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.
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
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.
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.
In a competitive industry like voice overs, it is important to go the extra mile to impress your clients. The more icing you put on the cake, the better chance you’ll have of landing another gig with them or be recommended to another potential client. There are tons of ways you can add that extra special something to really impress them, and here are just a few!
1. Make sure that you are able to deliver the services you offer, but if you can’t, recommend someone in your network who can! Recommending someone else for a voice job you landed shows integrity and respect for the client’s needs. They will probably come back to you because they trust your intentions.
2. Serve your clients not just with your talent, but build a relationship with them that could potentially get you more work. Be sensitive to their needs and be aware of their work ethic.
3. A speedy turnaround is also very important. As soon as your client asks for a spot, record it as soon as possible and send it to them. Same-day delivery shows dedication and really sets you above the rest. If you’re not confident that you can do a fast turnaround, don’t commit that you can, it could end up backfiring. If you think you can do it within 12 hours, but you’re not positive, say 24 hours and impress them by sending it back early. Don’t stress it if a 24 hour turnaround would be difficult for you, not every job has that urgency.
4. Show that you value your clients. The relationship with your client is a two-way street. Just as you would hope your client would refer business to you, be on the lookout for opportunities or contacts they might want to network with. If you hear of an opportunity that will benefit their business, share it with them! They’ll appreciate your interest in their business even if it doesn’t directly benefit you.
5. Send your clients a note during the holidays, even if you haven’t worked with them in a while. The note or card should wish them a happy holiday, and it will also remind them that you would like to continue doing business with them.
It is always a pleasure and gives us a great sense of pride when we hear about the professional advances our students have made. We recently asked Susie some questions to let us know a little more about her success:
Q: What inspired you to want to get into voiceovers?
A: I was a big fan as a kid of programs like You Are There, Victory at Sea, etc. I loved Alexander Scourby’s voice and thought he had the very best job in the world. When I started college at the University of Michigan in 1968, I planned on studying theatre and I wanted to learn how to be a voiceover talent—but the times being what they were, I was actively discouraged by my advisors. “Now, dearie, that’s a MAN’s job and a UNION job and your eventual husband won’t want you to travel that much.” My own feminism hadn’t blossomed yet so I meekly accepted their opinions as truth. Many years later (like about five years ago), I was chatting with a friend who is a very experienced sound engineer with a theatrical background like mine. I said I’d always wanted to record and that I loved audiobooks. Next thing I knew, he and I were recording public domain material and trying to market it on CDs. Not so successfully, I fear—too many costs, too many CDs rolling around, but we got a nibble from a company that was licensing such works online and we started selling our works through this site. Then Audible.com came along and, whoopee! We were audiobook artists, but I still had the voiceover bug.
Q: Who was your instructor at Such A Voice & what about that person made them a good fit for you?
A: Nick Kaiser was my instructor and we hit it off immediately! We had a lot of common experiences, being of the same generation and our personalities just meshed. Nick told me that my theatrical background meant that I already had a head start on a lot of voiceover hopefuls and encouraged me—for the first time in my life!!—to release my inner ham and have fun with VO. He also was a strong force against the old voices from my past and kept gently urging me on, letting me know I could do this and finally live my dream. He’s my best cheerleader!
Q: What do you see as your own VO strengths and why you will continue to succeed at this?
A: I love, love, love narration and will continue to seek out audiobook opportunities. I’ve got a million accents and characters in my repertoire, all just waiting to bust out. I’ve also learned that I enjoy commercial work—my first VO job, which kind of walked into my office while I was still getting coaching from Nick, was a website promo for a machine vision company so I got my feet wet early. Since then, I’ve done audio for some physical therapy videos produced by a young friend and have a monthly gig with an English as a Second Language testing company. All of this was just from personal contact and a little bit of networking. Then I landed my first job through Voice 123, using only my narration demo. It’s the first one that came my way through an audition, using the wonderful demos produced by Tom Force (the Michigan radio maestro) and Marshall Block (a great engineer with a rock and roll history that is nothing short of incredible). The client is in Montpellier, France.
Q: What did you take away from Such A Voice that will be the most beneficial to your career?
A: Confidence, confidence, confidence. I always thought I had a good voice but Nick, Tom and Marshall told me I had a GREAT voice so I’m feeling that there’s nothing in the VO area I can’t try. I’m not as swift with recording myself but I’m trying hard and I have some wonderful friends who are helping me. I learned that there are people who love to help you achieve whatever you dream of and I’d like to pass that along to other people like me.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring voice talent?
A: My best advice is don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it! If you’ve got a voice, get good training (there’s this company called Such A Voice that I can’t say enough good things about!) and practice, practice, practice. Do community theatre. Record yourself. Just get out there and do it and don’t waste a huge portion of your life letting someone else’s outmoded ideas hold you back!!
Congratulations Susie, we are thrilled that you shared this experience with us!
I’m excited to be attending my first VoiceOver International Creative Experience convention (VOICE) at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. The convention officially kicks off with a Red Carpet Reception, Tuesday, June 12th starting at 6pm. VOICE "is an industry-wide convention for anyone involved in voiceover for radio and TV commercials, animation, audio book narration, ADR, film, radio imaging, TV promos, audio production, and the recording arts in general. VOICE brings together performers, coaches, agents, studio engineers, producers, directors, equipment manufacturers and other vendors for the purpose of sharing ideas, enhancing skills and knowledge, and raising awareness of standards and practices of the voiceover industry (voiceacting.com)."
I have been part of the Facebook group VOICE 2012 since December of last year and can tell you that there are a lot of people, both new and past attendees, that are truly excited about coming to this convention so I know I am not alone in having high expectations. I am almost done packing (as a girl can never have too many outfits and shoes) and as I ponder what I’m looking forward to the most, these are the things that stick out:
1) Meeting people who are in the trenches both new and experienced
2) Networking with everyone especially those who hire VO talent
3) Learning! I love to learn and this week proves to have a schedule that will satisfy any mind. The classes I have set out to attend are:
- Maximizing Your Online Casting Opportunities
- Branding and Marketing for the VO Professional Voice Actor
- How to Succeed in Corporate Narration
- Audio Processing
- Business: Simplify how you run it
- Goals and Action Plan: Putting it all together and getting it done
4) Testing out different mics especially the high ends ones so that I know which one is best suited for my voice. I will also get to see what every VO talent does while they are on the road.
Lastly, I am part of the Ambassador team which means that I will be volunteering to help run certain aspects of VOICE. I did this not so much so that I could save a couple hundred dollars on my admission but to be part of a "team" instantly when I arrive.
It is my hope that this upcoming week will prove to be as amazing as I have envisioned it to be for my voice-over career. I also look forward to sharing my insights with you as you take this journey through the eyes of a new attendee of VOICE 2012.