Category Archives: Marketing Tips

Live Session THIS SUNDAY on Goals & Business Planning for 2013

Join us THIS SUNDAY, February 24th 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time for the bi-weekly session with Voiceover Talent/Coach Ben Marney as he discusses Goals & Business Planning for 2013 goals

Topics Include:
  • The reality of the Voice-Over business
  • What should your realistic goals be
  • Long range plans
  • The SMART system to making plans and goals

 

If you are not currently enrolled in our Bi-Weekly Live Training Series but would like to join us for this event for $25, please click here to sign up! 

*Once you have signed up, please check your email just prior to Sunday’s session to receive the link to attend.

 
To Your Success!

~The Such A Voice Team

Live Session THIS SUNDAY on Voice-Over Conferences: When is it time to attend?

Join us THIS SUNDAY, February 10th 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time with Voice-Over Talent/Coach Faith Coons as she discusses Voice-Over Conferences: When is it time to attend?

With all the voice-over conferences happening in 2013, you may find yourself wondering, should I attend one? Perhaps a better question to ask might be, am I ready to attend a voice-over conference this year? Join Faith Coons as she discusses what you should think about prior to making this decision and if you decide to attend how to maximize your experience.conference

If you are not currently enrolled in our Bi-Weekly Live Training Series but would like to join us for this event for $25, please click here to sign up!

*Once you have signed up, please check your email just prior to Sunday’s session to receive the link to attend.

To Your Success!

~The Such A Voice Team

Making the Most of Your Facebook Business Page

You’d like to set up a Facebook business page for your voice-overs, but you’re not sure what steps to take to make the most of this free social networking opportunity. You can certainly be successful in landing clients through Facebook, however, it’ll probably be even more beneficial to you in using it as a way to build up your credibility in the voice-over industry with your VO colleagues.

First of all, even if you have a personal Facebook page, it is recommended that you set up a business page specifically for your voice-over business. You can certainly invite all of your friends to “like” your page, but you’re not going to want everyone who “likes” your business page, to see all of your personal Facebook page information.

On your Facebook business page, you want to include your logo in either your profile picture or your cover photo. Some talent prefer to have their logo as their cover photo and then a professional headshot as their profile picture, so that clients & colleagues can relate to them on a more personal level. Others prefer to have their logo as their profile (since that’s how everyone recognizes them) and then put some other industry related photo for their cover–an image of a WAV file, studio equipment and so on. Either option is fine! facebook2

Make sure that your business contact information: phone number, website, email address and any other relevant info is updated correctly. You want to make it easy for others to find your info, if they’d like to check out your demos, your website, etc. In the sections entitled “About” and “Personal Information” you can include information about your voice, training, services, clients, etc. You can fill out either however you see fit, just make sure that you’re not redundant and that you include everything that’s important.

Ideally you should post on your Facebook business page 2-3 times per week, if not more. Once a day would be even better–but you have to have relevant information to post. You should use this page to advertise your VO work, seminars you’re attending, training you’re working on, etc. as well as sharing what other VO colleagues post and other exciting industry news. If your page is always just about you, followers may not be as inclined to check it regularly.

Take advantage of the ability to post in the future! It’s a wonderful tool. You can schedule as many future posts as you’d like just by setting the date and time in the “Write something” window before you hit “post”. You can also see how many people viewed your post afterward which can be a good indicator of the best days/time to post. Obviously you want to capture as many people as possible.

In addition to posting information about your successes and “sharing” information from your colleagues, posting VO industry related articles that you find on the internet, etc. you should also post industry related questions to engage your followers. It’s a great way to start a conversation and build your credibility by posting appropriate information and responding to comments.

With a Facebook business page, you have access to your “Admin panel” this will show you how many posts you have done, the reach (who saw it) and who is talking about (who commented or “shared” your post.) This is a very valuable tool to keep track of. You will also be emailed weekly (or however you set up your settings) the stats as well as new likes each week, how many are talking about it and your weekly total reach.

You should also become familiar with the tabs up top–edit page and build audience. Most of that is self explanatory, but be sure to check out the “use activity log” under the “edit page” tab. That will show you all previous posts and all future scheduled ones.

There are also Facebook ads that you can purchase, if you so choose. You set up a campaign and the target audience, how often you want the ad run, etc. You can find out more information about those here.

Facebook is a great networking opportunity to build up relationships and discover new clients–have fun with it!

Kelly Libatique started booking voice-over jobs while still in his training with Such A Voice Coach Talia Gonzalez

Kelly Libatique started booking voice-over jobs while still in his training with Such A Voice Coach Talia Gonzalez, before he even had his professional demos produced!

We sat down with Kelly Libatique to hear more about his amazing success having just started out in this industry. Congratulations to Kelly on all of his achievements and we thank him for sharing such encouraging words with others looking for that hope & guidance as they venture into this exciting field.klvoicelogo

 

Q: What inspired you to want to get into voice-overs?

 
A: As a theatre actor since college, I’ve been inspired for years to explore other areas of performing. Also, in the last ten years or so, I’ve been a technical trainer and curriculum developer in the high-tech and telcom industries and have used my voice extensively in recorded training material. After being told numerous times over the years that I’d be good at something like this, I’m so glad I made the decision to give it a whirl.

Q: Who was your instructor at Such A Voice & what about that person made them a good fit for you?

A: My coach was Talia Gonzalez, and I can’t say enough about her. In just a couple of sessions, we had found out pretty clearly what I was good at and what needed serious work. And the stuff that needs work STILL needs work. But her coaching and advice from real-world experience was invaluable. She challenged and pushed me out of my comfort zones and made me see what else I could do. She genuinely cared about me getting things right. It’s an investment in time and resources to get one-on-on coaching, but if you’re a newbie, you must do this.

Q: What do you see as your own VO strengths and why you will continue to succeed at this?

A: My strengths are having a strong, authoritative delivery, and if you need specialized or otherwise technical jargon–no problem. I also pull from my stage and camera experience a lot. But one of the things Talia had to knock out of me was my “default” trainer voice. No matter what copy I read, I tended to return to my flat, heavy-handed, “here’s the info” kind of voice. On the plus side though, I have found that many audiobook authors like this voice for the narrative portion. After that, I pull from my acting training and experience to create characters.

Q: What did you take away from Such A Voice that will be the most beneficial to your career?

A: I took away many things from SAV, but I can name two biggies. The first is the need to stay “one-on-one” when recording spots. The Script Analysis, as it’s called, is fundamental, and is especially helpful once you become good at doing it quickly. Without that, I’d still be doing my instructor/radio announcer voice; I speak to the masses, as it were, by instinct, but in VO, you have to be talking to one person. The second is the overall picture about marketing, even to the smaller markets, that many don’t think of. I’ve read a few books from other sources on the subject since, but you need to have an understanding of the business side of VO. Most of us artists just want to perform, that’s where the fun is. But it doesn’t matter how good the performance is if you’re not out there getting heard by the right people. I can almost never attend the SAV bi-weekly live training sessions, but I listen to the recordings and the real-world tips you get there are chock full of great info.

Q: What VO jobs have you booked and/or opportunities that you’ve had since joining our program?

A: I just completed my fourth audiobook and am already enjoying monthly revenue from that. I hopped on to ACX.com and started auditioning and found work right away. My current book is the first of a trilogy series that the author already wants me to do.

Although it’s a ripe market, audiobooks are not for everyone. They are long hours of recording and editing, and the pay is not as good per hour of effort. But the practice is priceless. If you’re not good with mic techniques or the bells and whistles of your recording software, audiobooks will take care of that. ACX has a strict audition process and even before the author or publisher gives the final Go, you need to demonstrate the ability to produce fully edited and ready-to-publish recordings.

I also did a promo for a Russian startup called Instengine. I booked that when Voices.com offered me 30 days for ten bucks. Why not, right? So I signed up and got the offer after auditioning for about 25 jobs. I was told later that was pretty darn good luck. The promo is featured on their homepage at Instengine.com and also on YouTube

After my 30 days on Voices.com, I dropped out again until my official demos were done by SAV. My demos have now just been completed and are featured on the website I threw together — KLVoice.com. So I may hop back on to Voices or Voice123, we’ll see.

Here are a couple audiobooks of mine that are out there now: bobbymeets
In Dog We Trust by Neil S. Plakcy
Bobby Meets His Angel by D. Charles  

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring voice talent?

A: There’s an old saying: A year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today. I guess that sums it up for me and VO. I wish I’d gotten serious about it sooner and received the proper training and knowledge to get a real start.

Going back several years, if you were to make a list of everything you’re NOT supposed to do, I did them all. I bought equipment I didn’t know how to properly use. I tried, lamely, to make my own demos. I used copyrighted music for background on demos and auditions. And it got me absolutely nowhere. (Good thing too or I may have been sued!) Discouraged, I put it all aside for a couple of years and tried to forget about it. But I couldn’t. I knew I wanted to try. Then one day I ran into a class called “You’re On The Air” taught by SAV’s Lisa Foster and my fire was rekindled. I saw, laid out, practical steps I could take to get real training from pros. After doing some research on different companies out there, I found that SAV has a good reputation and many of their students are out there doing real VO work. So I signed up and here I am. And hopefully, someday, I’ll be able to say, “and the rest is history.”  :)

Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

A: You may try VO and find it’s not for you, but that’s just life. If it’s a desire in your heart, you need to just dive in and give it a go. You may be surprised. My situation is this: I have a day job and two boys, ages eight and twelve at home. Under these sometimes crazy, chaotic, and noisy circumstances, I’ve started a paying part-time VO career. You can do this if you have the determination and the right guidance. What’s the Nike slogan?: Just do it. (But do it the right way . . .)

Making New Year’s Resolutions that Count!

2013With 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!

Big Fish in a Small Market

bigfishWhen 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!

The Importance of Networking

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.

NThere 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

Making the Most of LinkedIn

With 150 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn has established itself as a professional social media powerhouse. Below are a few hints & tips for navigating and making the most of LinkedIn.

Much like Facebook, LinkedIn allows a user to set up a personal page as well as a business page. A personal page should be used to show an entire history of your work, much like a complete online resume. You can acquire recommendations from previous employers, colleagues and the like. A business page should be used for the business you currently own or a business in which you function as an employee. Although there are similarities in how both pages are used, your business page should be completely focused on the industry you currently work in while your personal page content may vary.

PERSONAL PAGE:

LinkedIn is meant to be strictly professional, so there shouldn’t be any intimate details or incredibly personal information that appears on your profile.

If you have a business Twitter account, make sure that you link that account with your LinkedIn profile. This will allow you to share updates using your Twitter account. In order to link your account you need to log into LinkedIn, click on ‘Profile’ and then ‘Edit Profile’. In the top portion there is a field called ‘Twitter’. Click ‘Edit’ next to that field and you can add in a Twitter account and choose to import your tweets directly into LinkedIn.

Make sure that your personal brand image is aligned between LinkedIn and what a potential client would find if they did a Google search for your name or your business name.

Include an up to date professional headshot as your profile picture. As always, make sure that this image is consistent with your online brand (it should match your profiles on all sites.)

Your profile information should always be up-to-date and accurate. Add new projects that you’ve worked on and review your information on a regular basis to make sure that it is the most current information you have.

Collect recommendations from past colleagues to establish credibility with future employers or clients. Also remember to recommend colleagues that you respected from past jobs.

Be sure to network! LinkedIn’s focus is networking. Make sure that you find old connections, clients and peers and establish new connections through groups with similar interests to yours. Seek out companies that you hope to work with in the future.

BUSINESS PAGE: 

Create a company profile for your business, linking your personal profile to your company. Potential clients can keep tabs on your company page to see what you’ve been working on.

Make sure that you include your services on your company page. You want to make it easy for people to see what you have to offer. To adjust this, click ‘Admin Tools’ on the right side of the page, then select ‘Add a product or service’. From there you select a category that best fits your service. You can name it, add an image, a URL, contact information and more.

Post regular status updates separate from your personal page to make sure that your company profile doesn’t become stagnant. You should aim to post one or two updates each day from your company page. The content can come from various sources, such as your website or blog.

Check the analytics of your business page to see what people are gravitating towards and what they’re steering away from. You can adjust the lesser-trafficked pages to have content more consistent with the popular pages. The analytics tab is the fourth tab over on the top of the page.

Make sure that you add a plugin to your blog or website that can direct people to your company LinkedIn profile. This is such a simple step and can help drive a lot of traffic to your LinkedIn page. Depending on which blog service you use, the way to go about this varies. If you are having trouble figuring out how to add this plugin, I would recommend doing a quick search on Google.

One of the greatest features of having a LinkedIn company page is that you can create multiple versions of your page that can be aimed at different audiences. Once you create the first version, you can click “New Audience” to create another version with a different description and overview to target that audience.

Working from home- separating work & family time

One of the challenges that voice-over artists face when working from home, is creating a balance between work and family time. Since voice-over jobs can theoretically occupy your time around the clock, as you jostle between time zones, open auditions and deadlines–it’s far too easy to never truly turn off the clock for the day. One of the best ways to avoid neglecting work or family, is to create a schedule for yourself at the start of each day. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish that day, and then break that list down into hourly segments. You should keep your list visible so that you can check things off as you complete them. Your list will serve as a reminder for you and will let you know when it’s time to walk away from the mic–to spend some quality time with your family, relaxing and having fun. 

Time for a Career Change?

Perhaps we all at least think about it now and then, in those moments when we realize that we aren’t completely happy in our current job. Some take a moment to make themselves appreciate what they have, but then some of us actually decide to take the plunge. Making a career change can be a daunting task…  thoughts about the risks and the unknown can be overwhelming. As we talk to so many of our students who have actually made the move, we would like to share their insights for those who are making the same considerations. We find that it is much easier to handle mentally (and financially!) if you look at it as the process it should be, rather than a sudden and risky move. This means that you don’t have to put off pursuing your dreams, but you should take your time and make sure you are ready before cutting off all ties with your current stream of income.

Step One: Make your decision. Even though it may be a year or more before you have made your complete transition, you can’t actually begin the process until you decide that you are ready to commit!

Step Two: Preparation. Complete your training for your new career, at whatever pace you need to maintain your current work schedule. Figure out how much time each week you can realistically devote to training for your new career, and fit it into your schedule. This will vary for each person, depending upon the current work load and personal responsibilities you have. Make the most of your situation, but also respect the time you personally need in order to be fully prepared and find success in your new career.

Step Three: Continue to work as you perfect your abilities and set up your own voice-over business. Most importantly, continue to work in your job even as you start to book voice-over jobs. It may take you a year or more before you are booking solid work and earning enough of an income to let go of your old steady income.

Step Four: Complete your transition. The time will come when you will need to weigh out your options. Do you feel that you now just need more time to fully succeed in your new career? Then you may decide it is now time to dive in and let go of your old job- so you can focus on your new one! Or perhaps you are financially dependent on your income and need to continue to take it slowly until you have solidly replaced your old income. Some may find that an adjustment to their old commitments allows them to do both part time and have the best of both worlds.

When it comes down to it, you will want to take both your personal and financial needs into consideration to decide when (or if you should at all) cut off all ties with your old career. The beauty of making this transition into a voice-over career is that you are your own boss. You can help to dictate the length of the process to match your needs. It may take you longer to get there if you have other commitments, but taking your time through the process also allows you to start as soon as possible, rather than waiting for that “all or nothing” moment to arrive!

Such A Voice Instructor and Producer Tom Force has recently booked a new job through VOPlanet!

Tom tells us about his experience and adds a little advice for us all as well, “The audition called for a talent with a Ken Nordine-style of read for a series of beat poetry spots. The client is a well known restaurant in Portland, Oregon called Sayler’s Old Country Kitchen. The specs on the job called for a VO talent that has ISDN access. I don’t, but I knew my friends at Ron Rose-Milagro Post in Southfield, MI did, so I did the audition and forgot about it. Four days later my phone rang with the news that I had the job. We did 3 spots and all went really well. This was a lesson in flexibility. Many of my friends who used to do a lot of ISDN work don’t spend the money maintaining the lines anymore. It’s easier and cheaper to send the business to a local studio who can accommodate the job at a reasonable rate. Now you’re one of their clients which is a great way to stay on the top of their minds and even better with a studio that does lots of VO work. Make sure the studio has a copy of your demos for future reference with their clients. It’s the circle of life in the VO biz kids!”

Click here to listen to the Sayler’s Old Country Kitchen spot, voiced by Tom Force.

A Typical VO Work Week

There is no typical work week in VOs – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! One of the beauties and challenges of doing voice-overs is that work tends to ebb and flow depending on the seasons and holidays, as well as your own productivity and networking.

Networking is one aspect of your work week that should be constant, no matter how busy or bored you are. Reaching out to potential contacts and staying in touch with producers and clients is the only way to ensure your plate will be full when big holiday opportunities come along.

So, how far in advance should you prepare for the holidays? Three months is a good rule of thumb for all major events. That means that you should now be checking in with clients who might need your services for winter holiday commercial promotions. By November, you should have your eye on Valentine’s Day voice-over work, then Mother’s Day, and so on. Be sure to keep a pulse on the timing of holidays or events that fluctuate from year to year, like Sweeps, which is typically in March.

When you start to get the hang of the yearly work flow, you will be able to plan ahead to dry spells more accurately. For example, January and February tend to be relatively slow periods for national commercial spots. Being able to predict a slower work flow will let you be more responsible with your voice-over business planning, as well as help you relax when you do not have a lot of work to do!

Preparing for a light load of national commercial spots does not necessarily mean you will not be working much. Take advantage of the down time by concentrating on networking within your local community. Balancing your efforts and planning ahead is how you will stay as busy as you want to be!

Audiobook Narration

Have you been dreaming of finding a place for yourself within the niche of Audiobook Narration? Perhaps you have been…. without even realizing it! One of the most common things we hear from people aspiring to be a voice-over artist is “I can do all kinds of voices!” Well, to many people’s surprise, in most voice-over work this actually isn’t a requirement. These days with a “conversational tone” dominating the industry, imitating voices is “out” and sounding like yourself is “in” for most commercials and narrations. However, if beyond your own “everyday voice” you find that there are all kinds of character voices inside of you just dying to be let out…. audiobooks may be just what you are looking for!

Audiobooks have quickly become very popular with frequent book readers, and as a result have become a great source of bread and butter for voice-over talent who excel in lengthy narrations. Audiobooks are a wonderful opportunity to showcase many skills including narration, stamina, character voices, overall acting ability and more. There are many genres within the audiobook niche, so if you are passionate about reading, chances are you will find several that appeal to you. Fiction, Non-Fiction, How To’s, Best Sellers, Classic Literature and Children’s Books just start the list. As you can imagine, each one comes with its own set of special skills required. Can you motivate? Instruct? Bring life to a children’s book? What types of books do you love to read? Pondering these questions will help you to choose which specific areas you should target.

The Audiobook niche works much like other areas of voice-over, and the best way to showcase your aptitude for work within it is to have an audiobook narration demo. Audiobook demos are often much longer than a standard commercial or narration demo, to showcase that needed skill: stamina! Once you have your fully produced demo, you will find your search for audiobook work to be much easier, since this has become a standard expectation when considering talent. Start by searching and contacting audiobook companies, and create an account for yourself on ACX.com (much like voices.com or voice123.com, you can easily audition specifically for audiobook work, but without a fee!)

Once you have an audition opportunity, you should do research on the book first. Break down the script and plan any character voices that may be necessary. Have a dictionary handy for any challenging words or terms you may come across, but most importantly let your love for reading dictate what you do! Authors often have a hand in choosing who will narrate their book, and if you are passionate about what you are reading, it is sure to be recognized right away. Lastly, as you may have heard a million times before… “practice, practice, practice.” So keep on reading, and read out loud. If you have a passion for literature and voice-overs, this may be the perfect niche for you. Practicing is always a lot more fun when it’s something you enjoy doing!

5 Habits of Highly Successful VO Actors

If someone doesn’t succeed in the voice-over industry, chances are the person neglected one of the three legs of the stool that a successful voiceover artist relies on: voice-over training, marketing and technical ability. If one of those three legs is shorter — or non-existent, the stool will topple, taking the would-be voice talent with it.

There are, however, common habits and attitudes that professional voice talents share. See if this sounds like you — or if it sounds like your voice-over career could benefit from doing these:

1. Never stop learning. Successful voice-over artists are constantly working on their technique through auditioning for voice over jobs, spending hours practicing, reading a book or blog, or taking a lesson. Embrace new technology, and stay on top of marketing trends.

2. Never settle for mediocrity. A job is not done until it’s perfect, even if it is late and you want to get to bed! Professionals aim for perfection in each recording, editing session, and communication they have with clients. If the client isn’t thrilled with your work, then you shouldn’t be either.

3. Always be fair with pricing. Try to be accommodating with a client’s budget without hurting your reputation (or the industry!) but without constantly turning down jobs either. If a client has a very small budget, see what else you can work out – maybe they’d be willing to sign a contract for future work by you agreeing to do the first job at a lower price? Or perhaps you can do an exchange of services… try to be creative!

4. Maintain sincere relationships with clients. The problem with a sales pitch is, well … it sounds sales pitchy. Regardless of whether you’re the client or the employer, everyone wants to do business with someone genuine. Be your professional self from the get-go, and send quarterly voice-over newsletters or hand-written notes to stay in touch.

5. Love what you do! Love it, and have fun with it! If you don’t love it from the get-go, you might want to re-think your career path. Never lose your faith in your ability to achieve, as long as you are putting in the hard work.

Face to Face Auditions- Do’s and Don’ts!

While much of the auditioning in the voice-over industry is done online, you will want to be fully prepared for those in person auditions as well! Here are some tips to help make sure you are representing yourself as a true VO professional:

 

Do’s and Don’ts:

 * Do… Make sure that you get to the audition in time to read over the copy and feel confident that you like the way you’re reading it. Arriving at least 20 minutes or so early is advised. They may be behind, but you need to make sure you are always on time!

Don’t… Sign in if you’re early and want to study it – go to another room or outside to practice.

Do… Keep your appointments unless you absolutely can’t.

Don’t… Ever be a no-show. Always call!

Do… Learn how to be spontaneous and prepare quickly! Unlike other acting jobs, copy is usually not available beforehand so you can’t get it to study. The copy is usually only available at the audition session.

Don’t… Get discouraged if your partner in a group read doesn’t want to practice beforehand. If the audition is a group read, you may have been paired up beforehand, but you may not know who you are reading with until the casting director comes out and tells you. At that time, you can read with your partners if you all choose to, but some people prefer not to practice together beforehand.

Do… Wear comfortable clothes- you will want a little room to breathe and move!

Don’t… Wear noisy jewelry or clothing.

Do… Stay still at the end of the take. No matter how happy or sad you are- be silent!!

Don’t… NEVER, EVER, EVER touch the microphone or microphone stand!! If it needs to be adjusted, ask the engineer. You can touch the music stand, but nothing to do with the microphone – this goes for auditions and sessions!!!

Do… Have a few options and attitudes prepared! When you go in to read, you usually get to read more than once.

Don’t… Ask questions about the read during your level check. Give the level check read when the casting director asks for it, and read until they tell you to stop- even if it means repeating the copy. Right when you walk into the session is the time to ask any questions you may have about the copy, if there’s anything you don’t understand or you’re not sure how to interpret.

Do… Make yourself available! You often get calls the day before or that morning for auditions at the times they have open.

Don’t… Think you can’t read for union commercials just because you aren’t in the union. It is not required for an audition!

Do… Take notes while listening to a scratch track. If it’s a TV audition, they may show you the visual (on the left of the page) and the audio (on the right on the page.) If there is a scratch track available, the casting director may play that for you first. You will watch it and then do your read, so write down notes as you’re watching on where to breathe, accents, speed, etc.

Don’t… Ask if you can call later to find out how you did.

Do… Ask the engineer “are you going to slate, or do you want me to?” If you are slating at an audition all they need is “Jane Doe, take one.” (Insert your name in place of Jane Doe!) Some clients may only want your name, if so they’ll most likely indicate that to you beforehand.

*  Don’t… Touch the copy. When recording, put the copy on the stand in the beginning. If you don’t have a stand, firmly grasp the copy a little below the middle of the page and hold it at eye level. If you’re holding 2 pages, put one in each hand and move quietly and seamlessly.

Do… The same thing you did the first time if you are asked to come in for a callback as well as any additional styles they’re looking for- they obviously heard something great initially, but they want to see you take it a step further this time. Treat it exactly the same as you did during the first audition!

Don’t… Take the copy home with you. When you’re done reading, leave the copy on the stand in the audition booth or bring it out of the room and place it back on the pile of scripts in the waiting area. Thank the casting director and walk out of the room.

Lastly, after the audition- just forget about it! Don’t make calls all around or obsess. Write down the name of the ad agency and send them a current demo if you’d like, but let it go and move on to the next audition experience!