Monthly Archives: December 2012
With the start of 2013, be sure to have a list of New Year’s resolutions to focus on over the next year. Not only should these resolutions be fun and important to you, but they should be attainable. To really make the most of this multi-decade tradition, start with a few different areas of your life that you want to improve upon and build your list from there.
Ask yourself some questions to help inspire your resolutions list. Are you happy with your career? Have you been saying for months (or years!) that you want to do something different? Are you currently pursuing something that needs an additional push to get it moving in the right direction? What about your health or your family? Or your hobbies? Be inspired and make a list that counts!
Here’s a Voice-Over Resolutions list to get you started:
– Get the best education possible for your craft. Work with someone who is qualified, flexible, accomplished and is a practicing voice-over professional. Someone who truly loves not only being a voice actor, but also educating others. And don’t forget about your continuing education–as your skills grow your knowledge needs to grow along with it. You never stop learning!
– Be proud of your demos! If it’s been years and you’re using the same demos and not seeing the results you’ve been looking for–or you’re ready to take it to that next level, then it’s time to reassess! If your voice and skill level are more advanced than the product you’re using to market yourself, then it’s time to record a new one.
– Have a solid marketing plan in place. Make a list of businesses that fit your niche, companies that you want to contact. Follow-up with contacts and clients you’ve already made. Focus on your collateral: website, business cards, postcards, etc. Establish your branding!
– Make goals for yourself and stick to them! Where do you want to be in 3 months, 6 months, a year? These can be financial goals, number of clients goals, landing that first TV commercial–you name it, the opportunities are endless.
– Get involved in social and in-person networking. Find (or create) a voice-over meetup group in your area. Join the voice-over Facebook groups, online voice-over forums, attend networking & educational events that are available throughout the country.
– Have fun! As they say, “if it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.”
Find something that inspires you this year–that engages you creatively and mentally. Whether it be starting a new career, or fine tuning your current one. Find that challenge that you’ve been seeking and go after it!
Michael has had a busy couple of weeks. He shot a recurring role for a Disney XD pilot called Kirby Banks. He also completed recording sessions for an audiobook (The Iron Gates by Margaret Millar) and started sessions on a new Skylanders video game in which he played the character of Hugo.
Congratulations Michael- best wishes for a successful 2013, you inspire us all!
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know who you are going to get. I got Ben Marney.
From the moment Brian Hart and Ben Marney first spoke they became friends. “I quickly saw Ben’s professionalism, knowledge, expertise and learned how caring and nurturing he was,” Brian shared with us. “He remains extremely supportive, and is the best mentor a voiceover trainee could receive! It doesn’t hurt that he’s charismatic and modest either! Ben taught me the importance of inflections, marketing, perseverance, technical quality and most of all, to have fun.” As a voice talent, one of the important elements in training is discovering your niche. Brian’s niche is quite varied. “I’ve been told I’m a good story teller; that people want to listen. I think I see beyond the words on the script and tell the story the client wants to convey.” For some talent defining their niche is an obvious match and comes quickly to them, while others it finds them as time goes on. It’s important to define your niche and focus on your strengths and weaknesses. Brian states, “it’s especially important to realize when something isn’t working, as well as when it is.”
If you ask any voice talent what their inspiration was to get into the industry, you’re guaranteed to hear an array of responses, some more common than others. ‘I’ve always been told I have a great voice.’ ‘People enjoy listening to me read out loud.’ We found Brian’s reason to be quite humorous and an exciting journey! “When I was a child, I imitated voices while playing, causing my mother to ask who was with me when she listened behind my closed bedroom door (I was alone). In high school, I imitated a school official as if he was calling our teacher to his office on the school intercom. She obediently left the classroom and went to his office & I was a brief instant hero. I was NOT on the intercom, the impression luckily just worked. Then on to a 16 year military and civilian broadcast career as television and radio news anchor for the American Forces Radio and Television service and radio news anchor or talk show host for a few commercial stations. Why voiceovers? I felt I just wasn’t finished using my voice for a living at this tender old age. Only now it’s fun, not work, and it is beginning to pay off.”
Brian was recently hired as a rapping doctor for a children’s hospital commercial, he recorded a tag for a drug commercial, he’s a story teller for a university’s on-line science presentation and has hopes of using a couple of cartoon voices that he’s developed. “I didn’t imagine this was possible, or know that Such A Voice existed prior to February of 2012. I’m grateful to the company for hiring a quality coach like Ben Marney. He has represented the company to the highest standard and has shown me the way toward my current success.”
When we asked Brian if he had any words that he’d like to share with his colleagues he said: “Believe in yourself. Be honest with results. I’ve had success, but many failures. Learn from the failures and convert the knowledge into success. Don’t overlook any of the training. You can have the best voice, but if you have a technically poor quality audio product, or don’t market yourself properly, it is all for naught. You won’t be hired. All the training is important; every bit of it!”
Congratulations Brian, we look forward to continuing on this journey with you- best of luck!
When you’re on vacation and someone asks you where you’re from, chances are you’ll tell them you’re from the closest big city to your suburb. After all, who’s heard of little Decatur, Georgia? You say you’re from the nearest big city to Decatur, which is Atlanta, because people are likely to be familiar with Atlanta.
Marketing yourself in the voice-over industry is no different. When networking with clients who may need a voice-over artist’s services, let them know you are from a bigger market than your suburb. Even if you’re just starting out, new clients may feel more confident about a voice-over artist from Sacramento, CA, than, say, someone from Elk Grove. People who live in smaller towns always see city people as being pros at whatever they do.
Now that you have established yourself as a voice-over talent from a major city, don’t try to market yourself in the big city. That is one of the big mistakes that new voice-over artists make when they’re just starting out. They receive their voice-over training, they produce their demo reels and then they try to compete with the big fish in a saturated market.
Instead of setting yourself up for this challenge, make contacts with people in the suburbs. Better yet — start with your own! Chances are you’ll know someone in your local area who knows someone who owns a business who needs a voice-over for an answering machine prompt, a radio commercial, a website recording, or a corporate narration. Once you’ve landed that first gig, mention to the happy client that you are available for more voice-over work in the area and don’t hesitate to ask if they can recommend another business that you can contact to offer your services.
With some diligent voice-over technique practice and creative networking skills, you should find yourself with repeat business before you know it!
What are the perks of being a voice-over talent? You get to set your own hours, hang out at home in your pajamas, have crazy bedhead and it doesn’t matter, spend time with your kids whenever you want, deduct a portion of your home for taxes and make a wonderful living doing what you love! The downside–you spend most of the time you’re working–by youself with a mic in your face. Personally, I think it’s definitely worth the trade off, but that’s all the more reason to get out and meet up with other voice-over talent every chance you get!
Networking is incredibly powerful. It’s not just about meeting potential clients and agents, it’s also about becoming known in the voice-over industry. It’s about making friends and building a support system. It’s more than just handing out business cards or sending emails with a link to your website, it’s about nurturing those relationships. A good friend of mine, Tom Dheere, said it beautifully “it’s not about who you know, it’s about how you treat who you know.”
Social networking is a great way to start those relationships. It’s the “water cooler” in the virtual office that we all share. When an opportunity arises where you have a chance to meet these people face to face, whether you’re a brand new talent or a seasoned professional, you will want to take advantage of that.
There are many different networking/educational events within the voice-over community such as Faffcon and VOICE and other events that are focused purely on networking like the NYC VO Mixer which I was fortunate enough to attend this past weekend. With an RSVP list of over 500 people that included voice talent, agents and other industry pros–it was a night I’ll never forget. I decided to finally take my own advice and attend a networking event to meet all of these wonderful voice-over friends I’ve known for years! Exchanging hugs and business cards, voice-over stories and connections–it was incredible. I can’t wait to attend the next event- somewhere- with all my voice-over friends and still have the opportunity to make new ones.
I really do love being a voice-over talent- there is nothing quite like it- it is one of the best jobs in the world. Just remember to get out of your PJs and leave your studio every once in a while :)
By Heather Costa
Such A Voice Director of Operations
We sat down with Jevon Spencer to chat about his first big gig! When he landed the job, he sent an email to his voice-over mentor Tom Force and you could hear the excitement radiating off the screen. He booked this job through an audition from his agent and as expected, he nailed it! Here is Jevon’s journey…
My family, friends & even people I didn’t know actually inspired me to consider Voice Over. I wouldn’t have ever imagined Voice Over as a career or source of income. I often hear how I should be on the radio, because of my distinctive voice and it’s amazing I never recognized what others hear. So I finally decided to look more into this Voice Over business, since it was becoming a common topic every time I would talk to someone. The more I began to learn about the industry and strengthening my gift, the more passion I began to develop for Voice Over!
Jevon’s instructor at Such A Voice was the talented Bill Sleeper. However, many years ago, before joining Such A Voice, he discovered Tom Force (who at that time, hadn’t joined SAV yet!) Jevon shared with us that “just starting out and new to the industry, Tom made me aware of my natural imperfections by the way I articulated words. I remember my first session with Tom when he recorded me reading a script. When he played the recording back, there were clear traces of slang, speaking too fast, mumbling, etc… I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Over time and continuous practice, I began to gain confidence, structure and sound more like a professional. After a hiatus from V.O., I had the desire to return and contacted Tom again. He suggested and spoke highly about Such A Voice and that’s how I met Bill. Bill opened my mind to many different facets of Voice Over during our sessions. He helped me polish the techniques I previously attained and introduced me to new ideas overall that would’ve never crossed my mind.”
One of Jevon’s strengths is the natural depth and commanding sound of his voice. With his amazing chops, that sound comes naturally for him, so his focus has been on other aspects of V.O.- bringing the words to life. “I will continue to succeed at Voice Over because of my personality. Every script I read, I search for new ways to connect and have fun with it, as I do with life. I honestly can’t see myself getting bored doing Voice Overs and/or too old not to do it.”
We asked Jevon what he felt was the most important thing that he took away from his training at Such A Voice. He told us that “having a decent voice is a good start but after your sessions and demo are complete, you must be knowledgeable on how to market your (Voice) business to acquire work. Such A Voice provided me with this information and continues to provide valuable Bi-Weekly Teleconferences. The Bi-Weekly Teleconferences have been an important factor with keeping me motivated, learning how to expand my business, thinking outside the box and sharing/receiving ideas with others who understand the V.O. industry.”
Jevon’s Voice Over success began with the booking of a few IVR/Voicemail projects and has now advanced to the recently booking of a major narration project for the Detroit Historical Museum’s “Doorway to Freedom” Exhibit.
“If you’re aspiring to become a Voice Over talent, I would suggest continuing to practice, practice and practice. Always remain connected and involved in the business, improve your craft, read, take classes, protect your vocal cords and stay positive! Also don’t quit because it seems like you’re not making any progress and/or receiving enough work. I found that Performance, Persistence, Patience & Prayer is Profitable!”
Thank you Jevon for sharing your story with us. We wish you continued success!
Congratulations to Such A Voice Coach Lisa Foster on landing a role in an animated film!
“I was delighted to get one of the last audition spots for this film, and even more delighted that they hired me for the role of “Eve” on the spot! Doing a feature length animation film has been on my bucket list for a long time, and this opportunity presented itself at just the right time. I am really looking forward to the production of this film, and cannot wait to bring Eve to life!”
To find out more about Eve, click here.
We’re looking forward to seeing the film Lisa, congratulations!