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Andy’s Fiver Friday #177 – Spitfire LABS, WWRS And Iron Imager

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 03/29/2019 - 11:53

This week’s Fiver Friday live from Los Angeles, California! Congrats to the winner of Iron Imager 8 Branden Tacey, it was a tough and awesome battle! Here are this week’s findings:


This week we’re featuring Spitfire LABS, a virtual instrument including pianos, pads, choirs, strings and more! Best of it all – it’s free! So go check it out and also check out this neat episode of Composing with Labs to get a quick overview:


Honestly the biggest inspiration this week has been contending at WWRS and connecting with all of you. So much talent and wisdom, we had a great time so far and will love to come back!


Debut album from Billie Eilish! Interesting new artist, gotta look out for her in the future!


Kinda old but super interesting! Getting the feeling of big sport events into your living room and the hard and precise work behind it: 


Congrats to the winner of Iron Imager 8, Brendan Tacey! Awesome competition and awesome pieces, i just LOVE Iron Imager to the fullest! Here’s the winning piece:


IRON IMAGER 8: Readers Vote!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 13:17

Well, that was an intense round of the Iron Imager challenge between Sam and BT! We were sweating over here at the Castaway watching them cool-ly produce their Country format flyaway promo for the ACM Awards.

Thanks again for being a part of this year’s Iron Imager contest and watching our livestream on Facebook. The winner will be announced tomorrow (3/29) at 10:30am PT following the Iron Imager pow-wow @ the Castaway!

Our judges will be contemplating their pick but we need you to vote for your favorite promo down below so that we can announce the Iron Imager 8 Chaaaaampioooooon!!

Before you vote for your favorite… Did someone say something about a hype video?!

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Behind the Mic: Amanda Madi

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Mon, 03/25/2019 - 09:03

Hey, I’m Amanda Madi! I’ve been doing voice overs full time for almost 7 years from my home studio in Toronto, Canada. I can be heard on radio stations and commercials worldwide!

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

Here’s some station I’m rocking now:
WUBL, Atlanta, GA
KREV San Francisco, CA
KIMN, Denver CO
Radio One, Beirut, Lebanon
KFRH, Las Vegas
MIX FM, Nicosia Cyprus

Plus other amazing stations!

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

Along with radio imaging, I do a lot of commercial work all over the world! Some cool stuff I do is with record labels to promote their artists on Spotify.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I get to talk for a living, because I loooove talking haha! Being the voice of a radio station is a very important job and I love that I get to do that. I also love the people I get to work with daily- they are crazy creative, the VO’s/ producers I have met and connected with, such incredible talent! And of course the flexibility!!!

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I was a receptionist at Z103.5 in Toronto, the production team and management heard my voice and started me doing VO work.

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

My first imaging gig was an active rock station- Live 105 in Halifax Canada.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

K3, Chad Erickson, Heather Walters, Taylor Kaye, Gary McClenaghan, Dave Foxx, Steve Taylor and the list goes on and on… There are so many amazing people in this business!

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

Entertainment reporter or a fashion stylist

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

Like a giddy middleschool girl whose crush just talked to her- It felt great!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I can work from anywhere I travel to. I have actually cut stuff from my car while stuck in traffic.

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

I use the same gear on the road as I do in my home studio: MacBook Pro, Sennheiser 416 Shotgun mic and Steinburg UR22 MKII interface.

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

I use Adobe Audition, that’s what I learned on in college and I don’t use any plugins.

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

No, I have not but it’s something I want to do. I’m hoping to do that in the next few months.

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

When something comes in as RUSH that gets done first but mostly first come first serve. Every day I take time to audition for new work.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Along with my agent Nate Zeitz at CESD Talent, I network on social media and I’m constantly hustling … Sending my demo out daily to stations all over the world.

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

  • Don’t try to sound like someone else, just be you!
  • Hustle
  • Listen to the constructive criticism

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

I’d like to be an adult in the 1980’s- For the fashion and music

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Green Olives and Red peppers

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

Marilyn Monroe


Connect with Amanda!

Website: amandamadi.com
Facebook: FB.com/AmandaMadi1
Instagram: @amanda.madi


The 2018 Benztown 50 – Radio’s Biggest Imaging Voices Announced!

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 16:39

It is officially out … the 2018 Benztown 50 list of the 50 most heard voices in radio! The Benztown 50 is a compilation of Radio’s Biggest Imaging Voices and it wouldn’t have been possible without enlisting P1 Media Group who compiled and analyzed the hundreds of submissions we received in December (Thanks P1!)

This year we also had a new category, the Iconic Voice Award, which was honored to the prolific voiceover talent, Chris Corley. We are saddened to say that Chris passed away on the day that the Benztown 50 list was announced. He inspired voiceover talents in the radio biz and was loved by many especially by those on the Benztown 50 list.

The Benztown 50 is an opportunity to highlight the voices behind the mic that help create experiences between the listener and radio programming. Congratulations to everyone who made it on the list this year!

2018 Benztown 50 (in alphabetical order):

  • Ann DeWig
  • Austin Keyes
  • Beth Cameron
  • Blaze Berdahl
  • Brian Christopher
  • Brian Lee
  • Chad Erickson
  • Cousin Deke
  • Damon Oaks
  • Dave Foxx
  • Dave Kampel
  • David Kaye
  • Donna Frank
  • Dr. Dave Ferguson
  • George W. Robinson
  • Harry Legg
  • Heather Walters
  • Jake Kaplan
  • Jeff Berlin
  • Jeff Laurence
  • Jen Sweeney
  • Jim Cutler
  • Jim Merkel
  • Joanna Stadwiser
  • Joe Cipriano
  • John Pleisse
  • John Reilly
  • John Willyard
  • Josh Goodman
  • Jude Corbett
  • Jules Riley
  • Kelly Doherty
  • Lisa Keys
  • Lynn Hoffman
  • Malcolm Ryker
  • Melody Sharp
  • Neil Wilson
  • Pat Garrett
  • Pete Gustin
  • Rachel McGrath
  • Rena-Marie Villano
  • Rich Van Slyke
  • Roberta Solomon
  • Scott Fisher
  • Scott Matthews
  • Sean Caldwell
  • Steve Kamer
  • Steve Stone
  • Steve Taylor
  • Wendy K Gray

Andy’s Fiver Friday #176 – Above the clouds, Nike meets Maschine and WWRS / Iron Imager

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:47
  This weeks Fiver Friday from above the clouds, heading to my second home – SoCal. I am so thrilled to see you all in a few days at WWRS and see history in the making at this years Iron Imager. Sam vs BT Here are last weeks findings. Let’s do it! 1.Plugin

Great opportunity to win my favorite shoes and a MASCHINE Mikro on top! Check this out!

WIN: Nike Air Max 180 & customized MASCHINE MIKRO


Something to think about – great content from infamous “In A Nutshell”


Our awesome trainee Phillipp and his band have their new record out!


Trailer for the latest season of Stranger Things just dropped – looks amazing!


In preparation of Iron Imager, once again check out Sam’s latest work and also Brendan Tacey’s piece that got him into the IRON IMAGER contest:




Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:12

So, Ladies and Gents, here he is: The Contender from Australia … Triple M! I mean you guys know all him as BT or Brendan Tacey … a legend in the Imaging space. Starting out, he was one of my influences and his legendary YouTube videos were the first touching points we ever had. I am thrilled to hang with him soon in LA and chat Imaging in person. For now, let’s find out how he prepares, feels and trains to become the new Iron Imager. I am sure Sam will do his best to prevent that. ENTER BT!

Have you been to LA / California / the US before? Are you excited to visit?

Spent a month in the states in Oct’17, covering Florida back to CA, including driving from San Fran to LA with my wife and daughters. Then spent an amazing week in LA. Was such a great vibe and I can’t wait to get back and have an awesome week with some even more awesome people.

Of course you know Sam Wickens – what’s your strategy against one of the best Imagers out there? How do you want to win this battle?

Well … I have everything crossed in the fact that Sam will fit the Pommy Cliché of Loving a Pint and late night dodgy curry … Both of which I will work very hard on loading him up on the night before … In the hope he wont be able to sit at the desk for more than 3 minutes at a time during the contest … If you get my drift.

If any, what will be your key advantages?

Without knowing how Sam operates and goes about his work each day… Maybe having to produce multiple intricate pieces on a daily basis in a very short timeframe will go some way to having an edge on the day. Other than that.. I’mm a deer in the headlights trying to work out what key advantage I might have … um … maybe my lucky Jocks/undies/briefs ?

Any idea of how the training regiment will look?

To be honest from hearing past stories of the week in LA around Iron Imager…I think I might need to do more training on getting my liver in shape for the week. I’m actually more concerned about that than the competition itself!

How difficult will it be to work off a portable workstation vs. your fully equipped studio? What’s your setup?

What’s a workstation?


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: 


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: 


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


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


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!



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:




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.


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! 



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!


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

Netflix’s response to Oscar criticism.


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


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!


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


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


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!


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!


Great article Chachi sent to me yesterday!



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


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


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



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:





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.

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