Think Backwards for Voiceover Success

 

A few days ago, I asked the members of the Voice-Over Friends group on Facebook to share some tips on improving our voiceover businesses. There were loads of really valuable responses, and I included them in a recent post called 30+ Ways to Strengthen Your Voiceover Business. One entry was added to the group a little to late to make into the post, but it certainly deserves to be shared. It was written by Bob Bergen, whose talent is only exceeded by his humility. This guest post is a reprint of those comments, shared with Bob’s permission:  [Ed. note: Click on the image below to see video of "Bob" in a scene with Porky.]

 

Voiceover Legend Bob Bergen


The Wisdom of Bob’s Experience

 

I’m a tad late to the party here, but I think one thing most lack in pursuing voice-over is “specifics.” If you answer “I just want to work” when asked, “What do you want to get out of pursuing voice-over?” you are just one of the masses wandering around probably not working because your goals are too vague. Specific goals will bring specific results! Want to work in promos? “I want to work in promo” is not even specific enough. “I want to be the promo voice of CBS comedies!” That’s specific! Now, how do you take that specific goal and attempt to achieve it? Most will start with a promo demo, maybe post it on their website, make it available to any and all of their multiple regional agents, etc. Again, vague steps that will probably bring vague results. For a more specific game plan, try a business strategy I call Backwards Thinking.

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30+ Ways to Strengthen Your Voiceover Business

Voiceover Talent Solutions

 

Your Career Improvement To-Do List:

 

Yeah, I know. Based on the timing of this post, it probably seems like a “Let’s Do Things Better in 2012″ post, or worse yet, a glorified list of New Year’s resolutions. It isn’t. It’s more of a checklist of things we should be doing regularly, or a reminder of things we aren’t doing enough of.

As freelance voiceover talent, and without a “boss” expecting reports on his desk by the end of the day, it can sometimes be difficult to hold ourselves accountable and ensure that we’re handling our myriad responsibilities. Okay, maybe I’m projecting a bit here, but it’s common complaint I hear from fellow voiceover talent: with so many tasks that need attention, it can be difficult just to wrangle them all onto one list, let alone begin to chip away at that mountain of action items. Well now you’ve got one less excuse, because the wrangling’s been done. Most of the items below won’t take you much time, but you’ll get loads of benefits: more time, more money, better control of your career and happier, more loyal clients.

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Using Their (Voiceover) Powers for Good

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more generous, thoughtful and considerate group of people than the many voiceover artists I consider my friends. If you need any convincing, look no further than the Prime Time Voices for Children project, headed up by super VO talent Joe Cipriano, featuring a stellar recording of the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. My guess is that with their busy and unpredictable schedules, organizing the 30+ performers who lent their voices to this project must’ve been as challenging as herding cats, but the resulting audio is simply fabulous:

PrimeTimeVoicesForChildren

“With so many stations presenting 24 hour a day Christmas programming for the season,” says Cipriano, “we felt there was an opportunity to offer up new and unique holiday content for radio programmers and music directors to freshen up their playlists of holiday classics and do some good for children.”

Among the 31 voice actors who participated are George DelHoyo, Randy Thomas, Ben Patrick Johnson, Sylvia Villagran, Beau Weaver, Bob Bergen and Scott Rummell, known largely for their work on movie trailers, network television promos and animation.

I feel lucky to know many of these voiceover talent personally, including Brian Lee, Stew Herrera, Anthony Mendez, Kara Edwards, John Taylor, Zurek, Randy Thomas and Pat Fraley. I know each of them to be at least as generous as they are talented, and that’s saying quite a lot. And since the goal of Prime Time Voices for Children is to raise money for Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA (one of the highest-rated children’s hospitals in California) I hope that you’ll purchase a copy of the track on CDBaby.com, Amazon, or iTunes, and/or make a donation through Fundly.

For exclusive information about the cast and the project, visit Facebook.com/PrimeTimeVoicesForChildren.

Alphabetical list of Prime Time Voices for Children cast:

Joan BakerBob BergenKay BessCorey BurtonJoe CiprianoHoward CoganTownsend ColemanJosh DaughertyGeorge DelHoyoKara EdwardsDave FennoyPat FraleyStew HererraBen Patrick JohnsonBrian LeeBill LloydAnthony MendezPaul PapeJim PrattBill Ratner, Rino Romano, Scott RummellAshton SmithJim TaskerJohn TaylorRandy ThomasKeri TombazianSylvia VillagranRick WassermanBeau Weaver and Zurek.

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4 Words That Guarantee Voiceover Success!!!*

Voiceover Talent can earn "easy" money?

 

*Let’s be clear. There. Is. No. Guarantee.

You can be sure, however, that there will always be people who will try to convince you that they know all the secrets. And of course, for the low, low price of just $(fill in a number with at least one comma here), they will teach you everything they know, and you’ll be on your way to an easy, effortless million dollar career. These people aggravate me like you wouldn’t believe. At best, they’re well-intentioned, if a bit misguided. At worst (and I think this is more likely) they’re unscrupulous, misleading swindlers whose main goal is not to build your career, but to bilk your bank account. They do little, if anything, to benefit the voiceover community, while taking advantage of eager, starry-eyed beginners.

So just a few days ago I wrote an open letter to one of these nameless “experts,” and posted it in the Read more…

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50+ Vital Business Resources for Voiceover Talent

Voiceover Talent Success

After talking to just a few professional voiceover talents, or reading about the paths their careers have taken, it quickly becomes obvious that there is no single track to follow to guarantee success in the field. Truth be told, there is no guarantee of success in voiceover. (And anyone who tells you otherwise – especially if they’re selling a book or training program – is to be avoided like the plague.) There are, however, loads of things that you can do to help improve your odds.

The first of those things is to make sure that you’re treating your voiceover career as a business. If you’re serious about pursuing (or continuing) a career, there’s no other way. The simple fact is that you’ll be running a small business. And whether you call yourself an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, or an independent vocalization technician, the basic requirements are the same. At each stage of our careers, there are different resources that can help move things along to the next level. With that in mind, I’ve tried to compile a list that will cover all the business topics that can affect your career. Of course, there’s no way to include everything, and if you notice anything missing from the list, please add your favorite resource in the comments below, and I’ll update the list as warranted, so please consider this a work in progress.

I’ve purposely steered away from voiceover-specific web sites for the purposes of this post, in hopes that a ‘big-picture’ view of the business side of things would be more helpful. Let’s jump in. Read more…

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Voiceover Talent Beware

 

Attention Voiceover Talent:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m very  disappointed, once again, to see a self-professed voiceover “guru” taking advantage of newcomers to the industry. How? Read more…

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The New Reality of Voiceover

A recent article from Backstage.com about carving out and maintaining a voiceover career presents one of the most honest and sobering views of the industry that I’ve read in a long time. This excerpt from the article should be required reading for anyone working in (or considering working in) the industry. The last line of the excerpt should be a required reality check for anyone who Read more…

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Twitter is not a Megaphone

Twitter Wordle from voice over talent Doug Turkel

 

Very few books about Social Media are written as authentically and as earnestly as UnMarketing by Scott Stratten. Scott’s smart as a whip, snarky as can be (in a good way – have you ever looked forward to reading footnotes before?) I’ve been a big fan of Scott’s since reading his book last year, and have followed him on Twitter even longer. (Plus, he’s a fellow “UN,” so he’s got that going for him!) But a photo he posted on Twitter the other day got me thinking. It’s a word cloud of the words he used most often during his first 50,000 tweets. Yes, 50,000. He’s almost at 75,000 now, with no signs of slowing down, and my guess is that an updated word cloud from his Twitter stream wouldn’t look much different. (In this word cloud, the larger a word is, the more often it appeared it his tweet stream.)

I wasn’t at all surprised to see that the largest word in Scott’s cloud is “thanks.” And “rt” (short for retweet – re-posting something that another Twitter user has written) isn’t far behind. See, Scott gets it. He knows that Twitter isn’t about selling to people, it’s about talking to them and engaging them:

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The Mecca of Microphones?

The best mic is…

The work we do as voiceover actors simply wouldn’t be possible without microphones. And unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to the question “Which is the best microphone for my voice?” There are just too many variables to consider and too many voices. Which is exactly why the “best microphone” debate is likely to flare up any time there’s more than one voiceover talent in the room.

The Annual Microphone Bible

Fortunately, Pro Sound News and ProAudio Review are out with their 2011 Gear Guide – Microphones. It’s filled with in-depth reviews and insights from legendary recording engineers. Honestly, it’s gear-porn for us studio rats.

Inside, you’ll also find the incredibly useful Professional Microphone Manufacturers’ Directory; background information and contact details for every major mic maker out there.

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Voiceover Magic?

In the last few weeks, I’ve been getting lots of calls and emails from fellow voice over talent, asking me about the merits of FaffCon. I was lucky enough to attend both FaffCon1 and FaffCon2, and I’m a big believer in the concept (more on this later) behind the UNconference. With registration now open for FaffCon3, set for September 23rd-25th in Hershey, Pennsylvania, lots of (really smart) people are thinking about going. At some point in the conversation, most of those voiceover folks ask some version of the question “What is FaffCon?”

I get it. FaffCon’s unorthodox nature can be difficult to understand. Its brilliance isn’t immediately obvious. In fact, the whole concept of an UNconference runs counter to convention. (And counter to conventions, for that matter.) Like so many things, an UNconference like FaffCon is much easier to understand once you’ve experienced one. If you were at FaffCon1 or 2,  you can stop reading now. And I know that you’ll be at FaffCon3 in September because you get it, too. If you weren’t there, let me try to help you imagine the experience.

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