Meet your interesting person for this month, winner of the VOX award for Best Producer, Rick Loynes.
Rick is an commercial producer and voiceover for The Wireless Group, based out of Signal Radio in Stoke-on-Trent. For those of you who are new to the Voiceover industry, or perhaps have just been living in some deep dark cave for the past few years in an attempt to “get off the grid”, The Wireless Group is one of the UK and Ireland’s leading media companies, comprising of 16 Radio stations including some whoppers like TalkSPORT, TalkRADIO and Virgin Radio.
So, now that we have established that Rick is indeed a very interesting person, let’s delve into some of the very interesting things he has to say about some very interesting stuff!
1. So, Rick, tell us about your work at the Wireless Group.
As a department, we really strive for creative excellence in everything we do. I’m really lucky to be part of a team where I’m encouraged to try new things and to push myself as a producer. This ethos trickles down from our Creative Manager, Dave Monk, who has vast experience as a writer. His ideas and philosophies towards creativity are very empowering to our writers and producers.
2. What’s your process when choosing a Voice Over?
I just choose who can shout the loudest…
I joke of course.
I have a little rule that I set for myself; to use at least one new voiceover each month.
That simple rule helps me to constantly broaden my horizons and keep my finger on the pulse of voiceover land.
When I am searching for a suitable voiceover, I’ll always look for showreels. I currently have in front of me a script for a “Friendly, Northern FVO” and a “Deep, Intense, Emotive, Suspenseful, Bold MVO”…quite a difference.
With that level of variation, good relevant keyword search functions (I know you’ve just very effectively improved yours on the Voice Finder), leading to good quality showreels are so important.
3. What you expect a voiceover’s showreel to contain?
A true representation of what you can recreate under pressure.
Not everybody can do character voices, and that’s fine. During a hectic day, I need to hear exactly what you sound like within the first 10-15 seconds. A producer also needs the reassurance that you can instantly deliver that during a session.
(Editor’s Note – See below for more info on how to get the best sounding showreel!)
4. What puts you off using a Voiceover?
Well, that’s a tough question to answer kindly, but I’ll try…
It’s very rare I’ve actually been put off by a voiceover. Those rare occasions have been caused by a couple of things.
Badgering for more work – PLEASE DO send your availability and flag up changes and updates to your Voice Finder profile. I’ve already mentioned how I love to find out about new voiceovers. However, ringing up and shouting down the phone because you haven’t had any work recently really doesn’t make me want to jump on the ISDN with you.
Not taking, or even rejecting direction – Regardless of how experienced and talented you are, sometimes the client just wants something very specific, which may go against your best instincts as a VO, and mine as a producer. In that somewhat unfortunate situation, we just have to grin and bear it.
I’ve had to cancel a session before, because the VO wouldn’t read a line in the way I needed it.
Refusing to give extra takes – If you feel like the last one was the perfect take, you may well be right; but it’s a producer’s job to make sure everything is covered. I rarely ask for more takes than totally necessary, but it makes our lives much easier if we don’t have to coax a 3rd take out of you like it’s a hostage negotiation!
5. Voice is taking off with regard to technology like Amazon Echo, Google and Siri. How far do you see voice technology going? Are you excited by this?
I think the fact that so much technology that exists now could only be dreamt of 20 years ago, speaks into a situation of seemingly endless possibility. The thing that most technology has in common today is that it is designed for user convenience; Amazon Echo, Google and Siri are most definitely members of that club.
The Voiceover industry isn’t unique to anything else in the sense that it will always need to adapt, modify and modernise if it’s to stay relevant. We’re all aware of looming tech advances such as Adobe VoCo, which can synthesise any voice, given the correct input. These sorts of advances present themselves as a threat to the voiceover industry, and perhaps they are, but I wonder how we as professionals can continue to be relevant, and most importantly hireable.
I suspect that particular piece of tech is a long way off being able to recreate the genuine emotion and nuance of a living, breathing voiceover.
6. Finally, what are your thoughts on The Voice Finder? (Be as complimentary as you like…)
The first thing that struck me about the Voice Finder was the website itself. It’s clean and functional. Coming at it from a producer’s point of view, it’s provides a very stress free experience when searching for voices.
As a member of the Voice Finder, I’ve also been so impressed by the ever-present and personal customer service. On several occasions I’ve received instant replies to emails which were sent at silly o’clock. You guys should sleep more.
Do keep up the good work though.
If you want to check out Rick’s voiceover work, then you can head over to his profile here!
And if you’re looking to update your showreel so that Producers like Rick are hearing you at your best, we’ve teamed up with TheShowreel.com to get you an exclusive 15% member discount. Just enter the code VOICEFINDER at the checkout! Check out the deal here.