Yes folks! I’m still alive and quite busy these days. Due to the coronavirus I have a bit more time on my hands. I felt it best to update my Voice Over Knowledge Shared list as many things have changed. There are people on the old list I no longer associate with due to paying them for services that they did not deliver and thus have blocked me rather than handle the situation like a mature adult. People are scrambling to get into voice over more than ever before and competition is beyond challenging. You not only need solid acting skills and great demos. You MUST be able to record from your house and the audio needs to broadcast quality. No “ifs” and no “buts”. The biggest companies in the world are learning to record talent remotely and for a while, this is how it’s going to be until a miracle emerges for the human race.
There are numerous Facebook and Linkedin groups you can join as well in order to keep up with the radical changes that are happening at a rapid pace. Seriously. Some groups will not allow talent who are brand new or inexperienced but don’t let that get you down. Join those that are open to talent who are new or established. Everyone starts somewhere. There’s time to learn and get better, however, keep in mind the competition that’s out there.
And… take advantage of online classes and workshops NOW. Countless millions are out of work or struggling to make ends meet during this terrible time. Because of this, lots of wonderful teachers, producers, casting directors, etc have generously reduced the costs of their time and knowledge for the month of April. You don’t meed a super expensive webcam, or expensive audio equipment. Even your iPhone or android, or iPad and so on can be used. The majority of classes are taught through ZOOM which you can download for free and then click on any link sent from a VO coach through email.
Repeating what I posted last year: To be a Voice Over know first that acting is acting. I know of very few people who got into voice over work without being an actor first. Even if you only want to pursue commercials, narrations, or announcements, an acting class will benefit you in tremendous ways whether it be theater, film, or improvisation. You gain an understanding of what it means to be directed, how to use your voice correctly, and enhanced reading skills. If goals are focused towards animation, video games, anime or puppetry, acting classes are MUST. No excuses. Funny voices don’t make a character authentic, acting does. If you live somewhere that doesn’t have ongoing film, theater or improvisation classes to take in person fear not. Thanks to Skype, Zoom, YouTube and many others you can learn from a distance by attending webinars, online programs, group courses or one-on-one training with a reputable coach. Some names mentioned are people I haven’t trained with yet but through colleagues that I trust without any doubt whatsoever, I believe they’re experts worthy of notice. If there’s a name on my list of teachers that isn’t mentioned it’s due to one of two possible reasons: 1. I haven’t heard of the individual yet. 2. I have in fact trained with the individual and what they teach is false.
Everyone has a website these days so all you have to do is google their names for more info.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON DEMOS: Do not get a demo made until you’ve had enough training to start somewhere. False teachers/producers will try to talk you into letting them produce your demo when you’re far from ready. It’s an expensive mistake that can also damage your first impression to others. People remember bad demos. NEVER forget that. Visit websites for talent agencies such as like William Morris Endeavor, Dean Panaro Talent, CAA, VOX Inc., CESD, SBV, AVO, Atlas Talent Agency, Osbrink Agency, Coast to Coast Talent, and Abrams Artists and Associates. Listen to names who have representation on those sites (including celebrities). Can you do what they do and sound believable?
Teachers I have trained with, most have expertise in more than one genre or market. Google their names for more information about them: Andrea Toyias (video games), Trine Jensen (video games, acting, motion capture), Richard Dorton (video games, acting, motion capture), Sara Jane Sherman (animation), Rick Sellers (toys), Jennifer Trujillo (animation), Everett Oliver (animation), Pat Fraley (audio books, animation), Cliff Zellman (commercials and auto-motive), Carol Monda (audiobooks), David Rosenthal (animation, games, promos, commercials), Anne Ganguzza (corporate narration and e-learning), Cissy Jones (video games), Ginny McSwain (video games), Bob Bergen (animation), Dave Fennoy (video games), Joyce Castellanos (Promos), Mary Lynn Wissner (commercials), Katie Leigh (animation and ADR), Marice Tobias (commercials and narration), Richard Horvitz (animation), MJ Lallo (animation), Bill Holmes (commercials), Marc Cashman (commercials), Lani Minella (video games), John Swasey and Ned Lott (ADR Looping)
Demo Producers I have worked with or I have complete trust in: Chuck Duran, Marc Graue Studios, Susan Palyo at Voice Trax West, Rick Sellers, Cliff Zellman, Richard Horvitz, Nancy Wolfson, Roy B. Yokelson, David Rosenthal, Cristina Milizia
Voice Over Guides from Working Professionals in Animation, Video Games and Anime: (great place for beginners)
Group/Private Training and Workouts for all kinds of Voice Over markets:
https://lonestarvo.com (great for beginners whether you’re in Texas or not)
http://www.globalvoiceacademy.com/ (great place for beginners)
Voice Over Blogs or Web Talk Shows:
Help with Marketing and more (I spend the vast majority of my time on Linkedin):
http://www.celiasiegel.com/ (has a published book called VoiceOver Achiever that is highly recommended for voice over branding)
Voice Over Communities:
Voice Over Conventions:
http://www.faffcon.com/ (working professionals only)
http://faffcamp.com/ (those starting out or already seasoned in VO)
http://www.world-voices.org (runs WOVOCON)
Home Recording Studio Experts:
A few examples of Professional Voice Over Websites:
Last but nowhere near the least are Don’ts and Do’s that I’ve compiled based on my own experiences. May you all follow your dreams and find success!
WHAT NOT TO DO
– Don’t stop in the middle of a recording. If you mess up during a recording or audition don’t ask the engineer to stop recording and don’t waste time apologizing, just go back to the beginning of a line or paragraph and start again. Engineers can edit out mistakes.
-Don’t offer suggestions to the director unless you are asked
-Don’t let any coach (no matter how reputable) convince you that you’re ready to make demo after 2-3 sessions, especially if you’re a beginner.
-Don’t have a friend make an edit for you unless they have extensive professional experience. It’s very easy to tell if an audio production was produced on cheap software ore a high quality studio. You want the best to make you sound the best.
-Don’t eat dairy products or a super heavy meal before a recording session.
-Don’t spend thousands of dollars on a home studio, ask around for advice on good microphones, recording software, speakers, headphones, etc.
-Don’t show up in person to hand studios, agents, or casting directors your demo. Look at their website for rules on submissions (if there are any), then call to see if the company has a casting department or ask who casts the shows/games. Most casting directors prefer a link to your demo from a website rather than an mp3 as they take up space.
-Don’t tell everyone about a project you’ve recorded on social media unless the client is okay with it. Overzealous anime and video game fans will do almost anything to get the gossip on who voiced what character. Wait until the studio makes a cast announcement online or ask them personally if it’s okay to share news about your latest voice over job.
-DON’T EXAGGERATE ON YOUR RESUME. People in this business do look up people and places that you list and if it’s not legit, word will spread super quickly.
-Don’t call studios, agents or casting directors saying someone referred you if it’s not true. You won’t be hired and more than likely never trusted as second time.
-Don’t strike up a conversation with another VO actor at an audition in person. If there’s a script for you to look over, read it, study the available information. Afterwards, make friends, but be respectful to those auditioning after you.
-Don’t beg for a job. Ask about upcoming auditions or share news of a recent project (without bragging) or a new voice over demo, but don’t e-mail clients specifically asking if they can give you a job.
WHAT TO DO
-Do be on time when recording in a professional studio, fifteen minutes early at best.
-Do let producers, casting directors or your agent know if you’re running late (traffic, accidents, events, etc.)
-Do pay attention to all direction given to you in a session
-Do ask questions if something doesn’t make sense, don’t give the director a hard time pretending you understand if you really don’t
-Do bring your own water. Some studios have some for you but not always.
-Do practice a script if the client sends you a copy to work with. If you can look at your script the day before recording READ it and PRACTICE out loud.
-Do always keep training in some way, take ongoing acting lessons, attend workshops, seminars, watch youtube videos, read articles, listen to other demos
-Do market yourself with business cards, postcards, CDs, websites,
-Do network with others at events (see conventions list) you never know who you might meet
-Do keep up with what’s happening in the industry. So many do not do this.
-Do make friends with other VO talent. Many pass jobs to each other or recommend friends to agents and studios.
-Do keep a positive attitude, it’s a VERY competitive business and everyone goes through ups and downs. Everyone. But if you’re negative, especially around people in the business, people will not want to work with you or recommend you to clients.
-Do take care of your body with vocal warm-ups, physical exercises, and good personal hygiene.
-Do research coaches, classes, to see if they’re legit, ask around forums, get REAL opinions, don’t necessarily rely on online testimonials alone.
-Do listen very carefully to demos. Recognize what sounds real and what sounds fake. A voice actor (even a coach) may say they can sound like a baby, kids, teens, but vocally they’re incapable of sounding authentic. If you can sound like a baby, have it on your demo or be prepared to have a dynamite audition. First impressions really do matter.
-Do take criticism and learn from it.