Become a voice over actor— not that simple.

I’ve seen people make voice over acting sound like a get quick rich scheme, make it sound super easy if you pay 600.00 for our training courses, none of this is true. First off, I love voice overs and acting. I am dedicated to my craft, but just like arts and crafts some people can do things that others can’t. I am not trying to say that you can’t be a voice over actor, no, I am saying that you may not be able to be a voice over actor. I am reiterating this, but if you want to read more about this true fact check out my post covering what voice overs aren’t.
Now that you’ve read that post lets discuss trying to Become a voice over actor. The most critical thing to a successful career— or any career for that matter is training. In voice overs it is called coaching. Before choosing a coach try to attend a workshop with them, before attending the workshop look at their imdb profile and see how much experience they have. It is important to note that not everything we do is put onto the imdb. I haven’t put any of the commercials or video game work I’ve done on there, but I will put the best work I’ve done on their soon. It is said that at least a year of coaching is  necessary before making the biggest step in your voice over career that can make or break you— recording your demo. Recording a demo is like a quarterback prepared to win the super bowl, if he goes out there with everything he’s got than he has a good chance of doing well, if he goes out there, but doesn’t know what a football even is, well I think you get my point. The same goes with voice overs, you need to know more than just what are voice overs, you need to know your pigeon hole, everything you can do within that hole and if you’re voice sounds good enough to compete with hundreds of thousands of other voice over actors. How many people are in the pigeon hole I am in? 5. This is so rare, that it basically doesn’t happen. That’s why their is only 5 of us.

You will need to get yourself good equipment. I recommend the blue snowball. It is 80 to 90 bucks and the results are really good. It is the most recommended microphone for voice over actors who are starting out. Now, what editing program do you have? Audacity is recommended by some in Hollywood—- but that’s cause it is free. If you want to get a gig don’t use audacity. Don’t get me wrong, it has it’s place, just not for pro voice overs. I’ve heard a few recordings and immediately think to myself “man they hired someone using audacity.” this program tries to remove background noise, but last time I checked it still wasn’t cutting it for pro grade use. I recommend you getting a 30 day FREE trial of adobe SoundBooth and book some gigs. So, this is a super basic look at becoming a voice over actor. There is no guarantee you’ll make it, you have to be really talented or have a real unique voice to really make it. That announcer voice does not sell anymore. Anyways I’ll post a More in-depth article later when I am not writing from my phone.

Voice Over Acting– is it really a get rich quick scheme? What does it take to be a Voice Over Actor?

The answer to the question is Voice Over Acting a get rich quick scheme, the answer is No, no it is not. A red flag should go up in your mind when someone claims something is a “Get  rich quick job”.   Voice Over Acting is a highly reputable career, but it isn’t a get rich quick scheme. What is Voice Over acting? Voice Over Acting is the voice you hear on Commercials, Video Games, trashcans, toilets, websites, On Hold machines, the “Press 1 to talk to” recordings, etc. Yes, there really are talking trashcans and toilets.

I feel that it would be best if I discussed The DON’TS of Voice Over Acting and the possibility that you may not have a career in it.

Voice Over Acting
is so much fun that I personally don’t see it as a job. What do you need to be a Voice Over Actor?  What you do need or at least really helps is real talent and passion, actually without talent you should just give up, because let’s face it if you don’t have talent, how can you be voice over talent? So all your friends tell you that you should do voice overs cause you have a great voice. That’s nice, but do you have a voice for Voice Overs? Unless your friend is a Voice Over director or a Voice Over Actor, they more than likely don’t know what they’re talking about.

I have listened to so many  Voice Over recordings and one in particular has stuck in my head because of how sad it was. The person put their voice  online in a video. I turned it off within ten seconds of turning it on, because it was horrible. I honestly felt really bad for the person. They truly thought they had talent, when I could not see any talent  in what they presented online.   Only an expert Voice Over Coach should tell you if you really have talent, but as a Voice Over Actor I hear a lot of voices and know which ones are totally wrong or that there are already a million people who sound exactly like that.

If you haven’t had any Voice Over Lessons with a well known coach and you haven’t talked to your coach about putting your voice online, you would be better off not  putting your voice online.

An honest Voice Over Coach will tell you if you have a possible future in Voice Overs.

Voice Over Fact: 17,000 people in the Los Angeles area alone are in Voice Overs. So ask yourself, do you really have what it takes to fight such a fierce competitive market? What sets you apart? What gives you that edge that very few people have?

I hope this posting helped you understand Voice Over Acting a little, or at least what Voice Over Acting isn’t. I will have to write long postings hitting each question in complete detail that I often hear to really clear up all of the misconceptions of the marvelous world of Voice Overs.

I am not trying to keep anyone from trying out for a career in Voice Overs, I am just trying to prepare you for the reality of what it is and isn’t and it ISN’T a get rich quick scheme, because those are all scams.

If you have any comments, questions, or want me to write about something, let me know!!

Voice over audition submissions- Voice Over client hears what you hear or more

this will be a much shorter entry than usual. I want to emphasize on something I am sure you already know, but in case you don’t or have forgotten it this post will help. Have you ever sent in a Voice Over audition that you thought was great, but you didn’t land the job? Yeah, that happens to all of us, but we can make that happen less if we do four important things before submitting the audition.
#1 make sure you fit the Voice Over audition requirements. If they want you to do a commercial as an average Joe, but youre used to being a kangaroo or a squirrel, then this may not be the fit for you.

#2 do they offer enough compensation or are you used to more?

#3 you recorded the audition and cleaned it up. Take a break, come back 15 minutes later and listen to it again. You might hear your voice fall out of character or background noise that escaped you last time you listened.
#4 do you believe what you are saying? Remember that any mistake, inflection, background noise will be heard by your prospective employer. This may not feel like a job to us who love it, but it is and the person on the other side looks at it as such.

Anyways, I hope that helps!

Blue- a company who cares

Everyone who has read my latest blog posts know that my blue snowball microphone broke. I live very close to blue hq, so I called and told them of the problem. I went through everything they said, but due to the rare issue they replaced it for free. I could have mailed it in, but I drove it there instead. It took two minutes for the supervisor to test my microphone and get the same problem as I did. He gave me a new microphone and now I am back in business. Blue snowball is the number one most recommended microphone in Hollywood for those who haven’t made it big yet. It is inexpensive for such a great USB microphone. The quality is great! I wouldn’t need to do much cleaning if I built a box to prevent echoing around my snowball.
In this day and age I feel it necessary to say that I WASN’T paid to write this, in fact I didn’t even tell blue that I had a blog. I honestly express what I think about products. I’ve gotten companies mad at me before, really mad, but that hasn’t stopped me from expressing my opinions.

Creating a professional Voice Over with iPhone 4 Microphone

I previously wrote an article on how my Blue Snowball was broken and that I am currently stuck with only my iPhone Microphone. I also said that I was going to attempt to do Voice Overs with it and tell you how it went. The Voice Over went fine, besides all of the static and noise I heard through my Bose headphones. You should know that you never, ever send in a Voice Over that has an ounce of background noise, because, well, they won’t hire you and even if you do send them a professional Voice Over demo later on down the road they might not listen to it.
So, how did I make my iPhone Voice Over sound professional? I used Adobe Soundbooth. I used the pop and click filter, noise filter, rumble filter, but it still didn’t sound good enough to send in. I then used the mastering filter. I used the fix low muddy end filter, fix hiss filter, fix high peaks, and fix mids. Now I have an amazing professional sounding Voice Over recorded on my iPhone 4! I used the iPhone because it had a microphone, the quality of the microphone wasn’t great for Voice Overs, Adobe Soundbooth is what made it sound so great!

If you have any questions on how to do this just tweet @actorryan or leave me a comment and I will respond.

Help our fellow japan voice over actors

Everyone knows of the ongoing crisis in japan. I personally, have a friend that lives in japan. I started thinking about how so many games, tv shows, and other projects that use voice overs are made in japan. The amount of video games alone that come from japan is astounding. When games come to the USA they need someone who speaks English to redo the voice, so basically japan voice over artists are responsible for creating a need for voice over dubbing here in America.
While you should donate to the red cross and make sure you select the japan disaster without having to read my blog post, this might make you realize that voice over actors just like you need help. I read my cousins blog www.mediatinker.com on what is happening in japan from someone who lives in japan. Tokyo is running low on food, but some areas like sendai need the basics like water!
Now that I’ve pointed all of this out, I hope you will donate to the red cross so people in japan will receive the support they need.
If you want you can tweet @actorryan to tell me if you donated or what you think of this blog post.

UPDATE:
I linked to the red cross of americas official website and to the page where you can click to donate to the japan earthquake and tsunami relief.

3 beautiful worlds

As most people know this is a guide to Voice Overs, but when it comes to acting there is so much more than just Voice Overs. There are two other “worlds”. Live Theater and On Screen Acting. While all of these sound almost exactly the same, THEY AREN’T! How would I know? I am just a Voice Over Actor right? Wrong. I have been doing live theater acting off and on for more than a decade. I am also working on a youtube short video. I will explain how these worlds are different. Voice Overs you are always on a microphone and you  you don’t want to over project your voice, in theater you have to over project your voice. Most people don’t have the luxury to have a microphone on them during live stage theater, sometimes the leads do, but they still have to project! Another big Difference between Theater and Voice Overs is a live audience. Tonight I performed in the play ‘Oliver!’ for a pretty big crowd. Quick plugin: if you want to catch the play ‘Oliver!’  come to Camarillo Community theater Friday 8 pm , We have a one time only special 2 pm matinee on Saturday Feburary 26th   and  our regular 8 pm show, we are also doing are  regular two pm matinee on Sunday.   Don’t know where Camarillo Community Theater is? It is located by the Camarillo Airport,  If you would like you can say you’ve come to see Ryan (helps me out with a contest). are last day of performing is March 13th! Okay that is enough of the plugin and disclosure. Back to actual blog talk.

So, how is a theater script different than a Voice Over script? Wow, well when you are doing a Voice Over you may read your script in theater you have to have it memorized, know when to do what and when your cue is.  Live Theater and Onscreen acting sound the same right? Wrong. Onscreen acting has the fourth wall barrier; the fourth wall just means that you aren’t allowed to look at the camera nor recognize that anyone else is there if you are performing in front of a live audience. You also do not need to project your voice, you don’t need the pauses for dramatic affect, well not near as much as you do onstage! When you are acting you have things such as green screens, the ability to remove that blemish in a program before your performance is seen by anybody, make your head explode, the possibilities are literally endless when you are on camera. When you are in the theater making your head convincingly explode is much more complex, if not impossible.   When you are doing Voice Over Acting you don’t have to worry about people seeing you, only hearing you.

Which world is the hardest to break into?

Voice Overs is the hardest world to break into. It isn’t that hard to get into a TV show as an extra or even a speaking role when you live an hour from Hollywood. If you don’t live that close to hollywood you can post something on youtube or vimeo and even when you do live that close to Hollywood you still can post something on youtube or vimeo. If you want it to go viral put it on youtube!

I am currently living in two of those worlds and will be filming the third world this weekend(hopefully).

If you have anything to add to this blog please do so!!

“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.