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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

Behind the Mic: Rob Reed

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 10:09

Rob Reed is the David Puddy (think Seinfeld/Rules of Engagement) of radio imaging. He’s the Mr. Big of v/o. Radio is in his DNA; radio owns him and he owns radio (we’re not kidding). Rob’s entire career has been devoted to our media and branding voiceover work is his final frontier. The Right Honorable Mr. Reed is killing it for his affiliates and he will for you too. His voice has an 80 inch chest and 25 inch biceps, all natural, steroid free!

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

Currently voicing:

  • WWLY Wild Willie 100.1 in Panama City Beach, Fl.
  • WXUS US 102.3 in Gainesville, Fl.
  • KWBT CBS Sports Radio Central Texas, Waco, Tx.
  • KZXM Real Country, Tyler, Tx.
  • WBBN B95 Hattiesburg, Ms.
  • KLDZ KOOL 103 Medford, Or.
  • KSTV Stephenville, Tx.
  • KCCN Kickin Country 103 San Angelo, Tx.
  • KRVL Rev FM Kerrville, Tx.
  • WLQM Real Country 101.7 Franklin, Va.
  • WVNO HD3, 97.3 The Spur Mansfield, Oh.
  • WMKC Big Country 102.9 Indian River, Mi.
  • KSNY AM & FM, & KLYD FM, The Lid Snyder, Tx.
  • KKAJ 95.7 Ardmore, Ok.
  • KFLP Flip FM Lubbock, Tx.
  • And serve as the voice of Benztown’s Horsepower Library

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

I retired as a Market Manager for Bicoastal Media in radio in December of 2017, and currently, work full-time from my home studio.  So, I’ve gone from talking to myself on the air, to just talking to myself inside my 4×4 vocal booth, on the edge of the earth in far, northwest California.  The radio imaging work, that I’m able to do, allows me to stay closely tied, though to a career that lasted 30 years. Right now, my time varies between radio imaging, narration, and commercial work, which includes regular casino/resort spots, automotive spots and a handful of law firms around the country.

Additional things about you

What do you love about your job?

Well, it doesn’t really ever seem like a job.  It’s an adventure every day. I meant that as a joke, but honestly, it’s very true.  I love the fact, that even though, I get the chance to be many people during the day, as a voice actor, I still get to be me.  So, whether it’s a promo for Classic Country’s Wild Willie or I’m playing the voice of a block of wood, that will soon be a piece of furniture, or narrating a documentary…  it’s all, really just me. And the other really cool part of it, is…I can do it anywhere, really.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Getting into VO, for me was kind of a natural progression, now that I think about it.  About 6 or 7 years ago, a friend, that I worked with in radio, Chad Letts called, and said, I should check out some of the ‘Pay 2 Play’ sites on the web.  I did, which led to finding terrific friends, which led to coaching, demos, and low and behold, I’m quite sure that I’m even more passionate about Voiceover, than I was for radio.  And the VO community, is one of the most incredible group of people that I’ve ever been around. So many give back, with knowledge, help and advice – that it just kind of rubs off on you.  I’m very grateful to so many.

What was your first gig?

Any memorable ones since then?  HA, my first paying gig, was a Chicago gangster, for Al’s Italian Beef.  I get called on often, to sound pretty big and tough – or even sarcastic.  This last year, one of my favorite gigs, was as a narrator for a cigar company based in Atlanta, called the Good Cigar Co., and we basically went through the basics of how to smoke a cigar – some great stuff, and that video ended up living on their website.  I also end up narrating a lot of tool-related products, like Edwards Iron Workers, Olympia Tools and outdoors-related media, like a film series for Tackle Direct on the east coast, and their film series called “Saltwater Underground”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Idols for me, have to include some radio imaging legends.  Think the first voice that I remember hearing, and thinking…”that’s what I want to do” was the late, Brian James.  Of course Don Lafontaine, and Earl Mann, too. As far, as mentors go, I mentioned Chad Letts, who is based in Vegas.  Chad continues to hold me accountable – often. Melissa Moats is another part of the Las Vegas VO community that I consider a mentor, as well as Tom Pinto, who I’ve recently worked with and Nancy Wolfson was also a big influence on, helping me change my delivery from an on-air jock to a working voice actor.

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

Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else. For as long, as I can remember – it was in a media related field.  As a little kid, all I wanted to do was be on the radio. In the beginning was a sports-caster. But all of the things I ever wanted to do, involved a microphone.

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

I was hooked.  I was 12 years old. My mother owned a fabric store, and she advertised on the local radio station in town, which I would later work for for many years.  And doing her commercials, I just knew, that’s what I wanted to do.

Gear/Technology

How has new technology changed the way you work?  

Well, technology is really amazing – think we take it for granted how fast things move and change, compared to the way things were done when I landed my first job in radio in 1987.  Not to mention, how Source Connect has become an intricate part of what I do and where I live. ISDN is not an option for me, as I mentioned ….I truly live on the edge of the earth. So, with just a little bit of bandwidth, I’m still able to connect to studios for directed sessions with no problems.

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

On the road, and in my studio at home, I use a Sennheiser 416.  I own several other mics, but the 416 is my go-to for just about everything that I do.  From time to time, depending on the gig, I have a Neumann TLM 49 that I also use. On the road, it’s pretty basic – I carry a Focusrite 2i2 with me, as well as a handy little ShureX2u as a back-up.  At home, from my booth, I use a John Hardy M1 preamp, or an Avalon M5, and a Focurite 2i2.

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

I use Adobe Audition, because that’s what I started editing on when computers became the way we work.  In the beginning it was Cool Edit Pro, and then moving on to the upgraded version of Audition. It’s just simple for me, and I know it well.  Plugins, I use a variety of Izotope products. Nectar, Alloy, Neutron and the Rx line is a life-saver for me.

Skills and Helpful Tips

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

I’ve had a VO coach from Day1, and yes I recommend it. In fact, almost on a daily basis.  I’m asked pretty frequently on social media, how to get started in the industry by others, mostly from a radio background.  The first thing I tell them, is to work with a coach. I still do, on a regular basis. And I soak up other knowledge in podcasts and social media that I can read, watch or listen to.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work?

How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?  Well, that’s quite honestly the toughest part of my day, is prioritizing. I have started working out of a calendar, to keep myself organized instead of a To Do List – for me, it just keeps me, more on-task.  Auditioning, is a little different. I probably spend anywhere from 2-6 hours a day, auditioning for new work. Prioritizing – that’s really the key, right? I guess, being a manager in radio, I learned early on…how to make sure what is on fire, and which fire needs to be put out first.  I do my best, now that it’s just me – to be as proactive as possible. Seriously though, the calendar thing, helps me a lot.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

I use a variety of different ways to reach out to prospects.  I use social media a lot. But, I also do some grass roots, prospecting and email and phone calls.  It’s really just basic relationships though. The people that I work with, or really I call them partners, and not clients… learn that what I do, is solve problems for them, so “they” can worry about their business.

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

You know what, if you have a great answer for this question, email me info@robreedvo.com and help me, because I truly suck at time management!

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

You know, for what I do – it doesn’t require a lot of production. I do a lot of straight VO reads, that producers don’t want a bunch of compression and bells and whistles with.  They want clean, raw audio they can alter however they need it. I hired George Whittam to create a plugin rack for me, to use in Audition. He created one for each of my microphones.  So, I record at the proper levels, slap it through that basic rack, and send off my work.

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

I think each piece of copy has it’s own approach, so yeah. For me, a lot of the radio imaging copy that I do is “big” and announcery (one of my least favorite buzz words, but it’s true, I guess)  And much of my TV/Radio and Narration, Documentary and other, is more drawn back, from a volume aspect… I try to picture who were directing the message to… how old are they, men or women, or both?  What do they do for a living, and so on, so that I can do my best to connect to the copy – I think that’s the real key, is connecting. And being believable.

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

1- Hire a coach, but do your research. There are a lot of coaches offering their services and insight.  But you need to make sure that their style matches you and your personality, and what you are trying to accomplish in your VO career.

2- Surround yourself with people that will push you to be better, not just as a voice talent, but also as a person. I have a group of friends that I feel like are another level, beyond my talent level and pay-grade.  Another group of friends that I feel like are equal to where I am in my career, and then another group of friends that are just getting started, and I’m able to give back with tips and advice from people that gave me that same help.  Pay it forward!

And 3- Be patient. Let it come to you. There are very few people who start hitting it out of the park immediately after starting.

For Fun

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

From a radio stand-point, I think the 40s would have been a great place for me. Just the connection people had with radio at the time, was amazing.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni & Mushrooms

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

Teddy Roosevelt. Think his stories of experiences would be fascinating.

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 24: MERRY CHRISTMAS or Start the New Year with a BANG – Free New Years Fireworks FX

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:20

Merry Christmas from us to you!!! Thanks for all your help, your love, support and your dedication to what we all love the most : Radio IMAGING. Here is some FREE New Years SFX for you. ALL recorded by our one and only Max Kotzur.

Straight to the point, get your free NYE fireworks FX here!

Also check out the Benztown libraries for more New Years content!!!!!!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 23 : My Imagers of 2018

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 08:05

I’d love to point out some inspirations of mine this year. Beside all the guys I work with daily and their incredible talent, which helps me to get better day in and day out. HERE IS THE IMAGERS of 2018! Of course there is so many more guys I stalk on soundcloud :)…and some who should upload more stuff on Soundcloud…

The Capital Imaging Team and Ashley’s Producer Monthly…

Our former Iron Imager and highly talented Brad Leask…Love his layering the build ups 

One of the funniest writers  out there, who flipped the style of Z100 around + just a great guy! STAXX

A unique and crazy style for EVERYTHING!!!! Sidey I love you!!

Fantastic Sound from the Netherlands – Steph Jansen

We cant miss the KIWI – Chris Davis

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 21: Andys Fiver Friday – XMAS Edition

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 08:00

Wow, it is that time of the year agin. Thank you so much for all your support and love in 2018. I am taking off for Christmas and hope you and your families have a fantastic time and enjoy the days of great food, presents and quality time. Here is this years FIVER FRIDAY XMAS Edition.

1.Plugin

Universal Audio “FATSO” – Chris recommendation, a modern classic compressor/saturator which is incredibly useful for bass, guitars and smashing stuff together! – Check it out!

2.Inspiration

The best Christmas movies ever:)…My Favs.

1. Die Hard
2. Home Alone
3. Bad Santa
4. Trading Places

3. Music

Like every year my favorite Christmas Song!

4. Web/Social/Whatever 

Best ad by far this year! Still love the movie!

5. Imaging

Christmas Jingles for France from yours truly Oli

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 20: Office Christmas Party

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 16:17

It’s almost Christmas Time! Like every year we’re having our christmas party today! So let’s keep it short, here are some expressions from our party, we’re wishing you a good one aswell!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 19: Remix MANIA or How to step up your productions with remixes!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 10:34

It’s REMIX time! Here at benztown we’ve been using remixes for our productions for some time now, as you often like a song but need a more uptempo/downtempo version of it. Our very own Konrad put together a sweet collection of remixes suitable for production (and for enjoyment of course). Here are some of Konrad’s recommendations and an outlook on 2019! Enjoy!

Martin Garrix feat. Khalid – Ocean (Banx & Ranx Remix)    Cool uptempo remix of an almost ballad:) Watch out for Banx & Ranx in 2019! Besides the great original song they also did cool versions of Woman Like Me and Let Me Live.   Cashmere Cat, Major Lazer, Tory Lanez – Miss You (Akira Akira & Hikeii Remix)   Jersey Club influenced, busy and fresh remixes from a very young, but professionally approved (Diplo, Skrillex, Marshmello) artist.   Why Don’t We – 8 Letters (Party Pupils Remix)   The Party Pupils still keep if funky but evolved their signature sound and can turn every (lame) song into a party jam:D   David Guetta & Sia – Flames (Aazar Remix)   Wham meets David Guetta? No, Aazar from Paris just seems to be a very creative and versatile producer who keeps making noise f.e. together with The Chainsmokers   Instant Classic – Sicko Mode (Skrillex Remix)   Last but not least – Skrillex take on one of the biggest songs 2018! Maybe a hint for more stuff to come from him in 2019!      
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 18 : BENZTOWN MEGA MIX 2018

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 11:46

Today is the day, my favorite day of the year – IT IS TIME for the Benztown Mega Mix. Jan and Alex outdid themselves – again! 40 Songs in 4 minutes!!!! I am so proud of these guys…Check out my favorite Imaging piece of the year!! NOW!

MEGAMIX 2018 – jan brückner x alex kusnezov

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Mega-Mix-2018_clean.wav

 

Jan was so kind to share a screencap and a screenshot of the whole session – Enjoy!

 

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 17 : Imaging KFI – Why writing is important and what does John Frost have to do with it? Meet John Considine!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 09:03

I am so happy Staxx introduced me to John a few weeks back. John has been with iHeart since 2003, mostly spent working out of a small market in Northern California, and got connected to some good people who eventually led him to LA and KFI.  I totally understand those good people, as I was just blown away when I heard John’s Soundcloud and his creative, unique approach to image KFI. Why John does what he does and how he gives KFI a unique Voice in the NT world…Learn more here! Enter John!

1. Which production system do you use and why?

I learned on Adobe Audition, and it’s the DAW I used for fifteen years, but when I came to LA, absolutely everyone in the building was using ProTools. I spent a few days eating, sleeping, and breathing ProTools, and that was enough to get me to the point I could produce things with it, and it’s only gotten more and more comfortable in the ensuing two years. I know this is a common response, but: the best DAW for you is the one you’re comfortable using. I would add that “the one everyone around you is using” is also a particularly good DAW, as that opens the door for easier opportunities to pick up tips from your contemporaries and swap sessions around. As someone who was pretty isolated in a smaller market for a long time, let me tell you: the best imaging you’ll ever do is the stuff you do after talking with other people who do it.

2. What are your favorite plugIns?

I’m going to disappoint a lot of audiophile producers here, so let me say up front that I have 100% heard the difference a really great effects chain can make in your production. I am not that producer though, and my job calls for different talents, I think. KFI is an AM station, and more than that, it’s a talk station, and both call for an emphasis on the message. With an AM stick in particular, all you have is your message, so you’re working with a different set of tools. As a News/Talk station, we are, more than other formats, typically serving a purpose other than just entertainment, so getting the message right is crucial. 

3. How do you schedule your work?

Honestly, it always feels like I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I tend to schedule it on a priority system, so regularly updated things take a backseat when there’s something that needs to be addressed. Working in News/Talk is a little different, because you are also at the mercy of the news cycle. If something major happens, especially if it affects your listening area, you may need to respond to it. During the recent wildfires, the whole team at KFI went into serious do-work mode, and really prioritized getting information out to the people that needed it. I played a small part in that by creating imaging that assured listeners of the types of information they could find by listening, or visiting our website, etc. It also necessitated going into what I think of as “Stealth Mode,” in which any of my usually snarky and (hopefully) funny imaging gets pulled off the air, and we focus on information delivery. Stealth mode meaning the imaging and personality of the station takes a backseat to our ability to instantly deliver information when it’s needed.

4. What do you love about doing imaging for the News/Talk format? What do you love about imaging KFI?

Imaging News/Talk plays to my strengths. I think I’m a pretty solid writer, and as I said before, I think your message is the single most important thing you can get right with a talk format. KFI is different from any other talk station I’ve worked with or heard of. We try very hard not to take sides (as a station) in a political climate that is basically 100% focused on taking sides: everything this guy does is great because he plays for your team, but everything that guy does is terrible because he’s on the other team. We don’t find this productive. Our hosts have opinions, of course, but our news product is just as important as our talk product, if not sometimes moreso (see: wildfires). KFI also has a very specific attitude that was really interesting to try to crystallize into something I could integrate into my writing. It’s wry and snarky, without being alienating. Like a friend who gives you a hard time, but is just as likely to be self-deprecating, and completely reliable when the chips are down.

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

I’m going to go with production trick: come up with a ritualized, organized system for keeping all your audio where you can find it. I’ll share a system a good friend and super positive influence suggested: save all your stuff in the following format: CALLS-YYMMDD-Name of Project. So if I was going to do a promo about not kicking anyone in the face on January 14th of next year, it’d be like KFI-180114-No Facekicking. Since I switched to this system, it’s made it so much easier to keep track of my sessions, and I go back to stuff all the time!

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

My inspiration and creative recharge is just talking to people that I like, about normal stuff. I can’t tell you how many times a joke from a conversation I had with a friend has made its way into a rejoin, or a sharp insight from a phone call with my dad has tied a promo together. I also don’t limit myself, and love to explore what seems like totally ridiculous ideas that almost certainly will never see the light of day. You never know when a goofy for-fun project will provide the answer to something else you’ve been working on, and the effect on your creativity that comes with working on something you are enjoying is invaluable.

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

KFI’s imaging voice is actually this super talented young man whose work continues to blow me away and inspire me to be better and funnier and more morally bankrupt. You should look up John Frost, if you have the chance, he has a future in this stuff for sure. Smaller market guys taught me most of what I know about imaging, and I was very lucky to be able to work with incredibly talented people in the market where I got started. My mentors Dave Mazzy and Matt Hobley taught me so much, and I’ll be grateful forever. More recently, people like Jon Manuel at KBIG, Miles at KIIS, Staxx at Z100, and Roger Keeler at KTCL have all given me both excellent examples of wonderful work, and actionable advice and influence. That list is far from exhaustive, and it’s really a credit to the awesome community of imaging producers that it was so difficult to choose just a few.

8. What have been the key advices in your career till now?

The best piece of advice I maybe ever got was to keep my individual voice. I was assured early on that the best work I would do was the stuff that felt truest to myself, and it has made all the difference.  

________________________________________________________________________

An excerpt of John’s work: 

KFI Local News

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KFI-Local-News.mp3

 

KFI Unity Thanksgiving

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KFI-Unity-Thanksgiving.mp3

 

KFI Independence Dad Cluster

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KFI-Independence-Dad-Custer.mp3

 

KFI Ween Zombs

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KFI-Ween-Zombs.mp3

 

KFI MST

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KFI-MST.mp3

 

KFI Vets

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KFI-Vets.mp3

 

Also check out John’s soundcloud for more awesomeness!:

 

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 16 – The best TOOLS to manipulate Music

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 08:00

Music and movement in music is essential to our craft especially, if you build longer pieces and especially for young target demographic – CHR, Rhythmic, Urban and so on.

A question I often get is:
What can we use to make a boring beat move the needle and make the musical background more interesting?

Of course there is a ton more, but those are my favorites:

One Knob Filter. Automate the Filter and play with resonance.
(Side Note: You can also use any other Filter PlugIn or a EQ like Filter Bank and automate High and low pass filter, works just as well)

Glitch Bitch. A bit more tricky to use, I like using it with MIDI to gain total control or automate various things. Tom Ferguson  is a heavy user of this, too.

Effectrix. A good starting point, love it especially for all Urban and Rhythmic projects.

Pitch and Time. Great for all types of beatmatching and tempo manipulations

Filter Gate. This was overlooked for a long time by me, but it can do some tremendous things. You will often hear this on Imaging from Capital FM!

What are you using the most? Would love to hear your answers!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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