Archive for June, 2010


On The Road With a Portable Studio by Dave Brower

On The Road Again” With My New Portable Studio
One of the incredible things about being a full time voice actor is the ability to work from the road. This is the 3rd year in a row that my wife Karen and I have taken a long Motorcycle trip and by taking my portable studio along I can work every night and/or early morning and never miss a gig. How cool is that?

So, with that said, here’s my ‘how to’ of putting together a portable studio for the road. Many of my VO friends have MAC’s in their studio and on the road and love them, but I’m still a PC guy. One day I’ll join the MAC crowd, I’m sure…but just not today.

POPPA’S PORTABLE STUDIO VER.1
This was my first portable studio and it served me very well for the 1st couple of years on the road. There are a lot of options for an affordable basic setup that works well. Mine is but one example and you can put this together for around $500.

Virtually any laptop
I bought one used, with a warranty, for less than $280

Editing software
Choose from Audacity, Sound Forge, Wave Pad and many others…anything that’s free can work.

Microphone
I chose the MXL 909 with a USB ‘mic mate’. It’s clean, simple, sounds great and is around $135 for both pieces.

Pop filter
Yep you gotta protect from those plosives and you can get a good one for around $50 but keep reading because the “Sharpie Fix” can save you this $50.

External hard drive
You can pick one up on the Internet along with a PCI card and a fire wire cable for $100

Headphones
Grab a pair of ear-buds out of an old junk door or maybe that pair of headphones you stole from United.

Sound proofing
This can be done with a pillow fort – yep, it’s what you think…for no cost.

DONE and you are good to go on the road and your total investment is right close to $500 if you work at it.

POPPA’S PORTABLE STUDIO VER.2
Well I decided to upgrade my studio for this latest road trip. I wanted to be able to use Pro Tools and have access to all my studio files and projects so that if I needed to change any existing projects, while traveling, it would be easy to get that done. You just never know what a client will need or when, so being on the road can’t be an excuse for not being able to deliver.

This time it took a lot more brain power and resources to put VER.2 together but it’s slick and I’m thrilled with it.

NOT JUST ANY LAPTOP
The trick with running Pro Tools on a PC laptop is you have to have 3 things in place: 7200 RPM hard drive with at least 250 GB of memory; an INTEL processor (be sure your motherboard has an INTEL chip-set); and at least 3GB of RAM. So I bought the HP Pavilion dv4i for $750.

NOTE: This is not cast in stone information, this is only my experience, so please get with a tech savy person that you can trust (like I did) before you commit to a laptop.

WINDOWS 7 – OOPS!
Everything I’ve read said that even though there is a beta out there of Pro Tools for Windows 7 not everybody was happy with it. Since I knew my systems work well with Windows XP I bought the WINDOWS 7 PROFESSIONAL software…it has a “virtual Windows XP” option…so you can run everything off Windows 7 and those few programs that only run on Windows XP you can do that too. It’s like having two computers in one. It’s weird and it’s a pain and I’m sorry to say that it didn’t work for me in trying to set up Pro Tools. Too many shared memory issues. Sooooooo I thought about what another friend had said “why not give Windows 7 a try?” So I did. I followed the Digidesign instructions for the Beta install to the letter and it worked perfectly the very 1st time. Sa-weet!!!!

NOT JUST ANY MIC
I have a RODE NTK for my studio mic so I wanted a comparable sounding mic but a quiet mic as well. One that would be better suited for the road. The RODE NT1-A was the perfect choice. $229

PRO TOOLS
I needed an Mbox 2 mini for the road and Pro Tools software so I picked up both from my friend Robby Resnick at Sweetwater Sound for less than $300 and it included everything I needed.

PLUG INS
My home studio has the Wave Arts Power Suite 5 and I wanted that on my laptop…Oops again. You see, Wave Arts didn’t like Windows 7 either and so after some advice from my friend Allan at Southwest Recording Studios I bought a VST to RTS adapter from FXpansion.com It is software that allows you to “wrap” different plug-ins into Pro Tools while using Windows 7. $99 is all.

EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
The same exact one as I had before. That way I can take every Pro Tools session off my studio hard drive and drop it on my external hard drive. Simple. Only difference was because of the new HP laptop I needed a different PCI card for my fire wire connection. $29 at the local PC shop.

HEADPHONES
In my studio I use the Sony MDR-7506 stereo monitor headphones. I found a great pair of “road” headphones on sale at Guitar Center. Sennheizer HD-280 pro’s only $80. (They are currently on sale for $99.)

SOUND PROOFING
I’ve tried Harlan Hogan’s original Porta-Booth and while its works great for many…for me personally, I didn’t care for it. I took it on one road trip and used it and quickly realized I’m too big and it’s too small. I am, however, going to buy his New Model. There was one session on this trip where I could have used it and so one is good enough for me to order it. Other than that one session, with my small triangle Auralex piece behind the mic; my Sharpie; and my pillow fort I was very well set up. YES you heard right…while I do have a Pop filter for the road my friend Allan told me the Sharpie trick works just as well and takes up no space. Just rubber band a sharpie to the exact center of your mic and you are golden. Who knew, huh? So the Auralex piece and the Sharpie…less than $20.

WHY NOT?
Back in the day, I used a portable printer when I was a Marketing Manager for the 8th largest automotive group in the country and traveled to 29 different dealerships in 12 states. Man, it came in handy, so I decided to add this to my portable studio as well. Candidly there is something about being able to actually hold the script! An HP H470 mobile printer for $168.

DONE and you are good to go on the road with VER.2 and your total investment is easily under $1500 if you work at it. That’s without the printer option, of course. Here’s four different photos of my VER.2 –

One option for either VER.1 or VER.2 is an “air card” so that you are guaranteed of having Internet service no matter where you are. I know many folks who use that but for me its $60 a month for 2-years plus the gear itself, so not worth it. When I travel I just confirm that every place I stay has high speed Internet available…period.

Oh and one other thing…Be sure to check with your tax adviser first…but for the right scenarios it’s possible to travel, do voice work, and write it off. Need I say more?

Hope this post helps you to get on the road, traveling, working, and having all the fun in the world that I am having. My goal since I started doing voice work full time, on May 1st 2008, is to never ever have a real job again. So far, so good!

Have a comment? Subscribe to my blog and then join the conversation…and if you have an idea for a blog, please email it to me Poppa@PoppaUnplugged.com

With gratitude,
David Brower

copyright 2010 Dave Brower

Why should you advertise? by Jack Barry

Advertising is all around us. The average person is exposed to thousands of advertising messages every day. Think about the number of radio and television commercials you hear and see each day. Take a look at the number of ads in the newspapers and magazines you read, the mailman brings you tons of advertisements each month. Every place you look you’ll find messages saying “buy me” from the clothes you wear to the pen you write with. To top it off national advertisers spend billions of dollars a year on advertising. All of these things are competing for your attention.

So where does your company or business stand in this maze of advertising? How does a small retailer compete for business? Competing for your share of the business takes planning and direction. You must have an effective advertising program, choose from the media available in your area, and most of all compare the costs of each to see which is the most cost effective for your business.

Where should you advertise?

Many advertisers mistakenly advertise on the station they listen to, or the station they watch or in the newspaper they read, not taking into account that these may not be the media their customers listen to, watch or read. You need to do some homework. You need the answers to these questions before you advertiser anywhere.
1. What is the age grouping of your customers? a. 18 to 49 b. 25 to 54
2. Are your customer’s men or women or both?
3. What is the annual income of your average customer?
4. How far away from your business do your customers travel for your products or services?
5. If you advertised outside your area could you attract more customers?
6. What are your customers’ shopping habits?
7. How do your customers perceive your store or business?
8. Identify your competitors.
9. What is your share of the business compared to your competitors?
10. Why do customers choose your competition over your business?
11. Do your competitors advertise?
12. Is their advertising effective? BE OBJECTIVE NOW.

Many of these questions may take some help from an outside consultant because it is hard to be objective about your own business or your competition.

Now you are ready to plan your advertising. Hold it just a second. Perhaps we need to define advertising first. Advertising is a paid form of calling attention to a product, service, or business to promote sales. The key words in the definition are “to promote sales.” When you plan your advertising budget make sure that the advertising you do promotes sales. For example, donations of money to the high school year book or to the sheriff’s annual ball generally do not promote sales. They should be included in your donation budget do not put them in your advertising budget.

Now that you have established your goals you need to begin working on a budget. No matter what the size of your budget it is very important to keep in mind that your advertising budget is a fixed expense, just like the rent, the electric bill and your own salary. Advertising is not a luxury to be cut when times are lean. Advertising must be consistent, well conceived and executed correctly. Your business cannot afford to cut advertising when the going gets tough.

How much do I spend on advertising?
A good method for setting your advertising budget is the percent of sales method. With this method you take a percentage of your total gross sales. The general rule is 5% to 7% of your gross yearly sales. Be sure to add in the percentage you feel your business will grow in this coming year. Your business cannot grow this year if you are using last year’s budget. You will also have to increase your budget for a period of time if you are:

1. Changing locations
2. Taking on a new line or changing products
3. Changing your name
4. Or starting a new business.
5. Any major changes you plan for your business

Set aside about 8% to 10% of your advertising budget as a contingence fund. This fund can be used for a special sale that you may not have planned for, it can help if the media raises their rates or better yet if the media has a special package that gives you a special rate on advertising.

How to plan your advertising monthly.
Grab a calendar and schedule your advertising month by month for the entire year. Plan out the promotions and your sales for the year. Don’t over do the sales. If you have a sale every month it won’t take the public long to figure out that your sales really aren’t sales at all. If you have to have a sale every month to do business, change your image to a discount store. Don’t plan a sale more than once a quarter. As you plan for the entire year keep in mind the swings in your business cycles. Advertise heavier during the months  that are generally good for you and cut back when sales are lighter. But be sure to advertise every month. Remember the advertising you do this month may not produce a customer for 2 to 3 months. When your customers need your product or service you want them to think of you. They may remember last months advertisement when they are ready to buy. In reality you are building a place in your customers sub-conscious and that’s the best place to be.

If all of this is a little overwhelming, consider the services of a well established advertising agency. Most advertising agencies get their commission from the media and so in many cases advertising agency’s services are free or are very low in cost compared to the expertise they offer. Remember dealing with advertising is all they do on a daily basis. They are experts at what they do.

Several years ago I owned an advertising agency and an audio video production company in California. One of our most successful clients was an office supply and office furniture store, Ken’s Office Supply. Ken’s Office Supply was the “Kleenex” of office supply stores. Let me explain. Kleenex is a brand name but they’ve done such a great job advertising, their name is synonymous with facial tissues. The same was true of Ken’s Office Supply. If you thought of office supplies, Ken’s immediately popped into your mind. Why? Because Ken knew the power of advertising his business. He aggressively kept his name in front of the public. When it came time for Ken to retire, he sold the business to one of his employees. The new owner decided to stop advertising. After all, everyone knew the name Ken’s Office Supply. Within two years the new owner was doing so poorly that he had to move from his excellent location to an out-of-the-way strip mall. One more year and he was out of business.

I realize that times are tough in this economy, but history has proven: businesses who weathered a recession were those who continued to advertise. Advertising is not an expense you can cut in hard times. Remember, don’t advertise and no one will notice.

http://www.voiceofvicki.com

There were only eight students in Marc Cashman’s Master Voiceover Class held in Portland, Oregon last week, and I was lucky to grab the last available slot! We met at MediaPDX, performing for each other from Marc’s collection of challenging scripts.

Whenever I get nervous I need my headphones to perform. But Marc wouldn’t let me. ‘No headphones, Vicki! They will only f**k you up!” (Mr. Cashman enjoys his expletives.) Believe me, I do not like headphones because I’m in love with my own voice. I got over that a long time ago! But I often depend on them to help me focus. My voice is not big and booming so I depend on headphones to give me a boost in volume, and I suppose, confidence. Other coaches have recommended ‘no headphones’ so I went for it and started tearing down that script.

It was great to have a professional director and copywriter like Marc available to dissect my read and give advice on how to lift the copy off the page. I could hear the big difference between my first take and my last take, and I listened to this process happen for my classmates. These were high-level scripts performed by experienced voice talents. What an absolutely invaluable tune-up for my ears! 

Marc also talked to us about cadence in a script. All spoken words have cadence (as opposed to rhythm, which is a steady beat.) We all tend to have a ‘locked in’ cadence to our delivery. You’ve heard it in announcers and newscasters; no matter what they are reading it all has the same sound. The brain and the mouth line up and the cadence starts to roll. It is a wonderful challenge to try to break your own cadence and deliver the material in a way that is unexpected.

So I’ve been working on that in my auditions and gigs—surprising myself, going off beat, shaking things up a bit.

Thanks to Marc Cashman and all my talented voice actor classmates! More info on voiceover classes at http://www.cashmancommercials.com

From the perspective of the voice actor, we have to wonder: How often do producers consider voiceover as merely reading? How often do they think, ‘I know this voice gal and she’s fast!’ Or worse, ‘I know a gal who will read this script. She isn’t a pro, but it’s cheap!’ We’ve all been punished by enough of those voiceovers, especially here in the local Oregon market. (Sorry but it’s the truth.) Listeners can instantly tell the difference between a pro and an amateur voiceover. When your audience hears a mediocre voiceover, it’s like the camera is out of focus. It immediately lowers the quality of production. It also lessens the effectiveness of the message, which is the real bottom line for clients. So please, stop and think for a moment about the influence of the human voice. We respond to each others’ voices in ways that science can only partially explain– starting in the womb! It’s easy to detect when someone is upset, excited, or disinterested, just by listening to their voice. A voice can soothe, amuse, intrigue, irritate, or bore us. Hear an old friend’s voice? Memories flood back in just one or two words. Effective advertising/ effective messaging is all about emotions, and the voice is a powerful tool to convey emotion to your audience. Professional voice actors have been trained to use the very real power of the voice, for your benefit and success! Better voiceover, better results. Vicki Amorose http://www.voiceofvicki.com
copyright 2010 Vicki Amorose

To Build A VoiceOver Studio For Under $1000? $500? $100?As a talent advisor for The Great Voice Company one of the questions that I hear all the time is: “Can I create a studio, suitable for voiceover work, for under $1000? Under $500? Under $100?”

The answer is “yes, of course”!

Buy hey guess what, I’m not enough of an engineer to give you many specifics that you could actually benefit from, so I reached out to my friend and equipment guru, Robby Resnick of Sweetwater Sound. Over the past couple of years Robby has become my “go to guy” when it comes to all questions “studio”. He’s always been honest, candid, respectful and understanding of where I am in the world of VO work, and thoughtful of my finances. Bottom line is I trust him, so I asked him to answer the question!

So, if you have ever been one of those who asked the question…please take the time to read this article in detail, because I know you’ll get some surprises along the way. I did!

Sidebar: By the way…just so you know…Robby and I agreed upfront that this would be an informational article and not a sales pitch. I only read one “shameless self-plug” in the entire article, so I think he nailed it.

Robby…it’s all yours!

First and foremost let me say that I was honored that David came to me and requested information on voiceover studio ideas for under $1000. I always appreciate a good challenge!

Before I begin, I feel the need to point out a couple of things.

1.You only get what you give: Your voiceover studio and the quality of your productions will only be as good as what you invest in them. Now that doesn’t mean you should rush right out and spend foolishly…what it means is that while there are certain products that are a better value than others, at the end of the day, your investment should be proportionate to your desire to succeed. Someone that is doing this part time, for fun, may not care to invest in a lot right out of the gate. However, if this is your livelihood, you may want to invest what you can to make things the best you can, for now and then add or change gear as you can afford and justify it along the way.
2.Gear does not equal talent! I hear it all the time honestly. “I bought all the right stuff” doesn’t get you anything aside from really good gear. These are tools to produce a product and that’s all. You, the talent, must take on the roll of performer, engineer, producer, tech staff, etc. Understanding your tools is just as important as having them. A carpenter must know what each nail is used for and how every measurement tool is used. As an example; I recommend educating yourself on how different processors (EQ’s, Compressors, DeEssers, etc) work and when they should be used. If you stumble into a term you don’t understand while you learn, check out our site’s glossary by clicking here: http://www.sweetwater.com/expert-Pocenter/glossary/.
3.Environment goes a long way: The mic and your voice are a part of a larger system at play. Acoustics of a room can make or break the sound you’re going to capture. Many voiceover artists like to have a room very dead and I would agree. There is a lot you can do to get low-cost acoustic solutions to help get you that right sound. My personal favorite is a coat closet, but with that said…acoustics is a science. I would recommend checking out www.acoustics101.com it is set up by my friends at Auralex and provides a lot of really good, free information. As your business grows, Auralex offers many affordable acoustic solutions that can be custom tailored to your needs.
4.Computer: These little devils are the heart of nearly every recording facility these days. This article will assume that you do have a computer. Not only that, but you need to make sure that your computer is capable of handling the work load. On the Mac side of things, almost any Intel-based Mac will work well. On a PC, there is a lot more to entertain. Make sure that whoever you are speaking with on the subject is knowledgeable in compatibility. You should always consult a professional when in doubt. Shameless self-plug, but my peers and I here at Sweetwater are always happy to help.
BASICS

Mics: Of all the questions I typically entertain, this one intrigues me the most. For better or for worse, there are a lot of mics to sort through when making your choice. These days, most mics are very good, even the ones manufactured overseas. That said, not all mics are created equal. It is important that you speak with someone who is familiar with microphones to get assistance in choosing the right mic for your voice. I personally like to talk to people over the phone about mics, because hearing your voice helps me suggest the right mic for you. Any professional you talk to should have the same approach, in my opinion.

Special Considerations- Mics and Gender: One of the other more frequent questions I have been asked is: “Are there different mics for a man and woman?”. This is a very complex question, but the short answer is “no”. If that were the case, studios would have many more mics than what they have now. But, having said this, there are some obvious considerations, especially if you step back and take a semi-scientific look at human anatomy. Generally speaking, woman and men have a different timbre to their voice. Men usually emit lower frequency content relative to a woman. Given that assumption most women would then require a mic that would translate higher frequency energy more accurately. Here’s an example of what I mean: For a man, I would lean more toward a Blue BabyBottle where a woman may find a better fit with the Audio Technica 4033 since these mics tend to accent different ranges. This is another reason to consult a professional before purchasing a mic.

Another great way to check out what mic or mics might be good for you is to listen to demos of folks who appear to have the same basic ‘timbre’ as you do and then contact them and see what their mics of choice are. There are a lot of sites where you can do that kind of discovery… VoiceOver Universe and VoiceBank.net are a couple of good ones.

Microphone preamp: A mic preamp (referred to as a “pre”) is generally an after thought in the process, but it really is critical. A mic pre is a device that takes the small voltage a mic puts out and boosts it into something usable. Many recording interfaces have a mic pre built in, and in some cases this is fine, but as you grow, you may find your pre is holding you back. Like a mic, it helps to know someone that knows about pres. Many USB mics have a pre of sorts built in and a lot of folks like the Microport Pro when it comes to connecting a mic to their laptop, as an example.

Convertors: An AD\DA convertor changes an analog voltage to a digital signal or visa-versa. These are also built into a recording interface. It is important to note that convertors, like mic pres, are sometimes an afterthought. This step in the chain is very important and you should be aware of its ability to affect your clarity upper-frequency content.

Robby’s “Law of Equivalence”: The above factors (and a few others) form a system. It is my belief that, within a system, you should invest your funds relatively equally. For instance, if you purchase a $100 interface, you probably don’t need a $1000 mic. The components in the interface are not going to be a high enough quality to keep up with the mic. Just like you wouldn’t purchase a high-end up-scaling blue-ray player to go with your 13” CRT TV, keep it even here. It will serve you better. If someone is trying to sell you a $1000 mic to plug into a $50 mic pre, make sure if nothing else, you ask “why”? It’s ill-advised.

$100 Solution

There is a slew of free software out there to get you started. For beginners, I typically recommend Audacity. It’s a free program (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) and very easy to get around. Understand though, that it lacks many critical features for in depth processing and editing. It is Mac and PC compatible as well. For you Mac guys (of which I am), you have a couple more options. Garageband is always a great tool. For someone looking to dig deeper, Ardour is an Amazingly powerful freeware solution brought to you by tireless hours of open-source programmers. It’s making waves in the community and I’ve been Very Impressed. There may be a PC equivalent, but I have not found anything yet. Word to the wise, Ardour is not for beginners, but keep it in mind.

To pair with this, I would recommend a basic USB style mic. My personal favorites is the Blue Snowball. It sounds great and doesn’t cost a lot of money. It comes in three styling finishes and has its own stand.

$500 Solution

First and foremost, it’s important to note that many professional users work in Pro Tools. Admittedly, there is a lot of great software out there, but Pro Tools has really captured the industry. The route that follows will allow you to keep maximum compatibility, enabling you to attract more customers and submit sessions in a format most people recognize.

Recently, M-Audio made a bold move by creating Pro Tools M-Powered Essentials. This software bundle is the little brother to Pro Tools M-Powered. The main differences are track count (limited to 16, still many more than most VO people use), insert count (2 per track and limited to Digidesign plugs, which are very good processors), and limited audio routing. But most of this will not matter to you in the slightest! Realistically, this version of Pro Tools is more than most voice over artists will ever need… and you get it free with most M-Audio interfaces. What isn’t to love?!

As an audio interface to get you running the above, I’d recommend the M-Audio Fast Track. It’s priced competitively and comes with the software that I mentioned. With this, you’ll need a mic and a few studio essentials. You’ll need headphones, a mic cable, mic stand, and a pop filter. I typically recommend the EX29 headphones from direct sound, not because they sound the best (though they are good), but they keep bleed out of the mic which is a real touch of professionalism. All in all, this gear should cost you under $200.

So now we’re sitting pretty with $200 to spend on a mic! The right mic is critical and, in this range, there are some real winners.

Rode NT1a- One of my personal favorites, is the world’s quietist mic. It’s clean, and transparent. It has a little hype on the top, but is very good and comes with cable, shock mount, and pop filter to save you a little money. For most people, this mic is my recommended mic.

AKG Perception 220- This mic is great if you struggle with a little AC noise in your environment or you have an exceptionally boomy voice. It’s killer clear and doesn’t struggle on the top quite like the NT1a does.

Audio-Technica AT2050- If you’re also a musician, this is your little darling. While it costs a couple of extra dollars, you get multiple pickup patterns. This is great for people that work in teams or have a really nice room. It’s a jack of all trades, but not my go-to. Select this little guy if you intend on doing more than just voice.

$1000 solution

Just like our other options, it’s vital to establish a base line to work with. In this solution though, we have a lot more flexibility financially.

To start, upgrading the interface a little will bring a new level of preamp and convertor to the table. My choice is typically the MBox 2 Mini from Digidesign. It sports the same components as its big brother, the MBox 2, at a smaller price tag. Again, we’ll need a selection of accessories (stand, cable, pop filter, headphones).

Once accomplished, it’s back to looking at mics. This time though, we have a budget of about $500 to play with.

Blue Babybottle: One of my favorite studio mics for male vocals, this mic has a warm, vintage heart and great flavor. Choose this mic if you are looking for a little of that “vintage warmth” in your work.

Rode NTK (Warning this could be a budget breaker) One of my favorite all around mics, this mic combines the clarity of the Rode line with a little warmth. This tube-based mic is great for men and women alike. Sometimes, you have to know when to spend and this is well worth the step up.

Audio Technica 4033- If you can’t afford stepping up to the NTK, the 4033 is a very clear, open sounding mic in an affordable range. Again, great for men and women alike, this mic has the clarity and accuracy to get you through almost any job.

EV RE20- the RE20 is primarily thought of as a broadcast mic. For this, it has done exceptionally well. But don’t let its reputation stand in your way. Since it is a dynamic microphone, this mic can really smooth out excited voices while maintaining the performance. While it’s not my go-to, sometimes it is right.

IN SUMMARY

Armed with the right tools, a lot of talent, willingness to network, and a pinch of luck, your voiceover business can be successful. As you grow, additional considerations will rear their head. Remember, there is no magic formula. If there was, it wouldn’t be called “engineering”. These tools are meant to serve you and, to make sure they do, you’ll need to take the time to master them. Best of luck in your business endeavors!

If I can ever be of assistance to you, with no obligation whatsoever, please contact me:

Robby Resnick
Sweetwater Sales Engineer
1800-222-4700 x1368
robby_resnick@sweetwater.com

Robby… I can’t thank you enough for sharing your expertise.

Have a comment? Subscribe to my blog and then join the conversation…and if you have an idea for a blog, please email it to me Poppa@PoppaUnplugged.com

With gratitude,
David Brower
Copyright 2010 Dave Brower

I’ve always been interested in voice over work. As a kid I pretended to be a radio DJ and did impressions of my favorite celebrities. As I got older I became interested in voice over work but I’ve said to myself “I’m no Don LaFontaine. I don’t have that big booming movie trailer guy voice. How could I even compete?” Well the longer I’m in this field the more I realize that in today’s voice over market, getting work isn’t about the voice you have as much as it is what you can do with your voice.

My background is in radio. Voice overs for me at one time were simply “the announcer guy” voice. You crank out commercials one after the other with the same announcer guy cookie cutter approach. When I started auditioning for voice over work outside of the station I worked for, I soon realized that my background in “announcing” was more of a hindrance than an aid in landing voice work.

I attended a voice over workshop and decided that if I wanted a career in voice overs, I needed to get serious. I started taking some training with the Creative Voice Development Group (Voice Coaches) out of Albany, New York. Here I began to learn that it’s about acting with your voice and not announcing. No, I don’t have a Don LaFontaine voice, but not every voice over job calls for that type of voice. Clients usually have a voice style in mind but are looking for a voice that can bring their script to life. How you approach the read and act out the script is more important than the kind of voice you have.

With lots of hard work and practice, I have been able to land work in audio books, radio and TV commercials, GPS voice overs, video narrations, telephone answering systems and even toy train sets.

I have learned that I am no Don LaFontaine, but that’s OK. I can get work by being me. So if you’re interested in the field of voice overs, my advice is to get some training and learn all you can about the business.

For more details and insights on getting into voice overs read a great blog by Vicki Amorose entitled “So You Want To Be A Voice Over Talent”

Copyright Paul Hernandez 2010

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