Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Talent of the Month: An Interview with Natalie Donegan

"Last week I completed my 65th voice over project, the latest that I'm working on is a 70 minute (80 page) educational video for a German university."


Despite studying theater and drama in college (and always having an interest in the arts), Natalie never had any desire to be in front of a camera or on stage. At 20 years old, she discovered that voiceovers existed, but didn't have any space in her busy schedule (she was single, had a mortgage and a very demanding job as a sales manager of a daily newspaper) to pursue a possible career shift into voiceovers. 12 years later, Natalie was married and a stay-at-home mom and she was looking for an outlet that would challenge her creatively. That was when she searched out SuchA Voice.

Natalie's training program focused on technique, visualization, pitch, inflection and lateral reading. "My training combined with the resources that Such A Voice offers in the Members Only Area has all aspects of the industry. It helped me work on developing my voice style, setting up my marketing, a business plan and more! I felt like I had an entire spectrum of knowledge from Such A Voice, I had a plan and knew what I needed to do to get started. I also joined in on the live bi-weekly training sessions, which I found extremely useful in helping guide me as a new voiceover talent".

When Natalie was ready to step into the voiceover booth, she was happy to have a trained producer from Such A Voice by her side "In an area that I knew nothing about I was happy to have someone so well-versed in recording demos. You need to make sure you get the best demo you can, that is what you'll be selling at the beginning!" From there, Natalie often referred back to the resources provided by the Such A Voice program to set up her website and market herself on various social media and pay-to-play sites. She takes full advantage of web marketing between Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Voices.com and Voice123.com!

Being a stay-at-home mom in the voiceover industry, Natalie probably appreciates the flexibility in her schedule most. However, she does say that lack of time is probably her biggest downfall. She loves having the ability to fit her work in around her very busy schedule instead of having a set of strict office hours. "Sometimes I get a big job that my day schedule doesn't work with, so I stay up late to get the tracks recorded instead. My family will always come first, but with voiceovers I don't have to choose between the two, there can be a happy balance".

Natalie did a great job marketing herself, she attributes this to the fact that she was in advertising sales for 9 years when she entered the voiceover industry. "I am determined and I know how to sell, I'm just selling my voice now instead of a product. When I first started in the business I created lists of local potential clients: advertising agencies, marketing agencies, TV stations, radio stations, producers, telephone on-hold companies and more! I had no problem picking up the phone and calling them to sell myself and get my demo's out to as many people as I could."

 
Voiceovers have kept Natalie VERY busy since she completed her training with Such A Voice! "Last week I completed my 65th voice over project, the latest that I'm working on is a 70 minute (80 page) educational video for a German university." Her first job came from Voice123.com, it was a two-minute telephone on-hold recording. "I felt like I had won the lottery when I booked that job!"

You may recognize Natalie's beautiful British accent being used as the voice of such companies as: 45 Degrees Latitude Film and Production, 371 Digital Films, Bandwidth.com, Beam Audio, Cherry Creek Radio, Digital Media Communications, Go On Hold, Griffin Wink Advertising, Legwork Creative, MotionFoundry Inc. and many more!

When we asked Natalie what her advice was for aspiring voiceover artists, we couldn't help but nod emphatically as we listened to her answer: "If you are getting into the industry, get a professional demo cut! Use every avenue you have to promote your name. Don't be afraid to offer free work at the beginning, as long as you then have their permission to reference that work on your voiceover resume (and use a recording of it on your website). I found that it was hard to have NO experience and a demo, so I offered a few freebies. I then took those freebies and used them as examples of my work. I requested testimonials from every client I worked with and asked permission to quote their company name. Within a short period of time I had an impressive resume for voiceovers!"

We're so proud of your many successes, Natalie! We can't wait to see (or hear) what you do next!

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tip of the Month: Stay Hydrated!


As we approach the colder months in the year, it's time for most of us to break out the scarves, mittens, hats and heavy jackets. The heat dial gets turned up and, if we're lucky enough, we fire up that fireplace or wood stove and enjoy it's warm glow. Unfortunately, something many of us don't remember to do is to also increase our hydration to make up for our drying atmosphere. As voiceover artists, we need to make sure we stay hydrated so the mucous cushions in the vocal cords stay lubricated. Think of it like getting an oil change for your car on a regular basis. You need to make sure the pistons are running smoothly to keep the engine at top performance!

It's very easy to remember to keep hydrated when exercising or when in a dry and hot climate, but many of us forget that just sitting in our homes, offices or studios with the heat on is drying itself. Most of us don't worry about hydration until we feel very thirsty, which is a sign that we aren't drinking until our body is starting to become dehydrated.

Why is it that so many of us can remember to water even the most delicate house plants on a regular basis, but we can't remember to keep ourselves well hydrated?! Being surrounded by beverages that don't actually help us stay hydrated certainly doesn't help. To make sure you're keeping your vocal cords in their best shape possible, stay away from caffeinated, alcoholic and/or sweetened beverages when focusing on hydration.

Water is the most obvious choice that people reach for. Is water too bland for you? If you're anything like me, you may have trouble getting in your suggested daily intake for fluids if you can't seem to get excited about it. I am definitely a big offender when it comes to gravitating towards the three things listed above that people should avoid when trying to stay hydrated (caffeine, alcohol and sweetened beverages). Do you want to know what works for me? Adding a little squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange juice to your water really helps brighten up the flavor! Herbal tea is another great way to get some flavor to your hydration regimen. Many people swear by sports beverages when they get dehydrated, but you need to really be careful about the added sugar in many of the most popular brands.

The next thing to consider is the intake quantity. There are so many different views and opinions as to how much you should actually drink. The standard last time I checked was a flat 64 ounces across the board, which always struck me as odd. I always thought this number would fluctuate based on activity level, body weight, climate and other extenuating circumstances. Turns out I wasn't alone! The International Sports-Medicine Institute has had a more specific formula in place for over 30 years. They predict that you need approximately 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight. So, although it doesn't take all of the factors into consideration, it certainly is more specific than one number for everyone. Very easy, you just take your body weight and split it in half and get the amount of ounces you should drink each day. Do you want something more specific that gives you a more detailed estimation? About.com offers a calculator that takes other factors into account that will help you pinpoint the correct amount even better.


Staying hydrated is probably the easiest and least expensive way to keep your throat healthy and your voice in top performing condition; not to mention it's a great healthy habit to have in general! Always keep a glass or cup nearby to encourage yourself to keep sipping throughout the day!

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

Friday, December 9, 2011

Voices for a Great Cause!

For the first time ever in the history of voiceovers, 31 voiceover artists joined forces to raise money for children. The group gathered last week to record “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The recording has been released this week and has been picked up by radio stations across the nation. All sales and donations to Voices For Children will benefit Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.  

To listen to the production, click here.
To make a donation, clickhere.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wrap Up Tax Details Now!

As we close in on the end of the year, it's a very busy time for most of us. Holidays with the family, religious celebrations, company parties and seasonal voiceover work keeps us very busy this time of year! It's so easy to forget the most important task of the month, which is closing out our tax year!




As a voiceover artist (and small business owner), there are quite a few things that you should have available to make your tax filing as seamless as possible. December 31st is ideally YOUR deadline to get organized for your tax filing. By taking a little time and getting yourself organized now, you can save yourself loads of money! We've put together this article to try to help make your tax filing as easy as possible.



If you have your very own CPA, this makes things much easier, as they can advise you on all things tax related. For some of us, we don't have a CPA to rely on throughout the year and are left to our own devices to muddle through and learn from our mistakes. It may be worth it to you to have an accountant on hand just for year-end advice, particularly when it comes to your business operations. You need to have a good understanding of your financial situation when it comes to your business. An accountant can be particularly helpful with this, especially around this time of year. It can be a great asset to have when planning your strategy for the new year.


Everyone has different opinions on this, but we recommend to collect on your outstanding accounts before the end of the year, purely for organizational purposes. It's fairly common knowledge by all business owners that companies want to collect on their accounts by end of year to balance their books and prepare for tax season. We all have those clients (you know the ones I'm talking about) that drag their feet paying you. Chances are if they typically drag their feet, they will this time of year as well. So make sure you give your clients a few weeks to get their past due invoices caught up. Feel free to send them a reminder every week if necessary. Some people recommend collecting past due payments during the first week of January, to defer that income to the new year. However, once you begin this habit, it's a hard habit to break. You'll always be rolling over income from the previous year into the new year and that can be a logistical nightmare when trying to keep your books organized.



You should get all of your deductions organized and categorized. The general guideline is to try to spend whatever profit you made for the entire year. You should have been saving all of your receipts and categorizing all of your deductions throughout the entire year. Business deductions include such items as: new headphones, software, client luncheons, training seminars and much, much more!



Have you just been stuffing all of your receipts in a file folder hoping that inevitable day will never come? Well, my friend, the day has come to take them all out and get them organized, so get to it! Also, if you know that you'll be needing goods or services in the first quarter of the new year, now is the time to buy them (if cash flow permits, of course). Stock up on office supplies, pay your bills early, purchase that new office chair you've been eyeing!



Plan for your distant future while helping your immediate future with retirement plans! You can also reduce your claimed income by either setting up or contributing to a retirement fund. Check the contribution limits for your type of plan. In the U.S.: 401(k), KEOGH plan, Roth IRA, or SEP's. (For SIMPLE IRA's the deadline is set in October, too late for year-end tax planning.) This is another topic that would be great to discuss with an accountant.



Taking the time to get organized now will give you time at the end of the month to wrap up any loose ends and focus on more important things this time of year (like enjoying the holidays with your children and family)!



NOTE: This article was not written by a certified CPA or tax preparer. Please check with your personal accountant or tax preparer on all rules and regulations when making all decisions for the tax season.

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tip of the Month: Combat Congestion!


Tis the season; the season for sickness, that is! As we all know, congestion is practically doomsday for voiceover artists. Being that I recently got over a pretty bad cold myself, I decided to write an article on a few methods to combat congestion to help you record on the tougher days. We would love to hear your miracle-cures as well, so feel free to leave us a comment!



Hot shower: A hot shower is a great way to loosen congestion. Bonus points if you use a minty soap to try to help ease congestion as well. Unfortunately, staying in a hot shower for too long can also be drying to your skin, so my hint would be to take a shower and then turn up the water heat and step out of the shower to enjoy the steam. Turn off any vents or fans and let the bathroom really fill up with steam and enjoy it for a few minutes.

Herbal tea with honey and lemon: Many people would recommend drinking an herbal tea, typically with spearmint or chamomile. Personally, this works wonders for me. Many voiceover artists swear by 'Throat Coat' tea, which I use in dire situations but really can't stand the taste of. Lesser known is to drink ginger tea. Ginger is a natural antihistamine, so it will help any inflammation you are suffering from due to congestion. The less inflamed things are, the less congested you'll feel. Try to avoid any tea that contains caffeine (even green tea contains caffeine), stick with herbal.

OTC decongestant: For the most part, I try to avoid taking medicine unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes you just have to so you can function in your daily schedule. Make sure that if you're planning on working, to choose a non-drowsy formula!

Avoid dairy: As many of you know, dairy products can cause your body to produce more mucous than it normally does. In fact, we recommend that our students stay away from dairy products 24-48 hours before recording their demo to cut down on mouth noise produced when dairy is consumed. When you're congested, your body is already producing PLENTY of mucous, so avoiding dairy will help keep your body from producing even more! As an alternative, try soy or almond milk.

Indulge in a spicy, brothy soup: The combination of the steam and the spices really helps open up the sinuses and ease chest congestion. Bonus points on this one if you lean in close to your bowl of soup and breathe deeply to get the full steam-effect!

Metholatum Ointment: Depending on where your congestion is, this can work wonders either below your nostrils or on your chest. It's a temporary relief, but it's a great addition to your congestion combatants.

Gargling with warm water & salt: The salt helps dry out post-nasal drip and the warm water eases a sore throat.

Use a humidifier: Many people complain that bedtime is the worst time when they're suffering from congestion. Most times this is because when we lay down and can't breathe through our nose, we sleep with our mouth open which dries out our throat and causes us to cough. Having a humidifier in your bedroom for when you are ill will help a bit to keep your throat a little more moist.

Keep hydrated: Not only is keeping hydrated good in general for voiceover artists, it's particularly important when you're suffering from congestion. Making sure you have plenty of liquids will help thin out mucous, which will make it easier to pass any mucous you have lingering.

Neti-pot: I'm sure may of you have heard of this contraption already. Personally, I can admit I was a little freaked out by the concept. You get this little teapot-looking thing, add in a solution (provided by the makers of the neti-pot) that contains 2 ingredients, mix with warm water and pour it into one nostril, which it then goes up into the sinuses and out the other nostril. Sounds weird, right?! I thought so, too! After numerous friends of mine gave me rave-reviews of their dealings with this thing, I decided to give it a shot. I have to admit, the thing worked! It takes a bit to get the angle right and you feel really silly while doing it, but for the first time in a week I was able to take a deep breath through my nose without being all stuffed up. I won't hesitate to use this thing again next time I get sick!

Saline nasal spray: This is a great thing to add in between uses with the Neti-pot, or if you don't have a neti-pot or don't want to try using it. It does a great job of clearing up nasal congestion temporarily. Perfect for using right before bed and when you wake up in the morning!



Until the days when scientists find a cure for those pesky viruses, we just have to try to make ourselves as comfortable and functional as possible while our bodies fight off the sickness. Hopefully the hints above will provide you with a few new ideas on how to help with congestion and make you able to record that urgent voiceover job for your favorite client!

Written by:  Bethany Baker      Such A Voice Marketing Director


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet Our Staff: Michelle Falzon

Once a month, Such A Voice will be highlighting a member of our staff to give you a little insight into who they are & what they do here at Such A Voice to help you get to know the people behind-the-scenes!

Meet Michelle Falzon. Michelle was born & raised in Michigan. She lived in Manhattan for a little while but loves the peacefulness of her home in Michigan. "Although I REALLY miss New York, it's so peaceful over here. I live in a wooded area and there are a lot of deer and other wildlife. Sometimes my backyard looks like a National Geographic episode. You really can't beat such naturally beautiful surroundings". Michelle is one of the people in charge of coaching and mentoring our students to develop/refine their talent and to prepare them to record their demos. She also works as a mentor to our students after they have recorded their demos to help them continue with their voiceover careers.

Michelle has a strong passion for the voiceover industry. "I love the creativity behind it. The best thing is when you see the finished product and how all elements of the final production work together. Being able to do it all from home is just the icing on the cake". You can hear her earnest desire to see our students succeed when she begins talking about her coaching with Such A Voice. "Taking students from being a hopeful novice to booking their first, second and third gig is amazing! I love helping students book work. It's also great when you get to watch a student come into their comfort zone. Seeing them bring life to the script after they've been struggling is a wonderful feeling!"

Michelle is most known in her voiceover career as being the voice of the Shake Weight for Women. Just in the past month she has completed an IVR for Frito-Lay, Numerex, a commercial for Connecticut Orthopedic and an anti-bullying PSA.

We were excited to learn more about Michelle!


What are a few of your passions? I thank God that I can say that my work is also my hobby. I truly mean that. I LOVE what I do. When I'm bored, I start creating a new demo for fun. I really enjoy time with my God-daughter, Taylor. I also love nature and wildlife and am a National Geographic fanatic. I have recently turned into a workout junkie. When you work from home, it is easy to get lazy and not get enough exercise. So, I joined a gym and have found that I really like a good workout!

Where is your favorite vacation spot? The island of Malta. Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean, very close to Sicily. It's where my dad was born and I still have strong family ties there. It is absolutely beautiful! And yes, I am 50% Maltese!

What are two foods you absolutely love? Chobani yogurt and ANYTHING Italian.

What/Who is on your playlist right now? One Republic, Flyleaf, Three Days Grace…I love alternative rock.

Do you have any advice for aspiring voiceover artists? Remember that rejection in this very competitive industry is normal, especially in the beginning. If your skin is too thin, you will have a tough time accomplishing anything. Instead of dwelling on rejection, take that time and work at fixing the things that are holding you back. Spend time listening to the demos of people who are doing well. Work on your editing skills and focus on connecting with your client's message. You have to be willing to put in the effort and make a choice to improve rather than quit. Give 100% of yourself to your dream!

Written by:  Bethany Baker      Such A Voice Marketing Director

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Marketing Tip of the Month: Make Time For Face Time!


As voiceover artists, we have the privilege of being able to work from home. I'm sure that many of you, much like myself, are reminded of this privilege by all of your friends that have to commute into an office every day! The voiceover industry has created quite a network online that allows us to connect and form relationships with both clients and other voiceover artists all over the country and world. One of the basic elements of marketing is a facet that so many voiceover artists forgo, simply due to the fact that most of our existence in the industry is within the confines of our home studios! What marketing tactic am I referring to? In person networking! 

There are many ways you can go about networking in person. I've listed a few below, but you'll know what works best for you based on your time, region and community. Another way to practice networking in person is to go to individual businesses and introduce yourself as a voiceover artist, however, this article will be focusing more on a group dynamic of face-to-face marketing.

1) Chamber Mixers/Chamber Events

If you have registered your small business with your local Chamber of Commerce, you should be on their mailing list to receive updates on events that they're holding in your local community. These events are a great place to meet local business owners and let them know about what you offer. Make sure you bring plenty of business cards and even a few demos to hand out if requested!

2) Tweetups/ Other Social Media Events
Social Media Events are events created within social media groups. This might be through Twitter (these are typically reffered to as "Tweetups") or other social media sites you belong to. These events can sometimes be purely for social reasons and sometimes there is an agenda or event planned around the meet-up. This is a great way to attend events that may be hosted by a business you're interested in working with, or it may have a large attendance which would be great for you to network with as well. Pick and choose what work best for you based on your availability and interest level.

3) Voiceover Groups

Most large cities have voiceover groups that offer weekly or monthly gatherings in their area. Networking with other voiceover artists is a great way to build your reputation as a voiceover artist, to find out what clients are already spoken for and to have a connection with people you know you can turn to when you have a question about the industry. Networking with other voiceover artists can also be great to build your client base. For example, if you have local connections in the industry and a client comes to one of those fellow VO artists looking for a voice that matches your niche, you may just get that client passed to you!

Try working in a few events to your marketing plan. The more you attend, the more you'll be at ease networking with new people. Let's face it, clients can connect with a face, conversation and handshake a lot more than they can a phone call or a website! So get out there and MAKE TIME FOR FACE TIME!

Written by:  Bethany Baker      Such A Voice Marketing Director
 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Meet Our Staff: Heather Costa

Once a month, Such A Voice will be highlighting a member of our staff to give you a little insight into who they are & what they do here at Such A Voice to help you get to know the people behind-the-scenes!           
Meet Heather Costa. Heather is originally from Catskill, NY. From there she attended the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in CT where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance. After graduation, Heather relocated to northern NJ for a couple of years to establish herself as a voiceover talent. From there, she spent a few years in Albany, NY and has now settled in the Hudson Valley with her husband and two beautiful children where they are surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards. Heather is a country girl at heart. She loves being surrounded by open spaces and watching the beautiful sunsets over the rolling hills. The Hudson Valley is just a short train ride away from Manhattan, so it's a perfect mix of country and city for their family. When it comes to passion for all things voiceovers, we've yet to meet anyone that can meet Heather's level of enthusiasm for the industry! Some of her clients include: the Disney Channel, Comcast, Infiniti, Playtex, PetSmart, Finish Line, eBay, the Educational Testing Service, Barnes & Noble, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, MVP Healthcare, Chase, Clear Channel, Prentice Hall and many more.        
Heather began her journey with Such A Voice as a student. From there she wore many hats as an instructor within the company and has always been an integral part of the Such A Voice family. She is now the Director of Operations, where she handles a myriad of responsibilities. She oversees all of the staff members at Such A Voice, works directly with the Such A Voice President, Dan Levine, in creating new programs and always making sure that we have the best opportunities for our students. She also makes sure that things run smoothly within the company and that all of our students are happy and succeeding within their programs. Heather let us know that the part that she loves the most about her job is "Getting to focus on all of the details within Such A Voice. It's great having the opportunity to be creative and constantly bettering the services and resources for our students. I also love receiving emails from our students telling me about their wonderful experiences with our coaches and producers and hearing all about the jobs that they've booked!"          
We were excited to learn more about Heather!          
What are a few of your passions? Enjoying life through my children's eyes. Watching them experience things for the first time. There is nothing more amazing! I also love filming & editing home videos and integrating photos within them to create family movies, rollerblading, photography, writing poetry and reading.          
Where is your favorite vacation spot? One of my favorite vacation spots is Boca Raton, Florida. My parents have a time share and I've been going there since I was five for an annual family trip! Now I get to share that with my kids. It's a time to relax and enjoy four generations all together!    
What/Who is on your playlist right now? Adele, Maroon 5, Javier Colon (who is a college friend and the winner of the first season of The VOICE) and Rebecca Correia (my college roommate and amazing musician).    
Do you have any advice for aspiring voiceover artists? Go after your dreams! I am a big believer that if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. Have a plan. Push yourself to reach your goals and always, always have fun!      

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talent of the Month: An Interview with Kathy Poelker

"I have had the pleasure of working with several people from Such A Voice and have found everyone to be very nice and interested in helping me develop this facet of my business."


When Kathy attended an intro-class in the Fall of 2010 with Lisa Foster, it wasn't on a whim. "I've had an interest in voiceovers for about 20 years". Kathy already had quite a successful career that included keynote presentations and consulting to teachers. She also has her company "Look At Me Productions" where she writes, records and publishes children's music. Look At Me Productions has published approximately 60 products for early childhood programs that involve children from birth through age 7. These publications help developing children and children with special needs. "Two of my products are Children's Musical Big Books, which are sing-along/read-along products. I did the voiceovers for both series of books (11 different titles) in both English and Spanish versions. This was the beginning of my voice over interest and a natural extension of my recording work & studio experience".

The intro class was also a great bonding experience with her son, David Lecinski, since they attended together. "The class was fun, lively and exciting. Lisa made the class non-threatening for anyone who had never been on the mic before. She did a great job of giving us plenty of valuable information about the industry and let us know what to expect as working voiceover artists". After attending the intro-class, they both realized they had what it takes to make it in the voiceover industry. They both signed up for coaching with Lisa Foster.

Once Kathy completed her training with Lisa, she picked up additional training with Anne Ganguzza. "I have had the pleasure of working with several people from Such A Voice and have found everyone to be very nice and interested in helping me develop this facet of my business. Dan Levine, CEO, is a wonderful human being and he's been very supportive. I have not only coached with Lisa Foster, but also with Anne Ganguzza, who is delightful and determined as a vocal coach. She made every coaching session interesting and challenging. She really goes the extra mile for her students. Her sessions were very well done and she was prepared for all of them, every week. As an educator, I wanted a 'good coach' and I can say that Anne is absolutely that person."


Kathy's passion for learning definitely helps her out in the voiceover industry. "I would definitely say that my biggest strength is that I love to continually learn new things. A career in VO provides that opportunity. Every day is a day of learning for me. What I love about the VO industry is the challenge it provides. Each project is different; people you work with are different; learning new VO techniques each day is exciting, expanding, and demanding. My weakness is that I want to try it all! All genres are interesting to me, but there aren't enough hours in a day to try them all."

Kathy is happy to report that she has booked numerous jobs! "My first job was a multi-faceted VO job that included a 1 1/2 minute overhead store announcement which I wrote and added a music bed for a chain of five stores in our area. That same music is also being used as their on-hold music for their phone system and on their corporate website. I have repeat business from them in doing their drive-thru ramp recording for all of their stores as their customer greeting! The pay for this bundle of recordings was GREAT! It was a very nice opportunity for me as a first job! It all went well. No surprises."

Once that job was finished, the jobs started coming in very quickly. "A few of the projects include: two TV commercials, a 1.5 minute TV medical program narration/introduction, a 9/11 Memorial Tribute for a video production for a mega-church in our area, robocall advertisements for a publishing company, robocall advertising for a teacher training organization, an online psychology course narration for a university and an online character animation for an education company. Every project is different and unique and a challenge of my vocal abilities!" On top of all of that, Kathy has also been contacted by an audiobook producer for a future audiobook narration!

"One of the most wonderful things I can share in this interview is that each of the jobs I have had have asked me to continue working for them on future projects! All are new clients for me and repeat business is what matters in this industry. When people can count on you - on the way you run your business, your character and your voiceover talent - you're a "go to" person for future work. That adds up to great financial rewards in the long run. You need to be a good listener and give your client what they want!"

Kathy offers a few great tidbits of advice for aspiring voiceover artists. "Remember that 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. Listen to other VO talent, study and read about the industry. Practice, practice, practice and then practice more. Learn from successful industry professionals and don't give up when you think 'it will never happen'. BELIEVE in yourself, and go for it! Be a networker. You can do it! You're in for a great ride!"

We're so proud to have helped you on your journey, Kathy. Congratulations on your success!


Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

Monday, October 24, 2011

Marketing Tip of the Month: Give Back to Your Community!


As voiceover artists, we are always looking for new and creative ways to increase our clientele. One of the easiest ways to do this also has a "feel-good" aspect to it: volunteer your voice to a non-profit, charity or even an event! Donating your time and voice is an excellent way to advertise your talent by promoting a worthy cause. Whether you live in a small town or a large city, there are organizations that would love to have your professional voice promote their message!

There are numerous ways you can volunteer your voice over services. You can offer your voice for PSA's (Public Service Announcements) on the radio or television, you can also find organizations nationwide that need great voices to read local news and events for the blind or reading impaired. Nearly every city and town has a reading program to assist the reading impaired. If you don't love the thought of volunteering your time by spending time in the recording studio, there are plenty of other options. Offer to be a master of ceremonies at an upcoming charity event, read a book for a group of young children at a local library or at a retirement center where their sight might not be the greatest.

One of the most prominent online reading impaired programs is Learning Ally (formerly called "Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic"), which was founded in 1948. Learning Ally serves more than 300,000 K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners. These are people that cannot read standard print due to things such as blindness, visual impairment or a learning disability. LearningAlly has trained volunteers that read textbooks and other literature titles to produce downloadable audio versions. These audio versions are able to be downloaded onto computers, smartphones and specialized assistive technology devices. They currently have more than 6,000 volunteers across the U.S (all statistics according to their website). 



Another great company to volunteer your voice with is Librivox.org. Librivox has volunteers record a variety of different books which allow the visually impaired access to books that they perhaps did not have had access to before. As a volunteer, you can record chapters from novels and practice your narration and acting skills at the same time. You get the added benefit of public exposure being listed on the search engines under the Librivox banner. Not to mention that your recordings will be listened to by possibly hundreds of people. You also have the opportunity to promote yourself and your website at the beginning or end of each recording.

What do you get by volunteering your voice? Besides the warm, fuzzy feeling of giving back to your community, remember that quite a few local businesses also make a point of volunteering their time, products or services to charitable causes. You never know who may be listening! The crowd that you are emceeing for today could bring you a new client or two tomorrow!

Volunteering your voice provides a much-needed service within your local community and even those that need your talent in other parts of the country. Not only will you feel good about helping others, every experience adds to your portfolio, helps keep your technique top-notch and potentially opens the door for new clients. Investing time in your community is an excellent investment for your business.

So log on to your computer, because an organization you’d love to work with is just an easy search away! Help make a difference in the quality of someone’s life by simply doing the work you love.

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

Friday, October 21, 2011

Such A Voice Presents a seminar with the Casting Director for Walt Disney TV Animation!


What voiceover artist hasn't dreamt, at one point, about voicing a project for Disney?! When asking our students what their "dream job" would be, the leading company is always Disney! Which is why we're so excited to have teamed up with Sara Goldberg, the Casting Director for Walt Disney TV Animation! Currently, Sara is casting for shows such as Phineas & Ferb, Fish Hooks and Gravity Falls.

We are hosting a three-hour workshop in Los Angeles with Sara for those that are interested in using their voice for animation. Sara will be discussing how she casts and what you can do to pursue this exciting side of the VO industry! She will also be providing feedback on each students performance.

(NOTE:  This is not a Disney event. It is a Such A Voice event and Sara is doing this for us on her own as an independent contractor.)

For more information and details, please go to: http://www.suchavoice.com/Page/Disney_Seminar

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

Such A Voice Presents a seminar with a Reality TV Casting Director AND a Creative Director from a prominent Ad Agency



If you have the guilty pleasure of watching Soap Operas, you may recognize the face above as Shayne Lewis from the legendary Soap Opera, The Guiding Light, played by Marty West. What you may not know is that Marty is now the CEO of a very successful Reality TV Casting Company, West Casting, and he has cast over 50 reality television shows (including such hits as Deal or No Deal, Millionaire Matchmaker, Tool Academy and many more). He is considered to be one of Hollywood's leading Casting Directors for TV Reality Shows and Game Shows! Due to his firsthand experience in the industry, he understands the pitfalls. He created West Casting to help bring people's dreams to fruition, because he believes everybody deserves a shot.

We are proud to have teamed up with Marty to offer a handful of seminars in different locations nationwide. Marty will appear at each of these locations along with a prominent Ad Agency Creative Director in each city to discuss what Creative and Casting Directors look for when hiring talent. They will also be providing feedback on each students live performance!

For more details, or to find out upcoming dates and locations, please go to: http://www.suchavoice.com/Page/Casting_Seminar

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Working on the Road: Tips to remember when recording away from home.


With holidays approaching in the next few months, I'm sure many of you have prepared to take time off to spend with family in various locations away from home. As you book your flights, make your packing checklist (or is that just me?!) and figure out who's going to take care of your cat while you're away, you also need to decide if this will be a true VACATION or a working one. Yes, it's nice to get away from the mic for a while, but it's also nice to know that you can spend a couple hours during your trip and earn back what you spent to get there! A few of you probably don't put much thought into any potential voiceover jobs that may come in while you're away. To some people, a vacation means NO work whatsoever, others may want to make sure they're available to their clients in case of a last minute job or pickup that's needed and then there are others who choose not to miss out on any VO opportunities and therefore always bring their studios with them, even while on vacation. Below are our tips for making the most of your "time off":

1) Remind your agents and clients of your planned trip. You should notify them about a week in advance and then remind them again the day before you leave, letting them know if they need anything else before you go, to please send it over at that time. You can let them know how you plan to handle jobs while you are away, whether that be that you're completely unavailable, available for emergencies only or available as you always are for any VO job that comes in. Most agents and clients will respect your time off, but you always have to make sure that they know! Then when you return, send them another email to let them know that you're back (even if you already gave them a return date). Some agents/clients will mark you unavailable until they receive that confirmation that you're back and ready to work again. For all of your agents/clients that require you to travel to them for auditions and bookings, even if you plan on taking your studio with you, notifying them in advance of your absence is extremely important.

2) Make sure you're on the same page with your family members and travel companions. After all, this is your vacation. You want to make sure you get ample R&R time, so it's important that everyone is on the same page as to whether you'll be working while away or not. That may mean agreeing that you'll only check correspondence once daily, or only during certain hours of the day, or that you'll still be glued to your smartphone, even while sitting poolside. 



3) Make a separate checklist for your recording equipment. You don't want to arrive at your destination just to realize you've forgotten an integral part of your traveling recording equipment. Simple things like headphones, cables and a light (so you can read scripts in hotel closets if need be) are very easy to forget when you have a whole slew of other things to worry about packing. When preparing for your trip, try to keep in mind what, if any, equipment you will be checking for a flight, versus carry-on, or how much room it might take up in the car if you're taking a road trip. Also keep in mind that if you are flying, any equipment that is carry-on you should be prepared to remove from your bags at the security checkpoint, since a microphone and long XLR cable can be confusing to a TSA agent!



4) Keep your environment in mind. Sometimes you won't be able to handle work efficiently while you're on vacation simply because of your environment. Will you have internet access? Will you have an adequate power source? Will you have sufficient space to record where there isn't any room noise? These are all things to keep in mind when planning your travel and how you're going to handle any jobs while you are away. If you have a portable recording booth, that will certainly help with acoustics in your hotel room, or car (yes, cars are great for recording in!), a closet, or anywhere else you can squeeze yourself into. If you don't have a travel setup, you can certainly create a make-shift studio with hotel pillows, couches, mattresses, curtains, you name it!

5) Take any work in progress with you. You may have to do pick-ups on a job you've already begun working, so make sure you bring anything you're currently working on with you. Also keep in mind that recording in a different space will change the sound and if your home studio mic and travel mic are not the same, it'll obviously affect the sound as well, so you'll have to work around that.

Hopefully these few tips will make it a lot easier for you to record when you're away from home. After all, the happiest clients are the best clients to have and when they're happier, it's much easier to relax and actually ENJOY your vacation!

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Talent of the Month: An Interview with Greg Allen

"I was really nervous when recording my first job, but I was pleasantly surprised when the client accepted it and enthusiastically stated that they liked my voice so much that they'd be contacting me for future projects!"

Greg Allen's love for voiceovers developed very naturally as an offshoot of his love of the radio and broadcasting industry. It all began when was asked to lend his hand at some copywriting. He did such a great job that it led to writing original scripts of his own which, in turn, helped him look further at the process of voicing a spot from start to finish. Like so many voiceover artists, he was immediately hooked!


There was quite a bit of raw talent working in Greg's favor right from the beginning. He has the experience of a radio broadcaster under his belt, along with a naturally wonderful tone to his voice. He also has the ability to express genuine emotion with each and every script, which allows him to really connect with the listener. When it came to his areas in need of improvement, he knew that he would need some help learning the intricacies of the technical side of editing (so he could easily and efficiently be sending jobs out quickly). He also realized that he had the tendency to slip into his "announcer" voice at times (which doesn't work well when voicing a natural sounding script). That's where Such A Voice came in!


Greg credits Such A Voice with really teaching him the importance about being true to himself and his voice as he interprets each script. When it comes to his personal coach, Greg has nothing but wonderful things to say! "Michelle Falzon has been helping me deliver a more natural read instead of sounding like an announcer. She's also helped me to learn A LOT about the editing process. Because of her, I sound much more relaxed and natural as I deliver my reads now. Thanks Michelle!"


Anyone that speaks with Greg can definitely attest to his determination. This is a man that really seems as if he could conquer anything he puts his mind to, he's always up for a challenge. In fact, the one thing he enjoys most about the voiceover industry is the challenge! "I really enjoy matching my read with the director's idea or image of how the spot should be". His inspiring perseverance also comes through in his advice for aspiring voiceover artists: "Stick with it! Don't throw the towel in too soon. Seriously, when I felt that I just wasn't cut out for being in the voiceover industry my first job opened up! So stick with it and put your heart into it because your listener's on the other side of the mic, not just the consumer, but producers and directors can tell that your heart is in it."


Since receiving his demo, Greg has already booked four jobs! His first job was for a software company, which he auditioned for and was pleasantly surprised to find out he had been chosen. "The contact gave me clear, detailed directions for the read and gave me a definite deadline. I was really nervous and felt that I would mess up my first job but I just tried to focus on relaxing and working through it. I was so excited when they accepted it, they even enthusiastically stated that they liked my voice and will be contacting me in the near future for more projects."


We are very excited to see where voiceovers take you next, Greg!