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SAV Coach Ben Marney has an Audition Ranking of 362.50 on Voice123.com… higher than 100% of all Premium Subscribers!

Now that doesn’t mean that Ben booked 100% of the jobs he auditioned for, but we are very impressed with the high approval ratings he received back from prospective clients! Voice123.com is one of many pay2play sites, but is the only one that offers this particular ranking tool.

On most sites, the only feedback you receive is whether or not your audition has been reviewed by the client. However, Voice123.com‘s ranking tool breaks it down into several categories: Finalist, Considering, Maybe, Not Likely, Will Not Be Considered and Never Again! They can also show where you rank among the competition within each category, for example 1st out of 30 or 5th out of 30, etc. Voice123 then calculates your ranking percentage based on this information. You can also see on the same page how many auditions you have done compared with other VO talents in your category.

There are a couple of catches that prevent this from being entirely accurate… or something to focus all of your attention on! Only one out of three or four clients actually do the rankings, most do not give feedback at all. It is still a very helpful tool for talent to use though, because from the ones that do provide feedback, you can see how well you are doing with your auditions! The other point to consider is that sometimes you may still not end up with the job, even with a perfect ranking. As Ben says of his experience, “More times than I can count, I’ve been ranked ‘Finalist 1st out of 20’ and still did not get the job… but it’s a great and instant feedback on how you are competing out there. What’s important to understand is… Many times I have not landed the job I was auditioning for, even if I was ranked very high; however later, (weeks, even months later,) I’ll get a call and they hire me for another job… and then they turn into regular long term client!”

Simply put, the more that people hear your voice and like it, the greater your chance is of building a paying client list!

Such A Voice alumni Rob Sciglimpaglia is a nationally featured talent, and now a published author as well!

Chances are you’ve heard the name Rob Sciglimpaglia already throughout the Voice-Over Industry. What you may not know though, is that he originally got his start right here at SAV!

Since completing his training, Rob has been featured in national spots both on camera and off, including a Super Bowl commercial, a national radio campaign for Waste Management, and he is the voice of Tesoro Fuel, as well as the Apple NBC “Your City” apps. In fact the very first gig he landed after producing his first demos with SAV was a national gig on the PBS American Experience television series. Campbell Scott narrated the particular episode called “Hijacked” and he played a couple of voices on that episode, and the rest unfolded from there!

Rob got his start in voice-overs after training with SAV, but prior to that… he didn’t even know what voice-overs were! So how does someone go from a practicing attorney in a law office to voice-over success? “I had done a couple of call-in radio shows on Legal issues, and was a DJ in college, so I was always intrigued by radio. I saw a listing for an adult education class on voice overs in my local community college brochure. I did not know what voice overs were, but I thought the class looked fun. So I signed up, and have never looked back since!” says Rob.

Of course we all know that personal ability and drive plays a large role in one’s success. For Rob, knowing his strengths and weaknesses have been key, “I have been called the ‘king of the understated’ by a few casting agents. Meaning, my soft spoken nature of speaking is my bread and butter. I know this is my strength, but I also know that the opposite are my weaknesses, so I continue to work on my weaknesses while exploiting my strengths. I know I will continue to succeed because of the momentum I have been able to build up. I don’t think I could stop that tide even if I tried to.”

Rob also insists that success in the voice-over industry comes from much more than just talent. “Such a Voice gave me a solid foundation about the fundamentals of voice over performance and the business, so I was able to build from there and really learn the nuances involved with my performance and the industry. LEARN THE BUSINESS PART!!” He advises, “It is called SHOW BUSINESS for a reason. That includes learning the legal aspects, the players in the business, their functions and where they fit in. Once you learn this, marketing, and getting gigs, will be much easier, more fun, and much less of a daunting task.” He recently wrote a book called Voice Over LEGAL to help in understanding some of these business issues facing voice artists. We highly recommend it as a great tool for all those starting their own voice-over business, as we know first hand that Rob is a wealth of knowledge on this subject!

One last piece of advice from Rob… “Don’t ever worry about what you cannot control. Do auditions like you think they should be done, and don’t try to figure out what ‘they are looking for’ because, believe me, most of the time they don’t know. They only ‘like it when they hear it.’ Do the audition and move onto the next one, and don’t think about it again until you get called in for the job. Persevere, persevere, persevere!”

Accountabilibuddy…say what?

An accountabilibuddy is a term coined by the South Park cartoon to describe someone who is assigned to you to keep you accountable. This term was introduced to me at VOICE 2012 (since I don’t watch South Park) when I attended Tom Dheere’s session titled: Goals & Action Plans: Putting it All Together.

While the term accountabilibuddy is new to me, the concept of an accountability partner is not. I have had several in my life and they have always kept me on top of the things that are important and in helping me reach my goals. I have attended and read many books on reaching goals. Being accountable to someone is without a doubt a great way to achieve success. It helps keep you from slacking off or worse yet let a year or two go by without reaching your goals.

Tom’s session was the first on accountability, that I had attended in the context of voice-overs. It was great to be reminded of the importance of having a mission statement, weekly, monthly and yearly goals along with an action plan to reach those but of course it all stems from your mission statement. Your accountabilibuddy is someone you share these things with so they know what to hold you accountable for week after week.

Tom challenged us to go out and find one while we were at VOICE and not to leave without one. Seeing how there were over 400 VO talents there it wasn’t hard to find one. In fact, my accountabilibuddy is someone that I just met at VOICE but we hit it off really well and she approached me and I said YES!

Since then we have met three times. We are meeting on a bi-weekly basis to start off with since we are both pretty busy but it has already helped us to stay focused on the things we want to implement that we learned at VOICE.

So how about you? Ready to find yourself an accountabilibuddy? I hope so. Here are my recommendations on finding one:

  • Find someone who lives close to you if at all possible. This will help you foster a strong relationship. If this is not possible don’t fret, the phone or skype work just as good. The only downside is you can’t share a meal together to celebrate reaching big milestones.
  • Find someone who you connect well with and won’t be offended, hurt or defensive when they call you out on your excuses or anything of the sort. Of course, the person should also be encouraging but sometimes we need to hear the hard stuff or else we won’t grow or change.
  • Find someone who is at the same level as you are or a bit ahead. Otherwise, if the person is significantly ahead of you then it’s more of a mentoring relationship not an accountabilibuddy. Although having a mentor is another great way to learn and achieve your goals. View our mentor program called Career Advisory if you want to add this level to your success as well.
  • Be ready to implement not just talk about what you like to do.
  • Have fun! Having accountability isn’t all about deadlines and work. It’s work but it should also be fun except when you need a kick in the hiney to get moving : ).

These are just ideas, if nothing else it helps you to think through who can be your accountabilibuddy. Mine doesn’t live close in fact she lives in another state, I just met her so we are not only growing our voice-over business but also building a new relationship, which is fun.

To Your Voice-Over Succes,

Talent Spotlight: Mike Slemmer

Mike Slemmer"My first paying job came only 3 months after getting my demos!"

Growing up making films since he was a child, Mike Slemmer has always had a creative side to him. He always had this regret that he didn’t pursue an education in the entertainment business. He is very happy that voiceover work enables him to realize his passion for making a mark in entertainment. In fact, since he graduated from the Such A Voice program, he even managed to book on-camera work!

Mike began his journey into voiceovers in the 1980’s in Dallas. Although he loved it from the very beginning, he had to put it on the back burner once his software sales career took off. He always knew that he would want to come back to voiceovers at some point, but didn’t know when he would find the time to perfect his talent. After many years and hearing many people tell him what a great voice he had over and over again, Mike decided to give voiceovers another shot.

The fact that Such A Voice taught the BUSINESS of the voiceover industry is what Mike appreciated the most. While realizing that the technique coaching and the demo recording were crucial to launching his voiceover career, Mike feels that he learned the most in the marketing aspect of his training. "The marketing material provided by Such A Voice on how to market yourself and build a business in this industry is critical to voiceover success. Between the materials in the Members Only Area, the live bi-weekly training series, the coaching sessions and my own sales & marketing experience, I have many great ideas for making my voiceover brand (The Voice of Authority) stand out in this industry!" Mike also received in-depth guidance on the technical side of voiceovers by signing up for Pro Tools training with Such A Voice. "The post-production department’s ongoing support and willingness to help with my recording questions has been super!"

Mike’s strong, resonant voice is definitely his biggest strength. He has a wonderful range and vocal variety. Top that off with strong business management (specifically a sales and marketing background) and you have a wonderful recipe for success. He has constructed a marketing plan and diligently works on that plan to refine and adjust it as necessary to push himself further every day. He realizes that his voice is his career, therefore making sure that he is always working on refining his talent. "My range isn’t where it ultimately needs to be if I’m going to get the big jobs I’m looking for. I’m focusing on vocal variety, phrasing and generally just learning to let go a bit more. I have taken a voice acting class, individual coaching and I’m also reading a variety of books on voice acting to help give me the competitive edge in the industry."

Mike Slemmer at the mic

Since graduating from the Such A Voice program in November of 2010, Mike has booked quite a few jobs. The first job he landed was recording a book for a colleague of his, Bev Flaxington. The title of the book is "Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior." Mike was nice enough to offer a discount to Such A Voice students or followers by clicking the title above to place your order! Although Mike wasn’t paid for this job, it helped him practice recording, editing and completing all of the post-production for an audiobook. A blind buyer called to say it was the best audiobook read he’d ever heard. On top of all of that, it ended up leading to paying jobs! Concurrently with working on the audiobook, he was cast to read a book trailer for an internet promotion of the book. "I booked the job by cold calling the president of Trailer to the Stars (which does trailers for TV, movies and books). They had email solicited Beverly to do a trailer on her book, which she forwarded to me. I called the president and asked if she kept a file of VO demos, which she did. I sent over my demo and a few hours later I got a call from her letting me know that she loved my voice and had a script for me!"

Mike was most impressed with the fact that he received a complete education about all things voiceover related while working with Such A Voice. He encourages aspiring voiceover artists to remember the 3 legs of the stool to success "#1-VO practice and submitting auditions. Remember, you cannot win if you do not play. I recommend becoming a premium member of at least one of the voiceover sites (Mike’s personal preference is Voices.com). Even if I don’t get the gig, it’s still great practice to record a script, completing the editing and submitting the audition. #2-Marketing and selling. Cold calling creative directors at production companies and advertisers has worked well for me. I make sure I always follow up. Of course I also advise using all social media avenues and have personally found prospects through social media. I launched a podcast for the business, which is gaining subscribers and lets me showcase my voice work. #3-Technical knowledge. Vocal boothThis one is pretty self-explanatory. Have your equipment, learn how to use it and be efficient in doing so." Mike goes on to add another leg to the stool of success "#4-Always be learning. Look for books, classes and additional training. One last thing, don’t think you’re going to be a huge success overnight simply because someone said you have a fantastic voice. Constant learning and improvement, as well as learning how to be a voice actor is the critical component to your success."