Hello all! I'm Jay...(This is where everyone says "Hi Jay!"). I've been working in radio for 2 1/2 years and I'm 21 years old. I started voicing commercials as an intern learning commercial production at the radio station. I'm still in school at Temple University which prevents me from being able to work full time (at least during the day). I've been told I have a good voice and I'm blessed to work with CeCe McGhee everyday.
I'm curious to know how some of you got your start in the business, tips for creating a voice demo, and how to pin down the style of your voice. Any advice is great advice.
I'm going to chime in really quick by advising you on equipment, and then let Rodney Saulsberry, James Alburger, Erin Fitzgerald, CeCe McGhee, Allison Scussell and our other pros on the site tell you what steps to take next. While some advice is different, they will all lead you to the door that has the prize behind it. You can NEVER get enough information, it's the right information that you'll want.
RULE #1 "QUIET ON THE SET!"
Find a quiet spot in your house. NO loud AC, computer noise, street noise, barking dog an NO hollow room if your speaking loud. Stick pin your walls with comforters if you can't get Aurelex panels. If you're a laptop user like me, and can afford to buy a cheap monitor...place the lap top out side the door, attach monitor to the laptop and operate it with a wireless keyboard & mouse.
RULE #2 "We WORK for a reason"
DO NOT go out and buy expensive equipment...yet:)
However, I do recommend that you purchase a USB condenser microphone, preferably the Samson C03U Multi-Pattern USB Microphone. Not only is it inexpensive , but this Microphone is incredible, and works as is...no preservatives needed (NO eq/compression) . Some of my friends on the site Kim Abbage, Toss Swaid and Ladie Most all have this microphone. Kim has booked several voiceover jobs in the NYC area, Toss Swaid's demo has a crisp sound, so naturally he's booked his "first" animation this week after getting the mic, and the "bilingual mami" Ladie Most voiced an incredible animation that which will soon be posted.
"And later!" You'll soon learn about Mic technique, it's also about proximity and finding that "sweet spot."
Studios love it and don't even know it, so grab this inexpensive mic today!
"Hi Jay!" Now that I've passed that requirement, let me tell you that you're in great company with CeCe McGhee. Listen to this woman. She's an inspiration.
I've been in radio professionally since 1988 and it was CeCe that got me motivated to to persue my voice over career. By today's standards, casting directors want to hear someone who is natural and not announcery. Focus on voice acting as much as possible. It's a competitive field so we've got to stand out when we audition. Best of luck to you. God Bless.
Hey Jay - I, too am a Temple alum. You may know me from WDAS and I'm also a friend of Cece's (isn't everybody?) She's GREAT! I'm in Philly, too (a native). Get some time on WRTI if you can. That's where I started a hundred years ago - it's good experience. Feel free to holla if I can be of any assistance, here on the site or by my email below. Best of luck! Just SATURATE the agencies and studios and pester them to death with your demo!
Hi Jay.. The names "Shaw" Al Shaw.. alias.. "AC" my mission to take over the voice over world.. but first grass hopper.. "one must pay dues" LOL
Welcome, I'm still pretty new to the voice over world.. and have great mentors like Rick, (i nag that brother to death with questions.. thanks rick) as well as Rodney (I nag him too.. thanks Rod) I'm an on air personality as well as production assistant at WHQT that see's voice overs as another mean of income.. and believe me, if you stick with it and Pay your dues.. You'll see the fruits of your labor. Congrats on your steps in this business and I would love to hear some of your work.
AL "AC" Shaw
You can NEVER nag people that WANT to help...WE are helpers.
You must look at VO as the main source of income, it has so much more potential than being a radio personality. People in this industry are always looking at new ways of perfecting their craft, but in radio...how many times can you introduce the same 13 songs? It's a no brainer.
I divorced radio 4 years ago when she found out I had been cheating on her with voiceover for yeeeeears. The two of them argued, fought and voiceover was trustworthy and had more promise...now we're forever ONE.
My best friend "Mic Rophone" still hangs out with radio, but soon he will cross over because he's been abused by her. He says radio screams at him, spits on him and doesn't even know he has a "sweet spot." His good friends "Neu Mann" and "Senn Heiser" seem to have a glow, and have never been happier in their lives.
If radio hasn't been treating you right, don't wait for her to divorce you, because she will when things don't look promising.
Study actors, actresses, work on pronunciation, enunciation, take the cork out and then hit the copy hard!
Many of us fulltime VO folk got started in the business either through acting or broadcasting, by recording spots on the side. My first paid VO gig was in 1983! I've been fulltime for 5 years.
They say experience is the best teacher.....maybe.....it's certainly the slowest teacher. (I think I stole that line from Pat Fraley) My advice to you Jay is learn the acting craft first. Take voice ACTING classes. If you have to save up and go to New York or LA for a seminar or workshop....DO IT. With a few classes under your belt you'll start to see your own strengths and weaknesses. Without real acting training you wont have the "chops" to compete. Radio is a fun business.....or was....program directors used to have the time to mentor, teach and guide the careers of young folks like you. Those days are over....you will need to go out and get your own training....it aint cheap but it will show in your work almost immediately. WAIT to do the demo until you've had the training. It's an investment, I know, but if you want to be the best, get the best coaches behind you.
I wish you well
All the BEST
Ok, I've read ALL of this. Informative! Question: can anyone recommend good VO coaches or places where I can get training? I work in NYC and live in South Jersey. The South Jersey/Philly area would be best for me. Thanks!
Also, CeCe suggested that I buy Rodney's book, so I'm going to purchase that as well.
Here are some teachers I recommend Jay
....and it's all from first hand knowlege
Pat Fraley.....awesome teacher, director.....great guy...if you have talent, Pat can take your game from a parlor trick to pro if you work hard at it....he also has some of the best guest instructors in the biz at his seminars. Pat gives programs on every aspect of the industry.
Bob Bergen....fantastic talent, teacher and person, Bob holds nothing back....extremely genrous with his vast knowlege....over the years Bob has done a great deal to promote a community of voice actors....he's helped me make connections that will be friends for life.....and Bob will be one of my friends for at least that long. (I hope)
Marc Cashman....he understands voice acting for the radio commercial better than anyone....he's got the awards to prove it....Marc's passion for voice acting is infectious....he's also a GREAT director to work for. Marc does remote sessions for out of state talent.
M.J. Lallo....she attracts some of LA's top agents and casting directors to her advanced classes and has become a good friend to boot. M.J.'s classes give you the freedom to stretch yourself to new levels of performance you never thought you could attain.
There are great teachers that I haven't mentioned.....when I get first hand knowlege I will give you the info.
It's all about the acting. Never mind the mic...the processing....the sound. Does anyone care what brandof brushes DaVinci used? Or what type of chisel Michelangelo sculpted with? Develop your talent and your performances will captivate the audience even if they're hearing you through broken speakers!
All the BEST :-)JT