Thursday, April 30, 2009

Demo Tagging Coming to a Close Next Week

Many of you have already taken part in the demo tagging on Voice123. Thank you!

As this comes to a close before the release of our new search feature, we wanted to send one last reminder that the five people, who have tagged the most demos by May 8th, will receive a free Premium Subscription to Voice123.

Tagging demos takes place after an audition has been submitted on Voice123, a function of those with Premium subscriptions. Please remember that tagging is anonymous, and all tags will be available for removal, if you disagree with them once they have been released. If you would like details, read more here.

If you are curious, and maybe would like to know more about this, you can always ask me on Voice123 Premium forums.

Thank you so much!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog

Monday, April 27, 2009

"If I Never Hear These Questions Again, It Will Be Too Soon" - Bettye Zoller

Bettye Zoller is a member of the Voice123 Coach Partner Program. She has been kind enough to write this article for the benefit of the voice over community. We hope you find it useful.

"Let me begin this article with a couple of wise quotes from veteran broadcasters I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. I won’t mention names, but here ‘tis:
  1. If you tell me you are “thinking about” going into broadcasting or voiceovers, I’m going to advise you not to do it. You obviously do not have the passion, the fire, the drive if you’re only “thinking about it.” Go into another line of work!
  2. It never matters how good someone is at what they do if that person doesn’t sell, sell, sell. A good salesperson will always make more money and have more success in any given endeavor than a talented person will have, every time!”

As a longtime voice, speech, singing, and voice over coach, it is the voice over students who ask questions over and over again, many times, unanswerable questions! So, I decided to write this article in an effort to aid voice performers in overcoming “fear of failure,” the real reason behind these unanswerable questions. First, here are the questions:
  1. How long will it take me to make money in the voiceover business?
  2. I want to quit my job (retire or whatever…) so do you think voiceovers will allow me to do that without a loss of income?
  3. What is the start-up cost involved in becoming a voiceover performer?
  4. Do you think it’s worth the money to join an online pay-to-play voiceover website?
  5. Do you think I should renew my membership with an online pay-to-play voiceover website?
  6. Why am I not winning more online auditions?
  7. OK. I’ve downloaded the Audacity recording software and I put a microphone on my computer. I’m all set up as a recording studio but don’t know how to record anything on it. What should I do?
  8. OK. I don’t have the money for a voiceover CD demo because I just spent all my money outfitting my computer as a recording studio. Is that ok? I can do the demo in awhile.
  9. I just paid to be on Voice123. Now what? Should I have signed up through you, my coach?
  10. How do I know which online jobs to audition for and which to pass over?
  11. How do I find a good voiceover coach?

Everybody, here are the ‘answers'! (only kidding…), but I’ll try to clarify some issues:
  1. Who knows? Ask a fortune teller but don’t pay more than $5.00 and don’t expect an answer from her either.
  2. Remember: Voiceovers, just like every other business in the world today or forever in history has or has had a startup period, a build. Voiceovers are no exception. It usually takes two to six years to establish a career if you’re diligent and good and a terrific networker and salesperson.
  3. From $500 to $5000 dollars: Ask an architect how much it will cost to build a house for you. What sort of house? What materials? Where? There are too many variables to quote start up costs for anything…ever. But one thing is clear: Starting a voice business is far less costly than many, many other types of businesses.
  4. Yes. Joining a pay to play online voiceover site is the foundation of today’s voice business. I predict that in years ahead, our online voiceover work will supercede any other type of voiceover work.
  5. Yes.
  6. Who knows? Are you auditioning for jobs not suited to your strengths? Are you a beginning voiceover performer or someone who, as of yet, is not very accomplished? Is your accent or dialect or perhaps your poor diction causing the rejections? Do you need more voiceover training? Are you auditioning for jobs you don’t fit? Are you auditioning for jobs requiring a higher level of audio engineering or certain recording equipment you don’t have yet or that you are not capable of providing at this time? Are your audition MP3s noisy, boomy, too low in volume? But also, know that auditioning is “a NUMBERS GAME.” Also, some clients should have chosen YOU but didn’t! (There…do you feel better now?) Let me tell you the story about the client who did not choose me because I reminded him of his ex-wife! (True!) Do you know that statistics show that most small businesses fail because they gave up too soon? There is no explanation for why one person is chosen in most auditions over another equally good person. Learn to live with this fact!
  7. Investigate community colleges in your area to find a recording studio course and enroll in it. Perhaps find an audio engineer working at a local recording studio who will teach you privately a few times to answer your questions and give you a start on knowing more about recording. Ask your local library for a book on recording techniques. Search online for articles on websites addressing your concerns about recording yourself. Talk with others in voiceovers who may share information. Query others in an online chat group, on a message board, or in an online email group to get answers to some questions.
  8. Every week that you do NOT yet have a “killer” demo (or more than one!) simply postpones your possible successes one week further into the future. The demo is the foundation of everything. You put the “cart before the horse.” By spending your money on the recording gear too soon. First comes study. The demo comes next. Setting up your computer as a recording studio comes down the line. Learn your craft and get good at it before putting in a studio. And don’t do a demo until you’re ready either! Never do a demo with a so-called producer who works with you one hour to day and shoves you in front of a microphone. Your demo should be prepared totally, rehearsed, the copy chosen with great care.
  9. Voice123 has a “coaches’ program whereby a coach who is a signed coach with the site can offer a newcomer a free trial period before he or she pays to become a premium member. Take advantage of this trial period by signing up for it through your voice coach. If your coach is not a Voice123 coach, ask the folks at Voice123 to refer you to a resident coach. I help my students who join on the trial program through me to build their page, upload their demos, get a start. Ask your coach for help.
  10. “Know Thyself.” If you do not know your strengths, get busy with a coach who can help you identify these areas. No one is good at everything. Only do what you’re fabulous doing. Make a list of your voiceover strengths. Stick with it. Pass over auditions that are not among your best areas. And set limits on “how low you’ll go” with the lowball jobs on the online sites. What’s your asking price?
  11. A coach is not “good” for everyone…only good for SOME PEOPLE. Unless a coach is untrained and not knowledgeable, uncaring and unprofessional, that coach can probably impart to you some wisdom, teach you some good things. Everyone should study with a variety of coaches. Study often! And if a certain coach is not your “favorite,” not the “best coach” you’ve had, please do not take that to mean the coach might not be good for others. Everyone is different with differing needs. A dear friend and colleague, the late Don LaFontaine, once told me, “If you gain one useful bit of knowledge from a teacher or a workshop, it’s been worth the money. And when the lesson’s over or the workshop’s finished, ask yourself what the best piece of new knowledge was that you learned.” So true. Great advice!
Let me close by addressing the greatest fear of all: I call it, “the imposter syndrome.” When students in medical colleges reach the intern-stage of their education, many drop out. They quit. They become fearful of being a physician because they feel inadequate, afraid, untried. This is primarily because of FEAR OF FAILURE. One thing is absolutely certain and I tell all my students this fact: The one certainty is that if you do not try, you have failed. And you never will know if you could have succeeded or not. But also, one must know when enough is enough, when to quit. Not everyone succeeds at voiceovers. Ask yourself these following questions:
  • Are you built to be an entrepreneur?
  • Should you find a job with a steady paycheck?
  • Are you not good at self promotion or sales?
  • Are you shy and fearful of meeting new people?
  • Are you unknowledgeable about recording and really do not want to learn it?
  • Perhaps you also are mostly computer illiterate? Do you have a speech disorder or accent of some kind?
  • Is English, for you, a second or foreign language? Perhaps you should be trying to get more jobs in your primary language.
I constantly dispel the myth that a person who “speaks well” can do well at voiceovers. Not true. It’s much more than only “talking.” It’s voice acting. It’s a REAL BUSINESS! Welcome to the real voiceover world!"

- Bettye Zoller Seitz of is also a Voice123 Coach. See her profile for credentials! She coaches by phone as well as privately. She holds degrees through the doctorate from three universities and is the Feagin Guest Artist Professor at Tulsa University in Oklahoma and The Academy of Dramatic Arts this August in NYC.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Difference Between SmartCast & SmartCast Disabled

In the Voice123 system for posting a job, there are two kinds:

  • SmartCast
  • SmartCast Disabled

However, there is a big difference between the two.

SmartCast is a system that automatically matches what you are requesting to the profiles that best fit what you require. It requires little time to use, and you normally begin receiving auditions within the hour. Invitations to audition for your project will be sent to hundreds of professional talents, who match your needs.

Then, we have SmartCast Disabled. This form is different. It requires that you, not only fill out a form, but that you also MANUALLY invite voice talents, either through our search feature, or from people you have worked with before on Voice123. It involves the use of our private messaging system. In turn, you will be doing the casting yourself, by who you find.

If you ever have any questions about how to post a project, please contact one of our account executives, or myself, for assistance. Post a project, and see for yourself!

Thank you for using Voice123!
Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog

'Ya' Never Know!'

The very fact that names can be saved or that talents can be marked as 'preferred' by a voice seeker, means that every audition carries the same responsibility as one that comes with meeting an agent or casting director. Why? Simply put...'Ya' Never Know' who will be listening one day, or who you have struck a chord with in the past.

When it comes down to it, 'people' are using Voice123 on both sides of the community. One side of the community is made up of 'voice seekers' that use the technology to post projects, and hear auditions. Each has their own personality. They have an easy time keeping track of those professionals, who at one point, stuck out to them and planted that all important seed in the brain known as 'I would like to work with that person one day'. However, the needs of clients to hire a talent can be unpredictable, even with all technology in place to cut out the unpredictability factor out!

We give you two examples, which you can find in our Voice123 Forums, that illustrates the importance of professional auditioning, all the time!

Please see the following posts!
These have been written by David Swinehart and Scott Pollak! Thank you to you both for sharing such positive news, and insight, with the community of Voice123!

Being that no 'rule' is absolute when it comes to a creative industry, we point to one common thread that has made talents memorable, as learned in feedback from voice seekers:

One with the ability to choose the right auditions for themselves, combined with an audition and online communication skill that saves the client 'time', which can very well be the warmest hug you can give someone who is using a computer. It is like saying, 'I know what you are going through. So, let's work together.' This understanding is key in establishing long-term working relationships, while working online, too!

Working online can be unassumingly demanding, and being as new as it is, requires some flexibility when working within the community, but if you are always putting your best voice forward with dedication to sound quality and great copy reading, at some point, it will pay off for you!

"Dedication and hard work requires that success is imminent!"

Thank you for using Voice123!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog

Monday, April 20, 2009


Voice123 would like to mention a very special show that is coming to New York City this week. If you have ever been curious as to how to make it in voice overs, this is a great show to see.

"BOB BERGEN: SO, HERE'S THE DEAL"...The story of a nice Jewish boy who wanted to be Porky Pig, will make its NYC debut this week, April 22nd & 23rd, at Don't Tell Mama!

Reservations are now being accepted! You can click here to reserve for April 22nd or click here to reserve for April 23.

If you would like to make phone reservations, you must call after 4:00PM EST @ (212)-757-0788.

Interested in finding out more? Check out the show trailer!

We hope you can make it! Thank you to Marian Massaro passing this information along to us!


Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pro Tips! Converting MP3 & CDA Files

MP3 files are the most well-known format of audio file. On Voice123, MP3s are used most commonly for the following:
  1. Uploading a demo onto your Voice123 profile, which you can do in the My Demos section, while you create your profile. MP3s on Voice123 profiles have to be 96 kbps, and under 3 MB (Megabytes) in order to be uploaded.
  2. Uploading MP3s for auditions, which you would do as a Premium Subscriber to Voice123, while using SmartCast. Auditions can go as high as 10 MB in file size, but still have to remain 96 kbps.
  3. When you are directly invited, and asked to send an MP3 through the private messaging system. The private messaging system has a file size limit of 2 MB.

So, I asked talented professionals on our Voice123 Premium Forums, to describe how they upload MP3s, or if they have had their demos on a CD, just how they transferred the CDA file to an MP3 format. You can find their answers here, and read below:

John Broniecki
"When converting from wave to mp3 I usually use iTunes 'advanced/convert selection to mp3 function'. If for some reason I don't do it that way I'll import the file into Logic Pro and then export from Logic as an mp3.

With a CDA file, you could just upload it as a data file (off your CD). I would most likely compress to a .zip or .sit before doing so."

Rodolfo Fernandez
"Converting WAV to MP3? Use iTunes in either Mac or PC platforms, which should import WAV's and then you can set iTunes preferences to convert your files to several different formats, including MP3. CDA's, or CD Audio discs, can be opened for playback in iTunes as well, and there is a dedicated button on the lower right corner of the window that says "Import CD".

When you click on that button, iTunes will import and convert the entire CD Audio disc to the format you've previously selected in Preferences > General > Import settings button.

You may also convert individual tracks from a CDA disc by selecting them individually and then going to the Advanced menu and selecting "Create --- version", where "---" will appear as the file format you've chosen in the preferences menu."

Lee Gordon
"The way I convert WAV's to MP3s is pretty simple. I open the WAV in Cool Edit and save it as an MP3. Job done."

Kelly Klemolin
"Regarding CDA to mp3: Try Adobe Audition. Open the file from the CD, save as an mp3."

Mark Fletcher
"I use Sound Forge 9.0 for everything. I bring in WAV or any other format and the mix and save to MP3. This allows me to deal with different sampling rates that may be present on files provided to me. I like to convert as little as possible to maintain quality."

David Swinehart
"...converting a .wav or .aif to the .mp3 format is as simple as importing the raw file into your audio editing software (I use Apple Logic), and running either an export or bounce in .mp3 format. The export will output exactly what you put in, while the bounce function will provide the ability to normalize the audio file as it's being converted - which is often useful in our line of work. As for converting CD's, one of the best encoders out there for .wav, .aif, or .mp3 files is actually iTunes (free on any computer). You just have to ensure that your encoding options are set up correctly to encode in the correct file type, and that you disable copy protection so that the files may be sent to clients and used on any computer."

Juan Salcedo - GM
"Another easy way to convert audio files, when you don't want to install software in a borrowed computer or are away from your PC, is to use file conversion services online. It's very easy to do, there are many free providers online, just google for 'online media converters'."

If you have a particular topic that you would like to know more about, or maybe content you would like to submit as an article, shoot us a message on the Voice123 Premium Forums!

We hope you have found this useful, and we thank the Voice123 voice over talents, who were generous in contributing their knowledge to this article!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Increase Exposure: Voice123 Link Exchange!

One of the most amazing things about working online is that it gives voice over talents the opportunity to increase their exposure, faster than ever before.

A tool that Voice123 offers to assist in doing so is the Voice123 Link Exchange. You can find this in the More Tools section of your Voice123 profile. This can be an effective tool in showing up on search engines, such as Google or Yahoo.

Inbound links from other websites are important because it basically tells a search engine, like Google, that the referrer page is "recommending" your profile page. So, apart from the Voice123 Link Exchange, you can also add direct links to your profile from other websites, for example your personal website, directories, social websites, blogs, forum comments etc., increasing the ability to be found on the web. Whenever you have a chance to do this, we hope you will add a link to your profile page.

If you would like to know more about the importance of this, please read this article from our Resource Center, or ask other Voice123 users in our Voice123 Forums. I hope you will post a thread!

Thank you always!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog

Thursday, April 02, 2009

'March'ing Forward at Voice123: New Records!

Voice123 would like to start this off by quickly thanking the Voice123 community of talented professionals and voice seekers. This past month we set a record with having over 1000 SmartCast Projects posted. There were also over 800 non-SmartCast projects, in which voice seekers directly invited talents!

This has been a very interesting, and hard working month for Voice123. We wanted to share with you some of the action from the past month:

  • On March 1st: We extended the hours of Customer Service for voice over talents, to fit the needs of requests coming from various timezones around the world.
  • From March 1st to March 10th: As an experiment I changed my work schedule from 10pm to 7am USA EST, and spent the night fielding requests from the good voice over folks in Europe, Asia, and Australia. I learned a great deal about who is auditioning at that time, and who posts projects, that may need immediate help overnight. I had a blast speaking with people from around the world!
  • On March 26th: We released Voice123 on Facebook and we also started 'tweeting'. In just five days, Voice123 attracted over 600 fans on Facebook, and 200 followers on Twitter!
  • Throughout March: We published two informational blogs on usage of Voice123, both for seekers posting jobs, and for voice talents who see them. We have also been working closer with voice over coaches to make sure our Coach Partner Program stays active, and beneficial for voice over talents.

We look forward to continuously working hard to make a better Voice123 for you.

We thank you once again for being a part of the Voice123 community!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog