Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Talent of the Month: An Interview with Allenda Harris

"Make sure you have a solid marketing plan in place and that you're diligent because voiceover jobs ARE out there, they're everywhere!"

Allenda's family and childhood friends would probably describe her as the type of child that was always able to get an entire audience to give her their full attention simply by speaking. To this day, even while having a simple phone conversation with her, there is something compelling and almost addicting about the tone and inflection of her natural speaking voice. There is just something about Allenda's voice that makes you smile! "I was the one who picked up a book of prose and began reciting the words on the page aloud, as if there was a crowd of people in front of me hanging onto every dramatic inflection in my voice". When given the opportunity to actually perform in front of a big audience, Allenda started to realize that she was always given the largest number of words or lines to speak aloud.

Her first job, like so many teenagers out there, was at a supermarket. She was promoted quickly from cashier to customer service. One day, she was asked to say something over the loudspeaker to entice people to buy a new product that wasn't selling well. She quickly came up with a script off the top of her head and announced it over the loudspeaker. To her surprise, customers rushed to pick up the product she was advertising. The product sold out in roughly 5 minutes and her manager couldn't believe it! "I knew in my gut there was something more to this 'voice thing'".

Allenda went on to college and decided she could use her voice to become a news reporter. It was clear in her mind, even after receiving her degree, that she enjoyed using her voice in an already written piece of copy more than actually writing the piece herself. She quickly brushed off the idea, thinking that there was no way that there could be a career that consisted of only using her voice itself.

Years later, while browsing her local college catalog, Allenda came across the Such A Voice introductory class on the industry of voiceovers. She realized by the description that voiceovers were exactly what she was thinking of when she was dreaming of using her voice as a career. When she attended the class, Allenda knew she had made the right decision!

"I worked with Rob Sciglimpaglia in my class as well as throughout my training. His manner, disposition and teaching style were all excel

lent for student learning. He was the expert, but very much approachable, encouraging and open to questions". Like many people that attend our introductory classes, Allenda had a great time behind the mic in the class and collaborating with fellow attendees to read commercials. "I felt at peace that my speaking abilities found a new home in the voiceover industry."

Allenda is fortunate to have a well-rounded list of experience ranging from directing and producing live special events to producing short CD and DVD advertising segments (and voicing the majority of these projects). She is also able to relate incredibly well to clients on both sides of the table largely because of this experience. "I understand the clients perspective of 'wanting to have it right' and the perspective of the clients representation of 'needing to get it right.'" She realizes that she does tend to push herself a bit too much at times. "It doesn't matter if it's five hours or fifty hours, I will go without eating or sleeping if it's necessary to get the job done. If it needs more practice, more research, more editing, I'm your lady!"

Allenda probably gained the most knowledge on the marketing side of the voiceover industry. "I learned from Rob that I must not ever become complacent in marketing my voice/my brand. Voiceover jobs ARE out there, they're everywhere!" Allenda's marketing plan began with her professional training that she received at Such A Voice, following up with the resources and opportunities that Such A Voice had to offer as well as other resources online. She knew she wanted to set up a home studio, so she did her research to find out what would work best for her and the space she had designated for her work area. It was also very important to her that her print materials and website would be both aesthetically appealing and functional for the best return on her investment. "Of course, one doesn't need these things to get started. For me, all of this was part of my plan". In a session with Lisa Foster, she realized that all of her hard work was paying off and headed in the right direction. "I'm grateful to the entire Such A Voice staff for their excellent guidance, availability and helpfulness at each phase of my journey!"

What's her piece of advice to students pursuing this industry? "The bi-weekly teleconferences have provided me with a wealth of knowledge from people that are experts in the industry and willing to share their knowledge and experience with you. The coaching is strong, organized and competitive for anyone interested in doing voiceovers."

Final thoughts from Allenda: "As Mike Turnbull says in 'The Business of Show Business', it's mandatory to realize that voiceovers are a business like any other. You must have a plan to work and work that plan. Take time to put a focused plan down on paper because it helps your mind to think through potential obstacles and solutions. It also reminds you that your dream is worth the effort. The bottom line is that you should have fun and enjoy yourself. Go for it with everything you've got to work with!"

We can't wait to hear where your dream takes you next, Allenda!

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

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