Saturday, January 25, 2014

- Partial Thoughts On Getting a Voiceover Agent

This is a chicken and the egg business. You need an agent to get the big union jobs and you generally need to have gotten some big jobs before an agent will be interested in representing you. There are many exceptions to this, but it will do as a gross generalization. If you start by getting corporate narratives you can land some extensive work. There are no gates to getting this kind of work. All the HR department cares about is, do you have a good natural delivery and can you deliver on time and on budget. When an agent likes your vo demo and says "What have you done", you can refer to your corporate narratives. No one likes to go first. Agents generally aren't interested in talent development per se, they are interested in how much money they think they can make from you booking jobs. They will be more interested in you if you can show that other people have hired you.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

- Optimizing Your Speech So it's Clear and Natural

We worked in class last night on how to make our reads sound natural, fluid, and persuasive. One of the main technical issues to be aware of in vocal production is the energy distribution.
Simply put, the energy in vowels and consonants is exactly the same in natural daily speech. Your "Day Voice" equally distributes the effort between consents and vowels. There is often a tendency when in front of a mic to over articulate the consonants. this results in a kind of violent diction that makes the copy sound read instead of idea driven and natural. Remember to speak to the end of the phrase and breath.

Friday, January 17, 2014

-- My Favorite PreAmp - ART Pro MPA-II 2-channel Tube Microphone Preamplifier

Preamp preferences are very subjective. My favorite for voiceovers and other vocals is
 ART Pro MPA-II 2-channel Tube Microphone Preamplifier
  • Two channels of flexible tube preamplification
  • Supports dual-mono and stereo operation, as well as mid/side miking
  • Large VU meters and multicolored LEDs display levels
  • It is avery warm and very clear sound. Some people like to record with compression and I've always felt that it was better to start with the best sound you can get without compression but with a great preamp. Compression can be added as needed on a project by project basis. This Preamp can be purchased from many retailers for about $300 and sounds as good or better that many more expensive units.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Creating Variety By Changing Cadences in Voiceover Reads

Very often the direction one receives is, "Ok, give me three versions of that line".  It is very important to move the emphasis around when you're doing multiple takes. A lot of times people just try and vary the melody while they use the same cadence and that usually isn't enough. So try moving the emphasis.
i.e. "it is better to give than receive" "It is better to give than receive" "It is better to give than receive". Variations of cadence combined with slight shifts in the melody and where you breathe will give you endless combinations that will make any booth director your friend.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Favorite Voiceover Mic

Microphones are a very subjective topic. My particular favorite mic is the AKG 414 XL 11.
It is really wonderful because it is specifically a vocal mic and is great with male and female voices.
I prefer it over many of the more expensive name microphones. The AKG can be purchased for around $ 800 to 1000.

Monday, January 13, 2014

VoiceOver is a Very Competitive Business…So What?

People are always talking about how hard it is to get into the voiceover business. Yes, it's incredibly competitive. Yes it's not easy to get an agent. It pays a lot of money, so of course people want to do it.
Anything that is fun and pays well is going to be  popular. This has nothing at all to do with whether you should try and do it for a living. Otherwise what your saying to yourself is.." I want to find something that pays really well that few people are doing" You face the same task in any professional field. Becoming a lawyer, Dentist, Teacher, Doctor, Electrician, all of it is difficult and thats as it should be. If you want to do it, then do it and don't let anyone stop you. The good, that bad are all working so why not you? Don't take my word for it. Turn on the TV and radio and take notes on who you think is good and which ads you think you could do better

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Few Ways To Get Voiceover Jobs

...Of course this is the most asked question . Rather than just hoping you can get an agent, Think outside the box to get those first jobs;
Check with friends who have businesses that might need a new on hold message. Do a search for new authors and contact them to see if they would like an audio book version of their work. Search for start up animation companies that need cartoon voices to get their projects started. In these cases you can offer a solution to their casting problems and get maybe get yourself some work.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

When You're Nervous and flub, Stay Calm, Breathe Deep-Stay Upbeat

Another interesting thing from last nights class concerned flubbing a line. Sometimes a person is reading really well and then flubs a line near the end of the read. When they go back to do a pick up, you can hear the despair in their voices as they read. The disappointment  of goofing up becomes the tone of voice. We have to make sure what we're thinking does NOT become the tone of voice we're using. It all has to be separate. We don't want to react emotionally to our mistakes, we just want to observe, correct and fix them and move on. Taking a deep breath is very important to stay calm and keeping your mind clear so you can do great reads and easily fix the flubs.

Character Voices Must Not Obscure What You're Saying

Last night in class two people were doing some amazing character voices but it was hard to tell what they were saying. Sometimes we get so caught up in the character voice that we forget that the words and ideas are still the most important thing. We have to make sure we are easily understood. Everything has to be idea driven and clear or we are making our very cool character voice the most important thing instead of what the character is saying.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

VoiceOver Recording Tips

A number of people have been asking why their recordings sound hollow. There seems to be an invasion of hollow recordings.

The general problem is that people are standing way too far from the microphone.
There is much better saturation if you stay about 8 to 10 inches from the mic.
This will give you a nice firm clean recording signal with much less room noise.

VoiceOver Success by Yourself

The most important element for voiceover career success is persistence. If you never take a voiceover lesson from anyone and record and playback your readings, you will be amazed at how much you will learn. Keep refining your reads until they sound natural and convincing to you.