There is no typical work week in VOs – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! One of the beauties and challenges of doing voice-overs is that work tends to ebb and flow depending on the seasons and holidays, as well as your own productivity and networking.
Networking is one aspect of your work week that should be constant, no matter how busy or bored you are. Reaching out to potential contacts and staying in touch with producers and clients is the only way to ensure your plate will be full when big holiday opportunities come along.
So, how far in advance should you prepare for the holidays? Three months is a good rule of thumb for all major events. That means that you should now be checking in with clients who might need your services for winter holiday commercial promotions. By November, you should have your eye on Valentine’s Day voice-over work, then Mother’s Day, and so on. Be sure to keep a pulse on the timing of holidays or events that fluctuate from year to year, like Sweeps, which is typically in March.
When you start to get the hang of the yearly work flow, you will be able to plan ahead to dry spells more accurately. For example, January and February tend to be relatively slow periods for national commercial spots. Being able to predict a slower work flow will let you be more responsible with your voice-over business planning, as well as help you relax when you do not have a lot of work to do!
Preparing for a light load of national commercial spots does not necessarily mean you will not be working much. Take advantage of the down time by concentrating on networking within your local community. Balancing your efforts and planning ahead is how you will stay as busy as you want to be!
Mouth noise can be frustrating for a voice talent when you get behind the mic. Even the slightest sound that you don’t necessarily hear in your every day speech, can be picked up by the microphone. The more you can be aware of it for yourselves, the easier it’ll be in eliminating it during a voiceover recording.
To help eliminate mouth noise while you’re recording, here are a few tips you can try:
1 – Keep yourself hydrated – drinking water when you already have a dry mouth won’t necessarily remove the mouth noise, it might actually make it worse. The more hydrated you are before your recording, the less mouth noise you will probably have.
2 – Brushing your teeth and your tongue and using mouthwash right before you record. However, if your mouth is overly dry to begin with, sometimes using mouthwash can make it worse.
3 – Eating green apples, drinking cranberry or grape juice and/or using a hard candy to moisten your mouth (and then of course remove it when recording), a slosh of olive oil or eating a few greasy potato chips right before you record are also great tips!
5 – Be well rested! Your body is your instrument, the better you feel, the better you’ll sound.
A Watermark in the audio world refers to a second audio file that is laid over the voiceover to protect it from being used by a client who wants to use your talent without paying for it. An example of a watermark for a commercial you audition for might just be a ding every few seconds that doesn’t obscure the quality of your sound but would prevent the client from using the whole script without you knowing it. Another common method would be to insert, “This is just a demo by Jane Smith,” after 15-20 seconds of a full script audition. Or you could change the product name or phone number/address in a script so that they can hear you read the spot but obviously can’t use it without the right information.
Although watermarking can protect your voiceover jobs, it’s not advisable to watermark every audition. Especially if you are working with a well-known client or someone you have worked with in the past. In that case watermarking an audition could be interpreted by the client that you are distrustful of them. They might pass up your great audition that was watermarked because, “What, did he think I was really going to use his voice over without paying for it?”
The risk of having a dishonest client rip off your work often doesn’t out-weigh the risk of offending a potential client. Good working relationships are vital to your success in this industry.
So, when is it a good idea to watermark your work?
It depends. As a professional voice-over artist, it is up to you to use your own good judgment. Instances that you might consider watermarking your audition could include:
- Submitting an audition on a “pay 2 play” site
- A new client you haven’t heard of who would like the entire script read for the audition; or,
- An “unknown” client or project that was posted through a questionable venue. (We love Craigslist, but anyone can post jobs there with any goal in mind.)
One good thing about the highly globalized world we live in today is that it’s easy to network with voice-over artists all over the world. If a client treats you badly, you have the option to let the world know through social media. If someone is trying to scam you, it’s also easy to get that information out there to protect future victims.
Such A Voice Technique Coach/Instructor Bill Brooks has been a Voice Artist for over 30 years and now specializes in International Media and Entertainment. Recently Bill was hired as the English Speaking Voice Talent on an International TV Network based in South Korea. However, it was his most recent trip to El Salvador in Central America that caught our attention.
He has just returned stateside, but now boasts having produced and played a leading role in a stage musical at the Presidential Theater in San Salvador. There were 9 performances with a total of 20,000 attending… but there was something just a little more special than usual about these 20,000 attendees.
The stage musical was a part of the 4-14 Global Initiative, a faith-based initiative dedicated to the educational, nutritional and spiritual enhancement of children between the ages of 4 and 14. In addition to seeing the musical, each of the 20,000 children received a medical examination by a team of U.S. and Korean doctors as well as educational supplies and food.
Earlier this year, Brooks spent one month in the African Countries of Ethiopia and Tanzania where this program was presented to over 100,000 children! Making its way around the world, the next project of this kind is scheduled for September to the children of Harlem. The musical will be presented in the famed Apollo Theater in New York City.
In addition to being a Voice Artist, Bill is a music-recording artist who has just released his 30th CD. He is also an actor, public speaker, producer, and live MC. Bill resides in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX when he isn’t traveling the world, helping to make it a better place. Thank you Bill for all of the hard work you do, we are very proud to have you as a part of our team!