Voice Over Education Blog

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.

Want an evaluation of your VO potential? Get it in writing. Part 1 of 2.

NOTE: This is the first post in a two-part article. Click here to read part two!

Do you dream of becoming a voice artist? Maybe people have told you you'd be great at it? But what do they know? How do you know? The obvious answer is to get a professional opinion. But opinions vary, and for that matter, so do professionals. Some, although they may be great at what they do, are familiar with only their particular niche or genre of the industry. Others aren't up on industry trends. And still others, unfortunately, have an ax to grind or will tell you whatever you want to hear.

What's the solution? Get a comprehensive assessment from a broadly qualified industry pro. And get it in writing.

A written evaluation is important for several reasons:

1. It puts your evaluator on the record. This is partly a "BS filter" – it's one thing to give you verbal feedback. It's another to express an opinion thoughtfully and tangibly on the record ... in writing.

2. It serves as a checklist and reminder of what you should work on. As a beginner, of course you should work on everything. But different people have different strengths and weaknesses. Getting a written list will help you focus your efforts fully and properly.

3. It helps you understand. Experts sometimes forget that novices don't absorb all the industry "good talk" on their first hearing. There are a lot of concepts and words that might be new to the prospective student. Some of these thoughts and terminology might even fly right past you unless you have them in writing, to go back and look at later. Many a progressing VO student has looked back and been amazed at how some things that seemed technical or subtle when they started, soon became obvious and easy to grasp.

Not landing the audition is NOT a failure. Yeah, right.

People who know the power of positive thinking realize that failing to land an audition is not really a failure. Nor is it rejection. The positive way to look at it is this: You just weren’t the one person they selected.

Easy to say. Not so easy to feel. So here’s some help ...

Although not landing an audition is disappointing, even frustrating, it's part of the acting business. Another part of the acting business is knowing which auditions to try out for, and understanding what you can learn when you don't get the role.

Nobody ever wins everything. Just as not even the best batter in baseball will hit perfectly over an entire season (in fact, a 30% average is considered good), no actor ever won every role they were up for in the course of their career. The key is to know which roles to try for, and when you don't get the part, learn how to learn from the experience, or (eventually this will be the usual case) simply slough it off and move on.

Is that easier said than done? Probably. But putting missed opportunities into perspective is easier when you look at them as variable situations, filled with gray areas, and not absolutes.

Words-to-Time Calculator: Give better VO estimates, faster

Vocal skill and business sense are key to maintaining a voice-over career, and so is a sense of neighborliness. These attributes work synergistically. After all, ours is a people business in so many ways. In the almost two decades since we at Edge Studio began focusing on the voice-over community, we have grown largely because we treat the VO industry as a community.

So at EdgeStudio.com, we offer a broad range of free VO resources for voice actors and people who work with them. For example, one of our widely useful tools is the Words-to-Time Calculator. Here's an updated look at how to use it to your best advantage ...

The Edge Studio Words-To-Time Calculator tells you how long a script will take to read. It's a valuable tool for working VO talent to use every day.

Scriptwriters and copywriters also use this tool, to estimate how many words fit a certain amount of time. (If, as a voice artist, you've ever been faced with a script that's just too long or too short, you appreciate copywriters who can gauge how long their audio copy is.)

Our Calculator lets voice talent create more accurate estimates, more quickly. The faster you can judge a script's finished length, the faster you can return an estimate. This is especially helpful with a long script, such as a corporate training series or audiobook. Simply specify the number of words in the script, or paste the script, or tell it the average number of words per line, number of lines and the page count – and it gives you the time of the finished audio.

Better yet, it allows you to adjust the wps (words per second) to compensate for a variety of situations.

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