Dane: I’m Dane Reid, The Voiceover Guy. I am here with the team from voice actor websites. Guys! (Team Introduces Themselves) (Dane) And I don’t have any labs that fit five people.
Dane: I’m Dane Reid, The Voiceover Guy. I am here with the team from voice actor websites. Guys! (Team Introduces Themselves) (Dane) And I don’t have any labs that fit five people.
I used to steal software and plugins for voiceover. I started my career with Cubase LE which came as free software with my Emu 1616 audio interface. As I realized the limitations of that software, I wanted to grow but I didn’t have the money to grow. But having friends in audio engineering, I found out that there were ways to get what was called cracked software.
My first cracked software was a Cubase SX. There was a company that was famous for cracking audio software called and I used to find their software either online or through a friend who had it. Cubase 2.1 was how I really learned to produce commercials. But a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is only as good as the plugins. So for that, I had to find more cracked software.
The hot plugins of the day were waves plugins. Waves were really good and really expensive. Of everyone that I knew who did audio, maybe only one of them actually bought any of the waves plugins legally. Waves plugins could run 10k for a bundle. Being who I am I had to have the best bundles. I had the waves platinum, mercury and gold bundles at some time in history.
As my career grew, I never really considered buying the actual plugins. They were still out of my reach in price. Plus, what was the point? I was getting them for free. Free beats cheap any day. So I perfected my skills with free software and even upgraded as more cracked software replaced the older versions. I went from Cubase SX to Cubase 2.1. Then I moved on to several Nuendo versions for a few years. Meanwhile, voiceover and commercial orders piled on. I had a nice workflow.
I never shorted on hardware though. I bought my first Neuman for $1500. UA LA 610 for $1400. I owned several computers. A Mac and a PC and a PC laptop. I had travel gear and swapped out several audio interfaces at that time.
So what happened? Well, one morning I got up to do my work. I had several commercials in the pipeline for the day. I fired up my computer and my trusty Emu and then started Nuendo and BAM. Nothing. It wouldn’t start. I tried it again and still nothing. So I restarted the computer hoping that would help. Nothing again. I tried a few times and no result. I was in a bad position.
I called a friend and fellow talent to ask if I could come to his house and record this work and he asked me what had happened. I told him. And his response was something I didn’t expect. He said to me “Why don’t you just buy the software?” I had never thought to actually buy the software. So I did. I bought my first version of Cubase, which was Cubase 5. It cost me $300 at Guitar Center. I came home that morning with my dongle and installed the software and BAM…. Nothing!!
At this point, I’m even more panicked. Installing and getting up and running was much easier with cracked software. So I called Steinberg to help me. I went over several things troubleshooting with the tech before I finally had to admit to the tech that I previously installed unauthorized software. He went silent for a second, and in a judgemental tone said “Well then you have to wipe your entire computer clean and reinstall windows to install Cubase properly.
You can imagine my horror. But I had work to do and the day was coming to a close by now. I got off the phone, backed up as many of my files as I could, and wiped my hard drive. I realized that I had to change at this moment. I did put the plugins back on the computer because I needed them at that moment but over time I began to buy them. I didn’t buy all of them but I bought some.
Over the years I replaced Cubase 5 with Cubase 7 Artist. I also bought Cubase 8 Elements for my mobile rig and then upgraded to Cubase LE AI Elements 9.5. I also bought Cubase Artists 9 for my desktop home studio. That version made all of my 32-bit plugins obsolete so now I had to buy all new plugins. That’s when I bought the Apollo Twin and then the Apollo Arrow with all the plugins for those machines. Now, I can’t steal plugins. I buy them. I also fell in love and buy the Izotope plugins. I have several of those bundles for mixing and mastering. I continue to buy software and plugins for voiceover. For Christmas, I bought UAD’s Manley VoxBox and Valley People Dyna-Mite.
You don’t even have to steal software and plugins. For plugins, there are literally thousands of free ones online. All you have to do is google free audio plugins. For a DAW everyone knows about Audacity which is free but you can also download a free version of Mixpad which seems better than Audacity.
In my opinion, I get the fact that starting a business or learning a new craft is very expensive, but with free software and plugins for voiceover available now, don’t steal. Don’t steal anything actually. People work hard designing this software and they deserve to make a profit for their efforts. I left some links in the description for Mixpad and Audacity.
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I started working on a plan to create a full-service, professional mobile voiceover and production studio comparable to my home studio about a year ago. It began when I purchased my Universal Audio Apollo Twin and began tweaking it to get the best sound of my career. Once I realized that Universal also made the UA Arrow, I began planning how to get the best sounding commercials out of a mobile voiceover studio.
Voiceover and audio professionals are very particular about their sound. While it’s the talent that gets you the VO gig, a persons sound can quickly ruin for them. Throughout my career I’ve had moments of sound issues. There have been times when there was noise from the background, or reflection from the room. But in all those moments I was able to fix those issues, except when it came to my mobile voiceover studio. Those issues are much harder to fix.
Because I travel for both business and frequent adventures around the world, it’s important to be able to record wherever I go. I have been caught off guard and had to even record a radio imaging voiceover in the bathroom of IAH moments before I boarded a 10 hour flight to Brazil. I had no other options. It was me, my cell phone and an echoey bathroom and a job that had to be turned in before I landed. I also once recorded in the parking lot at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica with my mobile voiceover rig. When I listen back on the sound of those recordings, they all sound bad. There are various problems with a mobile studio. The first of which is that you can’t control your environment.
Most talent aren’t recording in the bathroom of an airport. They are recording in a hotel room when on vacation. And mostly these environments are out of the control of and unknown to the voiceover talent before entering the situation. We use things like pillow forts and kaotica eyeballs to get the best sound but I’ve never been able to get the same sound that I get at home. I think part of the reason is that the home studio isn’t mimicked by the mobile studio.
Even though I have a better environment at home, I also have better equipment that filters the environment. At home for example, I have a DBX 166 exclusively to gate noise. As you can imagine, carrying that around “on holiday” would be quite awkward. So instead, whatever hardware I have for the mobile voiceover studio has to do the same as the home studio, but in a much more compact form.
I’ve tried the iRig Mic Studio, the Steinberg UR 22 and most recently the Focusrite 2i2 recording bundle, but none of them gave me the same warm compressed sound that I get at home. And none of them offer the same plug-ins. So when I found out that Universal Audio created a thunderbolt compatible smaller version of the Apollo, I was super excited. The only problem is that my PC was not thunderbolt compatible. So in September of 2018 I bought a Dell XPS 15 (9575). I loved the big bright screen and the portability of it.
I then purchased a gently used Rode NTG3. At home I have a Sennheiser 416 but didn’t want to carry that around with me everywhere I go. It’s a tough piece of gear but it’s also expensive. I was able to get the Rode NTG3 from eBay for only $300. Additionally I purchased several plug ins by Izotope like RX 6 and another Plug-in which cleans up audio that my good friend and colleague Jean Francois Donaldson swore me to secrecy about. Now all I needed was the same interface.
The UA Apollo has grown in popularity among voiceover talent over the past few years. I purchased mine in 2016 at the recommendation of an old High School friend who is now a world class engineer. The plug-ins that come with this thing are incredible and duplicate the sound of some of the greatest analog hardware in the history of gear. Plus the dedicated DSP chip processes the audio on the Apollo itself, relieving your computer of the strain.
The UA Arrow does the same but with one less DSP chip for slightly less power out the box. It offers the same on screen interface to allow you to control your studio like a pro studio. None of the other audio interfaces that I’ve tried had the same level of control. And out of the box, the UA Arrow has the same plug-ins that I mix with like the Precison Rack Strip. The Arrow also has the DBX 160 plug-in and the UA 610 which both recreate the effects of hardware that I use in my home studio. In fact included in both the Arrow and the Apollo are the:
UA 1176LN Legacy
UA 1176SE Legacy
Ampeg SVT-VR Classic
Marshall Plexi Classic
Precision Channel Strip (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
Precision Reflection Engine (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
Precision Delay Mod (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
Precision Delay Mod L (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
Pultec EQP-1A Legacy
Teletronix LA-2A Legacy
It’s still early. I haven’t fully tested the system with all of the components in an uncontrolled environments. But the elements are there and this is the best hope I have for having a mobile voiceover studio that sounds like my home studio. If you’re an established voiceover talent, please share your experience with the Universal Audio Arrow or with the mobile gear you use. I am always keeping my eye open for new audio tech.
Scammers are everywhere. In every business and in everyday life. Each day someone is trying to steal your personal information or cheat you in some way and each time you have to be a step ahead of them. There are the ones who call you telling you that “A” computer in your home is infected and they can clean it for you. This past week I received a call saying that the warranty was up on my car. And while I field many calls of these types and embarrass the callers with questions that they can’t possibly answer (and making it obvious to them that I know its a fraud), some scams, like voiceover scams are a bit trickier than others.
Whenever someone knows your name and a bit about what you do for a living then it gets harder to spot. While I was almost amused by the warranty attempt this week, I was a bit more challenged by a professional scam in the same week. I received a text message from someone who said they found my info on a site called Production Hub. I haven’t logged onto that site in a while so to see someone with an interest in my work there was interesting to say the least. But it was welcome. The message asked me to email them if interested. Nothing about that seemed too odd, so I did. Everything was normal.
The next morning I received an email from the prospective client which was very detailed and professional. He outlined what he needed, leaving me with few questions. Admittedly I was tied up with other projects when I got the email so I didn’t read through it thoroughly the first time. But later when I did, I noticed that the name of the company that he claimed to represent was one that I had heard of. It was the Welteroth Agency. But the first thing that I thought of was “Why would someone from a agency like that initiate a conversation with me via text?” “Perhaps my info was hard to find” I thought to myself. But then my second question was “Why didn’t they use the company email and instead use “email@example.com.” So I googled the email address and found nothing. Interested in making a few dollars for 90 minutes of work, I shrugged it off from there.
This was the first email. So I responded by suggesting two studios here in Atlanta that might be good to work with. But this “Lucas Burch” responded again with an email that I noticed simply said “Hi” to start with without saying “Hi Dane” which would be less generic. The second set of emails said this.
At this point the biggest Red Flag went off. Lucas asked for my address and insisted that I didn’t use a P.O. Box. Every company that I have ever done business with has sent checks to my P.O. Box. The fact that this company didn’t want to was too odd. Even if that were standard, for safety reasons, I would’ve insisted the check be sent to my P.O. Box.
I’ve seen a similar scam before when I tried to sell my furniture last year. It’s an overpayment scam and here’s how it works.
The scammers send you a check that is for more than they promised you. Then they instruct you that the rest of the money, after you cash it against your account, is to pay the studio (or the movers in my furniture case). Someone comes from the “Studio” to get the balance owed to them or you have to wire them the cash before the “session”. The session never happens but you just cashed a bad check against your account which you are now responsible for. As I was doing some research for this blog, I noticed that Doug Turkel wrote a blog about this same scam on his blog and that other talents had experienced the same. His article is detailed with more info on the scam as the voiceover talent went further and asked lots of questions as the scammer tried to gain the upper hand on the talent.
In my case I sent an email response to Lucas informing him that all checks should be written in the name of my company and that the company address was the P.O. Box. If he did not feel comfortable with that then we would be better doing business through my agent Jeffrey Umberger. From there I didn’t receive any responses. So I called Human Resources at the Welteroth Agency. When the person called me back, she confirmed that anyone representing their agancy would in fact use a company email. She thanked me for reporting it and said that this has been happening a lot.
I noticed that the scammer emailed me both times in the morning. Following my response, there was no email back the next morning at that same time and hasn’t been one since. If anyone contacts you and it seems very generic or some of the other signs tip you off, do the research to confirm whether the job is legitimate or not. Another great article to check out is one by Dave Couroisier (which I became aware of after reading Doug’s blog) called 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From VO Scammers
Much like on public transportation, if you see something say something. This is my second encounter this year. The first one earlier this year was by a fellow voice talent and imaging producer who took money from me to produce a demo and then never contacted me again. I will blog about that in the future after I confront him in person. He must’ve not know how much I enjoy flying. I will out him soon enough. See you in California buddy. I know where you live and work.
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LinkedIn has a way of reminding you every year that it’s your anniversary of how long you’ve been at your present job. Thank you LinkedIn. This September marks 12 years since I started my voiceover journey and I have to say that it has been both trying and super rewarding. But sometimes as I blog and post pictures from various places around the world, I think that people only see the rewarding part. They get the impression that all they need to do is to part with their full time job as I did in 2006 and the great voice that everyone tells them they have will propel them into a glamorous voiceover career where they work a few hours a week in their underwear and collect BIG checks. I’m sure that’s what they think. I can hear it in their voices when they solicit my help on the phone on how to get started. I recorded this video after a voiceover hopeful called me last year while I was in Panama and I told her that “this is a process and it takes time.”
Building my voiceover career took years. I was nowhere close to being an overnight success. But I found since writing my blog that many people will go to my website, find out how to reach me, call me, ask for advice and then get offended when I tell them not to quit their day job. I once had a testy exchange with a woman (who in my opinion had an aweful voice and an even worse speech pattern) who told me that she would have no problem building a voiceover career in spite of not having any training and not having worked in the entertainment or advertising world prior. She said that she had a sales background and that she could sell anything. I of course agree that a sales background is extremely helpful in this field, but you need to have a great product to sell. Furthermore, if you solicit the help of someone who is already doing what you want to do, you should probably listen and take their advice as I did 12 years ago. I can honestly say that I was somewhat insulted by her idea that it would be a breeze to get started in VO.
Often voiceover newcomers think they need just one of the key elements in making their career pop. Usually they have an overestimated confidence in their talent and voicing abilities so they skip straight to what they think they need for their home studio. I have a great studio that does well for my voice but I inform aspiring talent to go and explore a local audio store to play around with their offerings to find out what works for them. But first you need to make sure other things are in place so that you are sure voiceover is for you? Do you have a plan? Do the plan cover your business, your equipment, your coaching and your education? What are your goals and what avenues will you take to make those goals happen? Luckily there are a lot of great people in our industry who help provide direction for voice talents in their careers. Tom Dheere for example is a voiceover consultant that writes a blog to help even established talent on the business side of VO. Check him out.
For myself, when I started it was without training and without business experience. I had only raw passion to guide me. That may explain the years that I went before landing some real gigs. As I learned more and I considered new ways to make a few bucks in VO, I took chances on the business side. I innovated with ideas that could make money using my voice which included a voice ringtone website called MyTalktones.com and also licensed some of those ringtones to a media copy that sold them as ringback tones to all the major cell phone companies. I wrote an audiobook, Dana The Procrastinator which I voiced myself in 2008. Feel free to buy a hardcover copy on Amazon. I wrote a second children’s book too, but I have procrastinated on getting that out to the public even up to now. While I’ve voiced for companies and brands like Sprite, Coke, Lockheed Martin, BET, Acura, Kia and a mountain of other companies in my time, none have been so big as to keep me fed beyond the next months bill. And so it has always been my plan to hunt down new work and to also be creative as to where I can apply my voice.
I celebrate 12 years as a voiceover talent knowing how much work I’ve put into this field. I have spent a lot of money, many nights awake and years developing and testing new ideas for my business. But with voiceover becoming more difficult to get into and make a profit, talent can’t just expect to call Dane Reid on the phone and get the magic solution as to how to be a success. I am still up at night racking my brain and working hard in the daytime pitching my voice and my ideas to anyone who may buy into them. I have plans for new demos, new videos, business ideas (which I can’t share 😉 ) and even a new station which I start imaging this month. I’m still passion driven but I have harnessed my creativity, effort, networking ties and talent in order to make it all work. Don’t think that my road will be your path. Results may vary.
Vacation & Voiceover In Panama
I’ve had a love for Latin America over the past few years. One place that fascinated me because of the sheer number of it’s immigrants that I knew in New York was Panama. Of course the Panama Canal fascinated me. But when I arrived in Panama City, the thing that captivated me most was this amazing mixture between the new and the old city. Prior to going to Cuba, I hadn’t seen a place as charming as Panama City’s Casca Viejo. And to see how it blended with the modern, almost US looking new city was awesome to me. But secondly, the people were great. I spent much of my time being shown the ropes by our cab driver Glenn. He wasn’t the average cabbie. Glenn was more like the guy who you knew in a town you were visiting who showed you around. Everyday he picked us up, suggested places for us to hang out and would even hang out with us and buy us drinks with the money we just paid him. lol (I just had water). Other people were great too and I found that just like in New York, Panamanians are super cool people. But finally, if you are a foodie (which I generally am not), Panama is your place. I experienced the best food on average that I’ve had in the world in Panama. There is something about the seasoning and the freshness of the food, mixed with the creative latin and West Indian fusion that totally impressed me. I’ve mentioned this to others who have either been to Panama or had Panamanian dishes who totally agree with me. Overall, between the food, music, people and the place itself, I highly recommend a visit there. 4.75 of 5 stars (There was no beach in Panama City but try Boca Del Torro)
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It was never supposed to be me. I was never supposed to be the subject of the interview. I was always supposed to just ask the questions. But when fellow voice talent and fiend of ten plus years Charlie Sill asked me for an interview, I took a deep breath and said “Yes.” He got me. The Voiceover Interviewer got interviewed.
I’m Not The Authority On Voiceover
I never considered myself an authority on voiceover. I’m more of a beneficiary of good timing, opportunity and ingenuity. I rarely like to tout my mediocre successes in this industry where the big guys are on every major brand possible. Although I have represented a major brands also many times, I don’t keep track. Voiceover is a love of mine and so I never keep score.
All of that combined with a popular blog attract a lot of questions for me. I usually deflect by sending people to the blog itself where I have had the wonderful pleasure in interviewing some of voiceovers finest players. When I set out to do a blog where I interviewed experts, it was to have fun while learning more about the passion that I shared with them. But the bi-product has been the perception that I myself am the expert, or that I do coaching or demo production. And while I do produce commercials, it’s only on a for client basis.
As the Voiceover Interviewer Guy, I’m no stranger to either the microphone or the camera but I am a stranger to answering questions. But Charlie, knowing me, took it easy. He finessed it, offered me a sandwich and asked me a ton of non-voiceover related questions while sitting in the chair under the lights. He kept me relaxed and allowed a free form of conversation to develop organically. Charlie knows what I enjoy. If you’ve followed my blog, you recognize certain themes. I love laughing and smiling and engaging people in a way thats fun, yet still topical. I love people. I love to talk. And I love, I mean Ab-So-Lute-Ly love travel.
My Loves, My Experiences, My Dream
A few years ago I realized the cross sections of my career and my dream of travelling when I began moving about the country for the purpose of meeting potential clients where they were. My plan was to not just cold call people but to befriend them and allow them to match a name with a face and a personality. They were usually people who I had researched, most of them were big time local advertisers. Sometimes I went the route of befriending radio account executives in an effort to identify who those local advertisers were. My efforts proved successful but rewarded me in a way that distinctly lit up my brain differently from having just landed an account through cold calling. I recognized, that it was the added component of travel. Charlie recognized that too.
In this interview Charlie and I briefly talked about my experiences travelling with my Sennheiser 415 and a bunch of other things that only saw the edit room floor. In the editing process I like to believe that it was kept short and sweet as not to bore people with my life (LOL). It lasted maybe an hour in which we talked about my many experiences in what turned into “Vacations & Voiceover.” My territory of exploration has expanded globally as my curiosity and career have grown. Sometimes I’m just blogging on location. Sometimes I’m searching for work. All the time I am having fun.
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Dane Reid is a Voice Over Talent, Radio Commercial Producer and Imager, Voice Over Youtube Channel Producer at http://Youtube.com/DaneReidMedia , Children’s Book Author, Entrepenuer & And Avid Global Traveler
Particularly since I started this blog, people ask me all the time for resources on where to get started in voiceover. And there are tons of them. But here are the top ten that I send people to the most. The list is compiled of voiceover entertainment sites, news and information sites, pay to play, resource and education sites and places to go to social network. Still, this list doesn’t begin to touch the great number of online voiceover websites there are out there, but check out this video for yourself.
When I started in voiceover back in 2004, there wasn’t a lot of information online about voiceover. The number of voiceover websites available to guide my career weren’t in abundance the way they exist now. I actually began my search not with voiceover websites but with a local publication. It was recommended to me back when I was in college that I try voiceover by a college professor named Bill Clark who thought that I had the kind of voice for the job. I searched that publication that he suggested but found nothing. The internet was nowhere near as mature back then as it is now.
Not only was the internet not as mature but the voiceover industry was not as mature. Therefore without connections in the industry, I found myself all alone when I first began. But shortly more and more web pages on all subject, not just voiceover websites began popping up. The information age gave rise to opportunities for a lot of people in many creative fields. Voiceover was no exception. This was a great benefit, but after many years, the internet became saturated with voiceover websites and many seemed too complex and often misleading. Many people who posted simply wanted to sell things to talent but had little to offer in terms of guidance. That’s the position I found myself in.
After years of muddling through thousands of voiceover websites, I began figuring it out. Call me a slow study but as things changed in the industry, major players in the online space evolved. Several of these players have maintained their positions in the online space for years and have been well respected for years. Others have fallen out of favor and have been ostracized by major voiceover talent for their business practices. Still, newer vo talent looking to get into the business often overlook or are simply unaware of the pitfalls of these voiceover websites.
After interviewing many people in the voiceover industry, asking their opinions and forming many of my own, I compiled this list of the top 10 voiceover websites. Some of the qualifications to make the list include: utility, how easy it is to navigate through the voiceover website, how quickly it to learn from the site and how established is the site as an authority in voiceover. I wanted people who watched the video to be able to learn, share and even be entertained by the selection of voiceover websites offered on this list.
I’ve developed a relationship with many of the people who started or run the websites on this list, some even as a result of the list. I did not, however, let that bias my opinion. Regardless, the list is simply a compilation of my opinions and meant to educate some and spark conversations by others. It’s a fun list and there are certainly other list or perspective honorable mentions that could’ve easily been added to this list.
Some great sites that could’ve easily been placed on the list are globalvoiceacademy.com, voiceactorwebsites.com, and gravyforthebrain.com. All are great sites that have valuable info. Ultimately I went with voiceover websites that I knew at the time of the recording.
So at this point, you may be wondering if I am going to reveal in this blog what actually made the list. Nope. Watch the video if you haven’t already. Get your popcorn, pen, and piece of paper ready and watch it several times. It’s sure to have valuable information.
Dane Reid is a New York born voice actor who has been practicing voiceover since 2004. If you are interested in working with him, click the contact tab and send him a message. Please, no solicitations.
Your agent gives you a call and says that you booked a job that you auditioned for weeks ago. If you are anything like me, you auditioned for it and totally forgot about it, so the call is a welcome surprise. But then you are told that the recording is scheduled to take place at an outside studio. “Ok” This is different but as a pro, I’m ready to record wherever I need to.
But this still takes me for somewhat of a loop. Back in the day recording voiceover almost always took place in big time studios. Some talents were even flown in from whatever city they lived in to record in NY or LA. Some of that still exist but far less than ever before. Technology has eliminated the need for talent to come into “THE BIG STUDIO” as often. Things like ISDN, Source Connect and now new technologies like IpDTL have made giving talent direction in the comforts of their homes a lot more convenient.
And convenience is the name of the game in my voiceover business. I’ve spent a lot of money and time building a home voice over studio with great sound so that I can turn work around quickly to clients. But sometimes clients want VO talent to focus on voicing work and not engineering. That’s when the “In Person Studio Sessions” comes into play.
What To Expect?
When you get into the studio there are several people who may be there. There is the sound engineer, producer, client, copywriter and sometimes other talent. This may vary but you should understand the role of each one of these people in the process. There me be a lot of chatter around you as each person discusses the script, the sound and the voiceover read. Try to pay attention so you can get it just right for everyone in the room, although only one person will give you actual directions. It’s also good to know who everyone is because there may be an opportunity to network here.
Also there will be a script laid out for you, most likely in the booth. You should have received this script before the session but be aware that sometimes there are last minute changes that happened before you got there. Sometimes these changes occur while the client, producer and engineer confer about your read. You won’t always hear what they are saying and this can be nerve wrecking, but be careful not to let this unnerve you. A tense body is never good for your reads.
You Should Be Prepared
Preparation starts before you get to the session. You may get instructions from your agent. Be sure to follow them carefully. Know your lines if they have been given to you. Go back and listen to what you submitted for the audition. You may have recorded several takes and don’t know which one booked so get familiar with all of them and consider new reads just in case. Google the directions to the studio. Know where it is and how long it will take to get there in heavy traffic. Just like with a job interview, you want to get there 15 to 30 minutes early. And just like with a job, be familiar with the product before the interview. You won’t be asked questions about it but it will help you with the read. In the video I recorded related to this blog, I recorded for bump patrol, a product that I actually use.
Lastly remember that you are not recording voiceovers in your own studio. You are in someone else’s territory. Don’t touch anything!! Even if you are familiar with the kind of equipment in the studio, it is not yours. And also remember to dress appropriately. You want to be comfortable but not bummy. I wrote an entire blog on image that you may want to check out. This may be your chance to network for future work. When doing so, be cool about it. People do business with people they like. If they ask you for a card, have one ready, but also remind them that you work through your agent.
With everything to remember you keep in mind that this process should be fun and relaxed. If you spend most of your time in your own studio recording yourself, here is an opportunity for you to record and not have to do any editing. Use your body when needed to get the job out. Ask for feedback. You never get that at home alone. And remember that you booked the job above all other talent who auditioned so there was something they saw in you that got you in the door. Don’t Worry. Be Happy!!
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It seems like there are a lot of Voiceover Conferences out there. Some are real conferences and some seem more like getherings. But VO Atlanta was a conference gathering. Let me explain. My definition of a gathering would be a small group of people with an intimate flare that allows talent to really get personal attention from experienced talent. But my idea of a conference is a big production with a large crowd that attracts lots of top talent. VO Atlanta 2014 somehow managed to do both.
The conference which was organized by Gerald Griffith of Voiceover City, brought out the superstars of voiceover. Bob Bergen who is the voice of Warner Brother’s Porky Pig was the key note speaker. Bob gave a detailed roadmap to voiceover success while also detailing his ascent to voiceover royalty in a two hour address to the “tooned in” in audience.
But Bob wasn’t the only one sharing. Joe Cipriano, Rodney Saulsberry, Dave Fennoy, Randy Thomas (Emmy Announcer) Elaine Clarke, Edge Studio’s David Goldberg, Mary Lynn Wissner, Celia Siegel, George Whittam, Dan Friedman, Sunday Muse, Stevie Vallance, Noelle Romano, Jeff Umberger and Joe Loesch all contributed their perspectives on the craft.
With all this talent at one conference it would have been easy to be star struck but the best talent proved to be the best personalities too. These were real people who you could touch and talk to and really get to know on a personal level. And they stayed at the conference all four days and had breakfast, lunch and dinner with new and old talent. This personal touch provided something extra to VO Atlanta 2014.
VO Atlanta brought some really great ideas to the table. There was the usual exhibit hall with things that you have seen before but then there were fresh new things like Kaotica Eyeball, Studio Bricks and Ip DTL which lots of people were excited about playing with. But the conference itself had something new and cool. There was the voiceover competition where contestants read scripts in front of a panel of judges for a chance to win $2000 in voice over prizes. In addition The conference featured a workout session with voiceover founder and personal trainer Zurek.
The conference also had the usual panel discussions. But I caught a part on video of the discussion of the year. The panel, moderated by Gerald, debated the merits of the union vs online casting in what turned passionate in front of an audience of about 100 people. Randy Thomas represented the union perspective while Stephanie Ciccarelli represented Voices.com for the online casting perspective. Mary Lynn Wissner and Jeff Umberger represented the agents side while David Goldberg from Edge Studio provided a very neutral point of view. Unfortunately I didn’t film the entire thing but some highlights are available in the video above.
The Wrap Up
On Sunday VO Atlanta 2014 concluded with a very entertaining wrap up by Joe Loesch. Just took us through the highlights and higherlights of the conference. Rodney Saulsberry provided a touching tribute to the collective experience that I think noone will soon forget. Check out this and more in the video recap.
One of the most popular video subjects on YouTube amongst Voiceover Talents and recording enthusiast is the subject of what’s in your studio. This topic, no matter how many times its posted and how many ways it’s recorded, always seems to get thousands of views per video.
But this video is done with a twist. I show off and explain my studio using my Gopro Hero Black 3 Edition with a first person view. With my camera strapped to my head, I show you the main elements that keep my studio operating.
Why do people show off their home studios? Some of it is bragging of course. But some of it adds real value to people who are looking to build their own home studio. Many talents are also audio engineers and have expertise in acoustics and pro audio gear and can help other voice talents create the best and most professional sound. Sometimes Voice Talents create these Youtube videos to showcase to clients that they are working with the best gear themselves.
But for me, I just wanted to share. In the spirit of creating great online video content, I wanted to take you on a journey into my world and where I work. Just as a Dr. has a stethoscope, these are the tools that make a great voice actor sound amazing. A pro studio helps you land the job by telling the client that you are serious about your craft. And over the years, I have shown clients how serious I am.
Home recording studios are the center of much controversy too. It gets Voice Talent and audio engineers debating about how much do you really need in a studio to get the best sound. It pits Mac users against P.C. users and friends against one another. (OK, I’m not sure about that last part). But with technology constantly changing, making the home voice over studio smaller and less expensive, it makes you wonder why we even need ALL this stuff… or if we will need it in the next few years.
For now I enjoy my home voiceover studio and all its bulkiness because size does matter in this case. It creates great sound that clients appreciate. For a while, bigger is better for me.