Monday, April 26, 2021

Voice over "red flags"

 As you work in the voice over field, you'll become pretty good at seeing questionable jobs or someone running an ad for a needed voice over who will say things like what you'll read below. (I'm referring here to low budget or no budget jobs you'll often see on Craigslist.) Some of these I find humorous. Some are just plain sad.

"This should only take you 10 minutes to record."

"Easy money. We're paying $20."  (For a VO job that should pay $200.)

"You don't have to have professional equipment. You can record on your phone."

"We have nothing to pay you for this job but it COULD lead to future work."  (Yes, more non-paid work. Thanks for the heads up.)

" Nothing in the budget for you to record this short script. We're doing this for no pay too because it's a cause we believe in." (I believe in causes too. But they don't put groceries on the table.)

"This is for no compensation but it would be good for your voice over portfolio."

"We're not looking for a real professional for this. Just someone who can do a decent job reading the words on the page."

"If interested, please email us your rates." (I'd be glad to. But I need more specifics from you about the job so I can quote a proper and fair rate according to the type of voice over it is.)

"This is a super simple project..."

This is only a short "red flags" list I've come up with.  If you've been in the voice over biz for a while, I'm sure you have some of your own. I've learned to trust my gut.

If you see any of the above in an online ad, RUN. DON'T WALK! Your good judgement will thank you later.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Why your voice sounds so different to you on playback

I was recently reminded about this phenomenon when a friend of mine visited my studio to record a few demo intro tracks. David has a wonderful South African accent and I asked if he wouldn't mind helping me out. He said, "Sure, no problem." After the very brief recording session, he came out of the booth to watch me edit the tracks and hear his takes through my monitors. He noted how it's always strange to hear your recorded voice, because it sounds so different from how we hear ourselves through our heads.

Here's a link to "Why we hate hearing our own voices."

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

"Hey! I'm CBS sportscasting legend Jim Nantz. Now don't mess up my breakfast!!!"

 OK. OK. I know. These days there's a lot of chatter and gossip about Jim Nantz' new contract with CBS. He's reportedly been making 6.5 million annually. And some so called "sources" say he'll be making 10.5 million per year going forward. Love the guy on NFL football games and his annual Masters coverage. Great voice. Great talent. Always a class act. He deserves every penny. But that's not totally what this blog post is about.

The cat's out of the bag now. And his legion of fans will  be seeing him through a whole different light from now on. Somebody spilled the beans. This may come off as a tad gossipy, but I think you REALLY need to know.  Well... I wasn't going to say anything but... Ready? OK, here goes...

(whispering) Jim Nantz is a huge breakfast fan and he likes his toast BURNT! "Charred" would be another word. And he admits to carrying a small, laminated picture in his wallet showing a burnt piece of whole wheat toast so his restaurant server and cook can get it right.  I think I read his wife gave him the pic. Ya know, there's nothing worse than living with a grump who's always complaining about a burnt toast fail.  And yes, by all means, the server has Jim's permission to take the pic back in the kitchen to show the cook just how burnt he wants it to be. Not a little bit burnt. A whole lot burnt! Apparently, some cooks haven't been burning his toast thoroughly enough. Maybe they were worried about setting off the fire alarms.

Here's an idea, but don't hold me to it. The next televised golf tournament , see if you can catch up to him as he heads to the broadcast tower. No small feat. If you're lucky enough to do that, don't ask him for his autograph. Say loudly for all to hear, "Mr. Nantz. I love your work. Now, can I see your burnt toast picture? I know you take it with you everywhere you go. I read about it on some voice over guy's blog." 

Then email me and let me know how that turned out. 


Check your spam folder!

 Those of us who do voice overs from  a home studio (and it's increasing every second) depend heavily on the Internet. Pre-Internet, voice talents would go out to recording studios to do the work. And while being able to record and then send our work to our customers/clients online is a blessing (no rushing in traffic to get to a voice over session), you still have to make sure that the voice work you record makes it to its  destination-the producer, director, or individual who hired you. There are many audio delivery services on the Internet that can help you do that. The one I use is Send This which I find to be dependable.  And some of them are free... up to a certain point. But putting ONE simple sentence in your emails to your customer or client after you email a link for them to download your voice over works like magic. And here it is. "Please confirm receipt of the voice over." Never assume that your work has gotten to its intended destination. Sometimes, even though you put the confirmation request sentence in your email, some clients will not email back and say something like, "Thanks 'Randy'... audio/voice over received." Make sure that once you send out your work, you follow up promptly. Some voice over talents will have a download option right on their websites, so the customer/client can log in with a password and download their audio. That's a really cool and efficient option for both parties. And as many know, sometimes emails and such default to spam folders. If you're doing business over the Internet, you should be checking your spam folder throughout the day. I like to tell a first-time customer how I will be delivering the voice over to them before I start the job. Some large companies have strict email settings that won't allow incoming emails such as download links. Let your customer/client know the process up front so you won't be having any problems later. It's a simple thing, but it's all about making your recording and delivery service smooth and professional with no entanglements. 

Of course, all of the above information applies to those who are not doing a directed session where the producer/director is using ISDN or Source Connect, in real time, to capture the voice over recording on their end. 

And some e Learning companies I work with have me upload the audio files to them using FTP-"file transfer protocol" where I log in using FTP software and do an audio upload. Very convenient.