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March 31, 2011

That's Easy For *You* To Say.

This segment from Wednesday's The Rachel Maddow Show serves to remind that, even (especially?) for those of us who talk for a living, some words and names are more problematic than others:


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I have to say, it's oddly comforting to know that I'm not alone in my regionally-specific social requirement to willfully mispronounce certain names and places: In Austin alone, "Manchaca" is "man-shack" and "Guadalupe" is "gwad-a-loop" (yes, even those who speak Spanish properly are compelled to use the "incorrect" but more common forms). I have fond memories of a novice newsman at a radio station getting his hand figuratively slapped over saying "Bexar County" just as it appears --- which is incorrect, as Bexar is properly said "Bay-er".

Rachel, I thoroughly and completely feel your pain regarding "procurement". I can say it easily and quickly now, but that's because it once gave me the same fits, prompting me to practice it over and over again until it sounded natural. (Yes, folks, this is what voiceover performers do. All of us have the occupational hazard of our own collection of a few relatively basic English words that mangle our tongues and make us sound like we're still learning the language.)

I use the Merriam-Webster pronunciation guide myself quite a bit; it's not only a lifesaver for tricky "everyday" words, but the handy "Medical" tab seems tailor-made for those of us who do a lot of medical narration.

(Voice talents --- and anyone else interested --- here's the link to the Voice of America pronunciation guide.)

RELATED POST: Y'all are Fixin' to Git an Education.

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March 12, 2011

Getting Inside the Script


When presented with a VO script, it doesn't have to be Shakespeare to warrant bringing your best acting skills to the table. In my article Getting Started in Voiceovers, I pointed out: "Whether it's a ketchup commercial, an instructional tech video, or an animated Pixar blockbuster, the skills you need to bring to the mic are those of an actor."

Dan O'Day shares this clip of Christine Coyle demonstrating just what I referred to, teaching the kind of text analysis skills needed to get inside any script. (My friend Bob Souer is one of the participants.)

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February 20, 2011

Getting Started: Another Take



Wondering what it takes to get started on the right path to a career in voiceovers?

I've gotten a lot of nice feedback on my article about getting one's feet wet in the voiceover biz. Voice actor Smith Harrison has written his own superb piece on the subject of getting started in voiceovers, so I recommend you add it to your reading list if you're interested in laying the groundwork.

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January 31, 2011

The Right Coach

Excellent insight from Bob Souer on finding the right voice coach for you.

How to evaluate voiceover coaches


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October 28, 2010

FaffCon2: Atlanta 2011!

The success of the first FaffCon event in Portland has led to FaffCon 2, coming to Atlanta in 2011. Early registration begins November 1st!

FaffCon is a voiceover "unconference"; instead of being locked in to seminar or workshop content dictated by others, you get to choose what aspect of voiceover work gets discussed/worked on/et cetera. Congrats to FaffCon's organizer, Amy Snively, on the success of the (un)conference!

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August 04, 2010

Animation Nation: Nailing The VO Audition

(Hat-tip to voice actor Kyle Hebert for the link.)

In this Backstage.com article, award-winning casting director Sarah Noonan and animation voiceover actor Bob Bergen (the voice of hundreds of characters from Porky Pig to Luke Skywalker) offer tips on nailing your animation audition. Required reading for anyone with an interest in cartoon VO!

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July 12, 2010

Peter Rofé on Analyzing Commercial Copy

Voice Talent Peter Rofé breaks down the art of analyzing commercial copy in this edition of the Voices.com Voiceover Experts Podcast series. Originally posted in 2007, it's a valuable resource for getting into the core of a commercial script.
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January 11, 2010

Objects in this Entry Less Evil Than They Appear

Voice-talker and tea-biscuit-dispenser extraordinaire Philip Banks is a lovely fellow, really. It's just that the news team putting together this story on Philip were in an incredible hurry, and managed to print a photo that would unnerve even a Bond villain.

At any rate, the piece talks up Philip's appearance at VOICE 2010, coming in June to a massive voiceover conference near you. Congrats on the press, Philip, and I promise I'LL TALK! I'LL TELL YOU WHERE THE MISSILES ARE!!!

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June 24, 2009

Audiobook Wisdom

Voiceover greats Marc Cashman and Pat Fraley lend their insights on audiobook performance to a new article at Backstage.com. Highly recommended reading!

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April 30, 2009

Looking and Leaping Into Voiceover

Actress and author Deborah Puette gives an in-depth, first-hand look at taking the plunge into her first VO demo. Her work with producer/voice actor Ed Cunningham is also documented on video. Highly recommended!

(Courtesy of Backstage.com)

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April 02, 2009

...But Who Doesn't Love Puppies?

 

 

 

No one I know, to be sure. Unfortunately, there's a shady "puppy-mill" subset of the voiceover training industry, where instructors with dubious credentials crank out student after student, demo after demo --- for a steep fee. Radio guru Dan O'Day's blog picks up on Harlan Hogan's examination of these hucksters.

So, to sum up: Puppies? Good. VO hucksters? Not so good.

 

 

(Hat-tip to Liz de Nesnera for posting this via Twitter.)

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February 22, 2009

Anime Voice Acting 101



Bang Zoom! Entertainment has been running a series of voice acting workshops around the country, answering the eternal question: “how do I become an anime voice actor?”. Anime News Network sat down with workshop teacher Tony Oliver, a longtime voice actor, director and producer, to find out what it's all about.

Link

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February 15, 2009

You Oughtta Be In Voiceovers

Ever been told you should be doing voiceovers? Ever told someone they should be doing voiceovers? Here's a brief but must-read article on the reality behind what the next step actually entails.

UPDATE: A fellow voice talent shared her experiences, in a response to this post in another forum. Here are her thoughts:

 

My reality: $14,000 later with a professional demo and directors, agents and actors telling me I'm competitive and the top student in the working professional classes, agents all told me "I have that niche filled." and "I'm sorry, you're too old to portray children. You can't possibly understand their motivations."

An audiobook startup is happy to use me for character work in exchange for copies of the books and a small mixer board they outgrew. My voice is on another "resume job" display in a museum of coin-op amusements.

I return to working on advancing my day job career with dreams of building a studio of my own to record the antique children's books I've collected.

For everyone who makes it big, how many are working with broken dreams?

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January 28, 2009

Breaking Into Audiobook VO

Scott Brick is arguably the audiobook industry's greatest voice talent working today, making his How to Break Into Narration blog post an absolute treasure. Having all of Scott's insights put into text is reason enough to dive in, but he's gone the extra mile and narrated an audio version of the lesson --- as only he can.

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December 30, 2008

Voiceover Opportunites for the New Year

 

Report on the Voice Over Industry for 2009, from voices.com
 

 

David Ciccarelli of Voices.com has published Report on the Voice Over Industry : 2009, a comprehensive look at recent trends in media with an eye toward the upcoming effects --- and opportunities --- for the voiceover industry. It's a free PDF download, and it's highly recommended reading.

 

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November 20, 2008

Notes from Berkley "No Auditions" Teleseminar

 

 

 

 

Susan Berkley's “Tons of Voice-overs Without Tons of Auditions” teleseminar earlier this evening --- referenced in yesterday's post --- featured some great tips, useful for novice as well as intermediate to advanced VO artists.

First of all, make no mistake: auditioning is a necessary part of the voice actor's professional life. The key is to remember that it should be only a part, and not the whole, of the search for jobs. I liked Susan's use of the term "slack adjusters" as one way of looking at auditions. The term comes from retail, in reference to big-ticket items that are expensive and don't fly off the shelves; however, just one sale of such an item can put a store in the black for that month. The problem is, no retail store can survive solely on that one big purchase, just as a voice artist can't afford to wait on landing that one magic job.

The focus, Susan drives home, should be on prospecting, marketing, and selling yourself. Instead of waiting for a buyer to pick you from among hundreds, seek out potential clients and make yourself the only choice when they need a VO. It's not as easy as staying on the audition treadmill, but it's far more rewarding.

Just to add my own $0.02: Landing a good agent --- you know, the one who sends you all those auditions --- isn't likely to happen in the first place unless you can convince them you're able to make money. Once you've got your own list of clients, having made yourself their choice, agents will look favorably on your pitches.

More information on Susan Berkley's upcoming seminars and classes at GreatVoice.com.

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November 19, 2008

FREE Training Teleseminar with Susan Berkley

Susan Berkley, founder and President of The Great Voice Company, is holding a free tele-seminar Thursday, November 20, 9 - 10 PM EST. Topic: “Tons of Voice-overs Without Tons of Auditions”. Register at GreatVoice.com. This is fairly short notice, so click now to register for any available slots.

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