Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'Walking Through the Mall... Hearing Voices'

Last week, I found myself hearing lots and lots of voice overs on a simple walk through a local mall. This will give you some insight as to just how small the online community is, and just how many types of jobs are out there.

The first store I heard a voice over in was the place I was getting my wife's glasses. I look up and find this incredibly high-tech commercial on an LCD HDTV above my head. I thought, 'Wow! That is really well-produced.' Being the person I am, I embarrassed my wife and asked the manager, 'Who made that video?'. The manager replied, 'I am not sure, but they only show it in stores.'

Ok... I have seen jobs posted for 'in-store commercials' on Voice123 before. It is 'new'.

When we left, and continued to walk past kiosks that try to get you to buy everything from soda to hand-lotions, I heard another voice over promoting the kiosk! It almost sounded like a spoof of radio imaging ads. I have seen promos posted on Voice123 before for even kiosks.

Of course, I then had to pass through the videogame store. I look up again to find this amazing voice over speaking about upcoming games. My wife won't go in that type of store, so I had no problem asking the manager, 'Where was that video made?'. He explained, 'It was made by the owners of this chain of stores during the E3 convention.' I told him where I worked, and in his excitement, proceeded to show me videogames that he felt had some great voice overs on it (I even wrote two of the people he was talking about through customer service feedback on Voice123). We also discussed 'indie games', and he was explaining to me how the videos in that store change quite often, and they are fun to watch.

I have now seen another in-store project, as well as, discussed videogame voices both for major companies and indie games, all jobs I have seen posted on Voice123...Ok, something old, something new.

Oddly, when I got home that night, I was channel-surfing and saw a Colombian actress on Telemundo. I had met her on a trip to Bogota, Colombia last summer when discussing voice over work in the US at a university.

All of this sticks in my mind because there is such a huge variety of jobs on Voice123. The belief that the online casting world is an 'anonymous world where no one knows what is going on' is quickly going away. 'New media' is not very 'new'. Those on Voice123 since it began have been doing this work for years now. So, when you really dive into the thick of what is being done online, you find you know more than you think, and there is a whole new land of opportunity for jobs online. Most importantly, there are answers to questions about 'who is doing what' or 'how much is one being paid for these new jobs that have only popped up in the last 15 to 20 years'...and you always have people to help you out.

If you are ever curious, talk about it here on the forums.

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
Voice123 Premium Forums
Steven's Blog
Twitter: @stevenNYC123

Not Hearing What You Expected? We Will Help!

The Voice123 SmartCast system is an automated system set up to match your project request to the profiles of Voice123 voice talent. Voice123 also offers a search feature where you may directly invite voice talent on your own.

If you ever feel your project is not getting the response you had expected, please contact us and we will gladly take a look into your project to assist you!

Feedback in the past has shown that voice talent seem more likely to respond to auditions that have the following characteristics:

1. A transparent and detailed description with proper grammar and spelling.

2. A description of how the script is to be read, and help with words that need special pronunciations.

3. A person posting a job that listens to all auditions usually gets heavier response.

4. A job posting with a budget that states a descriptive amount as to how each voice talent is paid.

5. Of course, being friendly with the way one writes is a big step towards building harmonious community business transactions.

You can read our Guide to Hiring Voice-Over Talents for more information and tips!

If you would like to post a project please do so! We will be here to help you through the process!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
Voice123 Premium Forums
Steven's Blog
Twitter: @stevenNYC123

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The First Voice Over Mic Designed by a Voice Over!

Voice over talent have rapidly become their own self-sustaining business. Just like a mechanic needs tools to fix automobiles, voice over talent have to pay attention to the tools they use when recording.

If after all the effort you put in researching what mic is best for you, you are not satisfied, what would you do?

Just ask Harlan Hogan! After suggesting mic after mic, he took on the task, and became the first voice over to design a mic for other voice over talent:

'The VO: 1-A Harlan Hogan Signature Series Voice Over Microphone'

Click here to read more about his accomplishment! Be sure to scroll down for the slide show and audio.

Harlan explained to Voice123:

'Bottom line is... it's the first voice over mic designed only for vo by a vo! Second, they get everything, even the mic cable, so no trip to Guitar Center just to plug it in. Third, we have a USB specially priced package with the Mic Port Pro if they prefer USB. Fourth, and most important, the voice talent can try it out and return it if it's not their mic of choice at no cost....we even pay the postage! So, talent can honestly judge without spending a penny. So far, rave reviews... NO returns!'

This new microphone has been tested by voice over talent in Los Angeles, and New York City.

We know that the 'search for the perfect microphone' can be difficult. Voice123 appreciates Harlan Hogan for letting us know about this new achievement, and we hope you can take advantage of it!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
Voice123 Premium Forums
Steven's Blog
Twitter: @stevenNYC123

Friday, November 20, 2009

Success Stories from Voice123

One of the most enjoyable thing for us at Voice123 is to hear about success stories from those booking work through our site. This week, we would like to share some messages sent to us recently. We hope this provides insight into the 'before and after' of certain situations when jobs were booked. Please see below!

Kristin Lennox writes:
"I booked a national spot for Passages Malibu a while ago through Voice123, but then they called back and needed me to record a second spot, so it turned into repeat business as well. You can see the original spot here!, I want to share this to give others hope; when I auditioned, I was ranked 2nd out of 25, along with 6 others for it -- not the best odds. When they emailed to tell me I got it, they said the client decided to go with me instead. So you just never know... So thanks, Voice123 -- this was a GREAT gig!"

Rachel Anslover writes:
"I am a voice actor based in NYC and am always looking for more opportunities to do what I love. I took a chance by getting a Premium Membership at Voice123, and I couldn't be happier with the results! Thanks to my new demo produced by Nancy Wolfson of Braintracksaudio and the fabulous workings of Voice123, I have already been contacted by several interested clients. After hitting them back with a quick audition, I have booked enough jobs to pay for my Premium Membership for the next several years and more! I'm actually on my way to the studio to record one of those jobs right now! Thanks for all the fantastic work you do at Voice123!"
~Rachel Anslover

Voice123 would like to thank Kristin and Rachel for sharing their emails with us! Keep your chin up and stay positive!

If you would like to read more positive testimonials, please visit this link to read from Voice123 voice talent!

If you would like to share positive experiences please write us.

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
Voice123 Premium Forums
Steven's Blog
Twitter: @stevenNYC123

Friday, November 06, 2009

Voice Over Tips: Common Mistakes on Personal Websites

An important part of being a voice over talent is advertising. This week, we write to give some tips on what to avoid when creating your own personal website.

Mistake #1 Overly Creative and Innovative Design:
  • For the most part, web site design should follow convention. For users to be able to navigate the web site, it is useful to have familiar things in familiar places. Magazine and books publishers understand this about print, but the understanding seems to get lost on the web.
  • A related problem is the attempt to create your own original brand for navigation. Using "original" names for navigation just makes it harder for your audience to enjoy your site. Navigation links are like road signs, they need to be descriptive, and make sense to everyone. Unconventional design and navigation will most likely result in confusing your audience.
Mistake # 2 Too Much Focus on a 'Flash and Dash' Homepage:
  • I know it is fun for a creative person to make his/her voice over homepage look like Times Square on New Years Eve, but this is a common mistake. If you want your site to work for you, you need to think about how people will use your website, not 'how I want them to use it'.
  • There are many ways for people to land on your site, such as search engines and external links. It is important to understand how each page created serves the person viewing it. This is easy to research using conventional testing i.e. If you were going to find your own page as a potential client, would it make them reach out to you for work, or just confuse them.
  • One effective strategy is to have parallel, consistent links in articles so users always know where they can go to find the next bit of your information (without overdoing it... I explain below).
  • Related stories about you and recent testimonials on your voice over work all work well.
Mistake #3 Being a 'Link-aholic':
  • Offering links for users to find more content is great, and essential to usability. However, it is often overdone. Links should be treated as if they were advertisements. Commercials are good in moderation, but disastrous in excess.
  • Why? Links are work. They require the user to make a choice. Finding great content is a reward for the effort to get to your page, so there is no value in spoiling the experience for them. The point of creating great content for your audience is so that they can enjoy it. Loading the page up with columns full of links inevitably reduces the space for reading and makes text harder to read.
  • It also sends the wrong message: "Thanks for coming, now go somewhere else."
Most Important: Don't Forget the Page is About 'You'
  • Perhaps the biggest mistake is to create "the digital community of you" through your own personal website. It usually starts innocently enough, having you and your many friends discussing things back and forth on your website, but inevitably this will lead to your web page becoming an effort to discover its original purpose; to sell YOU.
  • The general message of your website should be about selling you. A website with any other information not related to you becomes irrelevant, and it is unlikely to have much meaning for anybody else.
  • In the end... when creating a personal website for you, the voice over talent. Remember this quote: "The shortest distance between two points is simplicity."
Stay creative and original, but never forget what the customer looking to hire you is thinking!

Best always,

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog
Twitter: @voice123dotcom