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VOIMAGEBLOG

Imaging, Podcast and feeding half a rugby team – Meet Darren Robertson

Benztown Imaging Blog - 4 hours 37 min ago

Robbo has been a long time friend and also partner in crime on some benztown custom projects in the past. He is in the game for long time and one of the early adapters in many directions, you could call him a gear head as well. The list of stations and people he worked with in his career is massive and to this day he images some of the biggest radio brands in SEA. He personally does and hosts several podcast and i was lucky enough to be invited before. So much to talk! Thanks for your time Robbe!

Overall question…where does our name come from?

Hey Andy, and firstly thanks for inviting me onto your blog. It’s humbling to be included along with some of the great names you have featured here.

Well “Robbo” has hung around since my days at Triple M here in OZ. It came from shortening my surname (Robertson) a very Aussie thing to do. But at the same time, everyone seemed to have a nickname. There was my boss, the great Jeff Thomas (Thommo), Wayne Fox (Foxy), Simon Hicks (Slash) and Michael (Sideshow) Anderson.

As for my company name, Voodoo Sound, I have to tip my hat to the Great Rolling Stones and their “Voodoo Lounge” Tour for that one…

1.Give me a bit background on yourself, your career, achievements – I am sure a lot of the readers will know you or of you, but  it puts a lot of the below in context I assume.

Wow, I’m not sure I can remember that far back… lol!

I started at an AM station here in Sydney called 2SM as the “cart boy” back in the late 80s. It had been the number one station in town for years, but the introduction of FM had seen it loose numbers to the FM band. It was a shame, because there were some amazing names in Australian radio who’d been through the doors there, and it’s heritage was amazing. In fact in my first few weeks there I found some archives of AC/DC doing some station jingles for them. It’s also where I first met Duncan Cambell (now the Group PD at iHeart’s stations here in Australia), a name that would pop up a number of times through my career.

By the time I left SM, I had worked my way out of the cart room and into the commercial production studio, and I went to my first (and Sydney’s 2nd) FM station 2DAY FM. In my time there, the station became the first in history to Cume over 1 000 000 people. And (for one survey at least) we managed to topple Triple M from their number 1 position. There were so many talented people there at the time who feature heavily in Australian Radio.

After leaving 2DAY I went to Newcastle to work with a bunch of Radio buddies who were launching a station called X13 that soon got an FM licence and became X107. It was my first experience working with some American consultants, and I really learned a lot about imaging a CHR station.

And from Newcastle I started my 13 year run with the Triple M network around the country. Jeff Thomas (KIIS, Capitol, Killer Hertz) gave me my shot, and I started in Brisbane, and by the time I Landed back in Sydney, I had worked in every market besides Melbourne. It was a great time in my career. The network was spending money on massive promotions (we even sent one listener into space) and I was working with Jeff, and the rest of the guys I mentioned above. Creativly and personally I learned so much from all of the, but to work with and learn from the great Jeff Thomas was easily a career highlight. I still keep in touch with most of them and treasure my time at (what was then at least) the greatest network in Australia.

I left radio for a while, and got a gig at one of Australia’s largest Advertising Agencies. Working on campaigns for some reasonably large clients was an eye opener, and then spent some time with the title of “Senior Sound Designer” at one of Sydney’s best known Post Production Facilities.

When my first son was born in 2005 (I have 5 kids) I wanted to spend more time with them than a job in a Sound House would allow (I was working 8am till 10pm) and I had recently invested in a Pro Tools rig, so I quit and took a mix of Radio and Post Production clients on working from home, and along with going back to Triple M to fill in when Michael (sideshow) Andersen was on leave I carved out a living and managed to spend much more time with my growing brood. And that’s where Voodoo Sound got its start. I’ve never looked back.

2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio stations in OZ and SEA? How do the task differ between the different stations / brands? What is the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats between podcast and radio imaging?

I have always enjoyed a challenge, and after setting up Voodoo Sound, found I actually loved the different tasks that being a Freelance Imaging producer provides. The roles I take on at each station also varies. For some clients I work side by side with their own imaging guy (or Gals), at others I AM the Imaging Guy, and at others I actually take on the role of creative director. Conceptualising imaging, writing scripts and liaising with the Promotions team and PD to come up with competitions and survey promotions.

I love all of that for a number of reasons. Firstly because by default I get exposed to a bunch of really talented people, and get the opportunity to learn from their experience and talents. Plus I get to push myself in new ways and I find both my actual work behind the DAW and my creativity in general get a great kick along because of that.

3. How are your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine ?

I never used to have a routine, until I read a book by Daniel Pink called “when”. In it he talks about different personality types and how your body’s natural clock can effect what type of tasks you should be doing and when. Turns out that (as I was probably already aware) I work best at the back end of the day in terms of creativity and energy. So I start my day with the mundane tasks of email, social media posts, and editing Podcasts etc. Just stuff that doesn’t need a great deal of creativity and cognitive input.

Then after lunch is the time that I really get into my Imaging work, music composition and the sort of work that really requires me to be 100% in the game and at my creative best.

The last hour of my day (whatever time that may be) is spent preparing for the next day. Sourcing work parts I might be able to use in projects I need to work on, and setting up the sessions I will need. I also do my podcast prep here too, watching videos or listening to the work of guests that we have coming up or just preparing questions etc.

I even have dedicated times to check email and phone messages. I do that 4 times a day. First thing whilst Pro Tolls is booting up, then at lunchtime, mid-afternoon and at the end of my day. I answer the simple stuff straight away, but anything that requires some thought or time (and can wait) gets prioritised for the following morning. This way I find I’m not being distracted by all those things that can so easily suck up hours of your day. Oh, and the other great tip… Turn off your Socials during the day. And I don’t mean shut them down, I mean find a way to stop yourself accessing them without some hassle, that way you’re less inclined to spend three hours of your day watching some guy train his cats to jump over a high jump bar he made in his garage yesterday…

One other thing I do that I find helpful is to schedule an hour or two in my week (usually on the weekends) to just sit and listen to other peoples work. If I hear stuff I like and I can download it, I keep it in a folder called “Idea Starters”. Then when I’m stuck for an Idea or just not getting a vibe on something I open up that folder and listen through until something sparks an idea in my own head and I can get started.

None of this works however without copious amounts of coffee to keep me suitably motivated!! lol

4. What is your baby? Most fun project?

To be honest I’ve become a bit of a Podcasting nerd. I am involved in 3 that are my Babies. The 1st, The Mojo Radio Show is in its 7th season and is hugely popular. It focuses on personal development, Creativity, Time Management, and business skills in general. As you can imagine it’s not your regular sounding Podcast.

The other two are Audio centric. There’s The Pro Audio Suite, where we talk about everything Home Studio (pro setups only, not mum’s with a Voice Booth under the stairs).

And the other is a new one that I’ve just started with some Imaging buddies called The Imaging Hangout. Each week we invite a couple of Imaging Producers from around the world to “hangout” with us and chat about… well… everything. It’s not your deep, in-depth sort of technical show, but more just an exchange of ideas and thought starters. So far we’ve had Staxx (Z100), Brendan Tacey (Yep the BT Iron Imager), and a bunch of other really talented guys. It’s a whole lot of fun…

I love working on all these shows for different reasons, but the theme that runs through all those reasons is it makes me better. Better as a Producer, Audio Engineer, Imager, and in the case of the Mojo Show, a better Parent (I have 5 kids), person and business owner (and Footy Coach.. lol).

5. How important is staying current with new stuff, trends and creative for you?

It’s vital. Because I work from a Project Studio I built in my home you can end up in a creative bubble being so isolated (a concept I’m sure many of your readers are currently familiar with). If you don’t keep up to date with trends, and spend time just chatting with people in the industry over a Coffee or Beer you can quickly get left behind. That’s partly the reason for my time investment in the Podcasts, but I also have a network of mates in the Industry in similar positions, and we catch up regularly to chew the fat and bounce around ideas and just flex those muscles that need some work.

One of those is the great Andrew Peters. AP lives outside Melbourne and has an amazing home studio, together we are 2 of the 4 clowns on the Pro Audio Suite, but we also chat pretty much daily, just talking gear, and work life in general… He’s a great mate who I’ve known since the mid 90s, we just don’t get to drink enough beer together!!!

6. What DAW do you guy use?

I’ve been on Pro Tools since 1999, for Imaging (and Post Production in general) it’s by far the standout player. I have Audition on my Mac and use it occasionally for various reasons, but I always come back to Pro Tools. It’s just where I’m comfortable, I don’t want to have to be thinking about what button I push or how I do what needs to be doe mechanically, I’d rather focus on the Creativity of my work.

7. What are your favorite plugins?

Now you’re opening a can of worms… My most frequently used would be Pitch n Time and Auto tune. But my favourite ones to get really creative with would be just about anything from the “Sound Toys” collection. I love the flexibility of them, and when you stick a few on a track one after the other you can always come up with something interesting and new.

For voiceover, my new go to is Nectar from iZotope. I had resisted the “all in one” plugin for a long time, thinking “I bet the compression is great but the eq sucks or something like that”, but after interviewing Dan Gonzalez from Izotope on the Pro Audio Suite last year I downloaded Nectar and after a bit of mucking around fell in love with it! It’s so versatile and sounds good on just about any voice you stick through it.

8. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations?

This probably mostly shows in my CHR imaging right now, but I’m really concentrating on my music editing within the imaging I’m producing. Both “What” I’m using and “How” I’m doing it. I’m loving really challenging myself to find (or create) the perfect piece of music and pairing it with a great vocal grab from a contemporary artist that fits both musically and within the context of what the piece is all about.

9. Any new tools you discovered lately?

I’ve been working on streamlining my Pro Tools templates to be honest. One of the best things that I learned over the years (and something Thommo was always preaching to us about) was to save everything. So I’m always doing mix outs of Promos and work parts that I make to use again and again. So recently a came up with a template that lets me record all my different passes in one go.

To explain a little further, I have created audio tracks that are fed by busses from the main session. They include Bed and FX, FX only, VO only, Music only and the Full Mix.. Then rather than “bounce” the audio, I record enable all those tracks and hit record, and all my mixes are done in the one pass. Then I just label them and export them to different folders on my work parts drive to be use again somewhere or other!!!

10. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

God I wish I had a copy of it, but back in the early 90s when I was working at Triple M, we sent a listener into space (The Stratosphere anyway) in a Russian MIG jet fighter. They went to somewhere near Russia and went through basic pilot training before taking off and flying to where the Earth’s Atmosphere meets space.

We called it “Red Angel” and Thommo (Jeff Thomas) made the promo. It was just mind blowing. It was made at a time before Pro Tools (on a 24 Track Analogue multi) and just kicked Butt. Not so much in terms of amazing FX and crazy drops and montages, but in terms of theatre of the mind (the thing that radio and Thommo does best in my opinion) and creating excitement/vibe around an already awesome prize.

The music cane from a piece called Amin Bahtia and Thommo’s work (as usual) was mind blowing.

11. What would be your career advice for a youngster your twenty year old self?

Be yourself, but at the same time challenge yourself. It’s something I try to do constantly these days but for a while, early in my career I was probably guilty of just getting into a comfortable space and staying there. These days I’m working on all sorts of formats from Talk, to CHR to Rock (my spiritual place) and Country, plus the Podcasts. I find challenging myself and pushing myself also brings out my best work. But the nice thing is, just when you think you have pushed yourself as far as you can go, you push a bit harder and all of a sudden you’ve achieved something even greater. The nice thing about this is that it’s a lesson that not only works in relation to imaging, but to getting better at anything! And it’s something I definitely try to teach MY kids… Get uncomfortable, it’s a great place to be!!

____________________________________________________________

Check out the demo Robbo produced for the Benztown Blog!

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Benztown-Blog-Demo.mp3

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #237 – Free Valhalla Reverb, Beat Academy and the latest from Dom Evans!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 07:21

Time for another episode of fiver friday! Long week, but great findings, let’s get right into it: 

1.Plugin

Valhalla DSP just released a brand new reverb for lush sounds and huge spaces and it’s entirely free! Grab your download here:

Valhalla Supermassive

2.Inspiration

Beat Academy just released a production breakdown on the latest single by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, Rain on Me – great insight into production, check it out here: 

3.Music

The latest release from german upcoming artist Majan featuring electronic music producers Tujamo and VIZE – entirely produced on 3 different setups due to corona, check it out: 

4.Web/Social/Whatever

From the creators of “The Office” – Space Force looks like loads of fun! First episode is out just now!

5.Imaging

The latest from our friend Dom Evans – What the Fox going on!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Gary McClenaghan

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 10:28

As an imaging producer, Gary started to work with his voice and coached to improve his abilities to start voicing stations. Now, as a full-time voice actor with Atlas Talent, Gary voices 30+ radio stations across the US and Canada as well as actively working in commercial having voiced spots for Burger King, Sony, Samsung, Franks Red Hot, and more, as well as in promo with Nickelodeon, CBS, and ESPN among others.

Gary is represented by Atlas Talent!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

I am the voice of Indie 88 in Toronto, The Bert Show syndicated out of Q99.7 Atlanta, the Rogers AC Network in Canada, along with many other great radio stations.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I’m solely voicing now, but do lots of personal funny bits and projects with my family to keep my production skills up to date and have some fun.

Check out Gary’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job?

It brings me absolute joy to perform and I love the freedom I get to be with my family, the ability to follow my dreams and focus all my energy on voice-growth through self-growth.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I started out as an imaging producer and leveraged my experience with working in sound design and with other talents to spark my own growth. I’ve also had a lot of support from my wife with a few profound leaps of faith, not to mention my good friends Lisa Keys and Amanda Madi. Believing in yourself can be difficult at times, so it’s good to have people that unquestionably share those beliefs in you. Oh…and I’ve emailed like a billion people.  

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

A small station in Arkansas was the 1st to bring me on (though I’m not on it anymore). Working with Kyle Taylor at Indie 88 in Toronto is a lot of fun – Kyle was the 1st person to really take a chance on me on a major level. Kyle, and his writer Sean, really get me as a talent, and Kyle directs our sessions which I find extremely beneficial to nail down their vision for each piece, plus I know he loves our weekly calls as I bring summer sunshine into his life (he’s murmuring expletives reading this right now). Also, landing a network of stations in Canada with Rogers was very exciting and brings many rewards along with continued growth!  

Gary’s studio set-up!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Jamie Watson, David Kaye, Steve Stone, John Frost, Scott Matthews, Chad Erikson, Scott Fisher, and Damon Oaks. I’ve definitely picked up something from each one of these guys.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

Inspiring, entertaining, and teaching children somehow. I’m big on supporting kids in developing their emotional intelligence to give them the tools to realize their full potential. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? 

Great…with a quick side of self-judgment. Since then, I’ve learned to accept the way I hear myself isn’t always the way others hear me and leave discretion to the ear of the director and listener. I continue to grow my ability for self-direction through coaching.  

How has new technology changed the way you work?

Well…the internet is pretty great. Though, I don’t find it’s changed too much since my VO start in 2014. I learned to do some video work and have expanded in that regard – I like to be able to build a project all the way from writing to audio to video. When time allows.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

I use a Senn 416, Scarlett 2i2, and Symetrix 528e both on the road and at home. The 528 doesn’t fit snugly in a suitcase, but I don’t leave home without it. I also have an Apollo Twin, but since Covid came, I haven’t had a chance to get into it full force quite yet.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I used Audition since it was called Cool Edit until I switched to Pro Tools a couple years back for imaging.  But I tend to use both now…depending on the projects I’m working on. Plugins don’t amuse me much anymore. I’m more into developing my own internal voice plugins.  

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

Yep. A pivotal part of my growth. I’ve coached with Nancy Wolfson, and most recently with Dave Walsh.  Both have profoundly changed my life. Many more to come. In my mind, it’s imperative to get out of your own way and listen to how you’re perceived outside your own mind.  

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I voice everything as it comes in. I may hold off on certain auditions to ensure I’m in the right headspace if it’s not something I consider myself more fluent in. Plus, ya gotta do that prep.

Studio shenanigans!

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Emailing updated work. Networking at events. It’s all still very new to me. I’m learning new methods all the time.  

When it comes to VO work and studio gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

I’m not opposed to buying used gear. As long as it comes without a hum, click, or fire.

What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know? 

Ask the coaches I mentioned…better yet…schedule with them and pay them for their time and learn them all. I sometimes voice auditions and then come back to them a few hours later, to see where my head was at at that point in time. Then I redo if needed. 

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Oh, yes. Still figuring this all out. They are all different, but each project is different as well. But it’s my goal to get it all sorted out and fire on all cylinders. Wearing these multiple hats has, without a doubt, been my biggest challenge (and reward when it pays off). Generally speaking, I find radio imaging to be a bit more forceful of a read (call to action) and commercial to be very laid back and conversational with promo snuggly in between.

Check out Gary’s Commercial Demo:

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

1. Patience. If you don’t book something – it’s just not for you…yet – or there’s something better on the way. 2. The only person potentially holding you back is you – eliminate your self-limiting beliefs and you’ll see success in all areas of your life – aka believe in yourself. 3. Be kind to you first, then watch as that kindness spreads to others. 4. Always give one extra helpful tip.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade, which one would you go back to and why?

The 60’s. I’d make a great hippie.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pep ‘n Canadian Bacon

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Um…living…? Gross, Benz.

Connect with Gary:
Website
Facebook
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Handling Covid 19, Imaging in the UAE and Future House Remixes for Fun – Meet Vish B!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 02:30

I already had the pleasure to interview Vish for the benztown blog some years ago! He’s seriously one of the most profound imaging heads and one of the best in the game. Check out how he handled the Covid-19 crisis by expanding his home setup and his latest findings. Enter Vish!

1. How has Covid 19 changed the work situation for you? New workflows? 

To be honest, not surprisingly work has really dried up, but the good thing is it’s forcing my to diversify my skill set, It’s definitely led me on the path of more experimentation. I’ve been dabbling with sound design particularly and also trying to improve my music production chops as well. I enjoy producing beats and playing around with samples and a lot of my imaging ideas come from music itself. I try add some of that musical experimentation workflow into imaging as well. It’s been a lot of fun honestly, I’ve spent loads of time learning new software too and also getting a deeper understanding of some of the existing tools I have like my NI Maschine and Komplete controllers and, some synths and plugins

2. What’s new since we talked last time? what stations do you currently working on?

Well honestly, Covid’s dried up a lot of the work so it’s been fairly quiet. I’ve worked on some IDs for a station in the Cayman Islands called Z99 such as a Top of Hour and some Alexa IDs. Was hard to find some apt Alexa drops cos there isn’t a text to speech emulation I found so went with a generic one just to add some color to the IDs in the hope that listeners won’t be able to tell the difference

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #236 – Memorial Day Composite, Sound Design Contest and iZotope Flash Sale!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 07:08

Hope your week went well and you’re slowly but surely getting ready for the weekend! Let’s get right into this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Check out iZotope’s Spring Flash Sale, with up to 50% off their best plugins, even Ozone 9!

Grab your deals here!

2.Inspiration

For all the Hip Hop heads out there, this looks real promising!

3.Music

Already 2 months old, but great sound, good bounce and sweet vocals

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #235 – The Benztown Coloring Book, Soundtoys Sale And Tony Robbins!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 08:44

Time for another edition of fiver friday! Hope you had a great week and get smoothly into your well deserved weekend – here are this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Soundtoys has yet another sale to offer and its huge! Up to 75% off of their best productions, check it out here!

2.Inspiration

A good friend send that to me this week and after seeing Tony live a couple of years ago at the inc5000 and in this special times I think it is a great narrative to stay positive and level headed:

Tony Robbins – 3 Decisions, Choose Wisely

3.Music

Some smooth Drake vibes for the weekend!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Check out the latest addition to the Benztown Universe, the Benztown Coloring Book!

Get it here for free – would love to see some submissions!

5.Imaging

The latest Power Intros from our friend Staxx!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Matt Fogarty

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:33

Matt Fogarty’s contemporary sound and style have been chosen to represent major brands on radio and TV across North America. From station imaging to national commercial campaigns, Matt delivers a fresh sound that engages audiences and captures listeners. 

Matt is represented by Hoss Management, CESD Talent Agency, Premiere Talent, and Voxtalent!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

WZYP in Huntsville, WNCI in Columbus, WPLW in Raleigh, KIKV in St. Paul, and the MyFM network of stations across Ontario, to name a few. 

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

In addition to running my voiceover business, I’m a creative services director and write commercials, promos, and imaging for a group of 6 radio stations on Vancouver Island.

Check out Matt’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

Being able to collaborate with like-minded creative/programming people to create a sound we are all proud of, every day.  

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

A friend of mine who was, at the time, doing mornings on our Hot AC station and doing voiceover on the side, heard a spot I voiced on the air and suggested I explore doing VO myself. That was in 2007.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then? 

My first memorable VO gig was being the signature voice for a national chain of restaurants across Canada. I did the voiceover for their commercials for a few years. The first radio station imaging gig I got was a big one for me – coming from a radio background, I love imaging and was stoked to land WAJI in Fort Wayne, back when they were called BEST FM. 

Matt’s sweet set-up!

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Oh, man. That’s a tough one. There are a lot. The guy I mentioned earlier who got me into VO, Dave Pettitt, for sure. He helped kick it all off and I’m grateful. Lisa Keys, because she’s awesome and inspiring. Sylvia Villagran who I learned a lot from when we were voicing Country 98.9 in Seattle together. 

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career? 

Hmm, outside of radio/VO, I could see myself doing something in the culinary world. I like to cook. Something where you still get to be creative every day. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?  

I remember just smiling like an idiot. I was so happy that I’d found something I loved doing that could also pay the bills! I felt very fortunate that way. 

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

I can connect remotely with studios across the globe. It’s incredible. Pristine audio from my home studio to theirs, almost instantly using Source Connect or other connection options. Plus, gear has shrunk in size, so I can pretty much match my home studio sound on the road for continuity no matter where I am, without dragging around a ton of gear.  

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio? 

In my studio, I use a Sennheiser 416 mic into a Universal Audio Apollo Twin with Adobe Audition, and I record in a custom-built studio room, inside a Studiobricks booth. On the road, I bring my second 416 and a Universal Audio Arrow, which allows me to access all the same plugins I use at home, but in a more compact device, to match my sound at home. Plus, the Arrow is BUS powered so there isn’t a bulky power supply to carry around. It runs off the computer connection.

Take a tour of Matt’s Home Studio:

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins? 

I’m using Adobe Audition for my DAW, along with some Universal Audio, Waves, and iZotope plugins. I like the Manley Voxbox plugin and Nectar 3, to name a couple.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it? 

Yes and yes! I’ve worked with Nancy Wolfson and Mary Lynn Wissner who are awesome and I would highly recommend them both. Good coaches can help you with your delivery, but also with navigating the tricky waters of VO do’s and don’ts which is very valuable, especially early on in your career.

A glimpse inside Matt’s voiceover booth!

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work? 

I have two young daughters, and we get up pretty early most days, so I’m able to get an early jump on stuff most of the time. First thing in the morning I’ll send off anything that’s come in from clients in Eastern Time (I’m PST), and then knock off auditions as they come in, most days. I’m doing more actual work than auditioning now, but I still send out probably 3-5 auditions on an average day. I use Evernote and Week Cal (iOS app) to prioritize and organize my sessions and jobs as well.  

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

I do some advertising on industry podcasts and websites. Social Media. My website. I’m fortunate to have excellent representation who put me in front of a lot of quality buyers and bring in great opportunities. Professionally produced demos are super important, too! 

What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know? 

I suggest working with an engineer or producer you trust to dial in your sound. I’ve taken audio courses and worked with several different audio guru’s to help make me proficient in operating my gear and helping me dial in my settings. 

Check out Matt’s Commercial Demo:

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry? 

Listen. Practice. Repeat. 

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why? 

I’m a huge fan of 90’s punk and alternative, so that’s where I think I’d wanna hang. You know, relive the first time you heard Smells Like Teen Spirit or Basket Case on the radio and just be like…whaaaaaa?

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

Extra cheese and pepperoni, baby! Classic!

Connect with Matt Fogarty:
Website
Facebook
LinkedIn
Soundcloud
YouTube
Instagram
Twitter


Twitter
Instagram

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Imaging South AFRICA during Self Isolation, Levels and playing the Piano – meet Lindsay Johnson

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 08:34

Lindsay and I go back quite a while. Even if I never met the dude in person I feel we know each other so well. Crazy what the internet can do :).. Finally we sat down to chat and Lindsay brought some really interesting stuff to the table I wanted to share with you.

Side Note :   Jan was so lucky to go to SA for RadioDays two times and has covered a lot about the scene there.

Enter Lindsay.

Overall question. How has Covid 19 and the self isolation changed your world, routines?

Hey Andy, thanks for having me on the blog. It’s a huge honor! COVID19 lockdown regulations haven’t necessarily changed the way I work. The workload may have slowed down a bit, but as far as working in isolation goes I’ve been producing from my studio in Cape Town for the last 4 years and have worked remotely for the majority of the time. So I’m quite used to it already. A lot of commercial radio production in SA has come to a halt though, as would be expected, with most businesses freezing their marketing and advertising campaigns. So the industry has taken quite a knock on that front.

My routine has changed though. I have 2 kids and with all our schools being closed during lockdown we have to tackle the school work first thing in the morning. That is quite a challenge, but it needs to be done. If there are urgent recordings that I need to do in the morning then we re-arrange the diary, as we need to.

1. Can you give me a bit of background about yourself, your career and achievements.

I’ve worked in commercial radio for quite a while. Probably, around 15-16 years. My production path has always been a mixture of radio imaging, sound design and final mix for post-production. I was never satisfied with just the one. I started working in radio around 2002 for KFM 94.5. In addition to production, that role involved a lot of the technical aspects of broadcasting too – outside broadcasts, marketing events etc. A few years later KFM was taken over by Primedia Broadcasting, which already owned 3 other stations – 947 and Talk Radio 702 in Johannesburg and Cape Talk in Cape Town. After a number of years at Primedia I left radio to join a post-production house where I was doing sound design and final mix for TV shows, commercials and documentaries. When I left the post-house I relocated to Johannesburg and got back into radio again with Primedia. In Johannesburg I focussed primarily on 947 and Talk Radio 702, and helped out on the Cape Town stations when needed. During my 5-year period Johannesburg I took on the role of Sound Production Manager, which encapsulated production and the on air sound, so I had one foot in production and another firmly in the technical department. The technical side of things involved everything relating to the transmission path – the most fun part of that for me was being responsible for the overall On Air sound quality for the Johannesburg stations. I spent quite a bit of time tweaking their Optimods and trying to improve their signal chain over the years. Eventually I moved back to Cape Town for family reasons where I joined their Cape Town office again.

A couple months later a new commercial FM broadcast license was awarded in the Cape Town metropole area and I jumped at the opportunity to become part of the start up team – Smile 90.4FM. That’s where you and I had our first interaction, I think? We signed the Benztown Hot AC package at the time. The FM frequency spectrum in South Africa is very limited and It’s not everyday that you get to launch a brand new radio station from the ground up. So it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up on. My role at Smile 90.4FM was to develop a new AC sound and set it apart from the competitors who had been entrenched in the market for at least 15-20 years already. Of course, the technical tasks weren’t far behind either. While taking care of the imaging and production, I was also responsible for the technical and IT operation for the station. It was quite a lot, but it was a lot of fun too.

After 4 years in that role I left Smile 90.4FM to start my own business called Crossfade Studio and built my studio. I’ve been focussed on the business for the last 4 years. I still focus quite a lot of my time on radio imaging as a freelancer and produce multi-station campaigns for commercial brands that advertise on all the major commercial stations across the country. The other half of my time I spend working on audio post-production.

Most recently I’ve jumped on board with Benztown in their custom-imaging division and I’ve been having heaps of fun working with Matt Anderson. He’s a guy great and super helpful! 

2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio brands in SA and now with Benztown world wide? How do the task differ between the different stations / brands? What is the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats?

It’s always great hearing your production on air and having the opportunity to be able to influence a part of the station sound, especially since I’m not employed directly by any radio station. In South Africa there isn’t a lot of outsourcing happening in the imaging and production departments. They mainly keep those tasks for the in-house crew, so I consider myself lucky in that regard to still be able to contribute to the On Air sound. I never take it for granted, no matter what station it’s on. The multi-station campaigns I work on for example, all have to reflect the advertising brand, while maintaining the respective station’s sound. Some stations are ‘hotter’ than other’s, so to find that groove in the middle and adapt what you need to for each of the stations is all part of the creative fun and making the campaign work. I like working on a variety of formats, even though I’m better at some and not others. That’s why I’m enjoying producing for Benztown right now. There are various formats, so it keeps me challenged. But for me, less is always more. I think there’s a fine line between producing for you and producing for a listener. So you have to strike a good balance between production wizardry and the message to the listener.

3. What do your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine?

No blueprint at all, other than the daily school work during the COVID pandemic!  Because I’m self-employed and work on all types of audio production, it can be anything on any day. There’s a good balance between radio and post-production. I take it as it comes. And well yes, there are days when I’m not doing any production. On those days I try and get the admin work done and I sneak in a cold beer when I can. The sun on the African continent is hot, you need to quench that thirst! 

4. What is your most memorable project?

I have 2. The first one was launching Smile 90.4FM. It was great to be part of something new that reached a wide range of audiences and be able to influence their sound. The other was starting my business and building the studio. It was a long-term plan that I always kept my eye on and I’m really grateful that I got to follow through with it. I don’t regret a single moment of it.

5. How is the SA radio market different from others?

My answer to this question would probably be quite different to when I actively worked at a radio station. But I think I’m back down to consuming radio as a listener again. Enjoying the medium as a whole and not trying to dissect every hour, which is what most of us do, I think. I prefer it this way to be honest. I think it informs my production approach… and that is to get out of the way of the message, but still be creative and draw their attention. Even though I have my favorite station, I still flip through the frequency band regularly to hear what’s going on. I think it would be fair to say that the SA radio market is relatively conservative. It’s dominated by a lot of AC and Hot AC format stations, so their music playlists are more or less the same in whatever province you happen to be in. I’m sure there’ll be people who would disagree, but that’s just my opinion. There are a few unique sounding stations to the SA market though, these stations usually give a lot of focus to the local music market. The vernacular stations in South Africa probably have the most listenership figures – easily a good couple of million and those are not necessarily your mainstream AC/HotAc stations.

You and I have had this discussion before, but as far as writing copy is concerned, the imaging team very seldom writes the copy too. Most stations have a dedicated writing team to handle copy and sometimes you can find a slight disconnect between the production and the writing. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed about the setup of production departments elsewhere around the world…the imaging person is also the creative writer. I prefer that approach. I think it lends itself to being more creative in your imaging.

6. What DAW do you use?

It’s always been Pro Tools. I know it has it’s glitches, but it works me. I’ll use NI’s Maschine and the Maschine Studio controller when I need to cook up sound design or if I’m working on a beat or music cue. I like that it’s all integrated with the hardware controller so I can keep my eyes and ears focused on the sound I’m producing and drop the mouse for a bit. I’m not a big fan of setting up MIDI maps and assigning parameters to controllers and all that – it takes up too much time. I like to get onto the task immediately.

7. What are your favorite plugins?

I think monitoring your levels are very important from start to finish, so you’re going to find Waves’ VU meter plugin on every Aux Bus and Master Fader.

I can’t live without PSP’s micro warmer on vocal channels. It gives it a nice boost and presence.

ProQ2 – the user interface makes it super easy and straight forward to carve out a sound.

SSL Channel Strip – I think the character and colour it adds. Sometimes just adding some of it’s top-end is enough.

H-Reverb or Eventide’s Ultraverb

SoundToys’ Alter Boy and Echoboy

And recently I’m quite enjoying NI’s Raum reverb plugin.

8. What are new learnings? Inspirations?

I started going for formal piano lessons close to 2 years ago. So I’ve been focusing a lot of my spare time on getting ahead in that. I’ve made excuses for years not to, but eventually just got my ass into gear and got on with it. I know a lot of people would probably say you don’t need music theory to get ahead, but it’s a personal goal and achievement of mine.

I also love watching the Masterclass videos online. I watch a range of topics and I think you can learn quite a lot from those professionals. The Masterclass on Space Exploration was really inspirational in some way, in that hard work, dedication and focus will yield results.

9. Any new tools you discovered lately?

I love the Native Instruments and Heavyocity products. None of it is overly new, but I just love the sounds and textures those companies produce.

10. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

Many years ago in an edition of RAP Mag they featured a piece by Jerry Rohira. I think he was working at Sirius XM at the time, based in New York. It was a 4min40 imaging piece describing what radio imaging is to a ‘normal’ person without all the radio jargon. It was really well written and superbly produced by Jerry. I still find it valid today. It really paints a picture for the listener and demonstrates how you’re able to tell a story and be creative using audio production. I still have that audio all these years later. It’s a great piece!

11. Who have been mentors of yours and how did they support you?

There have been a few over the years. The first and most important is my wife! She’s really the voice of reason in my life. Always being objective about things and giving me alternatives to think about. The next one I’d have to say is the guy who first employed me at KFM – Jaco Viljoen. He’s given me tons of advice and guidance over the years. Nearly 20 years on we still remain great friends! The other guy who really had a great influence on my imaging is Brendan Taylor, who is now at the Nova Group in Sydney. At the time Brendan was part of the consulting team for KFM and made a few trips over to Cape Town over the years. We had a lot of group production sessions with the programming and creative departments. Chris Thorpe in London, who was also part of the consulting team and Mitch Callendine too. The common thread with Brendan, Chris and Mitch is that I made them all drink the worst rum shooter you can find in Cape Town when they visited  I’d do the same to you too if you were to visit Cape Town!  I also have to add a very good friend and client of mine – Cameron Naidoo. He runs a successful creative agency and he’s given me tons of business and entrepreneurial advise over the years.

Some additonal questions:

  1. The best tech purchase under a hundred dollars?

I have to say it’s probably Izotope’s Music Maker Bundle for a sale price of $49. I’m not overly crazy about the Izotope plugins (except for RX), but you can’t beat what you’re getting in that bundle. I picked it up myself! 

  1. If you had to pick five plugins….

Waves H-Reverb / EchoBoy / PSP Micro Warmer / C6 Multiband / L2 Ultramaximizer

  1. Gear: your dream studio would have…

Avid S3 or S4 + Avid Dock and Dolby Atmos with Adam Audio monitoring in a theatre-sized mix room 

  1. Who or what inspires you?

I love being outdoors. Getting away for a weekend always resets the brain and outlook on life. We’re very spoilt for choice in Cape Town with getaway options. I love information too. I’m not a big reader of novels, but I always try and soak up new and varied information – hence me spending a lot of time on the Internet. But the big inspiration is always music. I really try and be open to all genres of music. In some way I’m sure it influences my style of production.

  1. Best advice you have ever gotten?

Never burn your bridges. It’s a small world and an even smaller industry. Most of the people I work with on a regular basis are folks who I have a long relationship with. We’ve built up a lot of trust over the years. Word of mouth recommendations are priceless.

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Johnny Panzarella

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 05/07/2020 - 10:40

Johnny has gone toe to toe in featured roles opposite Cuba Gooding Jr, Ned Beatty, Craig T. Nelson, Bruce Willis, David Morse, and Andre Braugher. His acting instincts and creative choices have made the leap from the screen to the audio booth, including rock and sports imaging where he showcases his unique attitude, edge, and humor.

Johnny is represented by Atlas Talent & Hoss Management!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

I started out doing a Beatles show at my college radio station and the hook was in. I was on-air at four Baltimore stations often doing their imaging…WLPL, WIYY, WGRX, and WOCT. The good thing was I never had to hook up a U-Haul and move around.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I’m currently the voice for some great stations and staff including WBLM “The Blimp” in Portland, WQBK Albany’s Rock station, WQNT Classic Hits in Charleston, and KZZK “The Grizz” in Quincy Illinois. I was also very proud to have been the last image voice for KSWD 100.3 “The Sound” in LA. Thank you, Dave Beasing! I also image for several TV affiliates and do a variety of political spots and commercials including the national campaign for Interstate Batteries. Don’t you love it when they use the option for a second year!

What do you love about your job?

What I love about my job is that I get up every day, cross the hall into my studio wearing Spongebob pajamas, and spend the day creating characters and bringing words to life with no boss around stopping me from taking naps. Who wouldn’t love that!

Check out Johnny’s Imaging Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I have to credit Oprah Winfrey with that. In 1985 I was filling in for the regular station announcer at WJZ TV in Baltimore when you actually had to go to the station to record. Oprah was an anchor and we met by chance one day in the coffee room. She said she loved my voice and encouraged me to pursue my dream and never give up. Then she asked me if she could borrow a quarter for a cup of coffee…said she’d pay me back which she never did. It’s been my life’s quest to get that quarter back!

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

My first gig was an anti-drug PSA that ran on Public Television. The first time you hear yourself on a spot is a legal drug! There have been a few memorable gigs doing dialogue spots with Daryl Green of the Redskins and Ben Stein. Bueller!!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

I have always loved the work of Don LaFontaine, Ben Patrick Johnson, Howard Parker, Chris Corley, and Hal Douglas…just to mention a few. They can rearrange your DNA when you hear their work. To me, it’s all about how it makes you feel and think. My favorite has to be Anthony Call, the narrator for “A Haunting.” He can raise the hairs on my neck reading the phone book!

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

If I wasn’t a voice actor I would probably be in some form of teaching. It’s a great feeling to enlighten and educate others.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I started doing VO in the ’80s, so I logged many miles traveling to studios to record. Today’s technology gets it all done from home and I save tons of money eating from my own fridge!

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

Where Johnny creates his VO magic!

I don’t take gear on the road. I plan my time away around studios I can go to and there are plenty out there. I like the conditions to be perfect. I’ve booked some great work from auditions on the road in my bathing suit. My home studio is pretty simple. Very streamlined and effective. I use a Scarlett 2i4 interface with my best friend 416 mic into my Mac. I have retired my Avalon 737sp, but still keep it in the rack because it looks great in pics! I have Source Connect Standard 3.9 and use Audacity for my day to day record and sends. I’m a volume freak and love my KRK Rokit 8 monitors…these go to eleven!!

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I’ve studied with David Lyerly. He is awesome, but in general, I prefer to keep a sharp ear on all forms of media for the actors who are booking. Also, videos, blogs, and other forms of industry teachings give me guidance. I trust my acting instincts and sensibilities to make good choices based on current trends. I’m not saying don’t use a coach. Do whatever works for you. It’s definitely not a one size fits all.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I schedule my work based on priority. Most work is needed by the end of the day, some asap, and some next day. I spend a couple hours a day auditioning. I treat auditions like I would a real session. There’s so much competition you have to deliver performance-ready reads. Plus some clients will use the audition for the gig.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Johnny knows how to get serious when it’s time to promote himself.

My marketing is heavy email lists, calls, and social media. I’m always carrying business cards because you never know who you’re going to meet. I’ve met a lot of clients out and about at pubs, ball games, airports, even at a funeral. Always be aware and listen to conversations around you and don’t be afraid to jump in and introduce and sell yourself.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

I believe if you have the right gear and studio treatments and you employ the proper vo techniques, you’re going to get an amazing sound!

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Two totally different approaches. Radio imaging for me involves a lot of acting, ad-lib skills, instincts, attitude, and humor. The ability to go off-page and make the copy yours. Most Program Directors and Brand Managers will be fine with you going off-road as long as you end up at the same destination. Commercials, on the other hand, are rather restrictive. The writers usually don’t like it when you mess with their words. There’s a lot of room for creativity with pace, style, and character…just stick to the script.

Check out Johnny’s Commercial Demo:

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

Everyone’s journey is different with different tips as to how they made it. For me, number one is Never Give Up!! I purposely didn’t have a Plan B because I probably would have used it when times got really tough. Number two, be trained and prepared. You’ll be competing against the best in the world. Anything short of greatness is not enough. Lastly, if you have talent, confidence, and a good sense of humor – you will do fine.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

The 70’s. High school, lava lamps, platform shoes, and bellbottoms.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni and Anchovies!

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

My Dad. I miss him and he loved Anchovies, too. We could split a big pie for our dinner!

Connect with Johnny Panzarella:
Facebook
LinkedIn
Website

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #234 – iZotope Music Maker’s Bundle, Music Theory And the latest from Benztown CHR!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 05/07/2020 - 10:00

As you’re getting ready for the weekend check out my latest findings, got some great stuff for you! Especially in the plugin section

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #233 – The Last Dance, Arturia sale and Harry Legg Highlights!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 05/01/2020 - 05:30

Time for another episode of fiver friday – we hope you’re still healthy and slowly but surely getting back to your normal day to day life! Here are this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Arturia offers all of its software effects for 50% off! Time to check their website and get some new sweet plugins!

2.Inspiration

Inspiring Documentary on former first Lady Michelle Obama – worth a watch!

3.Music

The accompanying soundtrack to the new Michael Jordan documentary – sweet!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

If you ever wondered how to roughly produce a The Weeknd track – here’s how!

5.Imaging

A complilation of highlights from our man Harry Legg – the voice for the Benztown CHR library!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Bob Dunsworth

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 04/30/2020 - 12:29

You know the voice. Bob Dunsworth’s been around the block (twice, in fact). Heard on radio & TV everywhere, including over a decade at Chicago’s LOOP. He’s the Promo Voice for Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Motley Crue & many more. Versatile, distinctive & dangerous. He gets your story told…the way you want it told.

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)? 

WLUP “The Loop” in Chicago, WKQX-Q101 in Chicago, 100.3 The Sound in Los Angeles, 710 ESPN in Los Angeles, WMVP AM1000 in Chicago, and 50 more… 

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)? 

Full-time VO, including concert promo voice for Paul McCartney, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Rolling Stones, Styx, Fleetwood Mac, Sturgill Simpson, Roger Waters, Poison, and many more.

What do you love about your job? 

It’s better than working for a living. 

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I started on-air in radio at 14.

Check out Bob’s Demo:

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then? 

First VO gig: Kellogg’s Low Fat Granola. One of the coolest had to be getting approved by McCartney for his world tour.

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Chris Corley, Don LaFontaine, and Gary Gears.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career? 

Pitching for the Chicago Cubs, but I turned them down for the world of VO. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? 

It was very cool, but the best was finding out my dad recorded it on cassette. The smile on his face was priceless. 

Bob’s Home Studio

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

Now I have a world-class studio in my home, plus now if you travel, with plug-ins you can match the sound of your home studio.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio? 

Pro-tools & Apollo interface with a Sennheiser 416.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins? 

Pro-tools. I think it’s the best. Favorite plug-ins: Neve pre, 1176 UA, and Oxide.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it? 

Yes, many. It’s great to pick up different views and techniques. Always keep working on getting better.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work? 

It’s based on client priority. If they need it now, I get it to them now. I don’t like to let any scripts sit too long, I don’t want it sitting in my inbox. I spend around 2 hours a day on auditions, based on what comes in and how busy the session work is.

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

Social media and email contacts.

Inside the Booth

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Yes, completely different animals. Imaging has more swagger and projection, the same with the concert promos. I won’t read imaging or promos back to back with commercial copy. I will step out of the booth for 5, grab a coffee, or even step outside to take a break.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry? 

Practice. Practice. Practice. Just try to be better every day. 

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why? 

Late 60’s or early 70’s. Radio was amazing, with a focus on-air talent. Plus I could get a hell of a deal on a ’68 Camaro. 

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

Pepperoni & Pepperoni (didn’t they do a morning show in the 70’s?) 

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be? 

Dean Martin. One, because “dinner” would just be bourbon. Two, “The King of Cool.” Three, Vegas stories. 

Connect with Bob Dunsworth:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn
Youtube

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #232 – Better Days Audio Tribute, Coronavirus Explained And Free Plugins

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 04/24/2020 - 08:34

The world is still on hold because of corona virus, but we keep going! Hopefully all of you are still healthy and safe, we will get through this together. Here are this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Check out this collection of free plugins by mixmag to keep you occupied trough the corona madness!

9 Plugins to get your production popping in self isolation!

2.Inspiration

This man is a true inspiration…you can’t handle that situation any better.

An open letter by Richard Branson

3.Music

Something to groove to through the weekend

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Shelley Wade

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 04/23/2020 - 11:02

Shelley’s brand is positivity. Her sound is positive, friendly, and warm, while also upbeat & commanding. If you want your station’s voice to be a dependably comforting presence to your listeners as they navigate everyday life, Shelley’s voice is for you.

Does Shelley look familiar to you? You may have seen her on NBC’s “Today Show” or “The Talk” on CBS!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

Although VO is now at the forefront for me, radio has been my main career for most of my adult life, with stints on air at Z100 New York, 104.3 MYfm Los Angeles, and 97.9 The Box in my hometown of Houston. I’m also a TV personality with regular appearances on national TV as an entertainment, music & pop culture expert. I’ve been seen on the “Today Show,” CNN, “The Talk,” Steve Harvey’s talk show & more, but I’ve also done VO work throughout my entire career. The first VO gig I scored was when I was just starting my radio career in Houston. Jay Stevens at WPGC in D.C. liked my voice and asked me to be the voice of Prince DaJour’s “Coolout Corner.” Since then, my voice has been featured on various stations over the years…most recently on WLVH, Love 101.1 Savannah.

What do you love about your job?

I love the sense that my voice can play a part in a client’s efforts to make meaningful & lasting connections with audience members.

Check out Shelley’s Demo:

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

Being from Houston, Space City, I was excited to once voice a NASA documentary that played at the United Nations…I think that’s pretty memorable!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

My first VO mentor was Bill Travis. Not only did he mentor me as I was getting my radio career underway in Houston, but he also mentored me in my VO endeavors. Bill has voiced many radio stations over the years & would often use my voice on stations to accompany his voice. All these years later, I recently made the decision to make my VO work more of a priority. To that end, I’ve been excited to receive coaching & invaluable advice from Randy Thomas, Dave Fennoy, Dave Alden, Tish Hicks and Joe Cip. Last fall, I attended Randy Thomas’ VO retreat in Santa Barbara and I made some VO friends who have also been so super kind & giving when it comes to advice…my friends Darrell Brown, Kesha Monk & Maria Pendolino. 

Shelley’s on-the-go setup!

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I’d likely continue doing radio & TV, but I also grew up wanting to be a Grammy Award-winning singer. I performed around Houston in my teens & before I started my radio career. So I wouldn’t mind singing & writing songs if I weren’t doing voiceover.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? 

When I first heard my voice on the radio, it was awkward…awkward listening to myself on the radio & awkward realizing how I sounded. But now I’m used to it…it’s no big deal.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I love how technology has made it possible to do high-quality work with or without a full studio setup.  

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

I currently reside in hopelessly gorgeous San Diego in SoCal. It would be sad to leave here, but if my radio career demands that I move elsewhere, I’ll have to make that move. Long story longer…I’m holding off on doing my full studio build up until I know for sure where I’m landing. In the meantime, I’m absolutely LOVING the ShurePlus Motiv recording setup. It’s super quality sound, while also being super light…sounds like I’m in a full studio. I typically record in my closet, which is perfectly sound-proofed. As far as headphones, depends on how I’m feeling.  On a regular day, I use the Sony MDR-VS Studio Monitor headphones, but on days where I’m being extra dramatic, I like to throw on my bling headphones with my name spelled out in crystals, lol! Those are the Shure SRH750DJ headphones.

Check out Shelley’s crystalized Shure SRH750DJ headphones!

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

Yes, I’ve done coaching sessions with VO coaches in person and virtually. I highly recommend it because these are VO pros who have a lot of experience and knowledge to share with you.  There are so many little nuances to all the different genres of VO work that you may not realize until you’ve had some coaching.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Yes, but I suppose it’s all subjective.  What one programmer wants isn’t the same as what another one wants, but I do put a little more swagger on my radio imaging reads than I do my TV/Radio commercial reads…just a little more swagger. And, of course, I’ve learned to be more intimate & understated with my TV/Radio commercial reads.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

I’m not a newbie to VO, but I am newly making it a career priority, so it’s like I’m starting anew.  From my new experiences, I can offer these helpful tips…(1) Believe in yourself & your dream because you have something to offer; (2) Network with other VO pros & others in the VO industry via social media, conferences & such because so much of anyone’s success is because of who they know & the relationships they’ve nurtured; and (3) Never stop studying our voiceover craft…never think that you’re so talented, brilliant & successful that you no longer have something to learn.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

I’m a big fan of classic styles & music that were popular before I was born…I love Art Deco, I love Nat “King” Cole & music from the Great American Songbook, I love the fashion of the 50s and 60s. My parents were coming-of-age during those times and they weren’t ideal for African Americans because of inequality & segregation…but the music & the fashion were on point. So if I could go back to those decades to just attend a Nat “King” Cole concert & wear those groovy clothes, that would be an experience.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

There’s this pizza spot here in San Diego called Leucadia Pizza and they have an outta-this-world delicious Rosemary Potato Chicken pizza…that’s become my favorite. But I also love pepperoni and sausage pizzas.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Prince. He’s been my favorite artist since I was a little girl. Because of that, one of the highlights of my entire life was the night I sat front row center at his concert in Houston, got onstage & danced with him AND met him at the after show! But I never got the chance to have dinner with him, so I choose him.

Connect with Shelley Wade:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #232 – Free Ableton Live Production Suite, Corona News Themes And Chachi Loves Everybody

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 04/17/2020 - 06:58

The world is still on hold because of corona virus but we keep going! Hopefully all of you are healthy and safe, we will get through this together – here are this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Ableton offers its Live Production Suite (Full Version) for 90 Days free!

Simply create an account, download and start your trial version

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Matt Rawlings

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 04/16/2020 - 14:23

Taylor Swift to Dave Matthews, Black Sabbath to Madonna, Brad Paisley to Kidz Bop! With a voice that is dynamic, young, and edgy, the biggest concert tours in the world hire Matt to promote their shows.

Matt is represented by Atlas Talent

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)? 

CHUM FM (TORONTO), WZPL (INDIANAPOLIS), THE BUZZ (RALEIGH), 1540 THE TICKET (LA), B94 (PITTSBURGH), and 106.9 THE WOLF (NANAIMO).

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)? 

National Concert Tour Commercial Voice / Station voice for several Canada radio stations.

Check out Matt’s Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

Being a part of so many stations and projects all over the world. Feeling a sense of teamwork.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I came from Radio (DJ/Production Director/Imaging Director).

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then? 

Promotional Voice for local TV affiliate’s kids cartoons in the afternoon. Promo voice for ABC’s “The View.”

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Keith Ubanks and Brian James. RIP

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career? 

I would be a farmer or drive a Coca Cola delivery truck.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?  

Total excitement! An addictive high.

Home is where the home studio is…

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

Easy to work anywhere. But now I’m available all the time.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio? 

On the road I used twistedwave with my 414 mic and a mic port pro. In the studio I used Pro Tools with my 414 and a Manley VoxBox. 

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins? 

I’ve been a Pro Tools editor since 1998.  

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it? 

I’ve worked with several, but spent a couple years with David Lyerly. Coaches are very helpful to get you out of your own way and help you stay focused on the copy in front of you, NOT how you sound.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?  

At this point I spend more time working than auditioning. I try to turn everything around in the same day. I average about 3-5 auditions a day.

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

Word of mouth and repeat clients have been the key for me.  I do some email marketing and I’m learning to be more active on social media.

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash? 

The micport pro has been a great investment for my road gear setup. I think the 416 mic really helped dial in my sound over 20 years ago, and I’ve never changed. 

Matt’s mobile studio set up!

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

For Pro Tools it’s the internal ducking of the music/sfx track being triggered by your VO track.  That really helped speed up time when producing lots of concert spots. The Disstressor Compressor has been a big part of my sound.  

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads? 

It depends on the station, but most of my radio stations are still pretty upbeat and over the top.  Commercial copy continues to be more laid back and natural.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry? 

Slow and steady wins the race. Get comfortable with your real voice and learn how to use it.  Work with a coach. You will never be able to judge your own sound.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why? 

The 50’s. Everything was fun and basic.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

Pepperoni and black olive.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be? 

My wife! We don’t get out very often. LOL

Connect with Matt:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #231 – Prodcast or finally I was able to reconnect with Dom, Quarantine Deals And Benztown Highlights

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 04/10/2020 - 09:14

Once again, hopefully you guys are still healthy and safe! Check out this week’s findings and have happy Easter! 

1.Plugin

Check out our post from Thursday, a collection of the best quarantine plugin deals and offers right now!

Quarantine Deals – The Best Plugins And Deals While Stuck at Home!

2.Inspiration

I was on with Dom this week for his prodcast, talking about persistence and perspective in these tough times – check it out here: 

Apple

Podcast One

3.Music

The latest release from german producer team Kölsch! Some sweet electronic music to vibe to

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Cameron Griffith

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 04/09/2020 - 10:35

Cameron Griffith is from Atlantic Beach, Florida, a proud Navy Veteran and voice over actor on the Benztown roster. He can’t emphasize enough how stoked and honored he is to share his voice over industry experience with everyone.

Cameron is represented by Donna Baldwin Agency in Denver, CO, Premiere Talent Management in Vancouver, B.C., and Premier Talent in Jacksonville, FL.

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

1010XL/92.5 FM Sports Radio WJXL – Jacksonville, FL
Surf 97.3 FM, WQFB-LP – Flagler Beach, FL
930 the Fox Sports Radio, WNZS-AM Jacksonville, FL
1460AM News Talk Radio WZNZ-AM, Jacksonville, FL

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

My voice over work is all freelance. 

Check out Cameron’s Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

I tell you what, if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. I love to have a great degree of control and freedom within my job. It enables me to love and enjoy other passions in my life. Personally, I am not a fan of being the center of attention, but it affords me to entertain people at my own expense. I get amped up every time I am behind the microphone – it gives me chills.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

Oh wow, where do I begin? Well long story short, I grew up in a broadcasting family. My father was a DJ along with his brothers, including my grandfather; so therefore, it was always in the household. One day during my senior year in high school, I enrolled in the On-the-Job Training (OJT) working at a hotel resort. After the shift manager fired me because I was caught prank calling the employees in the reservations department from hotel guest services, I asked my old man if he could land me a job at the radio station here in Jacksonville, Florida (Clear Channel Radio at the time). He said, “If you want to work in radio, you’ll learn how to work the board first.” I said fair enough, so therefore, he landed me a position working at WZNZ News Talk 1460 AM and WNZS 930 AM The Fox producing and operating a number of radio shows and various sporting events. Later on, I learned how to cut my own commercials thanks to a little help from my father and Doug Lewis, Creative Services Director at Clear Channel at that time. If Doug needed me for something, I was always available to help out. I ended up joining the United States Navy two years later. While I was cruising around listening to the AFN network on the island of Okinawa, Japan, it suddenly hit me, and I believe that was the turning point to prepare and plan a new career in the voice over industry. When I got out of the service, I purchased my first microphone. Since then I’ve been hooked. Personally, I believe it was inevitable. 

Where Cameron makes VO magic happen – his home office.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then? 

Oh let me think, I cut my first spot at the age of 5, which was Burger King. My old man dragged my brother Casey and I from time to time to cut a few more radio spots for a local mall here in Jacksonville. I only remember because the sound track underneath was cheesy. My most memorable one covered the Children’s Hospital at First Baptist Medical Center; I had a hard time pronouncing the word “pediatrician” believe it or not; however, I got the job done and they handsomely paid me 25 dollars in “ones”. Pretty stoked for a 6 year old. In any event, I still have a hard time negotiating that word from time to time.    

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Dude, the one and only Jeff Berlin, Malcolm Ryker, and Brian Christopher. While I was in highschool, one day, I remember Doug was online via ISDN with Jeff Berlin, the voice for Planet Radio 93.3 at that time. With his permission, of course, Doug allowed me to sit beside him during a live session with JB. I was so stoked lemme tell ya. From then on, I wanted to be more involved in Radio Imaging. As far as my mentors, for starters, my father Jack O’Brien; his wisdom possessing over 40+ years of experience in the radio unquestionably led me in the right direction and preconditioned me to work hard and hustle because it’ll pay dividends in the long run. The rest of my mentors and friends include Voiceover Actor/Coach Nick Omana, Tom Fridley Productions Director/Voice Actor 1010XL/92.5 FM, and Josh Klinger Radio Personality, DC101 and the list goes on.    

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career? 

I would have continued to advance my career as a Navy Search Air Rescue Swimmer (SAR) and then eventually work hard to be a frogman (SEAL) or Navy Diver; I’m a big fan of serving my country. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? 

How would I sum it up, “Voice Confrontation”? Thought I sounded like Mickey Mouse, it made me cringe. It was weird. 

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

It allows us to respond faster so I can turn work around as quickly as possible. Also, I enjoy communicating with clients and love participating in workout groups either on Zoom, Skype or Face Time; I believe it’s more  personable instead of corresponding over email.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio? 

In my home studio, I alternate between my Shure SM7B and Blue Baby Bottle from time to time. I pair them with my Avalon M5 pure class A preamplifier and an Apogee Duet interface running on ProTools. On the road, I’ll plug the SM7B and apogee in my laptop.  

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it? 

Most certainly. A coach will be able to hear what you’re doing and assist with helping you make adjustments. I’ve worked with coaches Tom Fridley, Nick Omana, Lynda McCarrell, and Mary Lynn Wisner. 

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work? 

Empty coffee mug, full of energy, can’t lose.

Setting a functional boundary for yourself is extremely important to me; so therefore, I’ll hit the gym at 4am so I can get a jump start for the day; I know, I am an early riser, but it makes me feel that I’m one step ahead of the game from everyone else, and more importantly, alert and focused. Throughout the day, I spend a lot of time auditioning in the morning, and when copy lands in my inbox, I’ll jump on it immediately. Of course, more and more marketing and cold calling.

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

Lots of cold calling because I think it’s an essential part of marketing your biz. In addition, I’ll send the prospective client a postcard, and more cold calling. 

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

You know, that’s a great question. Personally, I believe they are very similar in ways. With any piece of copy, just ask yourself, who am I speaking to? What is the bottom line of the script? As opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads, I personally believe radio imaging copy enables me to unleash all, I mean all of that creativity lurking inside of me, and grant the copy permission to drive me in a state where I would not normally behave out in public. Unless the liquid courage is flowing. 

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry? 

1: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Thanks to social media, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there. Use it to your advantage because it’ll help you stay up to par of what’s trending in the voice over industry. 

2: Learn the craft (because it’s not going to happen over night) and hire some coaching. Once it’s time for a demo, hire a professional to produce it.

3: And more importantly, be YOURSELF.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

Pepperoni and sausage… and lemme add extra sauce and cheese!

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be? 

Robin Williams.

Connect with Cameron:
Website
Soundcloud
Facebook

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Quarantine Deals – The Best Plugins And Deals While Stuck at Home!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 08:14

Since most of us are stuck at home, some plugin suppliers came up with discounts and ideas to support producers at home. Here are some of the best offers and links to push your productivity while being quarantined – enjoy!

Soundtoys offers you a free version of their Effect Rack Plugin through June 30th, with full usage of Echoboy, Decapitator and more! Check it out here!

_____________________________________________________________

Universal Audio comes up with a 50% discount on ALL plugins! This works the whole month of April, so you have plenty of time to check everything out

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #230 – HitWest Power Intros, The Story Of AirMax and the latest from Jan Brückner!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 04:00

Hopefully you guys are still healthy and safe! We’re trying our best to work through the corona madness, so here are this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Check out this free preamp emulation by Shattered Glass Audio: 

Code Red Free

2.Inspiration

Great new stuff from Jan for Speakertoyz!

3.Music

Super chill new Drake Song, watch out for some viral dance videos

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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