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VOIMAGEBLOG

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

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

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

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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

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

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

1.Plugin

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

2.Inspiration

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

3.Music

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

4.Web/Social/Whatever

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

5.Imaging

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

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Bob Dunsworth

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you love about your job? 

It’s better than working for a living. 

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I started on-air in radio at 14.

Check out Bob’s Demo:

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

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

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Chris Corley, Don LaFontaine, and Gary Gears.

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

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

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

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

Bob’s Home Studio

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

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

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

Pro-tools & Apollo interface with a Sennheiser 416.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

Social media and email contacts.

Inside the Booth

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

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

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

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

Connect with Bob Dunsworth:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn
Youtube

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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

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

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

1.Plugin

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

9 Plugins to get your production popping in self isolation!

2.Inspiration

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

An open letter by Richard Branson

3.Music

Something to groove to through the weekend

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Shelley Wade

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

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

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

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

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

What do you love about your job?

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

Check out Shelley’s Demo:

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

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

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

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

Shelley’s on-the-go setup!

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

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

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

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

How has new technology changed the way you work?

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

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

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

Check out Shelley’s crystalized Shure SRH750DJ headphones!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

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

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

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

Connect with Shelley Wade:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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

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

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

1.Plugin

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

Simply create an account, download and start your trial version

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Matt Rawlings

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

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

Matt is represented by Atlas Talent

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

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

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

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

Check out Matt’s Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

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

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

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

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

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

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Keith Ubanks and Brian James. RIP

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

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

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

Total excitement! An addictive high.

Home is where the home studio is…

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

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

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

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

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

I’ve been a Pro Tools editor since 1998.  

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

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

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

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

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

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

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

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

Matt’s mobile studio set up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 50’s. Everything was fun and basic.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

Pepperoni and black olive.

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

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

Connect with Matt:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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

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

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

1.Plugin

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

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

2.Inspiration

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

Apple

Podcast One

3.Music

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

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Cameron Griffith

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

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

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

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

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

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

My voice over work is all freelance. 

Check out Cameron’s Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

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

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

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

Where Cameron makes VO magic happen – his home office.

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

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

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

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

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

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

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

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

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

3: And more importantly, be YOURSELF.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

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

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

Robin Williams.

Connect with Cameron:
Website
Soundcloud
Facebook

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________________________________

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

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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

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

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

1.Plugin

Check out this free preamp emulation by Shattered Glass Audio: 

Code Red Free

2.Inspiration

Great new stuff from Jan for Speakertoyz!

3.Music

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

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Melissa Thomas

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 04/02/2020 - 12:48

Currently heard in markets across North America, Melissa Thomas specializes in Hot AC, CHR, Country, Alternative, and Rock Imaging. She would love to take on any new project thrown her way! 

Melissa is represented by
Hoss Management Group!

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

I have been very blessed with a lot of opportunities including the syndicated program HardDrive XL with Lou Brutus, 104.3 WZYP, Play 107, Kraze 101.3 and various others.

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

I am the Imaging Director of X92.9 and X100.7 in Calgary as well as all the duties of my freelance business.

What do you love about your job?

I love the person it inspires me to be every day – creatively, personally, and professionally. The community is incredible and so uplifting as well, it’s just a blessing to be able to contribute something to radio stations across the world that hopefully make people smile every day.  

Check Out Melissa’s Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I was always interested in it, but the true kickoff was when I was a student at SAIT’s Radio Broadcasting program. My professors were (and still are) extremely invested in helping me see the possibilities of the VO world and the potential I had to become something in it. 

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

My first VO gig was an award ceremony voiceover. Since then they’re all memorable! I’m extremely grateful to every company that I have worked with, but I will say that jumping into the Canadian radio market and signing Hot 107 (which has now become Play 107) in Edmonton was a huge milestone for me. 

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Where do I even begin?! Hoss, Trevor Shand, Erin Setch, Ann DeWig, Lisa Keys, K3, Drew Patterson – the list is endless! There are SO many incredibly talented people that I look up to.

Melissa’s secret recording weapon: the MKH 416!

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

I always had a lot of interest in midwifery. I likely would have gone into that or nursing!

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

Surreal. It was a lifelong dream. I still get the same feeling, but it has shifted more from the shock of it to making sure it always sounds good. 

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I’m new enough in the game that I have been fortunate enough to use modern tech my entire career, but what I do use makes things pretty efficient! 

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

I use a Rode mic with my Scarlett 2i2 and ProTools on the road, and my Sennheiser MKH- 416 Mic in the studio with a Mac desktop. 

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

I use Protools! For VO alone it may seem like overkill but I am also an Imaging producer and I produce demo’s frequently so I went all out on it! 

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

Before I worked in VO I had 15 years of voice training and that taught me a lot of physical techniques as well as voice control that is invaluable. I haven’t had an official VO coach since I started working professionally, but I plan to this year.

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

I work on a 24-hour turnaround, but I make a point to get copy to clients as soon as I am able to. As a producer, I like prompt copy, so I do everything I can to deliver exactly that to my clients. The time I spend auditioning varies, but it typically takes 2 hours to write, voice and produce a demo depending on what it is.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

My incredible manager Hoss plays a big part in this and helps tremendously (hit him up at Hoss Management Group online!). Aside from those efforts, I market online. 

As an imaging producer, Melissa is a Protools pro!

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

I don’t want to claim to make any discoveries because to be honest, everything I do is something I have learned from someone else! 

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

Learn to breathe properly. There are plenty of resources online to learn if you don’t know how!

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

Oh totally, those are completely different styles. I like to read imaging as naturally as possible or however clients request. Commercials depend entirely on the client, style, and concept.

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

Reach out to those who inspire you, pitch your talent to managers and agencies, remember that everything you do 9-5 is for the man…everything after 5 is for your future.  

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 experience the 1950s and late 1800’s. I’m a huge history nerd and those two eras are super interesting to me for a lot of reasons. 

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pineapple, tomatoes!

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

Lauren Graham. I would love to meet her! She could adopt me and I wouldn’t be mad lol

Connect with Melissa:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #229 – Imaging from home, Corona Radio Promo / Content Ideas and the barber playlist!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 04:14

Another week in self isolation has passed by in speed of light. It is for sure a complicated and challenging time for all, but we as communities, families and mankind will get through this, if we stick together. I hope all you producers out there (working from home for the first time or are used to self isolation in a home studio environment) are happy and your families are well! Stay safe, stay responsible !

1. PlugINs

Our friends at Native offer this awesome KONTAKT instrument for free this week.

https://www.native-instruments.com/de/products/komplete/play-series/analog-dreams/

2. Inspiration.

Chris Davis from KIIS in Sydney. He is a personal inspiration, a friend and I am even more impressed about his work, since I work at home. I am stunned how he handles the home office situation with 3!! Kids since yars and is creating world class imaging – weekly! Here is his latest!

3. Music. As I cant visit my barber right now:).

4. Inspiration

Need some good radio content ideas for this challenging time?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronavirusradioidea

Welcome to Coronavirus Radio Ideas!

A Facebook group made for radio stations and radio creators that are figuring out how to navigate in the Coronavirus environment of the unknown. P1 Media Group and Benztown have created this space online for radio stations around the world to curate and exchange ideas of what they’re doing to continue to deliver quality and out of the box content to their listeners.

5. Imaging

A cool video by yours truly Alex on creating Magic in High Speed!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Rich Boerner

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 10:38

For two decades Rich Boerner has been one of those familiar voices inside your head. Real, self-aware and sometimes self-deprecating, with just enough gravitas to believe that he might actually be right. 

Rich is represented by TMG in Salt Lake City

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

I have done voice work for KLSX, the once-proud FM Talk Station, and KRTH 101 in Los Angeles, KLLC in SF, WNEW in NYC The LOOP in Chicago, Real Radio 104.1 in Orlando, Rock101 and 99-7 the FOX in Vancouver BC, Y107 in Hamilton/Toronto, and a handful of smaller markets in North America. In the video and digital world I have done some work in the past for Fox TV and the CW. And in 2016 I was the opening and closing voice for the Rose Bowl Parade.

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

I’ve been concentrating on creating great podcast content for the last few years, which has thinned my current roster. I voice many of the commercials for the Broadway Media Radio cluster in Salt Lake City. I handle west coast radio for Amtrak and still do occasional 15 to 30-second ads for Spotify. But this year is about ramping things up again, so thanks for chatting with me.

Check out Rich’s radio demo:

What do you love about your job?

Performing – putting on the skin of a voice that’s trying to convey a new message. VO work isn’t about imitation or “doing voices” it’s about making real human connections.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

Doing voices and skits on my handheld cassette recorder as a kid, then bringing that to the job when I got my first few paying radio gigs.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

I definitely have a handful. In the Radio/TV it’s Joe Cipriano who admittedly stumbled into the field being discovered while doing weekends in Los Angeles. He is one of the nicest, smartest, and coolest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Plus he’s always innovating on the job and appreciates honest feedback. Deserves every accolade he’s received. I have also been fortunate enough to work with Tasia Valenza, who’s warmth and humanity have graced so many eardrums.  

As far as mentor/teacher, Leigh Gilbert basically helped me unlearn and relearn from scratch. She was amazing. Then when it came to a necessary boot camp experience, Bill Holmes the VO Doctor was an invaluable resource. I was also fortunate enough to participate in some Animation classes taught by the one and only Bob Bergen.  

Check out Rich’s commercial demo:

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

This one’s easy, because VO isn’t my current career – it’s part of the mélange of what I do. My current full-time gig is creating amazing podcasts and audio content, and also speaking to and advising others on how to do so. Wherever I’ve been throughout my career, I’ve always been the in-house therapist/consultant. I enjoy working with people to find out what their passions are and then help them figure out how to pursue them.

Rich’s Home Studio

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

Blew my mind – it was in NYC and I was 21 years old.  Thought, “I’ve made it!” Then, when the spot was changed out a week later, it dawned on me that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Of course, I was also concerned that it might have stood out as being less than what surrounded it.     

How has new technology changed the way you work?

Well, high-quality home studios are now easy to build and pretty affordable, feedback on auditions comes much more quickly, and being connected digitally allows you to bond with clients through the creation process. 

What gear do you use in your studio?

It’s a pretty simple and effective set-up. I use a Rode K2 fed directly into my Focusrite 18i8 – and as a back-up mic I have a Rode NT1a. All my recording is done in Adobe Audition.  

Rich’s Main Mic

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

I record everything into Adobe Audition. Their plug-in suite is pretty amazing. The DeNoise plugin (used properly) is SO vital for home studio recording.

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

Absolutely – I’ve had a few amazing voice coaches over the years (Leigh Gilbert, Bill Holmes, Bob Bergen) and they all taught me something unique that helped me perform.

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

This might sound a bit “out there” – Before you start recording, figure out which version of yourself that you want to be as you deliver this particular message. Then, once you’re in character, laugh out loud and say something angrily. If you can find the emotions behind the character, you’ll be locked in.

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

Radio/TV is a bit more of an energy read and sometimes voice of authority, based on the character of the station itself. Commercials are generally more emotion based and “real” person reads. For imaging reads it’s generally necessary to lock in the energy level first, then lay down the reads. In commercials, you need to find the emotions behind the read before doing anything.

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

1. Get into a good beginner class that gives you A LOT of mic time in front of the room. 2. Listen carefully to current VO work and rather than imitate, see what emotion they are evoking. 3. Don’t get frustrated by all the “No’s.” Instead try to find out why not and what you can learn from it to improve for the next round.

Rich laying down some hot VO!

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

The 90’s, because it was filled with so much opportunity and creativity. It was the last decade where creativity had real power in the boardroom and bottom line was a long-term play. You could take chances and had some time to see if it really worked. 

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni and Sausage – please don’t put green things on my pizza

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

There are so many ways to go with this one. I could take the simpler route and say big names like Abe Lincoln, Ben Franklin, Oprah, or Mike Piazza, but I’m going to say one of the two Carl’s. Either Carl Jung or Carl Sagan. There’s so much we could discuss, the possible connections between his Collective Unconscious theories and the perceived power of thought and how they may be directly related to quantum theory (and the universe itself).

Connect with Rich:
Website
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Ideas Exchange or What to do on-air in times of the Corona Virus?

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 04:08

 

Radio stations all around the world face the same challenge right now. What the heck should we do on-air in these never seen black swan type of times. How should we address this world wide epidemic on-air beside endless repetition of facts? Is it appropriate to be in a good mood, even if the world feels to end and some countries like Italy, Iran and Spain face dramatic scenarios? What do our listeners need? How do they feel? Do they want to get entertained or updated or both? How is home office working out? What do the kids do all day without school, Kindergarten, soccer practice, seeing friends, wandering around…and and and..? What can we do to make our listeners live easier, to help them ?

Therefore benztown teamed up with our dear friends Max and Ken from P1 media group to help you radio creators get through this challenging times by creating an idea exchange online sharing the greatest ideas from around the world, findings on the web and ideas people are having and are willing to discuss. Go check it out!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronavirusradioideas

Welcome to Coronavirus Radio Ideas!
A Facebook group made for radio stations and radio creators that are figuring out how to navigate in the Coronavirus environment of the unknown. P1 Media Group and Benztown have created this space for radio stations around the world to curate and exchange ideas of what they’re doing to continue to deliver quality and out of the box content to their listeners.

Wanna help collect, share or even propose ideas, let us know here!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronavirusradioideas

BTW…this photo is part of my personal home schooling, keeping the kids engaged routine :)..Hope you like it! I will let Elijah know!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Heather Foster

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:38

The Merlot of VO. When you need a little more gravitas from your female imaging voice, Heather has that deep, raspy thing down.

Heather Foster is represented by TAG Talent, Pastorini-Bosby Talent, and Impressive Talent!

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

I’m pretty new to imaging! I didn’t even know it was a thing until a little over 2 years ago. I swear I thought the DJs did the imaging. I was a finalist at the That’s Voiceover Promo competition and there was a panel about imaging. Joe Cipriano was the host and David Kaye, Lynn Hoffman, Nate Zeitz, Craig Schwalb, Pat Garett and Eric Romanowski were on it. It was career-changing. I didn’t win the competition but I did find a brand new genre of voiceover!  I’ve been with KRSB-FM Best Country, Roseburg/OR for almost 2 years and have just added WJRI-FM IN North Carolina and WXKC Classy 100 in Erie, PA to my list of stations. 

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

In addition to imaging work, I also record lots and lots of commercials, B2B videos, e-learning modules, etc. I am the announcer for several tech conferences including CloudFest, the largest cloud conference in the world, and I’m the promo voice for the television show The Houston Sports Show.

Heather’s VO time machine!

What do you love about your job? 

So many things, but I love playing behind the mic. My booth is like a time machine. I just go in for a few minutes to play around and the next thing I know 3 hours have gone by.  The people in this business are incredible. Seriously, I’ve met the coolest, nicest people! 

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I was introduced to it by my on-camera commercial acting coach 4 years ago. I found myself in a new city with not much to do so I took an on-camera commercial acting class. My coach, Deke Anderson, had this really great boom mic and when we would watch our playbacks at the end of the class session, people would comment on my voice. So, I started doing some research – turns out you could record from home. Who knew? That was all I needed to know. That will be 5 years this fall. 

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

My first gig was for TiVo – it was for a regional television spot. I thought “Hey, I’ve made it!” Ha. Not exactly. I have to go out there and bust my behind every day. One that really stands out was being the voice of the ship for the new Alien short film “Harvest”- it was included on the 40th Anniversary DVD. I kind of geeked out on that. I’m a huge Alien fan!

Check out Heather’s Demo:

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Whoa, where do I start? One of the very best things about voice over is how supportive people are in this business. I am so grateful that I get to spend the rest of my career trying to pay it forward. Off the top of my head for the women: Randy Thomas, Jen Sweeney, Rachel McGrath, Ashley Cavaliere…For men: David Kaye, Joe Cipriano, Chad Erickson, Rob Reed…Pretty much the entire Benztown roster – it’s filled with talent that just blows me away! I Benztown! I still can’t believe I’m on this roster. Somebody pinch me!!! 

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

I have no idea. I don’t even know what to think about it! Although, I’d have to do something that involved performing. I could never go back to my old job as a paralegal. UGH. I’m just so happy that I get to do what I love every day. I know it’s cliche but man, it’s true. 

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

I was in the car driving with my kids. It took a second to dawn on me that it was ME. I started squealing! My kids were very unimpressed. They were like, “Meh, we hear you all the time.”

Has new technology changed the way you work? 

Not really. I started late in the game.

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

Sennheiser 416, UA Arrow, and my Mac ProBook. 

Heather’s view during recording!

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

I am an Adobe Audition gal and I don’t do much production, so I rarely use plugins. I like my audio how I like my hands – clean.

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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