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ASK JOE: Week 1 posted: May 16, 2008
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First of all, thank you VERY much for the warm welcome. You guys
have been very generous with your good wishes and kind words.

Lets go to the mail bag :-)

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Troy Duran:
I really want to grow into documentaries, audio books and more
National spots, but it seems like none of my marketing efforts
(direct mail, mostly) generate results. The vast majority of my work
comes from word of mouth, which means alot of direct advertisers,
radio stations and local agencies. Any suggestions?.

Joe:
Troy!! How are ya. To move your career into narration for docs,
pursuing audio books and increasing the amount of National spots you
do, you should take each of those genres and treat them separately.
Make a concerted effort to grow each genre as a separate entity.

Narration work for docs and those shows you see on History Channel,
Biography, Nat Geo and so forth are, 99% of the time, cast through
voice over agents. There are some agencies that get more of that
kind of work than others. I know for a fact that Atlas Talent in New
York gets great auditions for narration of shows. It's a particular
style of read and the best way to understand the style is to watch
every documentary you can and soak in the vibe for it. It's usually
a natural read, more conversational. I haven't come across any
workshops that specialize in the narration read, but I'm sure someone
here can comment on that and make suggestions.

National Commercials, again are going to be cast through talent
agencies. DPN in Los Angeles does a ton of commercial work and their
top people work a lot in commercials.

I guess what I'm really saying Troy is to kick it up a notch, you
should be with a franchised agent. Either New York or Los Angeles.
That's where the big gigs are and where you should be. Start shining
up the demos and get them out to the agents. Remember to have
separate demos for every genre you are pursuing. A Commercial Demo
with commercials ONLY (don't mix in any promos or radio imaging).
Same goes for your Audio Book Demo and your Narration Demo. Each
demo should be pure and on target, no mixing of different styles.

Making the decision, when to give up your own marketing and go with
an agent is a whole other topic we should all discuss sometime.

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Brett Provo:
Here's a blast from the past, I work with Dick McDonough formerly
from your ole stomping grounds in Hartford at WDRC!

Joe:
Hi Brett. Wow, Dick McDonough. The classic afternoon drive sound of
WDRC in Hartford. To me he WAS "DRC" Him and Bob Craig and at
night, Mike Holland. That was a pretty cool time in Connecticut
radio. WDRC and WPOP were two of the best sounding stations on the
East Coast at the time and they were in the same city. Please remind
Dick what a fan I am of his work. Thanks for the blast from the past.

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Donna Reed:
Here's a new question, though...when are you going to write a book?!!

Joe:
Donna...hi! Lets see, I guess I will have to READ a book first
before writing one. :-) Kidding! Actually, I love reading and back
in the days before ISDN when we would have to wait for promos to be
finished and approved before voicing 'em, I'd always have a book with
me to help make the time go by. I don't know if I've got enough
stories for a book...maybe a pamphlet...a leaflet :-)

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Carl Hedgepeth:
I've been doing VO work for about a year and while I'm having tons of
fun playing with voices and voice styles I'd like to know if you have
a method I can use to identify my real and strongest voice style.

Joe:
Hi Carl. I have to admit that I think the market will determine your
strongest style. It will be the style or genre you work in the
most. With that said, the important thing is to NOT just do that one
style. Don't get me wrong, do it as MUCH as you can but at the same
time, you've got to continue to stretch and go after other styles, no
matter how many times you hit a roadblock. I would have never gotten
into doing drama promos if I had listened to just about everyone
around me. Comedy is my niche, but I continued to go after drama
promos with a focus and eventually I found someone who thought I had
something to offer in the drama style. I ended up voicing most of
NBC's dramas for about a year and a half. It was the most surprising
facet of my career so far. A real gem. So, let the market and the
amount of work you do determine your strong suit, but keep trying to
work in all genres and surprise yourself.

That's it for now. I just heard the voice of my buddy Andy Geller
say..."An all new LOST is next." Talk to you next week.

Joe

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