When I first moved to Southern California from New Jersey in 2008 and was starting my full-time voiceover career, I felt the need (like so many work-from-home entrepreneurs) to get together face to face with my fellow voiceover people (Peeps!). After a few fun monthly potluck dinners, I turned it into an official networking group and VO Peeps was born. My goal was to not only be a local meetup group, but also a vital organization that provided valuable voiceover resources and education for its members.
The group grew rapidly, and I soon realized that in order to truly flourish, we needed to break down the barriers of traditional meetup groups and extend our membership to the global community. Given my previous experience in education and technology, this was right up my alley, and I happily started reaching out to the online voiceover community, offering VO Peeps as a virtual meeting place for talent to meet and share stories and resources. I am very proud to say that we were the very first voice-over meetup in the industry to stream their meetups live on the Internet (a technical feat in 2010!) and offer educational content to both local and online members simultaneously. We still do this today, and offer monthly workouts and membership featuring top industry professional guest directors from every genre. Our members are not only able to network with other voice over artists and industry professionals across the globe, but they also receive an educational platform that enhances their voiceover skills and businesses.
Over the years we have had a ton of fun as well as some amazing workouts with top-notch guest directors, including: Jeffrey Umberger, Liz Atherton, Dean Panaro, Johnny Heller, Everett Oliver, Jodi Gottlieb, Erik Sheppard, Marc Cashman, Zach Hanks, Sean Pratt, Dave Fennoy, J. Michael Collins, Mary Lynn Wissner, Scott Brick, Randy Thomas, Marc Graue, David Rosenthal, Jeff Howell, Cissy Jones, Gabby Nistico, Debi Derryberry, Dave Walsh, Lori Alan, and more!
Every one of these workouts has been a literal goldmine of knowledge and it has been my sincere privilege to host some of the most respected and revered professionals in the industry. I'd like to thank each and every one of my special guest directors for their time and generosity - we could not do what we do without you! I also wanted to share some of my favorite gems of wisdom from these sessions with you. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Characters are all around you
Many character voice actors use their vivid imagination to create new characters. Some people emulate family members or caricatures of a personality type to create their own unique characters. Marc Graue, actor, voice talent and owner of legendary Marc Graue Studios suggests to, "take a glass of water and then gargle to create am unique creature sound for your next video game audition.” Let your imagination run wild and see how you can manipulate your voice to create an interesting sound.
2. Be authentically you
When you lend your voice to an audiobook you usually need to be able to voice a large variety of characters plus the narrator of the book. People often ask what the narrator of an audiobook should sound like. Scott Brick, an actor, writer and award-winning narrator of over 700 audiobooks says, "The narrator should always sound like you. Lead with who you are and share the story with your own unique perspective and gift." Every person is different with unique experiences. Use that!
3. Perfection is overrated
How much time do you spend on any one audition agonizing over every syllable? While it is important to be good at your craft, you also need to understand that when it comes down to it, casting directors don't necessarily want perfection. For any one job they may listen to the same script 100 different times by 100 different voice actors. What can you do to disrupt that flow of sameness? Erik Sheppard, owner of the Sheppard Agency says, “There’s not a single VO job where the ‘perfect’ person was booked. It’s usually the one that stands out - The one that is able to 'interrupt' the flow of the casting director listening to hundreds of versions of the same copy.” By making the copy your own, your audition will stand out amongst the others.
4. Be a real person
For a while now, the current trend in voiceover is to sound conversational or like a real person. In commercial copy, it is not always written this way. Well-known casting director and founder of Voices Voicecasting, Mary Lynn Wissner - says it best. “A Real person read means it should sound raw and that you are not reading the script. Like, you are walking down the street and minding your own business and then someone sticks a mic in your face and asks, ‘Why are you buying your breakfast at McDonald’s?'" REACT to the scene - don't just read it!
5. It's not about how you sound
I am constantly reminding my students about this. Oftentimes, we obsess about our sound, recording audition after audition, driving ourselves crazy until we get what we perceive to be the "perfect voice" for our client. (Or is it really for ourselves?) By the time we're finished, our read sounds canned and announcery. It's not about your sound - what people really care about is the STORY you are telling them. Dave Walsh, the founder of the True Tell Method, says it beautifully - "Sound is simply the manifestation of story. Story begins in the soul, it doesn't begin in the sound. Sound is the last link in the chain of communication." Concentrate on the story to serve your listener, and your sound will happen naturally
Want all 12 + Tips? We know you do! :)
There are literally hundreds of tips like these that come from our meetups, workshops, and workouts. Since you have diligently read this far :) feel free to get the rest of them here - as well as some bonus tips! It's my way of sharing some insight into the great content that VO Peeps has to offer. While you're at it, please sign up for our VO Peeps mailing list to make sure you get the latest information about upcoming guests and workouts.
Watch a sampling of our workouts for even more tips!
If you like what you have seen so far, and you're interested in more up-to-the-minute training and tips, look no further than The VIPeeps Membership Club . You can join for as little as $24 per month and can even get a FREE preview trial by signing up HERE - You'll get full access to an episode from last year's VIPeeps Workout calendar plus lots of fun bonus content! A membership to VIPeeps will give you 24/7 instant video access to over 200+ hours of previous and future VO Peeps educational archives. You also get free monthly member workouts and a 15% discount for all live workout events!
I’m so excited to share my story of VO Peeps and the exclusive educational club, VIPeeps with you. If you are looking for something that will elevate your career and help you continue to learn and grow in the voiceover world, then this is the place to do it.
Keep on Rockin' Your Biz,