Voice Over Education Blog

March 2016

What can VO talent learn from a print-media proofreader? Part 1 of 2


NOTE: This is the first post in a two-part article. Click here to read part two!

An acquaintance of ours used to write advertising for a financial institution. His boss told him: “If people find typographical errors in our advertising, they might think we’re just as sloppy when handling their money.” Here at Edge Studio, we don’t handle investments, but we do value attention to detail. So we read and re-read what we publish on our website, and here in our blog and other places, to catch whatever mistakes we can. (If you see one that slipped through, let us know!)

But you, as voice talent, don’t have to worry about spelling and such, right? After all, “if it sounds right, it is right” isn’t just for technical issues. Well, no. You promote yourself in print, don’t you? And observing proofreading principles can even help your VO performance.

As talent, you DO need to be careful about detail in any printed matter you produce – whether it’s email, your website, a post card, your blog or a letter. Not only does a typo or awkward phrase suggest that you are not as meticulous as your prospective client would like, but it could also suggest that you don't know right from wrong when it comes to vocabulary. Casting people want voice actors who can adapt and understand whatever copy they’re given. The more well -rounded and versatile you seem – let’s say it: the better “educated” you appear – the better prospect you’ll be.

How to work with a VO director, including when it’s you


With so much work being self-produced these days, the idea of working with a Director might seem foreign to some of the industry’s newer talent. Although a lot of work is still produced in commercial studios (that is, studios that serve multiple clients and/or record more than one particular person), and most of that work involves a Director of some sort, it’s conceivable that you have not worked with a director since your last coaching session. How should you work with one? And how should you direct yourself?

First, recognize that there are all sorts of Directors. Some, like Edge Studio coaches (and many other coaches), are highly experienced at working with talent. They may or may not be working voice actors themselves, but they are definitely experienced and proven as teachers. Not every voice-over professional is. The world is full of people who are great at their art, sport, or whatever but are not so good at coaching or teaching. It’s a matter of aptitude, interest and training as much as skill.

But sometimes a person designated as “Director” is not trained or experienced in directing. In fact, in Commercials and some other genres, the director is likely to be the scriptwriter, or an advertising Creative Director – a title that means they can direct copywriters and art directors but not necessarily voice talent.

So, sometimes the Director knows more than you and is skilled at drawing a better performance out of you – often better than you realized you could give. But sometimes the Director is less experienced at voice performance than you are. If they’re the copywriter, they know what they hear in their head, but may or may not be able to convey that concept to you.

How do inspired voice actors acquire creative inspiration?


We’ve written about inspiration before. About the importance of having a wide view of the world. Of observing and listening to the people and events all around you. Of letting an initial thought gestate and develop into a full-blown creative idea, if you have that opportunity. But why does this work? And how can you help it along?

Did you know that the brain’s creative processes weren’t seriously researched until only half a century ago? For starting the ball rolling, you can thank J.P. Guildford, a noted psychologist more generally known for his work in measuring a wide array of factors that represent intelligence. He proposed a new way of identifying which individuals have creative personalities.

His focus in that regard was children. And, yes, perhaps a battery of tests might be helpful in determining which children are more likely to be “creative,” than ... than ... whatever the other options are. But when it comes to adults, with a track record behind them, it’s a bit easier to tell. Simply observe which people have created stuff.

At least, that’s the way it works in the voice-over business. Nobody much cares what you might be able to do. Clients and casting people want to know can do. The exceptions to this viewpoint are you and your coaches. You should care about your potential. Work to develop it. By making yourself open to inspiration, you enhance your creative capabilities. And you give a voice-over coach much more raw material to work with.

That said, beware of spurious research. For example, we’ve seen an article claiming clinical support for various claims regarding creativity. It said that people are more creative when they’re tired ... that is, during the time of day that they’re otherwise not optimally productive. (The time of day varies from person to person.)

A Strategic Approach to Voice-over Industry Networking


Some years ago, Edge Studio conducted an informal survey of our newsletter readers, asking their most effective strategy for securing new clients. “Referrals” came in first. Second was “Networking.” Actually, these amount to one and the same.

How well do you network among voice-over industry professionals? Successful networking requires as much effort as anything else in your career-development activities. By networking more purposefully, you’ll increase your odds of success. Here’s how:

Personal networking might be the oldest communications media of all. In Neolithic societies, one social group would seek out another social group, if only to find suitable spouses for their daughters.

Networking has become quite a lot more sophisticated since then (and a person might argue that today it’s the sons who often need special promotional effort), but a person who metaphorically makes arrowheads still often benefits from meeting someone who has an oversupply of feathers and shafts.

So it is in the voice-over industry. No person can meet every casting need, so by connecting with other voice-over talent, you may eventually find yourself being referred for a job that another voice actor isn’t right for, or doesn’t have time to do. And vice versa.

But, all too often, people just show up at a schmoozefest, chat a little, exchange cards, and fail to keep in touch. No real connection. It amounts to a little bit of effort, producing even less results.

So here’s the plan ...

Approach Networking with Purpose.

A Strategic Approach to Voice-over Industry Networking


Some years ago, Edge Studio conducted an informal survey of our newsletter readers, asking their most effective strategy for securing new clients. “Referrals” came in first. Second was “Networking.” Actually, these amount to one and the same.

How well do you network among voice-over industry professionals? Successful networking requires as much effort as anything else in your career-development activities. By networking more purposefully, you’ll increase your odds of success. Here’s how:

To continue reading, click here.

Personal networking might be the oldest communications media of all. In Neolithic societies, one social group would seek out another social group, if only to find suitable spouses for their daughters.

Networking has become quite a lot more sophisticated since then (and a person might argue that today it’s the sons who often need special promotional effort), but a person who metaphorically makes arrowheads still often benefits from meeting someone who has an oversupply of feathers and shafts.

So it is in the voice-over industry. No person can meet every casting need, so by connecting with other voice-over talent, you may eventually find yourself being referred for a job that another voice actor isn’t right for, or doesn’t have time to do. And vice versa.

But, all too often, people just show up at a schmoozefest, chat a little, exchange cards, and fail to keep in touch. No real connection. It amounts to a little bit of effort, producing even less results.

So here’s the plan ...

Approach Networking with Purpose.

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