Blog Archives

Voice-Over Talent/Coach David Tolar has another passion: music!

David Tolar has been a live musician, a studio musician, and a
recording artist for the past three decades.

He is a multi-instrumentalist and records, engineers, and produces
his own music from Chez Nous, his digital recording studio.

He has recorded with a series of different artists including Agona
Hardison, the Big Blue Daddys (yes, Daddys is spelled that way!), and
Lisa Meri, and since 2010, he has released three albums independently:

LOOK! A PONY!‘s 2010 release, “…the rest of the world is wrong…“,
their 2012 followup, “Has Your Mother Heard This?“, and David’s début
solo album, “The Path Of Least Resistance“, released in late 2012.path2

David’s second solo album, “Sandbox Etiquette”, will be released this summer.

Some of the bands he has worked with include:

Savoir Faire
Split Second
No Man’s Land
South Of Nine
Big Blue Daddys
Agona Hardison
Lisa Meri
British Yankees
RAMM: The Paul McCartney Tribute (now called ONE SWEET DREAM)
Mojo Filter
LOOK! A PONY!

It is exciting to see another artistic side to Dave. It’s obvious that his skills as a musician make him that much stronger as a VO talent and coach. We look forward to hearing more of his music!

SAV Director of Operations Heather Costa, Records Hundreds of Radio & TV Spots for Carrier and Cub Cadet Quarterly!

By Heather Costa

I have been very fortunate that each quarter, for the past two years, I have been hired to record hundreds of radio and TV spots for Carrier AC & Heating and Cub Cadet, a lawn and garden manufacturer. These spots air all throughout the United States. Back in May 2010 I was approached by a Florida based production company who had found my website while doing an online search. The relationship started out with just a few commercials here and there. Then within a month, they sent me the first large project requesting 44 radio spots and 133 commercial spots for Carrier AC & Heating! I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I was very excited for the opportunity and provided my best work possible with a quick turnaround. With each project since, the number of spots have increased.

I record commercials with this production company on a regular basis (ranging from 5 second tags to 60 second spots,) however, I can always count on receiving those big bulk projects for both Carrier & Cub Cadet once a quarter as the seasons change and it’s time to revamp their marketing!

Carrier uses this production company to create commercials for many of their distributors, such as Mike Morello, Air Pro Services, Baxter Oil Company and more! Cub Cadet does the same, so the projects I record are again for distributors such as Hoyt’s AG Supply, Clermont County Equipment and Gossett Farm Equipment, among others.

I’ve also had the opportunity to record numerous car dealership commercials for them and believe it or not, motorcycles too! I never would have pegged this as a niche for myself, but the client apparently did! It’s wonderful having outstanding relationships with production companies that rely on you and you on them as well. It’s also a great opportunity to share the jobs with other VO talents. I’ll occasionally be asked for referral recommendations for different types of voices that I obviously can’t provide, such as male, Spanish, etc. After all, VO success doesn’t just include booking jobs, it’s also about building relationships.

Click here for some Carrier & Cub Cadet spots that Heather recently voiced:

SAV Student Andrea Burnette Lands VO Job for Health First New York!

Andrea Burnette is the perfect example of someone who has managed to turn a life-long passion for reading aloud into an actual career move. As it turns out, her years of “practice” have suited her well- having shaped her ability to embody the character in each read she does. Andrea always knew she wanted to pursue voice-overs, so when she took her first class with Such A Voice, she knew by the end of it that it was time to make the move!

Andrea decided to take every minute of her studies with SAV coach Michelle Falzon very seriously, (actually asking her to nit pick!) to make sure she would get the most out of her training. “Michelle is an excellent fit for me because she’s a fantastic teacher. Her knowledge includes not only voice technique, but recording and the technical aspects of producing a marketable product, as well as starting and sustaining a viable voiceover business,” she says of her training. There is no doubt that Andrea’s intense devotion to do her personal best has served her very well, as she has now booked 2 radio commercial spots for a client in the incredibly competitive market of New York City!

She says of the experience, “I booked that first job this month via Voice123.com, two 60-second radio commercials to air in New York City for Health First New York. The client and the agency arranged to phone me to provide direction during the recording session. That was quite an experience! Since I booked that job, voice seekers have begun to send me invitations, which is very encouraging.”

Just like every artist, Andrea’s prior experiences are what truly helped her to nail these spots, “I attended a workshop titled ‘People Who Hire’ and had an opportunity to read for a local ad agency executive and a room full of fellow VO talents. I was very nervous, but got through the read and received good feedback from the exec and my peers. It turned out to be just the preparation I needed for my first vo job.” Combining this experience with her natural ability to be resilient and face new challenges daily, Andrea was ready for the job and is now a paid VO professional!

Are you dreaming of following in Andrea’s foot steps? To do so she recommends that you, “Listen to your coach, listen to voiceovers on web sites, TV, radio, in elevators and malls, wherever they occur. Practice, practice, practice! Keep listening, learning, improving and don’t give up!” Take your education seriously as she did with Such A Voice, finding that “the training itself was a great foundation on which to build; it also really helped to have someone to guide me through the process and help avoid the pitfalls. I understand the VO lingo and understand what’s expected of me so that I can deliver what the client expects.”

Congratulations Andrea, with your natural talents and drive to succeed, we are sure that we will be hearing much more of your voice in the coming months and years!

The Importance of Time Management & Organization as a Voice-Over Artist

Being a voice-over talent is being an entrepreneur, which in turn requires dedication and self-direction in order to succeed. We all know how hard it can be to get yourself to do the important things in life, such as eating properly or turning off the TV to get some exercise… So what is the secret to always making the right choice each day for your professional success? The answer lies in both managing your time and organizing yourself! Here is some advice you will find helpful in creating your own path to success:

Set a time commitment within your weekly schedule – why?

1. Hold yourself accountable for the goals that you’re setting!

2. Keep yourself organized to make the most of your time. More organization = more productivity.

3. Keep yourself from getting frustrated – already having the time set aside will make it easier to fit it into your life than trying to “fit in VO work whenever you can…”

What specific time commitment should you make?

1. VOs can be done any day of week, any time of day!

2. If you’re worried about meeting your time commitment, plan for less time and then if you surpass it, great! Otherwise if you do not, you won’t feel that you have let yourself down.

3. Try to set aside time that you know you won’t be interrupted or have other obligations to deal with.
How to fit it all in:

1. Figure out an amount of time per week that you want to spend on VOs (in general.)

2. Then look at that week’s schedule Monday-Sunday and figure out how to fit in those hours.

3. Break down the time into 4 categories: research, auditioning, initial contacts, and follow-ups.

4. Then the 5th category that you would not necessarily allot time for – actually recording VO jobs! That trumps all of the other categories!

5. Keep track of your success rate at the end of each week.

6. Feel free to switch up each week the time that you’re spending on each category.

7. At the end of the month look back at your success rate per week to see if you can draw conclusions of which break down of time (per category) is the most effective for you.

8. Certain things have to be done in a specific time frame. For example, phone calls usually have to be done during business hours, or auditions and jobs with a deadline would require you to fit your schedule around that, but other than those things, you can do it 24/7 – and fit it around your life!
What If…

1. If you’re not meeting the allotted time per week, reduce the time so you’re not overextending yourself – keeping realistic expectations and goals will help your overall confidence and productivity.

2. If you’re finding you have more time to spend, extend your time frame!

3. If you’re not seeing success, switch up your formula. Take a step back and figure out how you can better utilize your time for categories that you may have been neglecting.
Creating more organization gives you something to hold yourself accountable for. After all, you are your own boss, and you only get paid if you show up to work!

My First Voice Over Job: It Pays To Read

Alecia Batson for Such A Voice

I am a classical singer by training. It is common for bulletin boards in the hallways and corridors of conservatories and schools of music to be papered with recital posters, concert listings, and calls for auditions. So, it’s not unusual to find instrument and score-laden students poring over them interestedly. One day, as I was doing just that, I noticed a rather boring-looking flyer on pink paper calling generically for “3 men and 3 women.” A telephone number was listed at the bottom of the sheet. Perhaps someone is trying to assemble an a cappella or early music ensemble, I thought. I called to discover, in fact, it was a company holding auditions for a radio commercial. Having never done voice over jobs before, I thought, What the heck!, and decided to audition.

The copy was sent in advance so I had time to prepare, and I showed up to the studio at the time and date requested. I landed the job after that lone audition and it turned out to be more than the typical, first-time voice over gig. I was selected to be the first and only National Female Voice for what was then dot-com-phenom CollegeStudent.com. (CollegeStudent.com has since merged with Student Advantage.) Such serendipity led to the recording of multiple national spots over a two-year period for this “local, online campus community,” which was not only wonderful in-studio experience, but also contributed to the beginnings of a high-quality demo reel. (As an aside: the first spot we recorded was deemed so risqué that 50% of the markets in the nation wouldn’t play it!)

Alecia in the recording studioWith this experience under my belt, I used my demo reel to market myself to voice over agents, acquiring my first representation with db Talent. I also contacted recording studios to find out if they maintain their own talent libraries and requested to be placed on file with those that do. Given the types of jobs I began working early on, it became clear to me that my industry niche was quirky, college-cool, but my singing background enabled me to expand that to include foreign languages and accents. Since that initial, unexpected audition, I’ve had the good fortune to record for a variety of corporations, including Time Warner Cable, Reebok, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Gozaic and Adobe, working on varied projects like telephony systems, industrial videos, television commercial demos and, of course, radio spots.

I look back on my entrée into a voice over career in astonishment. Voice over work had certainly never been part of my grand life plan and, truthfully, I had not heard of it when I made that fateful telephone call. However, I cannot deny I am pleased to have been one of those bulletin board-reading students because being so truly changed my life.

Alecia Batson is a professional actress, singer and voice over talent working in Boston, Austin and New York. Visit her web site at www.AleciaBatson.com.


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