Wednesday, December 31, 2014

- No One is Going To Tell You To Be a Voiceover Artist

I knew a famous singer when I was a guest artist at San Francisco Opera that I conducted Master Classes with. Singers would ask her if they should continue on and try and have a career as an opera singer. She would always say NO! I asked her over dinner why she always told everyone NO. She responded that a real singer would go ahead and sing no matter what. Any one who needed approval to have a career didn't belong in the business anyway. Have a happy New Year and follow your dreams, whatever they are:)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

- Getting The Most out of Your Voice and Career

There are several related questions that people ask me: How do I make my voice authentic? How do I get everything out of my voice? How can I read any style of copy better than anyone. How can I get to a higher level in my career? How can I make more money? How can I have a successful voiceover career?
There are many more questions than these that come in all the time. Some of the questions are good ones and some maybe not as well thought out. Nevertheless, here are some related answers.
Even the questions that seem more superficial are inspired by legitimate worries and or concerns.
How does voiceover success work and whats  the relationship of YOUR voice to it?
First of all, you have to be easy company to be around. Learn to be casual and social in the studio. Don't talk too much!
Practice ALL the time. There are really a lot of great VoiceOver Artists, make sure your practice schedule will make you one of them. A part time or random effort will produce an incomplete set of skills. Remember that NO ONE person can read all the different kinds of copy. The compass of your voice and personality has range and flexibility but it has natural limits that must be obeyed in order to maintain authenticity.
You can take your career to a higher level by developing a higher standard for the work you send out. I'm not talking about perfectionism, that has nothing to do with great work. It has everything to do with endless self criticism, which is different. Make sure you deliver pristine clear natural vocal renderings of the copy.
You can have a successful voiceover career by doing what we all have done; work hard on your skills because you love it so much, network with many people, use good business practices in all your dealings, and do what you say your going to do. Always remember, you can do do it. We have and so can you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

- How To Get Rid of Mouth Clicks/Noise Before or After

This happens to all of us at some point. There are mouth clicks that we notice when we play back our recordings. Sometimes they're are none and sometimes we wonder what the heck is wrong with our mouth. Lets start with minimizing them to start with. Generally the clicks start appearing if our mouth is too dry. When you are speaking, you are loosing over a liter of water an hour because the humidity in the lungs is close to 100%. Keep taking sips of water while you're reading. By the time you feel dry it's too late for that moment because it takes time to re hydrate. The next issue is how to minimize the noise on the spot. Every body chemistry is different so you have to experiment with what works for you. Having said that. Apple juice is an amazing moisturizer for the mouth. Mixing some honey with water works for many. Some people I know swear that some molasses in water is a great cure.
If none of this helps then the post production fix that I love is made by iZotope. It is their RX4. It has a DeClick filter that is just magic. Scroll down to Declick and you'll see how specific it is.
iZotope RX 4: Features | Audio Enhancement & Repair Tool

You can by either the $349. version or the advanced $1199. version.

iZotope RX 4: Complete Audio Enhancement & Repair Toolkit

Om shorter pieces you can of course just do surgery and cut the clicks out, like we've all done but iZotope is magic.

Monday, December 15, 2014

- Success = Record and Play Back, Record and Play Back - A lot:)

One of the most important things you can do to improve your ability to read copy and create variations, is to be a maniac about recording yourself and listening to those takes. Try and listen to your takes as a director would. Is it authentic? ... or does it smack of "Hard Sell"?  Does your delivery have "The Most Reasonable Conclusion Sound"? There are many, many ways to do successful voiceovers. You will discover what's best for your voice and personality by recording and playing back your voice endlessly. The built up familiarity will bring you revelations about how to create more effective deliveries.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

- If You Want To Make More than Most people You Need better Skills than Most People

Everything is relative to the context you're in, but generally if you can read better than most people you have a good chance of making more than most people. What does that mean actually? Here are some generalizations that have lots of exceptions, but are  useful to make a point. You have to work on all of your skills from reading to cold reading to marketing and networking. No one is simply going to "discover you". It rarely works like that. People are often "over night" successes after many years of training and personal development until they "break through". One example is that the people directing a voice over session may just ask you to give them a half dozen different reads with some direction, but not much. You have to be able to do subtle variations of cadence and melody to give them true variations of the copy that still sounds natural and still remain within the general directions they have given. This is harder than it sounds. I do know a number of working pros who don't work on that and wonder why they can't climb higher on the food chain. We are never done trying to improve our skills so we can have "fewer gigs and bigger checks" :)