Friday, October 29, 2010

Story Of Voice123 Talent Doing Oscar Perfomances

A year ago, we caught wind of a voice over job booked on Voice123 that we had been waiting to write about for over a year! If you have ever booked a voice over job with a non-disclosure agreement that left you dying to tell someone about it, but could not, you may get some insight out of this into the far-reaching chain of business decisions that have to be respected when working with high profile companies!

The Movie That Almost Become An Oscar-Nominee:
“The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer” (released on DVD last week)

Where it all started:
A job posted on by the director of an animation film out of Lima, Peru.

How We First Found Out: Talent Talking To Me
I had received a phone call from one of the voice talent in the film telling me about the job he had completed.

What happened next? The full story...
Having very little to go on, we started doing some research. Fortunately, one day a person came on live chat to tell us more about it!

See below actual transcript between one of our Voice123 staff:
  • "Leo, I have great news for Voice 123. Our company, DOLPHIN -FILMS, based in Lima Peru, made an animation movie called "The Dolphin - Story of a Dreamer".
  • It started as a very small project until 20th Century Fox set their eyes on it, initially in Latin America. We dubbed all voices in Spanish and Portuguese (Brasil) with our own talents.
  • Later, 20th Century Fox asked us to dub the voices to neutral US English, so that´s when we used Voice123!
  • Our English version of the film; all voices came from Voice123, thanks to your excellent service! Now, 20th Century Fox has bought ALL RIGHTS for North America that will be released in the USA and Canada beginning of next year, initially in BLU-RAY!
  • To put the cherry on top, "The Dolphin" is one of the 20 Animation movies that will be competing for the Oscar Awards for Best Animated Film 2009...ALL voices (but the singer) were contacted and contracts signed thanks to Voice123.
  • This is the trailer!"

How It Was Recorded...
Voice123 was used to cast the voices for this job, but of course, there had to be a final recording! Voice123 talent were flown to Lima, Peru where they recorded with the film’s director. This is not unheard of because even though Voice123 is a powerful casting tool, some directors prefer having everyone together, and the streamlined casting process saves money to allow for directors to afford such costs.

Why We Never Said Anything About It
Are we crazy? No, not at all. What happened was that 20th Century Fox became a teeny-tiny bit preoccupied with the release of a film called ‘Avatar.’ The director of the film asked us to keep this under wraps until they were ready to promote it.

Congratulations to the Voice123 talent involved in this production!
We would like to congratulate Robbie Daymond, Melissa LaFore, and Michael Ferrrei; not only for achieving something so wonderful! It is an honor to have you using Voice123!

Please share comments below!

If you have a story of your own about a job booking on Voice123, let us know!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

image: DeviantArt

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Usage: Working In 'Multi-Horse' Towns

A common 'first lesson-learned' in working online is finding out that what you did offline will never transfer into the online environment. It may work if you are only working with those you know, but what happens when other visitors to your voice over website, who do not know you, want in?

If you answered, ‘They cannot, unless I say so.’, you are making a mistake; a bold statement made from hard lessons learned. Their exists grand psychological reasons as to why, but I want to touch on beliefs that lead to failure online for voice talent. Below, I explain why there are no ‘one-horse towns’ online:

No one ‘owns’ it...
  • Websites are not real estate. Any business online understands that if they are the first to do something, sure, they cornered a market, but having a market cornered does not mean you have bought real estate! Even more so, if you treat people you talk to online with a sense of, ‘I own you’, you will slowly build resentment against you.
Put away the knife...No need for cut-throats online.
  • I remember very well being at auditions and on sets as an extra where I commonly heard, ‘I was here first!’, and watched people make clever moves to be first in line for whatever reason. Online, that behavior (a common survival instinct) is surprisingly viewed as childish through the psychology of an entire world watching and thinking behind the keyboard, brazen enough to share opinions without consequence.
  • If you think 'paying to be first' helps, you are buying into the offline ‘country club’ ideal and it screams of 1987. The technology has to allow for everyone to build, share, and grow a successful career while keeping in mind, ‘We are all businesses. No one is above the other, until’
It is good to have competition...
  • I notice that some believe the way to work is to claim to be the only one who can do something. Believe me...that is not a good thing online. Why? Buyer options.
  • One amazing thing by itself is a freak of nature.
  • Two amazing things gives a buyer the ability to compare and contrast, and in that process, both find work. Without competition, your product becomes very lonely. A creative industry is about ‘expanding on ideas’, so you will be used less by the majority, if you have no one that compares to you.
  • Offline, this may not be the case. works this way. We know we have competition, and many times exactly who, which is good for you if they are doing well. Thank Google for that one.
Saying ‘No’ to technology and evil numbers? Bad idea....
  • Technology can be scary. Stepping out of a comfort zone can be even more scary. There are some who truly believe that if they learn how to use a laptop or a blackberry, audition online, or learn how it works; that they are somehow betraying their brethren. As a result, they do not learn what to do with it. Why is this bad? Technology never stops.
  • Sure, there may be ways to get work, and maybe you do not need the Internet, but what are you going to do when the people hiring start working online more. If you think a business will be ‘loyal to the resistance of change’, after they find out how much easier it is, you will be left behind.
  • Life is a journey of learning. We are only as smart as the past and present has taught us to deal with the future.
  • As for numbers, simply put...They are difficult to accept because most of the time they prove our gut instinct was wrong.
Greed is a ‘no no’...Sorry Gordon.
  • Remember those easy days of ‘Greed is good’, and ‘all I need is a job with benefits’? They are simply gone. These days, there is no such thing as a ‘steady job’.
  • If you are not passionate and creative, dig deep inside you.
  • This ideal used to only apply to those in the arts, but now, it applies across the globe. You have to love and commit to what you are doing.
  • Working online, sometimes you do have to offer something for free (NOT in a job posting), in order to earn more than you would if you made everyone pay.
  • It does not mean becoming a charity. It means having a solid online business plan, whereby that which you give now, you will be able to take back in volumes later.
  • Some have asked me, ‘Why doesn’t Voice123 charge a commission?’. Aside, from it being illegal in New York State to accept commission on a paid service, it goes against the very foundation and moral obligation of Voice123 to operate as a marketing service to help the voice talent ‘do it him or herself’.
  • If we got somewhat greedy and started charging commission on jobs booked, we may make quick money, but Voice123 would soon ‘go bye bye’ because we disrupted the very fabric of what people like, ‘They can be their own business, make their money, and not worry about subversive behavior’. You cannot build a website on greed.
Food for thought...What do you think? Want to know more?

Come to my webinar tomorrow night at 8PM!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Voice For Every Need: Voice Overs for Video Games

The interactive entertainment or video game industry, considered by many to be a simple curiosity in the 1970's has blossomed into the largest entertainment industry, today, surpassing even blockbuster movies. And you know every successful action film debuts with a video game release along side it. In the business of entertainment, moving from niche markets to a mainstream audience takes skill. Producers, developers, programmers are essential to the success of this industry, as are the voice actors behind our favorite characters!

Voice talent can make the success of a videogame! Just ask Voice123 talents! It is best to find the right voice over actor to enhance the amazing job done by the game developers to give your video game that extra punch, kick, scream, or yell!

Long gone are the days when video games could be completed with a barely decent performance in a couple of words. Now it is not only a matter of amazing graphics, stunning effects, thrilling stories, but also an impressive voice over actor behind the images one sees on the screen. In the fast growing industry of interactive entertainment take the lead by having a professional voice over actor in your game, bring your characters to life and help them create a link with the players.

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Photo by The_Jay

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Are All Artists by Dr.Felicia Ruff

I graduated from Wagner College in 1995 with a B.A. in Theatre/Speech. Earlier this month, I had a chance to go to my class reunion. I did not expect to leave heavily inspired to share this speech with every voice talent, who forgot that they are artists. The opening speech by department chair, Dr.Felicia Ruff, will resonate in the hearts of all those out there who believe in being a ‘voice over artist’, first.

If you stepped behind a mic today, and maybe felt for one second, that you were not a voice over artist, I invite you to read below:

“...A night like tonight allows you all to reminisce but also connects our artist community across generations. The beautiful thing is that success takes our alums in all sorts of impressive directions: to law school, to graduate school studying theatre as well as history, global justice, education; we have alums who are serving their country as members of the Air Force, TeachAmerica and AmeriCorps; some alums serve as local missionaries and others have founded AIDS relief missions in Africa. And all our alums are amazing spouses, partners, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and friends—and that matters and should be noted.

I hope you will allow me to digress for a moment. I just decided that I had to say what I am about to and that you all should hear it--because this is a room full of artists and people who have devoted their lives to the arts. I am not talking about ‘how you pay your bills’. I don’t care if you are living at home raising a family, playing the piano in your living room and taking your daughter to ballet lessons.

You are all artists.

And in our society, where corporate bankers can pillage our bank accounts and then be bailed out, where shows like “Jersey Shore” rob actors and writers of legitimate work, where drug addled heiresses become celebrities because they do not wear panties, the true artist—People like you who have devoted your life to singing, dancing, acting, composing, choreographing, playing music, painting, photography, writing poetry, lyrics, histories, biographies, reviews, scripts, or teaching music, art, voice, dance and theatre to another generation of artists--you are robbed of your value. And in a room full of artists, I thought it was important to remind you that you are the most important people in the world, engaged in the most important work in the world.
Because it is art that connects us, art that inspires us, art that changes the world.

Who do you think inspires social change? Politicians and lawyers? No, it is the artist.

What teaches us more about our common humanity, than artistry.

Where would the civil rights movement be without Billie Holiday singing ‘Strange Fruit’, or Arlo Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’, or Paul Robeson performing ‘Othello’.

Who inspired the peace movement, more than musicians like the Weavers or the Beat Poets or even Broadway shows like ‘Hair.’? Artists. Today, it is that socially dangerous Lady Gaga, who stands up to bigotry as she becomes an ordained minister in order to perform civil services at her concerts and stands up for gay men and lesbians, who want to serve and die for their country.
It is the artist who changes the way we see the world—we see things differently after Picasso.

I was thinking maybe we could give doctors and nurses their due and say they are more important than we are, but then I thought of all those studies that prove that composers and conductors live longer than those in other professions. And don’t they tell parents to play Mozart to newborns to make them smarter? Mozart wasn’t a pharmacist or geneticist—he was a musician. Ancient Greek theatres were built not only in the precincts of Gods but in what we would call spas—where the soul, not just the body, could be cleansed.

It is through art that we can transcend national boundaries, and overcome language and cultural barriers. Balanchine’s choreography is not just in Russia and America, but Korea, Norway, South Africa, Japan. I hope you will forgive my evangelizing on an evening that is meant to be celebratory. But it is so easy for us to feel marginalized and negated, when artistic success becomes a commodity through ratings, ticket sales, and the duration of a run, artists are reduced to salesmen. You/we are so much more.

And I just thought that while this is a celebration of our artist community, it is much more because we need to value ourselves and our work. And you need to remember the value that you bring to your home, your community, and this world when you bring art into it.

Now I will return to my formal responsibilities, introducing my colleagues, past and present.”

What do you think? Comment below!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

image by: DLC Artists Market

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trend: What Would You Call Yourself?

This week, I had a chance to listen to Arianna Huffington of the famed Huffington Post at a NYC Symposium in New York City, held by Citrix.

One thing she stated struck a chord, as a guy working from home often:

  • “I don’t like the term ‘Remote Employee’. There needs to be a name for it that displays more pride and strength.”

Voice talent working from home often go by the name, ‘Remote Voice Talent’. Now, we know you are not robots, and you know it, too! Technology is not the problem. If you figured out how to use it, you deserve a better name!

BOOOO! Robots!
Tell us on Facebook and Twitter exactly what the voice talent booking jobs from home, and making a living at it, should be branded!

Click here to take survey, to try and win 6-months!

You cannot change how people think (cough* ‘pay2play cough*), but when people understand why they all think the way they do, they can all change together!

Meetup of Community Managers

This week, I had the chance to go to a Community Manager Meetup at the actual Meetup HQ!

You can read about it here!

Building community is essential for all businesses, large and small!
Start a Meetup for voice talent in your area.

Share information that will help you grow your voice over career. It does wonders for the creative energy you need each time you get behind a mic!

Rock your mic!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

image by: Thinking Ape Blues

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Community: Talent Pool Resources To Get The Job Done!

Today, I received a wonderful email from a Voice123 Coach Partner, David Zema, based out of New York City. Yesterday, he wrote customer service stating a talent he coaches had been booked for a job off her demo on her profile, but she was in Memphis, Tennessee. Please see how a community of voice talent worked together, and how it was beneficial for everyone!

Email bag:

"The job for Barbara Ann Davison went off very well in Memphis today. Here's the story!

After a producer of election campaign TV spots heard Barbara Ann Davison's demo posted on Voice123 she was chosen to be the spokesperson. Barbara had recorded about a dozen tags and the body of their campaign TV spot a couple of weeks ago at my studio here in NYC.

The client called yesterday and needed her again right away. I realized she was in Memphis, Tenn. Well, the first person I contacted for a recording studio lead in Memphis was Voice123.

Then I searched the Voice123 database for voice talent in Memphis with recording studios. Your team also helped by getting back to me quickly with alternative studios for me to send to the client. I was able to get all of the information I needed for the producer by being part of the voice123 community. Brad Carson, Voice123 member and radio personality at WKQK/WMFS/Entercom-Memphis, also got back to me quickly as well. He referred me to Dan Barron, the manager of their studios.

I sent all information about the various studios and rates to the producers of the spots. They were OK with the rates of Brad's station, and recorded Barbara doing two tags for high profile senate campaigns today and met their deadline.

Thanks for your help with this!"

Voice123 sends a big THANK YOU! to David, Brad, Barbara, Dan, and the fine people in the city of Memphis, Tennessee for displaying what makes the voice over community so special!

Great community stories deserved to be talked about always!

Write us with your special Community story!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Usage Tip: You Must Come To This Webinar

I can offer no more direct advice than this for Voice123 talent:

The word ‘audition’ does not mean all websites are the same! I will show what makes Voice123 special. I will show you why the software involved is healthy for the voice over industry, while explaining case studies, and stories of how I have seen people get work online.

If you only want to see the recorded session, you miss the no-holds barred discussion, and the opportunity for you to ask me anything (I do mean anything). This webinar is as real as it gets, and so are the people who get work because of it.

Please register today!

As a former teacher of how to use software in previous lines of work, I can tell you this:

If you just started on Voice123, or have never come to one of these before, no matter who you are, two hours with this webinar will save you time, money, and years of trial and error when auditioning in an online environment.

By the is free.

Voice123 Webinars are held the fourth Thursday of every month at 8pm EST.

If you have taken one of these before, leave some comments on how you feel it helped you! (if it did not help, that is ok, too! We all learn from our experiences! Your comments matter to us!)

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

image:Today in SciFi

Monday, October 18, 2010

Community: Frightening Contests And Friendly Meetups

“Voting Is Spooky! But I Will Do It Anyway!” Contest
Voice123 will be holding a special contest from now until Election Day! You may have seen the project posting already!

  • Submit your political impersonation, current or past, talking to your favorite Halloween character.
  • The script should be talking about why the Halloween character should vote this Election Day.(e.g. Dracula being lectured by a former president about why he should vote...)
  • We are giving away two full-year subscriptions to Voice123, for the best submissions!
  • All submissions will be promoted via shared inbox link on Twitter, Facebook, and random Voice123 channels in social media!
  • If you did not get invited, simply go to and use the following verification code when asked: 35D727

Voice123 Youtube Contest!
From now until November 18th, Voice123 will be holding a contest that can win you and your favorite Voice123 voice talent a 6-month subscription on Voice123. This is REALLY easy!

1. Show your fellow voice talent community some ‘Like’ on Youtube!

2. After you vote... Click here to take survey

One month from today, we will collect responses and announce the winners! Note: All voting is confidential, and you may win, even if the voice talent you vote for does not.

Voice123 Coach Activity!
Bettye Zoller, Voice123 coach, writes:
  • The next Voice 123 meetups in Dallas, Texas are Nov 9 and Dec 9. Go to to sign up, RSVP, attend.
  • My annual AUDIO BOOK WEEKEND SEMINAR is in Dallas Nov 13-14. It's $315 and includes breakfast and catered lunch both days and all ground transportation.

Click here to register!

Voice123 Meetup Action!
Thanks for reading!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

image:Today in SciFi

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wellness: Mo’ Caffeine Mo’ Problems

This blog is being written to address one tiny thing voice talent may do, before auditioning, that may seal their fate when they step behind the mic. Important to remember: Caffeine is a ‘drug’. It can be found in soda, coffee, pain relief medicine, energy drinks etc. If part of your audition routine is to make sure you have any of these before you get behind a mic, you may be harming your ability to effectively audition.

Now, no one need write and explain their morning habits or how they work. I refer to those times when one thinks the way to ‘wake up’ for an audition, or give it more excitement, is to pour on the caffeine.

Please take a look at this article.

What leaps off the page, related to auditions?

  • “Even when moderate amounts of caffeine are withdrawn for 18 to 24 hours, one may feel symptoms such as headache, fatigue, irritability, depression , and poor concentration. The symptoms peak within 24 to 48 hours and progressively decrease over the course of a week. To minimize withdrawal symptoms, experts recommend reducing caffeine intake gradually.”

Losing it?
When you are speaking behind a mic, you must have control of your:
  • Diction
  • Concentration
  • Thoughts and thinking clearly, in order to connect with a script and convey a point.
Irritability and depression lead to negative thoughts that will vibe through your reading, which is the ultimate trigger for...not succeeding. It also affects the ability of a person to be confident in his/her creative decisions when reading copy.

The Crash Test Dummy
I am not one to make statements without having ‘street cred’. I remember an audition specifically in 1998, when I had to go to a studio, but I felt tired. I stopped at a cafe, first. I definitely woke up, but...I also remember sitting in the waiting room was just a nightmare, and I could barely talk behind the mic. If we ever meet at a Voice123 Meetup, I will tell you more about it. That was indeed the last time I ever drank coffee before an audition. I have also worked some late nights in customer service, purely on Red Bull. wings were clipped at some point, and I crashed, leading to some interesting posts on our Twitter and Facebook pages. In closing, caffeine is not a solution; just an additional problem.

If you have any audition stories you would like to share, please let me know!

Thank you!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Usage Tip: Making The Best of No Voice

Voice talent, voice actors, and entertainment jobs alike all have one thing in common, in that each day they wake up, a new job search takes place, even if they worked the day before. Perhaps the most frustrating thing, if not painful, is to have days when you know you cannot look for work. What can you do? People get sick, and people lose their voice.

However, working online means taking the voice away from the voice talent does not mean one must ‘stay quiet’ or stop marketing. What does one do when faced with the situation of not being able to audition?

Try the following:

  • Read this blog about voice overs, and how people are working on Voice123.
  • Get involved in social media. See who says what and interact with them.
  • Familiarize yourself with websites and web tools by looking around for them.
  • Read up on forums, and ask questions you now have the time to ask.
  • Look around the search feature. Investigate the competition. Every business does it. I used to select parameters, and listen to people’s demos. I learned quickly who I would be competing with, and also which were voice types that basically sounded like my brand, and had booked work I hope to achieve.(take this example: Chris Emerson)

The amazing thing about all of this...
It is free. You will not hurt anyone by generating your web content, or educating yourself on things that just twenty years ago cost thousands of dollars to figure out. The toughest thing talent deal with online is finding the time to truly invest time in investigating online activity, and networking. As a voice talent online, it is all important, and related to working online.

Make time for rest!

The day(s) need not leave you feeling that you are falling behind because you could not audition. You can even check websites for advice on how to take care of your voice!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Usage Tip: Knowing What To Say, Building Communication

A challenge the voiceover industry always faced, whether online or not, is the process of the ‘business’ communicating to the ‘creative’ exactly what is desired. It may just come down to knowing what to say to get everyone on the same page. Voice123 wishes to give you ideas for filling out your next voice over project form in order to find the best voice talent.

Voice talent are less likely to audition for voice over jobs when the description is weakly documented. Why? It is very difficult to give someone what they want when the description is poor, and it may feel like a waste of time, as in this ‘worst case scenario’:

  • Need voice for my store

The hidden psychology behind a turn-off:
A voice talent may assume by the lack of detail and attention paid to the description, that it is an indication of the person’s feeling towards the importance of the voice over. After they look at such things including grammar, and spelling (because it does matter to them), they also have concerns when they do not see the following:

  • Pronunciations
  • Request for delivery style
  • Logistics of the job

Best case scenario...Usage Tip?
When you are filling out a project form, or sending a direct contact email, include the following:

  • Special pronunciations
  • Delivery style (sexy, sultry, smooth, friendly, maybe something about pacing)
  • Logistics: “The voice talent must be available on these dates”
  • Budget explanations: Is the amount listed per person, or the whole job? Currency?

In short, you cannot go wrong with details. The effort spent in describing more will lead to positive results when you start listening to auditions! Take your time and relish in the fact you are about to save yourself a great deal of time!

Post a project today!


Taken from our Voice123 Forums, a brand created by voice talent Doug Turkel.

Thanks for reading!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trend: Disadvantages And Advantages Of Major Market Voice Talent

Voice123 talent, used to working in major markets, such as Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, London etc., have advantages and disadvantages that successful voice talent from smaller markets may not. The difficulty surrounding working online is keeping up with rapidly changing trends and clients, which will always involve listening to varying opinions, and research..

You may be experienced, and well-recognized in a traditional market, but then you audition online, and find out it is a new market to be explored all over again, and the one-sixth of the world's population using the Internet, who never heard of you, may need some re-introducing. Keep in mind, that with all I say here, there will always be exceptions. This is the case with creative environments; no absolutes.

Disadvantages: (some bad news)

1. Voice talent working online from a major market face a higher cost of living. Take this example:

  • If you make $40,000 in New York City as a voice talent, those living in Cleveland, Ohio, may only need $19,353 to have the same cost of living expenses (food, rent, apartment, home).
  • Housing is 87% cheaper in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • If you make $40,000 in Los Angeles, CA., you would need only $26,842 to live in Fresno, California.
  • Housing is 67% cheaper in Fresno.
  • Check your city and state.

2. Booking voice jobs online is more successful through repeat work, and building relationships with clients through proper online etiquette. It is very difficult to find 'that one big job' to cover all expenses for a month, and when you see such a job, you will go up against a more experienced group of talent similar to you (you can check this on your profile), from a global market. You may want more than one way to get work, if your cost of living is high.

3. Websites are ‘do it yourself’. If you are used to traditional methods of casting, this will take getting used to, in the beginning. It may seem cold and insensitive at first, until one sees how to do business, and separates that from being creative behind the mic.

Advantages: Good news!

1. Competition: Sound production houses in major markets have explained to me that they view the ‘do it yourself’ voice talent, as competition because they supply both voice talent, and sound engineering. It is good to have competition because it means something is working well enough to compete against. Hiring and paying you, saves the client money and time, which makes you more attractive as a business option. This is great because sound production houses do post jobs and hire from the website. If you are local to these studios, you will like my next point.

2. Home-field Advantage: Major market voice talent have Voice123, but also the local traditional casting environment with intermediaries. SmartCast, in this case, can work in their favor because they can wait for bigger jobs with other opportunities keeping them busy. Also, the majority of SmartCast jobs posted with geographical requirements, usually come out of New York, and Los Angeles; a good sign they are starting to see Voice123 as the best choice for finding voice talent.

A voice talent from Los Angeles, who does a great deal of union looping work for films, recently explained to me that this work has enabled him to pay for a home set up. Although he is not a sound engineer, he states he has the ability to audition 'when the phone stops ringing', and if he needs help recording something professional, he knows of many studios he can rent out when in a bind. This does require raising his price a bit, but he leaves his efforts out of online communications, and just promises results. His ability to deliver has led him to getting work offline and online consistently, while building a network of industry contacts.

He also acknowledges to me that this did NOT take place over night, and that working online involved meeting a new group of people he had never heard of before, but the marketing costs were incredibly cheaper, if it cost anything at all; saving him thousands of dollars.

3. Observation: Major market voice talent appear to have a thicker skin from understanding what it means to audition, face-to-face, everyday, in an industry with people who unfortunately at times feel obligated to tear someone else down. They may have had the chance to make dealing with rejection, and those who reject, into a reflex habit. Creativity comes from the heart, and it is not easy to handle. The ultimate challenge of working online is understanding that you are working globally, and on a world stage, you will see opportunities you had never thought of the day before you set up a profile.

Yet, still, one thing has never changed: Quality voice talent are always in demand.

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Usage Tip: Requirements In Auditioning

If you did not know, we Voice123 sends auditions back to the talent to submit again, if the audio quality is poor, or the person submitted something other than what was requested. We also email the voice talent what went wrong. Our team has listened to over two million auditions over the last 3 years, and we hear how ‘audio quality’ has become the ‘norm’. Of course, not everyone who auditions will be hired, and that is up to the client.

Feeling inspired...
The inspiration behind this blog came from seeing profiles with amazing credits, but after hearing their auditions, it left me wondering if they knew what it meant to audition from home. I never wish our staff to be perceived as arrogant. We wish only to state how we have seen things change since 2007, and what has changed when it comes to auditioning on Voice123. When I started here in 2007, voice seekers seemed to be somewhat forgiving of audio quality, as long as the copy reading was excellent. As online casting has grown, there has been a subtle shift, which we had started to write about close to a year ago.

What has changed? Usage tip?

  • The necessity is audio quality. Make sure you have this nailed down.
  • The deal breaker is how one is reading copy.
  • Make sure you practice, either with voice coaches, or on your own.

The competition on Voice123 is more professional than ever before, but given the anonymous nature of the Internet where everyone is equal, a person with credits beyond credits, and amazing talent, may in fact lose out only because the audio quality is not there. Therefore, if you are reading copy that is connected and original, and you happen to have great audio quality, if you started 30 days ago or 30 years ago, you are both on equal ground.

What does this mean?
Reading copy is a skill that the best of them will make it look easy. That took practice. By comparison, a person does not become a chef simply because he has the best oven, nor does a great studio indicate one can book voice over work. This does mean that if you get work offline because you have the skill to read amazing copy in a studio, but when reading from home, your copy reading is muffled by a poor mic, you will not have much luck. Indeed, this is what many should never forget; traditional casting and online casting are two completely different ways of getting work that changes the way one ‘does business’, but the creative skill behind the mic must be there. Even with two markets, the same skilled voice talent work in both.

Thanks for reading!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Online Voice Casting: Workflow Perspectives

I work as Community Development Manager for Voice123. For a very brief period of time in 2003, I worked as an assistant to an agent. Watching the processes behind the scenes at Voice123, it is simply amazing to me how the work flow of a day has changed over the last seven years due to websites, such as Voice123.

I reflect on this today to show you why this website is the best choice for finding voice talent, and how my agenda would look today, in comparison to 2003.

October 5th, 2003:

9am - 12pmEST
  • Gather information about upcoming jobs
  • Field phone calls of those looking for talent
  • Go through the talent that may be best suited for it
  • Concern myself with who will actually book the job

12pm - 3pmEST
  • Begin “Can you be here tomorrow?” and ‘Explanation of audition’ calls
  • Explain why we thought of them for something

3pm - 5pmEST
  • “How was he/she?” & “How to proceed because you know you want whom I sent” follow-up calls from day before.
  • I eat somewhere during this time.

5pm- 8pmEST
  • Investigating new talent, meeting new talent, and research

Fast forward....

October 5th, 2010:

9am - 10amEST
  • Post job on Voice123 for anyone looking for voice talent

10:30 - 11:00 EST
  • Listen to auditions
  • Make notes
  • Share inbox link with client

11:30 EST - 12:30 EST
  • Contact voice talent the client showed interest in

12:30pm - 1:30pm EST
  • Eat lunch

1:30pm - unknown
  • Work on decision process
  • What you do after this may take some time to figure out, but it is nice to know you have the rest of the day to do it!

How times have changed...
Voice123 allows for anyone, from top agents down to local small businesses, to connect directly with voice talent, who know how to work as their own business. Voice123 is an online casting director of sorts that simply connects you to voice talent using our SmartCast software, or Search Feature.

In the days of, 'Time is money!', saving money on office space, supplies, and dealing with intermediaries that expect payment for their time (which costs money and delays the decision process), doing it all yourself with another voice talent is the smart choice!

Please post a project today!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Community News: Making It More About ‘You’

If you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Voice123 forums, or Linkedin, you may have noticed that over the past few months, there were posts appearing promoting voice talent and voice coaches on Voice123. We would like to mention today how to get involved in these efforts, which are all about promoting the voice community of Voice123!

Getting Involved!


Have you done a voice over gig through Voice123, and wish to upload it onto Voice123’s Youtube channel? Please send it to me at with a short description, and your Voice123 profile! If it is on youtube already, let us know about it! We will share it through Facebook and Twitter posts for the world to see!

Featured Talent
Occasionally, Voice123 will post projects looking for specific criteria. We then take the shared inbox, and begin to post it through social media. Here is an example!

Voice123 Meetups!
Voice123 has a Meetup page where you can organize meetups to talk with Voice123 talent in your area! To date, there have been over 100 Voice123 meetups scheduled, and shows how the voice over community on Voice123 has gone global! It is great when Voice123 Coaches get involved, too!

Coming up on October 10th, voice coach Ben Bledsoe is holding a meetup in Los Angeles, CA! We also love attending them in New York City! (hint hint)

Coach Workshops
Voice123 has a Coach Partner Program, where voice coaches can refer students for 30-day trials to Voice123, and much more! We also share news about their upcoming workshops, and events! For example, this workshop coming up in Los Angeles, CA!

Spend a day in a professional Hollywood recording studio with voice coach, Michael D. Cohen and learn about the business of animation:
  • You will work on mic several times throughout the day.
  • Come away with a copy of your work.
  • There will be a lunch and lecture with a Los Angeles voice-over agent.
  • DATE: Saturday, October 16th 10:00am - 6:00 pm
  • FEE: Special rate of $95 for Voice123 members.
  • If you are interested, please read more here or email him at

If you have any thoughts, questions, or ideas, please write us to!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Trends: Harmful Beliefs To Reject As Online Voice Talent

In the quest to figure out how the voice over business has changed, and share this with a voice over community, we share info on a trend that has been around since 2004, that over the past three years we have seen do more harm than good. For those jumping into online voice overs now, after 7 years into it, it is important to know what beliefs are no longer a part of the online voice over industry! We thought to write this because of some recent heart-felt emails sent to customer service, that expressed beliefs we know are damaging for a voice talent who is just starting online.

“I lost my job. I should work online in voiceovers in the meantime.”
As much as I wish voice overs could be a regular job, where you are hired and everyday is like waking up and going to the office, you have to consider recent surveys in August 2010:
Out of the 70%:
  • 6% - Booked 5 jobs or more
  • 30% - Booked 1 job
  • 20% - Booked twice
  • 14% - Booked 3 or 4 times
Key facts to remember:
  • 40% of the jobs mentioned were booked because of old clients.This does mean there is a period of time that one should expect to not make money while they gain traction, and network online. Those in the 6% range have been doing the online voice over thing for a while, so they have that head start.
This leads to another belief that must be rejected, if one wishes to succeed.
“Getting work is easier online...It is like paying to play.”
  • The business tools may have changed, but the professional level of talent has not changed. At Voice123, we have the opportunity to hear thousands of people auditioning, and they book serious work, too. Do not be fooled. No is one playing. Sure, sitting at a computer instead of a sound production house removes an excited sense of urgency, but to the people hiring, and getting hired; they take their business online seriously. To approach another business any other way is a mistake. Perhaps a mistake I made as a voice talent on Voice123 was viewing things this way. I figured, ‘Cool. Turn on the computer, send in some auditions, and then go to work or other auditions offline.’ A year later, I realized I had much to learn about ‘being my own business’.

“TBD Budgets Indicate Bad Job Poster”
This is the furthest thing from the truth because there are variables that come into play when you see a TBD budget:
  • “Is the voice seeker not showing their budget to avoid receiving spam, which may happen if someone tries to audition just because the money is nice, but the job is completely wrong?”
  • “Is the voice seeker professional, but just not clear as to ‘what buyers should quote’?”
Best way to decide:
  • Read the script and description. How a person writes says a great deal about their level of experience. Look for industry lingo and signs it may be fine. Most importantly, it is a chance for a voice talent to teach an industry what the standard should be, and that opportunity should never be passed up. Under-quoting does not work in the online world, by the way. Many learned long ago that with a extremely low price, you get what you paid for in the end.
Have a great weekend!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123
Voice123 Meetups!