October 2015 Newsletter

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”                                             – T.S. Eliot

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How to Create Your Career

Unless you’ve been sleeping, you must know it’s imperative to drive traffic to your voiceover demo Web site. It’s your most vital tool in making your demos available to those most likely to professionally hire or represent you.

You may have a Maserati for a demo, but if it remains in the garage it won’t get you anywhere. It’s up to YOU to drive your career!

In fact, stats dictate it will take you at least 200 auditions or more to land a job, so you can’t rely solely on auditions to secure bookings. Since the target audience for your voiceover demos is producers, and producers repel unsolicited email even more than you do, then you will be more than double your opportunities if you consistently direct mail your promotional postcards to them to make your name known and offer direct access to your site with a QR (quick response) Code. Your goal is to make it easy for them to hire you.

Promotion is no less than 90 percent of your job as a talent. Regardless of how successful you become it never goes away. And when it comes to voiceover, promotion is successfully done two ways: through repeated direct mailing postcards that forward your name and Web address especially to ad-agency creatives (people most likely to hire you), as well as continuous promotion to talent agents until you secure representation with at least three nationwide.

Promoting yourself is as much your job as a professional talent as maintaining your performance skills. This continues to be the case even after you have achieved a certain status as a known and established actor. The objective is to establish you as a known and trusted brand in voice-over. That takes time, commitment, and momentum.

Maserti Demo

All the more reason to forward your brand with repeated promotion of your postcards. This is a unique promo opportunity afforded solely to voice-over talent—and therefore a terrific opportunity for you!

Your postcards promote your Web site; your Web site promotes your demos. The more you promote, the more accessible you’ll be to the work, the more you’ll make your name known and avail yourself of the work, the more likely you’ll see a return on your initial investment by securing steady work in this business. ›


How To Handle Dental Drama

S.S. wrote: “Yes, in life, timing is everything. Just as I get my demos (and thank you – I’m very pleased with them!), I also get braces. I realize it will take a bit to get used to them. In fact, the consonants seem to be okay with one glaring exception – the dreaded ‘s’. I’m supposed to wear them for 20-22 hours a day and I’ll have them until sometime in May. So the good news is that it’s not forever. The problem is that doing much recording with them out is gonna be tough. Even when I take them out, my tongue is getting conditioned to operating with them in, so everything is a bit off.

Have you run across this before? Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this?”

KATE: Indeed I have, and I do. Best advice: Take your braces out while you voice your auditions, and put your Invisalign back in while you edit. (Typically it will take you 3 to 5 times longer to edit/clean up your takes anyway.)

Add an additional 10 – 15 minutes of vocal warm up just prior to voicing your auditions sans the Invisalign. Concentrate your efforts on ‘buzzing of your lips’ and the tongue exercises.

Since it takes at least 2 weeks to create a habit at anything, let’s reassess your diction on your auditions in about 4 weeks. We’ll modify the approach at that point if need be, but you’ll be more used to them by that point, and should have something of routine in place.

Tackling this issue is approached much like dialect reduction, or developing an accent for a role, (or even building your best diction without playing through a temporary dental “handicap” like this) and that’s through repetition, repetition, repetition till you have an effective routine to keep your diction sharp and immediately effective when you remove your braces to voice your spots. Rest assured it can be done! In fact, you may find you need to dedicate yourself daily to your vocal warm up, rather than doing your vocal warm up 5 days a week as we generally recommend.


Never fails, we all have obstacles to overcome and master. Dental drama is an issue you don’t want to open with, or plop in your (potential) client or agent’s lap. It gives them a problem they can’t solve and can be a deal killer. It doesn’t instill confidence. It’s best to keep it off the table entirely and dedicate yourself to developing your most agile delivery possible. Nevertheless, various dental issues befall most of us from time to time. It has to be approached on a case-by-case basis, but more often than not it can be overcome rather quickly if you’ve been maintaining a steady regimen with your vocal warm up.

In short, your vocal prowess will be remarkably sharp when your braces are a thing of the past next May? Hope this helps! œ

Declan & friends

Why PLAY Matters To Your Performance

As an artist you need to give yourself plenty of room to play. You need room to create and discover, often under time constraints and the pressure to deliver your very best on the fly. At SOUND ADVICE, we typically refer to this as ‘stretching the canvas’.

We call it that simply because far too many talent ‘ramp up into their performance’ anticipating a longer runway than we are typically given, especially at an audition, where we‘re often given only a single take or two (if we’re given the luxury as voice talent of auditioning in front of those most likely to hire us). By giving yourself a broader playing field right off the bat you’ll more than likely deliver a far more impactful, desirable performance rather than revving up into it and, ultimately, offering only a passable take.

We create a certain muscle memory the first time we do anything, so giving ourselves the freedom to create and ‘go too far’ from the very start allows for room to fully animate even the most dry and unimaginative text.

You could say there are two types of actors in this world: character actors…and everybody else. If you’re not a character actor and you ‘stretch the canvas’, so to speak, and allow yourself to go ‘too far’ right from the start—you’ll hit it out of the ballpark rather than inch-worming your way up to the performance you’re okay with (which far too many talent do). You’ll most certainly hit a bulls-eye right from the start provided you’re willing to really take a leap of faith. And if you are a character actor, drop the over-the-top delivery of ‘going too far’ on the following take and simply deliver the read. All that color, expression, and residual energy will spill over into every take that follows. You’ve set a precedence of play!

The goal is to continually surprise ourselves with each and every take. Every consummate professional embraces this precept, which is what makes them truly valuable artists: It’s the ability to honestly explore and create right from the start.

Case in point: recently when Peter Bart, editorial director of Variety, asked whether he would have handled any part of the role of Gandhi differently, Ben Kingsley said, “I don’t think so. I think I might have been more economic. I think I would have done less. That comes with practice. It was my first real feature film. And having been blessed with a decent career since then, I’ve been able to hopefully minimize what I do between action and cut. So, that what I do is precise and precisely services the scene. And I try to add fewer and fewer ‘fancy bits’. So that take two I do less than take one. Take three I do less than take two. Hopefully, so that by take nine I’m almost Zen-still, hoping that something will still come through.”

Not hard to peg what sort of actor Ben Kingsley is, is it? Granted he’s a ‘character-lead’, but he is, without hesitation, a character actor.

Keep in mind, stretching the canvas is not immediately intuitive. You simply need to allow yourself room to create. So, get in there and slap some paint around, Jackson Pollack. Don’t be afraid to make a mess. Embrace what can be learned from all that play! And be willing to do just that from the very first take.

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