Friday, 25 March 2016

I can do funny voices - should I become a Voiceover Artist?

We regularly get sent emails from people who see themselves as potential voiceover artists because they say they can do funny voices or are good at copying the voices of famous people or characters. 

The other thing people say is that they feel that they can do dozens of accents. But can they actually sustain that for a complete session without veering from Welsh to Indian? Or from one part of Scotland to another?   

I can "do" the odd line in Welsh or Bristolian or impersonate Frank Spencer, but it doesn't mean that I can sustain that for an hour's session.  

The days of Voiceover Artists being asked to do mimicry and accents are pretty much over. Due to the lower costs these days of using voice artists all around the world (via IP alternatives to expensive ISDN, such as Source Connect or ipDTL, clients tend to want the real thing.

Unless budgets really are extremely tight, if they want an Australian, Argentinian or American voiceover artist, they will choose native talent.  

The only place for all these character voices these days are in games and animations.And that is even harder to get into than voiceovers for corporate/web videos. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

What are TVRs for Voiceover Artists?

So what is a TVR? It is a TeleVision Rating.

I have often described TVRs to clients who have never heard of them - and can't get their head round the idea of usage on a voiceover recording - as being like a "repeat fee."

It's more accurately a reflection of how many people will see the TV commercial. And the higher the audience, the higher the TVR or the fee that the voiceover artist should get.

One TVR is one percent of the available TV viewing audience. If you assume there are 60 million people in the UK, then if there are 600, 000 people watching the programme in which your TV commercial airs, you will be credited with one TVR.

And that's assuming the entire population of the UK is watching. Which of course will never be the case.

Often, for the minor channels, their entire audience for the month is a fraction of that. In that case 100 per cent of your Basic Studio Fee (BSF) is a good place to start. This would be a Buyout Fee.

Generally TVR's are slowly disappearing - and have done since the early 1990's, but when you get a chance to talk TVRs for your next voiceover job, now at least you know.. 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha

After 4 years of loyal service recording voiceovers at BigFish Media our first ever employee Andrew has left us to run a business in Devon.

Here are some of his lowlights:

Posh Frocks at Vox 

                                Bowling Champion

The Push-Me Pull You 

                         Always Game for a Laugh

Another Posh Frock

Always getting a pizza the action

Andrew's last session with David W

Leaving Presents

While we say goodbye to Andrew, we say hello to the very talented Amy who joins us from a child acting agency and now makes the move to voiceovers:

Friday, 4 March 2016

How do I start as a Voiceover Artist?

We are always being asked about how go get started as a Voiceover Artist...

Please bear in mind that there is so much more to being a Voiceover Artist than having a good voice. Also there is no such thing as a staff job with a company as a Voiceover Artist; they are all self employed and also work either as broadcasters or actors or in some other way in the media field. You don't need your own home studio but it helps (but only if it is a good one.) 

                                Egg-actly the right advice 

I once saw an interesting post on a forum that a newbie had complained that the company who made his/her voicereel, gave them the audio file then just felt abandoned. Yes that is what you do - you have to make your own way in this extremely competitive field.  You need to think of yourself as a (very) small business. And start marketing yourself. 

And this is where most wannabe voice artists fall down. They don't have the time energy and drive to do this. Or real life gets in the way - and they find they can't support a family or pay the rent on what they are earning. With no guarantee that their income will increase in time. It will almost certainly be erratic. 

With the continuing downward pressure on costs, the barriers to entry for new talent being lower than ever and more actors and broadcasters trying to get in on the act, as well as new voiceover agencies and voice directories (or Pay to Play websites - commonly known as P2P sites) opening all the time I don't see this improving any time soon.   

Plenty of people approach us with good voices, but they don’t know how to use it. This blog contains lots of useful voiceover advice.

                                   Not such good advice

I am afraid that we are unable to offer auditions. Your first step towards becoming a voiceover artist is to get a professional showreel made. This would be your calling card – which you can use on your website, send to production companies and agencies.

If you do not have a voiceover showreel, we can make you one for just £299+VAT. This production service is highly unlikely to lead to representation as we are only seeking experienced voiceover artists. You can hear examples of our work here; please get in touch if you would like to discuss showreel production. 

We also offer Voice Training carried out by either our experienced actor or one of two experienced national broadcasters. We suggest you undertake voiceover training before making a showreel. Ok, so now you have a voiceover showreel but what should you do with it?

Call or email potential clients/producers/production companies and send them your MP3 or CD.

Or use the internet.

You need to get potential producers to hear your reel. You can get your own basic website built fairly cheaply. The hard part is getting search engines to find it and list it within the first two or three pages. This is extremely hard to do for the competitive keywords of voiceover and its variants. So consider using Google Adwords. Facebook also sell ad space.  Use Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, Linked in etc

1) Voice Directories. There are lots. Some will work for you; some won't. Some are free - some charge an annual fee. 
Here are a few: Voicerealm Voice Bnny Gumtree VoiceXpress Voice Registry Entsweb Media Radio Today Vivastreet Star Now Voice Bank Voice123 Bodalgo Piehole Radio Talent Voices Pro Casting Call Pro Freeindex Voice Emporium Hotfrog ODesk                                                                                                            
2) Voice Agencies. If you can get one to take you on, they will take a cut of your earnings. There is no guarantee of any work even if you do get one. And getting one is harder than you think. Without a few years experience of voicing under your belt this is extremely unlikely. 

However you can still make a living without an agent. Many voice artists work from their own home studio. And you don’t have to have ISDN these days. Many producers will monitor you on the phone or skype; you email the completed voiceover audio files after the session.