Benztown Voice-Over Blog | benztown.com

Benztown Voice-Over Blog

Subscribe to Benztown Voice-Over Blog feed
Talent helping talent. Welcome to Radio's Voice-Over Community.
Updated: 4 hours 45 min ago

Behind the Mic: Anne Vydra

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 14:24

Anne Vydra knew she was a good talker when she got the ONLY speaking part in a musical in the eighth grade. In fact, she was asked NOT to sing, and to PLEASE speak, because she was the best at it in her whole class. Then came speech and debate, A/V club, announcements over PA, interning at a radio station, and now here we are. 800,000 years later, and she’s still trying to perfect the craft of reading the lunch menu out loud, but it’s just to a bigger audience now.

Anne is represented by CESD Talent Agency!

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

WUBL/Atlanta, WGNY/Poughkeepsie, and WMEZ/Pensacola.

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

WRQQ/Baton Rouge, WKBU/New Orleans, WWZY/New Jersey, KLDZ/Medford, OR, WNEX/Macon, GA, and KCWD/Harrison, AR. I’m also voice tracking middays at KRAT/Reno and just added (and not radio at all) NBC5 DFW!

Check out Anne’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

The surprises in my inbox. It quite literally never gets old.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

16 years on the air (nearly all of those in the morning) and 3 moves made me ready to quit the moving van (plus, I met my husband and he wasn’t up for the life of a nomad). I had previously thought about it (VO) back in 2008, but my demo was shot down by really the only agent/agency I had heard of. I wish I had stuck with it back then, because now it seems like anyone with spare time wants to try to talk into a microphone! Fast forward to 2013, and the husband and I landed in Nashville. The only people I knew here were audio engineers. So, the timing seemed right, and here we are.

What was your first gig?

Yikes. Who knows. Probably a strip club. VOICING it. Ha! Any memorable ones since then? LOTS. Right now I’m LOVING the work I’m doing for NBC in Dallas. It’s right in my wheelhouse and I want MORE MORE MORE of that. In fact, if you are a N/T radio station, and you are reading this, we should talk! Also, about 3-4 years ago, I was handed sort of this innocuous gig, but it was for the Office of Refugee Resettlement. It was a video for families and sponsors of migrants and refugees coming over the border. I think about that a LOT when I see the news. It was some heavy stuff.

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

Professionally napping. Honestly, I’ve been talking either on the radio or on camera since I was 17. I don’t know how to do anything else, but I can nap like a BOSS. Give me 10 minutes and I’m OUT.

The secret to Anne’s napping skills?

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Melissa Disney & Virginia Hamilton are my idols and Nancy Wolfson & Allen Peck are my mentors. I can add like 500 people to this list, but I’m hungry for a sandwich. Special love to Cousin Deke, although I hate Phish.

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

That was a very long time ago. I probably hated it.  

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I’d say overnight, Source Connect has made me available to gigs I would’ve never been considered for before. As recently as 2014, when I started booking gigs, everyone asked if you had ISDN. That’s all but gone now.  

“Here’s my super-duper unfinished, but very much working studio. Scripts on the floor, panels up, paint that I want to replace, and those are the curtains that the previous owners left. How long have we lived here? Um. 9 months. I’m not only a procrastinator, but I also move slowly too.” – Anne 

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio? Thankfully on the road is not a thing right now. I need to upgrade! In studio the Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Mic and an Apogee Duet with some ROKIT monitors.

Which production system do you use and why?

ProTools. I honestly have it only because it was a gift given to me by Vance Powell (like I said, it’s good to be in Nashville).

Any favorite plugins?

I’m not a production nerd, I’m just the voice. I tell every client that off the bat. I have Izotope to clean up what’s needed, but you will get my audio as raw and clean as possible. Do with it what you like.  

“And since my studio isn’t anywhere NEAR done, I wanted to share what will be in it when it IS. BEHOLD: my Jesus collection. In there, you will find: 3-D Jesus, Velvet Jesus, Jesus on bottle caps on a wooden cross, plastic statue of Jesus kneeling next to sand on footprints (oh yeah, the whole poem is there too), some Marys on a mirror, Paint By Numbers Jesus, Laughing Jesus…not pictured: Jesus with eyes that follow you, and stuffed Jesus. Also, for good measure, the front page of the KC Star when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl (yeah!) and some Dash Rip Rock merch. I have an obsession with Jesus things. It’s not meant to be offensive. Feel free to ask.” – Anne

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

YES. I still do. And YES I recommend it.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work?

I’m type B. What is scheduling? Ha! Honestly, I just try to do all the work I can as quickly as I can as soon as my kid leaves for daycare. Pre-Covid, I would use the rest of the time for marketing/research. Right now, I’m doing more housework, mom stuff. It just feels a bit icky to market right now, although I’ve been doing some more the last week or so…

How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

Tough to answer. I’d say my day is usually about 1-2 hours of auditioning. On average.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Email. Everything beyond that is my trade secret!

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

LIVING. IN. NASHVILLE. People here trade/sell things all the time. My panels I got for $20 a piece from a guy moving out of town. I have collected microphones by trading. It starts to become a game. Also, a fun way to make friends.

“Fancy schmancy iMac, Apogee Duet, Protools, thumb-tacks, some sunglasses from Mardi-Gras, of course. And roller-skating Jesus.  I actually highly recommend the b/w printer from Brother.  I think it’s only $50 or so from Amazon?  When you need to print out a script, and fast, get this puppy.  Save those color printer/scanner jobbies for your significant others. We got words to read! Now!” – Anne

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

Jim Tasker said this randomly to me once, and I don’t think he meant it as advice or technique, but I use it: “JUST DO IT.” I have a tendency to dwell over copy and think about it too much. I over-prepare. Trust your instincts.

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

Yes.  But that’s a whole new interview.

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

Hmmm. 1) Don’t do this to make money 2) Be ready for daily rejection, multiple times a day 3) Don’t quit your day job. 

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

How about just the one before this one? Because the start of 2020 is godawful.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Mushrooms and sausage.

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

Anthony. Fucking. Bourdain. 

Connect with Anne Vydra:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Heather Walters

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 14:16

Heather Walters has a cool, gal-next-door sound that has been used in all radio formats, from Country to Hot AC to NTS and beyond, and used in Top 10 TV markets across the country!

Heather is represented by Atlas Talent!

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

I am so fortunate to be on so many of the best, most award-winning radio stations!
KKBQ-FM/93Q Country – Houston, TX
KSCS-FM/New Country 96.3 – Dallas
WKLB-FM/Country 102.5 – Boston
KSTP-FM/KS95 – St Paul-Minneapolis
KYGO-FM/98.5 KYGO – Denver
KFKF-FM/94.1 KFKF – Kansas City
WFMS-FM/95.5 WFMS – Indianapolis
KBEE-FM/B98.7 – Salt Lake City
WKHK-FM/K95 Country – Richmond
…to name an honorable few!

What do you love about your job?

I’m also a writer, so what I appreciate most is how all copy has a story to it; whether it’s about a cool ticket giveaway or about supporting each other through these difficult times, I love bringing the life and character to whatever story is being told. 

Check out Heather’s Imaging Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

PD Johnny Chiang hired me right out of college to host mid-days in Houston. One day, he said, “Have you ever thought of becoming an imaging voice? You’d be great at it!” So, I went for it!

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

My first imaging gig was for The New 93Q (KKBQ-FM) in Houston (which I still have the honor of voicing with my buddy, Scott Fisher!); my first national commercial was for Canon Cameras, and my first TV promo was for Food Network. They were all amazing experiences! But I think my most memorable VO experience was when I voiced the national commercial for Michelle Obama’s tour, Becoming. That was the coolest honor!

Take a tour of Heather’s studio!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

There are so many women I’d love to be when I grow up…Joanna Gaines…JK Rowling…VO extraordinaire Virginia Hamilton…as you can see, I like to aim for the fence! lol.  

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

I’d be a bestselling children’s novelist. Most definitely. 

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

“Hey, that person sounds like me…Oh wait, that IS ME!!” lol.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I’m able to work quickly and from anywhere, really. I’ve voiced TV promos in Vegas hotel rooms, TV news copy in an airport terminal, etc. It’s amazing, really.

Inside Heather’s VO Booth!

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

ROAD: Sennheiser 416, Audient iD14, Mac laptop, Adobe Audition
STUDIO: Sennheiser 416, Avalon V5, Audient iD14, Mac laptop, Adobe Audition

Which production system do you use and why?

I now use Adobe Audition. I used ProTools for forever, but when I hosted mid-days in NYC, the production crew there used Adobe Audition. I loved how everything bounced in seconds and not in real-time (like ProTools used to do), so I switched to make my VO “quality-of-life” more efficient, and I’ve never looked back.

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

YES!! And, YES!!! My go-to coach is Dave Walsh for all-things VO, including TV Promos, Commercials, and Affiliate News. He’s AMAZING!!!

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

I approach all copy the same – what story is being told? And how do I want to tell it?

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

Invest in a coach first…create a demo…then go for it! 

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Sausage and mushrooms!

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

I would like to cook my way through The Magnolia Table cookbook while Joanna Gaines reads from it. I’ve never actually read my way through a cookbook before, but her passages were so loving, I enjoyed them as much as the scrumptious recipes.

Connect with Heather Walters:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Adam Schneider

Thu, 06/11/2020 - 12:04

Hip. Young. Contemporary. That, in a nutshell, is Adam Schneider. A true rockstar at heart, he began his obsession with sound at the age of 10 when he bought his first guitar. After many years of producing for numerous stations, Adam jumped behind the microphone and is now the voice of numerous stations including 93x in Minneapolis, Rock 100.5 in Atlanta, 96 Rock in Cincinnati, and KATT in Oklahoma City.

Adam is represented by Nate Zeitz at CESD!

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

I’ve had the honor of being the voice of quite a few stations including Rock 100.5/Atlanta, 93x/Minneapolis, CFOX/Vancouver, 107.7 The End/Seattle, 105.1 The X/Kansas City, and dozens more.

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

Where do I begin? Besides voicing for a bunch of radio stations, I am also the Imaging Director for Cumulus/Atlanta (mainly Rock 100.5 and 99x). I also voice/produce a monthly imaging package for all of Cumulus’ ‘rockternative’ stations, voice/produce all of Westwood One’s rock & alternative collective contesting promos, and whatever other random freelance projects that happen to come up!

Check out Adam’s Rock Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job?

It’s something different everyday and allows me to be my creative weird self. Some of the stuff I get away with saying off the cuff would never fly in almost any other profession. Being able to wear a t-shirt and jeans every day doesn’t hurt either!

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Via radio. After I graduated college, I interned at Kiss 108/Boston under the amazing Jeff Berlin. Getting to watch and absorb his methods and work ethic on a daily basis really struck a chord with me. I then got my first full-time imaging gig in Columbus, OH at 99-7 The Blitz. Soon I found it was much easier to produce my own voice than someone else’s, as I could tweak anything I needed on the fly without having to wait for the VO talent to send the tracks back. Ironically Jeff was (and still is) the voice of The Blitz so it was fun interspersing both of our voices together in the same promo.

Greetings from Adam’s studio – featuring Josie!!

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

The first station where I was the actual station voice was Rock 100.5 in Atlanta. Before he even set foot in the building, Troy Hanson wanted to hire me as the new station voice, as he was our just announced new PD. Little did he know that I was also his Imaging Director and worked literally across the hall. He soon put me on most of Cumulus’ ‘rockternative’ stations. I was/am quite fortunate.

Check out Adam’s Alternative Imaging Demo:

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Luckily, I’ve become very close with a lot of my idols/mentors: Chris Corley (I still miss him everyday), Jeff Berlin (don’t know where I’d be without him), Jim Cutler (super busy yet always takes the time for you), Keith Eubanks (monster influence), and a bunch more than I’m sure I’m forgetting.

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

My dream job may actually be Anthony Bourdain’s career: combining my love of travel and food in some fashion. My goal is to get to a point where if my wife were to say, “let’s fly to Vienna for the week” I can immediately pack up my travel studio and go.

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

Probably the same as when you see a band’s reaction to first hearing their song on the radio. Too bad I didn’t record a video of my reaction. It’s still cool to this day. When I hear a new piece on a station that I haven’t heard before, I still drive my wife nuts by asking her to be quiet while it plays.

Nice rack, Adam!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It’s allowed me to work faster and to consolidate my gear. I now have a bunch of rack equipment that just sits there (see photo). It also allows me to travel and not shut down my studio, which is nice.

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

On the road: Sennheiser 416 into Yamaha AG03 into Macbook Pro with sweetening via plugins. In my studio: Sennheiser 416 into Apollo Firewire into MacPro with some sweetening via plugins.

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

I’m 100% Pro Tools. I used to get into the argument of Pro Tools vs Audition. Now I think that the best DAW is the one you are most comfortable with and can work the fastest in. Keyboard shortcuts are key (Jeff Berlin taught me well!). My favorite plugin (another tip from Jeff Berlin) is Metric Halo’s Channelstrip. I have used this plugin on literally every single session for nearly the last 20 years. It’s easily my go-to for voice processing. 

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

I’ve studied with Marice Tobias and Nancy Wolfson. I definitely recommend it and need to do it more myself. It’s like being an athlete. Even Michael Jordan and Tom Brady need coaching.

Welcome to Adam’s VO recording crib!

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

Whatever comes in first gets voiced first unless a client sends me a rush job. Those will always go to the top of the list. I’ll sometimes group similar sounding stations together to keep me in a certain zone. I used to audition a bunch, but unfortunately I’ve become too busy. However, whenever my agent, Nate Zeitz/CESD, sends me a station audition I’m Johnny-on-the-spot.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Very lazily? In all seriousness it’s mostly word of mouth and networking. I’ve found that the best marketing is super-serving your current clients and they’ll end up being your biggest supporters and best marketers.

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

Keeping my equipment in tiptop shape so I don’t need to replace it unless I want to. I also keep all of my sessions. It’s better to be able to go back to something you’ve already done to work off of rather than reinvent the wheel.

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

I think processing voices is the single toughest thing to do properly in regards to production. Ultimately, unless you are going for some crazy effect the secret is to not overdo it. Maybe just a touch of EQ and compression may be all it takes. But no trick will ever replace the sound of your room. If your room isn’t properly treated, you’ll be fighting a losing battle.

If microphones could talk, we bet this one would have a lot of stories to tell!

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

100%. Both involve acting, but radio imaging would be like Dwayne Johnson whereas commercial ads would be like Tom Hanks. Does that make sense?

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

1. Be a sponge for information. 2. Network and reach out. You’ll be surprised how open and sharing most in this business are. 3. Practice and don’t be afraid to get outside your brain. Overthinking it can both help and hurt.

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

The roaring 20’s would be fun, as would the 70’s for all of the amazing bands I could see in their heyday. Heck, probably any decade as I love to travel so much!

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

My all time favorite pizza is a Margherita with fresh basil and minced garlic (hello Santarpio’s in Boston!) Green pepper and onion would be my 2 favorite toppings for a normal run of the mill pizza. Pepperoni is a close third, although recently I’ve really gotten into spicy sopressata.

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

Do I have to pick just one? Freddie Mercury to hear all of the amazing stories. Mark Cuban to learn the art of business. Anthony Bourdain to just hang out and shoot the breeze.

Connect with Adam Schneider:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Mike McKay

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 11:39

Mike McKay: A versatile, veteran communicator who talks to listeners, not at them. 

Mike is represented by Nate Zeitz at CESD!

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

The vast majority of my work has been radio imaging, although I’ve done some TV, Film narration and some national ad campaigns. I’ve been at this a while so I’ve covered some ground….from Toronto to San Francisco, Houston to Bismark and, thankfully, many in between.

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

I’ve been a freelancer for 20 years…so I’ve been quarantined since 2000. This is nothing new to me.

What do you love about your job?   

The freedom is nice, but I’m still a radio nerd at heart. So dealing with the stations, seeing what makes them tick and combining forces to create new sounds and better ways to entertain and communicate with their listeners. That’s what I love.

Check out Mike’s Imaging Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I was doing production in Austin at KHFI when my program director (and newly named VP of programming for Clear Channel), John Roberts, asked me to help with some imaging in other markets.

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

My first was a station in Grand Rapids, MI (I 96)…oddly that ties into one of my most memorable. The program director, Jeff Andrews, ended up giving my name to the Super Radio guys and I landed the job as VO for the syndicated “Open House Party” show for many years. It’s amazing how many people still remember me from that show. Such a gift.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

There are many. Brian Lee is so good at so many things. Love Scott Mathews, Scott Fisher, Ann DeWig…but Sean Caldwell is my mentor. He has selflessly given so much of himself to me and others. I can safely say I wouldn’t be talking to you without him.

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

I’m sure I’d be working in radio somewhere. Maybe a knee model. I have nice knees.

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

Hahahaha. As a DJ, I wasn’t impressed. I wondered why anyone would keep me on, then it came to me. Let that be a lesson to all, working cheap does pay off sometimes.

Mike laying down some hot VO!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It clearly makes things more efficient. I’ll admit to being a late adapter on most things, but digital is better than 15ips and posting/emailing is better than having a daily FedEx pickup. I’m sure the UA Apollo is better than my analog rack and, one day, I’ll find out.

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

There are a couple of us who still refuse to take a rig on vacation. I think we all deserve a break from time to time. Besides, my vacation days usually start with a mimosa, so I’d have to record before I woke up and that seems unlikely. My studio is very simple: I need my MKH 416, my EL8, and my Whisper Room. Other than that, I have some gear in the rack that I pop in and pop out, but they’re nothing special and are interchangeable.

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

I’ve used Adobe Audition since Peter Quistgard was calling it “Cool Edit.”

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

I’ve never had a professional “coach” but I’ve had some great coaching from PD’s and imaging guys. There are some people out there with a great deal of talent in sound design and the best are gifted communicators with their VO.

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

It’s difficult to schedule anything when you don’t know that copy is coming. I just try to make myself as available as possible. Auditioning is hit or miss (for me) since radio imaging is my primary focus.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

I work with my agent, Nate Zeitz at CESD, I’ll do the occasional campaign on All Access. My wife is a program director (Leslie Whittle @ KRBE Houston) so I get invited to events where there are a lot of PD’s and very few VO’s…it’s a perk.

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Gary McClenaghan

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 10:28

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

Gary is represented by Atlas Talent!

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

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

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

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

Check out Gary’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job?

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

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

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

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

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

Gary’s studio set-up!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

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

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

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

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

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

How has new technology changed the way you work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Studio shenanigans!

How do you market your services to potential clients?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Gary’s Commercial Demo:

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

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

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

The 60’s. I’d make a great hippie.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pep ‘n Canadian Bacon

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

Um…living…? Gross, Benz.

Connect with Gary:
Website
Facebook
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Matt Fogarty

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:33

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Matt’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

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

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

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

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

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

Matt’s sweet set-up!

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

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

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

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

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

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

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

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

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

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

Take a tour of Matt’s Home Studio:

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

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

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

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

A glimpse inside Matt’s voiceover booth!

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

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

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

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

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

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

Check out Matt’s Commercial Demo:

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

Listen. Practice. Repeat. 

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

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

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

Extra cheese and pepperoni, baby! Classic!

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


Twitter
Instagram

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Johnny Panzarella

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 10:40

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

Johnny is represented by Atlas Talent & Hoss Management!

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

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

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

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

What do you love about your job?

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

Check out Johnny’s Imaging Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

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

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

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

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

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

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

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

How has new technology changed the way you work?

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

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

Where Johnny creates his VO magic!

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

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

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

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

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

How do you market your services to potential clients?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Johnny’s Commercial Demo:

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

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

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

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

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni and Anchovies!

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

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

Connect with Johnny Panzarella:
Facebook
LinkedIn
Website

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Bob Dunsworth

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

Behind the Mic: Shelley Wade

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

Behind the Mic: Matt Rawlings

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

Behind the Mic: Cameron Griffith

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

Behind the Mic: Melissa Thomas

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

Behind the Mic: Rich Boerner

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

Behind the Mic: Heather Foster

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