A little more than three weeks from now, professional voiceover talent from all over the country will spend a weekend together in Charlotte, NC at the first-ever Faff Camp conference. Faff Camp is a bit like the wildly successful FaffCon series of events, only with a bit more structure.
The days following the event will be interesting ones for everyone who attends. Their heads will be swimming with new ideas, renewed motivation, and plenty of new friendships and business opportunities. (My Mastermind Group is made up of people I met at FaffCon, and I can’t tell you Read more…
Tags: marketing, mastermind groups, voice over, voice over talent, voiceover talent, voiceovers
These days, “Voiceovers” is big business…from a number of perspectives.
With the technological barriers to entering the field disappearing day by day, more people than ever before are trying their hand at it. So while there are thousands of newly-minted talent looking to drum up some business for themselves, there are also scores of people eager to help those eager newcomers find their way through the wilderness.
Unfortunately, some of these trail guides are more concerned with their own fiscal health than with helping you develop your craft and your career. And that’s all the more reason to make sure that you know Read more…
It’s becoming a common refrain in all sorts of creative endeavors: some established, experienced talent are complaining about the vast numbers of newcomers to their field. I’ve heard it from web designers, graphic designers, copy writers, and yes, voiceover talent.
In a recent blog post titled True Professionals Don’t Fear Amateurs, entrepreneur, marketer and author Seth Godin wrote something that resonates deeply within the world of professional voiceover talent:
Gifted college professors don’t fear online courses. Talented web designers don’t fear cloud services. Bring them on! When you need something worth paying for, they say, we’ll be here. And what we’ll sell you will be worth more than we charge you. – Seth Godin
He didn’t specifically mention voiceover talent in the post, but he might as well have. In recent years, I’ve heard scores of fellow talent complain about the influx of so-called wannabes. They’ll bitterly say, “These days, anyone with a laptop and a USB microphone thinks Read more…
Tags: marketing, voice over, voice over talent, voice overs, voiceover, voiceover talent, voiceovers
Many voiceover talent say that experience is the greatest teacher at the microphone. If that’s true, then there are few better to learn from than Vin Scully. Having spent more than 60 years behind the mic, the L.A. Dodgers broadcaster has called everything from Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, to Hank Aaron’s 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, to Bill Buckner’s series-changing error in the 1986 World Series.
Just out of Fordham University in 1950, Scully was recruited by legendary announcer Red Barber to work for the CBS Radio Network calling college football games. Just three years later, a 25-year-old Scully became the youngest person to ever call a World Series game. (A record that stands to this day.)
So how does all of this apply to performing voiceovers? Well, in a recent interview, Scully shared some of the advice that Barber gave him in the early days of his career.
And while Barber wasn’t speaking specifically about voiceover talent, his advice is something I think every voice talent can benefit from.
Its brilliance is in its Read more…
“We never start with the voice; it always starts with the acting.”
Recently, the fabulously talented voiceover actor and voiceover coach Richard Horvitz was generous enough to answer some questions as part of an ebook project I was putting together. Below are some highlights from Richard’s responses. To read the rest of Richard’s answers, and for insights from nearly 30 other Voiceover Superstars including Joe Cipriano, Randy Thomas and Bob Bergen, sign up for your free copy of the ebook over on the right side of this page.
What do you love about your job?
Simply that I get to play, and laugh and have fun pretending, which is what I teach…I’m all about playing pretend. And we have a tendency as we get older, to lose that willingness to play pretend, or that joy in playing pretend, because everything becomes about earning money…about validating the choice we’ve made to be an actor. So I like that I still get to play, and remember what it’s like to look through the eyes of a child. Particularly in the character I get to play in animation…if I’m not playing an evil villain, I’m playing a kid. It’s just fun. That’s the best part of my job.
What do you like least about your job, and how do you deal with that?
Things that are really stressful on the voice, like soldier games and army games are really rough on the voice. (To take care of that, I drink a lot of water and a lot of tea during the sessions.) But other than that, there’s not a lot that I don’t like about my job.
What performance advice do you have for voiceover talent just starting out? (Or for those with a good deal of experience, who are looking to move up to the next level.)
Is branding important for voice over talent?
Well, it depends.
That’s an unsatisfying answer, I know, but it’s true.
It really depends on what your voiceover goals are and what your target market is.
The easy answer is, “Yes, of course it is.” And since I’m a big fan of good branding (and geeky enough about it to spend time on branding blogs and forums), I’m admittedly biased towards doing everything possible to put your best foot forward.
In certain cases, though, I think that branding your voiceover services might be a little less than critical.
For example, Read more…
“Unabashedly be yourself in the auditioning process. There’s only one you.”
Recently, the fabulously talented Steve Mackall was generous enough to answer some questions as part of an ebook project I was putting together. Below are some highlights from Steve’s responses. To read the rest of Steve’s answers, and for insights from nearly 30 other Voiceover Superstars including Joe Cipriano, Randy Thomas and Bob Bergen, sign up for your free copy of the ebook over on the right side of this page.
What do you love about your job?
That when I do it right I am a “finishing touch” on someone’s ‘dream realized.’ The fact that a creative person had something in their head and my voice and/or interpretation helped bring it to life is humbling and exciting. Or equally as thrilling, my voice and/or interpretation totally surprised the client and up-leveled their spot/concept. That’s a connective moment.
And of course I love working in my pajamas (full-length red ones with a trap door).
What business or practical advice do you have for voiceover talent just starting out? (Or for those with a good deal of experience, who are looking to move up to the next level.)
Allow me to answer this question with an anecdote. Several years ago a once famous (now fallen) voiceover pro asked if I’d help revamp his reel. I was humbled by this request and happy to assist. I mean this cat used to be first call. After giving him my pair of pennies on his material I Read more…
Tags: voice over, voice over talent, voice overs, voiceover, voiceover talent, Voiceover Talent Ebook, voiceovers
While I’ve long been impressed by the level of caring and support that I’ve seen fellow members of the voiceover community show for one another, this week has been a shining example of their goodness. In the face of an unimaginable loss, voiceover talent around the world have rallied around L.A.-based British voiceover talent Andrew Swingler.
A little more than six months ago, Andrew’s wife Sandra was diagnosed with a type of cancer so rare that fewer than 100 cases have ever been reported. Sandra lost her valiant fight with the disease on June 27th, leaving behind two beautiful young girls, and her devoted husband Andrew.
I never met the Swinglers, but after reading Andrew’s story on my friend Derek Chappell’s blog, I was struck by what a close-knit and loving family they are. So it comes as no surprise that fellow voice talent have found ways to help raise money for the Swingler family.
Natalie Cooper has decided to auction off her 50,000th tweet on eBay. And that tweet won’t only be seen by Natalie’s 2500+ followers, but also by the nearly 320,000 followers of @FabianLord, which exponentially increases the amount of exposure that tweet will receive. But act quickly, Natalie’s auction ends Saturday afternoon, just after 4P EST.
And while only one person can win that auction, anyone can donate to the Swingler family through Anne Ganguzza’s VO Peeps Scholarship Fund. In fact, over the next three months, all contributions made to that fund will go directly to Andrew and his two precious girls, and are tax deductible under Section 170 of the US IRS Code.
Every little bit helps, and will be greatly appreciated.
There is no single, predictable path to a voiceover career. And there is no way to absolutely guarantee that your voiceover career will be a successful one.
Sure, we all hope that we’ll build a long, sustainable career, filled with great financial reward and loads of personal satisfaction. And there are plenty of people who do just that. Unfortunately, there are thousands more who don’t.
Swimming Against the Tide
And the actual numbers can be quite sobering. For example, it’s said that nearly two-thirds of the Screen Actors Guild’s members earn less than $1,000 dollars a year. And according to the Los Angeles Times, 90% of SAG’s members earn less than $28,000 a year. So the odds are definitely not in your favor.
I don’t point all of this out to discourage you, only to give a realistic perspective on what you’re up against. I also hope that it will give you a better understanding of just how important it is for you to approach the business of voiceover as just that: a business.
Historically, in many lines of work, apprenticeships were used (and often still are) to teach each new generation of practitioners the skills they’d need to become competent, competitive individuals. Newcomers to fields like carpentry, bricklaying, and plumbing often worked alongside master craftsmen for years before being allowed to call themselves professionals. Read more…
Success Breeds Solitude
Over the last few years, being a professional voiceover talent has become more and more isolating. And in most cases, the more successful you become, the less time you spend around like-minded people. This can be difficult for just about anyone, but maybe more so for creative, artist-types. We tend to thrive around people who “get” what we do. If you ever go to an in-studio audition, and see the energy among the actors in the waiting room, you’ll see what I mean.
One of my favorite things about the time I get to spend among other voiceover artists, is the contact high I get from their enthusiasm. I’ve never seen those other actors as my competition, per se, just as other people who are lucky enough to do what I do for a living. I’m always glad for the opportunity to share in their successes, and for the chance to blow off a bit of steam with a war story or two. “What? 112 takes for a 4-word script? Really?” (Yes, really.)
See, those waiting rooms are the voiceover actor’s version of the office water cooler. Except that we can’t just get up and walk over for a chat whenever we feel like it. With most voiceover talent now working from their own studios, we rarely get to talk to each other, let alone see each other. Unfortunately, maintaining that sense of camaraderie and community is getting tougher all the time.
The motivation and recharge that I get from those sessions are always a blast. But like anything else, the “high” begins to wear off after a while.
Teamwork! Accountability! Attitude!
Over the years, I realized that I’d unconsciously developed a strategy for dealing with those times when I needed a little boost. And while I’m not the kind of guy who goes for a framed motivational photo (complete with pithy quote) on the wall, there are certain lines that can have a powerful effect on me. I know this because without really meaning to, I’ve collected them on sticky notes over the years, and have always kept a couple of my favorites in my studio. My “favorites” sort of rotate over time, but somehow the right ones always seem to show up at the right time.
I didn’t realize just how many of them I had, until a few weeks ago when I was organizing the studio, and ended up with all of them in one pile. Within a few seconds, I knew that I had to put them all in one place. On one page. But how?
I’m a Lucky Man!
I know! I’ll marry a fabulous, beautiful woman who will be a wonderful, devoted partner, an incredible mother and is also a talented graphic designer. Luckily, I did exactly that about 15 years ago. (Yes, fifteen years of “Wow, what is she doing with him?”)
Well, one of the results of that marriage, and that pile of sticky notes, is the Voiceover Talent Manifesto©.
It’s All About Connecting
The basic principle behind a manifesto, is that what we focus on tends to expand (manifest) itself. And my main focus in writing this manifesto was connection.
Connection with each other: We all deal with the same challenges. We’re more alike than we are different. Support and community are vital.
Connection with our work: Our scripts, our intentions, our clients.
Connection with ourselves: We are, after all, entrepreneurs, and no one cares as much about our businesses as we do.
I’ve pasted the full text of the manifesto below. And after a number of requests, I thought it’d be fun to put it on a few different items (posters, prints, mouse pads, mugs, T-shirts) at Cafepress.com, so you can have one of your very own in your studio.
Full Text of The Voiceover Talent Manifesto©:
Words are magical. Respect them.
Don’t worry about being discovered, just be discoverable.
Become a mentor. You’ll learn at least as much as you teach, and probably more.
The best kind of marketing is quality work and a stellar reputation.
Fulfill your promises, and your clients’ expectations.
Learn to love technology. It’s gonna be around for a while.
Be generous. And give without expectation.
Recommend other voice talent. When your voice isn’t right for a project, help your client find one that is.
If you can imagine yourself doing any other kind of work, do that.
Expand your world: Read. Live. Be. If you aren’t interesting, your reads won’t be either.
Market yourself. Remember, you can’t work for the people you want to work for any less than you already do.
Clarity is power – know who you are.
Listen at least as much as you talk. No, listen more than you talk.
I hope you enjoy the manifesto, and that it’s as motivating for you as it is for me.
And I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments below.
Tags: marketing, mentor, voice over, voice over talent, voice overs, voiceover, voiceover talent, voiceovers