Author Archives: Bill

Finding a Voice Over Coach


I’ve secured my place at the table for the Marice Tobias commercial and narration  intensive workshop in Dallas next month.  Marice is one of the premier voice-over coaches working today and has been instrumental in moving my career forward.

You can see other cities where  she’ll be holding workshops here.

If you are looking for a voice over coach in your area, Harlan Hogan has a  list on his website you should take a look at. Thanks Harlan!

Recording Voice Over on the Road

Dan O’Day emails today with a link to download a free audio seminar from Harlan Hogan and Jeff Fisher covering recording at home and while on the road.  You’ll have to cough up an email address and your name, but the info is free and hey, it’s Harlan.

My traveling voice-over rig is pretty simple. A collapsible canvas cube lined with studio foam into which is placed a desktop mic stand.  A Sennheiser 416 goes in the cube and is connected to a MicPort Pro USB interface connected to a tricked up MacBook. Software includes Pro Tools, Amadeus Pro, and Source Connect with the free Source Elements desktop host.

No muss, no fuss. It all fits in a carry-on luggage type case. The hard part is remembering to bring the iLock dongle. That’s a funny word isn’t it? And fun to say. Dongle

Using Source Connect with Pro Tools

George Whittam of El Dorado Recording Services has produced a most excellent video tutorial for voice actors who use Pro Tools and need help setting up a Source Connect session.

You can also find session templates and written guides on the Source-Elements website, but I found that George’s video takes you through the steps quickly with less heavy lifting . Thanks George!

Should I slate in Character?

That’s one of the questions that floats up during the four part podcast interview Voicebanks’s Tracey Patton has with Bob Bergen and Bill Holmes.  Both are busy voice actors and teachers.

So when auditioning for character or animation roles, should you slate in character. Some say yes. Bob says “no” for a simple reason that make sense.  If you slate as “you” and the “character”, you’ve just given the producer two voices.  More choices.  They love that.  Just make sure you give them good seperation between the two.

Voice Over Coach Marice Tobias In Dallas This Summer

I just got word from my agent Nancy Johnson that the “Voice Over Whisperer” Marice Tobias will have a Dallas stop on her summer schedule.  August 22-23 at Janination.  Contact Stacey Stahl of Creative Entertainment Management for more information and other cities Marice will be holding workshops in 2009.

As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, if you have a chance to work with Marice, jump on it. With both feet.  You’ll never look at a script quite the same way again. She has been instrumental in moving my career forward. In spite of myself.

Picture This. Or Not.

There has been a debate over on the Yahoo! Voice-over forum on whether or not the voice actor should include a headshot with or on the demo packaging or other voiceover marketing materials.

Let’s be clear. Most actors have headshots and video demos for their on-camera careers.  The question at hand is about including a photo with your voice-over demo or your on-line profile.

My opinion? Only if your voice and your face are a most excellent match.  If you look the way you sound.  And local actors come to mind that illustrate the point. The late Harlan Jordan and John B. Wells.

Harlan was known for his “country boy” sound. The first time I met him was in a session where I played a banker and Harlan read the rancher role for a radio spot.  He was running late and the rest of us were hanging around the studio making small talk while we waited.

Finally the door flies open and in walks a big ‘ole boy who looked like he’d ridden to the studio in the back of a hay truck. He had on dusty overalls and a big straw hat.  Harlan stepped up to the mic with a voice and a read that sounded like Larry the Cable Guy’s dad.  A most excellent match.

On the other hand, we have John B. Wells. Those of you who know his work would agree that “deep” doesn’t begin to describe his voice. It’s about as low has a human voice can go and still be audible. It’s in the same category as the late Don La Fontaine, the kind of voice that can blister paint.

But John is relatively young and sports a handsome yet boyish face.  One of his former agents told me he studied theater in college and really wanted to have a film career.  However, he was told over and over again at film auditions that his voice just overpowered his “look” and to come back in , oh,  20 or 30 years, when he resembled the Sam Shepherd he sounded like.  Not a match.

So if you really really look like your voice (Harlan), then maybe include a photo. Otherwise don’t.

Audio Book Master Reader Dude

At least once a year the missus and I like to load up the motor car and drive to Ruidoso, New Mexico where we met and sparked. The drive from Dallas to the Land of Enchantment is long and stooopid dull with points of interest being giant electricity  making windmills and a statue of a white buffalo in Snyder, Texas.

One year we armed ourselves with some audio books to help pass the time.  One was Larry McMurtry’s tome on Crazy Horse.  Love Larry McMurtry.  Lonesome Dove, Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and all that.  Man can write.

But as we were listening to Crazy Horse I was also  struck by how good the narrator is. In this almost quiet, unassuming way he is taking Larry’s words and painting pictures in my brain.  Who is this guy?

It’s  Scott Brick.

Tracy Pattin at Voice Registry has podcasts posted where she interviews Mr. Brick. If your voice over ambitions include audio books check out these clips.

Turning Strangers Into Customers

I can’t remember a time in my voice over career when I’ve worked with so many new people in the span of a few weeks. Faceless folks to me since I’m meeting them via ISDN or phone-patch in the home studio.  Names and voices in my headphones from studios in Los Angeles, Austin, Detroit, and Conneticut.

Besides doing the the best possible work for them, what else can we voice over performers do to increase the odds that these strangers ring our agents again. And again.

Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing,  puts it this way:

“The highest form of public relations is human relations. People buy from friends, so it’s crucial to make the human bond before you can make a lasting business bond.”

Read the entire Guerrilla  Marketing blog post here.  It’s well worth your time.