Thursday, October 7, 2010

Talent of the Month: Jim Anglo


"Funny, I think every VO artist can relate to hearing this: 'You should be one of those voice over guys -- you have that soothing radio voice that's easy to listen to ...'" -- Jim Anglo, Professional Voice Actor, on why he got into voice overs

Jim Anglo decided to go into voice acting when he was perusing the classified ads back in August 2009 for something more interesting to do. Like many, he had recently lost his job. This time around, he knew he wanted to jump start career path he was passionate about!

"I knew instantly what I wanted to do and that I really had to commit myself to the VO field," Jim says. "What I liked about Such A Voice was that it was a structured program that brought everything together (marketing, home studio recording & demo production)."

A denizen of Minnesota, Jim joined our voice over classes in Burlington, Vermont, for the Master Program in November, 2009. He liked meeting people from all over, and he noted how interesting it was that so many people from different backgrounds could come together to be part of the VO industry. "Oh yeah," he adds. "Burlington was pretty cool, too. I worked with Brian Thon and Brendan Coyle -- incredible guys!"

One of the things that Jim loves most about working as a Professional Voice Actor is reading and breaking down scripts, a process that took him a while to appreciate. But he's definitely good at it! Jim describes his voice as a "warm business commercial/narration type," and since graduating from the Such A Voice Master Program, his clients have included 3M, GM (The New Chevy Volt Electric Car), PeopleNet, Polycom Communications, and Veolia Environmental Services.

Of one of his more recent voice over jobs, Jim says, "The Chevy Volt spot was a great launching pad and confidence boost for me, something that I was awarded through a P2P site. If you can land one job on a site like Voices.com, it just gets easier!"

Jim's marketing advice for people just getting started in the industry: "Give yourself web presence and add yourself on all P2P sites (which is free). If you can afford a premium membership, great, because it exposes you to many different types of reads. In the beginning you will feel like going after everything, but only audition for the ones that are the right fit for you!"

Congratulations, Jim! Cheers to your success!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Insights from the Mentor Program: Lori Linskey

Meet Lori Linskey: Master Program graduate, Mentor Program student and budding Professional Voice Actor! Here are some excerpts from our conversation ...

Me: How did you hear about the Mentor Program?

Lori: I learned about the Mentor Program through an e-mail that I received from Such A Voice. I knew about the mentor program from reading the Such A Voice Newsletter and the e-mail arrived at the perfect time. I had completed my voice over classes, the Master Program and had received my demos, but felt like I needed more guidance and direction. After learning that I'd receive one-on-one guidance and have that special point of contact for all of my questions, I realized that the Mentor Program was just what I was looking for.

Me: Who did you work with, and what were your expectations going into the program?

Lori: I have been working with Heather Costa, and she is a fabulous mentor. She is incredibly supportive and really focuses our sessions on questions or issues that I am having at that time. As you know, when you are new to the world of voice overs, the hurdles that you face span a very wide gamut - from figuring out technical recording or Pro Tools issues to how you market your skills or bill your first client. My expectations were pretty modest going into the program. I knew that I had a lot of questions and wanted to feel that I had one person to go to for answers. I had started surfing the web for answers to questions, which is not always a good source for reliable information. Knowing that I could have an experienced voice over artist that I could trust for honest answers was a very attractive option for me. I also felt that the structure of monthly sessions would help keep me moving forward to make progress as a voice over artist.

Me: In concrete ways, how has Heather helped you get your voice over business off the ground?

Lori: Heather has helped me focus my expectations and goals, which has been a tremendous help. By becoming more focused, it's been easier to move forward. She has also had very helpful suggestions regarding branding and finding niches that would work for my voice. Heather is able to provide constructive criticism on both technical and performance issues in a manner that is really positive. This feedback has been so important in helping me grow and improve as a voice over artist. Heather has also helped me with billing and invoice questions. I was thrilled to get work, but was having a difficult time figuring out what I should charge the client. Heather also identified some background noise issues that I was having so that I could correct them before they stood in the way of getting new business.

Me: Have you been able to land voice over jobs that you wouldn't have been able to get?

Lori: I had gotten a small job from auditioning on an online voice over site and then had an opportunity to obtain more work from the client. Heather helped me by critiquing the audition and also helped me figure out how to put together a proposal for the second set of recordings. Her assistance was invaluable and helped me appear to be more experienced than I was. We all have to start at the beginning, but I didn't want to appear as new to voice overs as I was to the client.

Me: Any recommendations to people who are getting started in the voice over industry?

Lori: I highly recommend the Mentor Program. Being able to receive one-on-one assistance specifically focused on your own questions and concerns is a priceless resource. Knowing that you can ask any question about any issue that you have and that you will have a friendly encouraging voice with answers on the other end of the phone is a tremendous source of encouragement, particularly at the beginning of a new voice over career.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Technique Tip of the Month: Get Your Hands Out of Your Pockets!

"You can't voice act with your hands in your pockets!" -- Scott Pollak, Voice Over Actor & Coach

Think back to when you just started voice over classes. When you stepped up to the mic, what did you do with your body? Did you look like this guy [
see picture on left]?

Many students who are practicing to become professional voice actors have subconscious mannerisms that actually inhibit their ability to perform. One bad behavior pattern to break early on is putting your hands in your pockets.

When you put your hands in your pockets, it is nearly impossible to get into character. "If you look happy, you sound happy. If you look like your hands are in your pockets, you sound like your hands are in your pockets," says Brendan Coyle, Post Engineer.

Not putting your hands in your pockets is part of a greater lesson to learn to relax when you step behind the mic. As soon as you get your home recording studio put together, make sure to spend all of your practice time in it. The more you practice in front of the mic, the more comfortable you will become.

When you feel comfortable behind the mic, you will look and sound comfortable. Your body gestures will sync up with the character and the voice over job, and you will sound like the professional voice actor you want to be!

Remember: the only time your hands should go in your pockets is when the script calls for it! [See this picture to the left!]