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!

4 Types Of Variety That Make Your Reads Rock!

If you can bore someone in a 30-second commercial, think what would happen if they fell asleep listening to an audiobook while driving their car... Crash!

In spontaneous conversation, we do not simply say words. To engage our listener, we add variety to our words. Learning how to add vocal variety to scripts - even boring ones - is an art that must be mastered in order to get voice over work.

Another reason to be good at adding variety is because producers often ask for multiple takes of the script - meaning they want you to narrate multiple versions of the same voice over script. Assuming each of your deliveries is different, the producer will then have different options to choose from.

Here are 4 ways voice actors can add variety:

1. Pitch variation

Using pitch variation (expanding your dynamic range) and hitting different words will add terrific variation to your delivery.

Remember not to confuse pitch with volume ... for if you raise your volume, the listener will feel that you're yelling at them.

2. Dramatic pauses

Dramatic pauses, also called beats or frames, add variety to your read. For example, a producer may say, "Give me a beat before that word." Dramatic pauses also help emphasize the following word. In other words, instead of hitting a word to emphasize it, insert a pause (space) before it.

Whether you use a dramatic pause to add variety or to emphasize the following word, be sure that the pause is not too long, or it will sound too dramatic.

2011 Wrap-up - PART 2

Here’s a controversial move, I’m going to briefly discuss demos. Yes, I prefer to write about the production and studio specific side of the world, but lets take it out of the comfort zone for a minute. I’ve seen a lot of these things. I’ve recorded a bunch of demo sessions, and mixed enough of them to qualify me for a lifetime achievement award at the secret ceremony each year presented by That Dude That Imitates Morgan Freeman™ and the Ghost Of Gilbert Godfried. Its a secret ceremony, don’t try to get an invitation.

Most if not all of the normal studio rules I have written about apply to recording demo’s. All beginning voice talent is going to need one, but that doesn’t mean you should sound like a beginner. Recording a demo is basically an audition for an audition. The person coaching you is a professional voice talent, who makes their living that way. The engineer recording you is a professional engineer, who also works on non demo projects. The studio in which you are recording handles a variety of sessions. How great of an opportunity is that!? How are you not so excited right now!!!!!!??? It also means, be nice to these people. Despite my curmudgeonly demeanor in these posts, I’m very pleasant and encouraging to work with. As are all of my colleagues here at the studio. They can get you work. They can also NOT get you work. That’s not a threat, but just think about it. And if a horse head shows up somewhere, don’t look at me. (I guess it would be half a pop filter or one ear of headphones in this case)

2011 Wrap-up - PART 1

Well kids, its the end of the year and things are quiet. We did our year end roundup, and while I could write out my top 5 pork products I’ve eaten this year, I won’t. And its not because I don’t like you, it’s because I want to keep those spots uncrowded. So here are a few ideas I find to be very important.

Stop using PC’s. They’re not good for you. I’m aware that this is America and you have freedom of choice, but it will leave to a lifetime of heartache. You know how many problems we’ve had with the Mac’s in our studios? Not many. And nearly all were caused by someone spilling apple juice on them. No computer is apple juice proof. Every real studio in the world uses a mac. Do an independent survey, go ahead. There’s a reason.

Yes, I know you’re scared and it’s more expensive. You have to think long term here. PC’s slow down rapidly. They get filled up with spyware. Macs do not. The user experience is just so much better. Its all about drag and drop. So please, when you call me up and tell me you have a problem with Audacity on your PC and your inexpensive mic plug or whatever endorsed by well known VO talent, and I laugh a little bit, don’t be surprised, mmkay? Overall, investing in equipment that is worthwhile will save you money in the long run. This holds true for computers, mics, pre amps, guitars, shoes, drums, unicorns, pretty much anything. A little repair cost is way less than having to replace junk later.

These words hold up, I give you that guarantee. No one returns from the cult of mac. Not one person. There is scientific evidence, it just doesn’t happen. Its all about improving your own workflow, and this is the first step. Today is the first day of the rest of your life....and other well worn sayings. Go for it! I’m still not telling you my top 5 pork dishes.

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