Tuesday, November 24, 2015

- Vocal change ups and deceptive cadences will help get you work

 I hear a lot of reads that are very well spoken that really don't sound convincing. They don't really sound conversational at all. They are articulate but not "idea driven". I've heard casting agents on large project auditions describe it like this. "Nice voice, but doesn't mean it"
Advertisers and casting agents tend to pick voiceover artists who can meet all the stylistic demands of the copy and still sound like they're just talking to one of their best friends. This ability to "personalize" copy isn't magic, it has certain musical characteristics. It very important to study the phrasing that you and other people use during the day. Make notes about different styles of speech that you are drawn to that connect with you and figure out how to use those elements.
Think of all the stuff that we have bought from sales people that we didn’t actually need. They have connected with us by being personal and not pushy. It sort of triggers Stockholm’s Syndrome… we start wanting to not disappoint them so we buy what they are selling. Hah!

When we are talking to people in our "Day Voice" we naturally use a lot of vocal change ups, "beat Changes" and deceptive cadences. It's part of the harmonic geography of how we communicate in daily life. When we read copy these characteristics are often left out, making the copy sound merely like a person just reading copy. It's important to study and retain these variations in our best natural speech and not loose that spontaneous expression when we are doing voiceover work.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

- How to break into the Voiceover Business - Short List

The main question I get all the time is how does one break into voiceovers.
It’s not surprising because every year it’s a multi billion dollar industry.
Think about it. All of those off camera voices that sell you cars, insurance, laundry detergent, TV shows, cartoons, and tell you in movie trailers when the next film is coming out. Science channel, history channel, Corporate narratives and audio books. An endless stream of projects that need an off camera voice.

There are so many ways to give advice about how to start. There are many ways to look at how one begins. A lot of it depends on your personality and how one deals with the unknown. Having said that, here are some thoughts to encourage and support you in this wonderful world of voiceovers.

Do not over estimate everyone else's intelligence. I tweeted last week that an old time voiceover guy told me when I was 22 years old and nervous about trying to get into voiceovers, " People dumber than you are making a fortune, just get out there and do it."
Never worry about what everyone else is doing or what "the odds are" it's completely besides the point. The question is do you love it enough to develop a great set of reading skills and start doing it.

Training and great reading skills are how professional voiceover artists make all that money.

Training is the first and most important place to start. No one in a recording studio is there to run a trade school. You have to know what you're doing.

 It's been my experience that a lot of people seem more interested in how to network than they are in developing the skills necessary to be hired and then re hired because they've done a good job. Learn the trade and what’s required. That is the first thing you’ll need to have a voiceover career.

So, you’ll need training. You’ll need a great voiceover demo. You’ll need a good computer and internet connection. You’ll need basic recording and editing equipment

These are some things you should know in order to break in and have a voiceover career. I’ll also tell you where work comes from and where to look for work when you’re starting out.

It’s true its just talking, but there is way more to it than that. You have to know the different styles for different products. For example cheaper cars are sold in more of an excited voice  Hurry on down zero percent financing!! Luxury cars are sold in a more relaxation audio book voice..the new infinity QX 4…its all the best thinking”

You have to develop your breathing and phrasing, because a lot of voiceover copy is pretty awkward.

On longer narrations like corporate or audio books, you’ll have to train your eyes to read about 3 words ahead of where your speaking so everything will sound idea driven. That means it should sound like you’re talking to a best friend and not just plodding through  like you’re just reading copy. When you take a catch breath you should dart your eyes to the right so you know whats coming up next. Voice and breath development is essential so your voice always sounds fresh and never tired.

You must a have a great voiceover demo. Casting directors only want a 60 second demo, Corporate video and other media producers often want 2 minutes because they sometimes feel tricked by people that only have 60 second demos.

Peoplesometomes send me terrible demo pieces auditioning saying “I know the audio is bad but hope you’ll like my voice” That is truly insane!!!  Don’t teach people that you have no idea what to do.

You have to have a computer that is new enough to handle media. If it’s no older than 5 years it should be ok. Mac or PC is fine. Everything is cross platform nowdays.

Recording equipment is very cheap now days. You can get completely set up for roughly $500 to $1200 depending on how you configure it all Check out ProTools
We use ProTools with United Audios Apollo for the hardware connection.
Also check out Audacity software its free and is ok to start with.

How to find those first jobs??? Once you have your voiceover demo you can call video production companies and ask if you can send them your vo demo to be on file for their corporate narratives. Do no, I repeat do not send your voiceover demo to anyone without asking permission. Most demos are sent by email as an MP3. Some companies will still ask for a CD but there are fewer of these every year. Media production companies do an endless series of Power point Presentation that all need to have voiceovers.

If you’re interested in audio books, sign up at audible.com ACX and look for books you’d like to voice. Pick books that have topics you’re interested in and your reads will be more naturally convincing

You can post your voiceover demo on internet casting sites like Voice Registry. It’s under the umbrella of voicebank.net which is one of the largest voiceover talent sites.

This is a great place to start and has a lot of support services as well. I like these guys a lot.

Alright, that’s the quick tour of how to break in. Get training, get your voiceover demo ready and don’t rush to put it together. It has to be authentic and not go outside the compass of your voice or personality. If it’s not great it’ll just convince people they don’t want you.

And finally do lots of searches on the internet on all aspects of voiceover. You have to become familiar with whats out their so you can form your own opinions based on your personal experiences. Other peoples advice is just a starting point so be curious, find out all that you possible can. And practice endlessly. Pick up a magazine and read out loud to practice your cold reading skills. Take the time you need to read it perfectly.

Look at it as an adventure a career puzzle that you can and will solve
And remember, people dumber that you are making a fortune.
Click here to get started
Click The Link Below For The Ultimate Voice Over Training Course - YouTube

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

- Voiceover Marketing and Industry Updates

The voiceover market is changing very rapidly. There are many new ways to get jobs and many new ways to market yourself to try and get those jobs. You have a number of choices and we are going to cover just a few of them.
You can set up your own web site or put your own voiceover demo on one of the many voiceover talent sites. Or you can do both. One of the main newer strategies is to have your own web site, which can be very simple and then pick three or four of the voiceover talent web sites to also put your demo and contact information on. This way you have postings on a number of talent sites and they all have links to your website. Each of these talents web sites spend a small fortune on advertising, so you don’t have too. There are literally thousands of potential clients visiting those sites so it’s very rapid exposure for the new person. You just have to make sure you’ve got a great demo so you can compete with all the other voices out there.
There was a time not so long ago that you either had to be represented by a voiceover talent agency or had to have a friend get you into corporate voiceover work. The internet has changed all of that. Everyone knows that money is much tighter now and many organizations are making use of on line casting rather than going to the more expensive voiceover talent agencies for talent. This means that you want to do as many marketing crossover plans as possible so all the organizations that need voiceover talent can become aware of you.
Many of the companies who do educational CD Roms post casting notices online and no longer go through voiceover talent agencies any more. They have discovered that they can get great talent at more competitive prices.
When you start thinking outside the box, you will come up with your own bright ideas about where to look for work and turn a lack of representation into an advantage because you can work cheaper and directly with clients. People ask me if they have to be online with a web site or have their demo on a voiceover talent site and the answer is absolutely yes. People have to be able to find you online.
Here’s a story to inspire you. A little while back a man called me and said he was doing a 30 second commercials for a company’s web site and needed a female voiceover artist. He said it was not for broadcast but for web use only and that it payed $1000. On a flat buyout. He asked if I could send him MP3s of 3 women that he could choose from. I said yes, I’d be happy to do that. He said, “Well, you’re the only one!!!!!” I was a little shocked and said what do you mean. He then started to explain that he had called three different talent agencies in town and they wouldn’t submit any demos of talent until he took the time to aswer a number of questions about his project and that all three of them said they would assign him an agent in the next two or three days to handle his project.
He laughed and said ya know, I‘m just trying to meet my production deadline and don’t have time for all of this red tape...
Well there you have another clear illustration of why more and more people are casting outside of voiceover talent agencies. These are just a few samples of how the industry is changing. Time is money and casting from online is very fast indeed.
Now lets move on to another issue. World wide buyouts. Many one or two line ads have involved an international buyout for 60k to 100k.
I know of two companies who decided that they would only pay 10k and the other company 20k for two short sentences in each case. Well everyone screamed and yelled, but in the end the voiceover talent who was getting 80k absolutely refused to go from 80k to 10k. How could she accept so little when she had been making 80k... On the other hand, the new person was of course thrilled to get 10k for two sentences... It’s still a lot of money.
It’s important to remember that work can come from the most unpredictable places. Sometimes people think they can only get work if a voiceover talent agency chooses to represent them, that is simply not true. Use your imagination and think where you might network to discover new opportunities.
In marketing and advertising, presentation is as important as networking. You are going to the trouble of finding networking opportunities and when you find them you don’t want to teach them that you are unprepared or amateurish. I recently watched a voiceover artist talk to the owner of a foundation that wants to hire some voiceover talent. He wanted to read for him on the spot, did so very poorly, and then wrote his name and number on a scrap of paper saying to the man, “I don’t have business cards or anything but I’m really glad I met you and I’d love to work for you”.
I mean, good grief, who in the world would ever be interested in someone who is that unprepared and sloppy. If you want to be hired by professionals who will pay good money, you must act like a professional who is worth good money. What do your materials look like? Are they clean with a nice design, or have you just printed your name on your demo. Graphic design services can be very affordable and they are a must so your business cards and your demo look like they belong to a pro. Make sure your email address has your name in it! Nothing bugs people more that not being able to type in your name and have you appear in an email address window because you use some “cool” name or phrase that isn’t your actual name. Save the funky email names like talldude@... for your friends. In business, it’s about making it simple for people to contact you.
You can be excited about your voiceover future, because there has never been a time when there are so many opportunities to do voiceover work, and so many new ways to find them.