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VO Atlanta by Karis Pentecost

In 2018, whilst at a VOND event in Central London, I found myself in the midst of a gaggle of voice actors, talking about this incredible voice over conference in America, VO Atlanta. What was this? Why did they all look so hyped? Well I didn’t care what it was, anything that made a group of grownups that excited, had me sold from the start. I wanted to feel like that. I wanted to feel THAT excited about something! So after awkwardly muscling in on their conversation, I marched over to Rachael Naylor (who I barely knew at the time) and said

“I’m coming!”

“Ummm ok sure” she said “Where’s that now?”, looking confused

“In 2019, I WILL go to VO Atlanta” and with a slightly startled, scared but excited look in her eyes, she said

“Yes! Ok! Great! Do it! Just go for it!”

And so THAT is what I did!

karispentecostVoAtlanta

Full of excitement, nerves, anticipation and hunger, I boarded the plane to Atlanta, Georgia. I knew the conference would be a place that I could learn and educate myself about different areas of the industry but it turned out to be so much more than that. Networking and creating opportunities is such an integral part of building and sustaining our careers and by getting out of your booth, out of your comfort zone and surrounding yourself with members of the voice over community from all over the world, is never going to be anything other than positive! I adore my fellow Brits, but there is something about the Americans that will always make networking and socialising so much easier than here at home in the UK. Their natural openness, smiling faces, desire to learn about you and where you’re from, meant that I never felt alone, in fact, being at VO Atlanta just felt like I’d come home. Any nerves I had were put at ease the minute I was greeted by the beaming face of one of the conference ambassadors at the reception desk.

“Hey! Welcome to Vo Atlanta. Here’s everything you need to know, here’s your programme, here’s your goody bag, want to sign up to our talent screening tomorrow? “

errrrm yes! I don’t know anything about it yet but yep, sure, why not!” Sieze the day and all that!

The programme at VO Atlanta is packed full of sessions that cover a whole array of areas in VO. There are actually so many, that I found it was best to make myself a schedule. Here in the UK, I currently work in Commercials, Promo and Radio but I didn’t really know anything about those parts of the industry in the US and had no American contacts, so I took myself off to sessions where I could learn more and speak to US agents, demo producers and American voice actors. By the end of each day, your head wants to explode because you have taken in so much information.

From listening to the superb keynote from Kay Bess, to my wonderful X Session with Heather Dame at Atlas Talent, to learning about Imaging from Eric Romanowski and Video Game Casting with Randall Ryan, to the awesome 80’s party on the final evening of the conference, VO Atlanta was everything and more.

If you’re looking to attend the conference for the first time then make sure you seize every opportunity to speak to fellow voice actors, producers, writers, sound engineers, actors and speakers. It is likely, even if you haven’t travelled half way across the world as I did, that you’ve travelled a fair few hours and you’re not going to be surrounded by this community for maybe another year, so don’t sit back. Make friends. Go to X Sessions that are held by producers or agents that you want to connect with. Get to know people. Listen to their stories. Be open. Be present. If there is a talent screening, go! If there is a social drink, join in! If there is a dinner party, go eat! Since attending, I am now in talks with two American agents, a video gaming casting director, am putting everything in place to gain my 01 Visa to work in the US and have made shed loads of new friends. Life is short and so is VO Atlanta….so do not waste a second!

By Karis Pentecost

A LONDON BASED BRITISH VOICE OVER ARTIST WITH 10 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN COMMERCIALS, RADIO & CORPORATE NARRATION.

In 2018, whilst at a VOND event in Central London, I found myself in the midst of a gaggle of voice actors, talking about this incredible voice over conference in America, VO Atlanta. What was this? Why did they all look so hyped? Well I didn’t care what it was, anything that made a group of grownups that excited, had me sold from the start. I wanted to feel like that. I wanted to feel THAT excited about something!

Be In Your Talent Without Arrogance

How did you first get into voice acting?

My parents both majored in theatre with a radio minor. Mom went off to do repertory theatre and voice overs, Dad went from acting and directing, to opening up an advertising agency.

Growing up around theatre folks, it was natural I would follow into the arts and the footsteps of my voice over folks.

I think if I had said, “I’d like to be a lawyer or a doctor”, my parents would’ve thought I was crazy. In my family it was always best to major in the arts with a backup of mime and juggling.

I went to Emerson College for two years and finished my theatre degree at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. When thinking about jobs, I thought “I wonder if I should have my Dad make me a demo reel and I could do voice overs as a side hustle before breaking into Broadway”. He did!

Back to NYC and I was dating a lovely young man whose mom was NYC’s biggest voice over coach and demo producer, Alice Whitfield. I had the HUGE blessing of having a one on one coach/mentor for months. We’d coach in the a.m. and then I’d run to Macys in midtown Manhattan to the Chanel counter to spritz people with perfume.

I remember the days in NYC when I ran all over town, to casting agencies, big advertising agencies and occasionally you’d read at your agent’s office. It was exhausting and exhilarating, especially as I added Improv in the mix at Gotham City aka The Groundlings East.

I was absolutely obsessed with crazy characters (imitating everyone!) and moved out to LA to do animation voice over and sitcom television. I took whatever animation classes and “meet the casting directors’ nights” LA had to offer. My voiceover world quickly expanded into animation as well.

 

 

You’ve had lots of amazing roles in some very well-known animated series/movies. Do you have a favourite?

Every role has held such a special place in my heart and career. From my first series as tough and feisty Lieutenant Felina Feral in Hanna Barbera’s Swat Kats, being cast to voice opposite Seth MacFarlane’s Larry and Steve (the pre Family Guy short), The Boss in the popular Metal Gear Solid video game series, to Marvel’s 1994 Fantastic Four, playing Sue Richards The Invisible Woman.

Family Guy and SpongeBob Squarepants happened in the same year, 1999. Who knew that would change my life forever - Diane Simmons The Anchor Woman, is homage to my mom, while Pearl Krabs is the most fun, spazziest girl who’s still 16!!

Working on Wall-E, Monster’s University, CarsToons, Inside Out, Bonnie’s Mom in Toy Story 3 & 4 and hundreds of other crazy ladies, teenagers and critters, have all challenged and enhanced my acting and improv skills and has also been some of the most rewarding, fun and beautiful chapters in my life. No favorites, all so wonderful. I feel so GRATEFUL – and old - as I write this! LOL

 

How did you get the role of ‘Pearl’ in SpongeBob Squarepants and what is it like to play her?

In the audition description, she was larger than everyone else under the sea. I knew she had to have this low voice but still be a teenager, where she was kind of lovably spoiled. I just tried to make her like a girl that goes to the mall and then give her a big sound. I always try to give somebody a little something like a laugh. She ended up with a laugh and a cry that are now built into the character 20 years and going strong.

I loved playing Pearl because she's a flirt and she's a daddy's girl and she's just excited about life. If any of my characters were the most like me, it's her. Just goofy and happy and pom poms, you know, trying to cheer everybody else up. I'm not as spoiled as Pearl, but I adore playing her.

We get to all go in together as a group unless you're just doing pickup lines, so every time I have the most ridiculous time, I'm so grateful and it's so fun. They're writing more and more for the women on the show so that's exciting as we go into our 20th year.

 

What was is like to work as the voice of the mother in Toy Story 4?

Very emotional and very fun because it's very natural. It's hard not to get a little awestruck when I've gone up to Pixar, or when I go onto the Disney stage, but it's really neat. You're improvising eight hours a day, then sometimes you will get these roles that come up out of the big group of sessions. It's really exciting to know that as the character of Andy went off to college, everyone was like, "What's going to happen at the end of Toy Story 3. The journey continues in Toy Story 4 so it's been an absolute honour.

 

How has the industry changed since you first started?

There's such an influx of people, they want things now. And faster.

The reads, at least over here in the U.S. - the real read, the non-announced read - is to be more relatable, to give hope, to get hope, to inspire, to be inspired, more storytelling in nature. Even the promos and animation are a little bit pulled back.

Just like the trends and the sounds change, so does what the clients want and how they want it.

Take private coachings, get into an improv class, take classes.

There's a huge influx of non-union. As a union girl, I grew up with my mom, the SAG-AFTRA president in the Washington, D.C. Local, and I did my homework in the back while she would chair a meeting. So when people go non-union and work off the card, they're undercutting their fellows.

 

What advice would you give those wanting to work in animation?

Classes, improv, explore and remember all the characters in your own life. Anyone that's deeply ingrained. Accents you do really well, you should really showcase those on your demo and then when you're auditioning, if you don't do them well, make them a hybrid, fun, weird thing. I really encourage people to draw on and keep a note, like an actual note card, of all of the accents you do well or poorly, so that you can draw on those when you get a script.

 

How do you look after your voice?

I vocalise every single day. I warm up, and I warm down. I take voice lessons. I no longer have anything minty or eucalyptus. All the things that have menthol eucalyptus completely dry your throat out. You want your mouth and throat to be lubed up, so nothing that dries it out, not even tea. Entertainer's Secret (a glycerin spray), Grether's Pastilles are great, I like the actual throat tea because it has slippery elm and licorice root in it. It's a good reason to have like hard candies, anything that just the thought of it makes you salivate. I steam and I will even bring hot water to a session and just put my nose over it like if you have a cold. It will just open up those sinus passages. You want them moist and the hot water keeps the swelling down. You especially want to warm down your voice after a session. In the morning hydrate with almost a litre of water and hydrate throughout the day, because the minute you become thirsty, you're already dehydrated. I have one cup of coffee in the morning and that is it.

 

How important would you say training is for voiceover artists?

It's everything. You have to be a good actor. You're not just like, "Oh I have a cool voice, I should get into voiceovers." I hear that every day, and it makes me crazy. You have to know how to relate to somebody in the scene. Get back into a good acting class because for your demo or for a scene on audition, we need to hear the relationship. How do you feel about them? You can add on emotions and triggers.

 

What do you enjoy in your free time?

I love rescuing animals. I love not eating them. I do anything for animals that I can. I advocate for women's rights, animal rights. I just try to go volunteer because this business is very narcissistic and it just is. Take care of you first so you have reserves to call upon to be there for other people.

 

Do you have any inspirational quotes or mantras that motivate you?

Be in your talent without arrogance. It's humble things, go find something creative, find a hobby, find recreations. Find a way to flesh out your full, rich life.

 

Lori Alan

Actress, Producer, Coach

www.lorialan.com

What advice would you give those wanting to work in animation?

Classes, improv, explore and remember all the characters in your own life. Anyone that's deeply ingrained. Accents you do really well, you should really showcase those on your demo and then when you're auditioning, if you don't do them well, make them a hybrid, fun, weird thing. I really encourage people to draw on and keep a note, like an actual note card, of all of the accents you do well or poorly, so that you can draw on those when you get a script.

The Psychology of Narration

The Psychology of Narration

Setting the Dials for Intuitive Reads

You’re walking down the street and thinking ‘Bend knee, move leg forward, straighten leg, set foot down heel first, lean forward, lift the other leg…’ Of course not. You would fall over (and possibly be stopped by a beat cop and given a sobriety test). Walking, for the most part, is automatic. All you have to do is decide a few things before you set off (such as direction, speed and terrain) and the rest pretty much happens by itself. If you constantly thought about the mechanisms that allow you to stroll down the road while you’re strolling down the road, then you could be in serious trouble.

It’s the same with narration. There are preparatory choices and decisions to be made, of course, but the purest communication, the most connected communication comes from the heart. When we get stuck in our heads during a read, for example ‘How am I sounding?’, ‘Should the pitch go up or down here?’ or ‘Where the hell should I breathe in this mile-long paragraph?’ we end up pulling together a performance that seems inexplicably shallow. The listener probably won’t know why, but the message just doesn’t feel right. We’ve all been at a cocktail party, talking to someone who’s wearing the ‘I’m listening’ face and nodding politely, but we can sense that they’re scanning the room with their peripheral vision, looking for someone more interesting to talk to. How can we tell? Their face, body and voice seem to be doing all the right things, but somehow we just know they’re not really there with us. We can feel it. We’re a clever species (ok, that’s sometimes debatable) but we do have ways of sensing when the energy isn’t quite right.

Like everything in the perceivable Universe, vocal communication is vibration. If we don’t generate the right frequency within the body, it won’t transmit through the voice and, subsequently, won’t be there to reach the listener.

Okay, so how do we take this grand notion of Universal vibration and apply it to our little ole’ narration reads? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with decisions made in the head and add some funky dials:

Intention Graphic  Pace Graphic  Formality Graphic

 

Intention

Think of intention as the verb. What are you trying to achieve with this communication? How do you want the message to be received? Are you informing, convincing, guiding, explaining, seducing? Intention is the leading head decision (the head head decision?) as it forms the foundation of the message. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re communicating, your read probably won’t hit the mark.

Pace

Pace is important, and must be considered, but you needn’t think too hard about it as it usually takes its cue from the intention and the visuals. If the intention is seducing, for example, it’s unlikely that you’ll be speed reading. If the visuals are of racing jet skis, then a slow-as-molasses delivery probably won’t be the best choice.

Formality

Is the narration aimed at toddlers learning their first words or is it for a film presentation to Oncologists about a new cancer treatment? Setting your Formality dial informs your reads in ways you won’t even have to think about. Just know who you’re talking to.


Ok, so now that you’ve done all your ‘thinky-think’ and dialed it in with Intention, Pace and Formality, it’s time to lose your mind. Literally. Visualize all your heady choices dropping down into your heart area and generate the feeling of the intention. If your spine tingles during the read, chances are the listeners’ spines will tingle too. Everything. Is. Vibration.

Set your narration dials, feel your way into the message and get ready to create more intuitive and connected narration reads.

 

Dian Perry is a US voice artist, teacher and coach based in the UK.

Visit DianPerry.com for more info.

 

QUOTES:

“the most connected communication comes from the heart.”

“we do have ways of sensing when the energy isn’t quite right.”

“If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re communicating, your read probably won’t hit the mark”

"know who you’re talking to.”

“Everything. Is. Vibration.”

Like everything in the perceivable Universe, vocal communication is vibration. If we don’t generate the right frequency within the body, it won’t transmit through the voice and, subsequently, won’t be there to reach the listener.

Okay, so how do we take this grand notion of Universal vibration and apply it to our little ole’ narration reads? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with decisions made in the head and add some funky dials.

Inner Demons by Andrea Toyias

Character Creation for Video Games: Making the Most of Your Inner Demons

 

"I know all the orcs in Los Angeles,” I casually said to a friend over a recent weekend brunch. She stopped, looked at me and we both erupted in laughter over the fact that not only was my sentence accurate….but in my line of work, it was entirely and fantastically true. I do, indeed, know all the orcs in Los Angeles. And most of the demons. Some of the goblins. And certainly, a large smattering of super heroes and mouthless space aliens, all across the California southland. For I make video games. And I spend more time with ghosts, ghouls and grizzly soldiers than I do my own family. And I know and love each of these characters as if they ARE my own family….for they are real, grounded, and birthed from the life experiences of the actors who voiced them.

I am often asked if it is hard bringing non-human creatures to life. My answer is always the same. A resounding NO. For underneath demon goats, haggered orcs and corrupted elves…..we are still chasing base human emotions.

 

AndreaToyiasGarrosh Thrall

 

We are still chasing the human heartbeat behind it all. No matter the reason, the backstory or explanation…..creatures of all kinds can and do still experience joy, heartbreak, love and loss. And the only way we can bring these deep, profound emotions to life is by tapping into an actor’s most treasured and sacred asset……themselves. Their joy. Their heartbreaks. Their loves and losses. Their own personal life experiences.

Therefore, the actor brings with them the richest and most creative aspect of all…their life story.

A misnomer exists for some who want to be successful in video game voice acting. A misnomer whereby aspiring voice actors mistakenly believe that in order to be successful in the world of make believe and fantasy, all that’s required is a good voice, good texture, good resonance and the world shall be yours. Often, people overlook the soul that is underneath the sound, and the person behind the performance. Thus, I tell all my voice acting students…. I don’t cast characters or voices. I cast People. I look for actors who can tap into their stories, open up their hearts and give me their pains so that a scene with two orcs battling can, in session, transform into something much more profound.

 

When the actors and I dive deeper into the script and look deeper into our hearts and own life stories, the scene then becomes so much more. When opening our darkest corners to each other in the sanctity of session, the scene evolves into a moment of raw pain, whereby the younger orc accuses the older father figure orc of abandoning him as a child.

This was not said in actual words. Rather, this was said in the raw powerful emotion underneath the words the actors delivered into the lines, based upon their life struggles. One four-hour session of orcs shouting across a battlefield led to countless hours of tears from our fans as they watch the heartbreaking scene; sharing with the internet that they never thought they could feel such deep sorrow from a scene that, on the surface, seemed simply based upon retribution. By baring their souls, our actors made the scene about so much more. They moved the needle. Changed the narrative. And broke our hearts. The actors didn’t hide from their own pain. They celebrated it and gave it openly and willingly.

Thus, when approaching work of all kinds in the video game realm, your success will not be based upon creating the perfect growly voice, or the deepest timbre. Rather, it will come from your ability, as an Actor, to use the clay of your life as the rich soil from which to birth epic performances that will last in the gaming community for generations. Voice acting is simply acting. And you, as an actor, are the very best asset I could ever ask for.

 

By Andrea Toyias, Senior Casting & Voice Director, Blizzard Entertainment

 

Andrea is going to be a speaker at GET YOUR GAME ON LA 2020 on Friday 28th February in Los Angeles. 

This is the ULTIMATE Video game event that is focused on promoting great VOICE ACTING in VIDEO GAMES

It's a full day event/conference all about video games featuring award-winning industry leaders from around the world. For more details see the GET YOUR GAME ON web page HERE

 

This article was originally written and published in The Buzz magazine, the ONLY magazine in the world dedicated to the voiceover industry. For details on how to subscribe to The Buzz Magazine go here - BUZZ

"I know all the orcs in Los Angeles,” I casually said to a friend over a recent weekend brunch. She stopped, looked at me and we both erupted in laughter over the fact that not only was my sentence accurate….but in my line of work, it was entirely and fantastically true. I do, indeed, know all the orcs in Los Angeles. And most of the demons. Some of the goblins. And certainly, a large smattering of super heroes and mouthless space aliens, all across the California southland. For I make video games. And I spend more time with ghosts, ghouls and grizzly soldiers than I do my own family. And I know and love each of these characters as if they ARE my own family….for they are real, grounded, and birthed from the life experiences of the actors who voiced them.

Game Changing Insights by Marc Guss

Redefining voiceover representation: Game changing insights from an industry innovator and influencer

 

What's the difference between the talent that are booking loads of work and the ones that are struggling?

 

Talent who are thoughtful about their reads and reflect that in their audition tend to book more on average. They are great storytellers who keep true to the uniqueness of their natural voice without letting their delivery get in the way.

The most commonly booked talent are those who deliver the 'message' most effectively. Also, the difference in who books a lot or who is struggling can be simply that the actor's voice and approach doesn't match the current 'flavour of the day'.  

The best way for someone to capitalize on their voice is to be prepared to work in any genre. 

Generally speaking, I think the people who seem to be struggling have found success in only one or very few genres of VO and are unable to adapt their voice to today's diverse environment.  It's important to be able to shift gears when reading commercial copy vs. promo vs. narration, etc.  Each style is unique, so you have to approach each one with a fresh perspective and sound. A combination of coaching and auditioning is the best way to improve your chances across multiple genres. 

 

Print VOND 23 04 2016 51

 

What are the current trends you're seeing in the industry?

 

There are more opportunities in voiceover than ever before, and the competition is also fiercer than ever. Talent are also training more than ever. Good acting will always be in style.

There is no longer one type of voice that gets booked on everything. The big trend that we see today is the heightened call for inclusiveness and diversity in every sense of the word. It's equally amazing that there are more women working in voiceover than ever in all areas.

There seemed to be this excitement about online casting which has soured for various reasons. The trend seems to be reversing back to seasoned representation as nothing beats quality and experience. Additionally, and thankfully, the trend of rate structures being torn down and abused seems to be swinging back towards legitimacy. Many buyers found out what they received from talent as a result of bargain-basement rates weren't necessarily effective for their valuable projects. The ship seems to be 'righting' itself as buyers seek higher quality talent options and realize the rates must reflect that quality.  

 

How important would you say is networking?

 

In 2020, networking is more important than ever, especially in voiceover. Today, our industry allows for true business people and entrepreneurs to directly market their services to companies and succeed. There's more work out there than ever for individual VO talent marketers. However, this may not be a skill and an option for everyone as some do it more effectively than others. LinkedIn has become an amazing platform for this success and as I always say, the buyers on that platform are like sand on the beach. Initially networking and self-marketing may seem daunting. However, with natural talent, an effective marketing plan, and loads of confidence, it can all go a long way.

I also want to mention that self marketing also has and will always have its limitations in that there are high end buyers such as blue-chip advertising agencies, producers, networks etc, who will always look to high end VO representation companies for their projects as a trusted source of one stop shopping.

 

You are brilliant on social media and you have a very large following, do you have any advice for people on how best to use social media?

 

I appreciate that and worked really hard to get here. It took DAILY SUSTAINABLE DEDICATION. Typically, most people who attempt this, get all jazzed and then fall off pretty quickly because they can't keep up with the hard work that's required of them to succeed. It's all about providing valuable content and engagement. That's not easy. My advice to anyone who wants to create a major social media following that will be successful, is to be prepared for the long haul and the daily grind. If you don't think that you can dedicate yourself to this then hold off to a time that might be a better time for you. The reason I say this is because you don't want to go out there if you're not ready, as you likely only get one real chance to present yourself as an individual brand. As a social media presence, you don't want to give the appearance of dipping in and then waning for an extended period of time. That's the worst thing you can do to yourself on social. Also, make sure that you build a multi-platform social media presence. This means active engagement across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. I personally engage with the entire voiceover community and valued buyers on these platforms.

 

ACM logo

 

What's unique about ACM?

 

Over the past year, I feel like we've redefined voiceover representation. We have our fingers on the pulse in so many ways. Our clients careers are flourishing as we are succeeding in paying attention to every area of voiceover.

We are an unprecedented voiceover management company with the most veteran former agents and VO specialists under one banner. We all take pride in presenting our talent with the most plentiful, unique and diverse opportunities. We equally take pride in the career management of our clients. We established daily individual client career "Roundtables" with all managers and have a built- in open door calendar policy for any client to schedule a career chat at any time. We also have a necessary built in marketing, branding and social media department where we make sure that all ACM clients are as prepared as possible for entrepreneurship and partnership in 2020 and beyond. 

 

 

What do you enjoy about your job?

 

That's easy. Getting to work with such amazingly talented colleagues on a daily basis. These are the top industry veterans who were the best agents (turned managers) and experts in the country. In building out our company, it was important for us to have the most respected and morally aware managers working together. It's truly like a family. We all really like each other and have fun with our complimentary personalities. It's amazing to see how much dedication that everyone has for our clients and preserving the craft of VO. 

 

Marc Guss | ACM Talent

Website: acmtalent.com

Twitter: @marcguss

Instagram: @realmarcguss

 

The original version of this article is from The Buzz Magazine, the ONLY magazine in the world dedicated to the voiceover industry. This magazine is available worldwide in both print and online. To access the latest edition which contains lots more incredible, inspiring and informative articles like this one SUBSCRIBE HERE

 

"Talent who are thoughtful about their reads and reflect that in their audition tend to book more on average. They are great storytellers who keep true to the uniqueness of their natural voice without letting their delivery get in the way. The most commonly booked talent are those who deliver the 'message' most effectively. Also, the difference in who books a lot or who is struggling can be simply that the actor's voice and approach doesn't match the current 'flavour of the day'."

Advice For Voiceover Artists Right Now

Advice for Voiceover Artists Right Now

 

So, the world is in crisis right now. The coronavirus is affecting everyone, every walk of life, every continent and every industry. There is a lot of fear right now and here at The VoiceOver Network we want to help our wonderful voiceover community. In times of crisis like what we are currently experiencing coming together as a voiceover community is incredibly important.

I believe and I have always believed that we work in the best industry in the world. We are very lucky at the moment as most of us have home studios so the ability to work from home.

I asked some of my favourite people and friends in the voiceover industry ‘What advice do you have for voiceover artists right now?’ and here is want they shared –

 

ScreenShot20200309

 

 

‘The world is in crisis. Everything has changed seemingly over night. So, what should you, the voice actor do? First, do your part. Stay home unless you’re going out for essentials. Stay in touch via our numerous ways of connecting. Throw a Zoom party on your big screen TV.

OK, that may be going too far.

But what about your VO career? This is a good time to up your knowledge base about anything you’d like to learn from the thousands of instructional videos on Youtube and Vimeo. Become a better engineer and mixer for your home studio. Learn the tricks of trade of Skype, Zoom, and Connection Open. Finally take that workshop (online of course) on the genre you’ve always wanted to try. Touch base with clients to see how they and their families are doing. Be of service to others.

That said, take a deep breath and relax a little. No doubt you’re gonna binge watch some TV. Watch with friends via FaceTime. Read a book, or write one. Call people who may feel alone, especially if you yourself are feeling alone. Did you want to learn a new language? Go for it. Work out. Not at the gym, but in your living room doing old school calisthenics. No machines, no weights, and maybe some stretches and yoga.

Remember, though it might feel like you’re all alone, you’re not. We are all in this together and that’s how we will get through this, however long it may be, together.

Oh, and of course don’t forget #AskDaveFennoyAnything, Wednesdays at 6pm Pacific time on Facebook Live.’

All the best,

Dave Fennoy, Voice Actor

 

The good thing about being a voiceover talent is we're used to being alone in our home studios and working remotely; we have become accustomed and comfortable with that.  Heading out to a different studio is a fun "field trip" and adventure.  So now...without a choice, we have to stay home and self isolate. How do you get through this?  Try things you haven't tried before.

Work on reads that you need to perfect. Take some online coaching and join online group chats or training sessions. Organize your home office, your studio or maybe your sock drawer!  Update your website and your marketing materials.  All those things you kept putting off, now is the time to make the time to do them.  Why not? You've got lots of time now!

Take care, stay healthy, wash your hands and enjoy your home.’

Mary-Lynn Wissner, Casting Director

 

Stay smart, stay sane, use this time wisely. You know how the month of August is very slow? Right now it’s August jacked up on steroids for the entire world. There’s zero time to panic, get depressed, complain, or feel sorry for yourself. There’s only time for action. The only thing you can control is your actions. So take action now. Make 2 lists. List 1: What current clients can you reach out to when this is all over and ask if they’re ok? List 2: What prospective clients can you reach out to and ask if they’re ok? Don’t ask them for a job. Just ask them how they are. They need emotional support as much as we do. We are all in this together. In times like these our inner monologues turn into outer monologues. The ones who go into panic mode and relentlessly beg for jobs without asking how the other person / client / company is doing will fail and make a complete ass out of themselves. But the ones who ask if their current clients and future prospects are ok.. the ones who are kind first… the ones who don’t make it all about them but rather make it all about the other person…. Those people win.’

Jonathan Tilley, Voice Actor

 

Try to be still and sense the positive changes that this situation is bringing about. There is an irony here - we’re required to be separate yet we’re creating new ways to connect with each other. Stay well.’

Dian Perry, Voice Actor

 

If you’re in isolation, consider how you can use the extra time you have to create something that can benefit others long term. It might be an online training, a book you’ve often thought about or a how-to guide that others in your industry might find useful. Start that blog. Create that video or podcast. Think about how you can use your skills and talents to give back in some way. This extra time can be valuable in positioning you in your niche. Focus on what you CAN do, and not what you can’t. How often do you have the luxury of time on your hands. The sooner you can turn this into a positive, the easier it’ll be to cope in challenging times.’

Anna Parker-Naples, Entrepreneur, Author and Audiobook Narrator

 

As a forward thinker my first thought is to focus on the things I can control, secondly on how I can improve my situation given the circumstance I am in. Being a voice talent/audio producer fortunate enough to have clients in many countries I divide my plan locally and internationally. First thing I did on Monday was getting in touch with every local Advertising Agency, producer and client, and informed them that I am still in business and that my studio has the capacity to work remotely for voiceover work, audio production and mixing. They’re happy to know that as voice talent I can record myself, produce and mix their spots. That’s why It’s important to develop an infrastructure capable of offering this kind of services via teleconference, Source Connect, ipDTL, among others. Even big agencies with their own in-house studios and production demonstrated a positive feedback since they’re not allowed to work from their usual locations due to the quarantine and curfew. Internationally it’s a bit more complicated due to many factors like governmental decrees but staying in communication and well informed is the way to go. Also, follow your agents’ instructions and work plan for this kind of situations and don’t stop auditioning. But the most important factor in all of this is you. Please don’t take unnecessary risks and put your health and safety first always because without health nothing else matters.’

Antonio Fornaris, Voice Actor, Sound Engineer

 

‘My advice for voiceover artists and voice actors right now is to firstly look after yourself. Your health is incredibly important so make sure you not only wash your hands but make sure you eat healthily. We all need our immune systems to be working to the best of their abilities and food is a wonderful way to boost our bodies and help them to be strong. Lemon is an amazing fruit, kiwi fruit, leafy greens, garlic and there are many more but these are a few just to think about.

Stay active, it’s important even if you’re in self isolation that you stay active. So get on youtube and find some yoga videos, keep fit videos, go for a run, walk or cycle.

Look after those around you and be there for your family and friends.

Also make sure you find some humour. I know times are difficult but watch some comedy, play at home with your kids etc. Laughter releases a wonderful chemical in the brain which helps your immune system.’

Rachael Naylor, Entrepreneur, Voice Actor, Founder of The VoiceOver Network

 

So, the world is in crisis right now. The coronavirus is affecting everyone, every walk of life, every continent and every industry. There is a lot of fear right now and here at The VoiceOver Network we want to help our wonderful voiceover community. In times of crisis like what we are currently experiencing coming together as a voiceover community is incredibly important.

Working From Home by Roger Woods

Working from home!

 

Without doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the behaviour of millions of people who now find themselves without a daily commute, the office camaraderie, the nine-to-five and all the perks attached. All are now adapting to working alone, in isolation, in the study, snug, family room, at the kitchen table, in the bedroom, garage or shed working flexible hours while exercising social distancing; some though are not so lucky and are now unfortunately unemployed.

As voice actors/artists we’ve been able to work from home, in isolation and at a distance, since it became technically possible some 30 years ago and today more people are voicing projects, podcasts and broadcasting from home, in these unprecedented times, than ever before because the technology has never been so affordable; but are you really properly equipped to meet the demand for your vocal talent?

Just this week there’s been a number of emails and social media posts from audio producers, studios and agencies with huge rosters of talent all asking for experienced VO with a pro-home studio, good connectivity and technically proficient to get in touch, presumably because their talent lists are full of jobbing actors, as the messages also state quite clearly they do NOT want to hear from people with a laptop, interface and mic working in a make-shift corner of the family room or under a duvet; no doubt pre-empting ‘resting’ talent who might rush out to buy some gear to cash in on potential demand.

The term ‘pro-home studio’ is subjective it will mean different things to different people but the one thing it will not be is the same as the producers, studio or agencies who will use their own facilities as a benchmark for quality control and this too will be subjective as each will be a unique space, unique sound and uniquely equipped.

Let’s tick-off some of the things that will make your home studio a pro-home studio:

 

 

Recording Space/Booth

 

You’ll have a vocal booth from one of a number of manufacturers – Studiobricks, Esmono, Whisper Room, Kube, VocalBooth, Vocalboothtogo, Demvox, among others, or, you will have a bespoke booth designed and built to meet your specific needs. Irrespective of what you have it needs to have a low noise floor, I’ll let ‘Alex the Audio Scientist’ from ACX explain here.

 

 

Recording Equipment

 

How your pro-home studio is equipped is down to your experience and how long you’ve been working as a VO but having a microphone, audio mixer (optional), audio interface, digital audio workstation (DAW) and a way to listen to the audio are essentials but what this kit is and what software you use is a personal choice and, possibly, down to budget at time of purchase or upgrade. Whatever you use it must be able to capture your voice cleanly without any of the hidden sounds mentioned in the video above or from family, friends, pets and neighbours, etc., etc.

 

 

PC or Mac

 

It doesn’t matter what you use to host your DAW just make sure you’re using the latest version of the operating system (Windows/MacOS) unless you are limited to a specific version because of the age of the software your using. Have a standby computer ideally configured to mirror you primary machine would be useful and make sure you have a ‘backup image’ of both machines stored safety in case of a catastrophic failure or you experience a problem because tech support at you local computer store might not be available.

 

 

Connectivity

 

This is one of the primary reason producers, studios and agencies are asking for pro-home studio users to make themselves known. Being able to connect to producers and creatives also working from home or in the office, albeit social distancing, has never been easier with the right software and good broadband. The situation we all find ourselves in now is likely to be a significant game changer for our industry as producers and production houses who have been reluctant to use virtual or internet audio codecs are now forced to embrace the technology. If you are not using or have not explored using ipDTL/sip.audio, Cleanfeed, Source-Connect Std/Pro, SessionLink-Pro, Connection Open, Bodalgo Call or Source-Connect NOW you are not a Pro-home studio. ISDN was once the only way to connect remotely this is no longer the case but if required to do so ipDTL/sip.audio & Source-Connect Std/Pro can bridge the connection as premium products.

As for your broadband, it’s likely if you have a house full of family members self-isolating that your internet is going to be get hammered streaming movies, box sets, gaming online surfing the internet or Skyping family and friends, then there’s your partner working from home and connected to their office over VPN with their mobile using ‘Wi-Fi Calling’ as you’re in a poor mobile reception area. Make sure you have got the bandwidth and data allowance to make all this happen and most importantly when you need to remotely connect to a studio without problems. Importantly, try not to use Wi-fi to connect remotely always use a Cat5e network cable from your broadband router to the computer.

 

 

Technical skills.

 

These are not essential as you’ll find someone online in a VO forum, a friend, or family member to assist, however, you do need to know how everything you use is interconnected and how the software is configured particularly the ‘Sound’ settings if you’re a Windows user. The simplest way of keeping track of the wiring is to take pictures of the kit and how the cables connect the mic to the interface or mixer from the interface to the computer, etc. and any variations on the them, you can also take picture of the software settings. Keep these safe with the software backup.

 

 

Directed Session

 

This is where you connect to a remote studio to record a script with direction from the producer, agency, client or all three! Given all the above in Connectivity, you’ll still need to record you vocal performance locally, at you end, even if the studio/producer is also recording you remotely and you might be required to send this audio to the producer if there is a problem with the quality of the circuit between you. You can use the preferred file transfer service favoured by the studio which could be Dropbox, WeTransfer, Hightail, Google Drive, One Drive, Slack or one of the many other available. If the WAV file is under 12Mb in size, you can use email.

Presently there is a massive demand for medical narrations, e-learning and corporate presentations, gaming and animation projects still need to be created and working remotely businesses now require a performer with technical as well as vocal know-how as a matter of urgency.

The key to being successful in a time of crisis is to keep clam, know you limitations, have the mental and physical fortitude to work smart while still having fun.

As voice actors/artists we’ve been able to work from home, in isolation and at a distance, since it became technically possible some 30 years ago and today more people are voicing projects, podcasts and broadcasting from home, in these unprecedented times, than ever before because the technology has never been so affordable; but are you really properly equipped to meet the demand for your vocal talent?

'A Whole new World of Voice Acting' with Jennifer Trujillo Interview by Alan Shires

'A Whole new World of Voice Acting' with Jennifer Trujillo Interview by Alan Shires at The VoiceOver Network - Above and BeVOND

 

 

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AS: What is your favourite part about your job?

JT: My favourite part of my job is working with new talent, that is an exciting thing to do, giving someone their first job in animation or in Disney, these are really cool things.

 

AS: It sounds so rewarding! How does a voice over artist find their way into the casting room with you?

JT: We rely heavily on talent agents - usually LA based - so that is one of the early steps to getting in front of us, so you want to have a relationship with someone in LA who can put you up for roles to get in front of us. We wouldn’t usually need you to come to Los Angeles which is nice.

 

 

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AS: Well that’s good news as I am in the UK and don’t want to hop on an aeroplane right now!

JT: Yeah, it’s a long flight.

 

AS: So, what is your top tip for a voice over to book the job when they make it in front of you?

JT: The most important thing to all of our shows is comedy, so it is up to you as an actor to make sure your performance is funny in some way which sometimes isn’t always super obvious on the page of slides you get. It is your job to figure out where you can insert something to make the read a bit funnier, you can use improv to add bits and pieces or you can add sounds and things like that to elevate your performance to the funniest it can possibly be.

 

 

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AS: Amazing! So in your role what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?

JT: My biggest challenge working at a big company like Disney, we are very large and it is very corporate, so there is a lot of meetings and a lot of people needing to weigh in on every decision for the most part, so it can be pretty frustrating like any other corporate job needing approval and stuff like that.

 

AS: Sounds good! What has been your favourite show to make so far and why?

JT: I am very proud of Elena Of Avalor, we were very successful with the show and it is something I have felt like I have had a lot of creative input on as we have a great executive producer and he is super collaborative, and he really trusts me as a casting director which is amazing! So I am super super proud of it.

 

The original version of this article is from The Buzz Magazine, the ONLY magazine in the world dedicated to the voiceover industry. This magazine is available worldwide in both print and online. To access the latest edition which contains lots more incredible, inspiring and informative articles like this one SUBSCRIBE HERE

 

Alan Shires: What is your favourite part about your job?

Jennifer Trujillo: My favourite part of my job is working with new talent, that is an exciting thing to do, giving someone their first job in animation or in Disney, these are really cool things.

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