Thursday, February 2, 2012

Talent of the Month: An Interview with Mike Slemmer

"My first paying job came only 3 months after getting my demos!"


Growing up making films since he was a child, Mike Slemmer has always had a creative side to him. He always had this regret that he didn't pursue an education in the entertainment business. He is very happy that voiceover work enables him to realize his passion for making a mark in entertainment. In fact, since he graduated from the Such A Voice program, he even managed to book on-camera work!

Mike began his journey into voiceovers in the 1980's in Dallas. Although he loved it from the very beginning, he had to put it on the back burner once his software sales career took off. He always knew that he would want to come back to voiceovers at some point, but didn't know when he would find the time to perfect his talent. After many years and hearing many people tell him what a great voice he had over and over again, Mike decided to give voiceovers another shot.

The fact that Such A Voice taught the BUSINESS of the voiceover industry is what Mike appreciated the most. While realizing that the technique coaching and the demo recording were crucial to launching his voiceover career, Mike feels that he learned the most in the marketing aspect of his training. "The marketing material provided by SuchA Voice on how to market yourself and build a business in this industry is critical to voiceover success. Between the materials in the Members Only Area, the live bi-weekly training series, the coaching sessions and my own sales & marketing experience, I have many great ideas for making my voiceover brand (The Voice of Authority) stand out in this industry!" Mike also received in-depth guidance on the technical side of voiceovers by signing up for Pro Tools training with Such A Voice. "The post-production department's ongoing support and willingness to help with my recording questions has been super!"

Mike's strong, resonant voice is definitely his biggest strength. He has a wonderful range and vocal variety. Top that off with strong business management (specifically a sales and marketing background) and you have a wonderful recipe for success. He has constructed a marketing plan and diligently works on that plan to refine and adjust it as necessary to push himself further every day. He realizes that his voice is his career, therefore making sure that he is always working on refining his talent. "My range isn't where it ultimately needs to be if I'm going to get the big jobs I'm looking for. I'm focusing on vocal variety, phrasing and generally just learning to let go a bit more. I have taken a voice acting class, individual coaching and I'm also reading a variety of books on voice acting to help give me the competitive edge in the industry."

Since graduating from the Such A Voice program in November of 2010, Mike has booked quite a few jobs. The first job he landed was recording a book for a colleague of his, Bev Flaxington. The title of the book is "Understanding OtherPeople: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior." Mike was nice enough to offer a discount to Such A Voice students or followers by clicking the title above to place your order! Although Mike wasn't paid for this job, it helped him practice recording, editing and completing all of the post-production for an audiobook. A blind buyer called to say it was the best audiobook read he'd ever heard. On top of all of that, it ended up leading to paying jobs! Concurrently with working on the audiobook, he was cast to read a book trailer for an internet promotion of the book. "I booked the job by cold calling the president of Trailer to the Stars (which does trailers for TV, movies and books). They had email solicited Beverly to do a trailer on her book, which she forwarded to me. I called the president and asked if she kept a file of VO demos, which she did. I sent over my demo and a few hours later I got a call from her letting me know that she loved my voice and had a script for me!"

Mike was most impressed with the fact that he received a complete education about all things voiceover related while working with Such A Voice. He encourages aspiring voiceover artists to remember the 3 legs of the stool to success "#1-VO practice and submitting auditions. Remember, you cannot win if you do not play. I recommend becoming a premium member of at least one of the voiceover sites (Mike's personal preference is Voices.com). Even if I don't get the gig, it's still great practice to record a script, completing the editing and submitting the audition. #2-Marketing and selling. Cold calling creative directors at production companies and advertisers has worked well for me. I make sure I always follow up. Of course I also advise using all social media avenues and have personally found prospects through social media. I launched a podcast for the business, which is gaining subscribers and lets me showcase my voice work. #3-Technical knowledge. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Have your equipment, learn how to use it and be efficient in doing so." Mike goes on to add another leg to the stool of success "#4-Always be learning. Look for books, classes and additional training. One last thing, don't think you're going to be a huge success overnight simply because someone said you have a fantastic voice. Constant learning and improvement, as well as learning how to be a voice actor is the critical component to your success."

Cheers to you, Mike. We can't wait to hear what you book next!

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

1 comment:

  1. Great to hear about a guy who's seen this kind of success in the voiceover industry. The 3 legs of the stool analogy is definitely a useful teaching tool - I'll remember that one

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