Monday, 14 October 2019

How do I get started in Voiceovers?

So by now you either have some experience of being an actor or a broadcaster. You have done your voice training and made your voiceover showreel. So what next?

Get yourself a good professional photograph as agents and some "pay to play" voiceover directories allow you to upload one. There are a number of voiceover directories which allow you to list your audio for free. 

However many of the free sites may not generate much work for you (or they may restrict how their site functions until you pay a fee.) Some also require you to record an audition for every job that you bid for, thereby encouraging voiceover artists to constantly lower their fees to get the work.

We have dealt with the technical aspects of setting up your own home studio in other blogs on this site, but should you invest in your own home studio? Do you even have the space and peace and quiet for one?

Alternatively try to find a local studio (or another voiceover artist who lives close to you) who may let you use their studio for a reasonable price. Then at least you can find out if you are employable. If you find that you are getting lots of work it's time to invest in your own voiceover booth

So what next? Contact local radio stations and video production companies. It is a time-consuming marketing exercise, but by the time you have a dozen jobs under your belt you will know what your strengths are. Maybe it is obvious to someone else in the industry if not you.

If you get booked for lots of local radio adverts but no e-learning then maybe this is what you are best at and should focus your energies on pursuing radio and TV commercial work.

Unless you are exceptionally talented - and very lucky - you will probably have to get 2 or 3 years experience of the voiceover industry under your belt before a voiceover agent will consider taking you on.

In the meantime keep at it and update your voiceover showreel - as you should improve with practise. You should also not bother to approach advertising agencies as they only deal with the best voiceover talent via voiceover agencies.

And remember, there are very few full-time voiceovers  - most combine being a voiceover artist with production, writing, acting or radio or TV work.  

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Why should voiceovers know about Intellecual Property?

In the United Kingdom there are different forms of intellectual property rights. They all individual and have different duration periods. They are all there to help you protect yourself against other people duplicating or stealing your work. 

The work could be the names of your products or brands, your inventions, the design or look of your products, the things you write, make or produce.  Among these is trademark, copyright and what we discuss in a subsequent post will be copyright. 

As a voiceover artist it is important you know what your rights are and as agents we work to protect those rights. We have turned down work if we cannot guarantee the client will adhere to IP rights. 

What exactly is intellectual property?

An idea by itself is not intellectual property. What is though, is what you do with it. So for example, it is something unique you create physically. An idea for a film is not intellectual property but writing the screenplay is. 

I have this idea for a plucky little fish that finds their voice and when I get around to putting pen to paper then it will be intellectual property. At the moment, then it is simply an idea swimming around my head. And now your head. 

So, who owns what?

There are three areas where IP rights can be owned. Specifically, you own it if you created it (and it meets the requirements for copyright, a patent or a design), you bought the IP rights from the creator or a previous owner, you have a brand that could be a trade mark. 

So I could have bought the rights to my Fish Story from someone else who either wrote it down or someone who had the rights themselves.

Also note that intellectual property can have more than one owner, belong to people or to businesses and can be sold or transferred.  

For example, my Little Fish Story could be owned by me and my fishy friend who collaborated on it, or a team who I wanted involved in it and should events happen that I find myself selling the story then I could decide that a business could own it.

If you are self-employed like many of our voiceover artists are then you usually own the intellectual property rights even if the work was commissioned by someone else. However, if you sign a contract, then that can change. 

This is why it really is important to read that fine print. We always check all contracts and NDAs so that you always retain ownership of your audio and we won’t sign our voices up to things if they are asking you to give up that particular IP right.

Now, if you are employed and you create something as part of your work while you were employed by someone else then you do NOT hold the intellectual property rights. 

In our next blog we will talk about copyright for voiceovers which is an intellectual property right.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

How do Voiceover Artists train?

It is easy, all you need to do is read out loud and boom! In the can right? Well no. If only our world of voiceover recording were that easy. There is much more to it than that and we take time, a lot of time to reel in voices that will work for you and work well. It is a never ending process and we pride ourselves on making sure our voices are experienced, personable and great at voicing.

The process is long and with good reason. We listen to each reel, meet and greet voices online or in person and record the voice so we can see how they handle direction as well as being in the recording studio.

From our vast ocean of voices we have actors, performers, radio presenters, singers and voices that have a unique quality to them. Each has a place in our portfolio and each brings experience and abilities that make them unique and able to help you when you need a voice for your audio production. We have asked many of them where they learnt their trade and these are the top answers.

1. Acting Background: Many of our voices are actors and many still focus on film, TV or theatre. These voices are great for when you need character work and can bring a variety of intentions easily to each read.
2. Performance Background: Whether it be dance or song, these voices are great at delivering solid reads and if you need singers then we have those for those all important jingles.
3. Radio Background: We have a rich heritage in radio and we have many voices that have worked at national and regional level. They can handle pretty much anything because they've seen it all before.
4. Presenters: These voices have lived their vocal lives in front of audiences or the camera and are great voices that connect quickly to target audiences.

As we meet as many of the voices as we can then we make sure we know their strengths so we can always give you the best voices for your productions. Call us today to book your voiceover artist.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

What are the latest Voiceover trends this year?

It is finally summer which means that all the BigFish Media recording engineers sit down to have a natter (well of course we do) about what trends in voiceovers we have seen so far this year. As we record hours of audio from our voices over the year we clearly see patterns of what clients want. This summer is not exception and as we enjoy the heat we drew up a list of what we have heard this year.

1. The youth chatter - this is a style that many of our clients have been asking for lately. It is used to target millennials and talk to them as if their friends were talking to them about cold brew, vegan options (we very much agree with not eating Fishy or his friends) and their favourite new payment apps. We have heard clients suggest to voices that they use a "if you like" intention. As if the voice is a friend but when they deliver the lines the intention is very much "well if you want to, I'm OK either way". This makes for a genuine authentically zeitgeist read with little or no heavy emphasis on anything, not even the brand name, product or service.

2. The genuine article - this is a favoured style of read by our clients. This is when the voice is your friend and is advising you like a friendly voice mother or father about getting a new car, insurance, holiday. They aren't selling it to you, just letting you know about it because they thought about you when they heard about this product. So its a warm fuzzy hug of a read. A genuine voice that cares about you for you.

3. Farewell RP, hello neutral - our clients love to take our British voices and just rub their accents a little so it is less RP and much more accent less or neutral. This is an especially good read when the product is for an international market and they don't want to sound American or British but something more less distinguishable. At times it does mean we have actually used Scandinavian voices as they are hard to pin down to a place aurally.

And there we have it, after considering, articulating and drinking much tea this is what we have heard most in our trend updates. What will the next few months bring for voiceover artists? We can't wait to hear.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

How do I prepare for a long voiceover script?

Finally, as a voice actor you get the script and you realise its long. Really really loooooonnnnnggg! When a script is this long how do you use your voiceover skills to ensure you get through it all?

Many times scripts are written for visual effect rather than audio - we can always tell when this is the case. It means that sight reading and plenty of breaths are the key to get your through it all. Then there are scripts that keep on going and going and going with no punctuation in sight.

  • Learn how to breathe: Why is it important in the voice over world?  We need to breathe to give us enough breath to get through those tricky sentences/paragraphs so that the sentences make sense and it doesn't become too breathy. There are many exercises that you can practice so you can achieve optimum breathing capacity for narration. You need to do diaphragm exercises daily to keep it in top condition, because like anything if you do not use your diaphragm properly on a daily basis then your muscles will lose their ability. You need to breathe deep down, not just short breaths but deep breaths feel those lungs fill up. Try not to lift the shoulders but focus on your belly expanding moving in and out. Count up to 5 breathing in  then let the air slowly out, then 10 etc doing this for a good few minutes if you find it helpful focus on a spot on the wall. When you are in the booth remember your exercises and when you come across those tricky sentences use those muscles in your diaphragm. They will get you through.
  • Twist your tongue: Whilst you are in the booth or before you go into the booth, make sure that the voice is properly warmed up too. Use tongue twisters- our favourite of course is about fish "Fresh fried fish, fish fresh fried, fried fish fresh, fish fried fresh." Give your mouth a good work out and stretch it out by making exaggerated smiles that make you grin like the Joker. 

  • Read the script: Before you go in the booth, sit down, digest and understand what you are trying to say, who you are talking/selling too. Find the important words you need to highlight in your script and underline them and mark the pauses.  It is your time so use it wisely. Settle down make sure you have water available and don't rush through the script and if there are words you don't know how to say or understand ASK. RELAX, take a deep breath and away you go. MOST OF ALL ENJOY. Because if you are enjoying reading it out loud your audience will. And that could make a voiceover artist out of you yet.

    Friday, 26 July 2019

    What happens in a Voiceover recording session?

    Over the past 15 years we have worked on hours and hours of audio and produced audio projects for clients ranging from corporate videos to fun commercial sounds and even long form narrative video game content. With a team of six sound engineers we pride ourselves on being able to bring copy to life. But how do we produce this audio using one of our many voiceovers on our books?

    Firstly we look at the script and ask what the client wants in terms of a voice. They can either have some suggestions that fit in with their brand ethos and we can shortlist a selection of voices to that. Or we can supply demos when a client wants to listen to hear what different ages and voices would sound like to specific copy. We also tend to cast voices when a client leaves the decision to us. We read the copy, understand the clients target audience and then make a selection of the voices based on those choices.

    Once we have an agreed and signed off script as well as a signed off voice we check in with everyone's availability. We love having our clients listening in on sessions and directing if they want to. We encourage them to listen in as we feel that it gives a better experience and a better final audio product at the end as they are listening live and can ask for safety and other takes as well. Our engineers are also skilled directors and can encourage the voices and speak their language so that clients get the best performance from them.

    Once the session time and date has been agreed we ensure that our equipment and studio is ready for the voice. To voice copy is hard work. Recall presenting in front of people or talking for long periods. That is similar to working in a voice over studio. We ensure we make the voice as comfortable as we can with water, regular breaks and a seat should they need it. We set the microphone and video to the height that the voice over artist needs as well as ensuring all parties have the correct copy of the script.

    Once in a session we take the time for the voice and client to get to know each other and then talk to the other one so they understand the style, tone and pace. After a demo take we go for a full take and record each take. We have delivered projects that have all the takes so that the client can have many options or in some cases we deliver the winning takes as the client wants one final finished product. Either way we can deliver.

    The use of the voice over track really emphasises what a client is trying to promote, be it a brand, project or service or procedural process. We love audio and we encourage all our audio clients to work with our voiceovers for a unique audio production. Please get in touch to book.

    Wednesday, 17 April 2019

    How do Voiceovers deal with Audition Anxiety?

    As a voiceover artist auditions are part and parcel of this freelance life. However auditions can be a nerve-wracking process. It can seem like you submit hundreds of auditions, and never get a role! This may be true, but it’s more likely to be appear to be worse than it actually is. This is what we call “Audition Anxiety”, and we have some techniques to get through it.

    1- Confidence

    Auditions are similar to job interviews. You are trying to convince someone (agency or even the end client) that you are the best fit and voice for the role. Being confident brings conviction, which adds psychological weight to your performance. The confidence shows you are also used to the process and are a professional. In short; you’re actually more likely to get a role when feeling confident than you would if you approached the audition with NO confidence.

    2 - Prepare

    “Fail to prepare – prepare to fail”. To give yourself the best chance of getting a role, it pays to be on top form. Vocal exercises and techniques will help keep your voice in good condition, and getting familiar with the script will help your understanding, and help you perform it. Think about the script and the context and nuances behind it. What is the point of it? Additionally, you’ll get the additional psychological benefit of FEELING prepared from doing these exercises too.

    3 – Persistence

    Auditions are an inevitable part of being an actor, particularly if you’re just starting out. So, it’s more than likely you’ll be one of several people auditioning for a particularly role. You can’t win them all. But don’t lose faith. Remember the old adage, “throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick”.

    We can ask our voiceovers to submit demos and auditions free of charge once you have let us know your criteria. Please get in touch to hear our voices for your next project.