“The method” and voice over acting

if you’re an actor, then you know of “the method”. I’ll sum up what “the method” is In case you don’t know what it is.

“the method” is used in onscreen acting and some people believe it is why Heath Ledger died. How could something kill you? Well, it is a way of living, that is if you take it that far. Basically, you become the character you are performing. However your character feels or thinks, you think. If you must be really sad, then think of something really depressing to get into that mindset.

How do I apply this to voice overs? Simple. When I look at a script, I don’t read it, I become it! Every feeling I feel, this is when I start the voice over session, well, I am the character no matter how insane or happy that character is. The second I am done recording the script I get out of “the method” and sometimes have to take a break to feel like myself again. The method is all about emotions and can be quite hard on your mind, that is if you go as far as to live the character you are performing.
Earlier I mentioned Heath ledger. He got into being ‘the joker’ so much that he ended up dying. His death had to do with overdosing, but it was because he couldn’t sleep.

I would say not to become a character all day, just for a few minutes before the script. If you have an eight hour recording session, Then whenever you get a break, stop the method and once you are done for the day go do something that is totally you. If you had to be really depressed go do something cheerful.

Use the method at your own discression. I don’t always use it, because sometimes it isn’t applicable, but I do use it when applicable.

Social Media for your career: The step by step guide

I have several friends who are in the Entertainment Industry. All of them don’t have a clue where to began when it comes to Social media, or better known as Social Networks. There is Twitter, Facebook, and linkedin, just to name a few. I will cover how to get more publicity across Twitter and Facebook in this post.

I know people are busy, so they don’t have time to post to every Social network. But what if one posting could go to multiple Social Networks? Guess what, you can. I will also cover the power of linkedin, why you should tweet at people who should tweet you, proper usage of twitter, proper usage of facebook, everything you need to know to get a good head start in the game.

First off make a Facebook fan page( I am assuming you already have a Facebook).  First off I will cover how to use your facebook fanpage or how to make a fanpage.
1. If you are already logged into Facebook, click here to make your fanpage. When you make your fanpage make sure it is very Descriptive like mine. You need to mention in the title your career like, for example Sams Glam Hollywood Makeup.

Now that you have designed your Facebook fanpage what do you do? Well, first off you want to connect it to your twitter account, so all your status updates will appear on twitter. This feature saves you a lot of time. If you don’t have a twitter account, I’ll come back to this later.
Post important status updates to your facebook fan page like when a music video is coming out, when a song is coming out, or to raise hype tell people ahead of time that a song  or music video is coming out in, oh a month. When your song, music video, Voice Over, Acting, etc. is online for the world to see give links so people can see it and if applicable download it.
How do I get people to like my facebook page?

Well, you could email your friends and family and ask them to like it, but that doesn’t really help get out who you are to new people. Their are two  answers to this question  Twitter and hooking Facebook into your Website. I’ll consider posting a blog about hooking your site into facebook if I get enough comments asking me too.

Now onto twitter.
Sign up for twitter by clicking here or log into your account.
First off, I need to explain what twitter is. Twitter allows you to compose 140 character postings which are referred to as tweets. When you tweet, you can let people know what you ate for breakfast, although that is quite trivial, what you are doing with your career, appearances that people should plan to watch or when a music video is going to come out. The thing to understand about twitter users is that they want to know what you are doing with your career. Why? Because more than likely they follow you because of the career you are in or some other reason that tickled their fancy. You have to be careful how much you put on twitter, so stick to being very professional. When you compose a tweet that isn’t coming from facebook, make sure that it is descriptive, yet short. Like “I just did a voice over for….”, although, if you have signed a Non Disclosure Agreement and are filming a movie or even a TV show you have to be very careful what you put.

Always keep tweets 120 characters short, so they are easier for people to retweet. Retweeting is basically quoting what someone said that you liked and you want everyone that follows you to see it.

People like to add their own words to a retweet like “cool!” or “too bad!”. Depending on what site you are viewing twitter from the retweet may show their username as RT @enteranamehere. So remember, descriptive, but short so it can be retweeted.
Twitter does have a retweet button, but people still like editing retweets, so remember no more than 120 characters if you want it to be retweeted.

Now onto hashtags. What is a hashtag? a hashtag or # sign is a really cool thing to use and is beneficial to your career. If I searched twitter for #voiceover everyone who had posted a tweet with the word #voiceover will show up. While you can search for the words voice over without the hash tag, you will get tons of stuff  that has no relation to the subject that you are looking for. So if I was to say “hey did you hear my #voiceover on…?” everyone who searched that tag would see it. If you want to see people pretending to write a tweet in some famous persons voice #voice over is fine. If you want to see only Voice Over jobs just use this link to the twitter timeline http://twitter.com/#!/search/voice%20over%20jobs

Trending topics sometimes can be important; but usually they have nothing to do with your career. The more a word or hashtag is tweeted the higher chance there is that it will become a trend. Recently the name Ted Williams was trending, because he is a Voice Over Artist who was homeless and made some decisions that impacted his life and career. he was recently rediscovered and  is now doing voiceovers for kraft macaroni and cheese among many other companies. Needless to say he is no longer homeless. I tweeted a couple times about Ted Williams, because I was sick of some narcistic arrogant people saying he only got voice over jobs because he was homeless and that they were going to be homeless so they could get jobs. They failed to realize that he had previously been a voice over actor and had put time and money into it.

I like to tweet helpful things for other voice over actors, like a cold remedy so you can do Voice Overs with a cold. I was very surprised that amber at voicebank.net wrote the    majority of an article around my tweet. Anything you tweet on twitter may be used on other sites and people may use them as quotes like amber did with my cold remedy.  So if you tweet something negative, remember it may come back to haunt you.

Since I don’t want to write a lengthy article on something that facebook has a  a link that explains how to  hook your facebook fanpage to twitter better than I probably could. They also have a page on hooking twitter into your site.

Quick Twitter tip: I am wrapping up this blog post, but please Remember that If you tweet trending words that aren’t in a sentence form and relate to your career, it is seen  as spam. People may unfollow you for this.

Are Voice Overs right for you? If so, where do you start?

Recording your voice at home for 30 seconds and making $100-200 for doing it sounds like a get rich quick job doesn’t it? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but Voice Overs isn’t a Get Rich Quick Job. It takes dedication, passion, and most importantly talent.

My friends like my voice, so why shouldn’t I be in Voice Overs?
Well your friends may like your voice, but will the world like your voice? That is a very important question you have to ask yourself. What type of voices can you do? What type of accents can you do? These are a couple questions that you may want to ask yourself.

I’ve heard about Voice Over Coaching. I don’t need that do I?

Please, please do not record your voice and try to get into Voice Overs WITHOUT a Voice Over Coach. These Coaches are in the business to listening to voices and knowing what works and what doesn’t. I had the most unfortunate luck last night to see some daft chap tweet a talkshow with their phone number and a link to their Voice Over page. Since this person tweeted a big talkshow they must be great at Voice Overs, so  I went to their Website clicked on their video and left within 5 seconds of listening to the video.

It was clear that this dude had no training in Voice Overs and had just grabbed a camera and posted a video on Youtube. For your sake and those who listen and or watch your sample don’t do this. I know of a great school called VoiceTrax West in Studio City,CA that I personally have attended and will be attending again soon that has some amazing coaches!
What does a coach do?

A good  coach will asses your voice and if you ask will tell you, if you even have a chance at a career in Voice Overs after listening to your voice for a while. Wait a month or so before asking that question, because your voice will hopefully reach new areas  that you never thought were possible within that month.

I’ve read that all people need to do is buy a microphone to make it. Is this true?
No, you need training before buying a microphone. The most popular Microphone for those who are new to Voice Overs or just want an inexpensive good microphone is the USB snowball which is around $90.
NOTE: Last I read this microphone will not work on linux based machines like ubuntu.
Here are some extra tips that will hopefully help you out
tip one: The microphone is your best friend and at first your worst enemy. It can tell when you are lying, when you are sad, mad, angry, what ever emotion you are conveying with your voice it will pick it up.

Tip 2:

When you record a voice over about how wonderful a car is, where are you? Who are you? What is your motivation? Who the heck are you speaking too? Are you talking to a person or a goose?  Just like onscreen acting you need to know all these things. I would like to note that I read an article which covered this on voices.com or voice123.com. I am just giving you the basics of what I read and adding some of my own flair to it.
If you don’t know who you are talking too, or what your motivation is, no one will believe you because your best friend the Microphone lets everyone hear every single tremble and mess up in your voice.

To overcome this issue think of the microphone as your friend, your dog, whoever fits the part for who you need to be talking too. By thinking about the Microphone that way, you are giving yourself a major advantage.

tip 3: I’ve heard and seen a lot of people afraid of their script. It is just a piece of paper or on a computer screen. It can’t bite you, it can’t kill you, so what are you afraid of? If you think of it like that, you should feel less afraid.

tip 4: Stay in character at all times?

Do you think the Voice of Homer Simpson gets paid 250 thousand dollars per episode, because he reverts back to his normal voice while recording? No, he gets paid that much because the show has been going for 25 years and he stays in character. he is Homer. He is his character. When you audition you should think like your the character, and everything that the character is doing is what you are doing and you should react the way the character reacts. Everything is real. The pain, the sorrow, the excitement, the sadness, it all has to sound real or someone else will probably get the job.

Oh by the way, Don’t get your hopes up about making the type of money the guy who does Homer Simpson makes. As far as I know,  he is the person who makes the most money per episode than anyone else for doing a characters voice on a TV show. Typical pay for a 30-60 second radio spot is $100 – $200.

You should definitely contact your local colleges and see if anyone needs a Voice Over for their independent film  and do it for free. That way you have helped out a student and helped out your portfolio.

Well I think this is enough info for one blog post.

If you need a Voice Over Actor, visit my site www.ryansatterfield.com and listen to my samples. I am recording my Animation Demo very soon.

I’ll cover what a demo is in my next blog entry.

Voice Over Actor survival guide

When you are in the business of Voice Overs you never know when you will be auditioning. You could be eating dinner, get an email from a job saying you got a part we need this recorded and sent to us in an hour.  Since this is the case you need to  make sure your voice is in the right condition to record a Voice Over at all times that is why I’ve written some tips to help you out.

Tip Number one: If you auditioned for a part and are hoping for a callback or are on break from an audition, don’t drink milk! Milk is like Voice Over doomsday. It makes your voice sound yucky to put it mildly. I recommend to always have a bottle of water on you at all times. I stick with water, even though you can drink a lot of juices that won’t mess up your Voice Over voice.

Tip Number two:
Have you ever performed a theater play and had butterflies in your stomach the night of the first performance? While “butterflies” or nervousness is a natural reflex for the human body when performing you can’t let even the tiniest hint of it resonate in your voice, because the Microphone will pick it up and you won’t get the part. Instead of being nervous think about where you are, who you are, who you are talking too, why you are talking to them, what your motivation is, are you supposed to be a  dog or sound emotionless? These are all things you should know when you walk into the Voice Over booth or even your own Home Recording studio. How can these help you from being nervous? You are occupying your mind by thinking through your performance, which in turn makes you less nervous because you feel more prepared. If that doesn’t help you read my third tip.

Tip Number three:
The Microphone is your friend. When you talk to your friend he or she can tell when you are lying or nervous. So can the Microphone. Your friend can also tell when you are happy, sad, angry, upset, excited, tired, or any other emotion. So can the Microphone.

Every Microphone you use is truly your best friend in Voice Overs, because not only does it know your voice inside and out it is a visual aid that can help you replace that it is a microphone in your mind and think about a real friend you have and pretend the microphone is that person. You aren’t going to be nervous talking to your best friend are you? I’d hope not.

tip four:
I’ve read on twitter and met  people who are scared of their script. What is so scary about your script? Did it grow eyes and legs and try to attack you? NO, because it is only a piece of paper. It can’t harm you, you are only harming yourself by being afraid of it.
tip five:

Put your all into the Voice Over you are recording, but don’t record a Voice Over that is uncomfortable for your voice, because you are hurting your voice and you have a higher chance of booking that job. It is not worth ruining your voice just to book one job. You may think “this is a small role it won’t hurt if I do this raspy voice that hurts.” Small roles can turn into big roles, actually I would say in at least every show I’ve watched one minor character has become a main character or at least a character whose voice is heard every couple episodes.

Okay, so good luck and say hi to your friend mic. I will be writing plenty of more entries, so stay tuned.

If you need any extra Voice Overs  please  visit my site and listen to some of my samples. You can always leave a message or chat with me live via my site!