Category Archives: voice acting

VoiceOver Copy: Your High School Play, on Speed

There are a lot of surprises for aspiring voice talents who cross my path either as a student via Edge Studio, or just at, say, a party. You know, the ones with “such a nice voice” who need to read Dave Courvoisier’s book ( or any of the other amazing resources I blogged about a few months ago).

The first reality check is, of course, the need to treat this like the business it is. There has been a lot written about that, so again I refer you to those who have busted this myth in their amazing blogs and books. (Derek Chappell, our blog curator, and John Florian, Voiceover Xtra guru, are more great places to start).

The second big myth to bust – and equally as important to know – is that this not a business of “reading in a pretty voice.”  This is a business of communication – and, often (or always), a business of acting.  Maybe there is really no difference – but, whatever you call it, you’ve got to know the story you are telling!

Remember that high school play you were in? Or summer camp? College? Community or Professional Theatre? hs playThink back….whatever role you had, there was a process to follow to get the story from page to stage.  Here’s what probably happened, and what it has to do with voiceover reads.

The Theatre Process, and Voiceovers

1 – Casting. yeah, that.

2 – The cast assembled to do a full read-through of the script. This way, everyone knew the whole story, where it was going, what the overall gestalt and tone of the story was. (Voiceover equivalent: Read through the script – or at least skim the longer ones – before you press record. See what it’s about, where it’s going) Continue reading


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Fascination: A Voice Talent Necessity

When you hear an ad on the radio, do you change the station, or do you listen and evaluate?

  • Believable or fake?
  • Interesting use of technique?
  • The talent’s voice quality, emotional choice, use or pitch?
  • Unusual accent or character?
Fascination is a Key

Fascination is a Key

If you listen actively, and – even better – if you then imitate what you heard to observe how the sounds come out of your instrument – then you probably have the voice-over bug, and you’ve got it bad – and that’s a good thing, if you want to succeed. The quality that keeps us learning, keeps us going, is fascination.   Sure, it takes more than that. The wonderful Maxine Dunn just summed up a lot of the qualities you need to succeed in this issue of her Creative Biz newsletter – beautifully done, so I won’t try to recreate all the qualities she mentions, like commitment, optimism, tenacity, focus (definitely sign up for her newsletter, by the way – she is awesome!) But I will add this quality to the list: fascination. It’s a great quality to have in life, in general. Instead of judgment, try fascination.  Instead of “that’s too hard!” or “that’s just stupid”, what if we asked:

  • “I wonder how that works?”
  • “I wonder why/how he/she did that?”
  • “Isn’t that interesting? I’d like to know more”

Okay, so at a party you’ll make a lot more friends by asking sincere questions about others than by bragging “me, me, I, me.” But this is a voiceover blog – so – huh? So here’s what I’m talking about: Continue reading

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Voice-Over Envy: Stop the Madness!

Sometimes I just gotta stay away from Facebook these days.  There is a dogbookenvydocumented phenomenon (I know it’s true, ’cause I read about it in Psychology Today) called “Facebook Envy”, and I must admit it hits me when I check my newsfeed and it seems like my VO Peeps are landing more gigs, way more impressive gigs, and making tons of money all the time.

Sigh. And – oh yeah- Yay! I truly am happy for your success. Really. But, sometimes, the old green-eyed monster rears up, and its name is Voice-Over Envy.

And it’s a really stupid monster!

Voice-Over Jealousy – or Admiration?

Yoko Ono is credited with saying: “Turn jealousy into admiration and what you admire will become part of your life.”  Whoever originated that quote (Yoko, really?) , it’s really cool.  I actually used that thought process to go from single Mom to happily re-married Mom/wife, from wanna-be-published author to a published one.  And it’s useful in any life endeavor; it’s the backbone of gatherings like faffcon, of the VO social media groups, of the newly-forming industry association, World Voices.

So – why not just be inspired by the success of others? Continue reading


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Back to Basics: The Fun of Voice Acting

Yeah, we know – these days a voice talent wear sooooo many hats, the first of which is the hat of a small business owner.  The wonderful Dave Courvoiser, who is a way more prolific blogger than haphazard l’il ole me, has a fabulous CourVO  post that explains this beautifully: A New Hat.

We all have days where the last hat we get to wear is the one that sold us on this profession in the first place: the task of bringing the words on the page to life for the benefit of the listener. I am fortunate enough (and, yes, have worked hard enough) to say that I get to do this just about every day now – sometimes for 12 hours, sometimes for 15 minutes – and each time a client is happy with the result, it reminds me of why I love this job as voice talent:

I love the challenge of lifting the written word off the page and turning it into a conversation with the listener. I love this!!! And if you don’t – well, there where’s the payoff for the work you do when you are wearing those other hats?

And that’s why we chose to do this work, most of us.  Believe me, it wasn’t because it was an easy path to the first gig, or for the guarantee of quick big bucks that some think awaits them like a pot of gold at the end of some rainbow (wherever that is…) Continue reading


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Best Ever Voice Talent, Actor, Creative, You!

One of the best things about 2011 was getting to be the intro/outro voice for Elizabeth Hamilton Guarino’s Best Ever You radio show, and also for the

Online VO friends meet in person!

Motivation Marathon created by Elizabeth, and Deb Scott. Today the tables were kinda turned sideways as I became the interviewee – and we talked about voice acting, creative journeys, voice and diction, the value of improv in creating characters, connecting threads in the eclectic work life, what we wanna be when we grow up, life balance in “Acts”, using the gifts we seem to have born with, the value of virtual friendships- and, eventually, my book Ben behind His Voices. Got in some mentions for Dave Courvoisier, Edge Studio, my voiceover credits, and O’Connor communications.

The hour went fast! I think it’ll be fun to listen to…hope so! Feedback always welcome 🙂


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Voiceovers: That’s What I Like About You

So you wanna be in voice overs? Yes. Well, read up, person with that lovely voice. Just check the archives at voiceoverXtra, Edge Studio, or any of the number of fab VO blogs out there, and you’ll get the truth: becoming a professional voice over talent takes lots of training,  hard work, marketing,creating business goals, scheduling action steps, investments of time and money, and an effort to always think ahead.

When I teach Investigate Voice Over classes for Edge Studio, or in answering the inevitable cocktail party  “so how can I get into VO?” question, I make the hard work clear: Voiceover is a business. I don’t care if you have an agent or not – it is still a small business you must run yourself – as talent, salesperson, marketing team, accountant, perpetual student, networker, and often editor and producer.

So – why do we do it? What’s the payoff? The other side of the coin?

Faffcon VO Fun

Like in any relationship that needs work, sometimes we need to be reminded of why we fell in love in the first place. So, dear newbie or pro, here’s my love list.

Why I Love being a Voice Over Talent:

1. Fun! This morning I got to play a baby owl (who spoke English – yeah, animation), this afternoon a16-year-old girl for an audiobook, and then a medical expert who could explain fibromyalgia. That is a blast. Continue reading


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That “Second Best” Voice-Over Audition: Still a Win

My Mom told me, “Always do your best.” (yours, too?) Sure, coming close to landing the gig is not the same as booking it.  The fact that I got two call-backs to play Rizzo in Grease on Broadway a couple of decades ago does not mean I can put that credit on my resume.  Still, it felt good – and gave me confidence for my next audition.

The truth is that a good audition is never a loss. While placing second doesn’t pay the mortgage or add to your resume, it’s still its own kind of good acting karma. Especially if you keep the success part in mind, and not what you didn’t get. And, yeah, keep in touch in a way that reflects that good experience.

And, in some cases, it pays off in a more concrete way when you least expect it.

Over a year ago, I was in the top two for a voice-over gig , but didn’t land it. The client said, “don’t worry, we loved your audition and will keep you in mind.” That’s always nice to hear – the professional equivalent of dating’s “I’ll call you.” But don’t wait by the phone – just enjoy the fact that you had a good time on the first date.

A month ago, I heard from this client out of the blue – he had another project for me. (yay – A second date!) Here is one video from a series of projects so far:

See, you never know! As Mom says, “Always do your best – and it won’t hurt you to be nice.” Thanks, Mom.

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Radio to VO: Not the Kiss of Death!

Oh, no – never say you were in radio if you want to be hired as a voice talent!

Have you heard that? I know I did when I left full-time radio six years ago. Sure, I was a working voice talent before I became an on-air personality. OK, so I began my career as an actress and singer before ever stepping into a whisper room. Still – that was the advice when I left: Hide your years as a radio personality!

Randye Kaye WEZN

back in the days of carts!

Well, I officially disagree. Sorry, but I’ve never been one to follow advice without question (hence my departure from corporate radio, but that’s another story).

So – here are seven things I learned from my years in radio that actually have made me a better voice talent. So there. Continue reading


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VoiceOver and Your Life: it all adds up

Yesterday was an all-voiceover day: projects to voice and edit, clients to

acid reflux improv

Improv Goup, a decade ago - great for VO!

answer, then a class to teach at Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Today, a catch-up day so far. E-mails from VO peeps included a link to Pummelvision, where they find your tagged photos and create a montage. Sure, I’ll bite. It’s free, and I’m curious.

STAR 99.9 past colleagues

STAR 99.9 past colleagues

The result reminded me that we are all more than just our work, despite the cocktail party question, “So what do you do?” Those of us who act for a living constantly feel this, as everything we do (for work or otherwise) goes into our personalities, and can be used to interpret copy through the filter that is, well, us.

Not to mention, VO people rock, play wel with others, and share! Gor instance, read this post from Doug Turkel, the UNnouncer, re great voiceover resources:

Here’s the result, by the way. This quick view reminds me of the people who honor me with their presence in my life and in my soul – through work, family, acquaintance and friendship. Thanks!  And, looking forward to Faffcon 3, very soon!

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Audiobook Narration: When the Voice Talent is also the Author

Weird. That’s all I can say.  Sure, we voice talents are getting increasingly used to wearing many hats: director, producer, editor, voiceover artist, and sometimes grammarian (if the script needs a little, um, help) – not to mention blogger, marketing guru, social media student.

Still, this is a new experience for me. I am narrating this book I love: Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia

BBHV audiobookcover

audiobook CD version coming 9/15/11

to Hope.  The audio publisher  is Spoken Word Inc., an awesome young company who believes in the book as much as I do, and has hired me to narrate it.

What’s the weird thing? I am also the author of this book.  Yeah, It’s my own words I’m reading, drafted and rewritten a gazillion times. And now, as narrator, I’m having a tough time resisting the urge to rewrite as I read.

Of course, as audiobook narrators know, the words are sacrosanct. The author’s voice is the star, you just enhance it with your read. But turning off my “author brain” is taking some focus. And, at the same time, it’s a relief.  Yes, the book is now in print at last. I have held my own hardcover in my hot little hands. Now, to forget I am the author, step back from the writing desk, and treat this manuscript with the same freshness as I would when written by any other author. Who is not me.

Challenge! This is why we have such a passion for what we do as voice actors.  Will keep you posted.

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