Join us THIS SUNDAY, March 10th 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time for the bi-weekly session with Voiceover Talent/Coach Ben Marney as he discusses Source Connect & ISDN
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
David Tolar has been a live musician, a studio musician, and a
recording artist for the past three decades.
He is a multi-instrumentalist and records, engineers, and produces
his own music from Chez Nous, his digital recording studio.
He has recorded with a series of different artists including Agona
Hardison, the Big Blue Daddys (yes, Daddys is spelled that way!), and
Lisa Meri, and since 2010, he has released three albums independently:
LOOK! A PONY!‘s 2010 release, “…the rest of the world is wrong…“,
their 2012 followup, “Has Your Mother Heard This?“, and David’s début
solo album, “The Path Of Least Resistance“, released in late 2012.
David’s second solo album, “Sandbox Etiquette”, will be released this summer.
Some of the bands he has worked with include:
It is exciting to see another artistic side to Dave. It’s obvious that his skills as a musician make him that much stronger as a VO talent and coach. We look forward to hearing more of his music!
You’d like to set up a Facebook business page for your voice-overs, but you’re not sure what steps to take to make the most of this free social networking opportunity. You can certainly be successful in landing clients through Facebook, however, it’ll probably be even more beneficial to you in using it as a way to build up your credibility in the voice-over industry with your VO colleagues.
First of all, even if you have a personal Facebook page, it is recommended that you set up a business page specifically for your voice-over business. You can certainly invite all of your friends to “like” your page, but you’re not going to want everyone who “likes” your business page, to see all of your personal Facebook page information.
On your Facebook business page, you want to include your logo in either your profile picture or your cover photo. Some talent prefer to have their logo as their cover photo and then a professional headshot as their profile picture, so that clients & colleagues can relate to them on a more personal level. Others prefer to have their logo as their profile (since that’s how everyone recognizes them) and then put some other industry related photo for their cover–an image of a WAV file, studio equipment and so on. Either option is fine!
Make sure that your business contact information: phone number, website, email address and any other relevant info is updated correctly. You want to make it easy for others to find your info, if they’d like to check out your demos, your website, etc. In the sections entitled “About” and “Personal Information” you can include information about your voice, training, services, clients, etc. You can fill out either however you see fit, just make sure that you’re not redundant and that you include everything that’s important.
Ideally you should post on your Facebook business page 2-3 times per week, if not more. Once a day would be even better–but you have to have relevant information to post. You should use this page to advertise your VO work, seminars you’re attending, training you’re working on, etc. as well as sharing what other VO colleagues post and other exciting industry news. If your page is always just about you, followers may not be as inclined to check it regularly.
Take advantage of the ability to post in the future! It’s a wonderful tool. You can schedule as many future posts as you’d like just by setting the date and time in the “Write something” window before you hit “post”. You can also see how many people viewed your post afterward which can be a good indicator of the best days/time to post. Obviously you want to capture as many people as possible.
In addition to posting information about your successes and “sharing” information from your colleagues, posting VO industry related articles that you find on the internet, etc. you should also post industry related questions to engage your followers. It’s a great way to start a conversation and build your credibility by posting appropriate information and responding to comments.
With a Facebook business page, you have access to your “Admin panel” this will show you how many posts you have done, the reach (who saw it) and who is talking about (who commented or “shared” your post.) This is a very valuable tool to keep track of. You will also be emailed weekly (or however you set up your settings) the stats as well as new likes each week, how many are talking about it and your weekly total reach.
You should also become familiar with the tabs up top–edit page and build audience. Most of that is self explanatory, but be sure to check out the “use activity log” under the “edit page” tab. That will show you all previous posts and all future scheduled ones.
There are also Facebook ads that you can purchase, if you so choose. You set up a campaign and the target audience, how often you want the ad run, etc. You can find out more information about those here.
Facebook is a great networking opportunity to build up relationships and discover new clients–have fun with it!
Our Career Consultant Faith Coons is using her voice-over skills on her new radio show: Let’s Talk Health Radio!
What I have learned is that it’s not all about a diet but about changing from within and addressing the core issues that keep us where we are. Then and only then can we change the outside but it has to start with what’s deep inside of us and not by just treating the symptoms. We all have a story and I hope my story inspires and encourages you to start and never give up on your journey to total health and wellness. Or if you have already started to keep going!
Our Career Consultant Faith Coons is using her voice-over skills on her new radio show! You can read all about it on her blog. Her internet radio show, Let’s Talk Health Radio, launches tonight, January 22nd at 8:30PM Eastern.
Join Faith as she shares her story to total health & wellness. You can listen to her show here: Listen Live or click for the replay.
Faith is using her voice-over skills on Let’s Talk Health Radio and has been successful in obtaining sponsors for her show & as a result is booking more voice-over work! It’s a win-win business all around. We wish Faith the very best in her new endeavor and look forward to listening to her show each week.
When you’re on vacation and someone asks you where you’re from, chances are you’ll tell them you’re from the closest big city to your suburb. After all, who’s heard of little Decatur, Georgia? You say you’re from the nearest big city to Decatur, which is Atlanta, because people are likely to be familiar with Atlanta.
Marketing yourself in the voice-over industry is no different. When networking with clients who may need a voice-over artist’s services, let them know you are from a bigger market than your suburb. Even if you’re just starting out, new clients may feel more confident about a voice-over artist from Sacramento, CA, than, say, someone from Elk Grove. People who live in smaller towns always see city people as being pros at whatever they do.
Now that you have established yourself as a voice-over talent from a major city, don’t try to market yourself in the big city. That is one of the big mistakes that new voice-over artists make when they’re just starting out. They receive their voice-over training, they produce their demo reels and then they try to compete with the big fish in a saturated market.
Instead of setting yourself up for this challenge, make contacts with people in the suburbs. Better yet — start with your own! Chances are you’ll know someone in your local area who knows someone who owns a business who needs a voice-over for an answering machine prompt, a radio commercial, a website recording, or a corporate narration. Once you’ve landed that first gig, mention to the happy client that you are available for more voice-over work in the area and don’t hesitate to ask if they can recommend another business that you can contact to offer your services.
With some diligent voice-over technique practice and creative networking skills, you should find yourself with repeat business before you know it!
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!
Congratulations to Such A Voice Coach Lisa Foster on landing a role in an animated film!
“I was delighted to get one of the last audition spots for this film, and even more delighted that they hired me for the role of “Eve” on the spot! Doing a feature length animation film has been on my bucket list for a long time, and this opportunity presented itself at just the right time. I am really looking forward to the production of this film, and cannot wait to bring Eve to life!”
To find out more about Eve, click here.
We’re looking forward to seeing the film Lisa, congratulations!
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-Strike. You 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.
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….
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!
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!”
“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.
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!
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.
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!