baltimore

Five Voice-Over Books You Need to Read

Got eyes, a few bucks, and a way to read e-books? Good! Educate yourself!

1. There's Money Where Your Mouth Is by Elaine A Clark

The Bible according to Elaine. This book is one I come back to every year or so because it's just that damn good. It's your trusty all-in-one handbook on the world of voiceover. It's great coming back to see what information I've actually digested and what behaviors I've developed as a result. 

Thunder Grunt Podcast Network is a Thing That Exists

site header Several of my friends and I have bandied together to create Thunder Grunt.  We felt that creating our own network would be the best way not only to reach each other's audiences, but build the momentum and raise the stakes on what we're doing.

We started with five shows:

AILBSlogoitunes An Innocent Looking Book Store, winner of Baltimore City Paper's "Best Offensive Podcast" 2013.

 

skullbaselogoitunes

 

Meanwhile, at the Skull Base, featuring local comedians Tommy Sinbazo, Bryan Preston, Jim Meyer and Josh Kuderna, with frequent special guests like Mickey Cuchiella and Matt Davis.

 

magcastitunes MAGCast, the official podcast of MAGFest!

 

 

digression session itunes

 

The Digression Sessions, a comedy talk show with comedians Josh Kuderna and Mike Moran.

 

 

expert of nothingAnd expert of Nothing, a Baltimore improv game show that utilize Baltimore's excessive amount of talent as its contestants.

 

 

 

I'm really, really proud of this network. I can't imagine how different my life would have been had I stayed in Denver and not moved back to Baltimore when I had. Please check out our site and our shows a listen. If there's anything you'd like to see added, please drop me a line.

Rex

Where's the Work?

You've decided you want to get into voiceover. You've done some research, cut a demo together, and now you're ready to dive in. Where do you go to find work? I've been asked this quite a few times recently, and the general answer is: everywhere. It just depends on what kind of voice work you're looking for.

For smaller jobs of all types, I use voices.com. There are a million pay-to-play sites, and yes, the vast majority of jobs on there are extremely low pay, often with horribly written copy and next to no chance of repeat business or relationship building with the client. However, I've found that in my first year, it's a great resource to have. You get tons of daily practice, more auditions than you can handle, and plenty of fodder for future demos. Will I be using it a year from now? I'm honestly not sure. But for those starting out, it's a great way to develop your reading technique, hone your voices, and build your armor. And hopefully make a little money at the same time.

For audiobooks, look for local companies that act as proxies for big businesses like Audible and ACX. Or, simply go to ACX directly and start auditioning. This industry has exploded over the years and the door's wide open for new talent. The pay is typically fairly low, but each project is a good chunk of work and a steady income is possible, something which you aren't likely to find in many other sectors of VO.

The animation work is (mostly) in LA. Which sucks for me because that's where I want to end up (in animation, not in LA). If you want to go the animation route, make your own cartoon. Cartoon Network has been giving people outside the typical LA circuit the means to air their own projects to a multi-national audience and is the best way, in my opinion, to break into that industry.

For bigger, better projects, nothing beats a good agent. My highest paying work comes from the local agencies I'm slowly but surely building a relationship with. In a world where P2P sites seem to be taking over (even some agencies now only book using sites like Casting Frontier, which beg you to buy premium accounts for inane perks like adding multiple headshots to your profile), sometime the old ways still work best.

There's IVR/telephony work for businesses of all sizes. There's internet explainer videos for damn near every business and product in existence. There are documentaries and TV companies and radio stations and recording studios and ad agencies and production houses everywhere. I find work by emailing, cold calling, mailing postcards, handing out business cards, mentioning my services at parties, anything I can do to get a bug in someone's ear that I'm here, I have the goods, and they need to work with me. It's a nonstop hustle, but luckily there's more work out there than ever. Is it the possibly fictional halcyon days where landing a commercial spot would buy you a house? Not really, at least not for most. But you can still make a damn good living as a voice actor. Just get started somewhere and see what you can make of it.

 

 

The Power of a Great Partner

My wife just finished the last class of her Master's degree in Marriage and Family therapy. She's been on a long road to her career, and now she's finally found her true calling and is giving it her all. I'm very proud of her and thrilled and she's discovered what she wants to do with her abundant talents and innate gifts. This milestone left me reflecting on how different our lives had become, not only since meeting each other, but year by year. I can't express how much it's meant to me to have a partner who always my back, no matter what. When we moved back to Baltimore from Denver and had no jobs lined up, she let me build a studio in our basement, on credit, despite that being an outwardly terrible idea. But, it allowed me to finish Random Battles' full length, and when I finally developed the courage, to start putting myself out there as a voice actor. It was a bit a long game, and an uncertain one at that, but I never got any flack for it.

It also helps that we have so many common interests. We both play in bands around town, including the fun one-off groups we assemble for Windup nights. She also acts on Meanwhile, at the Skull Base as XSV-15, among others, and knocks it out of the park every time (I daresay she might be a better voice actor than I am, but don't tell her I said that). Hell, our activities dovetail so much, that even though she's the one with the degree in operatic vocals, I'm the one who most recently performed an opera (as a narrator, but I digress).

It's invaluable to have someone in my life that not only understands what I do, but encourages and nourishes it. I don't think I could have come this far without the love, support, and understanding of my partner. As cliche as it sounds, where there's love, anything is possible.

 

Grundlehammer Has Returned!

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I just watched Grundlehammer for the very first time last night. It was a drunken epic of epic proportions, to say the least. After a very, very long week of travelling to PA for Yojo, partying down with the BROS was just I needed.  

Oh, also, the show is rad as hell. To sum up the show, I think quoting the end of one of the training montage numbers says it perfectly: "Dragons dragons dragons dragons." You should really go, be you in Baltiomore, DC, or Philly. 

Seriously. Go.

 

-Rex