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!

Voice-over is a fun business. Listen to these hilarious clips.

We know, we know. Not every voice-over job is fun. 80% of a successful voiceover business is business. And, although some are literally a laugh a minute (e.g., some animation work), many other assignments are mundane standardized work (for example, some tasks in Telephony, or even some types of commercials). And while we might argue that there is "fun" to be found in any job well done, there are variations in that aspect, too – just as there is a difference between manufacturing hundreds of bedroom cabinets vs. handcrafting an elegant dining room table.

But at the end of the day, comes ... the end of the day. Looking back toward morning, and back on your career, isn't it more fun than processing license plate applications at the DMV?

What's more, as promised, some aspects of the voice-over world are a LOT more fun than that. ...

Voice actors get together. One nice thing about the voice-over industry is that everyone isn't in competition with everyone else. There are so many VO genres (29 or so, depending on how we define them), and so many nuances and specialties within them, that we freely exchange tips and knowledge in good-natured sessions. There are phone-in sessions like Edge Studio's weekly Talk Time!
There are workshops and industry conferences (such as VO Atlanta), and other get-togethers, remotely or in-person. These generally are serious get-togethers where people aim to further their business of VO skills, but there's no denying that they are usually also a lot of fun.

We have audio and video podcasts and blogs. It’s yet another situation where you can indulge in fun conversation. Or at least eavesdrop.

Heck, we even enjoy it when certain voice actors are not so funny. Or didn't mean to be. Ever heard an out-takes reel?

New and important information on VO topics we've covered.

Last summer we updated some of our past articles. Now that the new year is rolling, let's do that again. Here is updated and additional information on home voice-over studio equipment, recording software, hearing and vocal health, and more, including an insight on pencils.

Yes, pencils.

USB mics: Good enough for VO studios? (2 parts beginning Dec 1, 2017)

We compared various USB mics with traditional condensers. But there's more to know about buying and using a mic than that. Here are a couple points we left out, because they weren't directly relevant to the immediate subject. But they are directly relevant to you.

What is a "clean break" and how long should it be?

In our December 2017 Monthly Audition Contest, the Director's Notes asked for a "clean break" at punctuation. The direction didn't say how long a break, just that the producer will add time between phrases, in order to match up the video. When a client or director says to pause for "a second" or whatever amount of time, it's clear enough how long a break to give them. But if no interval is specified, what then? How "clean" should a clean break be?

Note: Sometimes a Director will just say "a break." You can assume they mean a clean break. Now, what do they mean by that?

See for yourself.

The best way to grasp this situation is to do a bit of editing in your workstation software. Record a sentence that consists of multiple clauses, and pause at a comma, or wherever a tiny pause is logical. Before or after the sentence, leave the mic open for a few seconds but remain silent. This will give you a sample of your space's ambient (background) noise. (Almost every home studio, and even many commercial studios, have a slight bit of background "presence.") We'll call this your "silence."

After recording, look at the sound image in your audio software, and see where the volume level goes down to zero. (Or, if your space is not totally silent, this will look like the silent part you recorded.) Ideally, you'll see a flat line. That's a clean break.

Hear for yourself.

On Edge Studio's 30th anniversary, an interview with David Goldberg

This year, Edge Studio celebrates its 30th birthday. Thirty is the pearl anniversary, so to celebrate we asked Edge Studio founder David Goldberg for some "pearls" of wisdom. David's ears are considered among the best in the industry, and he is one of the country's most active voice-over producers, instructors, and speakers. Since founding Edge Studio in 1988, he has directed thousands of voice-over productions nationally and internationally. He's also learned a few things in this time, and is always eager to pass along his knowledge to the students and clients of Edge Studio.

Edge Studio: Edge Studio wasn't always a voice-over facility, was it?

David Goldberg: No. Edge Studio began in my college dorm, where I recorded music. And music was the focus in my first "real" recording studio. Before long, I was producing, mixing and engineering the likes of Mel Tormé, Deep Purple, and Jose Feliciano. But almost immediately, my business began evolving.

Edge Studio: What was the impetus for that?

DG: Well, when I insisted that musicians not bring drugs into the studio, we immediately lost half our customers. Then we lost the other half when I also banned cigarettes! Okay, we picked up a few free-spirited hippie bands along the way, but that didn't cut it.

Edge Studio: So you switched to spoken-voice?

DG: Not yet. We became very big in the Gospel sector, working with many Gospel choirs. An interesting perspective in a studio led by someone named Goldberg. But it taught me early on the importance of diversity.

Edge Studio: How so?

Missing Dick Orkin. He was everywhere, everywhere.

Among the voices lost in 2017 – except as recordings – were June Foray and Dick Orkin. Foray was known to the entire animation and voice industry. And to the multitude of people who didn't know her name, she was known as the voice of as Rocket J. Squirrel, Granny, and countless other characters.

Fewer knew the name Dick Orkin, but the listeners of 1,500 radio stations worldwide knew his voice as that of Chickenman. In addition to creating that and other hilarious radio spoofs, Orkin brought his brand of absurdly silly humor to all sorts of radio advertisers. The hall-of-famer's client list notably included otherwise serious concerns like Time Magazine and "more banks than you can imagine" – companies that until then weren't known to air funny spots. For all his listeners, he was as entertaining as Stan Freberg and Bob and Ray had been, and within our industry he was surely as influential.

Orkin died of a stroke on Christmas Eve at age 84. He had been powering down, but he was still writing and voicing occasional commercials at the tail end of his 69-year career.

Actually, the length of his career depends on when we start counting. Orkin began as a young announcer and News Director in Pennsylvania, but was trained as an actor early on, having attended Yale Drama School. The transitional moment was when he moved to KYW in Cleveland. (Cleveland was an especially funny town in those days, spawning also the likes of Tim Conway and Ernie Anderson) There, Orkin's work included voicing a character named "Amazon Ace" (apparently now lost in history). But it was when his Cleveland boss, Ken Draper, transformed Chicago's WCFL that we can really start counting.

Having brought Orkin to Chicago as Production Director, in 1966 Draper asked him to produce a spoof of the popular Batman TV series. The result instantly became history. (We mean to say, it was an instant hit and enjoys a wide cult following to this day.)

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