I think we’re going to learn a lot from Rodney at VOICE 2007.
Getting started in Voiceover
Jeffrey Kafer is a fellow voiceover talent to whom I can now refer as a fellow professional voiceover talent. He just posted on the VO-BB that he’s landed his first paying voiceover job. Good for you, Jeffrey. May there be many more!
Update: Obviously, Jeffrey has seen this post. To which I can only say, if you’ve been paid Jeffrey, you’re a pro in my books. May you find a bright future ahead as you pursue your dream.
I’ve written previously, more than once even, about how highly I think of Nancy Wolfson as a voiceover coach. After hearing about Nancy from two of my good friends who live and work in Southern California, my first direct experience with her training was during a teleseminar she conducted with Anna Vocino some time ago. And I’m delighted to let you know that very teleseminar is now available as an audio download for the same price we paid to be part of it in person, the rather modest sum of $49.
Details and order information is available at BreakIntoVoiceOver.com. I think you’ll find this valuable information is worth way more than the price.
My friend Jeffrey Kafer is blogging about his experiences using Google adwords and Microsoft AdCenter. The first post in the series is here. The second here. The third here. No doubt more will be added to his voiceover blog in coming days.
Thanks for documenting this experience Jeffrey. I’m interested to see how it turns out.
Something I’ve noticed in posts at the voiceover blogs written by my friends Adam Creighton and Tom Dheere among others is the idea that if you’re working on your voiceover, voice acting or just acting career, and your not booking a lot of work “right now”, don’t sit around moaning about your lack of work, do something. Make your own work.
For example, Tom’s working on film projects (for one of which, Project: T.E.R.R.A., I even got to provide some voiceover bits) and Adam has created this brief, but interesting animation that he’s posted on YouTube.
Adam not only did the stop motion animation, but also wrote the script and provided all 4 voices. Nice work, Adam. And Tom, you’re doing some really interesting stuff too. Good for you. You guys are doing it.
Stephanie has written some thoughtful comments at the Vox Daily voiceover blog about studying with a voiceover coach. There are several good voiceover coaches. If you’ve been reading here for a few weeks, you know that my first and highest recommendation for a voiceover coach is Nancy Wolfson. She works with folks in Southern California in person and with people like me who live in other parts of the world over the phone.
In the interests of full disclosure, if you decide to study with Nancy and you mention that you are doing so because of what you read here, she’s going to give me a free lesson.
(Update: If you are or know a voiceover coach based in Canada, Stephanie is looking for contact information. Check out her post here.)
(Edited to fix typo)
You’ll find Jeffrey Kafer’s first post on his voiceover blog when you click here. I must say, I think Jeffrey’s first post is a substantially better first post that mine. We’ll done Jeffrey. Much success to you, not only with your blogging, but with your voiceover career.
I’ve added you to my blogroll as well and look forward to reading your posts.
If you’re thinking about going to VOICE 2007, then you’ll want to register before midnight tonight. This is the last day to get the early registration discount.
I sure hope I get to see you there in Las Vegas in a few weeks.
I’ve written here more than once about Nancy Wolfson, with whom I am currently studying to improve my voiceover work. The biggest pleasant surprise with Nancy was her enthusiastic and positive reaction to my main demo, which we listened to in my first session with her a couple of weeks ago.
As a result of writing about that experience here, I answered several questions from Rich Gates, and he booked time with Nancy to study with her as well. In fact, his first session with her was earlier this week. So, a second pleasant surprise was to discover that when someone books private voiceover lessons with Nancy on the basis of the recommendation of one of her current students (in this story, I’m playing the part of the current student) she gives a free lesson to the current student after the new student’s first lesson.
She made this point quite clear during our session today that my next lesson will be free because of how I helped Rich decide to study with her. Once again, I’m stunned and almost speechless. And not just because of this fresh act of generosity from Nancy; but also by the superb lessons we covered during our session today.
The thing I like best about studying with Nancy Wolfson is the very practical, step-by-step way she breaks down the process of understanding commercial copy (for instance) and how to win auditions and thus, work. So, should just anyone study with Nancy? Well, I think anyone would gain significant benefits to his or her voiceover career from studying with her; but the people who are going to gain the most are those who are doing OK, maybe making some part-time money; but not really breaking through to the next level of excellence.
So, click on Nancy Wolfson’s name. The link will take you to her site. If you’re ready for a splash of honest, straight, clear teaching; sign up for private lessons. If you want, tell her you’re doing this because you read about her on my blog. When you do, I’ll get another free lesson. Or, if you’d rather, don’t tell her and I won’t. Either way, you’ll benefit tremendously. And that’s the point of this post. (edited to correct typo)
If you’re relatively new to voiceover work, here’s an important piece of advice: once you’ve submitted an audition, forget about it.
There is nothing good that will happen to or for you if you spend time stressing over whether someone liked your audition or whether or not you got the job. Allow the work you book to come as pleasant surprises and keep your attention on your next opportunity, contact or relationship.
Don’t we all. But, of course, patience is learned by practicing it…over the long haul. And can’t be gained instantly. My friend Brian Haymond applies this point very well to our work in the voiceover field in his latest blog post.
Read. Learn. Practice. Repeat.
The VOICE 2007 conference at the end of this month (March) in Las Vegas is being sponsored in part by AFTRA. This is, I think, a good thing for two reasons. One, it will be good to hear from union officials in attendance why membership in AFTRA is, or at least can be, important. But, perhaps more importantly, because AFTRA didn’t start encouraging their members to attend VOICE 2007 until very recently, the organizers of VOICE 2007 have extended the deadline for registering at the lowest price until March 10th. So, you still have a few days to get your registration in. If you’re on the fence, jump off. Join us.
(Update: You’ll also find information at Vox Daily. My thanks to Stephanie for her encouragement and comments.)
Reap a potentially huge reward. Now, let me clarify, I’m promising you nothing but practical, useful and highly usable guidance. And it will cost you $49.00.
What am I talking about? There’s a new Break Into Voice Over teleseminar coming up on Saturday, March 3, 2007. Yes, just a couple of days from now (as I type this post), so you have little time to sign up. Nancy Wolfson and Anna Vocino are presenting this teleseminar, just like the one I took part in a few weeks ago. (Full disclosure, I’m currently studying with Nancy.)
The teleseminar starts at 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern, 6:00 PM UK time. There will be 90 minutes of presentation and then 30 minutes of Q & A. Whether you’re brand new or a working professional, I think you’ll find a lot of benefit in these 2 hours.
Sign-up details are at BreakIntoVoiceover.com. Go. Register. Learn. I think you’ll see the $49.00 as a great investment in your future. I know I do since I took part in a similar teleseminar a few weeks ago.
If you’re going to register for VOICE 2007 at the lowest rate, you now have only about 24 hours left (or less, depending on when you’re reading this) to get it done. More than 100 of your peers are going to be there soaking up all kinds of voiceover business goodness. Don’t you think you should be there too? Register here. I look forward to seeing you there in Las Vegas in less than a month.
Marc Cashman has written a thoughtful suggestion for those many times when you’re about to read a piece of copy that lists your part as “Announcer.” You’ll find his thoughts in this post at the Vox Daily blog.
ACTOR’S TOOL-KIT #5
TELL ME A STORY
by Bob Fraser
One of the questions I get asked frequently relates to something that most actors face … interviewing with agents, managers and casting directors.
Here’s how a typical letter reads;
I met with an agent yesterday and the first thing she said was “Tell me about yourself.” So I told her what my credits were, where I went to school, people I knew in the business and so on. She didn’t really listen. She said she’d let me know. I already know. She’s not interested. What did I do wrong?
What am I supposed to say when they say, “Tell me about yourself.”
Whatever you do, DO NOT recite your resume, where you went to school, the people you know and so on. Always keep in mind the kind of work you want to do …
In the case of an agent, you are interviewing a prospective salesperson for your business. It’s your job to convince a thoroughly professional salesperson (an agent) that representing your product (you) is going to produce a lot of income.
An agent’s income depends on finding, representing and selling the best story tellers he can find. An agent learns quickly how to spot the ‘comers’ and ignore the ‘wannabes.’ The major criteria is this:
Is this actor a good story teller?
The observable reality? No agent can tell if you are a good story teller unless she sees you telling a story. That opening gambit – “tell me about yourself” – is an agent’s way of saying; ‘tell me a story.’
If you don’t comply with this request, agents become like five year olds; ‘tell me a story, tell me a story, tell me a story.’
These repetitive requests come in the guise of: “I see you went to Carnegie Tech.” “So, you’re from Connecticut.” “Oh, you worked with Woody Allen?.”
When you hear this kind of thing it’s just the agent trying to get the ‘test drive’ started. They want you to tell them a story.
KEEP THEIR ATTENTION
Okay, now that you know what’s really going on, it’s time to discover what your response should be – the next time you hear those words; “Tell me about yourself.”
What you should do is simple … TELL A STORY.
Go through your real life experiences and start creating narratives about yourself. If you have to bend the truth a bit to keep the interest up, then so be it. Fiction is our business.
(Don’t make up credits or relationships.)
For instance, let us suppose that you have only one credit in a community theater production of “Sally Of The Sawdust” – and you only had two lines as Cannonball Bill. The beginning of your story might be something along these lines:
“Well, I made my first entrance on to a stage in an unusual way – I was shot from a cannon.” (This is what we in the fiction business call a “grabber.”)
Now spin out a story where there’s a little suspense, a little joke, a little pay-off of some kind;
“One night we had an understudy who was supposed to say one line after I got shot onto the stage. He was supposed to say. “Hark I hear the cannon roar!” He was pretty nervous because he’d never been on stage before.
“Anyway, when I got shot out of the cannon with a large bang, the understudy was startled and he said, “What the hell was that?”
Don’t forget the drama! This is a scene you are playing for the agent. Rehearse it. Practice it. Play it.
Tell a story that keeps the agent interested in the outcome and you’ll go a long ways toward convincing the agent that you are a comer.
By the way, when I say create a narrative, I’m not talking about lying – I’m talking about taking the stories in your own life and making them memorable. Dramatic! Hilarious! Exciting! Suspenseful!
Now practice telling your stories in such a way that the agent can’t wait for the next line. Believe me, once you ‘hook’ an agent with a well-told story, you will get what you came for; representation.
In other words, sell the salesman.
The same advice goes for casting directors. They are the personnel department of the company you hope to work for. The same idea applies.
Tell a story.
1. Get several good stories in your repertoire.
2. Practice telling them.
This is basic, bottom-line preparation. If you don’t have stories to tell, you are going to suffer through a lot of needless rejection.
So the next time you hear, “Tell me about yourself.” you know all you have to do is be prepared to tell a story. Make it a good story, practice telling it, listen for the cue line and go.
Your positive results will soar.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: DO YOU NEED AN AGENT?
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Copyright Â© 2006 Bob Fraser Productions All Rights Reserved”
The lowest price for registration to attend VOICE 2007 in Las Vegas (March 27 through 31) ends two weeks from tomorrow, February 28th. If you’re planning to be there, this would be the time to sign up.
While you’re at the VOICE 2007 website, notice that they’ve started their own discussion forum. Sign-up is quick, simple and free. I hope I’ll see you there.
OK. I know that’s not really a big goal for any of us, but your voiceover business could suffer greatly if you’re using marketing methods that people hate. Craig Arthur’s post at American Small Business blog isn’t about voiceover, directly, but the lessons apply.
In her The Actor’s Voice column of February 5, 2007, Bonnie Gillespie offers a brilliant metaphor for the casting process, a metaphor and story which underscore my long help view that voiceover work isn’t a competition. It’s giving the people looking for a voice the opportunity to pick you.
Sometimes they will, if you’re right for the job. Sometimes, they won’t, even when you’re right for the job. Do the audition. Make the contact. Be grateful. Then move on to the next opportunity.