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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”