Voice Over Education Blog

Do your voice-overs benefit from your full vocal range?


"Great! Now, read it another way."

Whether or not you've ever heard that from a Director (and you won't always), it's a good direction to give yourself. Because there's more than one way to read almost any VO copy, and there's more than one vocal approach you can use. Which means ...

... there's more than one way to land a job.

Before you start recording, shake yourself up. In fact, you could do that literally – shake your body all over for a few seconds. It helps loosen you up, both physically and mentally.

But you can shake up your "usual" read in many more significant ways than that. Here are some that will help shake up your voicing options.

Who's your character? In an acting framework, this question is often combined with "Who are you talking to?" and "Where are you" and other such situational images. But ultimately, they all come down to "Who are you?" Even if you're narrating, or doing phone prompts, you are voicing a character of sorts. For example, your "character" might be the customer of a department store (the client), or the store's marketing director. Or as a narrator, you might think of yourself as a scientist, or a businessperson, or a teacher. Even as a phone prompt, you might feel like a retail greeter, or the company's owner. They may all sound like you. But each thinks and maybe behaves a bit differently.

Over the course of your career, one of your core characters is "you." Clients come to know your "go-to" voice and personality (or persona); for most talent, it's probably their most saleable voice. But in developing that voice, hopefully you will have given it all the resources at your disposal.

Which leads to another "shake-up" question ...

What is your computer backup system? And will it work?


For some time now, we’ve been meaning to offer a few words about computer backup, but somehow never quite got around to it. We kept putting it off a little, in favor of something else. And a little more. And ... does this sound familiar?

Recent news about worldwide ransomware attacks (“Wanna Cry” last spring, and "Petya" just last week) have brought this issue back to sharp focus. Those attacks may not have been aimed at the typical home-office business, but experts say that their perpetrators care little about collateral damage, and any future attack might be even more pervasive. Besides, most threats don't get such publicity. Every day, data is tragically lost to mundane causes such as a failed hard drive or power supply. When it happens to you, only you and a few others will know.

So here goes. What is your computer backup system? And how do you know it will work?

Every computer user should have a reliable backup system – and should use it. Whether your computer succumbs to a malware attack, a hardware failure, or your own human error, having a backup will make the situation much less nerve-wracking, and probably far less expensive. It will also minimize your downtime, which can also be costly.

We're talking about more than the cost of replacing your equipment, or a bit of downtime. Losing your stuff can cost you clients. Consider, would you continue using an accountant if they had lost your documents? And if your data goes south, could you even do your billing?

Learning never ends: Updates to some of our past articles


The voice-over world is ever-changing. So is the world at large, and it's time we updated some of the things we've written. Some of the news is fun, some of it is just "different." And some might even be a bit disturbing. For example, your receptivity level might vary depending on whether you're retrieving voice mail or getting paid to voice it.

Who voices illegal robocalls? Should you remove certain telemarketers from your list? (3 parts beginning April 17, 2015)

Illegal automated "robocalls" continue to be a "scourge" (the word used by new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai), with 2.4 BILLION robocalls to Americans every MONTH. We still have not found anyone who knows who voices recorded calls that are placed illegally, nor determined whether those voice artists are aware at the time that their performance will be used in violation of FTC rules. But we have found that some of the measures we mentioned do a passable job of minimizing junk calls and annoying rings for consumers. One of our staffers uses NoMoRobo.com, which – when it detects a known robocall -- rings your phone only once. Some slip through, but most are caught. There are also other services and apps of that sort for call block and/or reporting.

In addition, since our original series on this, the FCC has given permission to telephone service providers to integrate such filters into their services if their customer requests. For details, check with your friendly phone company.

What to consider in evaluating your voice-over potential? Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

Evaluating someone's potential as a voice actor involves a wide range of considerations. It's usually not a black-and-white issue. There are lots of shades of gray, and virtually everyone – even trained stage and screen actors – needs some training in order to perform consistently well as a voice-over professional. But there are certain qualities to look for in a prospective voice-over student, and certain things that would rule someone out.

Where can you find such a list?

We happen to have one at our fingertips; it's the evaluation guide we use in our Investigate Voice Over program.

We caution against relying on this list without assistance from a voice-over professional. You might be too hard on yourself. Or too easy. Or, you may not hear what evaluation-trained coaches hear ... in which case you might not realize that you are (or are not) marketable.

As we said, there are many gray areas and qualities that can (or cannot) be easily changed through training and practice. Seriously venturing into the field of voice-over can be a life-changing move. Just as you would not rely solely on a consumer-website slideshow to diagnose your health, you should not simply breeze through this list to determine your prospects as a voice actor.

But you might use it to determine the quality of an evaluation you receive, whoever that opinion is from.

What to consider in evaluating your voice-over potential? Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

Evaluating someone's potential as a voice actor involves a wide range of considerations. It's usually not a black-and-white issue. There are lots of shades of gray, and virtually everyone – even trained stage and screen actors – needs some training in order to perform consistently well as a voice-over professional. But there are certain qualities to look for in a prospective voice-over student, and certain things that would rule someone out.

Where can you find such a list?

We happen to have one at our fingertips; it's the evaluation guide we use in our Investigate Voice Over program.

We caution against relying on this list without assistance from a voice-over professional. You might be too hard on yourself. Or too easy. Or, you may not hear what evaluation-trained coaches hear ... in which case you might not realize that you are (or are not) marketable.

As we said, there are many gray areas and qualities that can (or cannot) be easily changed through training and practice. Seriously venturing into the field of voice-over can be a life-changing move. Just as you would not rely solely on a consumer-website slideshow to diagnose your health, you should not simply breeze through this list to determine your prospects as a voice actor.

But you might use it to determine the quality of an evaluation you receive, whoever that opinion is from.

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