  However, they loosen the mouth up.  It also allows for your mouth to be loose so that your pronunciation will improve during readings.  Some popular ones are “red leather yellow leather” and “she sells seashells by the seashore”.

Yawn and Yawn Sighs

Yawning can improve the sound of your voice.  It relaxes throat muscles and vocal cords.  When they are relaxed, the tone of your voice actually drops.  Morgan Freeman has been cited as telling this as one of his best voice over secrets.

A yawn sigh is when you open your mouth like you are yawning, but let your voice sigh loudly from the top of your register down to its lowest note.

And if you're yawning right now after reading this article, because maybe you already knew this information... hey, a little repetition never hurts!