Category Archives: VO coaching

Parade Magazine – and the Myth of Easy Voiceover Money

So….in page 8 of last week’s Parade magazine, I revealed my almost-6-figure income for all to see:

Parade

Parade

photo (12)

 

This was my 15 seconds of fame for the spring….about how long it takes to turn the page and move on to something else – like, say, how much Beyonce and Sandra Bullock make.

Why did I participate? For fun. For the attention, sure, not gonna lie. But also as another slice in my marketing pie.  As a member of WoVo, (Worldvo.org)  the industry association for international Voice Talents, I want to promote our industry as a field where professional talents are seen – and paid – as the professionals we are.  And my fairly-decent income for 2013 was another way to make that point.

Of course,as you might imagine, I got lots of e-mails, messages, and even a couple of phone calls (one really weird one in the middle of the night from Los Angeles, but he might have had a different, um, agenda) saying “wow! you make so much money just for talking? I have a nice voice!”….well, you get the picture.

How to Get Started in Voice-Overs.

Judy Carter says it beautifully in her book The Comedy Bible (for aspiring comics and comedy writers)The-Comedy-Bible

  • Get good.
  • Get noticed.
  • Get paid.

In that order.

And then, she continues with a terrific book full of chapters with concrete steps to accomplish all that – chapters that most people, sadly, probably don’t read. “Really? I gotta do all that?”

And so it is with Voiceovers.  In the words of Mama Rose (a part which I just auditioned for, and btw, did not get… sad face…but hey that’s show biz. indeed.): “Got the dream, yeah, but not the guts.”  

Got the Guts? Here’s What You Do First:

(In the interest of public service, the contents of the letter I usually send to aspiring talents – tho I do tailor it a bit….

Dear______________ – 

As you might imagine,  I get this question at least 5 times a day!

This is a business that requires you to be self-starter. Get good at it, learn all you can, and then you must build your business.

My best advice is to do the research first – learn what it takes.

Here are some articles to get you started:   http://voiceoverxtra.com/articles.htm?cat=biz%3A+newcomers+to+voice-over

There is also a terrific resource called The Voice-Over Entrance Exam, which spells it all out beautifully

In addition, I highly recommend Edge Studios. They have a 4-hour “Investigate voice-over” class that will answer many of your questions, and it’s a very reasonable rate.  Here is the link to that: http://www.edgestudio.com/voice-over-class

regarding audiobooks, some great info is here: https://www.audiopub.org/faq.asp#narrator

There are also some fabulous blogs from the VO community.

additionally, here are some great books :

There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is : A Complete Insider’s Guide to Earning Income and Building a Career in Voice-Overs  (latest edition)  by Elaine A. Clark. Lots of script examples with detailed discussions.

Art of Voice Acting  by James Fourth edition – an excellent book with CD examples. Complete overview of the business.

Technique Guidebook, available at Edge Studio, www.edgestudio.com-

Sound Advice, by Dan Friedman – clear home studio info from a voice talent/engineer

Voice-Over Garden – Jonathan Tilley (online purchase);

Voices of Experience – Doug Turkel – FREE e-book, how VO superstars got there!

also, look for books by Dave Courvoisier, Paul Strikwerta, Bill DeWees…

That should get you started!

good luck, Randye

 

It is not complete, but it is a place to begin. Feel free to chime in with comments, fellow talents.

Ready, set, go!

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Filed under Business of Voice Over, VO coaching, voiceover, Voiceover, Voice Talent, Voice Acting

The Ta-Da! Voice: Not Always Conversational

“Read it just like you’re talking to someone in conversation”?
In voiceover, it’s a nice plan- but it doesn’t always work.
How many times, in your real life, do you go up to a pal and start an exchange by saying, oh, “Introducing…!”?

Yet, in some narrations, that’s exactly what we are doing – setting up what will soon come (visually or otherwise), and subtly commenting on/closing what has come before. In these cases, we may need to use our “introducing…!” delivery, our our “ta-da!” voice.

When I voice the tracks for live announce shows, for instance, this is a clear choice. The intention is to get attention, and set up what comes next. In movies promos, radio imaging, etc. – sure. same thing – though it still must be sincere within those choices.

In narration, it may be a bit more subtle than promo voice, but your voiceover is still the connective tissue between elements before and after your sentences.

Here’s an example of a narration as connective tissue between elements, courtesy of Action Media.

If possible, it does help to know what those segments are – sometimes the client will provide a description, at least, as part of the script. If not, use your imagination to fill in the gaps. Always, if you can, check out the finished product to see how it all married. This helps next time you do a similar project.

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Investigate Voice Over: the first step

Edge Studio Team

Edge Studio Team

Tomorrow night I teach another session for Edge Studio called “Investigate Voice Over.” We call it the “IVO” – and it’s taught frequently in our New York main studio, our CT and DC studios, in Los Angeles, and also via teleclass.

If you’ve ever wondered about the true path to VoiceOver success, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Got the Voiceover dream? Get the truth! And have fun finding out if this business – and make no mistake, it most certainly is a business -is for you, and if you are ready for it.

Every dream can always live if you never pursue it, but if you want to change it from a nice dream to an attainable goal then you must take the first step to see what it takes. The first step is to find out the facts.  Continue reading

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“You have such a nice voice!”: the 5 layers needed for voice-over

Edge Studio Coaches

Edge Studio Coaches

When I teach “Investigate Voice-Over” classes for Edge Studio – either in the CT or NYC studio, on a telecall/webinar, in Continuing Education sessions or at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting – I usually begin by asking students what brought them to the class.

If I had, say, a dollar for every answer that began, “Everyone says I have such a good voice…” I would at least be able to buy that ipad I’ve got my eye on.  And, yes, I’m thrilled to see anyone who takes steps to satisfy their curiosity.  Taking that first step takes courage, because sometimes a dream (“I could make it in voice-over someday if I want to”) is easier to handle than a goal (“Let me find out the reality of voice-over and then decide if I want to do what it takes”).

If you do take that first step -finding out the facts – I applaud you! Maybe you’ll

RandyeKayeVO

a moment of focus!

decide it’s a lot harder than you thought, and it’s not really for you. Or maybe you’ll love it so much that you can’t wait to start investing your time and – let’s face it – money into starting a voice-over business. Either way, you’re ahead whenever you learn something.

So – what does it take? Five layers!

1- A voice. Um, yeah. So –  maybe it’s pleasant, or unique, or makes people smile. Your “voice adjectives” will provide the first ideas as to where you might fit in this business. But voice is also about control of accents/speech defects/regionalisms. It’s about vocal care, and knowing how to breathe properly. This may take work – singing lessons, speech therapy, learning about the care of your instrument.

2- Reading Skills – You must be able to read fluently, fluidly, and with comprehension.  So many of my newbie students simply don’t know how to read well. Part of your brain has to think ahead, part must stay in the moment. It’s called lateral reading. And – if you don’t understand what you’re reading, and the purpose for every phrase, the listener definitely won’t either.

3-Acting skills – who are you? who are you talking to? why are you saying these words? Actors call it “motivation.” You’d better know how to communicatethe words to your listener. It’s not called “Voice Reading” –  it’s called “Voice Acting.” What can help? Acting and/or improvisation classes.

improv class

improv class

4- Technique – Acting uses a lot of the “right brain” – where imagination and the “big picture” reign. But it’s also about technique, and the compartmentalized skills (“left brain”) that mean you can control tempo, pitch, volume, articulation, microphone placement, etc.  Clients will expect this professionalism. The answer? Training, then focused practice until technique is so second-nature you don’t have to overthink it anymore – think driving range in golf.

5 – Business savvy and willingness – This is a business, people. If you don’t want to run one, read to your kids instead.  You can get a lot of joy out bringing words to life off the page – you just won’t get paid for it without treating voice-over like the business it is.

Want to know more? edgestudio.com career center, socialmediavo.com, youtube, google – there’s a ton of info out there! Set up a couple of sessions with a voice-0ver coach, or take a class. At the very least, you’ll have a good time, learn a little, and take home some skills that help in any kind of communication.

Good luck!

Randye

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Voiceover and Social Media – Why Not?

Trying Thumbtack today, thanks to my pal CourVO – will keep you posted! Always good to have your services listed.

Voiceover jobs come from all sorts of leads, in person, on the phone, online. Keep your skills sharp, your marketing constant, your desire to help others create a “sound first impression” in front.

By the way – want to chat about voiceover? Penny Abshire and James Alburger host free telecalls interviewing pros – my turn to spill voiceover secrets is this Monday 4/11 – register here and see you there!

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Proof-listening – take the extra time!

Just finished a corporate/technical narration – at home, so that means editing as well as voicing.  Final product almost 15 minutes.  After the first listen, I corrected a few obvious things (self-direction has its flaws, so then it’s time to take off the narrator hat and put on the director/engineer persona – adding even more confusion to my multiple personalities, but that’s the actor’s story, right?)

 

The point is: finished. Right? Breaths reduced, everything in its place, all alts clearly slated, etc. Almost tempted to send it as is, as at that point I felt I knew the copy by heart – but gave it one final listen.  Yes, 15 minutes of my time.  Tomorrow I’m gonna put a set of hand weights by the mixer so I can at least work on my triceps while my eyes and ears are occupied.

 

And: not finished. I caught two mistakes: “first step” instead of “first stop” and “sanitation” instead of “sanitization.” Amazing what the brain thinks it sees. Sure, the client could have caught it and I’d have done the re-dos for no charge. But how would it have made me look? 

 

Take the extra time when you can. And work on the triceps too!

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