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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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February 14, 2011

VO Scam Alert: Update

Voice talent Dave Courvoisier recently alerted the voiceover community about a scam artist, one who's been reportedly soliciting radio imaging liners and not paying for the work. Here's an update on the matter.

I had a minor exchange with this person last year. Ultimately, he didn't actually scam me out of anything (except the time taken to respond to his e-mail inquiries and provide a rate quote), but his behavior was suspicious to say the least. He contacted me requesting a quote for fully-produced liners to be used on his radio program; I gave him the quote and made it clear that partial payment up front would be required before any work was done. No reply. I followed up a month later asking if he was still interested. He replied saying he'd sent payment, which I knew was false (if for no other reason than a month had passed with no word from him). The reply was complete silence when I asked him to provide some kind of confirmation of the payment.

Dave's report seems to confirm that this guy is not to be trusted. This sort of thing is precisely the reason why, with some exceptions, several voice artists (myself included) request at least a partial payment up front for new clients.

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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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October 26, 2010

A Good Cause and a Great Voice

The concept and execution would be awesome even if it didn't feature my good friend George Washington III and his at-once-georgeous-and-authoritarian pipes. Luckily for all of us, it does. Read his blog post, then look & listen...


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October 01, 2010

A Top Tip Twofer from Philip Banks

In one fell swoop, international voiceoverist Philip Banks teaches you 1) how not to be a cinematographer AND 2) the elusive, magical secret to getting VO work.

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July 21, 2010

Edge Studio's Microphone Selector

While there's no substitute for trying out different mics by actually using them, the folks at Edge Studio have come up with a way to help narrow down your options before putting them to the test.

Their Microphone Selector tool lets you compare mics in various price ranges and characteristics. You can select various criteria to pare your choice down from 59 different makes and models.


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July 18, 2010

The Voice of Cool

Hat-tip to Bob Souer for posting this clip, a new TV spot voiced by Donovan Corneetz. Donovan bills his work as "The Voice of Cool", and lives up to it in this spot.

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November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, VO-BB!

 

 
Happy 5th Birthday to the VO-BB forum, from David Houston Voiceovers!
 

 

 

There aren't enough superlatives to describe what a tremendous online forum the VO-BB is (and nobody likes an overwritten script anyway). Therefore, I'll just ask you to join me in a hearty Congrats and Happy Birthday to the site, born five years ago today.

My pal (and creator & manager of the site) DB Cooper also deserves more thanks and salutations than I can adequately express here. Here's to many more!

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May 19, 2009

Bringin' The Funny, Pardo-Style

Happy to announce my debut as part of the cast of Mutha Mae's Bringin' the Funny! Enjoy:

This text will be replaced

P.S. I recorded my parts well before Saturday Night Live's Don Pardo announced his retirement from that show. Consider this a tribute of sorts.

P.P.S. Note to prospective clients: I'm not really that expensive.

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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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December 02, 2008

Survey Says...

 

 

 

John Florian at VoiceOverXtra has published the results of their “How’s Business Lately?” survey of voice talents, Conducted in late October 2008, the survey asked participants to compare their current job volume and income with what they experienced at the same time in 2007. 

There's a mixed bag of results, with many reporting an uptick in business but also expressing concerns about the future. Worth a look.

 

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July 14, 2008

Losing Steam?

 

 
 

 

 

My articles on getting started in VO contain information on how to get out of the starting gate, but what does a voiceover artist do to stay in the race? Actor and VO talent Wendy Braun lists Ten Ways to Sustain a Voiceover Career in the latest digital issue of Backstage.

A look at Wendy's extensive VO credits means she knows what she's talking about, making this list recommended reading.

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June 12, 2008

Still Has That New-Car Scent...

The main site has a new look and feel.

It may yet get a few tweaks here and there, but I think it works. It was time for a change. 

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March 17, 2008

Do That Resource!

 

 

 

 

This little ol' DTV blog gets a feather in its cap from Voices.com; it's listed as one of their 100+ Industry Resources for Voice Over Talent, the latest in their series of VO talent tools.

Thanks to Stephanie and co. for seeing fit to include me; if you agree that DTV has been a valuable resource, I hope you'll pass along my link and subscription information to anyone interested in voiceover.

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January 30, 2008

Y'all are Fixin' to Git an Education.

 

Texas Flag. Photo by Krystle Fleming
 

 

 

There's a spot running on local radio here in Austin, with the VO delivering the business' address on Burnet Road (one of Austin's oldest and busiest thoroughfares). The only problem? He pronounces it "bur-NET" instead of using the first-syllable emphasis commonly known to Austinites. Clearly, our intrepid announcer has the misfortune not to live in our fine city. It doesn't happen often, and I'm surprised that the client, a local business, didn't catch it straight away and order a re-take.

In Texas, it's not just our capital's street names that are stepped on by non-native tongues; glance at a map of the Lone Star state and you'll fall into one of our traps in seconds. The "x" is silent in Bexar, and Manchaca, despite appearances, is a two-syllable name, not three.

Relax, pardner. The fine folks at TexasTripper.com have created an audio guide to Texas' most notoriously mangled monikers. The next time you find yourself reading copy and are unsure of names like Boerne, Elgin, or Gruene, just click Play on the audio sample. Genuine central Texas accent thrown in at no extra charge!  Y'all take care, now.

 

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October 02, 2007

Radio Days

 

 

 

 

Over at Vox Daily, the question was asked: What Attracted You To Radio? While not all voiceover artists necessarily have a background as on-air talent, it's no surprise that many of us do. My response at the site:

 

I'd grown up as a fan of radio itself, not just the music it played. I've always been one of those who liked to look inside and take things apart to see how they worked, and like a lot of radio listeners, I figured "I can do that!" Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out I actually could.

No doubt like many others here, radio proved not to be a gateway to vast riches. Still, I made a bit more than your average mic jockey (at least in the small market where I worked) once I learned I could write ad copy and produce spots.

Being an independent VO artist is easily the most satisfying and fun job I've ever had, but my radio days rank a close second.

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July 03, 2007

Passing the Savings on to You? Part II

My previous post, and its topic, reminded me of another online article I'd read recently. Talk It Up! is a busy, well-written blog helmed by Heidi Miller, a professional speaker who gives in-booth presentations at trade shows for clients all over the world. In the post in question, Heidi (ahem) talks up a website which offers free voiceovers to podcasters and others.

To be fair, Heidi isn't trying to sell anyone on the notion that it's useless to pay big bucks for VO talent when it can be had for free; she's careful to point out that the site in question is performing a kind of "public service" by offering voice services gratis to those who may simply not have a budget for professional VO.

Which, I say with no facetiousness or sarcasm, is all well and good. Still, I felt compelled to toss in my $0.02; while I know that Heidi isn't out to hurt the voiceover industry, it occured to me that a blog piece titled "Free Voiceovers!" ought to be counter-balanced. My response at the blog:

Just weighing in on this topic.

First off, let me say that as a professional VO artist, I have no problem with others in our business who occasionally work gratis or "pro bono" when it suits them. Sometimes scripts are just too much fun to pass up, sometimes one may believe strongly in an organization's message or cause. Still, most pro VO folks know that our business isn't like retail; loss-leaders don't bring in more traffic.

Non-profit organizations were referenced earlier as a kind of entity worthy of free VO services, but --- just to take things a step further --- even non-profits have budgets, even if they may be relatively smaller. In those cases, a VO artist should be willing to work at a reduced rate, but not an unreasonable one.

Most VO artists I know, myself included, make it a general rule not to work for free unless
everyone involved is also going unpaid. I've worked on projects like that, especially when it appeals to me personally.

Voice artists at the "beginner" stage can help alleviate this problem by...well, not being beginners. That is, they need to be ready to provide professional-value service before opening up shop. As Stephanie mentioned above, there are plenty of ways for the VO to gain experience without giving away the store.

I'm not here to condemn RD or any other outlet that provides free voiceovers; however, I think that the words "caveat emptor" are important to remember --- both for voice artists and their clients.

Many thanks for the soapbox!

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June 17, 2007

No Frogs were Harmed in the Posting of this Entry.

After reading a recent post* by Philip Banks on the VO-BB forum, I whipped up this graphic using an online logo generator:

 

VO-BB

 

 

To my surprise, several of the members demanded to have this emblem on a t-shirt. VO-BB Board Czar D.B. Cooper informed me that it's a done deal.

I now proudly (?) add "graphic designer" to my many hats.

(Said garment can be purchased here if you're so inclined...) 

 

 

 

*Since that part of the forum is closed to non-members: the phrase on the emblem was uttered by Mr. Banks, without any exlcamation or excitement, during a business phone call upon being prompted by his dog to play fetch with a favorite toy. The other party, according to Philip, laughed hysterically...

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January 04, 2007

Feather, Meet Cap.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my group of articles on Getting Started was selected as one of the Top Ten blog posts at VoxDaily for 2006. Being listed among heavy-hitter VO names like Pat Fraley and Kari Wahlgren is a bit uplifting and humbling all at once. Go check out the other nine posts for some terrific reading.
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November 15, 2006

VO Sites: Peter O'Connell

A recent phone chat with voice talent Peter O'Connell was gratifying and fun; I'm still honored that a seasoned vet like Peter would solicit my advice on marketing (or any other aspect of voiceover), as I've solicited his on occasion. Peter's also my Tiger's Quest castmate, and his presence certainly helped lend professionalism and experience to an already fun project.

Check out his recently-revamped site and blog; a definite keeper for your bookmarks.

 

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October 16, 2006

Dan the VO Man

Almost forgot; speaking of Dan Nachtrab, he left some nice comments about me on his blog a little while back. Add Nachtrab's News to your list of great voiceover reading, pronto.
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October 09, 2006

VO Blog: Brian Haymond

Brian Haymond: Behind the Mic is another excellent blog, worth perusing often.
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September 28, 2006

VO Sites/Blogs/Etc: Mary C. McKitrick

I'm glad to count Mary as a friend and colleague in this business. The MCM Voiceover Blog is an elegant treat, written by terrific VO artist and a classy woman.
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September 19, 2006

VO Blog: Bob Souer

If you haven't visited The Voice-over Boblog, do so soon. Apart from being a top-notch voice talent, Bob's a prolific blogger who covers a variety of topics on this crazy world of VO. A must-read.
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September 15, 2006

Blogs, P-Casts, Etc: Jeff Hoytus

Sharing a few links to great VO-related blogs and podcasts. More to come!

Hoytus Interruptus

To be sure, Jeff's blog and its accompanying podcast are only marginally related to voiceover; that Jeff is one of the most recognizeable voices in the industry makes the tie-in significant. Jeff's also an engaging observer and storyteller, no matter the subject at hand. Take a look...or a listen.

 

 

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