voice actor

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. 

The Third Man @ Yellow Sign Theatre

A little while ago, I took part in a live reading of the Orson Welles classic The Third Man at the Yellow Sign Theatre. It was an honor to be asked to stand in Welles' shadow for a couple of hours. Here's Harry Lime's monologue from the the third act. The full episode will be released soon via Horatio Dark's Between the Lines. Enjoy!

 

 

Get Out of Your Head

You hear that perfect delivery in your head. Maybe it's an echo of something you heard on the radio or TV as a kid, a character in a cartoon or a personality ingrained into your mind. But is it you?  This can be an odd industry to navigate. You can be told, by the same person in the same breath, that you need to find your one true "money voice" and also that you need to be as versatile and far-reaching as possible. And they're both correct statements. However, those qualities may apply more to one area of the industry than another. For example, in animation and video game work, the further away from your own voice you can get and the more truly original, different styles of voices you can make, the more useful you'll be. But, in commercial work, you really only have to be yourself. And be as "yourself" as possible.

But, being yourself doesn't mean "don't try". It means being able to really let your personality shine through in any read, with bold choices that only you would make. I look at voiceover training like karate: you work on the mechanics (script analysis, inflection, diction, posture, and on and on) and when it's game time, you put it all out of mind. You don't want to get in your own way when you step up to the mic. Your money voice is easier to find than you might think. It's really a matter of training yourself up then letting it all flow naturally when it's time to do the work. The next time you read a spot, think to yourself, "Am I reading this as me or as a voice in my head?" The casting directors want to hear you, not you doing an imitation of what you think they want. It may feel weird at first, but trust me: it'll feel more natural, genuine, authentic, and believable in the end. And guess which direction keywords show up way more often than any others?

-Rex

Don't Like Voices or Voice123? Check These Sites Out.

Pay to play sites are here to stay. Voices and Voice123 rule the roost for now, but they have some of the highest yearly fees and lowest quality gigs around. They're the Wal-Mart of P2P's; no gig turned away, no budget too small. Sure, there are more gigs than you could possibly ever audition for, but after being on Voices for about nine months now, I'm frustrated by the sheer number of postings with incredibly poorly written copy, or "sample" scripts that comprise entire 500-word plus projects, or hilariously microscopic budgets (I know I'm still a rookie, but I'm not doing a national TV spot for 100 dollars and neither should you). Voices has been a decent learning experience if nothing else, giving me access to tons of active copy that occasionally does lead to paid work. However, there are other sites out there that are definitely worth exploring and possibly investing in. #1 - e-Learning Voices/Commercial Voices

These sites are run by VoiceOverXtra's Rick Gordon. These sites target specific fields of VO, maintain small rosters of vetted talent, and encourage clients to select talent based off of their profiles and demos rather than have everyone compete through auditions.

#2 - Kingdom Voices

Having a niche is crucial for anyone's business. Kingdom Voices deals only with faith-based voice projects. Again, they vet their talent and keep their rosters small, something I think all working VO artists would want in a site. While I don't have personal experience with the site, their annual rate is much lower than Voices and the profiles allow for videos in addition to audio demos. Worth checking out if you want to work with faith-based communities.

#3 - United Voice Talent

While it's not the prettiest site in the world, I'm frequently invited to UVT auditions, all of which are well worth the time investment. Their pay structure is based on "talent hours", which are reflective of current union rates. It's audition based and you're not allowed to contact the client on your own, but at least the rates are fair and you're not inundated with hundreds of postings that aren't worth your time. Talent, again, is pre-qualified and there is no yearly fee. If you're in the VO game already, this one's pretty much a no-brainer.

#4 - The Voice That Speaks Volumes

Ms. Tish, a great voice talent in her own right, recently got into the casting game with this site. It's still very new, but being a talent herself, her approach takes the talent into consideration. With no fees, quality auditions, and personal email invites to pre-vetted talent (are we seeing a trend here?), Ms. Tish really seems to be moving in the right direction. I've already started seeing auditions for some great projects from Ms. Tish, and I look forward to seeing where she goes next.

#5 - Voiver

Voiver is still in beta, but I'm very excited to see where this one goes. They're handpicking talent and have some very promising features in the pipeline. Without giving too much away, they're changing the way the talent interacts with the client. Usually these sites operate in relative anonymity. I rarely talk directly to a client with Voices, rather I just get a yay or nay dispensed through the booking agent. Just because we're working online from home studios doesn't mean we have to through out the old way of doing things. I have high hopes that this site will really get it right when it comes to building lasting professional relationships, rather than simply getting a project done as cheaply as possible, as seems to be the case with Voices and Voice123.

Hopefully, with all of these sites taking a smaller, more personalized approach to the P2P (or F2P, as some of these are now) business model, the big names will finally get the hint that they need to screen their talent, screen their clients, and offer more reasonable rates. Of course, a balanced approach utilizing all of these tools, as well as the traditional routes of casting agencies, mailing campaigns, cold calling, and good old fashioned word of mouth are all needed to be successful.

Know of any other casting sites worth talking about? Let me know at voice@rexanderson.net and I'll add them up here.

-Rex

 

Long Distance, Home Grown, and Serve to be Great Are Available Now!

audiobooks.jpg

My Audible narration collection begins! Check out the first three book narrated by me: Long Distance by Bill McKibben, Home Grown by Craig Fehrman, and Serve to be Great by Matt Tenney. Each of these were a fantastic, vastly different learning experience. Reading books I would otherwise never have thought to look at has really expanded my understanding and appreciation of different points of view. By having to "become" the author, I get to have the reading experience in a completely different way. Cool stuff. These were also great training for my first fiction novel, which should be dropping sometime in the next few weeks. That little Audible button at the top has my latest books on it, so check it out!

UPDATE: Little Bighorn, my first fiction audiobook, is now available for pre-order! I'm pretty proud of this one.