Voiceacting

VO Atlanta Pre-trip

It's been so long! Have you missed me? I certainly missed me. Just a brief blog this time. 

January was not fun so I did not blog about but February has opened up new challenges and slow forward momentum for the business so that's good all in all! 

So the time doth approacheth where I will head down to Atlanta for my first Voiceover convention at VO Atlanta!

I will be driving down to ATL with Matthew Curtis who is also going to be my roommate for the con.

If you haven't yet, take a moment and check out his website and take a listen:

Matt's Website

All things being well, we'll be down there late Wednesday night to see all you lovely people. I believe we shall be bringing board games and the like, so I'm sure we won't get bored. 

Quick cheat sheet for Chris: 

Do you do karaoke?: Typically after I drink

Can I talk to you?: Absolutely! Looking to meet as many people as possible.

Do you have business cards?: Of course. It would be silly not to. 

Do you drink? : Yes.

Are you social?: Absolutely. 

Can I hug you?: Only if you've bathed. 

There's a distinct possibility we might be VLogging the entire event but we will see! 

Apart from that, I look forward to meeting you lot in a few short weeks. 

 

 

Mind your manners.

At the end of the day. You're serving your client. 

At the end of the day. You're serving your client. 

 

I might be writing this because I’m British and manners were drilled into me at a young age or maybe because I see it more and more and it rubs me the wrong way. It irritates me and I think it’s something that could help a lot of people.

 

A huge gripe of mine is that people don’t know basic customer etiquette both online and offline.

This might sound harsh to sound so blunt but from a customer perspective, you can ruin or reward a business relationship based on how you act.

If you’ve ever worked in retail or at a restaurant, you’re face to face with your customer. There’s no emails, there’s no social media. You’re talking to them in real time. You are *typically* trained to be polite and courteous.

You wouldn’t ignore someone talking to you face to face if you were assisting them, so why would you let an email sit for two days before you respond? Madness.

Politeness should be your mantra in your business. It goes a long way. Clients want to work with artists that are easy to get along with, who are professional and courteous. It makes you stand out when others may not give them that level of attention.

People that play it fast and loose in their communication can give off a bad vibe to a customer. Lack of responses or heavily delayed responses makes it seem like you don’t care about their project. They will remember that and undoubtedly will become frustrated.

Text is interpreted differently to speech. This is a huge talking point. Before you rush through an email and hit send, think about what you’re saying. Read the words aloud and say ‘If I read this, what would I think?’ I’ve put my foot in my mouth a few times and experience has taught me blunt replies can be misconstrued as you don’t know the emotion behind them.

Communication MUST be kept open when doing a project. I can’t stress that enough.  If your client asks you a question, answer it as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit. You may be busy but in today’s world, instant is sometimes not fast enough, so you need to make sure YOU’RE staying on top of your call backs, your emails and your follow ups.

You don’t have to write them an essay (Believe me, us Brits LOVE to pen lengthy letters). However, starting with clear, concise communication is vital; just as if you were writing a cover letter for a prospective job.

The medium will dictate how you respond to people. This is absolutely true.  For Facebook, you may write a few lines to a colleague or client. Nothing too lengthy. For Twitter, you have a finite character limit, which can be fantastic for getting straight to the point. In emails, you have some more room but conversations may already be established, so adjust accordingly. Be flexible but when talking to a client or prospective client but keep it cordial and on mission.  

Even with more challenging clients, I always take the extra step of asking what THEY need from ME to complete the project. You will find the wheels become greased far more easily if you remind them of why they hired you. If you offered to do A, B and C – why not offer D as well?  Prove to them you’re worth the fee.

 

Make them remember you for all the positive things you’ve provided, so next time, when it comes to hiring for a new project; you’ll be at the top of the pile.

 

In a world of ever decreasing attention spans and seemingly less care, take that time to stand out. Take that time to make yourself stand out as distinguished, not just mediocre.

 

 

 

Voiceover - it's just commercial or animation...right?

A little impromptu post here but I have been chatting to people of late that seem to be under the intense worry and dismay that unless they do either character work or commercial work, it's time to throw in the towel with voiceover. 

This could not be further from the truth and many other working professionals would agree. The number of genres for voice work is growing at an exponential rate. Now, is it all glamorous? Hardly. Does some of it pay extraordinarily well? Absolutely. 

Whatever goal you might have starting out with this work, it's still a goal to aim at but to parrot a number of people, it probably won't be the bulk of your work unless you are extraordinarily talented and are situated in LA. However, this doesn't mean you don't work because you don't get what you want initially. 

It worried me a bit that people were so dismayed and under the wrong impression. 

To rail a few genres off from the top of my head:

Explainer, Corporate, IVR, Narration, audiobook, podcast intros, voice matching, ADR

There are many, many sub genres of the above but some of these are extremely lucrative and VO pros will structure their marketing around what they are good at. Here's a crazy thought, you want to do *insert genre here* work so bad...you get trained, you make a demo and...you end up hating it! What now? If you start to feel that way, your coach should be picking up on it in your reads and maybe suggest some other genres you could tackle. Always ask, your teacher is your mentor and your guide. 

This leads me to my next point. You may not know what you are good at just yet and that's okay. I myself am still feeling out (after 2 years +) on which genres I take to easily and which do not appeal to me. Being passionate about one genre is important but that shouldn't be your only focus. Find what you like and really charge full steam at it. You'll amaze yourself on how much you can improve in a year. 

You may not like your 9-5 job, the same will happen in VO. You will have projects that make your soul light up and there will be jobs where you can't wait to wrap it up. There is no escaping the grind unfortunately. 

Now I don't live in LA, I live on the East coast in Maryland, however, I have made strides to land jobs which have been lucrative and fun. Does it mean I won't move to LA when the time comes? Who's to say but that would be nice for sure!

Bottom line is, don't get discouraged so easily. Everything in life is hard but if you really enjoy your VO work, you will find your slot in the industry and truly grow. 

Here are a few links with very successful VO professionals who talk about their struggles and victories in this business: (Helpful to know even the pros have bad days!)

https://www.youtube.com/user/vobuzzweekly

https://www.youtube.com/user/ewabsshow

My personal favourite is Dee Bradley Bakers site. Very honest but there's a lot to read, which is a VERY good thing. 

https://iwanttobeavoiceactor.com/