Is the champagne chilled? Got your best threads on? Does anyone say "threads" anymore?
HAPPY NEW YEAR! As we close down 2014 here in the studio, I started to look back on all the work and awesome clients that have passed through this year. It's been such a great year for voice over and collaboration is high with some amazing new clients. Just looking at a map, I've voiced things from Mexico, France, England, Canada, Lebanon, Germany, Ireland, and Australia! That's so cool! I can't wait for 2015 and all the connections it will bring!
With any year-end list, I thought it would be good to take a look back at some of 2014's best blog posts. The list here were the most read, Tweeted, Googled, and shared. There's more you can see from the Archives on the right, or just subscribe for updates!
So here they are! Just click on one of the pics below! Enjoy some of this year's most talked about blog posts, crack that bottle of bubbly and have fun tonight. Be safe and have a wonderful 2015!
Just click on any pic below to get reading!
Is that it? It's all over? Watching the final Colbert Report last night had me filled with raw emotions. Yes, it was sad to see, (dare I say), an institution come to a close, but there was something else. Stephen Colbert took a persona, and shaped it into a brand, an icon, an image and a staple in American homes. There were times you didn't know where Colbert the character started and Stephen the man ended. But that was part of the genius!
For 9 years one person enveloped a single identity to entertain. He was true to his audience, adjusting and adapting along the way. In the clip at the end of this article, you'll see him talk about how the Colbert "Nation" were the ones that actually did everything. I think that's true. He started the character, but the audience developed it. He was true to his viewers and was nothing short of an amazing performer.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to be a (very) small part of a project on The Colbert Report. They developed an "Interview Simulator"; a way for viewers to interact directly with Stephen. The viewer would call a number, and be recorded on the line. The audio files would then be mashed up with stock responses Colbert pre-recorded. It was a great concept and a lot of fun! You could even download the video at the end and it would roll like an actual Stephen Colbert interview!
My part was simply as the voice over for the phone prompts. Small...yes. But to this guy...IT WAS HUGE! I felt so lucky to have a hand (or voice) in it. I dug up the old files and posted the original intro here:
Thank you Stephen, for being the ultimate showman, actor, professional, and truthiness provider. We're all excited to see what happens on The Late Show.
Full article on Mashable.
What's the best resource to find professional voiceover services?
Have you stopped to think of how many things we do online? We pay bills, research, buy tables, connect with friends, purchase gluten-free all organic dog food, and even find your future spouse! The paradigm of web based solutions and content driven marketplaces is thriving. So it's natural to reach for the online marketplace when it comes to finding voiceover talent as well. But the question remains, where's the best place to find the perfect voice actor for your project?
In basic terms there are 3 ways to hire voice talent:
There are other more subcategories that we could get into, but I'm only going to stick with the basic 3. Each of these has been a valid choice for me both as a voice talent, as well as a creative director.
As a voice actor the relationships I have with my agents are invaluable. Agents are strategic partners that work hard for the talent, as well as the client, to make sure their project is cast perfectly. In the same regard casting directors and producers normally have a pool of talent they go to, or sometimes leverage a talent agency. Either way, you're getting professional support and normally a very high caliber of talent. Agents will help guide you through the process and make sure you get the absolute best . It's like having your own project manager or voice talent concierge. It doesn't mean it will cost more. That's a misconception. Just think of this like the red carpet treatment.
Researching and hiring voice talent direct can be a great way to source good people, but it takes some leg work on your part. Wading through Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc...can yield a ton of choices. A quick search of "voice talent" will get you over 29,000,000 results! Treat this like anything you would buy online. Does the voice actor have a site? Is it easy to navigate? Does the voice talent talk about their studio, or past clients? Are demos listed and easily heard? Are there videos to see some actual projects? All of these help with buying decisions and will give you a glimpse to the caliber of talent they are. My clients who find me on this site are the ones I end up holding closest. They know I will be a trusted resource for them, and at times even recommend colleagues when I'm not the right talent for a project. For you to hire direct, it will take more time, but in end you could have a lasting partnership.
Pay to play websites are a unique entity that have really taken off in the last 10 years. There are a few major ones, then it trickles down from there. Some sites are specialty (ie radio imaging, audiobooks , etc..) while others are a repository of thousands. Working through these sites to find the best talent can be a curse and a blessing all wrapped up into one. The major issue with most pay to play sites, is a lack of vetting. Anyone with some resemblance of recording gear can put a profile online, call themselves a voice actor, and start bidding. I've heard plenty of horror stories from my clients who have tried to use someone on a casting site and not only could the talent not deliver, but it also ended up costing the client more in time and money! As a voice actor, I've had success being hired and retained by clients for great projects from pay to play sites. The ones that worked out best were always organized, respectful, paid good rates, collaborative, and professional. If you're just starting out with finding a voice actor, you might struggle with finding and working with the right voice talent when utilizing a casting (pay to play) site. It still takes pre-work on your part.
Regardless of the way you cast voice talent, keep in mind you're getting a strategic partner to help you through the final touches on the project you've worked so diligently on. Don't cheapen your work! Hire a professional that respects the work you've done just as much as they respect the voice acting craft.
BONUS! FREE EBOOK!
My friends over at Agent 99 Voice Talent have just put together a free ebook talking about using pay to play vs an agent. Great read and they're some great folks too. If you're thinking about hiring voice talent, this book is a must read! Check it out!
3 QUICK TIPS FOR YOUR MEDICAL TRAINING AUDIO PROJECT!
There is something special about doing voice over work for medical projects. It's highly specialized, very focused, and takes a certain caliber of voice actor to pull it off. Just making erythroblastosis-neonatorum sound natural, makes me need to sit down for a while. While finding the right voice actor to do medical training is important, it's even more important to keep organized and outline pre-work before you start recording. Being a top-notch project manager, or producer for medical training can relieve a lot of stress and reduce your timelines!
I went back through some files/sessions and started to estimate the number of projects or hours of medical training voice work I have done. After counting up over 300 hours and 400 projects, I stopped and just accepted I've done this a few times. What was interesting was finding those projects that reminded me of how challenging medical narration can be, but also how rewarding. The difference between having a great session versus a difficult one was the producer. If you're at the helm of the project, your work can make or break getting the best from your voice talent. Here's a few tips to help move you along:
1 Thing No One Mentions in the new Star Wars "The Force Awakens" trailer.
Have you had time to clean the preverbal poop out of your pants after seeing the new Star Wars "The Force Awakens" Trailer? While I'm not a massive Star Wars franchise guy, I do appreciate good production and a well crafted story. I'll go see it next year, but probably after a few weeks in. That way I'll have time to trim down and fit into my Slave Leia costume.
Love it or hate it JJ Abrams is at the helm and bringing back some old school styles. One of the biggest is the use of models, (as in the original), to give it more life rather than weird CGI (which I'm sure there is still a ton). In the new trailer we get a sense of "realism" to the overall look and feel. There are subtle nuance in the visuals that make it gritty and palatable. Awesome!
The one thing that has been speculated (which was discovered today)..."Who was the voiceover?" I like that there was not an epic move trailer standard voice to this. I'm sure one of the big primetime trailer voice over guys will land the project later, but for now using an actor in the film keeps with the "realism" theme.
Star of films like the Plant of the Apes reboots, and Lord of the Rings actor Andy Serkis is the voiceover for the new Star Wars teaser trailer. But here's one thing no one is mentioning....Did you know he was the voice of Gollum? Yeah! He is not only a skilled actor, he is also a "voice guy". So of course he's gonna NAIL this trailer for The Force Awakens! It was real, raw, and powerful! Go check out his credits! He has a TON of voice work under his belt. So good!
Also, and this is the audio geek in me; did you notice some nuance in the audio quality of his read. If you listen closely, you can hear some good old fashioned analog "hiss". Now, was that intentional...I bet it was. If it was added in on post, or just laid down that way it was done on purpose. It adds to the realism and keeps with the theme of what should be a great continuation of the Star Wars franchise.
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Tips, Tricks and Insights for casting, producers, agents, managers, creatives, and talent in the voice over industry.
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