Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How your voiceover coach can help you launch your VO career and take it to heights you never expected!

Almost everyone can agree that a voiceover coach is essential to launching your voiceover career. A voiceover coach will refine your raw talent and help you learn so much about making money by using your voice. Before you even cut your demo, your coach does a great deal to teach you how to interpret and deliver script reads, helps you learn about inflection, breathing and the pace at which to deliver a read and you'll be able to do all of this while still being able to sound conversational and natural in your read. However, so many students discontinue their coaching once they have cut their demo. We're going to discuss ways a coach can help you AFTER you have your demo in hand!

Most voiceover artists I've encountered go into business for themselves. Being in business for yourself or "being your own boss" can be empowering, exhilarating and exciting, but it does come with a myriad of responsibilities. Because you spend a lot of time setting up your business and maintaining the day-to-day work that goes along with it, there may come a time that you think "this is good ENOUGH". This is why coaches are so key in growing your voiceover business!

One-on-one coaching allows you to tailor the sessions to focus specifically on what you're struggling with. That is what's so great about one-on-one coaching versus group coaching, you don't have to listen to everyone else's problems and questions. The last thing you want is to sit there and wait patiently to ask the specific questions you have just to get a quick response before the coach moves on to the next student! Are you struggling with a script for a job you recently landed? Your coach can help you with that. If you're trying to submit an audition, a coach can work with you to make sure you submit the best audition possible. Does your marketing seem to be leading to a dead end? A coach can give ideas and pointers as to where your marketing plan is falling flat and tell you where to make changes. It really all depends on what you need to focus on.

If you're finding you're starting to doubt your basic talents, you won't be given time to dwell on your doubts. Instead your coach will shift your focus towards how to work to overcome these doubts and gain confidence to squash them completely. You will be forced to look at the big picture logically, instead of letting your emotions get in the way and cloud up your judgment.

When it comes to reviewing your business plan, a voiceover coach is one of the most reliable people to provide a no-nonsense, unbiased point of view about the details of this plan. They can analyze where you are thriving in your business and they will figure out where you're struggling. From there, they provide advice on how to overcome these hurdles. After all, your coach is already established in this industry. They know the industry far better than asking a spouse or friend advice on how to grow your VO business. Your coach provides a completely different insight than your own for doing things in your business, things that you might have never thought of on your own.

Your coach will encourage you to take your business to the next level, to the place you always wanted your business to be (but didn't know quite how to get it to that point). You will work with your coach to determine where you see your business in 1, 5 or even 10 years from now. Your coach will help you keep your focus and make sure you're on task with these goals you have set for yourself. Coaches do a great job of breaking down the larger goals into smaller tasks for you to accomplish. This helps to make your "ultimate goal" seem a lot less daunting and a lot more feasible.

A coach is a great way to grow your business in ways you would have never thought possible. When you think about it, there are quite a few professions that rely on coaches to mold their career and make sure it stays in the top of it's game (singers, athletes, etc.). If you want to have a successful career in voiceovers and are struggling to figure out where to go after you have your amazing demo in hand, coaching is well worth the investment to see your dream come to fruition!

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meet Our Staff: Lisa Foster

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 Lisa Foster. Lisa has been in the voice over and media broadcast industry for over twenty years. She has been fortunate to record with such household names as: Ford, Crest, Sesame Communications, Active Network, Microsoft, Sleep Train and many, many more! Lisa is one of the people in charge of coaching our students to develop/refine their talent and to prepare them to record their demos as well as going into the studio to produce them! She also teaches our introductory classes. Lisa is the type of person that always manages to make people smile when they're interacting with her. She really brings out the fun side of VO's and admits that her favorite part of working at Such A Voice is when the student has fun. "There is nothing like it, it opens them up to the whole process of polishing their product. When they let go and have fun, it's such a great thing to see!" Her sense of humor and friendly demeanor really make you feel like you're learning from a dear friend and not a "teacher". Lisa is based on the west coast in the gorgeous city of Seattle, WA.

We were excited to talk more with Lisa Foster:

What are a few of your passions?

I'm always searching high and low for unique vintage jewelry. My favorite things to collect are cocker spaniel brooches and rhinestone necklaces from the 50's. The brooches are really hard to find, but that makes the hunt for them (and the discovery of finding one) all that more exciting. I love the necklaces because they are so fun and beautifully made (who doesn't love the sparkle of rhinestones?)!

The collection of cocker spaniel brooches leads me into my next obsession, which is my love for dogs! I am madly-obsessed-in-love with my beautiful cocker spaniel, Daisy. I cannot remember a time in my life where I didn't have a dog or multiple dogs. They bring me so much joy and comfort. There is nothing like coming home and having someone so excited to see you that they can't contain their happiness!

I am also a crazy gardener. I once dug up and moved a dogwood tree 3 feet, just so I could make a nicer flower planter area around it! I always seem to be moving plants around like furniture.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere that has a quiet beach sounds great to me! I find the sound of water very relaxing and enjoyable.

What's on your playlist right now?

I'm currently obsessed and listening to Adele, Schuylar Fisk, Fine Frenzy and Ingrid Michaelson. I highly recommend you add these artists to your playlist!

Do you have any advice for aspiring voice-over talent?

Allow yourself to PLAY! You will discover SO much more about your own, unique talent if you give yourself room to play and discover the amazing things you can do with your voice.

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director