February Newsletter 2015

“Go into the Arts. I’m not kidding. The Arts are… a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” – Kurt Vonnegut


Success is a Numbers Game

It may seem elementary to mention it, but if you only dedicate 10 minutes toward your career in ten months time it’s unlikely you’ll succeed at all at anything let alone a voice over career. Yet, week after week, most talent invest the bare minimum of their efforts and expect a promising outcome.

Simply having the training and a demo doesn’t drive the world to your doorstep. That’s YOUR job. We suggest you begin by viewing your job as a professional talent as your “part-time job”. Part-time for any other business would be about 20 hours a week, and if you commit no less than 20 hours a week toward establishing and furthering your career– then it stands to reason you’ll have a far greater chance to be successful in this field.

The fact is no less than five hours a week committed to our exclusive Vocal Warm Up is necessary, regardless of your skill or experience level, if you hope to be at your best and considered a valuable talent. It’s imperative you can confidently rely on your vocal agility and well-pronounced speech at a moments notice. Developing the best possible articulation and vocal stamina is at least a third of what will always be required of you regardless of the medium you may find yourself in, voice-over, film, TV or stage. Dedicating an hour a day, five days a week to our exclusive Vocal Warm Up allows even the greatest talent with exceptional natural ability to compete consistently and confidently at a superior level. Commerce is confidence. If you aren’t confident, you aren’t as reliable as you should be. If you aren’t reliable, your future success rate will be compromised.

The next five to ten hours out of (no less than) 20 hours a week, can and should be committed to:

  1. a) Coaching*
  2. b) Practice Auditions**
  3. c) Actual auditions, and/or…
  4. d) Study! Reviewing your past (recorded) coaching sessions with us, to discover a greater level of comprehension of our exclusive game changing concepts and performance techniques that are not immediately intuitive. These skills must constantly be cultivated and conditioned, regardless of your experience or skill level.

Additionally, no less than ten to fifteen hours a week should be dedicated to marketing and promotion. Ongoing promotion is necessary whether you’re pursuing representation for the first time, or opening up your reach to talent agents and producers in various markets outside your own region. Your objective is to secure representation, local and otherwise, that will afford you at least 3 to 4 appropriate auditions a week per agency. (All the more reason to pursue additional representation in at least two or three other markets as well.)

Again, this is a numbers game: the more auditions, the more opportunities, the greater your ultimate success rate. ›

Good Question

Re: Are there any tricks?

I’m having a terrible time matching “the sound” of projects that continue from day to day.  For example, I’ll have a 6,000 word project, and then a few days later the client wants just 5 sentences re-read for whatever reason…

Although I re-read a chunk of the original as if I’m recording again, I’m still struggling to find a stable and effective way to “match” the sound of the original.

My tempo or volume is usually not the problem, I think I’m struggling with pitch more than anything.  There just seems something “different” about my voice each time I have to pickup lines after the fact.

Do you have any tricks or techniques that help you “sound the same” from day to day?

Kate: I think you hit it on the head.  Sounds like you’re changing up your pitch when you return to replace these lines (pick-ups) on the narration. Generally speaking, you need to pay close attention to your pitch, volume and tempo when you’re matching.

The fact is most people have the polar opposite issue, and they address nearly everything the same way regardless of the text. (And the ONLY thing they vary up is pitch, volume and speed, when they need to keep those three elements fairly consistent.)

No tricks, really, however matching can easily be managed with a process called a “punch in”. The recording engineer isolates the sentence, cuts out the phrase that needs replacing to make room for you to re-record the change. This segment is placed on a loop, offering you, the voice talent, ample room to compose yourself between takes.  The line plays repeatedly like a cue so you can offer numerous “matches” that will work within this context.

Again, the issue that plagues most voice overs (whether they acknowledge it or not) is the fact that they approach every script with the same cadence, inflection and expression, regardless of the vast changes in the demands of the script from one project to the next.

As for “How do audio book authors do it?” In most cases… they don’t!  (Have you listened to many audiobooks?  They’re either absolutely amazing, or… they’re horrible… plain and simple.

Back on Earth, consistency certainly is an issue talent face, but generally speaking, pitch, volume and tempo are the least of your worries, and the easiest to correct.

Point of view, degree of interest and the ability to sound effortless are far more in-demand qualities that must continually be honed and maintained. Hope this helps! ›

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Turning Your “Part-time” Job Into Full-time Employment

You’ll often hear from some very seasoned industry professionals say, “You have to do your homework.” So what does that mean as a voice over or working actor? For most this means you must dedicate NO LESS than 10 hours a week toward developing and maintaining your performance skills, and 10 hours a week toward ACTUAL promotion if you hope to succeed in this industry. This is what would amount to part-time for any other job.

Better than 90 percent of your job as a professional talent is promotion. The mere fact you have wonderful demos, a fabulous brand logo, and Web site is only a fraction of the promotional pie. Granted, these components make up a very important fraction of the equation, but if you let them lie there in obscurity and anonymity…YOU will remain obscure and anonymous! These tools were created for you to promote them. And the truth is this is your responsibility alone, regardless of what anyone tells you.

So, MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN and available to the work.  This is YOUR career! YOU have to run it if you expect it to get anywhere!

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can rely solely on auditions to secure work. It’s simply not enough if you hope to generate steady employment.

Need more help? Give us a ring at 323.464.0990 regardless where you live to get scheduled. Make this year the year you turned the corner and realized your most heart-felt dreams in earnest.

We’re here to help! ›


Copyright © 2015 by Kate McClanaghan, Inc. All Rights Reserved.