Why can’t Voice Over Actors handle feedback? This is a business!

People have asked me to critique their voice over demos, yet when I do they defend their mistakes instead of improving them.
I am nice with my feedback, I tell the person exactly what I hear & when I hear someone not fit for doing a certain type of voice, I tell them. when people contact me and tell me to use my connections to get them gigs & I’ve only seen their name online, well that’s annoying. I can refer them to people, sure. But even when I do that I get the “I don’t want to spend money for a good demo” to improve my career response. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened or why some of these people are trying to get into voice overs, all I know is that they can’t take feedback…. And I don’t know why. I also don’t know why so many voice talent ask me to listen to their demo. I am not a casting director, I’ve always thought they wanted a second opinion, but instead people are arguing that they don’t need to work on anything & for me to get them a job (in a nutshell). Can someone please explain the psychology of this to me?? I don’t get it. I understand CDs dealing with this, but talent? Really? Why?

Voice Over talent in Backstage.com who got the part.

Backstage has a section every week for actors and actoresses who “Got the part” in an on screen acting part. Well, after being in the music video “Hey 14” as an extra I wrote to them, they wrote back, I wrote back, a couple months went by and then they interviewed me. That was cool. I didn’t have a script in front of me like I do when I am doing my voice over art. I am used to a script, so I know what type of emotion and words to say… but in an interview you don’t have a script. The article was printed and it is great. I find some of my quotes hilarious looking back at them, but I wouldn’t change my wording, except for my grammar, because what I said is exactly how I felt and still do feel. I am commenting on the “insane institution” bit when speaking about acting and social behavior in voice overs vs real life. If you want to read the whole thing you can on my site Ryan Satterfield in the news or in bigger print on the backstage site Ryan Satterfield is who got the part

There is a lot of stuff in “the works” right now, with no definitive yes or no, so I am not going to post what I am up too. The second I know definitely, I’ll let you know!

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.

Doing Voice Overs without a microphone

Just the title of this article sounds impossible, right? That is because it should be impossible, but like anything I’ve found a way around the issue. See my Blue Snowball no longer functions so no VO. Thankfully Blue will replace it for free. So how am I going to keep doing Voice Overs with out a microphone? Simple. When you are auditioning you can send in your demo or previous recorded samples that match the job; if you have a voice over to record there is still a way to record it. Do you have a cell phone? Do you have Adobe SoundBooth? Do you have a pair of really good headphones? If you have all three of those you are good to go. What I would do is place my cell phone in a position like a microphone with the cell phone microphone faced towards me and then record it. Or you can just use it like a phone, hold it to your ear and record your script via the microphone feature.

I have a pretty good phone. An iPhone 4. It has pretty darn good sound quality and cleaning up a track to sound professional shouldn’t be that hard with Adobe SoundBooth on my side. I will have my microphone fixed soon, but for anyone who is in a similar situation just do what I suggested. I have yet to try this, but I am pretty sure it will go well. I will update this blog post or write a new article explaining how everything goes.

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!!

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!
www.ryansatterfield.com