VOIMAGEBLOG | benztown.com

VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #175 – True Iron, True Chill and a True Legend from OZ!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:24

Only 2 weeks left till Iron Imager 8! Getting more and more hyped about it! For now, here are this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Stumbled upon this little gem, which looks very promising! Kazrog – True Iron – You can download the demo for free! Also check out this review to preview what you’re getting: 

2.Inspiration

I highly recommend this just for the sake of beauty and getting inspired in a different way. I always loved the awesome combo of big pictures and sound! Here is the master!

Salomon Ligthelm

3.Music

True Chill..it cant get more laid back than this guy

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

IRON IMAGER 8 – the Champ is back in town and how did life change after winning the BELT?

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 03/13/2019 - 13:21

IRON IMAGER, my baby is on – soon! I AM EXCITED AS HELL!

Sam Wickens will be back to face this years contender: Brendan Tacey from Australia (more about Brendan in the next days).
I had time to reconnect with Sam a few weeks ago in London and chat about whats changed since he became the champ, how his skills have evolved in the last year, what new things he’s learned and and and…ENTER SAM!

Sam, are you excited to get back to LA?

I can’t wait. I feel like last time I only got a taste of what Los Angeles is all about – I’m lucky I get to come back and do it all over again.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Enjoying some LA sunshine, seeing everyone at Benztown and WWRS and of course, taking on the competition. I can’t wait to see what format/script/work parts we’re given and see who I’m facing.

What have been the biggest changes after winning the belt? How did your year go?

It’s been an amazing year – I’m trying to improve my imaging every day just as I was before winning the belt. I suppose winning last year has driven me to learn new skills and demand more from myself. I’ve continued to learn a lot from other producers and doing a lot of audiovisual work has taught me new skills as well. Every project I am given now is an opportunity to try something new, test my speed, creativity and overall ability. I suppose I do always have Iron Imager in the back of my mind as no matter how small or big a project is, I see it as an opportunity to throw my all into it and see what I can get back.

What has been the biggest take away from the overall Iron Imager Experience?

It’s given me great experience and confidence to take on any project given to me, even if I have no idea how I’m going to make it work or put it together. I’ve started to see how I can use the skills I’ve been taught over the last few years into other scenarios and what I can do under pressure.

How has your skill set evolved in the last year?

I’ve been doing some work for Radio X the last six months or so. This has enabled me to dabble in a genre of radio I’ve never tried before. It’s been a learning curve and I think it’s made me a smarter producer. I’ve also continued to learn so much from the team at Capital. I’m lucky to be part of a team that is competitive and constantly drives one another to be more creative and push boundaries.

             

Any new findings, tricks, plugIns?

I do have some new tricks and techniques I’ve learned – but I’m not giving them away… I want to keep the belt! Most of the plugins I use are waves or Soundtoys and I’ve learnt how to use those plugins better and in different ways rather than invest in new ones over the last year.

What does the training routine look like?

Last year I worked on timing the most… fearing that I’d run out of it. I’m hopeful that won’t be an issue this year. I’m working more on coming up with creative ideas quicker and being more decisive and efficient in implementing those ideas so I have a clear vision from the off.

Who would you like to have as an opponent?

I’m sure whoever I face will be a talented person who deserves to be there. Hopefully, it’s someone who wouldn’t mind going for a beer after one of the most stressful hours of our lives.

What would you tell anyone not sure about entering and throwing their hat into the ring?

I only entered two days before the deadline last year. I hesitated and wasn’t sure if I had what it took to put something together, but I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I would say just go for it because you’ll never know what could happen.

________________________________________________________

Check out Sam’s soundcloud for his latest tracks!

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Kelly Kelly Kelly

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 13:57

Kelly Kelly Kelly aka Kelly Doherty is not your average VO talent. You’ll hear her voice on the airwaves, catch her producing radio imaging, see her running the ultimate  resource called “The Imaging House” and you’ll probably be at her radio imaging and voiceover conference next year.

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

 Oh gosh. I’ve been so fortunate to voice many legendary stations. KIIS/Los Angeles, KROQ/Los Angeles, WHTZ/New York, Capital/London, Virgin/Dubai, KSCS/Dallas, WKSC/Chicago, WBBM/ Chicago, WIOQ/Philly, WTDY/Philly, OnAir w/Ryan Seacrest, x929/Calgary, 5FM/South Africa, etc. Many of those for 10+ years.

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

I’m still voicing many of those stations and lots of others while looking for my next big gig! And I started TheImagingHouse.com which is like Facebook for VO/Imaging Talents and a one-stop-shop for programmers looking for imaging resources. We just launched “Imaging House Radio” which features all things imaging 24/7. It’s really cool! Station launches, jingle packages, promos, sweeps, outtakes, demos from legendary stations, the famous ‘Nine’ tape, the best of Eric Chase, John Frost and other genius producers in our industry. It’s great having it on in the background! Very inspiring! And funny!

What do you love about your job?

It’s an honor having a programmer and producer entrust you with their radio station. I mean- the VO is on 24 hours a day- more than any jock. So, to be THAT person chosen to bring their imaging to life is quite a compliment.

Also- The VO and producer community is so much fun and very supportive. I’ve planned mixers and networking events so everyone has a chance to meet each other face to face. The adrenaline is intense! I’m planning an Imaging conference for 2020 unlike anything out there. Produced by VO/Imaging talent with legendary talent, a one-of-a-kind agenda and lots of inspiration. The goal is for attendees to leave feeling like they can conquer the world!

Check out Kelly’s demos:

http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/K3-All-formats-1.mp3

 

http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/K3-Alt-demo-1.mp3

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I voiced a Thanksgiving commercial for Safeway. LOL! That was my first spot. Then I tried the Imaging side of things and went crazy as a producer. Shortly after I arrived at KDWB, I was told my voice would never ‘print’ on the air and I’d never be a voice talent. THAT gave me the adrenaline to explore VO work even more. When I sent my demo to Miami- I replaced the station VO with my own and finally landed my first official VO gig at Y100/Miami while imaging their six-station cluster.

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

LOTS! LOL My first radio gig was KRQQ/Tucson. I grew up in Los Angeles and left the day after graduation as my father worked for General Dynamics which has transferred to Tucson as Raytheon. So I followed. First day there I noticed ‘KRQ’ on the side of a building and thought- ‘Awesome! They have a KROQ here!’ which wasn’t the case at all- but close! LOL I worked for the city newspaper as a reporter/photographer while I was in high school- so I showed up at KRQ telling them they needed me to photograph remotes and sales presentations. I was hired as an intern and then the PD, Mark Todd, went on vacation so I started helping the programming department which lead to production on a 4track. Then the Roland arrived and I remember spending 12 hours producing one promo. I wanted to know that thing inside and out. Totally worth it.

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #174 – Rock The BELLS, Snoop and how to respond to a Hollywood Legend!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 09:13

FRIDAY, finally! I was so looking forward to this one. So much stuff to produce, do, learn, read, watch :).. Just A quick FYI:

More Iron Imager coming next week, interviews, audio, all the PRE-Contest talk and of course you better get ready to be in LA at WWRS to see it live! 

 

1.Plugin

This week we’re featuring Decimort 2 by D16 Group, a high quality bit crusher with loads of functions and great presets. You can check out the demo on their website!

2.Inspiration

Fantastic lesson on how to respond to criticism! Must READ!

Netflix’s response to Oscar criticism.

3.Music

Can’t beat the good vibes from Snoop Dogg ! NEW BANGER BABY!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Was a long week with a lot of web highlights, for me THE Iron Imager contender post stood out! So much great imaging here. Thanks again at all the super talented producer participating!

5.Imaging

My man Bryan is killing it again. This is why this guy is one of the best out there!!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Iron Imager 8 – Here is the Contender BT and Honorable Mentions!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 11:31

We REALLY REALLY REALLY mean it when we say this contest gets better every year. With high-caliber entrants from around the globe, who produce for AMAZING radio stations, the decision gets tougher each year. 

First, I want to thank all entrants who took the time to write scripts, get voiceover, produce and upload their entries. Most of them come in over the weekends, which tells us it’s something you’re truly passionate about. It’s also radio, so I guess we all work on the weekends

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #173 – True Iron, Biebs BDAY and Banana Pancakes

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 07:48

So this week went quick, a lot of imaging, debating, voting on all the awesome Iron imager submissions, new findings and everything else – enter Andy’s Fiver FRIDAY!

1.Plugin

Kazrog – True Iron – a new saturation plugin created by Kazrog and Powers Music – looks pretty slick and definitely worth a try, go download the demo for free!

2.Inspiration

Great article Chachi sent to me yesterday!

https://www.businessinsider.com/epic-marketing-wars-2011-6

3.Music

My favorite Song this week. Who does not love Jack Johnson!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Iron Imager is coming and we will present the contender!!! NEXT WEEK! Stay tuned!!!!

5.Imaging

Konrad created an awesome Justin Bieber Birthday MASHUP! KONRAD, way to go!

https://www.you-fm.de/music/das-justin-bieber-mashup-von-you-fm,audio-justin-bieber-mashup100~_story-justin-bieber-fuenfundzwanzig-tops-und-flops-100.html

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Roberta Solomon

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 09:12

Roberta has been a full time voice artist for over 20 years. Calling herself a radio and TV “lifer,” she’s imaged hundreds of stations, has voiced promos on every major television network, and narrates documentaries, concert spots and movie trailers. In a former life, she did morning radio with her husband in Kansas City, appeared on a sketch comedy show carried on Sirius/XM, and drew a rabid following as a TV Horror Host.

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

The bulk of my imaging work has been for AC and Soft AC, Newstalk and Sports radio, and I’ve voiced some legendary stations: WCCO/Minneapolis, KPRI/San Diego, KEZK/St. Louis, WDBO/Orlando, WMGC/Detroit, The Game/Portland, etc.

I currently image radio stations in about 20 markets, including KCBS/San Francisco, Sunny 92.3/Chattanooga, CV 1043/Palm Springs, and I’ve been the sponsorship voice of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network for 14 seasons.

I’m also the branding voice of a number of TV stations around the country and pop up regularly on network TV. (Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Late Show with James Corden, NBC Sports, Reelz, Adult Swim) I’ve narrated documentaries for NatGeo, Discovery and Smithsonian Channel and have voiced a handful of movie trailers.

Check out some of Roberta Solomon’s demos:

http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Roberta-Solomon-Imaging.mp3

 

http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Roberta-Solomon-Affiliate.mp3

 

What do you love about your job?

Well, I’m doing what I was put on the face of the earth to do, and I’m happy every time I’m behind the mic! I fell in love with radio in part because it was a mysterious kind of story-telling, and the “theater of the mind” aspect of VO, regardless of the project, still excites me. Whether I’m voicing a radio imaging piece, a promo or long-form narration, I get to tell stories for a living and how cool is that? But what I really love is when the producer shares a finished piece with me and I can “hear” the story. Creating radio and TV is a communal act, and when I hear how all the elements fit together because of our collaboration, and especially when the CLIENT is happy, that’s the real gift of this work.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

In college, I was a semester away from a degree in theater when I was invited to audition for the campus radio station. The minute I opened the mic for the first time, I knew I’d found my path. Within months, I’d moved to another station in the market, and producers and local ad agency folks started calling the station to see if I was available to voice spots for them. My outside work began to grow and after a few years I joined with a group of busy voice actors to co-found a talent agency. Eventually, it got to the point where I was doing so much outside VO work that it was conflicting with my “real job” on the radio. At that point, I put a studio in my home and stepped into voiceover work full time.

Who are your VO mentors?

The late Drew Dimmel, a talented VO and on-camera actor from Kansas City, was the first guy I knew who was voicing radio and TV stations from home. He was the most generous mentor and basically gave me a template for how to run a VO business. I got a lot of radio-specific guidance early on from consultants: Dick Stadlen (who was also the first to hire me as an image voice), Vallie Richards Donovan, Gary Berkowitz, McVay Media, Holland Cooke, Albright & O’Malley & Brenner, etc. VO legends Joe Cipriano and Beau Weaver were incredibly helpful. Pat Garrett introduced me to my first imaging agent. My current “VO Tribe of Counselors” includes Ann Dewig, Jen Sweeney, Virginia Hamilton and Steve Stone.

I admire not only their work but also how loved they are by their clients.

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

I’ve always been fascinated by the science of sound, and could easily see myself as an audio engineer or field producer. There’s some amazing work going on now researching ocean sounds — I’d love to be out on a boat planting hydrophones and listening to whales. Bernie Krauss’ Wild Sanctuary Project is fascinating: recording and archiving the soundscapes of the natural world. I’d go to work for him in a heartbeat.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It’s made the work so much easier, but it’s also turned VO into a solitary job. On the one hand, the technology has freed us: with the right gear, voice work can be done from anywhere. On the other hand, we’re often alone in our booth for hours at a time. And the more successful you are as a voice talent and the bigger the projects you work on, the more isolated you can become.

The days of “next day turnaround” are over; producers often need their VO tracks back within the hour, sometimes late at night, early in the morning, often on the weekends. It’s part of the job to be available whenever you’re needed, and depending on the type of work you’re doing it can be nearly impossible to unplug. The voiceover joke is: “You wanna book a big job? Try to take a vacation.”

In addition, technology has changed the way we tell stories, and that’s changed the VO performance. Social media in particular has had a huge impact on the “sound” of voiceovers. That’s why working with coaches is more important now than ever.

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

In my home studio, I use a Sennheiser 416 most of the time and a Neumann U-87 on occasion. I pair the 416 with a vintage Focusrite Red-7 processor, and I also use an Avalon 737 from time to time. I built out a gorgeous studio above the garage in my last house, but when I moved cross-country to an apartment a few years back, I bought a double-walled Vocalbooth with a floating floor and a window.

I carry another Sennheiser 416 when I travel, run it through a Scarlet 2i2 interface, and plug it into my laptop. In addition, I’ve got a little Apogee mic that I toss into my purse for emergencies when I’m in on the road. I can plug that into my phone or iPad for quick fixes; I once used it to record tags for a TV spot while sitting under a massage table at an airport spa. (Long story.)

I use Adobe Audition in both my home and main travel studios because it’s the software I’ve used forever, but if I’m recording on a mobile device, I use Twisted Wave.

For longer projects when I’m traveling or if there’s a ton of work, I’ll sometimes book a session at a pro studio and let someone else handle the recording.

Click to view slideshow.

I carry another Sennheiser 416 when I travel, run it through a Scarlet 2i2 interface, and plug it into my laptop. In addition, I’ve got a little Apogee mic that I toss into my purse for emergencies when I’m in transit. I can plug that into my phone for quick fixes; I once used it to record tags for a TV spot while sitting under a massage table at an airport spa. (Long story.)

Roberta’s road gig set up

I edit with Adobe Audition, and am able to connect with clients for directed sessions in any manner they require: Source Connect, ipDTL, ISDN, Skype or phone patch. If I’m recording on an iPad or phone, I use Twisted Wave.

For longer projects when I’m traveling or if there’s a ton of work, I’ll sometimes just book time at a pro studio and let someone else handle the recording.

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

Yes and yes. I’ve worked with voiceover coaches for years and it’s been an essential part of my growth as a VO artist. Each coach has different techniques and tools but they all focus on the same thing: helping you get out of your own way so you can best serve the story with your voice.
A good coach will not only teach you how the structure of each genre of VO differs, but can also help you identify the trends in VO and how to stay current with your read. That can be really difficult to do on your own, when you spend all day talking to yourself in a booth.
I’ve worked with Marice Tobias for years. She’s kind of legendary, and has coached most of the top VO artists in the biz. I’ve also studied with David Lyerly, Bob Bergen (for character VO) and Dave Walsh. In addition, I’ve trained with a number of singing coaches, which has been helpful in learning how the voice actually works and ways to keep it healthy.

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

There’s no real schedule to my day; I voice projects as they arrive, prioritizing by the deadline, and I juggle sessions all day long. I live on the West Coast but I’ve got a lot of East Coast clients, so my days start early. Directed sessions (usually narrations or network promos) are scheduled ahead, so on those days I work everything else around those bookings. But it’s not unusual for me to start recording a project and then receive a promo that has to be cut immediately or an audition due within an hour. So I drop what I’m doing to accommodate the most pressing deadline. Auditions can come all day long, and I average about five a day. There will always be a couple of auditions due first thing the next morning, so sometimes I’ll record those after dinner.

I’ve always told people that if you’re not dealing with ADHD before you begin a voiceover career, you will be once you’ve done it for a while. If you’re working a lot, it’s a life of constant interruption.

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

  1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The art of VO is what you’ll spend the rest of your life studying. And just when you think you’ve “got it,” the art form will change. That’s the exciting part to me, and it’s why this work is never boring.
  1. The gear is not the career. VO folks love to talk about what mic they’re using and how they’ve constructed their studio. And yes, you need to know how to set up a studio, record, edit and deliver broadcast-quality audio. But those are merely the tools for the work, not the work itself.
  1. It’s not a hobby, it’s a business. If you’re serious about getting into VO and don’t know how to run a small business, you’ll need to learn. Should you become a Corporation? How will you market yourself and to whom? What are the particular needs of your potential clients? As your business grows, developing a trusting relationship with a bookkeeper, accountant and lawyer is important, and each of those people needs to be familiar with media and entertainment.

Want to see more of Roberta Solomon?

Check her out on the Benztown Brigade roster, here or on her website.

Connect on the Socials:

Facebook LinkedIn

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #172 – Iron Imager FINAL call, Unstable and the world of the esoteric…

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 08:18

Lets get ready for the WEEKEND!!! Here is this weeks findings!

1.Plugin

Stumbled upon this little gem – pretty useful for some subtle pitch modulation! Check it out, it’s free and pretty self-explanatory:

Delamancha – Unstable

2.Inspiration

I am blown away buy a book I am reading right now – a bit esoteric, but gives a different view on things, which I really love.

3.Music

Crazy how one loop can be heard in so many different productions and genres!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Iron Imager entry is closing soon! Get your hands on the TOOLS and try to beat this guy ! Deadline is the 25th at NOON (PST)!!!!

5.Imaging

Mitch is killing it again! Great work mate!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Lisa Keys

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 09:08

Hi! I’m Lisa Keys! As a fan of the Benztown’s Behind the Mic feature for years, I’m so flattered to be included! I’m currently doing imaging voice over full time based in Toronto for stations all over the world.

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

I’m incredibly fortunate to be on board voice with:

  • 96.5 KOIT/San Francisco
  • 92-5 XTU/Philadelphia
  • The Rogers Country Network across Canada
  • Radio Globo/Rome, Italy
  • 100.3 The Bear/Edmonton where I got my start
  • B93.3/Milwaukee
  • Now 100.5/Sacramento
  • Sunny 106.3/Colorado Springs
  • among other amazing stations!

 

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

Working full time doing voice over in Toronto from the comforts of my basement suite recording studio. I made the leap to full time VO in September 2016. Prior to that, I was a promotions director for the Bell Media cluster in Edmonton, Canada. After pursuing voice over on the side for a couple years while in radio, I knew there was a time to make the leap, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life

What do you love about your job?

The people and the product! I have met some of the coolest, kindest people through radio and voice over and treasure the relationships that have formed over the years. I’m so honored to help radio stations with their branding and SO incredibly grateful to every station who’s ever used my voice.

Getting a piece of production back and blasting it, getting chills or having it make me laugh out loud – I can’t get enough of that feeling. There is SO much about this industry I’m absolutely obsessed with and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to take part.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I got into VO through working in radio. One of my best friends – Gary McClenaghan – our imaging producer at the time, started using me on our rock station and the rest is history. Gary, Jeff McKnight (another very talented producer I previously worked with) really helped me find my sound and both built me demos and demo material I could start sending out on my own.

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

It was a local commercial with our station cluster. The first time I heard it on air it was a feeling I had never experienced before, was surreal! One of my most memorable gigs was a skit for Jimmy Kimmel!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Ann Dewig, John Willyard who’s been an outstanding mentor to me, the fantastic human that is Rachel McGrath, Wendy K. Gray, Kelly Kelly Kelly, Chad Erickson – the list goes on. There is no shortage of inspiring talent in this industry. A couple other amazing mentors have been Rob Vavrek, my previous PD in Edmonton and Brian Figula at KOIT who gave me one of my first big breaks.

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

Probably running events in some capacity. I like organization a lot.

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

Amazing. Absolutely loved it. Thought it was way too cool. I was hooked. Anytime I catch anything of mine on air, I freak out a little bit inside.

 

Gear/Technology:

How has new technology changed the way you work?

My studio (as you’ll read in the next answer) is nothing crazy. I record in my closet! My mic does a lot of heavy lifting with sound. New technology has made building my own studio a possibility.

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

I use the same gear on the road as I do in my studio – Sennheiser MK416 mic, Focusrite Scarlett-2i2, laptop.

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

Adobe Audition CC. I love Adobe. I’m not currently using any plug ins with my voice work.

 

Skills and Helpful Tips:

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

I have worked with voice coaches in the past – with the very talented David Lyerly, Dave Walsh and K3 (Kelly Kelly Kelly). Coaching is absolutely something I want to pursue more of as I explore more niches of the voice over industry.

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

I watch for anything that comes in as ASAP, but otherwise, first that comes in is first up! Depending on how many auditions come in throughout the day, could be an hour to several auditioning for new work. I try to get up early enough that I can take care of other things on my to-do list before imaging starts rolling in.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Along with my amazing agents at Atlas Talent who hustle like crazy on my behalf, I reach out to program directors across the US and Canada with my demos, introducing myself and my product to them! I’m a huge fan of conferences too. Getting that face to face is invaluable to me.

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

In terms of technique, what I’ve done in the past to be more conversational is to pretend like I’m talking to my friends. I’ll sometimes drop names or specifically the word “dude” (I don’t know why) before lines to try to get more into a natural feel.

Check out another one of Lisa’s demos below!

http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Lisa-Keys-Composite-Demo-2018.mp3

 

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

  • If you want this, you have to work hard at it! Voice over is crazy competitive.
  • Don’t compare your level of success to anyone else’s. You’re on your own adventure. Everyone’s path is different.
  • Be humble, grateful and kind! Be someone who people want to work with!

 

For Fun:

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Mushrooms and more MUSHROOMS

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

Jonah Hill or Seth Rogen. I love those guys. They’re HILARIOUS.

 

Check out Lisa’s website: https://www.lisakeysvoiceover.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009476790826
-Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/keys.lisa/
-Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/lisakeys

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #171 – THE CHAMP IS BACK, Iron Imager 8 and the magic of making SOUNDS!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 06:30

It’s Friday and Iron Imager is on. I am so excited as this time is my favorite time of the year, when all you super talented Imaging heroes roll up the sleeves and compete with the champ.

1.Plugin

This week we’re featuring SPAN, a neat audio spectrum analyzer with a nice interface and customizable preferences! Best of it all – it’s free!! Check it out:

Voxengo – SPAN

2.Inspiration

I am sure i shared that before or not… It is just so good..

3.Music

Good new hip hop – not a common thing these days!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Iron Imager is back – the Champ is back in LA for WWRS. Will he defend his title? Who will try to get his hands on the belt. Submission phase starts now!

5.Imaging

Sam Wickens Composite

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #170 – New Crew Members, FUN TIMES and CRS

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 07:30

This week was….CRAZY, but in a good way, so many new things and what I am thrilled about the most : We have a new crew member and format captain for our benztown NT Library, Adam Kecskemeti, who by the way is also an awesome VO talent – just saying :)…

1.PlugIn

Waves Sibliance

Waves just introduced a new de-esser plugin, which unlike most de-essers working as narrow band compressors, works with Organic ReSynthesis spectral filters to identify undesirable bursts of sibilant energy. It then completely separates the nuances of sibilance from the vocal signal, leaving the rest of the signal untouched. Sounds great and is definitely worth a try! Check out the Waves introduction video for more information:

Waves – Sibliance

2.Inspiration

Get plenty inspiration here – I am so happy we can do this together with our long time friend k3 !

3.Music

My favorite Country Singer Brad Paisley, yes we are getting ready for that thing in Nashville :)..

CRS 2019

4.Web/Social/Whatever

From the US to Japan in 3 hours – Hypersonic Jet

DO IT!!!

5. Imaging

Check out ADAM!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Josh Goodman

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:10

Josh Goodman is a long-time radio vet, who started in the business at age 12. After almost 25 years in the business as an air talent, music director, and production director, he now enjoys the full-time life of a v/o talent. He lives in Denver, CO with his wife and two daughters.

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

On the radio side, you can hear me on WTMX/Chicago, KFMB/San Diego, KAMX/Austin, KODJ/Salt Lake City, KRFX/Denver, KRQQ/Tucson, WTTS/Indianapolis, WTVR/Richmond, and WQMX/Akron to name a few. For TV, I’m on WNYW-Fox5/New York, WBNS/Columbus, WTVF/Nashville, KCTS/Seattle, and KLAS/Las Vegas. I voice a decent amount of commercials both regionally and nationally, and have narrated shows airing on National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Science Channel, History Channel, and Smithsonian Channel.

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

Currently, I’m a full-time v/o talent after almost 25 years in the radio biz (I left radio in 2014). I spent time on-air in Denver, Philadelphia, Seattle, Charlotte, Albany, NY, and Burlington, VT.

What do you love about your job?

As strange as it sounds, I love being a client’s problem solver. As a voice-talent, that means helping to deliver a message in a unique and authentic way. Maybe offering a read or point-of-view that the writer didn’t think of. Or, better yet, telling a story or delivering a read exactly how the writer had it in their own head. And in today’s world, that also means turning that read around FAST!

How did you get started as a VO actor?

In the early 2000s, I had the opportunity to be the Production Director of the Entercom cluster in Denver, which after being solely on-air for so many years, allowed me to work some different muscles. I really enjoyed the assembly of commercials – everything from the writing to the narration to the production, and that sort of lit the spark for me to start exploring voice-over.

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

My first radio gig? Well, my first PAID radio gig was when I was 14 years old at WQQY/WKAJ in Saratoga Springs, NY. I got to run the board on the FM for a syndicated countdown show (Dave Sholin’s Countdown USA I believe). On the AM, I would run the board for NYMets games. I got paid a whopping $3.35/hour, and got to crack the mic 2x/hour for the weather – I LOVED it.

My first big v/o gig (the one that allowed me to go out and make my v/o biz a full-time endeavor) was when I became the voice of HBO Sports. I did all their boxing, 24/7, and Hard Knocks promos for almost 3 years. It was a GREAT gig – I learned a ton, and it really gave me a lot of confidence to say, “yeah, I can do this”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Past VO Idols are, of course, Don LaFontaine (the original Movie Trailer guy), Edward Hermann (world class narrator and actor), and Peter Thomas (Forensic Files). All have passed away unfortunately. Current v/o mentors include Leiv Schreiber (HBO 24/7), Stacey Keach (American Greed), Will Lyman (Frontline), Brian Lee, Steve Stone, Chris Corley, John Willyard, Ann Dewig, and Thom Pinto to name a few.

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

Good question. I happen to love the “business” of the business, so I would dive into something in the business world – starting another business of my own, or being involved in something that “creates” something.

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

Wow. It was amazing. Honestly, it was almost like an out-of-body experience – I couldn’t believe that was actually ME! I still get that feeling honestly. Whether it’s a commercial that I hear or a show that I’ve voiced, or if I’m streaming a new radio station that I work with. It’s a real thrill to be a part of the creative process and I’m always wanting to improve.

 

Gear/Technology

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I can now (and am expected to) work wherever I am! I have a great, very comfortable studio at home, but I also have a backpack that I travel with so I can record from the road. Tecnology has been a blessing and a curse in that way – you don’t need to be in NY or LA anymore, but you better be available when your client needs you!

What gear do you use on the road?

On the road, I use a Sennheiser 416 into a Yamaha AG03 into a MacBook.

In your studio?

In my studio I’ve got a Sennheiser 416 (used for most of my radio/tv imaging and tv promo), as well as a Neumann U87. I have an Avalon M5 and Avalon 737 preamp. That’s running into an Audient ID22, into my Imac. I use ProTools (because I’ve used it so long!), and have a great, dead silent booth where I spend most of my days. Technology has gotten SO good that, over the years, my studio and gear have simplified tremendously. Nowadays, devices like the Universal Apollo let you have $10,000 worth of recording gear in a portable and affordable device!

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

Again, I use ProTools, only because it’s what I started editing on all those years ago, and I’m just very

comfortable with it. Izotope is a GREAT plugin that I use frequently, especially when on the road. The

Nectar2 Gate has saved my bacon many times when recording in a hotel and housekeeping is vacuuming outside the room!

Skills and Helpful Tips

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

Absolutely – it’s mandatory if you want to succeed at a high level. For many years, I worked with David Lyerly, who really helped elevate my skill level. I also have worked (and continue to work) with some other great coaches like Dave Walsh, Maurice Tobias, and Harry Dunn to name a few. Having a good coach makes ALL the difference – not just for coaching you through copy, but also as a confidant and, well, psychologist. So much of our work is done in “isolation” that you need to have someone to confide in and vent to sometimes! Voice coach might not be the right title – it should be more like voice therapist!

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

Managing workflow is vital, and the more successful you become, the more important it is. After all, we ARE in the “service” business. And these days, the turnaround is incredibly fast, and your clients expect that. The days of 48 hour turnaround while you go golfing are soooo done. With that said, so are the days or ripping and reading. Each script has it’s own story, and deserves your undivided attention, not matter how big or small the project. This includes auditioning – or “planting”. Your garden won’t grow if you don’t plant new seeds! As  Maurice Tobias would say, the audition IS the job. So treat it like one.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

For my commercial and narration clients, I do my damndest to never have just ONE job with them. I turn it into repeat business. By being a professional….by making them want to work with you again…by solving their problems. I develop relationships with copywriters, ad agencies, and production houses. I mail a hand written thank you card after every new job – it’s a lost art and no one does it anymore! For radio stations, I advertise a little on allaccess, and make sure that I’m promoting new stations that I start working with. Getting those first few stations are the toughest – radio stations don’t take risks on v/o talent they’ve never heard of, but once you get 2, turn that into 4, then turn that into 8 and so on. Make the stations want to work with you again!

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

Honestly, at the top level of commercial and promo and narration – the producers want CLEAN and QUIET. Don’t do their job for them by over compressing and over EQing their audio – because it’s very difficult to “undo” that. However, for TV affiliates, I’ve learned that they appreciate you sending them audio that is “air ready” – that they can just drop into a promo and have it go to air. Clean and quiet is self explanatory. Getting “air ready” may not be (depending on your level of audio expertise). I use George Whittham (audio tech guru) to dial in some “processing stacks” when I need it.

Listen to Josh’s demo below!

http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Goodman-Alt-Rock-Imaging-Demo-copy.mp3

 

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

Yes, but it all depends on the station and the situation. Radio imaging needs to “cut” through and grab you, so there is a different feeling to it than a bank commercial. But I think that’s changing, and v/o talent need to be versatile. After all, a killer commercial from Mercedes Benz with John Hamm or a cutting edge Apple commercial certainly cuts through – but it cuts through with a read that’s not pushed or polished or showy. The “anti” read – or doing “less” is what’s actually able to accomplish “more” in a way.

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

I believe that to be successful in voice-over, there is a 40/40/20 rule. If one of these areas is missing or deficient, then your chances of succeeding are diminished.

40% Business…40% Performance…20% Tech

BUSINESS: V/O is a business, and if you don’t treat it like one, you will fail. That means being a pro, servicing your clients, and delivering on what you promise. I know it sounds stupid, but I know a LOT of very TALENTED people with very poor business skills who ultimately fail at this. Hussle trumps talent.

PERFORMANCE: V/O is a craft, and an artform. It’s creative, and your performance is absolutely part of that. Coaching and training, and practicing and failing and then practicing some more are all part of it. Anyone can read words off a piece of paper, but as a voice-over craftsman (or woman) it’s your job to bring an authentic point-of-view to each and every piece of copy – even if it’s a :10 tag for Free Donuts at a car dealer. The client is hiring you to put some magic into whatever it is you’re reading, and someone who’s a great businessperson but who has very little to offer in performance, will also fail.

And last but not least – TECH: It’s only 20% of the equation, but it’s still important. You have to be comfortable with your editing software, with your equipment, with the sound of your mic and your room. I also know many many talented v/o talent who work hard, coach and train, but can’t figure out how to send an MP3. They too, will ultimately not succeed. Because having a quiet room to deliver quality audio quickly is the bare minimum of what is expected. And there are too many other v/o talent out there who have all 3 of those things going for them that will replace you on a job if you can’t deliver on the last one.

For Fun

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

I’ve always been fascinated by the 1920s. It seemed like an incredibly creative time with music and art and technology. There was a real “energy” to that decade!

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Double mushrooms. I’m not a vegetarian, but I LOVE mushrooms (and not the trpping kind – ok, well, maybe)

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

Well, that’s easy. It’d be Chachi and Masa of Benztown! I know that’s two people, but come on!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Jamie Frye

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 15:57

After 10 years as an on-air radio talent, I started a career in voiceover. My voice is heard in markets across the U.S. and the world in multiple formats. These days I work primarily in Hot AC, CHR and Rock, but I’ve done almost everything including Country, News, and Sports Talk.

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

My voice has been all over for the last few years currently on KBFF/Portland, WSTW/Wilmington DE, KRXP/Colorado Springs, KEZR/ San Jose, Sports X/Atlanta, and several others. I’ve previously been a voice on stations in Denver, Sacramento, and Richmond as well as Kenya and Dubai.

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

My VO work is all freelance.

What do you love about your job?

I really enjoy working with the creative teams at each station to make sure I’m representing their brand the way they envision it. I think I’m pretty open to direction and easy to work with, and gettin it right for the client feels great.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I started out as an on-air radio talent and did the required million local spots and promos there. After the second downsize in four years, I stepped up my freelance game.

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

I don’t remember my first gig through Benztown, but a couple of my longest-term clients have been through them (WSTW and KRXP). I have been able to do some cool stuff over the years including trying my best not to mangle the Portuguese language for a station in Brazil, and some work with a syndicated radio personality.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

When I started out in radio, I did a lot of production. It was mostly local commercials, but I did some imaging and I remember reaching out to Ann DeWig. She was very kind, and even though I didn’t end up continuing on that path, I love hearing women who rock. There is sometimes a really narrow idea of what female voices are right for, but I think that’s changing. Why can’t we be the “voice of God?” We can!

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

I have done lots of different jobs to pay the bills – I can write a newsletter or a press release, help you figure out your health insurance, and even explain the intricacies of bowling lane conditions (seriously!). I’ve been doing Improv for the last few years, and that has been a blast, if not exactly a career.

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

I don’t remember the first time I heard my voice on air, but I have still have a tape of my first air-shift somewhere. Maybe I’ll work up the courage to listen to it again. I remember being terrified and thrilled at the same time.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It has really allowed me to pare down and keep it simple.

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

I use an AKG Perception 120 mic connected to an M-Audio box into my MacBook Pro. I have a small Port-A-Booth on a sit-stand desk. It’s great because I can work on administrative stuff, then when I’m ready, put the desktop up and stand to record. If I travel, I take my mic and use an iRig pre to record on my iPad.

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

I haven’t yet, but I’m working on getting one. I think it’s really important to keep working on my skills and keep my voice in good shape.

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

I do work as it comes in. Most of my work comes from regular clients, so I can usually predict pretty well what I’m going to get in a given day. I don’t spend as much time auditioning as I would like, but increasing auditions is on my to-do list along with coaching.

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

I’m pretty lucky in that my imaging clients are clear about what they want their stations to sound like, so I have great direction from them. My approach to everything is to try to follow the brief as closely as possible.

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

  • Make friends and connections in the industry and stay in touch. I’ve gotten work through people I worked with years ago who recommended me to their connections.
  • When you get feedback, take it seriously, but don’t let it discourage you.
  • Get the best equipment you can afford, but realize that you don’t need to break the bank to sound great.

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

I would love to wear clothes from the 60’s a la Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but I’ve seen enough Mad Men to know I would not like living in that time.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

I love mushrooms. On everything

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s a genius, but also spend a lot of time being silly. He’s serious about joy, and I appreciate that.

Connect with Jamie Frye

Website: www.jamiefryevo.com

Twitter:  twitter.com/jfropitz

Demos: https://www.benztown.com/brigade/jamie-frye

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #169 – London CALLING, a legendary reverb and EL PRESIDENTE!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 07:01

Wow, this week went fast. It was a lot of fun to hang with EL PRESIDENTE– Paris, London, Stuttgart – where am I? This weeks highlights!

1.PlugIn

P2F Reverbs Releases AKG BX15 Spring Reverb!

One of the best sounding spring reverbs ever made. Carefully sampled all decay times (1.5 – 2.0 – 2.5 – 3.0 – 3.5)
You get 15 world class impulse responses inclusive digital captures and analog tape captures with 2 different tape formulas. Old School baby!!!

2.Inspiration

A good read for the weekend!

<Click>

 

3.Music

Nice tune to kick off the weekend!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

London calling. What a great time! I really enjoyed one of the radio capitals in the world. Enjoying times with my mates from Global, the BBC and of course the benztown UK team. Thanks for making it to London guys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  5.Imaging

My mate Brad….Just so good!!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Imaging News/Talk for 22 YEARS and why Microsoft WORD is the most powerful tool for an Imaging guy – Meet IHeart’s Scott Stanley

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 01/30/2019 - 06:32

I got introduced to Scott by K3. She recommended Scott as being one of  the best out there and she was so god dam right :)…My interest in these format keeps growing and the more I learn about it, the more I love it. Dive into Scott’s audio examples, learn about scheduling priorities in a crazy news cycle and and and…Enter Scott!

  1. Which production system do you use and why?

I use Adobe Audition.  It’s a fine system and does everything I need it to do.  I didn’t choose it. One day an engineer installed it in my studio and that was that.  I didn’t have much say in the matter. I’ve never really been picky about equipment. As long as it does what I want it to do, I’m fine with it.  I couldn’t tell you model numbers for half the stuff I use. Honestly, the most important piece of equipment I use is Microsoft Word

  1. What are your favourite plugIns?

I don’t have any plugIns.  The various effects built into Audition work just fine for me.  Since the majority of my work goes on the AM band, a lot of effects just get lost.  I use a few built in filters and EQ on my VO talent, but for the most part, I try to keep them natural sounding.

  1. How do you schedule your work?

The news of the day dictates my work schedule.  I’ve learned over the years that the best laid plans can go up in smoke because of some sort of breaking news.  Because of this, I try to work ahead.

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Stop-The-Violence-6-8-2015-48000-Hz.mp3

I have to promote Reds Baseball, Bengals football, the sports teams of our two local universities.  I try to stay two weeks ahead on game promos. I try to work ahead on weather imaging – I know winter is coming, I know summer is coming – there’s no need to wait to get going on those.  

Another thing I stay on top of is Obits.  The worst thing in the world is to scramble for sound when someone important passes.  I already have Obits produced for all the living Presidents, as well as the big names locally – sports / media heroes, etc.   

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Election-Night-Coverage-2016.mp3
  1. What do you love about working for News Talk? How important is writing to you?

What I enjoy most about News Talk is the variety of topics and issues I can have fun with.  Obviously, certain topics have to be treated with kid gloves; however, I do take liberties with just about everything else.  Politics, weather, traffic, issues, sports… I try to present them all in an entertaining way. If I can get a laugh, I’ve done my job.  When a promo is perceived as entertainment instead of a commercial – I’ve done my job. 

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/WLW-Trump-Safe-Space.mp3
  1. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

I don’t have any studio tricks per se… but I do think the most important thing an imaging person can do, is write copy to be heard.  Copy should speak to the listener the way the listener speaks. Does the average person say precipitation? No. Does anyone say they have “Automotive needs?”  No.

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Willie-Feel-Good-Nov.mp3

Another thing – be honest.  Nothing sets off the bullshit buzzer like “The show everyone is talking about.”  If everyone was talking about it, there wouldn’t be a need to promote it. That doesn’t mean you can’t go over-the-top, as long as it’s so ridiculous the listener gets the joke, for example: “This winter storm is so bad, you may be snowbound in your home, and just may have to eat your fingers to survive.”   

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Snow-is-coming-how-much-will-we-get.mp3

 

  1. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

I get inspired by the things I see every day.  The fat guy who takes off his shirt to mow the lawn, the bratty kid who has a tantrum in the store, the woman at work who always gripes she doesn’t have money but gets her nails done every week.  I’m also inspired the ridiculousness of Monty Python, the imagination of Disney and sound and feel of big epic films.

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/WLW-Zika-Little-Prick.mp3

 

  1. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?

In high school, I listened to our local rock station WEBN.  They did stuff I’d never heard on the air before. They ran fake commercials.  They had bizarre contests. They even had an on-air theatre of the mind parade every April first.  I would listen to the station just for the production elements – that’s what really entertained me.  Later in life, I got to intern at WEBN and learned from the men who created those pieces, Tom Sandman and Joel Moss.  I learned from them how to channel my ideas and attitude into production pieces

  1. What have been the key advices you received throughout your career?

Never take yourself too seriously.  Be a team player. Keep trying something new.

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Oscar Vasquez

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Fri, 01/25/2019 - 11:17

Oscar Vasquez is a 22 year radio veteran and voice over talent that does radio, TV, commercial and audio production.  You can hear his voice on the Benztown Rhythmic Library, and on different radio stations across the globe. For the past 15 years, Oscar has been honing his ninja production skills while perfecting his ability to change as a VO chameleon (Thanks Teddy!) We are ecstatic to have him on the Benztown Brigade as a voiceover artist!

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

At the moment, I am currently voicing for:

  • KBIU Hot 103.3 – Lake Charles, LA.
  • KHXT Hot 107.9 – Lafayette, LA.
  • KJMG Majic 97.3 – Monroe, LA.
  • KRUZ 106.3 SpinFM – Oxnard/Ventura, CA.
  • KSXY-HD2 Latino 95.5 – Santa Rosa, CA.
  • WPTY Party 105 – Long Island, NY
  • WNUE Salsa 98.1 – Deltona/Orlando, FL.
  • Dash Radio (BakaBoyz, L0UD, Young Money Radio & a few others…)
  • And last but certainly not least, Benztown’s Rhythmic Format Library VO four years running! (Blessed!)

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

I was previously a production assistant for a cluster of stations up until December of 2017.  Taking that break allowed me to focus on myself, my family & my clients & associates. Currently, I am a Daily Shift Producer for the Benztown/Yamanair Commercial library sites, an automotive industry (dealership) VO in the region, and will occasionally lend my services to whoever is in need of some VO and/or production (commercials, music demos, etc.)

What do you love about your job?

When I love what I do, I don’t even consider it work.  For me, production is fun, and allows me to be creative in ways I would have never imagined.  When I work from home, I enjoy being able to cook breakfast for my kiddo, drop her off at school, and once my wife leaves for work, the solitude helps me focus on the task(s) at hand.  And…I mean..where else can you wake up and start the day in your PJ’s?

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Back around 2005 I was let go from Clear Channel, and after being an on-air personality since 1997-98, I figured ‘Hey, what the heck, I can voice DJ Drops’ for friends and word of mouth clients, all thanks to Tom & MySpace.  I picked up a couple of clients throughout the years, one which happened to be a rapper out of Dallas by the name of Dorrough. He uses my VO on all his tracks as an “artist tag”. Well one day out of the blue he texts me that some people out of LA wanted some VO.  Lo and behold, it turned out to be Dash Radio, which eventually led to a phone call from Benztown.

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

My first official VO gig was with a dealership here in town that was looking to replace their VO guy.  A great friend of mine was the Director of Marketing at the time, and as soon as I reached out and mentioned I was available for work, she said “I’m sending you work tomorrow”.  From one day to the next, I was the official voice for the dealership’s brands around the region, and have been so going on 7 years now. As far as radio imaging is concerned, my first gig was with a station out of Indy, WRWM 93.9 The Beat back in December 2015 (which has since flipped) and I am truly thankful to Jay Michaels (PD at the time) for that opportunity.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Pretty much every VO talent I have connected with either through social media or in person I consider an idol/mentor.  They have been the kindest and dopest people to work with (and if you’re reading this right now, THANK YOU!)

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

Between ‘station hopping’ (kinda like bar hopping, except they don’t let you walk in drunk) I worked at a university police department as a dispatcher, and also in TV as a news photojournalist “photog”.  I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a little bit of the police side of things. Once, I went on this ride along with a buddy of mine (PD) and it just so happened we got caught up in a high-speed chase.  Talk about adrenaline. So, it’s a toss-up between Law Enforcement and News…although I do watch a lot of LIVE PD so…yeah, that’s a tough one…

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

The very first time I heard my voice on the radio, I thought to myself “that’s me?!”  I must have been about 17 going on air for the first time, and I was a “weekend warrior”.  And back then, well we used to air check ourselves with these small white cassettes. After every shift I’d pop them in my truck stereo and would listen on the way home.  I would always give them to my dad who lived out of town at the time because that’s the only way he could hear me in the 90’s, and I believe he still has some of those cassettes to this day!  On air, I was green as they come. Commercial wise, again, green as they come. But that didn’t stop me. The constructive criticism along the way is what helped me get where I am today, and it still helps me to this day!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

When I started, my budget was $300.  I bought an AT-2020, Alesis 3630 & a Behringer Preamp.  Today everything can be done through the DAW’s preset rack(s).  I’m still a fan of old school knob turnin’ though. What I don’t think I’d be a fan of to this day is the old school splice, tape and reel to reel editing.  I have one sitting in my studio as a paperweight. So, new technology has changed everything for me, with services where you can file share with links and email.

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

If I’m on the road, I’ll try and find a studio to voice out of, but when I can’t, I’ll take my laptop & Yamaha board, MOTU Ultralite interface, and either a Shure KSM27 or Blue ‘Baby Bottle’ mic.  OH, and can’t forget my Sony MDR7506 headphones which I’ve used both on-air and in the studio.

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

I will always have Adobe Audition 3.0 as my go to.  I’m not into the whole buying of subscriptions and “cloud” service.  Call me old-fashioned. I learned it when it was Syntrillium’s Cool Edit Pro, then AA1.5 finally landing at 3.0 This year, I made it a point to drop Adobe Audition and go straight Pro Tools.  That’s a huge step out of my comfort zone, but “ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it!” In my vocal chain, I use plugins by Fab Filter & Waves (big fan of the CLA plugins)

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

YES!  I was very lucky to be able to attend a workshop with the legendary Marice Tobias.  Although it was short, I learned so much in so little time. I would absolutely recommend it, and I am looking forward to making more trips out west to work with some coaches that I’ve had my eye on for a while now.

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

I will try and turn it around no later than 24 hours after receiving the email.  When I wake up in the morning, I’ll have a quick “me time” outside to thank God for everything, to gather my thoughts for the day, and as soon as I set foot in the studio, I knock everything out in the morning, so that I can spend time with the kiddo when she gets back from school.  There has to be a life/work balance for me. I audition every chance I can get, and have landed a few good ones since starting.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Social media is a for sure way of getting potential clients (although sometimes I think a break is needed from that too).  Also, old school cold calling and emails.

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

When it comes to VO work and production, keyboard shortcuts are key for me.  They’ll cut your production time in half. Especially in Adobe Audition as you can program your own shortcut/command keys (not a plug, nor an endorsement lol) I like to share my keyboard shortcuts with Audition users, so if you’d like a copy, just shoot me an email to ov@oscarvasquezvo.com

Oscar Vasquez is a 22 year radio veteran and voice over talent that does radio, TV, commercial and audio production.  You can hear his voice on the Benztown Rhythmic Library, and on different radio stations across the globe. For the past 15 years, Oscar has been honing his ninja production skills while perfecting his ability to change as a VO chameleon (Thanks Teddy!) We are ecstatic to have him on the Benztown Brigade as a voiceover artist!

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

I’ll sometimes alternate between a cork and a pencil to help stretch out the muscles in my mouth while reading the script one syllable at a time.

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

When reading copy, whether it’s radio imaging or a TV/Radio commercial, I learned to look for the billboard.  The main message they are trying to convey. So I’ll read the copy from beginning to end, and end to beginning.  Just a little tip I picked up at the workshop with Marice Tobias ☺

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

Yes.  First, sometimes it isn’t about the money, it’s about doing what you love.  A little pro bono work won’t hurt, and it’ll help get your voice on a platform which can potentially help you land a gig.  I’m amazed what a little giving can get you in return. Second, work with a professional coach in the field that you plan to pursue, whether it is radio, TV, narration, video games, cartoons, etc… And finally, DO NOT GIVE UP.  Learn to accept constructive criticism as positive feedback and not negative. Also, I started adding the word ‘yet’ to everything going on in your career will change the dynamic. “I haven’t voiced for this/that station…YET”, “I am not where I want to be as a VO talent…YET”.  Best of luck in your VO career and hope to connect with some newbies that might need some advice.

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

It would have to be November 5, 1955 when Doc Brown invented time travel.  I’m kidding. (Back to the Future is playing while I type this) I’d have to say the 70’s.  Huge Earth Wind & Fire, James Taylor & WAR fan. Plus I heard they were some great times…and I love funk music.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni and Ham or Canadian Bacon…I can never tell them apart.  How about LEAST two favorite? Black Olives and Mushrooms.

via GIPHY

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

I’d have to say, without a doubt, my mother.  Working from home, and with our schedules both pretty tied up, I never really get to have a one-on-one with her, and would just like to show her how much I appreciate all the life lessons she’s taught me and for giving me life and being there when I really needed her.  And it’s because I chose to stay with her when I was faced with that decision that is allowing me to type this out right now. Thank you, Mom. XOXO

Connect with Oscar on Social Media!

Twitter: @oscarvasquezvo Instagram: @oscarvasquezvo Facebook:  facebook.com/oscarvasquezvo
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #168- Paris, Le Catacombs and See With Your Ears

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/25/2019 - 06:54
 

Fasten your seatbelt we’re heading towards the weekend! What a week, amazing memories where made and I got you a brief overview of this week’s news! What are you waiting for?

1.PlugIn

Fuse Audio Labs presents the VCL-864U Vintage Tube Limiter/Compressor plugin.

Using modern circuit-modeling techniques, all aspects of the original model are mirrored in this plugin down to the smallest detail. A high-powered set of versatile features have been added, including switchable release times, a side chain high pass and a dry/wet control to streamline your ITB workflow. The result is a vintage tube limiter with an outstanding range that gives you everything from thin and transparent to gritty, distorted operation without ever losing its unique easy-going vintage vibe.

Available for Mac OS and Windows in AAX, AU, VST2.4 and VST3 in 32 and 64 bits.
ON SALE FOR ONLY $29 UNTIL FEBRUARY 15TH 2019! (REGULAR $69)

2.Inspiration

A short interesting clip of how the sound affects what you see. Visuals aren’t the most important part of the film, sound really alters the way we perceive a scene.

3.Music

Check out this groovy cover, this guy has some talent! 

4.Web/Social/Whatever This week we stayed in Paris for the European Radio Show. Great time to see friends, enjoy the show and of course check one from the bucket list, The Caracombs!     5.Imaging

My mate BT with a monster collage of his actual works. 14 minutes of awesomeness!

                   
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #167- Waves Sibilance De-Esser, Excessive Thinking and the Language of Music

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 06:53

What’s up guys? Another week, another friday aand another blog-post! You’re ready? 

1.Plug-In

Waves announces Sibilance De-Esser Plug-In 

Powered by Waves’ innovative Organic ReSynthesis technology, this transparent vocal de-esser removes harsh vocal ‘s’ sounds faster than ever before, with exceptional quality – allowing you to make your vocals brighter without harshness. 

2.Inspiration

About 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy. This kind of compulsive thinking is actually an addiction. Wan’t know more about it? Check out this short clip:

3.Music

With that being said, lay back and calm your thoughts with this new relaxing beat from Sam Smith:

4.Web/Social/Whatever

If you have some free time this weekend, take a glance at ,,Trailer City- Tom Dowd and the Language of Music”.

A documentary about Tom Dowd, who was an innovative recording engineer and producer of noted albums with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers and many others.

5.Imaging

Sidey is back with some awesome Rock imaging Mashup Insanity!!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Jules Riley

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 13:17

Jules has been on air and programmed stations across the U.S. including 103.3 KLOU and The Arch in St. Louis, T95 in Wichita, BEN in Philly and The Peak in Phoenix. She has worked in multiple formats including: Adult Hits, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country and Hot AC.  She is currently Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartmedia St. Louis. With a radio programming and improv theatre background, Jules knows how important your station voice is to executing your brand vision. She can be heard across the U.S and Canada on radio and television commercials and on stations like 680 News Toronto, WSOC Charlotte, WBAP Dallas, KCKC Kansas City, KLOU St. Louis, WBBB Raleigh and KOLA Riverside-San Bernadino Represented by Nate Zeitz /CESD Talent Agency.

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

Current: 570 News Kitchner, 660 News Calgary, 680 News Toronto, News 1130 Vancouver, 1310 News Ottawa, KBVB Fargo, KCKC Kansas City, KKTX Tyler, KLOU St. Louis, KOLA Riverside/San Bernadino, KPRF Amarillo, KQSR Yuma, KVDU New Orleans, KYMK Lafayette, News 95-7 Halifax, WBAP Dallas, WBBB Raleigh, WERK Muncie, KSD St. Louis, WSOC Charlotte, The City Fargo
Former:  WARH St. Louis, WFMS Indianapolis, WLWK Milwaukee, CHLG Vancouver KVRV Santa Rosa


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

Senior Vice President of Programming iHeartmedia St. Louis, VO for above stations, commercial voice work for regional and national platforms.

What do you love about your job?  

That listening to music is a big part of my day!  Also, like the variety of stations I get to voice.  Always fun to move from a News Talk to a snarky adult hits.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I was working as a consultant with Folger Media and we developed a format.  We needed to put a demo together so potential clients could get a feel for the brand.  I voiced the demo, the first client that bought the format wanted to use me on the station.  Thanks Popster and Ingstad Broadcasting!

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

The first long term one was the on hold voice for a pizza place in Wilkes Barre.  It’s pretty annoying hearing your own voice thanking your for your patients while “we are helping other customers”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Ann DeWig, She was on a few of the stations I programmed over the years.  When I moved to Phoenix, we met and became great friends. She was instrumental in getting me established as a VO talent.

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

Programming radio stations ☺

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

It definitely makes you stop for a second…then it’s like…is that me…I think it is.  No maybe not, oh yea, I remember that read.

Gears/Technology

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It has allowed me to build a solid studio at home, so I don’t have to head in to the station if I get copy late at night!  Also makes it so much easier to record on the road.

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

Rode NTG 3 Shotgun Mic, Sound Devices USB Pre2, a small Mackie board, computer, phone line

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

I use Adobe Audition.  Pro-Tools gives me the sweats, too many choices!  Since I rarely produce, I just need a simple platform to record with.

Skills & Helpful Tips

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

I work before and after my day job!  I like to turn copy within 24 hours (usually less time).  I’m on both sides of the equation, so I know how awesome it is to get your new production on the air quickly.  I get auditions from my agent, but I’m not doing blind auditions from websites or cattle calls much anymore.

How do you market your services to potential clients?  

CESD, website, bothering friends, word of mouth., Benztown!

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

A trick I learned from Ann DeWig, have a set of you doing #’s (500-1) on hand with your different reads (Rock, AC, News, etc.) that way when the end of the year hits and everyone is doing countdowns, you already have all the #’s recorded.

If you do a lot of work for one company and they tend to use the same keywords, contest pieces, etc.  Once your record for your first station, send to other stations in that group, then they have what they need without event asking!

If a major event happens in a format you do a lot of work in (Artist passes, unexpected single drops out of the blue) record some generic lines about the event and send to your brands that may be able to use them.  Be out in front to help the PD and Imaging Directors get breaking events on air quicker than their competitor.

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

Yes, but really a different approach for different formats and brands too.  All want to convey a feeling, you’ve got to find what is going to best sell the brand you are currently reading for.  I probably do more research auditioning for a radio station/audio platform, then a commercial.

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

  1. Find your style/your brand and look for potential clients in that wheelhouse.  Very few people are good at EVERY type of read.
  2. You may need to take some free or low paying jobs at first.   You have to be heard what you can do.
  3. Audition as much as you can.  The more you do, the more comfortable you will get.

For Fun

Favorite 2 Pizza Toppings?

Pepperoni and Mushroom (though jalapeños are moving up)

Keep up to date with Jules at her website julesrileymedia.com

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #166- New Classic Rock Composite, UA Vocoder and Procastination

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 07:01

What’s up? Wow, the first full work week of the new year is over! I hope you’re just as excited about 2019 as I am. This Friday we dive into topics like procrastination, the new UA plug-in and much more. Let’s go!

1.PlugIn

Universal Audio releases Softube Vocoder plug-in 

Vocoders have been used to stunning effect, transforming human voices into various forms of robot speak on hits by Herbie Hancock, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Afrika Bambaataa, and countless modern producers. Now we can get a taste of it ourselves!

2.Inspiration

Ever had a problem with procrastination? Well you’re not the only one. Check out this funny TED Talk about that issue. This guy is truly amazing!

3.Music

Check out this chill mix. A perfect tune for the weekend:

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Live Nation and the House of Blues’ Music Forward Foundation have teamed up to offer three $10,000 scholarships to college juniors and seniors pursuing careers in the music industry!

The Live Nation scholarships were established to help support a new generation of music industry professionals.

Music Forward Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2019 Live Nation US Concerts Scholarship Program. Click yourself through  hobmusicforward.org for more informations!

5.Imaging

Take a listen at the new composite from James for Classic Rock!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Pages

Subscribe to benztown.com aggregator - VOIMAGEBLOG