Tuesday, December 29, 2009

January Talent of the Month: Noel Gibilaro

Congratulations to the first Talent of the Month of 2010 - Noel Gibilaro

"By this time next year, I will have narrated more Jules Verne novels than anyone else in the world!" - Noel Gibilaro, Such A Voice graduate

Noel Gibilaro first became interested in voiceovers when he volunteered to emcee the 1995 Special Olympics in New Haven, CT. He took a couple classes with other companies before finding what he needed at Such A Voice. He said it really took Rob Sciglimpaglia's direction and technique to make his voiceover work take off! After the training, he diligently got to work on his marketing strategy and quickly found a niche that let him meld his personality with the industry -- narrating Jules Verne novels!

Already, Noel has done the voiceover narration for Around the World in Eighty Days, using an impressive 38 different character voices. He just completed recording 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and you can download his highly-acclaimed audio books at www.audible.com. Noel is slated to do the narration for another Jules Verne audio book, which will finish up in production by early 2010. What else is he up to? Oh, you know, not much -- just another 3 novels by Jules Verne!

As Noel puts it, "I'd quit my job, but my wife won't let me!" He manages to work on the audio books and his marketing strategies from his home studio in the early morning, in the evening, and on the weekends. Consistency is key, and he wouldn't have been able to work out these deals or sustain the work relationships without a steady schedule. Noel's marketing plan has been pretty simple, too. He admittedly doesn't do anything more than, "Get on the phone and sell myself."

His advice to new voiceover artists sounds pretty simple: "Stay positive!" Noel continues, "Learn to use your mind to envision and create what you want." He sites positive thinking books, such as Think and Grow Rich and The Traveler's Gift as his inspiration and encouragement during a down economy. Instead of viewing Jules Verne novels as tedious, poorly-translated French-to-English books, Noel saw this as a potential role to fill in the voiceover industry. Not only has he had fun creating characters for these audio book projects, but he has successfully cemented future projects with his happy clients -- which is every voiceover artist's dream!

Congratulations again to Noel! We look forward to hearing more of your successes in 2010!

-By: Catherine Marshall

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How To Stay Motivated This Holiday Season

As the sun sets earlier in the day, and rises even later, you body demands unreasonable amounts of sleep and more quality time with your couch and television. The cold shuts us inside our homes, making us content to sample boxes of cookies and down endless mugs of hot cocoa and tea. We deal with the expected holiday stresses: battling the hoards of shoppers at the mall, attending numerous holiday parties, and making delicious recipes that we actually only pull out this time of year. Our other goals and ambitions tend to fall by the wayside so that we can do ... nothing. On the one hand, winter offers you vacation and snow days, which is the perfect excuse to seclude yourself and re-watch all of the Harry Potter movies. On the other hand, it could present you with the perfect opportunity and motivation (you have been lacking since Thanksgiving!) to get your budding voiceover career to blossom during these winter months!

Take these tips below, and continue to find creative ways to weave your voice over work into the holiday season:

1. Involve your friends and family. Just because the kids are home from school and your house is crowded with guests, it does not mean that you won't be able to get some quiet time for your voiceovers. This is the perfect opportunity to show your friends and family what you have been up to with all of your voice over training and fancy equipment! Teach them how the set-up works, and put the producer's hat on for a while. Get a laugh or two out of recording their sample voiceovers and playing them back. Chances are they will support your hard work even more now that they see how difficult it is. Later, they will understand when you say you need to go to "work," and just walk down to the basement!

2. Voiceovers: the gift that keeps on giving. Come up with creative gifts to get you back in your home recording studio! Instead of typing and printing holiday newsletters or cards for your family and friends, mix it up this year by sending a narrated holiday greeting! Personalize it even more by getting the whole family involved, and I guarantee no one will notice that it didn't even cost a dime. Have children? Take the opportunity to record some holiday favorites, including T'was the Night Before Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Christmas Carol.

And if time management is an issue...

3. Set your goal, and work backwards. Actually, this is great advice any time of year. For example, if you want to bake cookies, wrap gifts, and be in bed by 10:00pm, calculate the time it takes to wrap presents and bake cookies, and subtract that time from 10:00pm. For example, it will take an hour to wrap presents, so make sure that you start at 9:00pm so that you can still be in bed at 10:00pm. The cookies will probably take about 45 minutes, so make sure to start those at 8:15pm, unless they can be in the oven while you wrap presents. You finished dinner at 6:30pm, so you now have almost 2 hours to dedicate to working on your webpage or auditioning for a voice over job. Use this time management strategy daily to balance your holiday time, reduce stress, and stay well-rested.

Stay committed to your success in the voiceover industry by making voiceovers part of your daily life as much as possible. Renew your affirmation in the new year by telling your friends and families your goal. Saying it out loud will help motivate you to stay on track to reach your goals!

-By: Catherine Marshall

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Voice-Over Calling!

Hey Everyone!!

This year we decided to spread a little free holiday cheer by posting some of the funniest holiday voiceovers out there! Send us your original voiceovers -- either audio or video, poking fun at the holidays and/or voiceovers. Themes can include: family fun, hilarious holiday traditions, silly scenarios, voiceover no-no's, or anything else that's blog-worthy this holiday season.

Before you ask: there are no rules, there are no prizes, and there are no deadlines! Just share the holiday spirit with fellow voiceover artists, and lend us a laugh on the blog that we can return to at any time of the year! Email submissions through the new year to: Kat@suchavoice.com, and we'll post them as soon as we get them!

We'll get this party started by posting a couple of our favorites here!

Happy holidays, and spread the cheer!

-The Such A Voice Team

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My First Voice Over Job: It Pays To Read

Alecia Batson describes how she landed her first voice over gig. Alecia is a professional actress, singer and voice over talent working in Boston, Austin and New York. She actively blogs about her career as a “professional auditionee.” Visit her web site at www.aleciabatson.com.

I am a classical singer by training. It is common for bulletin boards in the hallways and corridors of conservatories and schools of music to be papered with recital posters, concert listings, and calls for auditions. So, it’s not unusual to find instrument- and score-laden students poring over them interestedly. One day, as I was doing just that, I noticed a rather boring-looking flyer on pink paper calling generically for “3 men and 3 women.” A telephone number was listed at the bottom of the sheet. Perhaps someone is trying to assemble an a cappella or early music ensemble, I thought. I called to discover, in fact, it was a company holding auditions for a radio commercial. Having never done voice over jobs before, I thought, What the heck!, and decided to audition.

The copy was sent in advance so I had time to prepare, and I showed up to the Production Block studios at the time and date requested. I landed the job after that lone audition and it turned out to be more than the typical, first-time voice over gig. I was selected to be the first and only National Female Voice for what was then dot-com-phenom Collegestudent.com. (Collegestudent.com has since merged with Student Advantage.) Such serendipity led to the recording of multiple national spots over a two-year period for this “local, online campus community,” which was not only wonderful in-studio experience, but also contributed to the beginnings of a high-quality demo reel. (As an aside: the first spot we recorded was deemed so risqué that 50% of the markets in the nation wouldn’t play it!)

With this experience under my belt, I used my demo reel to market myself to voice over agents, acquiring my first representation with db Talent. I also contacted recording studios to find out if they maintain their own talent libraries and requested to be placed on file with those that do. Given the types of jobs I began working early on, it became clear to me that my industry niche was quirky, college-cool, but my singing background enabled me to expand that to include foreign languages and accents. Since that initial, unexpected audition, I’ve had the good fortune to record for a variety of corporations, including Time Warner Cable, Reebok, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Gozaic and Adobe, working on varied projects like telephony systems, industrial videos, television commercial demos and, of course, radio spots.

I look back on my entrée into a voice over career in astonishment. Voice over work had certainly never been part of my grand life plan and, truthfully, I had not heard of it when I made that fateful telephone call. However, I cannot deny I am pleased to have been one of those bulletin board-reading students because being so truly changed my life.

How did YOU land your first voice over gig? Share your story with us and any advice you have for aspiring voice talent!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meet Bethany Craig

Name & Title: Bethany Craig, Scheduling Director

From: I'm a born and raised Vermonter!

Job Responsibilities: I am responsible for all of our clients' scheduling needs. I'm in charge of booking flights and reserving hotel rooms for our students. I also work with studios and conference rooms to make sure everything goes smoothly with each and every voice over class.

Favorite Food: I love to cook, and I am constantly trying out new recipes. But lately, I can't get enough Vietnamese Food! I'm also a big fan of sushi.

Hobbies: As I said before, I love to cook and host small dinner parties. I love wine tasting, traveling and camping. I also love to dance and spend a lot of time catching up with my friends. In my spare time, you can bet I'll have my head in a book or am jamming out on some RockBand!

Destination Vacation Spot: I've traveled as far west and east as you can go in the continental United States, as well as everywhere in between. My favorite destination thus far has been Northern California. I loved Napa Valley! I hope to be traveling to the Caribbean in the next year as well.

What are you listening to right now: I love our local independent radio station. My music tastes are pretty eclectic. I love Motown, 80's music, Ska, Alternative, Hip-Hop, Rock & Roll, etc. Some of my favorites are Jack Johnson, Brett Dennen, Ray Lamontagne, James Morrison, Sublime, Save Ferris and the list goes on and on…

One piece of advice for aspiring voice over talent: Make sure you keep your voice in good shape! Your voice is like any other part of your body; it needs to be exercised to keep it in the best condition! Take care of it, and it will take care of you. :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Masters Program Experience

Before I start, I'm pumped to let the "cat" out the bag and announce that Such A Voice is launching its very own *podcast* in January, 2010! While we are still ironing out some details, so far I can tell you that Mel Allen and I will be producing the podcast together. I know what you're thinking: "But you just had your voiceover training! -- How could you possibly offer me any useful information?" I will be the first to admit that Mel is the "Yoda" of the show, and I'm (at best) the "Daniel-san," eager to learn from all of Mel's years in the industry! [Or Mel is Mr. Miyagi and I'm ... ]Although I'm saving a majority of the details for our first couple episodes, I'll share the backstory as to how I ended up as a Masters Program student here at Such A Voice. We first thought it would be a good idea for me to participate in the Masters Program strictly for professional reasons. As PR Director, I'm better equipped to help students, field questions, and work with the media on the classes and workshops if I have first-hand knowledge of our products.

Because I approached this process for PR purposes only, and not as an aspiring voiceover talent, I expected to be more of an "active" observer instead of a participant. Boy, was I wrong about that! Not only was I not able to blend in with the wallpaper because we intentionally maintain a small class size, but the Group Technique Teleconference piqued my interest and attention from the get-go so that I wanted to participate more! This is where I realized how much fun it would be to become a voiceover artist!

I walked away from the first teleconference excited to do my "homework"! I couldn't help but listen to the radio differently, read a book at night with a more dynamic narration playing inside my head, and I looked at everything -- from the back of my shampoo bottle and cereal box to prescription medicine ads in magazines -- as commercial scripts. I listened to TV commercials more than I watched them, and I found myself analyzing them from the client's perspective: who are they trying to target? What's the underlying message here? How did the voiceover artist accomplish that?

All the pieces to the puzzle fell into place during the Masters Program. Working with all types of real copy in small groups and alone sparked our creative energies, and we quickly became more articulate with our analyses and feedback. It was clear that everyone had come prepared to soak up as much knowledge and tips as we could. Brian Thon, Jodi Petersen, and Brendan Coyle provided us with a wealth of voiceover technique tips and marketing strategies to take home with us. By the time I walked into the recording studio, I felt well-prepared, confident, and excited for the professional voiceover artist experience!

Now, my homework is to practice the many techniques I got in my voice over coaching sessions, continue to play with my voice and learn to control my voice in ways I had never thought of. We left equipped with CDs on social media and marketing, and I am currently working on creating my brand, and everything else that goes with that.

Stay tuned for our podcast in the new year, when we'll go more in depth to my experiences in the Masters Program, and you'll get to hear what I've been up to since then!

-written by Catherine Marshall, Director of Public Relations

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Such A Voice: Insights Into the Mentor Program

"It just made sense for me to join the Mentor Program so that I could be diligent and plow ahead on what I do know, but then I could stop and ask the pro for advice along the way."
-- Dennis Gimmel, Mentor Program student of Brian Thon
When Dennis Gimmel completed the Masters Program back at the end of May with Brian Thon and Dan Levine, he graduated feeling very encouraged that he was on the right path and relieved that he had joined a voiceover training program that gave him a "first class demo." Even before he hit the market for auditions and gigs, he signed up with Brian Thon in the Mentor Program because he recognized how crucial it was to develop a business the right way in an industry as competitive as the voiceover industry.

"As time went on, it was such a valuable thing," Gimmel says. Taking the branding and marketing homework he got in the Masters Program, he quickly developed his own brand and webpage, which he felt immediately gave him credibility in the clients' eyes. He followed the advice he received in the Masters Program, such as contacting agencies and asking for who would be the right person to send demos to, following up with emails the next week, and contacting businesses he hadn't heard from in a couple of months.

The voice over jobs started trickling in, and Gimmel was happy to be able to provide clients with what they were looking for. This isn't to say that he didn't have any bumps along the way. Gimmel admits he has never been business savvy, which is where Brian Thon came in. Dennis and Brian met for one hour once a month to touch bases on how Dennis' marketing strategy was coming along.

"I wasn't nervous when a client asked me a question about music or another technique that I didn't know the answer to," Gimmel says. "In the back of my head I knew that I could just ask Brian later on."

For Dennis, the continued support from Brian was invaluable to establish himself as a professional voice over artist. With Brian's help, he could sound like he had more experience than he actually had, which always helps in business.

Dennis highly recommends the Mentor Program to those just getting started in the industry. He says, "If you're serious enough to join the Masters Program, then you're serious about pursuing voiceovers. It's just common sense to take that extra step to get continued support and guidance until you're seasoned enough to be able to answer your own questions."

To find out more about joining the Mentor Program, send an email to: info@suchavoice.com

Monday, November 30, 2009

December Talent of the Month: Heather McCormack

"I used the marketing tips I got from the Masters Program to not only launch my voiceover career, but also my acting career!" -Heather McCormack, Talent of the Month

A recent graduate of the Masters Program, Heather has already taken many of the marketing strategies she learned from us and applied them to help build her voiceover and acting careers. She first got into acting in college, where she enjoyed the creative freedom and interactions she got with other talent. Heather learned to control her voice like an instrument in her theatre classes, and she finds it easy to summon a wide range of tones, emotions and feelings with her voice -- only one of the reasons that makes Heather a great new voice talent.

After she graduated from the Masters Program with Such A Voice's Producer and Coach Brian Thon, Heather took our advice and started marketing herself in her local community and offer her talents to people she knows. She soon found her first professional voiceover artist gig recording a 230-page audiobook for a co-worker of hers!

Heather's current project couldn't be more suited for her. Having just completed her Masters Degree in Psychology, Heather jumped at the opportunity to audition both as an actor and voiceover artist for a video on couples counseling. Her familiarity with the subject area and passion for counseling makes her the perfect candidate. She plans to offer her voiceover skills to the same company for a PSA on couples counseling as well.

Of her early success, she says, "If it weren't for the things I gained from attending the Masters Program, I would not have had the resources or knowledge to find and pursue these jobs."

What Heather finds most challenging about getting started is figuring out a schedule and sticking to it! While she practices her voiceover technique everyday while multitasking work and taking care of her 6-year-old child, it's hard for her to set aside blocks of time to dedicate to researching and making new contacts. "I don't feel like I'm getting anything done unless I have a good 2 or 3 hours to dedicate to networking," she says. "I'm trying to tell myself that 30 minutes' worth of work can still be significant."

When she does find the time, Heather is making connections with people who want to meld creative pursuits with voiceover acting. Unlike traditional voiceover work, Heather wants to work with people who will give her creative license to work with the material. She likes working with NewFiction.com because they record audiobooks in the style of old time radio shows, with each character read by a separate actor. Down the road, Heather would also like to get into character voices and narrations.

Her advice for new voiceover artists? "TENACITY! -- don't let anyone get you down," Heather says. "If you approach everything with confidence and a friendly attitude, you'll go farther than on raw talent alone." And finally, "Don't give up!"

Great job, Heather! Keep it up, and we look forward to hearing more of you!

-By: Catherine Marshall

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

By this point, you're probably napping on the couch or resting your jaws so you can chomp on more delicious Thanksgiving food! In the season of gratitude, we think it's important to let you know what we at Such A Voice are grateful for. First of all, we're thankful for the opportunity to help people achieve their dreams of becoming voice over artists. It is so rewarding when we see our students succeed, especially when they're really working hard at it. We are proud of our training programs and are so thankful that we get to work with professionals in the voice over industry each and every day.

A few Such A Voice folks wanted to chime in and show their gratitude as well. Jim Chapman, Event Manager, says: I am thankful for the constant support of family and friends. I am also thankful for the opportunity to teach others how to approach the game of baseball. I am a big believer that you can learn a lot about how to deal with the success and failures of life by what you learn on the diamond.

Catherine Marshall, Director of Public Relations, says: I'm thankful to be surrounded by loving friends and family over the holidays! I love Vermont, but I am farther away from family than I would like to be. I'm thankful for my loving and considerate boyfriend, who makes me feel special every day. And last, but not least, I'm thankful to work at a company that gives me creative freedom and support while encouraging me to succeed as a budding voiceover artist. We're a close-knit group here at Such A Voice!

Chris Bramley, Business Development, says: I am thankful for the good health of those close to me, working with an awesome group of people, the great relationships I have with my friends in Burlington and all over the world, and for how sweet it is to live in Vermont with the mountains, Lake Champlain, the culture, the music, and outdoor activities.

Kat Maund
, Director of Social Media Marketing, says: I am thankful to have a beautiful and supportive family, amazing friends, music in all forms, and for gut-busting laughter. I'm also extremely grateful to work in an environment that fosters creativity and the pursuit of knowledge in my field. Last but not least, I'm thankful for Charlie, the office dog who so kindly greets me each and every morning when I come to work.

If we were to keep going, it would take days to list everything we're thankful for! Let us know what you're grateful for this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Voice-Over Artist Does a Marathon for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

When I received an email from former Such A Voice student Neda Peshut announcing that she would be walking a marathon with Team in Training to help raise $3,800 for research and patient services, I couldn't not donate to her cause. Sure, blood cancer doesn't have anything to do with voice-overs per se, and it doesn't directly tie into our mission as a voiceover training and demo production company, but I was touched that Neda would include us in the list of friends and families likely to support her.

As it turned out, I talked to Neda on her birthday to let her know that we would contribute $100 to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). I took it with a grain of salt when she said this was the best birthday present she'd received, but her laughter and positive energy was down-right contagious!

When asked what made her decide to do this, she didn't really have an answer. Having successfully completed her first marathon ten years ago, she wants to see if she is as fit as she feels at a young 53 years old. "Plus, you know, the New Orleans Marathon is a very easy walk, very flat." Not sure a marathon is ever easy, I just responded, "Oh... Right."

For Neda, the decision to do something in her power to help those with blood cancers was an emotional one. A friend's 5-year-old daughter died of leukemia years ago, and the tragedy is something that is still with them today. She joined a Team in Training group in the Los Angeles area, and many of the members of the team are driven to walk the 26.2 miles by a similar loss of family member or friend.

Neda and her team are set to walk the 26.2 miles on February 28, 2010. In the spirit of giving and being thankful for the healthy ones in my life, we are happy to support Neda! For more information, or to make any donation you can, please go to: http://pages.teamintraining.org/los/mardigra10/npesut

Neda Peshut is a successful voiceover artist and actress, living in the greater Los Angeles area.

If you know of a voiceover-related charity, or an organization that works with people who have disabled voices, feel free to let me know on the blog! We are always looking for great opportunities to give back to the community!

-By: Catherine Marshall

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Technique Tip of December: From the Suburbs to the City, and then Back to the Suburbs

When you're on vacation and someone asks you where you're from, chances are you'll tell them you're from the closest big city to your suburb. After all, who's heard of little Decatur, Georgia? You say you're from the nearest big city to Decatur, which is Atlanta, because people are likely to be familiar with Atlanta.

Marketing yourself in the voice over industry is no different. When networking with clients who may need a voiceover artist's services, let them know you are from a bigger market than your suburb. Put it on your website and on your business cards. Even if you're just starting out, new clients will put more faith in a voice-over artist from Sacramento, CA, than, say, someone from Elk Grove. People who live in smaller towns always see city people as being pros at whatever they do.

Now that you have established yourself as a voice-over talent from a major city, don't try to market yourself in the big city. That is the number one mistake that new voice over artists make when they're just getting started. They got their training, they have their hands on their first class demo CD, and then they try to compete with the big fish in a saturated market.

Instead of setting yourself up for failure, make contacts with people in the suburbs. Better yet -- start with your own! Chances are you'll know someone in your local area who knows someone who owns a business who needs a voiceover for an answering machine prompt, a radio commercial, or a corporate narration. Once you ace one gig, mention to the happy client that you are available for more voice over work in the area, if they can recommend another business (or better yet, a person) to contact.

From there, a lot of social and business networking is by word of mouth. With some diligent voiceover technique practice and creative networking skills, you should find yourself with repeat business in a few short months!

For more information on how to get started in the business today, or to talk with someone about financing your voice over training package, contact us at: info@suchavoice.com. We'll get back to you as soon as we can!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Go The Extra Mile: How To Impress Your Voice-over Clients

In a competitive industry like voice overs, it is important to go the extra mile to impress your clients. The more icing you put on the cake, the better chance you'll have of landing another gig with them or be recommended to another potential client. There are tons of ways you can add that extra special something to really impress them, and here are just a few!

1. Make sure that you are able to deliver the services you offer, but if you can't, recommend someone in your network who can! Recommending someone else for a voice job you landed shows integrity and respect for the client's needs. They will probably come back to you because they trust your intentions.

2. @TheVoiceofBrian says: Serve your clients not just with your talent, but build a relationship with them that could potentially get you more work. Be sensitive to their needs and be aware of their work ethic.

3. Brian also emphasized the importance of a speedy turnaround. As soon as your client asks for a spot, record it as soon as possible and send it to them. Same-day delivery shows dedication and really sets you above the rest.

4. Show that you value your clients. The relationship with your client is a two-way street. Just as you would hope your client would refer business to you, be on the lookout for opportunities or contacts they might want to network with. If you hear of an opportunity that will benefit their business, share it with them! They'll appreciate your interest in their business even if it doesn't directly benefit you.

5. Send your clients a note during the holidays, even if you haven't worked with them in a while. The note or card should wish them a happy holiday, and it will also remind them that you would like to continue doing business with them.

What ways are YOU impressing your clients? Are your tricks to go the extra mile growing your voice over career? Share with us!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Meet Jeff Santoro

Name and Title: Jeff Santoro - Online Marketing/Support

Where You're From
: The Adirondack Mountains - Saranac Lake, NY (right next to Lake Placid, NY, where the olympics were in 1980).

Job Responsibilities: Wow, that's a big question. Mainly, I handle all of the technical aspects of our website and internal systems. I also handle the day-to-day finances of Such A Voice. Working with the team on developing our service is also a pretty larg aspect of my job. It's really fun to have an environment that promotes creativity and growth.

Favorite Food: I'm going to have to go with the venison burger with sauteed onions, mushrooms and blue cheese. I got one from the Bearded Frog last week, and I've been craving another one ever since I finished the first.

Hobbies: Playing bass in a Rock'n Roll/Alt. Country band, computers, pool, darts, home improvements.

Destination Vacation: I must say, I really enjoyed Las Vegas. However, I think my next vacation is going to be to Costa Rica.

What are you listening to right now: The Cinematic Orchestra

One piece of advice for aspiring voice over talent: Consistency. Setting a schedule of when you will work on your voice-over career and sticking to it has amazing results. It often helps to reward yourself with something when you've met your set times for the week. You'll find that after a few weeks or months of really sticking to a set schedule that your business will start to grow and compound itself, which in turn gives you more reason to stay consistent. It's the first few weeks/months that make it difficult, so rewarding yourself should help you make it through until the voice-over work is enough of a reward.

Meet Toni Catlin

Name and Title: Toni Catlin, Scheduling Director

Where You're From: I grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, and I have lived all over the States but now reside in Burlington. I studied at both St. Lawrence University in New York and Vienna, Austria. After college I lived in Los Angeles and enrolled in the Musician's Institute where I studied voice, songwriting and guitar, and I worked in a high-end recording studio. After L.A., I lived in Colorado for a few years, where I worked for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, performed, and instructed ski. I spent the last 10 years in Nashville, TN, where I got a publishing deal, made two CDs and traveled the world with my music, opening for major acts and honing my songwriting and music skills. I also got my degree to teach English as a Second Language thinking that I may one day live overseas! Last year I moved back to my beautiful home state of Vermont (I missed New England & NYC!) I've been loving living here, working at Such A Voice, and building a following with my music in New England.

Job Description: Along with Bethany Craig, I'm responsible for keeping things running smoothly in the scheduling department. That entails acting as a liaison between the students, teachers, hotels, recording studios, and Such A Voice. I try to find schedules that suite the needs of our students and teachers and relay all pertinent scheduling information on to everyone. I also book our sessions with the recording studios and work with hotels and travel agencies to set up our Masters Program sessions.

Favorite Foods: Dark chocolate, good strong coffee, anything ethnic, wine, my mom's homemade Italian specialties, Mediterranean dishes, and the list goes on.....

Hobbies: For the last 10 years I've made my living as a professional songwriter. Singing and writing songs are my passions and so much of my spare time these days is spent continuing to pursue my music goals. I've had some of my songs cut by other artists, so I'm focusing on that these days! I'm also a passionate traveler; I've been all over the world and continue to love the adventure of discovering a new culture. I'm an avid skier and teach part-time at Beaver Creek, Colorado a few times a year. I love anything outdoorsy - hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling, windsurfing, and water-skiing. I also love to bike and I work for Bike Vermont part-time leading bike tours in the summers . I'm a huge fan of film, and I love to take pictures as well.

Destination Vacation: My parents have a place in the Bahamas out on an island, so I love to go there - it's gorgeous! My family also has a resort in the Adirondack Mountains on Indian Lake, which is one of the most peaceful, beautiful places around. Spending time there is a real treat! Italy is another favorite travel spot (I have roots there). I've been all over the country and especially love Florence, Lake Como, and the Cinque Terre Region. Cadeques, Spain is another great place. Ireland - I have toured there with my music and the people are warm and wonderful! Colorado and British Columbia for skiing. Big Sur, California. NYC to get my culture fix!

What are you listening to right now:
Patty Griffin - she's amazing! Michael Buble...I love his song "Home." All of my talented Nashville singer/songwriter friends...

One piece of advice for aspiring voice over talent: I believe that if you have a passion for something it's important to explore it, and you'll find success if you stick with it. If you don't get caught up focusing on the obstacles in your way, or reasons why you shouldn't do something, and just believe in yourself, keep your eye on your goal, and persevere, then you can achieve pretty much anything!

Monday, November 16, 2009

KatWalk Contest Winners!!!

Congratulations to the Winners of the KatWalk Contest!

Thanks for everyone's participation in voting in the KatWalk Contest!

Marshall Blansfield
received the most votes and is the winner of the Masters Program Package. Congratulations, Marshall!

In a close 2nd, Rachel Heffron won the A+ Package! Great job, Rachel!

We are so impressed by the natural talent that many of the candidates have, and we are really looking forward to working with Marshall and Rachel on training their voices and helping them produce their demos!

In addition, they will have their first gig on the books! After their training, we will have Marshall read the Commercial Script, which we will use on our Masters Program webpages. Rachel will read the Narration Script, and we will use her recording on our teleconference website!

Good job to everyone, and keep coming back to our blog to learn more about technique training and things you can do now to prepare for your career in voiceovers -- even before you get any training with us!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

KatWalk Top 5 Finalists!!!

Hey! Thanks for all the amazing submissions we got for the KatWalk Contest! We are still giddy with excitement over the amount of support and participation we received from you, and we spent a lot of time listening and re-listening to submissions so that we could narrow it down to the Top 5 Finalists!

I have to say that it was hard work, and we're just glad that we don't have to choose the winners!

Congratulations to the Top 5 Finalists of the KatWalk Contest:

Lucas Keppel
Rachel Heffron
Josh Keller
Marshall Blansfield
Nell Bradford

To listen to their submissions and to vote on the BEST voice-over, please click for our POLL. After reviewing all of the voice-overs, select the voice-over artist you think did the best job and has the most potential as a voice talent. Please note that you may only vote once, and we are filtering out multiple votes -- so don't try anything sneaky!!

Voting is open now until Sunday, November 15th at midnight! We will announce the Winner and Runner-Up as soon as we can on Monday morning, November 16th!

Thanks again to everyone for participating, and good luck next time on ... the KatWalk!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Contest Deadline Extension!

We are extending the KatWalk voice-over contest just ONE more day for people who were not able to call in their submissions this weekend. Sorry -- we didn't realize the KatWalk was going to be such a popular success -- we actually had over 1,000 people call in!

We apologize to those of you who tried to call the Contest Line this weekend and were unable to leave your submission because the mailbox was full. I was able to respond to many of you personally, and thanks for leaving your voice-over submission on my answering machine!

If you did not already call in your voice-over submission to either the Contest Line or my mailbox, and you wish to do so, please make sure to register with us again and leave your voice-over submission on the Contest Line. Please see the website for the scripts and further details: http://suchavoice.com/contest

Please note that we are only accepting ONE submission per person, and all subsequent submissions will be deleted.

The Contest Line will remain open until midnight tonight, Monday, November 9th. The Top 5 Finalists will be posted on our blog tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10th, for you to vote on. Visit our blog at: http://suchavoice.blogspot.com

Thanks everyone for participating and making our first contest so exciting!

Best wishes,

Cat, Kat, and the rest of the Team at Such A Voice

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meet Jim Chapman

Name & Title: Jim Chapman, Event Manager

Where Are You From
: I am originally from Cape Cod, MA, but I currently reside in Burlington, Vermont.

Job Responsibilities: I am responsible for scheduling and maintaining the relationships with the facilities that host our introductory course, "You're On the Air...How to Really Make it in Voice-Overs". I am also responsible for any other projects that find their way to my desk.

Favorite Food: I love food! If you put it on my plate and it tastes good, it's my favorite!

Hobbies: Baseball has always been my true passion. I played in college, and now I coach a local team when I'm not at Such A Voice. You can also find me on the golf the course in my spare time. -- P.S. I saw Tiger Woods play this year.

Destination Vacation Spots: I really enjoyed southern California and Las Vegas. I have never been out of the country, and I really want to go to Italy and Greece.

What are you listening to right now: Anything that comes on my playlist. This could mean anything from Lil Wayne to Britney Spears. If it sounds good and I can sing to it, it's probably on my list.

One piece of advice for aspiring voice over talent: Get out there and go after it! I'll say the same thing I tell all of my players: Don't focus on the end result; focus on what you need to do to be successful today. Find the small things like researching and contacting ten new clients a day, regardless of how things turn out. If you get after it and understand that there will be some growing pains along the way, you'll eventually get the results you're looking for!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Talent of the Month of November: Nino Fincher

"I got my first voiceover gig two weeks after I got my demo, and I thought 'this is easy!'"
-- Nino Fincher, Talent of the Month

Nino Fincher is one of those rare voice over talents who, for one reason or another, was landing gig after gig just weeks after her introductory voice over classes. Maybe she knows the right people, maybe she got lucky, or perhaps her background as a personal trainer helped her voiceover training. Or maybe she just has one of those voices that you hear and immediately think she was meant to be a professional voice over talent.

Whatever the case may be, I was even more impressed to learn that English is Nino's third language! Born in the post-Soviet country Georgia, Nino first learned Georgian and then Russian. She speaks English without a hint of an accent, and she has quickly proven herself as a professional voice talent in English and Russian.

She never thought of going to a voiceover agency, as she quickly landed gigs on her own. She started out in the industry the same way as many voice over talents do: by lending her voice for free. One of her first gigs was working for the Victory Ranch, which hosts soldiers going and coming from war. Nino also volunteered with a seminary that was collecting Bible recordings for people in hospitals.

When Nino landed the gig with the international fitness guru Lawrence Biscontini, she was able to meld her background as a personal trainer with her professional voice talent training. In her mind, it was the perfect combination of "Doing what I know, and loving what I do!"

If Nino has had any challenges at all, she says it's marketing and time management. In order to stay on top of things, she tries to set a goal of making 5 contacts a day -- whether they are voice over talent agencies, clients, or other voiceover talents. She says the key is to, "Make yourself known without being pushy or annoying."

What's up next for Nino? She's moving with her family to Abu Dhabi in just a few days, where she plans to learn Arabic and continue working as a professional voice talent in English, Russian, and hopefully Arabic. In addition, she would like to start auditioning for 2-person commercials so that she can get the interaction with other voiceover talents.

Great job, Nino, and keep up the good work in Abu Dhabi!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Katwalk Voiceover Contest!!!

Thanks for watching the Katwalk! Visit www.suchavoice.com/contest to view the scripts and to enter the contest.

Make sure to call in your contest submission before Sunday, November 8th at midnight to be considered for the contest. The top 5 Finalists' submissions will be posted on the blog on Monday, November 9th, and then it will be up to YOU to vote on the winner.

The First Place Winner will receive our premier training package, the Masters Program, that includes technique training, network quality commercial and narration voice-over demos, marketing know-how, and the lifetime support of our staff, which has over 150 years of experience in the voice-over industry.

The Runner Up will receive our A+ package that includes 3 hours of in-studio one-on-one technique training and a professionally recorded and mastered demo.

PLUS both winners' submissions will be used for our Such A Voice website!

Go to www.suchavoice.com/contest to enter for a chance to win some great prizes and amazing exposure!

Friday, October 30, 2009

November: Insights on the Mentor Program with Posie Beam

"Brian keeps me going ... He helps me become not just 'good enough,' but the best!"
--Josephine "Posie" Beam, student of the Mentor Program

Posie took the Masters Program back in 2008, but with her farm to run, grandchildren to spoil, and tours at the conservation center -- her priority of getting her voice-over career up and running slipped down in the ranking. Where she lives, no one would know what you meant if you said "voiceover," much less could she find a local voiceover agency. To keep her on track, Posie joined the Mentor Program in January with Such A Voice producer and coach Brian Thon.

Although Posie and Brian only meet once a month for half an hour, she has seen an extraordinary amount of improvement. She has become more confident in her technique, which she says one one of the hardest things to believe. "I used to get stage fright when I would get behind the mic!" Posie says. She also would be too hard on her own voice, and would only compare her work to the "super professional voices on TV." Even though she's been told her whole life that she has a great voice, it took her a while to believe Brian when he would tell her, "Posie, you're already there!"

On technical aspects, Brian has been instrumental in helping Posie get the best sound out of her home recording studio. With Brian's recommendations, she has been able to eliminate the echo that was destroying her recordings, as well as an annoying ticking sound that she would come across in the editing process. No matter what the problem has been, Brian has been able to give her sound advice.

Perhaps one of the best tips Posie has gotten from the Mentor Program with Brian is that she realized she's in a great place to get into the market she's interested in. Whereas before Posie was concerned that she was in too much of a rural setting to find a voiceover agent who could work with her, she now realizes that she's well networked within her community to start doing voice-overs for one of her life-long passions: conservation videos.

Conservation videos, which she says are just becoming professional in quality, are in dire need of warm, voice-over talents. Other than the big names you hear doing voice-overs in nature videos, such as Steve Irwin, David Attenborough, Jeff Corwin, and Sigourney Weaver -- who she says sounds too cold and detached from the subject matter, the vast majority of people doing voice-overs for TV shows and movies do not sound professional at all. Either they dramatize too much for effect, or they don't understand the subject matter well enough to provide a quality narration. And yet, those are the people who are hired for most of the jobs!

Brian has helped her realize that she has a wealth of people who are well-connected in the conservation field to start working on in her very own town. Posie is going to record some tours for the Conservations Research Center she volunteers at, and she knows other people who would like to use her voice for up-coming films, such as one on the Shenandoah River.

Whether or not Posie finds a voice-over agent or not, she's in a great place to land some gigs she can be passionate about!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Meet Ben Werlin

Name and Title: Ben Werlin, Business Manager

Where You're From: Rochester, NY, and went to school at University of Miami (in Florida)

Job Responsibilities: Since I started working here in 2003, Such A Voice has grown and evolved in amazing ways. I take a lot of pride in that. I've been responsible for most of the direction of the company, the hiring process, managing how we do things internally, and managing how we take care of our clients. It's really important to me that Such A Voice clients have a great experience with us, and that they feel like they have us as a resource throughout their career. I hope that gives them confidence when they're getting out there to know that they can deliver, and to know that they're not out there alone!

Favorite Food: Sushi, and Lobstah of course!

Hobbies: Boating, Waterskiing, Windsurfing, Skiing, Tennis, Working Out, Playing Guitar in my Bluegrass Band (www.myspace.com/themedicinals), seeing live music, taking my dog Charlie (the bubs) for his adventurous walks and just making the most of life!

Destination Vacation: Switzerland. Incredible Mountains. Gorgeous lakes. No place else like it.

What are you listening to right now: Cinematic Orchestra and Thievery Corporation.

One piece of advice for aspiring voice over talent: Just remembering that voice-overs is a business, and it takes real consistent effort to succeed. You have to make it a priority and you have to know that marketing yourself as a voice-over artist is a numbers game. You can't take it personally when you don't get the gig, and you have to get your demo out there to as many potential clients as you can. The hard work early on can pay off big time in the form of regular clients that will give you regular work for years to come. That most important time though is early on when you have to market yourself really hard without having a lot of work under your belt. Stay motivated and the rewards are great!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

November: Technique Tip of the Month

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone... and Into Someone Else's

Sometimes it's going to happen. You'll fall into a voiceover training rut. Maybe you are getting bored with your voiceover training, maybe you're not practicing, or maybe you're getting too comfortable in your niche. Whatever the case may be, however you really feel about your voice-over training -- the client will hear it loud and clear.

One tool that might help you climb out of your voice-over training rut and get back on top of your game is to realize that voice acting IS acting. Unlike other forms of acting, the only aspect of you that gets captured is your voice, so you have to focus more energy into vocalizing what would normally be non-verbal communication.

It's no wonder you hear about big-name actors who do voice-overs for movies and commercials. They don't necessarily have the best voices in the world, and many of them don't get press recognition for the spot, but the techniques they work on for acting translate easily to voice-overs.

The next time you get behind the mic, notice what the rest of your body is doing while you're reading the copy. If you find that you're not using your body how you would naturally in conversation -- gesturing with your hands, shrugging your shoulders, making facial expressions, etc. -- then try to relax. Being mindful of the mic and how loud your clothes might sound if you're gesturing too wildly, experiment with the rest of your body and see if you can get a different tone or feeling from your voice.

As Mel Allen used to tell his students, "Get your clown shoes on because I want you to sound like a complete jokester this time!" Not that you want to do a "serious" read and a "silly" read for every copy -- you don't! The point is to step out of your comfort zone, see yourself as a character for a script, and become that person.

While your introductory voice-over training was instrumental in helping you find and develop your niche, start to pull copy from voice over websites that challenges you. Learn to do things completely over top. Learn how to speak at the fringes of your good vocal area, not just at the center. Practice being that different person, and think about what mannerisms go with that character. Initially, you'll just find practice material from voice over websites, but after practicing outside of your comfort zone you'll expand your niche in a whole new direction -- whether it's for narration, commercials, or a podcast!

-By: Catherine Marshall

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet Catherine Marshall

Name and Title: Catherine Marshall, Director of Public Relations

Where You're From: I was born in Kentucky, but I mainly grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I lived in Miami, Florida for 5 years, and after that I served with the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan, and then lived for 1.5 years in Istanbul, Turkey. Now I'm at home in Burlington, Vermont!

Job Responsibilities: I handle press releases to the media about up-coming voice over training classes, cool things our teachers are up to, and new directions our company grows in. In addition, I write articles on the voice-over industry for internet publication, correspond with students for the newsletters, and facilitate volunteer events in the community for our teachers and employees. In my spare time I also help out with web pages and copy editing.

Favorite Food: Right now, I'm enjoying all of this New England squash and pumpkin! There's no limit to what you can do with it! Other favorites: artichoke hearts, salsa, hummus, and chocolate covered espresso beans ... but not all at the same time!

Hobbies: I have to stay physically active, and my recent obsessions have been cycling, running, and swimming. I'm a fan of making up my own triathlon routes with friends, and I'm pumped to get more into skiing this year as well. I hope I'll have opportunities to travel and meet people for the rest of my life! And dancing. All kinds, any where, any time.

Destination Vacation: I would really like to check out Argentina for the tango and for the food. If I could go anywhere in the world right now, I might just go back to Istanbul! It's full of the most wonderful, warm-hearted people, fascinating culture, breath-taking landscapes, and delicious foods.

What are you listening to right now: My favorite podcasts: This American Life, The Moth, Common Sense with Dan Carlin, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, Vegetarian Food for Thought. Music right now: Jeff Buckley, Wax Taylor, and Devotchka.

One piece of advice for aspiring voice over talent: It's really only the dedicated ones who make it! The more diligently you practice, the more voiceover training you get, and the more consistently you audition, the greater your chances are of landing that gig.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SAV Producer Scores iPhone App Spot

Rob Sciglimpaglia, a voice-over artist, teacher for Such A Voice, a lawyer and an actor, can now be heard on the new iPhone app commercial that is airing on the NBC website. He also voiced the promos for the app that are currently airing on 11 NBC affiliates across the US. Sciglimpaglia, whose mind is already onto other projects, says a producer for NBC contacted him to record the spot after hearing his demo on VoiceOverDirectory.com. Using Pro Tools and Skype, he was able to give the client what they were looking for in merely 20 minutes.

Sciglimpaglia got his start in voice-overs while he was still practicing law full time in 2005 by attending the Masters Program with Such A Voice. Prepared to enter the industry doing small gigs here and there, he was pleasantly surprised when he landed his first gig -- with PBS. It took him a few months to get steady work in voice-overs until he realized that there was a vast new world in on-camera acting jobs as well, which often require the same techniques he works on for voice-overs. His training and skills transferred naturally to acting , and he landed his first on-camera role in the 2007 film with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant, Music and Lyrics.

It hasn't all been iPhone commercials and feature films, Sciglimpaglia admits. "This is an industry of rejection." For every 100 voice-over auditions he submits, either live or online, he knows that he may get 10 roles. He doesn't mind the legwork, however, and some of his favorite gigs to audition for are independent and student films that he might not even be paid for.

Ostensibly, Sciglimpaglia has been extraordinarily lucky, but he doesn't see it that way. He attributes his successes to his hard work and disciplined approach to practicing, auditioning, and networking. Rob reminds his students all the time, "The longer you hang in there, the more successful you'll be." Most students, he says, don't understand they have to practice their techniques. If you are prepared by staying on top of your voice when a client contacts you, then you will have a better chance of landing that dream gig when it comes knocking. After that? Rob says, "This business is like bananas: it comes in bunches."

Rob is excited to continue working with NBC, and he has other projects in the making. In addition to practicing law, Sciglimpaglia will be playing the role of Coach John in an off-Broadway production called "Broken Foot Prints," which is slated to run in the winter 2010; teaching voice-overs with Such A Voice; and, he will be appearing as Al Capone on the History Channel's new series MysteryQuest. You can check out the new iPhone app commercial HERE.

-By: Catherine Marshall

Friday, October 23, 2009

Meet Kat Maund

We are proud (and relieved!) to say that we are continuing to grow despite the economic times. It's exciting to see the voice over industry booming as technology advances as well as an increase in jobs for our students. As the industry expands, so does our team! We are excited to introduce you to a few Such A Voice team members, most of them new and some of them you've just probably never met before.

Name & Title: Katherine Maund, Social Media Marketing

From: I'm originally from Augusta, GA but currently reside in Burlington, VT and have lived in Florence, Italy for a short time.

Job Responsibilities: I am responsible for creating and managing the online identity and presence of Such A Voice by using various networks such as Twitter, Blogger, and Facebook. I tweet about up-coming events, Charlie the office dog, and additions to our programs. I try to engage and create personal relationships with our students and potential clients in online communities.

Favorite Food: As much as I try to keep the south in me tamed, I am a sucker for a rockin' bowl of cheese grits. They go even better with a fried egg on top, but that's pushing it!

Hobbies: I'm a huge music fan and love to perform. I play guitar and sing at venues around Vermont and am always down for a jam session. I also love to travel any place I can go - from biking trips around the town to plane rides to foreign countries - I love it all and want to go everywhere. If I'm not working, you can find me drinking a cappuccino, hiking, or singing in the shower. (The steam really does a number on those vocal cords! You'll go from William Hung to Pavarotti in no time!)

Destination Vacation Spot: I've traveled to Western China and all over Europe, but my favorite vaca spot would have to be Capri, Italy. I've never seen water so blue, met people so warm and passionate, or eaten such delectable cuisine.

What are you listening to right now: I'm listening to the Michael Buble station on Pandora. It's Friday and it's impossible to get down when poppy jazz is blasting.

One piece of advice for aspiring voice over talent: GET ON TWITTER. :) Social media is not the wave of the future, it's marketing at it's best right now. I think promoting your voice on social networks will give you the highest return on investment, hands down.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Librivox: Marianne Coleman-Hipkins Volunteers Her Talent

Originally from New Zealand, Marianne Coleman-Hipkins moved to North Carolina 3 years ago. She started doing voice work at the tender age of 11 reciting poetry at the local talent and speech competitions. She was a nurse until a work related back injury forced her retirement 30 years later. During her entire nursing career Marianne continued voice work in the form of musicals, plays, TV roles, and movies. Since she has been in the US, Marianne’s focus has been voice over work. She has a passion for medical reads and related jobs as well as children’s audio books and narration. Her most recent jobs include a part in the latest Tyler Perry movie, “I can do bad all by myself,” an infomercial as an onscreen talent due to be released this month, and a child’s interactive audiovisual story in which she voices 3 characters, 2 children and an adult.

Librivox.org is an extraordinary site, one that relies entirely on volunteers in all aspects of the organization. Let me tell you a little about them and what they do, and how as a voice over student this site can truly benefit you and how you, in turn, can be of much use to them.

Librivox in a nutshell: An open source audio-literary attempt, to harness the power of the many to record and disseminate, in podcast form, books from the public domain. But that simplistic explanation does not do justice to the volunteers and the original organizers of this site and great undertaking.

Librivox has volunteers record books that are all in the public domain; more specifically, books that are at risk of disappearing forever on some dusty shelf, forgotten in the annals of time. It is a truly worthy undertaking for the preservation of some really important books. In translating these books into audio, it allows the visually impaired access to books that they perhaps would not have had access to before. Not only are novels recorded, but poetry, plays, autobiographies, medical and other textbooks, art books….the list goes on!

So you may be asking yourself what does this have to do with me as a voice over student? Plenty! Librivox is a fantastic opportunity for any voice over student to hone their voice skills in many different fields. As a volunteer, you can record chapters from novels and practice your narration and acting skills at the same time. It's a perfect win-win situation! Not only do you get to practice your voice over, but also your recording and editing skills. It is a fantastic opportunity to help others and by doing so, yourself, along the way.

You also get the added benefit of public exposure, being listed on the search engines under the Librivox banner, and are possibly listened to by possibly hundreds of people. I had only been there for a few weeks when someone heard a poem I read, emailed me, and asked if I would be interested in recording some audio for students learning English as a second language. Also, in every recording you do, at the beginning or at the end, you have the opportunity to promote both yourself and your website.

Another benefit of doing this as a student is that you can see how much you are progressing in your voice over work. When I listen to some of the earlier recordings I did for Librivox, I cringe. However, I can hear how my voice is progressing and I can hear how my editing and recording skills are improving. People at Librivox do not judge your recordings or your voice, they will, however, help you get your recordings to the standard that they set for the site by giving you tips and pointers. They are a very, very nice bunch of volunteers, all totally passionate about the work they are doing.

Did I mention there is no pressure on you whatsoever? None! Record as much or as little as you desire, and if for some reason you are unable to complete a project you started – no problems! They are all volunteers there and realize that sometimes we over-commit ourselves, or life intrudes. Simply let the project controller know, and someone else can take over for you.

There are so many fantastic opportunities that this site offers the voiceover student. The voice over professional can also put the power of their knowledge into a community project that genuinely benefits the world wide community… any language, any country!

What better way to give of your time and voice over talents than in helping preserve some very valuable and old manuscripts for generations to come after us? Join me and hundreds of others to volunteer your talent for a worthy cause? For more information visit www.librivox.org.

I look forward to seeing you there!



P.S. Another thing that Librivox has just done is to create a file of all the different accents from different countries that record there, all recording the same story. If you are looking to hone a foreign accent for your voice over work, then you can use these to practice with. It is a great resource!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Such A Voice Team Hits the LA County Fair!

Some of our friends spreading the word at the LA County Fair!

Sample voice recordings

Did you see us at the LA County Fair? If so, say hi! We would love to hear about your experience.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Can Bank On Your Voice

Voiceover artist, Rodney Saulsberry, says that now is the best time to break into the voice over industry. "Companies are looking for real people with real voices to promote their products." He also mentions the benefits of having a home studio. This short video is a great snip-it into the life of a voice over actor and the types of jobs that are available.

You can find Rodney's book HERE

Monday, October 5, 2009

Insights into the Mentor Program

"My passion is for the audition. If I get the job, that's just the icing on the cake ... but it's not the cake." -Bill Sleeper, Graduate of Such A Voice's Mentor Program

When Bill Sleeper decided to take the Master's Program with Brian Thon back in February, 2009, it was the culmination of 14 years of saying, "One day...". In fact, Bill had been working as a singer/songwriter/musician for decades when his passion for voice-overs rekindled, Life threw him a couple curve balls, and his tentative plans to get into the voice-over business full-time snowballed before his eyes.

Bill graduated from the Master's Program and immediately wanted to jump into Mentor sessions with Brian Thon. Having been exposed to many of the voice techniques already, Bill had more questions about how the industry runs and how to get his face (and voice) out there.

"Brian Thon not only brought his expertise to the table -- he brought his experience. That, for me, spoke louder than words."

Brian worked with Bill over the course of 5 months, meeting via teleconference once a month. Each session was focused on a different aspect of the business: how to create a jumping off point, creating branding messages, the necessity of the checklist, etc. Brian gave Bill real-life homework tasks to complete before their next session. Says Bill, "Having one month to accomplish my [homework] goals was the perfect amount of time: It was long enough for me to succeed at my task, but it wasn't so long that I could put anything off ... It helped keep me on task!"

Beyond sharing his insights into the voice-over industry, Brian also gave Bill great penny-pincher ideas. For example, when it came to finding the materials to set up his booth in his home recording studio, Bill went to CraigsList to find the carpet, drapes, boards -- everything he needed, for under $5! Brian also taught Bill how to get the most bang for his buck when it came to Google ad words, CDs, demos, and business cards. And it was all tailored to Bill's specific needs, voice-over niche, and market.

Brian and Bill worked together to get Bill into the local markets, and he is currently working out a contract with local colleges that looks like it could turn into repeat business. His voice can also be heard in a mockumentary that is soon to be released in the Portland area. "None of this would have been possible without the Mentor Program and Brian's help," Bill graciously says. "I already had the intangibles to the business, and now I know it's just a matter of time before I'm doing this full-time."

Bill's mantra is simple: "Go out and meet people. Get them to know you, get them to like you, then get them to trust you."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Talent of the Month - October: Jeff Hering

"I figured that if I'm going to do this, I'd better do this right." - Jeff Hering, Soon-To-Be Voice Over Actor/Artist

I often receive inspiring applications for the Talent of the Month contest from graduates of our programs, but it's rare that I receive one from a student-in-progress who is already following the right steps to become a success in the industry -- even before he has completed the Master's Program. Jeff Hering impressed me by his "go-get-em" attitude, his passion, and his pragmatic approach.

Jeff graduated from Madonna University with a BA in Social Sciences at a time when his industry, the auto supplier industry, was in the process of tanking. He, like thousands of others, lost his job. Instead of viewing this as one of life's misfortunes, Jeff saw it as an opportunity to pursue something he has long been interested in -- the voice-over industry!

Jeff has one of those voices. You know, the type you hear and immediately know that he was meant for radio or public audiences. Hering says, "Honestly though, after you've gotten complimented on your voice so many times, you either take it as a sign to do it, or you ignore it and continue in a career that you either don't like or do just to pay the bills. That's not for me." When Jeff saw that Heather Costa was teaching a class at his alma mater, he jumped on the chance to get his feet wet.

He has been working closely with Heather the past few weeks, and he looks forward to attending her up-coming Master's Program. He sets aside time to practice every day, with a consistency and determination he sees as being key to becoming a success in any field. In addition, he has already set up his home recording studio, and he is learning to use the technology -- all in preparation to hit the ground running once he has completed his demo CD. But that doesn't mean he isn't already marketing himself...

"I have already begun to seek out potential clients by simply telling them what I will be doing -- friends who have small businesses, etc. In this world, you have to make things happen for yourself. Nobody is going to ring the doorbell and hand you a job to compete with a huge paycheck. You have to do the legwork. And that's where the networking starts."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

After he gradates from the Master's Program, Jeff plans to develop his resume by offering his services for free to any and all new-comers. "Commercials, narrations, radio, TV, whatever the case, whatever the job -- I will be looking to make my mark quickly and responsibly ... I'm ready for any challenge!"

Advice to fellow newbies? "Prepare and stay motivated! Write out what you want to accomplish, set a few realistic goals aside, and see them through to fruition." What about if he can't find work for a while? "You always have to be ready for a few knocks, but that should just make you want to work harder and build your motivation!"

Congratulations, Jeff Hering! We can't wait to hear about your successes -- or listen to them on the radio!