Voice Over Education Blog

Welcome to the Voice Over Blog

Welcome to the blog designed for anyone investigating, starting, and building their voice over career.

Here you'll find practical articles written to help you skip the "trial and error" often associated with pursuing and building a career, and instead gain a candid look into the voice over industry, where the work is, why some people get it, why some don't, and tips and techniques to help you reach your goals.

Remember that your voice, interests, and potential are unique. For this reason, our articles provide multiple ideas and scenarios so that you can make the right decision for your career.

Feel welcome to share any experiences and comments by posting them below each post. We're always glad to listen to you. After all, listening is what we do best!

Play The Long Game, But Play It Smart

Although I am a dual citizen of the US and Canada who has spent many years living in both countries, throughout my entire voiceover career I have been based in Toronto, a place that can be considered both a regional market AND a major market from a US perspective: 

  • Toronto is a major market because it is a massive city in itself, with a population of over 6 million people. 
  • It can also be seen as a regional market, because it is not a major city in the United States.
  • It IS a major market because one is able to maintain a career here as a union voice actor working with casting agents and the big studios, the same agents and studios that union talent in New York or Los Angeles work with. 
  • Yet it can also be seen as a regional market because there are many successful voice actors based here who do work almost exclusively for the US and other international markets. My work is about half and half.

My point is, you absolutely and most certainly do not have to be in NYC, LA, Atlanta, or Chicago to be a successful voice over artist. One of the biggest promo guys I know is based in Pittsburgh. Sorry Steelers fans, but in the voice over world, it doesn’t get much further off the beaten path than that.

What Is Source Connect? ipDTL? Do I Need IT?

So you want to work from home as a voice actor and need to learn more about this thing you’ve been hearing about called Source Connect. Source Connect (and similar applications such as ipDTL) allows you to connect to other studios so you can be heard and recorded (on the studio’s side) in high fidelity; full, beautiful, glorious audio quality. However, you have questions. Do I need it? When do I need it? How does it work? Is it worth the investment?

First, a little history. If you’re new to the business, you may not realize, we’ve been connecting remotely to other studios for over 20 years through ISDN.

ISDN required pairs of phone lines that transmitted digital data. On each end of those lines was a CODEC which is akin to the audio interfaces that we use today to connect our microphones and preamps to our computers. These interfaces take our analog signal and turn it (or convert it) into digital and then from digital back to analog so we can listen back to our audio.

CODECS were expensive and the dedicated ISDN phone lines themselves required monthly fees. This technology, while still available in some places, has become so cost prohibitive or unavailable that it doesn’t make much sense for voice actors to pay those high fees, if they can get ISDN at all. Several years ago, the writing was on the wall. ISDN was getting too expensive and was on its way out. We needed a digital solution for our new way of working. 

My Top 3 Tips for Voice Over Auditions

I have a confession to make.   Early on in my voice over career, opening my email and seeing an audition request in my in-box would fill me with equal measures of excitement...and panic.  Yep,  just a little bit of panic.  Because while I was excited for the opportunity to potentially book a job,  I was also anxious about that opportunity because I lacked confidence.

So there I was, a trained voice actor and I was actually getting the opportunity to audition and book gigs so why wasn’t I just plain excited?

Here’s what I eventually discovered.  I realized that I did not have a consistent audition strategy.

The voice over industry is becoming increasingly competitive.  A client may receive hundreds of submissions for any given audition and quite honestly, many of those auditions won’t even be listened to all the way through.

So how does a voice actor stack the deck in their favor and make sure that their audition stands out and stays top of mind with the client?

It’s about having an audition game plan that allows the actor to consistently create their best reads.  Here are my top 3 tips for creating your own audition strategy:

1) Make a really good first impression

Learning to Speak Naturally

In the modern voice over world, speaking naturally, or “conversationally” is the key to booking any job. The days of the old-school announcers are over, and if you can’t deliver a read that is smooth and natural, you will probably not get hired. This is something that we have to work on with most of our students. Even some seasoned pros still have trouble delivering a read that is free of extra, weird pauses. People tend… to read their copy...like...THIS! As if the script had commas all over the place and choosing odd words to emphasize. It doesn’t sound very natural, and will turn off any casting professional. Don’t get me wrong, I love William Shatner; he’s a national treasure. But you don’t want to sound like him in your voice over submissions.  If you find yourself delivering these weird, choppy reads, you need to ask yourself: do I speak like this in real life? The answer is probably not. When we speak to each other, we tend to do so naturally, without pauses, moving smoothly from one thought to another. So why do so many voice actors fall into this trap? What can you do in order to smooth out your reads and sound more “natural?”

 I too struggle with reading naturally, but through private coaching I’ve been able to work out some of my own issues and improve my reads. Here are a couple of tips that I learned working with some of our coaches that you can keep in mind on your next audition:

Building the Foundation of Your Voice Over Career

Voice over is an exciting, dynamic, and ever evolving industry filled with opportunities for all kinds of actors and talent. While some voice actors may be a jack of all trades, others may find that a specific genre of voice over offers them a unique niche market where they can excel. But, if you are just starting out, how will you know what genre to focus on for your training? There are so many voice over genres to choose from, including audiobooks, commercials, animation, narration (which has a seemingly endless amount of sub-genres), promos, and the list goes on. Should you make an animation demo? Or would you be more successful if you start in narration?

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