Thursday, July 1, 2010

Insights from the Mentor Program: Harold Graham

"In my lifetime of 68 years, I've had hundreds of people say to me, 'Gee, you've got a great voice. You ought to be on the radio.' and I agreed!" -- Harold Graham, Mentor Program Student with Brian Thon

Harold had never had any voice-over training, but in grade school he did play the part of a radio announcer, Ted Graham. He loved doing it, but never considered going into radio -- and at the time, voice-over classes were unheard of.

Flash forward fifty-some-odd years, and Harold is still being told he should get into voice over work! After a meeting last year, a woman approached him and asked if he was on the radio. Another man next to him said, "I've been in the audio/visual business for twenty-five years, and trust me -- you should be getting paid for your voice!" The man forwarded Harold a couple websites to help him get started, including the Such A Voice website.

After completing the Master Program in December, Harold quickly set up profiles on Voices.com and Voice123.com. His son was also able to put his website together, and his daughter introduced him to a Pro Tools pro who spent a few hours helping him out.

Harold's marketing plan was still lacking, which is why he signed up for the Mentor Program with Voice-Over Coach & Producer Brian Thon. Brian helped him through various challenges: cutting 33 seconds down to a 30-second spot, giving him advice on negotiating a voice-over contract, and even giving him tips on nabbing an acting gig!

When Harold wasn't sure if he was being offered enough money for his first voiceover job, Brian put it in perspective and asked, "How much would you make by not doing it?" He did it, got paid, and now feels more comfortable asking for the industry standard rate.

"Brian reminded me that having a voice for the business doesn't mean you're going to get work," Harold says. "He helped me find my edge -- and some of Brian's sharpness is starting to rub off on me, too!"

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