We’re very proud of Such A Voice alumni Kim McKay on landing her first national radio VO for McDonald’s!
"A HUGE THANK YOU for your continuous education/seminars/newsletters and updates! I landed my FIRST NATIONAL RADIO VO for McDonald’s (AFTRA contract) and recorded in February. The tools, guidance and tips that I get from SAV have been extremely instrumental. Although I am a union artist and my path is a little different than most of my SAV colleagues, everything that I’ve received via SAV training over the years and continuously, still pays off. Especially segments on "Acting in Your Voice", "How To Take Direction", "Leaving Stress/Fear Behind", "Read as if You Are Rehearsing" and many more Bi-Weekly Live Training sessions, have been immensely effective in all of my auditions for VO readings (and I’ve had quite a bit of them)." ~Kim McKay
We asked Kim how she was fortunate enough to land such an exciting VO job. "When Such A Voice produced my voiceover demo, they gave me tips on marketing it to the various Union Agents. This is done the same way you market your demo to anyone (union or not) to get noticed. I sent my demo to over 200 VO industry agents with a short note of who I was and what the demo contained (i.e., narration, commercial, etc.) That demo immediately landed me the first of many, many auditions. I designed my own business card, that I put in the jacket of the demo and listed myself as a VO Artist, Actress and Print Model because sometimes the agencies do more than just VO."
Kim told us that after sending out her demo, agents who were interested called her in to meet with her personally. "I was excited! During the general interview, where they discussed how they worked/operated and all the VO industry updates, I remained extremely calm and truthful (sounds corny) but I was just being myself, as if I was having a regular conversation with long time friends. This is something Sara Goldberg discussed in her teleconference seminar on how when meeting artists, she likes to get to know them; see/hear their personalities."
Kim uses her Such A Voice webpage to send out to all of her prospective agents, "it helped me to get them to listen to the demo and learn more about me."
A little advice from Kim: "No matter what, as a VO artist you have to persist and keep practicing. I can’t tell you how many magazine ads I’ve torn out just to read; how many books I read out loud for narration practices, how many commercials I repeat right behind other VO artists; how many times I will read something with many different tones (happy, sad, nervous, excited and low-key) just to practice and practice. I swear, I talk to myself on a daily basis (laughing)."
Congratulations Kim on all of your success!!
Something to take into consideration when marking up copy is the degree of creative license you can reasonably take for a given piece without hijacking the script altogether. You may be tempted to make your auditions stand out in a sea of 50+ other auditioners, but sometimes standing out is a very bad thing!
When being unique does work, the most memorable commercials get stuck in your head because they feature a voice-over actor with dramatic flair. Some of the most brilliant commercials include: Beggin’ Strips, Kibbles & Bits, and Meow Mix.
Whether the commercial script is animated or not, you’ll still have to make judgment calls on what "voice" the voice-over job calls for. Answering the basic questions, like whether to use high/low energy or hard/soft sell, etc., are easier to answer than others, like pause here/there or how to make a laundry list sound more distinct. Something to keep in mind: this is not your commercial!
In addition to thinking, "How would I do this commercial if it were my project," consider what the client wants. Ask yourself, "What is the client’s goal with this copy?"
Taking the client’s objectives into careful consideration will require you to remember everything you learned about breaking down scripts during your voice-over training. When you record a commercial script for a client, think of yourself as a consumer and member of the company. How would you want to be sold on the product or service?
Analyzing copy from the client’s perspective will also help you become better at selecting which voice-over jobs to audition for based on your talents. Rather than taking the "wet noodle approach" of throwing auditions out there and seeing what sticks, apply for voice-over work that best suits your niche. You’ll not only save yourself many headaches in the long run, but you’ll become better at ‘what you do’.