Creating Your Showreel (Pt.2) – By Rich O’Donoghue

Creating Your Showreel (Pt.2) – By Rich O’Donoghue

June 29, 2018

Your showreel may vary in length, anywhere from 30 seconds to 90 seconds. There’s no point making a showreel to 90 seconds just for the sake of it! If you have material that showcases everything you can do within 3 or 4 edits, then just use these. On the flip side I also don’t like leaving material out just for the sake of it. If I hear an edit that stands out from your usual work and I think it might gain you work in another area, then it stays in. How long the edits are is also important. You don’t want to bore the listener but also you don’t want to rush through edits so that we don’t hear them properly.

You also don’t have to cram everything into one showreel! Have as many showreels as you need to show what you can do. You could have a character or commercial and then a showreel that highlights the fact you do college work or that you are a native brummie! I always suggest keeping your work separate. The reason being is that if I go onto a voice website and type into the search bar ‘corporate’ and your ‘corporate’ work is hidden in your e-learning reel, then I’m going to miss it and you are going to potentially miss out on work.

“Shall I use branded names in my showreel?” A question I often get asked. Personally, I don’t write scripts with branded names as I want to be truthful to my clients and it’s not on the top of my list anyway. Some voices ask to have branded names and so I negotiate on this. In my honest opinion, from a producer’s perspective, it wouldn’t make much difference if I heard ‘Virgin Media’ in your showreel. I’m listening to hear that you believe in what you’re voicing, be it ‘virgin media’ or ‘Freddie’s Fish Shop’. I’m also listening for variety, diversity and if you are someone that can be directed as I may be able to use you for something you haven’t voiced before.

To recap, explore the possibility of coaching and spend time thinking about where your voice suits best. Try not to create your own showreels, this is your business so invest wisely, the benefits you will gain from being directed will be priceless. Entertain and inform with your showreel, show them what you’ve got. Be open to guidance and direction from your coach/producer, they will bring the out the best of you. Update your reels on a regular basis and compare work from 6 month ago to track your progress. Remember to use your voice, your body and the microphone as your instruments, learn how to play them properly as this is what we hear/feel as listeners.

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Creating Your Showreel (Pt.1) – By Rich O’Donoghue

Creating Your Showreel (Pt.1) – By Rich O’Donoghue

June 4, 2018

As a voice artist your voice and body are your instrument, and so is the microphone. It’s important to firstly learn how to use your instruments, so if you are new to voice over I would recommend some coaching before creating your showreel. You also need to think about where your voice might sit within the market be that gaming, corporate or commercial and so on. This will also help you in seeking a good coach and showreel producer as some only work in their area of expertise. Take some time to think about who would benefit from a voice like yours and how you are going to market yourself to your potential clients.

Your showreel is part of the display in your shop window, and one of the most important marketing tools in your box. It’s a creative expression of your talents and not something that can be thrown together either. It’s also not something that should be looked at just once and then forgotten. It’s an organic representation of your ever-changing voice over talents, clients you have worked with, and should be updated on a regular basis. As you grow with confidence in your voicing abilities and learn how to project your voice, use your body to express words, as well as experimenting with mic techniques, so will the sound and feel of your voice recordings. It’s a good idea to monitor this as time goes on and compare recordings from say 6-12 months earlier.

I would suggest not producing your own showreels, especially to begin with. Your perception of your voice will be completely different to someone who has a trained ear and can hear what market your voices suits. This is the same with voice direction, what you think might sound great when you have directed yourself, might not! A professional voice director will be able to draw a lot more out of you when recording, and this will be presented on your showreel. I always ask the artist to firstly voice without direction, I then compare their ultimate read with the first to highlight the difference.

Every producer will have their own approach and techniques for producing a showreel.  Providing support, advice, a nice recording environment and being made to feel relaxed and welcome are all important. As a producer, I think the relationship you build with an artist is important as the artist is instilling a lot of trust in you. It’s my responsivity to direct and guide you in the recording process, if I can’t ‘FEEL’ the words you speak, then how will your potential clients. Ultimately, I feel it creates quite a special bond between artist and producer, especially when your both in the same recording environment.

It’s up to me to make your showreel sound, slick! I’m not going to send you out into the world with a bag of nails! so the production process is vital, intense and something I work on, leave and go back to. I use my DJ skills as part of my approach. As with a DJ mix, I need to capture the listeners attention immediately and keep them entertained throughout, whilst showcasing the talents of the artist as well as my own as an audio engineer/mixer. I also must keep in mind where I feel the artist would best suit the market and make sure this is highlighted in the first few edits of the reel, after all we want you to gain work out of this.

 

(Part 2 will be available very soon, so stay tuned 🙂 )

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John Rose – Hot Rocking Radio

John Rose – Hot Rocking Radio

May 11, 2018

This month we spoke with a top diamond geezer producer… Mr John Rose.

 

How did you become a producer?

 

My first start in creative production was in the late 70’s creating my own radio shows and jingles, using 2 tape recorders, a pause button and record players.

 

What projects have you most enjoyed being involved with & why?

 

I’ve worked on some great imaging projects where the client is open for innovative ideas – especially like the projects without the use of ‘The Hit Music Channel’ ‘The best music Variety’ and those other awful cliched tag lines.

 

How do you prefer to work with a voiceover… ISDN, source connect, MP3 or in the studio with you?

 

All good with me!

 

What turns you off from working with a VO?

 

The ones with the take it or leave it attitude especially when it comes to price – and then send you their weekly availability email.

 

Do you think The Voice Finder is making a positive impact on the industry?

 

I do – it has a more realistic user friendly approach and support for voice-overs – some of the other VO Agencies are only interested if you used to appear in the Bill, Doctors or a low budget film noir.

 

You work with companies in Spain, do they work different compared to the UK & America?

 

They are – quick turn-around, keen on price and quality work is absolutely essential! 

 

Do you have a secret party trick?

 

I do – but not for this platform 🙂

 

Tell us something interesting…

 

90% of the most important work in imaging and comprod is in the scripting– you can have 20 University degrees in music production, 200 plugins, more wizzes and bangs than the London New Year Fireworks plus the edgiest voice in the industry – doesn’t mean a thing to the listener – it’s what you say that matters to them

 

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Interview: Luke McPeake – Head of Production for UKRD

Interview: Luke McPeake – Head of Production for UKRD

April 30, 2018

We are very excited this month because we had the chance to speak to UKRDs Head of Production – Mr Luke McPeake.

A lot of you already know Luke and would have worked with him, so it comes as no surprise that he is a top guy and really knows his stuff.

In fact Luke was a producer that several voiceovers wanted to hear from as they felt he would have some great things to share.

So, without any further ado, here is The Voice Finder interview.


1. Hey Luke, tell us about you & why you chose to become a producer?

 
Having played in bands and made music for most of my teenage years, I decided that studying Music Technology at University was probably my best chance of avoiding a ‘normal’ job.  After graduating, I was unsure on what to do and had never really given a career in radio production any serious thought. 
It just wasn’t offered as a potential career during my studies and so it was only after some work experience (arranged by a voiceover friend) that I realised that I had the necessary skill-set.  I spent a few months doing voluntary work at Signal back in Stoke and generally mining Rich and Steve for all the info that I could.  When a job came up, I put in an application in hope more than expectation but thankfully Chris decided to take a chance on me and I’ve been working in the industry ever since. I left UTV in late 2013 and moved to Bristol to work at UKRD.

 2. What is the UKRD mission & your role within the company?

 
From my earliest conversations with UKRD, it was clear how much importance was being placed on creative.  With Mike Bersin in the position of Creative Director and Colin McGinness leading the production team, it was a really exciting opportunity.  The team has changed a fair bit during my time here and after working as the Head of Commercial Production for a couple of years, I was chosen to replace Colin as the Head of Production in October last year.  My role involves the day to day running of the Commercial Production and Station Sound departments, managing a small team of seriously talented producers. 

3. What changes have you seen within the commercial production industry that have surprised you?

I think the biggest surprise is the sheer number of new voiceovers coming into the industry.  I’d say that I receive at least a couple of showreels per week.  As a producer it’s great to have such a wide variety of options and am always happy to receive demos.  I do eventually get round to listening to them all and have a shortlist of new voices to try. 

4. Why is radio still relevant?

Ultimately, I believe that people’s reasons for listening to the radio are still as relevant today as they’ve ever been and providing that the industry continues to develop and explore ever changing delivery platforms, I see no reason why it will change.  The emotional response that radio can evoke remains totally unique.

5. Explain your process in choosing the right voiceover?

When choosing a voiceover for a project, there are a number of things that I’ll give consideration to. The most obvious being the direction of the copywriter (or even client). I will always read the script a couple of times to get a feel for it and then start to create a list of a few suitable voiceovers. In trying to narrow down this list there’s a few other things that I’ll consider such as speed (some voiceovers are much better at reading overwritten scripts), any geographical considerations and also whether they are already voicing on that particular station. In the interest of variety, we try to minimise the risk of commercials voiced by the same person playing back to back (I actually once heard the same voiceover on 3 ads in a row!) With experience, you’re quickly able to come to a suitable decision, although I’m wary that if you start to associate voices with a certain type of read, you can quickly fall into the trap of making the same ad over and over again. I’m increasingly seeking to choose a voiceover that I feel responds well to direction and try to push them out of their comfort zone. Hopefully that way, you end up with uniques sounding commercials that will really stand out on air. A voiceover willing to try new things is always desirable for a producer.

6. What puts you off using a voiceover?

 I’d say the main thing would have to be poor availability. On numerous occasions I’ve been contacted by new voices and when I’ve tried to book them, they haven’t been available for a couple of days. Unfortunately radio is still sold on the basis of being an instant medium, and therefore same day turnaround remains common. Its not going to be feasible to give somebody like that regular work. Another thing worth mentioning is the dreaded ‘enhanced showreel’. I guess its the same as using a model’s picture on your online dating profile. You’re gonna get found out pretty quickly in the real world. You need to be able to reproduce those performances under session conditions, otherwise its pointless. 

UKRD Group is a multi media company operating throughout the United Kingdom.  UKRD owns and operates 12 local commercial radio stations with a further 5 services delivered via DAB and, in conjunction with other investors, three local DAB multiplexes and jointly owns a national radio advertising sales house.

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Interview – Rich Leigh, Founder and #1 Best Selling Author

Interview – Rich Leigh, Founder and #1 Best Selling Author

January 29, 2018

Here at The Voice Finder we had the great privilege of sitting down for a lovely cup of Earl Grey and a good old fashioned chin wag with Best Selling Author of ‘Myths of PR’ & Founder of Radioactive PR, Rich Leigh.

Quite simply, what this man doesn’t know about PR isn’t worth knowing. 


 

 1. Hi Rich, to start off with can you tell us about you and your company Radioactive PR?

I founded Radioactive PR nearly three years ago, and have worked in PR for 10 years now. I’ve been fortunate enough to lead award-winning campaigns and household name brand accounts at previous agencies and now my own, leading to me being listed in PR Week’s 29 under 29 list and named one of ‘the brightest young social media communicators’. (Sips tea with little pinky raised)

Since starting my agency, we’ve built a growing team of experts, and worked with brands including Paddy Power, the National Gallery and Gocompare.com, as well as dozens of high profile individuals, celebrities and company founders.

I created the UK’s #1 PR blog, PRexamples.com, and wrote ‘Myths of PR’, which became the best-selling PR book on Amazon just days after being release.

2. Why is PR important?

PR fundamentally relates to reputation and profile. Whether we’re raising it, improving it, turning it around or – as in some cases! – trying to save it, PR can be the difference between a starving but talented artist and a successful one.

3. Explain the art of self promotion?

For me, far too many people try to build profile around very little talent, ability or effort.

Self-promotion at any costs is all well and good for some, but if you were to ask the average reality TV ‘star’, they don’t have a goal beyond being famous, and as such, get pulled off track easily. The art to it, in my mind, is knowing what your goal is, as much as is possible, and working towards that – which, sometimes, means saying no to opportunities that offer a quick win.

4. Your views on social media and how it should be used more effectively?

I talk a lot about this in Myths of PR – especially around building an audience. Social media is best used when you treat it like an audience silo – for instance, I very rarely talk about anything on Twitter that doesn’t relate to PR, social media, marketing or related subjects. Why? Because that way, I can build an audience that cares about those things too, and knows that that’s what they’ll get from following me.

Now everybody has a voice, it’s about refining the way you use it to ensure that the people you reach are worth reaching; otherwise, you’re literally just another noisy voice in the crowd. If you want to use social media for your career and not just for fun – which is obviously cool, too – think audience first. Pick topics you’re going to stick to or around and work out how that segmented audience already interacts with each platform.

5. How would you describe The Voice Finder in no more than 6 words?

Fun, easily-searchable and much-needed!

6. Tell us about your new book Myths of PR, which is a #1 Best Seller? 

 Everybody knows the saying ‘all publicity is good publicity, right? Everybody believes it – but you tell me that’s still the case once you’ve gone through a career-ending crisis without the help of a professional to guide you.

Myths of PR looks at that and many other myths, both in and outside of the industry, and pours cold water on them. The aim was to write a book that could help individuals, startup owners, brand marketers, communications practitioners and students distinguish between fact and fiction, using tried-and-tested PR tactics and strategies.

7. Why did you want to write it?

 Very little is known about PR publicly – and those that do know anything tend to feel somewhat negatively about the industry – and I wanted to go some way to fixing that. PR is an amazing, creative and complex industry to work in – it gets a bad rap, and I wanted to do my bit to show people just how incredible great PR can be for brands and individuals.

8. Where can we buy it?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myths-Pr-Publicity-Popular-Misconceptions/dp/0749479590

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Want to know more about PR from Rich? Then check out his PR Blog

And don’t forget if you’re looking to update your audio showreel for 2018, we’ve teamed up with TheShowreel.com to get you an exclusive 15% members only discount. Just enter the code VOICEFINDER at the checkout! Check out the deal here.

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Interview: Rick Loynes from The Wireless Group

Interview: Rick Loynes from The Wireless Group

December 18, 2017

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.

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How To Sound Like A Christmas Elf

How To Sound Like A Christmas Elf

December 6, 2017

Here at The Voice Finder, we want to help get you in the festive spirit (although you’ve probably been voicing Christmas ads for months already).

That’s why we’ve put together a quick-and-easy guide to processing your voice to sound like one of Santa’s little helpers!

Most producers will want their voice sessions for Christmas ads recorded without any processing, however you might want to use this for your own personal projects, to help improve your grasp on audio editing software) or even just for a bit of fun while you wait for those January Sales scripts to come in!

 


 

1. Record your take 

In your chosen editing software (for this I’m using Adobe Audition, pretty standard fare, but there are plenty of options out there), record or open up your pre-recorded take.

Here is what our dry voice take sounds like:

 

 2. Apply Pitch Shifter

In the Effects Rack on the left, add the Pitch Shifter effect.

 

3. Play Around

This is the fun bit. Experiment with the settings to see what effect it has on the take.

The Semi-tones slides with make the big changes to pitch – the higher the number, the higher the pitch – and the Cents fine tunes that tone, which can be really useful when you’re trying to match the key of the take to that of the music bed.

The other thing to play with are the precision settings. For an elf sound, you want this set to High Precision, which will make it sound as natural as possible, though I recommend trying out low precision just for fun – always useful to know about if you need a robot voice in the future!

For this example, I set the Semi-tones slider to 8, and the Cents slider to 90, but play around with your settings until you get a sound you are happy with.

 

4. Apply

Don’t forget to apply the Effects Rack, otherwise you will just end up saving out your initial take, without its festive cheer.

 

 

 

 

Here is what our take sounds like after getting the elf treatment:

 


Now you have the power, enjoy responsibly. 

And enjoy Christmas too of course.

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Interview – Sam Crowther from A Million Ads

Interview – Sam Crowther from A Million Ads

November 27, 2017

Buckle your seat belts and hold on to your hair-pieces, because we’re back with another instalment in our series of profiles of interesting people.

This month, we’ve been catching up with the wonderful Sam Crowther, Head of Creative at A Million Ads, finding out about dynamic digital audio, their Voiceover selection process, and the future (spoiler alert: robots are taking over the world).

 


Who are you, and what have you done?

 

I’m Head of Creative at A Million Ads. Before making the leap into the start-up world I was Creative Director at Bauer Media and, before that, Head of Creative Development at Capital/GCap/Global. I have a pretty broad perspective of the industry having worked regionally in Manchester and Bristol, nationally from both Leicester and Golden Squares and internationally through freelancing and speaking at various conferences around the world including SxSW, Creative Week NYC and various Radiodays Europe events.

 

Your credentials check out. So tell us about A Million Ads

 

A Million Ads is pioneering dynamic creative and personalisation for digital audio, we deliver campaigns where any element of a script can change depending on the data that is known about the listener. From the time of day, day of week, location, weather, device being used, content being listened to, sequence of message right through to gender, age, name, behaviour as well as API connections for live prices, odds, stats or retargeting/search data.  

We are working with Global/DAX, Bauer, Wireless Group, programmatically through the advertising group trade desks and with Pandora in the US.    

 

Saucy. What’s your process when it comes to choosing Voiceovers?

 

We cast voices based on the best fit for the particular script we’ve written, so exactly the same as for broadcast copy. We listen to voice reels online hoping to hear a performance similar to what we want to achieve. We always look out for new talent, it’s so nice to hear fresh voices coming through, people who can add to the creative idea and have an opinion on what might work well.  

 

What makes you want to work with a Voiceover?

 

They have the right voice for the script firstly but they also have to be able to deliver the performance we need from the session. Personality and professionalism, they’re lovely, friendly and easy to get on with but can also take direction well and change their vocal performance accordingly. 

Our sessions are perhaps a little longer than for broadcast copy, so stamina could be a factor, depending on the number of variant lines and how the dynamic script is written.

 

What puts you off using a voiceover?

 

Not being able to deliver on either of the points above. Their voice might not be right for certain jobs, of course, but it helps to be really adaptable, show a variety of different performances or characters and always have a positive friendly attitude. 

 

What are your thoughts on the future of the Voiceover industry?

 

Technology is disrupting all industries so why not the voice industry. The Voice Finder understand this, particularly the social aspect of the voice industry and have built their platform accordingly.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in digital audio as, it’s getting its moment in the sun. We talk about dynamic personalisation allowing brands to communicate the way humans do instinctively and it’s understanding that human element that is crucial. Technology creates an opportunity, but it’s creativity that adds value, as the legendary ad-man Sir John Hegarty once said. 

 

Any final thoughts? What else is peaking your interest?

 

We do get asked about the potential for voice synthesis, it isn’t an issue until listeners can’t tell the difference between a synthetic and real voice delivery. At the moment it’s too obvious but machine learning will eventually bridge that gap and synthetic voices will start delivering some script lines. We see there being a growth in the total demand for voice work driven by the likes of dynamic and personalised campaigns, so it isn’t a threat yet but certainly worth keeping a ear on. 

 


Thank you to Sam for taking the time to talk to us, and if you haven’t already done so, check out A Million Ads – they’re doing so bloomin’ cool stuff!

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Looking After Your Voice This Winter

Looking After Your Voice This Winter

November 13, 2017
 

In the immortal words of Ned Stark, “Winter is coming”.

People often forget Jon Snow’s bereft reply, “Too right t’ winter is coming, our Dad. Ah’m comin’ down wi’ t’ flu and I need to take care of me voice!”

An iconic scene I think you’ll agree.

Just like Jon Snow, you must too look after your voice. Winter can be a particularly harsh season for Voiceover artists, with the consistent colds, sniffles and bouts of flu, and constantly going from icy cold outside temperatures to heated studios. Your throat, and therefore voice, can take a battering, so we’ve put together a few tips to help keep your work-tool in tip-top shape this winter.

 
 

1. Wear a scarf

 

Avoid the negative effects of going from warm rooms to the bitter iciness of the outdoors by simply wearing a scarf! 

A scarf will help keep your neck, and therefore your vocal tract, warm (duh) and wet. When your vocal tract is warm and wet, it’s a happy chap, and will reward you with a top notch performance on that next Santa laugh or Elf giggle you’re asked to do.

 
 

2. Hydrate

 

Speaking of warm and wet, make sure you stay hydrated. If you’re not drinking enough fluids, your throat can start to dry out, leading to sore throats and croaky reads.

If a glass of water is too boring, or not quite festive enough for you, spice up your hydration – reward yourself with a hot chocolate, or a hot honey and lemon after a session. You’ve earned it.

 
 

3. Suck on throat sweets

 

Another great way to keep your throat hydrated is by sucking on a throat sweet. This can help lubricate your throat so you can once again sell sausages with the best of them!

Plus they taste nice. And they’re probably a business expense. 

Don’t quote me on that.

 
 

4. Put a small bowl of water on your radiators

 

It may sound like the ramblings of a Broadmoor escapee, but you’ll spot a theme emerging. Moisture. 

Central heating is great for making you feel all cosy, but it is a very dry kind of heat. Inject some moisture back into the air by placing a small bowl of water on the radiators. As the radiator heats up, the water in the bowl will start to evaporate, putting moisture back into the air around you.

Sure, you could buy an expensive humidifier to solve this same problem, but this trick will save you money. And it’s much less noisy when you are recording!

 
 

5. Breathe through your nose

 

Breathing through your nose seems really simple, but it can actually work wonders when it comes to keeping your voice in good condition.

Not only do those attractive nose hairs of yours filter out all the pollen, dust and other crud from the air, but breathing through your nose warms and moisturises the air you breathe in before it hits your vocal tract.

Isn’t the human body gross amazing?

 
 
 

6. Don’t shout over the noise

This last one is relevant all year round, but becomes particularly poignant with all those festive parties lurking around the corner. 

The music may be pumping, or maybe Uncle Keith is droning on again after his seventh sherry – avoid the temptation to shout over the noise to talk to others. You’ll just wake up in the morning sounding like a hoarse ghost of yourself, and unless it’s specifically a sexy Santa voice the client has asked for, you won’t be in any shape to voice anything.

 
 

 

So there we have it, a list of great tips to help you keep your voice crisp this winter.

Unlike Jon Snow, you do know something now.

 
 
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Guest Blog: Elisa Cañas – Notes from a travelling VO

Guest Blog: Elisa Cañas – Notes from a travelling VO

October 23, 2017

Here at The Voice Finder, we like to bring you interesting things from interesting people.

And none come more interesting than Elisa Cañas. 

Elisa has been juggling her VO work with travelling the world, recording as she goes. We asked her to tell us a bit about how she got there, and how she was finding the experience, and she dutifully delivered the following guest blog for your eyes and mids to digest.

So grab the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy!


Hello, from The Butterfly Space, Malawi!

On entering my 11th year as a full-time voiceover artist, I decided to make a small idea that had been tinkling away in the back of my mind into a reality. I had my ISDN line disconnected, I put my Neumann, Prima LT Codec and all the rest of the studio bells and whistles into storage, I invested in some kit well suited for the challenge I was about to face and I headed to Africa on a one way ticket to put the VO in Volunteer!

I’ve always loved my job and appreciated the benefits of being my own boss and being able to grow as a voiceover artist while working with some great producers and learning from fellow VO friends in the industry.  The only downside was the isolation that working from home could sometimes cause, and more recently, a strong desire to use my spare time more productively when not in the booth or attending to VO related matters. I have volunteered over the years on small projects in my local community as well as a trip to Mumbai with a like-minded VO friend, but after spending big chunks of 2016 working abroad for personal reasons, it dawned on me that I could take the portable studio idea one step further and embark on a full blown volunteering expedition.

There were many things to consider.  I knew that work would alter due to not being at the end of an ISDN line nor near Central London studios.  I knew that I would need to be selective about the volunteering projects and the locations as I would need access to electricity, wifi and quiet… 3 requirements that aren’t always that easy to come by in this part of the world!  I knew that I would need to have a different mindset about work.  I would have to shift my focus and use my voice over opportunities as a means to sustain and enable me to invest my time in the charities I was committing to, rather than the development of my career for personal gains.

Since reliability and availability are so important in business, I expected a change in my workload once the mail shot to my clients about my plans left my outbox but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to fit the same amount of VO’s into my day when volunteering full-time anyway.  The type of work would change too.  Long form corporate projects wouldn’t be feasible due to cramped, sweltering ’studios’ with potentially slow upload speeds, meaning big WAV files would be a challenge and my turnaround time would adjust from within a few hours to within 24 hours. Not a huge shift, but sizeable enough to mean certain work would fall away. Before leaving, I considered the option of not working at all during this trip.  I wondered whether I would feel conflicted. Volunteering by day with potentially some of the poorest communities on the continent, then slipping away at night to earn the sort of money that the people here would probably never see in their lives.  One local radio commercial script of £25 for example is equivalent to 25,000 Malawian Kwacha, more than the monthly wage for the majority of the people here.

I decided that the only way I would be able to balance the two would be to donate a percentage of each script fee to the current charity. Donating time helps a lot here.  Donating money to worthy projects and seeing it being used so effectively while knowing it’s from supportive colleagues back home is amazing.

Now I’m into the swing of things, it’s pretty simple.  When I change country, I buy a local sim and load up on data bundles so that if there are power outages or dodgy WIFI where I am, I have a back up.  This has worked really well so far.  I also make sure that I don’t commit to things I can’t deliver.  I make sure I check my emails regularly and reply swiftly so that the client knows when they can expect the audio.  Out Of Office is a really great tool too.  If I’m travelling or just know that I can’t work for whatever reason, I set it up so that no one is left in the dark wondering if I’ll be able to help or not.  Although I’m backpacking, I opt for private chalets wherever I go rather than tents or dorms so that I always have my own space to work from and can make contraptions out of pillows, blankets, mattresses and whatever else I might need to get the space sounding right, without pissing off a load of other travellers! 

 

Equipment wise, I’m using my Macbook Pro, a Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface and a Sennheiser MKH 50 mic which I have fallen in love with. It all fits neatly in my cabin sized backpack so I have everything close for peace of mind.

Each day, I get up before sunrise to make the most of the quietest part of the day. This is easier where I am currently in Malawi than it was in Zanzibar because in Zanzibar the call to prayer at the local mosque would mean an even earlier start! I would get up at around 4am, snort a line of coffee and get down to it in the ‘booth!’ In Malawi, it’s more like 5.30am that I start work but actually, it’s very quiet here in my cabin by the lakeshore so I can work at any time of the day as the volunteering projects are on site and I can nip back to the pillow fortress whenever I’m needed! There’s also only an hour’s time difference between here and home so that’s nice and easy too.

My main project here at Butterfly Space is assisting in setting up a community radio station.  They have been granted a license and lovely premises up on the hillside with spectacular views over Lake Malawi. This is ready to be converted, so it’s all hands on deck to make it happen. I’ve always loved radio but I see it through more appreciative eyes now. In a community with little to no TV or Internet, radio here is precious and an incredibly useful tool to help inform and educate. I’m excited to be helping to promote this and to have the opportunity to bring to the project some previous experience. Funding is a big challenge and this particular one isn’t cheap so that will be high on the agenda.

Would I recommend this to other VO’s?  HELL, YES!!!!  Come and join me! There’s a studio (of sorts!), a lake to swim in, and a radio station that needs all the help it can get.  Becoming a travelling VO was an exciting prospect from my home in London but change is scary and I wasn’t sure how it would go.

Thankfully, it’s proving to be the best adventure ever!


Thanks to Elisa for her fantastic post! It’s got us here all inspired to grab our laptops and jump on a plane…

You can check out Elisa’s profile here, and if you have a great story you’d like to share with the VO community, drop us a message at admin@thevoicefinder.com.

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