Blog Archives

SAV Instructor Jon St. John is the national tour voice for Cirque Du Soleil’s “Totem” show!

We are more than honored to have Jon St. John as one of our instructors. His impressive resume speaks for itself!

Over his 30 year broadcast and union voice-acting career Jon St. John has provided voice-overs for countless commercial, multi-media, and video game projects. Best known as the voice of videogame super hero DUKE NUKEM, Jon is also heard on games such as: World of Warcraft, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Sonic Adventure, Heroes of Newerth, Call of Cthulu, Rochard, Gears of War, Guild Wars 2 and Counter-StrikeYou have probably heard Jon on national advertising campaigns for Toshiba Printers, Old Spice deodorant, and TV promos on Nickelodeon. Jon has also provided various character voices for attractions at theme parks such as Legoland California, and Dollywood in Tennessee.

His most recent accomplishment is landing the role of the national tour voice for Cirque Du Soleil’s “Totem” show. Please click here to see the spot! He is also the national touring voice for Engelbert Humperdink. (Yes, he’s still alive and crooning!) In addition, right now you can also hear Jon as the voice of an auto group in Oklahoma City – Seth Wadley Ford, Lincoln, Volvo & Subaru and he provides VO’s for each of those dealerships on an ongoing basis.

Recently he was hired to do VO’s for all of Zodiac Pools commercials and promotional packages and he’s also now the voice of Taylor Made Golf.

For his San Diego TV affiliate – San Diego 6 The CW, he is currently preparing for the sweeps ratings period which begins next week! He voices and produces all of their radio spots during sweeps which air on 12 radio stations in Southern California.

That’s what’s new in his VO world….

Making the Most of LinkedIn

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.

PERSONAL PAGE:

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.

BUSINESS PAGE: 

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.

Working from home- separating work & family time

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. 

Such A Voice Instructor Charlie Nardozzi is well-known for his weekly radio broadcasts for the Vermont Garden Journal

In addition to being a successful voice-over talent & instructor, Charlie Nardozzi is the go-to guy for any gardening questions!

Such A Voice instructor Charlie Nardozzi has a friendly, natural, positive sounding voice with a great genuine quality- a sound that certainly matches his personality! Charlie has been involved in radio and television for the past 15 years hosting his own shows and appearing as a guest on numerous other shows. He hosts a call-in radio show on WJOY-AM in Vermont and is a frequent commentator on public radio and often is a guest on their daily magazine show, Vermont Edition. Charlie writes and records his own segments for the Vermont Garden Journal on public radio from his home studio. He also is a frequent guest on nationally-syndicated shows such as Martha Stewart Living Radio and has recorded podcasts, promotions, and commercials for all his shows and events.

Charlie also appears regularly on regional and national television. He has hosted his own nationally broadcast PBS television show called GardenSmart. He’s been a frequent guest on other nationally syndicated shows on networks such as HGTV, Discovery Channel, and DIY. He currently does weekly tips on the local CBS-TV affiliate in the Burlington, Vermont area and has also has written and starred in how-to, web-based videos. He also recently recorded a VO for a video for this product. Certainly right up his alley!

You can check out some of Charlie’s work below:

Here are his weekly broadcasts of the Vermont Garden Journal on public radio.

Here’s a link to his TV segments on the CBS affiliate in Vermont (WCAX). He’s the guy in the straw hat.

Here’s a recording from his weekly AM talk radio show on WJOY.

Charlie, you have certainly found your niche! Congratulations on all of your success!

Time for a Career Change?

Perhaps we all at least think about it now and then, in those moments when we realize that we aren’t completely happy in our current job. Some take a moment to make themselves appreciate what they have, but then some of us actually decide to take the plunge. Making a career change can be a daunting task…  thoughts about the risks and the unknown can be overwhelming. As we talk to so many of our students who have actually made the move, we would like to share their insights for those who are making the same considerations. We find that it is much easier to handle mentally (and financially!) if you look at it as the process it should be, rather than a sudden and risky move. This means that you don’t have to put off pursuing your dreams, but you should take your time and make sure you are ready before cutting off all ties with your current stream of income.

Step One: Make your decision. Even though it may be a year or more before you have made your complete transition, you can’t actually begin the process until you decide that you are ready to commit!

Step Two: Preparation. Complete your training for your new career, at whatever pace you need to maintain your current work schedule. Figure out how much time each week you can realistically devote to training for your new career, and fit it into your schedule. This will vary for each person, depending upon the current work load and personal responsibilities you have. Make the most of your situation, but also respect the time you personally need in order to be fully prepared and find success in your new career.

Step Three: Continue to work as you perfect your abilities and set up your own voice-over business. Most importantly, continue to work in your job even as you start to book voice-over jobs. It may take you a year or more before you are booking solid work and earning enough of an income to let go of your old steady income.

Step Four: Complete your transition. The time will come when you will need to weigh out your options. Do you feel that you now just need more time to fully succeed in your new career? Then you may decide it is now time to dive in and let go of your old job- so you can focus on your new one! Or perhaps you are financially dependent on your income and need to continue to take it slowly until you have solidly replaced your old income. Some may find that an adjustment to their old commitments allows them to do both part time and have the best of both worlds.

When it comes down to it, you will want to take both your personal and financial needs into consideration to decide when (or if you should at all) cut off all ties with your old career. The beauty of making this transition into a voice-over career is that you are your own boss. You can help to dictate the length of the process to match your needs. It may take you longer to get there if you have other commitments, but taking your time through the process also allows you to start as soon as possible, rather than waiting for that “all or nothing” moment to arrive!

Such A Voice Instructor and Producer Tom Force has recently booked a new job through VOPlanet!

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!”

Click here to listen to the Sayler’s Old Country Kitchen spot, voiced by Tom Force.

Such A Voice Alumni Phil Williams Finds His Niche in Audiobooks

“My wife made me do it!” Phil Williams tells us… and now that he has found repeated success, it turns out to have been as good a reason as any to get into the voice-over industry!

When we asked Phil what made him want to get into voice-overs, we received an unusual response, “Truly, the real answer is my wife made me do it.” We found his honesty and humor both intriguing and inspirational. “I never had some secret, long-held desire to be in radio, or images of Don LaFontaine running through my brain for years ahead of time.” He elaborates, “Quite simply, the opportunity to attend one of the introductory ‘You’re on the Air!’ classes came up in a local college class list, and my wife firmly announced, ‘You’re going.’ We actually drove back early from New Orleans so that I could make the 7:00 PM start time. The 2 hours in that classroom were just pure fun… I came home, told my wife that I thought I’d found a new interest and after some financial considerations were nailed down I signed up a few months later!”

While it sounds a little simple, the truth is that Phil possesses many of the skills that students don’t often realize are vital to voice-over success. Knowing what your strengths are can be key to finding your personal success story. Yes he does have a stunning voice (click here to listen to some samples), but he also has a technical background. This knowledge has helped him to master the needed audio recording and editing skills voice-over artists must learn. He even created his own website and built his own sound booth with a soundless ventilation system- wow! With some basics already nailed down, Phil continued to search for his strengths within the industry by identifying a niche for himself.

“I’ve tried commercials, phone recording, and one time presentations, and finally tried audiobooks… and what I discovered about myself was that more than the money, I was looking for a lasting effect. Audiobooks seem to give me that effect.” Phil shared more details about his most recent success. “My latest audiobook, Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life has been very successful and a lot of people have downloaded it in a short period of time. With royalty work, that kind of result works quite well. It also makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I’ve even gotten a hold of the author and we’re planning to get together sometime later this year. He’s submitted another work and he likes what I did with the Rewire book so much that he’s hoping I’ll do his next one. Talk about pumping up your enthusiasm!”

Phil has also voiced corporate video narrations, a speech recognition project, an NPR piece and two audiobooks in addition to this project. He is clearly enjoying his new career and offers some insights to his fellow aspiring artists, “Overnight success is probably not on your plate. It only happens once in a while.” He further recommends, “Use every tool in your arsenal. Talk to everybody and anybody who’ll listen, because, like any other job interview, you never know if that person at the super market might be a booking agent, or know one! Have your 30-second self-promotion piece nailed so that you can capture their attention with your capability. Shameless self-promotion is recognized as a strength- NOT a character flaw! My biggest advice is don’t be afraid to try different types of VO work. Everybody said ‘Find your own niche!’ You’re never going to know if you are good at certain types of voice work unless you just try them, and then try them again.”

Phil has also found both networking and continuing education to be crucial in pursuing voice-overs. Plus, remember that inspiration he had to get started in the first place? “My wife… Yeah, remember where you came from, and who helped put you there. Give back! Now that the audiobook niche is helping us, we go out a lot more, and she likes that!”

Best wishes to you Phil! We look forward to hearing about your continued success in the years to come.

A Typical VO Work Week

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!

Audiobook Narration

Have you been dreaming of finding a place for yourself within the niche of Audiobook Narration? Perhaps you have been…. without even realizing it! One of the most common things we hear from people aspiring to be a voice-over artist is “I can do all kinds of voices!” Well, to many people’s surprise, in most voice-over work this actually isn’t a requirement. These days with a “conversational tone” dominating the industry, imitating voices is “out” and sounding like yourself is “in” for most commercials and narrations. However, if beyond your own “everyday voice” you find that there are all kinds of character voices inside of you just dying to be let out…. audiobooks may be just what you are looking for!

Audiobooks have quickly become very popular with frequent book readers, and as a result have become a great source of bread and butter for voice-over talent who excel in lengthy narrations. Audiobooks are a wonderful opportunity to showcase many skills including narration, stamina, character voices, overall acting ability and more. There are many genres within the audiobook niche, so if you are passionate about reading, chances are you will find several that appeal to you. Fiction, Non-Fiction, How To’s, Best Sellers, Classic Literature and Children’s Books just start the list. As you can imagine, each one comes with its own set of special skills required. Can you motivate? Instruct? Bring life to a children’s book? What types of books do you love to read? Pondering these questions will help you to choose which specific areas you should target.

The Audiobook niche works much like other areas of voice-over, and the best way to showcase your aptitude for work within it is to have an audiobook narration demo. Audiobook demos are often much longer than a standard commercial or narration demo, to showcase that needed skill: stamina! Once you have your fully produced demo, you will find your search for audiobook work to be much easier, since this has become a standard expectation when considering talent. Start by searching and contacting audiobook companies, and create an account for yourself on ACX.com (much like voices.com or voice123.com, you can easily audition specifically for audiobook work, but without a fee!)

Once you have an audition opportunity, you should do research on the book first. Break down the script and plan any character voices that may be necessary. Have a dictionary handy for any challenging words or terms you may come across, but most importantly let your love for reading dictate what you do! Authors often have a hand in choosing who will narrate their book, and if you are passionate about what you are reading, it is sure to be recognized right away. Lastly, as you may have heard a million times before… “practice, practice, practice.” So keep on reading, and read out loud. If you have a passion for literature and voice-overs, this may be the perfect niche for you. Practicing is always a lot more fun when it’s something you enjoy doing!

SAV Coach Ben Marney has an Audition Ranking of 362.50 on Voice123.com… higher than 100% of all Premium Subscribers!

Now that doesn’t mean that Ben booked 100% of the jobs he auditioned for, but we are very impressed with the high approval ratings he received back from prospective clients! Voice123.com is one of many pay2play sites, but is the only one that offers this particular ranking tool.

On most sites, the only feedback you receive is whether or not your audition has been reviewed by the client. However, Voice123.com‘s ranking tool breaks it down into several categories: Finalist, Considering, Maybe, Not Likely, Will Not Be Considered and Never Again! They can also show where you rank among the competition within each category, for example 1st out of 30 or 5th out of 30, etc. Voice123 then calculates your ranking percentage based on this information. You can also see on the same page how many auditions you have done compared with other VO talents in your category.

There are a couple of catches that prevent this from being entirely accurate… or something to focus all of your attention on! Only one out of three or four clients actually do the rankings, most do not give feedback at all. It is still a very helpful tool for talent to use though, because from the ones that do provide feedback, you can see how well you are doing with your auditions! The other point to consider is that sometimes you may still not end up with the job, even with a perfect ranking. As Ben says of his experience, “More times than I can count, I’ve been ranked ‘Finalist 1st out of 20’ and still did not get the job… but it’s a great and instant feedback on how you are competing out there. What’s important to understand is… Many times I have not landed the job I was auditioning for, even if I was ranked very high; however later, (weeks, even months later,) I’ll get a call and they hire me for another job… and then they turn into regular long term client!”

Simply put, the more that people hear your voice and like it, the greater your chance is of building a paying client list!

Such A Voice alumni Rob Sciglimpaglia is a nationally featured talent, and now a published author as well!

Chances are you’ve heard the name Rob Sciglimpaglia already throughout the Voice-Over Industry. What you may not know though, is that he originally got his start right here at SAV!

Since completing his training, Rob has been featured in national spots both on camera and off, including a Super Bowl commercial, a national radio campaign for Waste Management, and he is the voice of Tesoro Fuel, as well as the Apple NBC “Your City” apps. In fact the very first gig he landed after producing his first demos with SAV was a national gig on the PBS American Experience television series. Campbell Scott narrated the particular episode called “Hijacked” and he played a couple of voices on that episode, and the rest unfolded from there!

Rob got his start in voice-overs after training with SAV, but prior to that… he didn’t even know what voice-overs were! So how does someone go from a practicing attorney in a law office to voice-over success? “I had done a couple of call-in radio shows on Legal issues, and was a DJ in college, so I was always intrigued by radio. I saw a listing for an adult education class on voice overs in my local community college brochure. I did not know what voice overs were, but I thought the class looked fun. So I signed up, and have never looked back since!” says Rob.

Of course we all know that personal ability and drive plays a large role in one’s success. For Rob, knowing his strengths and weaknesses have been key, “I have been called the ‘king of the understated’ by a few casting agents. Meaning, my soft spoken nature of speaking is my bread and butter. I know this is my strength, but I also know that the opposite are my weaknesses, so I continue to work on my weaknesses while exploiting my strengths. I know I will continue to succeed because of the momentum I have been able to build up. I don’t think I could stop that tide even if I tried to.”

Rob also insists that success in the voice-over industry comes from much more than just talent. “Such a Voice gave me a solid foundation about the fundamentals of voice over performance and the business, so I was able to build from there and really learn the nuances involved with my performance and the industry. LEARN THE BUSINESS PART!!” He advises, “It is called SHOW BUSINESS for a reason. That includes learning the legal aspects, the players in the business, their functions and where they fit in. Once you learn this, marketing, and getting gigs, will be much easier, more fun, and much less of a daunting task.” He recently wrote a book called Voice Over LEGAL to help in understanding some of these business issues facing voice artists. We highly recommend it as a great tool for all those starting their own voice-over business, as we know first hand that Rob is a wealth of knowledge on this subject!

One last piece of advice from Rob… “Don’t ever worry about what you cannot control. Do auditions like you think they should be done, and don’t try to figure out what ‘they are looking for’ because, believe me, most of the time they don’t know. They only ‘like it when they hear it.’ Do the audition and move onto the next one, and don’t think about it again until you get called in for the job. Persevere, persevere, persevere!”

Developing Character Voices

Join us in this short video by Such A Voice’s Director of Operations, Heather Costa as she discusses developing character voices. This is a great introduction to finding the character voices within yourself. Join us in learning how to produce these voices, find out great recommendations for practicing and building up your characters!

Click here to watch!

Attend a FREE Audiobook & Animation Coaching Session

We are pleased to announce that Such A Voice is now offering audiobook narration and animation demos! We are honored to have coach Michael Yurchak, a highly successful animation talent and audiobook narrator, join the SAV team!

We invite you to join us for a complimentary teleconference with Michael, Wednesday August 29th, from 8:00 – 9:00 PM EST to find out all about these exciting genres! Click here to join us!

In this live session you will:

  • Observe as Michael coaches Jillian Nielsen on audiobook narration technique and Nick Kaiser on animation technique.
  • Learn about these specialty niches and how Michael has found so much success with them!
  • Ask questions and get answers from Michael on any topic related to animation and audiobook narration work.

Could animation or audiobook narration be a potential VO niche for you? Come and see what it’s all about! After all… it’s FREE!

You must RSVP for this complimentary event in order to receive the information to attend. Please click here to join us!

Michael Yurchak is an award winning actor, voice over artist and educator from Los Angeles, CA. As a voice artist, Michael currently holds recurring roles on the hit animated shows Avatar: The Legend of Korra (Nickelodeon) and Naruto (Disney Channel). He has also voiced roles on Pokemon (Cartoon Network), Stitch! (Disney), Spang, Ho! (Cartoon Network), and many others. He has voiced dozens of video games (including the Saints Row Series, The Darkness, Spyro, Spec Ops, Ratchet & Clank, Sonic the Hedgehog, Dino-Crisis, Grand Theft Auto, etc.); commercials (including Coors Light, Coke, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Bud Light, Ford, Levi’s, Toys R’ Us, Volkswagen, etc.); and promos (including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, PBS, ESPN 2, Spike, A&E, and NY1, for which he was nominated for a New York News Emmy Award and given the Silver Promax Award for best news promo two years in a row). Michael has also recorded over fifty audiobooks, including The Iron Duke & Where Angels Dare (Audiofile Magazine’s Golden Earphone Award Winners) and Orders is Orders (Audiofile’s top 10 audiobooks of 2010).

On-camera, Michael appears in multiple films (including You Are Here, The Babymakers, I Heart Shakey, Beerfest, Watching the Detectives, The Lather Effect, Club Dread, The Slammin’ Salmon, etc.); and television programs (including Modern Family, Mad Men, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Farrelly Brothers’ Unhitched, etc.) Michael also has extensive stage credits in both LA and New York, (including Death of A Salesman, The Country Girl, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, etc.).

Michael has taught voice over and acting seminars and workshops around the country to all levels of students. Having received a BA in theater from Colgate University and an MA in Educational Theater from NYU, Michael serves as a Lead Teaching Artist and Project Faculty Member for The Center Theater Group and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in LA and worked with the Roundabout Theater Company and The New Victory Theater in New York.

Such A Voice Coach and Producer Bill Sleeper is Voicing a New Video Series!

Bill was awarded the voice-overs for a new Learn2Learn video series with 20 videos, which is being produced by his current client, AFX Animation. In this past month he also voiced another 4 modules in a STAM Interactive eLearning course for the drilling industry. We are excited to see Bill keeping so busy outside of coaching his many students! Congratulations on all the new bookings Bill, we are proud to have you representing SAV!

Another New Addition to the Such A Voice Programs is our Accent Reduction Training Program!

Train with accent reduction specialist Talia Gonzalez to reduce your accent or regionalism. Developing a neutral accent can open up many more possibilities for VO artists with a strong accent or regionalism. As a Boston native, Talia has neutralized her own accent and now works as a highly successful VO artist based out of New York. She has also trained students from all corners of the US and beyond to neutralize their accents. Click here for more information.