Saturday, January 31, 2015

- Congratulations Dimitri Michas on Your VO Super Bowl Commercial-Hear it :)

Dimitri is a long time friend and client that has worked for years to keep improving everything about his skills and his really great voice. Here is the YouTube link to his voiceover for the Wix Super Bowl commercial. Congratulations Dimitri on your great work. Big Game Commercial | Wix’s #ItsThatEasy Big Game Campaign - YouTube

Friday, January 30, 2015

- Networking IS Important, But How Good Are Your Skills?

Any business requires networking and marketing in order to acquire clients. It is important to remember that you have to have voiceover skills and authenticity in your tone of voice in order to keep the new clients you acquire. Remember, people with great VO demos do get fired because they aren't as good in the booth as their demo represents. There is a natural rush to get clients and to get to work. That must not displace developing a very high skill level so that one really is competitive with the best VO artists out there. You are trying to go to the "Olympics" and you must train with that same commitment. Refining and improving ones skills is a life long investment that creates success.

Friday, January 16, 2015

- Five reasons why you can succeed as a voiceover artist

  1. All Kinds of voices are needed to communicate with different people.
We all like people who are like ourselves. We also like people who sound like us. Ever year the advertisers and project producers use a greater variety of voice talents to sell their products and narrate their projects.
Advertisers and casting directors need a wide range of voice types in order to sell to all kinds of people. The demand for a wider variety of voices is greater every year.
Sometimes there is a misconception that only dramatic or impressive voices can do voiceovers. That simply is not true. There was a time in the 50’s and the 60’s when the sound of the “announcer” , big deep voices, was completely dominant but not any longer. So, if you love speaking and playing with words, if you like language and expressing yourself, you could be part of this very lucrative industry.
Your own uniqueness can be the reason you make a lot of money. Often, people try to be like everyone else. In voiceovers, being different can make you rich. Of course you have to fit in to the various styles, but your individual sound can bring a richness to someone’s project that will be perfect for them. Think how many times we haven’t understood an explanation until some one who is more like our self explained it to us.
Different people are needed to explain things to different people. One type of voice might not be able to convey the ideas to one person, that another person saying the exact same words can explain with perfect clarity.
Many times a less dramatic voice is perceived as more accessible.
Obviously this depends on the person who is listening, what is being talked about, and what they are drawn to. But having said that, if we are seeking assurance or affirmation, then we tend to prefer a more authoritative voice. On the other hand, if we are trying to learn new concepts, or instructions in a new field, a more gentle voice can often help us understand better. Why? Well we sometimes feel slow or foolish if we don’t understand something new right away. It’s a basic human tendency to want to understand and to be impatient about the learning process. Consequently a more gentle, less dramatic voice allows us to relax more and not feel as impatient or embarrassed if we are having trouble grasping a concept.
So, there is not only room for all of you, but a need for all of you and your voices.
  1. It’s more about persistence than anything else. This is always an interesting fact of life that I never get tired of musing over. The main question really isn’t… is there room for you in this competitive field. The question is how badly would you like to do this for a living. Everything is a result of process and process requires focus and commitment. We all have to do the work to acquire skills and develop a familiarity and proficiency in the world of voiceovers and voice acting. It is a life long sport and a fun and rewarding one at that. So I’m pointing out that too often people thing of persistence only in regard to making an effort to obtain work. Well of course that’s important, but that isn’t where it ends. I have always found that the more I develop my skills in all areas: cold reading skills, the ability to do different reads, voice development and breathing exercise’s, marketing skills, networking skills, and technical skills, the luckier I am at getting work. It isn’t just persistence, it’s persistence in all of the related and necessary areas that are a part of the whole. That’s important, because a partial effort, will not lead to success and you don’t want to mistake an unsuccessful partial effort for failure, or a lack of talent. That is just natures way of saying there is more to do. More often than not it isn’t a lack of talent as much as it’s a lack of preparation. It is very easy in Los Angeles or any other city for that matter to get a little training and jump into networking to get those jobs. It is important that you don’t unintentionally run around in your enthusiasm teaching people that you have underdeveloped skills. Persistence in all areas will lead to you getting work.

  1. The market is growing and needs more voice talents. Now we have talked about how clients and advertisers need all kinds of voices to communicate with all kinds of people, but the other fact is that there aren’t enough voiceover artists with great technique to satisfy all the different needs out there. Sure there are many, many people doing voiceover work, but just go to any medical convention in the country, for example, where suppliers are selling goods and services to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers and listen to the video presentations. It always amazes me that about two thirds of all the video presentations and power point presentations are narrated in an old school dry boring style. I think it came from a philosophy that if it’s medical it has to be serious. It has to be authoritative. We’ll from my point of view that doesn’t automatically mean dull and boring. It is exciting and fun to figure out how to deliver medical presentations in an interesting way that is easy and fun to listen to and still be completely respectful of the topic and he audience.
  2. Non Union Freelance jobs are the rule. The vast majority of all the voiceover work is non-union. All you need is someone who likes your work. In the non-union world it is just between you and them. As long as you are being paid an amount of money that you think is fair and you agree on where and when, you’re in business. Most of these places will ask you to record in you own studio and deliver it via ftp upload. I’ll explain that process in a different session. It is cheaper for most of the places of business to not have and in house engineer and studio and to just have us do it. There are just so many areas of corporate voiceovers and narrated that it’s mind boggling: on hold messaging, power point presentations, corporate narratives, healthcare infomercials, new sales training videos, training videos of all kinds, quarterly report presentations, just to name a few. So by all means go to conventions that interest you and start learning how you can do it better than they do by watching all the different presentations. Take that inspiration and practice, practice, practice. Non-union jobs are much less intense than major jobs like a national commercial or jobs through voiceover talent agencies. God bless them for all the work they do they contribute so much to the success of many major projects. But it is the “NFL” so to speak so the intensity and the competition takes place at the highest level. In the non-union world it is just you and them, there is less money involved of course. It is a good idea to work in the world of non-union in order to prepare yourself for representation with a voiceover talent agency.
  3. Good Service is hard to get. You just can’t even imagine how hard it is to get good service consistently. There are horror stories everywhere about poor audio quality, poor service, poor voiceover work and bad attitudes. There are also a lot of fine professionals who take enormous pride in every aspect of their work. You want to be one of those. When you get new accounts often people will thank you for solving their voiceover problems and tell you how much they appreciate your professional work and always delivering on time. You want to join the ranks of people who take pride not only in the quality of their work, but also the quality of their service. All you have to do is think through how you would want a voiceover artist to behave if that artist was doing work for you. This is one of the best and most inspiring ways of figuring out what your business profile should be. How do you want to be viewed by your clients and what things can you do to earn that perception

Thursday, January 15, 2015

- Reducing the Amount of Editing Time by Rehearsing Before Recording

I've had a number of inquiries from VO Artists regarding how to reduce the amount of editing time on long voiceover projects. This was interesting to me because it has a direct relationship to how much money can be made. If it takes a person 6 hours of work to deliver one hour of finished narration/voiceover, that isn't as good as spending, say 3 or four hours, to get one finished hour of narration. Now of course, everyone has their own way of working and there are a million ways to prepare and finish a project.
Here is my process that I use to minimize editing time and get the best reads from myself.
When the script comes in, lets assume its a 20 minute read ( approx 2800 to 3000 words), I lay on my office couch with a large glass of juice and cold read it out loud. I circle the spots where the cadence isn't right and/or I have handled the phrasing incorrectly. When I have finished the first read, I then go back to those trouble spots and work out the phrasing issues. Then I go for a walk on the property and read it out loud while I'm walking to make sure I have the phrasing, cadence and tone of voice the way I want it. Then and only then, I go into my booth and record. I do this with the intention of taking the time I need to try and read it perfectly the first time. I don't start recording while I'm figuring out what I want and how I want to read. In other words, I don't do my rehearsing while I'm recording. I figure out what I want first and then record. This really minimizes the amount of editing time I spend and maximizes how much I can make an hour. Have fun out there folks.

Friday, January 9, 2015

- Studying Voiceover Skills Improves Success in Any Profession

The ability to persuade determines our financial success. In fact, everything in life is about vocal presentation. We connect with people, get hired, teach, and close deals based on the effective use and clarity of our voice. Whether you’re a teacher, receptionist, lawyer, salesperson, politician, program coordinator, CEO, team leader, doctor, negotiating or interviewing, it is our voice that carries our ideas to people. Success is a voice driven activity and studying voiceover skills can give you the vocal tools to achieve it.
Rapport with people isn’t magic, it is composed of certain elements in a person’s presentation. Are you ever frustrated because the training you’ve had doesn’t give you the results you want? Whether the training works or not depends entirely on delivery. The secrets for achieving your ambitions are contained in your own voice. All of success in business and personal relationships depends on your tone of voice and your vocal presentation. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

- VoiceOver Artist - Maybe the Best job Ever - Why Not You?

As we start 2015 we know anything can happen. This includes you having a voiceover career. I get a lot of emails, a lot of inquiries on Twitter @masteringVO  regarding starting a VO career. Most of the questions have to do with how competitive it is and how difficult the training might be.
EVERYTHING is competitive and everything requires lots of training. Any career takes time to learn and has professional standards that have to be met. If it didn't take a high level of vocal skill, no one would work at Sears. Control over tone of voice, breathing, nuance, and an ability to vary cadences to solve problems of meaning and/or articulation, take time and practice. If you wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, a dentist, a plumber or a sales person, you would have to commit your time and money to have a career. The real question isn't how competitive or difficult it is, the real question is do you want to be a voiceover artist? You can do it if you feel it's the path for you. If your friends tell you it's impossible get new friends:) It is wonderful fun to do things that others think can't be done.