Voice Over Education Blog

June 2017

What is your computer backup system? And will it work?


For some time now, we’ve been meaning to offer a few words about computer backup, but somehow never quite got around to it. We kept putting it off a little, in favor of something else. And a little more. And ... does this sound familiar?

Recent news about worldwide ransomware attacks (“Wanna Cry” last spring, and "Petya" just last week) have brought this issue back to sharp focus. Those attacks may not have been aimed at the typical home-office business, but experts say that their perpetrators care little about collateral damage, and any future attack might be even more pervasive. Besides, most threats don't get such publicity. Every day, data is tragically lost to mundane causes such as a failed hard drive or power supply. When it happens to you, only you and a few others will know.

So here goes. What is your computer backup system? And how do you know it will work?

Every computer user should have a reliable backup system – and should use it. Whether your computer succumbs to a malware attack, a hardware failure, or your own human error, having a backup will make the situation much less nerve-wracking, and probably far less expensive. It will also minimize your downtime, which can also be costly.

We're talking about more than the cost of replacing your equipment, or a bit of downtime. Losing your stuff can cost you clients. Consider, would you continue using an accountant if they had lost your documents? And if your data goes south, could you even do your billing?

Learning never ends: Updates to some of our past articles


The voice-over world is ever-changing. So is the world at large, and it's time we updated some of the things we've written. Some of the news is fun, some of it is just "different." And some might even be a bit disturbing. For example, your receptivity level might vary depending on whether you're retrieving voice mail or getting paid to voice it.

Who voices illegal robocalls? Should you remove certain telemarketers from your list? (3 parts beginning April 17, 2015)

Illegal automated "robocalls" continue to be a "scourge" (the word used by new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai), with 2.4 BILLION robocalls to Americans every MONTH. We still have not found anyone who knows who voices recorded calls that are placed illegally, nor determined whether those voice artists are aware at the time that their performance will be used in violation of FTC rules. But we have found that some of the measures we mentioned do a passable job of minimizing junk calls and annoying rings for consumers. One of our staffers uses NoMoRobo.com, which – when it detects a known robocall -- rings your phone only once. Some slip through, but most are caught. There are also other services and apps of that sort for call block and/or reporting.

In addition, since our original series on this, the FCC has given permission to telephone service providers to integrate such filters into their services if their customer requests. For details, check with your friendly phone company.

What to consider in evaluating your voice-over potential? Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

Evaluating someone's potential as a voice actor involves a wide range of considerations. It's usually not a black-and-white issue. There are lots of shades of gray, and virtually everyone – even trained stage and screen actors – needs some training in order to perform consistently well as a voice-over professional. But there are certain qualities to look for in a prospective voice-over student, and certain things that would rule someone out.

Where can you find such a list?

We happen to have one at our fingertips; it's the evaluation guide we use in our Investigate Voice Over program.

We caution against relying on this list without assistance from a voice-over professional. You might be too hard on yourself. Or too easy. Or, you may not hear what evaluation-trained coaches hear ... in which case you might not realize that you are (or are not) marketable.

As we said, there are many gray areas and qualities that can (or cannot) be easily changed through training and practice. Seriously venturing into the field of voice-over can be a life-changing move. Just as you would not rely solely on a consumer-website slideshow to diagnose your health, you should not simply breeze through this list to determine your prospects as a voice actor.

But you might use it to determine the quality of an evaluation you receive, whoever that opinion is from.

What to consider in evaluating your voice-over potential? Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

Evaluating someone's potential as a voice actor involves a wide range of considerations. It's usually not a black-and-white issue. There are lots of shades of gray, and virtually everyone – even trained stage and screen actors – needs some training in order to perform consistently well as a voice-over professional. But there are certain qualities to look for in a prospective voice-over student, and certain things that would rule someone out.

Where can you find such a list?

We happen to have one at our fingertips; it's the evaluation guide we use in our Investigate Voice Over program.

We caution against relying on this list without assistance from a voice-over professional. You might be too hard on yourself. Or too easy. Or, you may not hear what evaluation-trained coaches hear ... in which case you might not realize that you are (or are not) marketable.

As we said, there are many gray areas and qualities that can (or cannot) be easily changed through training and practice. Seriously venturing into the field of voice-over can be a life-changing move. Just as you would not rely solely on a consumer-website slideshow to diagnose your health, you should not simply breeze through this list to determine your prospects as a voice actor.

But you might use it to determine the quality of an evaluation you receive, whoever that opinion is from.

Want an evaluation of your VO potential? Get it in writing. Part 1 of 2.


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

Do you dream of becoming a voice artist? Maybe people have told you you'd be great at it? But what do they know? How do you know? The obvious answer is to get a professional opinion. But opinions vary, and for that matter, so do professionals. Some, although they may be great at what they do, are familiar with only their particular niche or genre of the industry. Others aren't up on industry trends. And still others, unfortunately, have an ax to grind or will tell you whatever you want to hear.

What's the solution? Get a comprehensive assessment from a broadly qualified industry pro. And get it in writing.

A written evaluation is important for several reasons:

1. It puts your evaluator on the record. This is partly a "BS filter" – it's one thing to give you verbal feedback. It's another to express an opinion thoughtfully and tangibly on the record ... in writing.

2. It serves as a checklist and reminder of what you should work on. As a beginner, of course you should work on everything. But different people have different strengths and weaknesses. Getting a written list will help you focus your efforts fully and properly.

3. It helps you understand. Experts sometimes forget that novices don't absorb all the industry "good talk" on their first hearing. There are a lot of concepts and words that might be new to the prospective student. Some of these thoughts and terminology might even fly right past you unless you have them in writing, to go back and look at later. Many a progressing VO student has looked back and been amazed at how some things that seemed technical or subtle when they started, soon became obvious and easy to grasp.

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