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!

What makes something funny? Especially in voice-over. Part 1 of 3

NOTE: This is the first post in a 3-part article. Click to read Part 2.

There are various schools of thought as to what makes acting work.

There are also schools of thought as to what makes comedy work. What is humor? What makes something funny? And, since in voice-over work, you're usually handed a script, that may or may not be humorous – can you make something funny? Or is the humor already built in, so that all you have to do is read it?

The answer is, a little bit of both. And, unlike acting theory, humor theory is at least partially subject to scientific investigation. Someday, neurologists might even be able to tell us exactly why we laugh.

For now, we'll give it a try ...

By the way, here's our article on various theories of acting.

To fully explain how humor works would take a book – several in fact, including maybe a volume on human neurology and even anthropology ... because laughter is rooted deep in ourselves and our collective past.

Our objective here is simply to give you a crib sheet. But let's have at it for a bit ...

Even among scientists and highly experienced comic actors, there are many theories as to what makes something funny to us. Psychologists have identified no less than 41 types of humorous situations.

The scientists keep getting closer to pinpointing the various factors, using techniques that include real-time brain scans. But, like driving your car, as a voice actor you don't have to know exactly how it works, only that it does ... and that there are different types of engines, etc.

What non-DAW software do you use? And should you?

In a recent episode of Edge Studio's TalkTime! telephone call-in discussion, we focused on "Non-DAW" software (Digital Audio Workstation). In other words, apart from recording software, what programs do some voice-over professionals use, why do they use them, and how do they like them? During that hour of chat, our callers covered a lot of ground. In fact, it was surprising to see how many options they came up with. Here's some of what was covered.

The full hour discussion can be heard in TalkTime! archives at EdgeStudio.com:
Go to edgestudio.com/talktime/archives and scroll to March 18, 2018.

We can't possibly review all these programs, and we DO want to stress that almost none of them are required to be a voice actor or run your voice-over business. In many cases, if you don't already know a program or have a good use for it, it might be a waste of time. Often it's more productive to do what you do best, and hire an accountant, or a web designer, or a graphic artist for special skills.

But, if only to expand your awareness and a place to start, here are various types of non-DAW software you might consider. We've included some notes based in part on the comments, but this list is not at all complete, and neither are our comments.

Website building and management

How a radio producer looks at VO talent for radio commercials.

A point we may not make often enough in our Edge-ucation blog is that Edge Studio, in addition to being a leading coaching entity, was originally and still is very much a production studio. From our large multi-booth production facility in Manhattan and in various other locations around the country (along with remote recording), we record for every VO genre. That experience and insight is one of the many reasons we excel at coaching and education, and why we're able to legitimately hire many of our former students.

Like parents thinking of their children, we would hesitate to pick our favorite genre. But if we had to, Radio would surely be on our short list. That means commercials, celebrity interviews, promos, imaging (branding), all that. Some years ago we wrote an article explaining why Radio offers virtually unlimited creative opportunity. It was aimed at various advertisers who bypass the production studio (and producer) to have their spots done by the local radio station. There's a strong case to be made that producing at Edge Studio will make a commercial better, more advertiser-specific, more persuasive and memorable.

But that article is on the Production section of our website, so readers of our Edge-ucation blog might not encounter it. Talent, too, can learn a lot from its perspective. So here it is:


Some people think you can’t do as much with radio voice-overs as you can with visual media such as TV and Internet commercials. They’re wrong. Whereas a visual medium is limited to what you can show, radio is limited to anything you can imagine. And it's helped along by sound effects (SFX) and music.

We love it. Radio is a veritable playground.

What's new in the swinging, swirling world of Income Taxes?

Whatever you think of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that became U.S. Federal law in December (you know, the one officially called "To Provide for Reconciliation Pursuant to Titles II and V of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2018"), it's likely to affect you for better or worse. While it provides widely publicized tax cuts, many deductions will be disappearing for the solo entrepreneur and others. We're talking about deductions that will disappear from your next return. Your return due April 17, 2018, might be your last chance to take them.

Their relevance to you depends on your particular situation, such as whether you're paying off a mortgage, but we'll bet there's something on this list that you should learn more about, or discuss with your tax preparer and/or financial advisor.

We're not tax experts or financial advisors ourselves, so in pulling together this information, we've relied a lot on an article published by Freelancer's Union, " Grab these 20 freelance tax deductions before they are gone." Also bear in mind that rules and information change over time, so before making any decision, be sure you're up-to-date with fresh information from authoritative sources. For example, we found some very out of date information at IRS.com. That surprised us, until we remembered that the real IRS site is IRS.gov. You'll also find old documents at IRS.gov, but they are plainly labeled "archival or historical."

Personal Exemptions. What the increased standard deduction giveth, other provisions taketh away. After this year, you won't be able to deduct the $4,050 each in personal and dependency exemptions for your family members.

A voice artists shouldn't just talk. Also listen to yourself.

We can't stress enough the importance of daily practice. Not only does it keep your voice and your work habit in shape, you can learn a lot in as short a practice session as 15 minutes. Part of that session should include listening back to what you've been practicing at. Or listening to some of your past auditions. There are a bunch of reasons – of various sorts -- why this helps you. Let's look at them ...

What should you do in your practice session? See our article, "Up your game: What to include in your daily VO practice" (March 16, 2017).

Several of the above article's exercises involve recording yourself and listening back. So these are among the reasons to listen to yourself:

  • Can you read something repeatedly, even over time, and still sound as natural as you did originally?
  • Did you say everything as clearly as you thought you did? When you listen to a recording after significant time has passed, and without the script in front of you, the occasional mumble or mispronunciation will be more apparent. Maybe even painfully obvious.

Here are yet more reasons to have your recording app ready, even when it's just for practice, and, in general, to listen to yourself objectively.

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