Hey gang! Got a VO related question? Need a demo critiqued?? Just need an ear to eh-buh-beh-eh-bend? Ask away!!! Glad to help out!
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  • Awww! All this time I thought KNOWING was half the battle, Bob! Darn you, GI JOE! Thanks for all the great tips... I learn a lot just from reading other people's Q and A. I'm gradually perfecting my technical abilities but what I have the most trouble with is interpretting the client's specs for the voice. For example, the TN DOT was doing a "buckle your safety belt/don't drink and drive" campaign and they said they wanted a "serious, Dennis Leary-type with some sarcasm or attittude." That gave me the impression of what pitch, tempo and style they wanted. So a few months pass and I HEAR that script being read... on the radio, obviously by the guy they actually hired. Not only did he have no sarcasm or attitude, he was a half octave higher pitched than Leary and it was just a plain, straight dry read! And had I known THAT was what they really wanted, I could have auditioned JUST like that! It's like translating Ancient Greek into English for me! I have been getting pretty steady work and I've actually made more per month than my regular job pays at 40 hrs a day/5 days a week, but I feel like I'm losing a lot of jobs purely to the fact that I can't interpret what the client "REALLY" wants.

    By the way, thanks for the Rob Paulsen link... another of my all-time greatest VO heroes! :)
  • Hi Kerry!

    I love your first Iphone spot. But as a whole the demo drags. Especially the last spot. You also need tighter edits. Too much dead space between spots. It's milliseconds, but it does slow the demo down.

    You want voice, attached to voice, attached to voice. No intro or exit music. And you want contrasting energies next to each other. Let your performance tell the listener that you've moved on to the next spot, not a music sting. That shows off the versatility of the musician or demo producer, not you. And it's your demo, your talents that the demo is intended for.

    I think you have some good stuff to work with. But again, I don't love the last spot. Also, try to keep it at a minute. Demos on average really get about a 4-10 second listen. If they don't love you in 4 seconds they won't love you in 4 minutes.

    I'd also love to hear something more conversational, off the cuff. And I definitely want to hear something faster. Even with the attitude adjustment in Outback you still have a slow pace. Just needs something quicker for variety. But I think you are absolutely on the right track!!!!

    Keep in mind, and I repeat this over and over, that if you play your demo for 20 different people you get 20 different opinions. And you can't keep changing a demo for each one!! Mine is just that, my opinion. The real folks you need to impress are agents and buyers!!!

    Hope this helps!

  • Hi Bob
    I hope you don't mind yet another newbie bending your ear but I would very much appreciate your take on my demo. I have been working relentlessly on developing myself in the new and wonderful field I am shouldering my way into. My coach has such, tremendous respect for you that I thought you might just be able to give me that nudge in the right direction I need to put more effort in.
    Kerry Woodrow Commercial Demo V1.mp3
  • Thanks Bob, as far as the technical equipment goes I am using so basic recording software and a standard headphone but I just purchased a professional microphone and Cakewalk software for practicing at home. Your summary of my delivery is very accurate, I feel as if I am reading, when I worked on a previous training video I was being coached the entire session. I will continue to listen to the demos you provided and push through, thanks again.
  • Hey Aaron!

    I want to qualify my comments on your bowling spot with EVERYONE has to start someplace. Everyone is at a different skill level. And everyone, including those of us who make a living at VO are always learning and growing.

    Your recording quality ain't the best technically. Kinda tinny. This has nothing to do with your acting skills. When you say this is a "current project" I'm not sure if you mean this is an actual gig or just practice copy. If it's a real gig I think you need some tech tweaking.

    As for your read, there's a hesitance in your delivery. It's almost like you are guarding every word, as if you aren't comfortable or sure of your delivery. It lacks commitment. Dive in!!!! Don't be afraid to fail. Commitment to choices is more than half the battle. If you don't commit, you are so worried about pleasing the listener or doing it right you sacrifice personality.

    From this read I don't know who Aaron is. I hear Aaron reading, but what's missing is much of what I mentioned in my previous post. Your personality, your style, your branding is missing.

    Listen to top actor's demos on videovoicebank. Listen to their commitment, their personality shining through the reads. Here are some examples:





    I purposely chose 4 actors with totally different personalities and styles. The first one, Rodney, is more your "type." But I want you to hear that each of their demos are dripping with personality. Their own individual personalities. What you hear is who they are. And you know who they are within the first 4-10 seconds of each demo. Every demo or audition gets about a 4 second chance. If you don't grab em or wow em in 4 seconds they will move on to the next actor.

    You know you are demo ready when you can incorporate your style and branding into any piece of copy with ease. It's instinct. It's second nature. Then and only then do you make a demo and put yourself out there.

    Let me know if this helps. And if you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask!

  • Thanks Bob, I really do appreciate your advice. The more I learn voice acting, the more I realize how much I don’t know, and to me that is part of the excitement. For now I will continue to read and study the craft, but I may be transferred by to Chicago due to my fulltime job where I know there is a strong acting and VO community. I have attached the current project for a local bowling alley, where I believe I am not infusing the client’s spot with energy.

    Viking Bowl.mp3
  • Hi Aaron!

    I'd need to hear you read to really be able to comment on the breathing thing.

    As for remote coaching, though I'm not a huge fan of it, there are some great teachers out there. Check out Bill Holmes at Compost Productions. He's in Burbank and a great teacher. I know he coaches via Skype.

    But I really advise you study in person. And not just voice-over, but also acting and improv. It's all about the acting. And it's all about your branding. You are the only Aaron Jones out there pursuing voice-over. It's not just about Aaron's voice, but also about his personality, his style, his sense of humor, his uniqueness that makes him stand out amongst everyone else.

    Keep in mind that your competition, those pursuing and those who are making a living, they are doing everything and anything to be successful. I was at Promax in NYC last year and was impressed with the actors who spent the time and money to attend and network with the promo buyers and agents. And in the several months since Promax I've heard of many of these actors who have had great success this year in promos. They put themselves out there. They took risks, personally and financially. Ya gotta take risks!! You need to do more than everyone else.

    Sorry for this long winded note, but I just know what it takes to make it in this business, and I want to make sure you do everything you need to do to attain your own goals.

    Webshop, Webhosting, Domæner og E-handel - Dandomain A/S
  • Hello Bob,

    This looks like a great group and I hope you don’t get bogged down with questions from this rookie. I am quickly discovering that because I am told that I have a great voice everything else is golden.

    I am looking for the best remote voice acting classes because I am not located near a major city, except when I go home to Chicago to visit. Currently I am trying to get the right feel for a local restaurant script, each time I play it back it feels fake and my breathing pattern is affecting how I am delivering the script if that make sense.

    The audio quality will be improved once I go into the studio, but I don’t want to go into the studio on someone else’s dime until it sounds more polished.
  • Hi Bob and everyone - great to be part of the group!
    I have just moved here from Australia, where I have been working for the last 10 years.
    VERY different scenario there - I get ALL of my work through my agent and go into the studios.
    I am not good with technology and have not had to record at home - this is all very new.
    I am currently in the process of setting up my first basic home studio with the view to upgrade in the future.
    Goals: I travel a lot for work, so the studio needs to be somewhat portable.
    So - I have a MAC and an MBOX 2.
    I was told that the Apogee Mini-Me would be a great pre-amp for my basic set-up whilst satisfying the portability requirements.
    Problem....they seem to be hard to find these days....and I don't want to purchase off eBay.
    Can anyone suggest a good vintage audio dealer where I might be able to pick up a well serviced used unit? Or other suggestions for how to pick one up?
    Or suggest a good alternative with digital output, Phantom Power and XLR connectors.
    The Focusrite ISA ONE was suggested to me - thoughts? A little too big...
    Any advice that would bring me out of the dark would be greatly appreciated.
  • Hi Bob! I took your character class in Atlanta last March (I did the Scooby Doo Lester character--"them aliens are gonna TAKE OVER THE WOOOORLD!!!"). Not only did I learn a ton of useful tips, but I had a lot of fun too. I admire the way you can maintain more or less continuous focus and enthusiasm for a whole weekend, and on your birthday to boot!

    I've trained and practice a lot since then, and finally recorded a variety of demos (spots, narration, audiobook, Spanish and--most fun of all--characters). The character demo is pretty long, and I'd like to edit it into a punchier one or two-minute version, so as not to try anyone's patience too much. My producer, John Burr, wrote half of the bits, while I wrote the rest.

    I would love to get your opinion as to which are the best bits to excerpt from (assuming there are any ;->) for my short version. The demo itself is the top one on my VU page, or on my (website) if you want to give it a listen, or if you'd prefer I'll gladly email you the MP3.
    Thanks in advance for your time. And do let me know if you're going to be teaching out on the East Coast again. (BTW John Burr splits his time between D.C. and Sarasota Florida; I bet he could host you in his studio in either place).
    Best wishes,
    Dale Leopold
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