Blog Archives

Live Session THIS SUNDAY on Pay to Play Sites–figuring out which one is the best for you

Join us THIS SUNDAY, March 24th 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time for the bi-weekly session with Voiceover Talent/Coach Steven Wahlberg as he discusses Pay to Play Sites–figuring out which one is the best for you

Steven will provide an in depth analysis of what these sites are, how they work, the differences between them and how to decide which one(s), if any, are right for you.

  1. What are the purposes of these sites?
  2. Comparing the two largest P2P sites – Voice123 & Voices.com
  3. What other P2P sites are out there?
  4. How much do they cost?
  5. What is the process and how do you get the most out of them?
  6. He’ll also leave time for any questions!  microphone

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

Live Session THIS SUNDAY on Goals & Business Planning for 2013

Join us THIS SUNDAY, February 24th 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time for the bi-weekly session with Voiceover Talent/Coach Ben Marney as he discusses Goals & Business Planning for 2013 goals

Topics Include:
  • The reality of the Voice-Over business
  • What should your realistic goals be
  • Long range plans
  • The SMART system to making plans and goals

 

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

Live Session THIS SUNDAY on Voice-Over Conferences: When is it time to attend?

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.conference

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

Live Session THIS SUNDAY on Adding Music and Sound Effects to Your VOs

Join us THIS SUNDAY, January 27th 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time with Voice-Over Talent/Coach Ben Marney as he discusses Adding Music and Sound Effects to Your VOs music

Ben will cover:

1. Is it something you will need to master to be a successful VO talent?

2. How to add music (in Audacity) *and the general process using other programs

3. Where to find the music and sound effects

4. The costs involved

5. The royalties and fees (ASCAP & BMI)

6. Questions?

 

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

Making New Year’s Resolutions that Count!

2013With the start of 2013, be sure to have a list of New Year’s resolutions to focus on over the next year. Not only should these resolutions be fun and important to you, but they should be attainable. To really make the most of this multi-decade tradition, start with a few different areas of your life that you want to improve upon and build your list from there.

Ask yourself some questions to help inspire your resolutions list. Are you happy with your career? Have you been saying for months (or years!) that you want to do something different? Are you currently pursuing something that needs an additional push to get it moving in the right direction? What about your health or your family? Or your hobbies? Be inspired and make a list that counts!

Here’s a Voice-Over Resolutions list to get you started:

– Get the best education possible for your craft. Work with someone who is qualified, flexible, accomplished and is a practicing voice-over professional. Someone who truly loves not only being a voice actor, but also educating others. And don’t forget about your continuing education–as your skills grow your knowledge needs to grow along with it. You never stop learning!

– Be proud of your demos! If it’s been years and you’re using the same demos and not seeing the results you’ve been looking for–or you’re ready to take it to that next level, then it’s time to reassess! If your voice and skill level are more advanced than the product you’re using to market yourself, then it’s time to record a new one.

– Have a solid marketing plan in place. Make a list of businesses that fit your niche, companies that you want to contact. Follow-up with contacts and clients you’ve already made. Focus on your collateral: website, business cards, postcards, etc. Establish your branding!

– Make goals for yourself and stick to them! Where do you want to be in 3 months, 6 months, a year? These can be financial goals, number of clients goals, landing that first TV commercial–you name it, the opportunities are endless.

– Get involved in social and in-person networking. Find (or create) a voice-over meetup group in your area. Join the voice-over Facebook groups, online voice-over forums, attend networking & educational events that are available throughout the country.

– Have fun! As they say, “if it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.”

Find something that inspires you this year–that engages you creatively and mentally. Whether it be starting a new career, or fine tuning your current one. Find that challenge that you’ve been seeking and go after it!

Such A Voice’s Animation & Audiobook Coach Michael Yurchak has had a busy couple of weeks…

Such A Voice is truly honored to have Michael Yurchak on staff with us. He is an award winning actor, voice-over artist and educator from Los Angeles, CA. His incredible resume speaks volumes!

Michael has had a busy couple of weeks. He shot a recurring role for a Disney XD pilot called Kirby Banks. He also completed recording sessions for an audiobook (The Iron Gates by Margaret Millar) and started sessions on a new Skylanders video game in which he played the character of Hugo. sky

Congratulations Michael- best wishes for a successful 2013, you inspire us all!

Such A Voice Alumni Brian Hart goes from impressions for fun to booking voice-over work!

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know who you are going to get. I got Ben Marney.

From the moment Brian Hart and Ben Marney first spoke they became friends. “I quickly saw Ben’s professionalism, knowledge, expertise and learned how caring and nurturing he was,” Brian shared with us. “He remains extremely supportive, and is the best mentor a voiceover trainee could receive! It doesn’t hurt that he’s charismatic and modest either! Ben taught me the importance of inflections, marketing, perseverance, technical quality and most of all, to have fun.” As a voice talent, one of the important elements in training is discovering your niche. Brian’s niche is quite varied. “I’ve been told I’m a good story teller; that people want to listen. I think I see beyond the words on the script and tell the story the client wants to convey.” For some talent defining their niche is an obvious match and comes quickly to them, while others it finds them as time goes on. It’s important to define your niche and focus on your strengths and weaknesses. Brian states, “it’s especially important to realize when something isn’t working, as well as when it is.” AFN

If you ask any voice talent what their inspiration was to get into the industry, you’re guaranteed to hear an array of responses, some more common than others. ‘I’ve always been told I have a great voice.’ ‘People enjoy listening to me read out loud.’ We found Brian’s reason to be quite humorous and an exciting journey! “When I was a child, I imitated voices while playing, causing my mother to ask who was with me when she listened behind my closed bedroom door (I was alone). In high school, I imitated a school official as if he was calling our teacher to his office on the school intercom. She obediently left the classroom and went to his office & I was a brief instant hero. I was NOT on the intercom, the impression luckily just worked. Then on to a 16 year military and civilian broadcast career as television and radio news anchor for the American Forces Radio and Television service and radio news anchor or talk show host for a few commercial stations. Why voiceovers? I felt I just wasn’t finished using my voice for a living at this tender old age. Only now it’s fun, not work, and it is beginning to pay off.”

Brian was recently hired as a rapping doctor for a children’s hospital commercial, he recorded a tag for a drug commercial, he’s a story teller for a university’s on-line science presentation and has hopes of using a couple of cartoon voices that he’s developed. “I didn’t imagine this was possible, or know that Such A Voice existed prior to February of 2012. I’m grateful to the company for hiring a quality coach like Ben Marney. He has represented the company to the highest standard and has shown me the way toward my current success.”

When we asked Brian if he had any words that he’d like to share with his colleagues he said: “Believe in yourself. Be honest with results. I’ve had success, but many failures. Learn from the failures and convert the knowledge into success. Don’t overlook any of the training. You can have the best voice, but if you have a technically poor quality audio product, or don’t market yourself properly, it is all for naught. You won’t be hired. All the training is important; every bit of it!”

Congratulations Brian, we look forward to continuing on this journey with you- best of luck!

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.

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!

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!

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!

5 Habits of Highly Successful VO Actors

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.

Face to Face Auditions- Do’s and Don’ts!

While much of the auditioning in the voice-over industry is done online, you will want to be fully prepared for those in person auditions as well! Here are some tips to help make sure you are representing yourself as a true VO professional:

 

Do’s and Don’ts:

 * Do… Make sure that you get to the audition in time to read over the copy and feel confident that you like the way you’re reading it. Arriving at least 20 minutes or so early is advised. They may be behind, but you need to make sure you are always on time!

Don’t… Sign in if you’re early and want to study it – go to another room or outside to practice.

Do… Keep your appointments unless you absolutely can’t.

Don’t… Ever be a no-show. Always call!

Do… Learn how to be spontaneous and prepare quickly! Unlike other acting jobs, copy is usually not available beforehand so you can’t get it to study. The copy is usually only available at the audition session.

Don’t… Get discouraged if your partner in a group read doesn’t want to practice beforehand. If the audition is a group read, you may have been paired up beforehand, but you may not know who you are reading with until the casting director comes out and tells you. At that time, you can read with your partners if you all choose to, but some people prefer not to practice together beforehand.

Do… Wear comfortable clothes- you will want a little room to breathe and move!

Don’t… Wear noisy jewelry or clothing.

Do… Stay still at the end of the take. No matter how happy or sad you are- be silent!!

Don’t… NEVER, EVER, EVER touch the microphone or microphone stand!! If it needs to be adjusted, ask the engineer. You can touch the music stand, but nothing to do with the microphone – this goes for auditions and sessions!!!

Do… Have a few options and attitudes prepared! When you go in to read, you usually get to read more than once.

Don’t… Ask questions about the read during your level check. Give the level check read when the casting director asks for it, and read until they tell you to stop- even if it means repeating the copy. Right when you walk into the session is the time to ask any questions you may have about the copy, if there’s anything you don’t understand or you’re not sure how to interpret.

Do… Make yourself available! You often get calls the day before or that morning for auditions at the times they have open.

Don’t… Think you can’t read for union commercials just because you aren’t in the union. It is not required for an audition!

Do… Take notes while listening to a scratch track. If it’s a TV audition, they may show you the visual (on the left of the page) and the audio (on the right on the page.) If there is a scratch track available, the casting director may play that for you first. You will watch it and then do your read, so write down notes as you’re watching on where to breathe, accents, speed, etc.

Don’t… Ask if you can call later to find out how you did.

Do… Ask the engineer “are you going to slate, or do you want me to?” If you are slating at an audition all they need is “Jane Doe, take one.” (Insert your name in place of Jane Doe!) Some clients may only want your name, if so they’ll most likely indicate that to you beforehand.

*  Don’t… Touch the copy. When recording, put the copy on the stand in the beginning. If you don’t have a stand, firmly grasp the copy a little below the middle of the page and hold it at eye level. If you’re holding 2 pages, put one in each hand and move quietly and seamlessly.

Do… The same thing you did the first time if you are asked to come in for a callback as well as any additional styles they’re looking for- they obviously heard something great initially, but they want to see you take it a step further this time. Treat it exactly the same as you did during the first audition!

Don’t… Take the copy home with you. When you’re done reading, leave the copy on the stand in the audition booth or bring it out of the room and place it back on the pile of scripts in the waiting area. Thank the casting director and walk out of the room.

Lastly, after the audition- just forget about it! Don’t make calls all around or obsess. Write down the name of the ad agency and send them a current demo if you’d like, but let it go and move on to the next audition experience!

Watermarking Your VO Auditions

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.