“There is no fair in voice-overs”

You’ve heard the line from the movie – “There’s no crying in baseball.” Well, my friend and prolific blogger Paul Strikwerda has published a new blog that drives home the message that getting voiceover work is not a given, no matter where you are on the spectrum. Life just isn’t fair!

Here is a snippet from the post –


You know what isn’t fair? Comparing yourself to others!

Compare yourself to yourself instead. So, here’s what I want you to do.

Forget the word fair.

Instead, focus on the word Prepare.

Read the entire post here >>> http://www.nethervoice.com/2017/03/01/vos-unfair-so-grow-a-pair


Voiceover Sins according Paul

One of my voiceover friends (and when I say friends, I mean voiceover folk who I know personally and can call to converse with and/or ask a favor and vice versa) Paul Strikwerda is a prolific blogger as well as a busy voice talent.

I recommend following his blog – http://www.nethervoice.com/nethervoice/

One of his most recent posts is titled “Voice-Over’s Seven Deadly Sins”

I’m sure you know them – Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. But read his take on how they apply to the voiceover business!

Envy is a tough one. Social Media makes it very easy to post about our successes – landing a great new client or a national spot. There is nothing wrong with letting people know about significant milestones in your life/career, but avoid “bragging” about every little success. And be wary of the humble brag “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.”

When you do see other people succeeding when you are struggling – turn it into a positive experience instead of being jealous of their success. If they posted a simply fabulous project, study what they did. What was it about the delivery that made it stand out in the producer’s mind? If you know the person personally, take a hard look at the way they run their business. Do they have a great website? Are their demos fresh and believable? Do they present themselves well online?

Take the things that resonate and work them into your own way of doing business.




Another Winning Blog Post from Paul Strikwerda

Not only is my friend Paul Strikwerda an excellent voiceover guy, he is a fabulous writer. If you are not already doing so, you should sign up for his blog.

Here is the lead in to his most recent post…

Delivery is what separates the pro from the wannabe. You may have the most pleasant pipes in the word; you may be an okay reader, but if your delivery is flat, you’ll never have a career as a voice-over.

Delivery can kill a joke, and it can bring tears of laughter to the audience. Delivery can put people to sleep, and it can make them jump for joy.

Delivery is like magic dust. It can turn a text from bland to grand. It’s one of the reasons why computer-generated voices will never be able to perform a Shakespeare play in a most moving way.

Delivery, good or bad, is never neutral. Masterful delivery is:

  • Clear and Clean

  • Convincing

  • Consistent

  • Context-appropriate

  • Charismatic


Click here for the details on the first item in this list – Clear and Clean. Over the next few weeks he will be addressing the other items on the list. I don’t think you will want to miss it! 

It’s all about the “delivery”

My voiceover buddy Paul Strikwerda knocked it out of the park again with his latest blog “The Funniest Joke of the Year.”

As you know in comedy, the way a joke is delivered is everything. Without the ability to elevate the words off the page and bring them to life, the delivery falls flat.

Paul addresses much of what is in your assignment for this coming Wednesday – to evaluate your voice – and much of what we talked about today in class. It is always nice to get the same information from different sources. He uses an example of Robin Williams being interviewed on “Fresh Air” as he describes voice placement. Check out the full blog for the link to that interview. Then he took it further and breaks down the voice even further. 

If I were a college professor, I’d say: Human speech can be broken down into several basic elements, and each of these elements makes the way we sound unique, very much like a vocal fingerprint. Here they are:

  • Pitch: the degree of highness or lowness of our tone, as well as our vocal range and inflection

  • Tempo: the relative speed or slowness of the way we speak, and the way our speech flows

  • Volume: the relative loudness or softness of our voice

  • Timbre: the color and quality of a voice, e.g.  clear, nasal, raspy, breathy

Think about these things as you do your own first voice self-evaluation.

New Blog that might be interesting for aspiring voice actors

Blogs. Blogs. And more Blogs. How many can a person read! Take a look at as many as you can and get a feel for the bloggers expertise and writing style. Stay with the ones that you like. The ones that offer you more than the occasional gem of information.

Found a new one today that might be good for those just starting out – with an idea of doing character voices for cartoon or video games.

Jen Rudin is an award-winning casting director and author of “Confessions of a Casting Director: Help Actors Land Any Role with Secrets from Inside the Audition Room.” (Harper Collins/It Books, 2013). She spent five years as head of Feature Animation casting at Walt Disney Animation Studios from 2002 until 2007. She cast animated feature films such as “The Incredibles,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and the upcoming “Rock Dog” starring Luke Wilson, J.K. Simmons, and Mae Whitman. As well as casting voices for animated series (“Peter Rabbit” on Nick Jr.), national commercial campaigns such as Charmin, and the insanely popular video game World of WarCraft.

The is the first blog in her new weekly series – http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/speak-easy/so-you-want-be-voice-actor/

Paul Strikwerda says: Shut up and Listen

If you are not subscribed to Paul Strikwerda’s blog, you need to be. He is an incredible writer and voice talent with lots of great thought provoking insights for – well, pretty much everyone. His latest blog post will get you thinking about how you interact with others and with the copy in front of you.

We did multiples in class on Wednesday and one section from Paul’s blog discusses what happens to us in this situation.

When we started recording, I was so focused on getting my own lines right, that I often didn’t hear what the others were saying. I was glued to the script, waiting for my turn, just like the woman in the ski lodge who couldn’t wait to bring to conversation back to herself.

Because I was too busy with my own lines, I was completely out of the moment. A million things were racing through my head: What would the director think? Which words should I emphasize? Where in the sentence should I breathe? Do I need to fill up the parking meter? How come my mouth is so dry? Why is the woman next to me wearing so much perfume?

I had yet to learn this lesson:

Acting is reacting.

It requires the studied recreation of a moment, bringing it to life as if it is completely new and spontaneous. It’s as much about active listening as about a deliberate delivery of lines.

One of the ways that voiceover is changing is that many times we end up doing our sessions in a complete vacuum, even the multi-voice spots – so it is even more important to listen to what our subconscious is saying. You can (should) still be having a conversation while reading the script.

Read the entire column here >>>

How NOT to Get the Work

My friend Dave Courvoisier is a prolific blogger, newsman and voice talent based in Las Vegas. He just posted something that clearly illustrates what is happening in the voiceover business these days. Far too many people are entering the business without a true idea of their own abilities, or what separates “good” from “not-as-good.”

This is the whole point of my class at San Diego City College…providing my students with the tools to do the critical self-evaluation needed to decide to spend the time and money pursuing voiceover work.

Anyway, Dave recounts a true auditioning story that illustrates what producers face now that online casting has moved into the mainstream. There are numerous online casting groups that allow anyone with $300 (or so) to buy a spot at the audition table and submit.

In this particular case – 400 auditions were submitted for 5 lines. Of those submitted, the producer found only 21 that were forwarded to the client for final decision.

Read this story! Understand how important it is to knowyourself and the business as a whole. It is not just about your voice. It never has been, but today – with the technology changing to the point where anyone with a microphone and a computer and a small wade of cash can jump in the pool with the pros – far too many people with no idea of what it really takes are trying to compete with no real chance of actually making it.

Here’s the story…