This is a forum for issues of concern to voiceover actors of color. Instead of grappling with post-Obama VO industry questions alone let's work them out collectively by sharing our experiences.
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Winter Thoughts

VOC Peeps,

Just noticed that Voices of Colors has over 100 members now. Amazing. Hopefully we're not all auditioning for the same work!

Anyway Winter is here and, to be perfectly candid, I've taken a step back from auditioning and am in the process of re-tooling my product. I'm trying to incorporate some of the comments I've gotten over the past year from Coaches and Agents both in terms of the "sound" as well as the Web site and promotional materials. There's a "new" sound out there that, to my ear, seems flatter, less musical, and definitely more "authentic" is the word that's used most often. Don't push, in other words. Even on the audition, I'm told, "tell it, don't sell it," though some coaches say just the opposite in terms of the audition; urging that to be made a little bigger.

So my plan is to spend some time in the studio and see what comes out as well as working with my webmaster, Corey Brown, on a new design which, by the way, will not include photos of me (see Photo Discussion Below).

The last coaching session I had was with Marice Tobias. One of the things she said that stuck was that agents have many ways of saying "no" but only one way of saying "yes" and that's with a signed contract. Which means that when they say "we'll send you some copy" or "we'll work freelance" it's usually a kind way of saying "see ya." Kind of like the equivalent of "we'll call you."

Enough already. I hope 2010 was a killer year for you (don't forget to keep records for the IRS) and that 2011 is even better. And don't forget that this is YOUR forum. Don't hesitate to start discussions, ask questions or just vent. This is YOUR PAGE.

All the best,
Mike H

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Comments

  • This forum is like a viral video.......everyday there are more and more hits. I think it's fantastic.
  • Bro. Mike,
    It's great to hear from you after all these years. I am looking forward to working with you and the "voices".
    As our beloved President says,, "it's time for change.". We have to know ourselves and be ourselves.Just keep it real.
  • In my experience as an actor, on camera, stage and voice, I have learned my value as a performer is based on believability. The only way i can be believable is to construct a character based on my own sensibilities. Who I am, is a person of color, who speaks english. I believe the more we as voice actors commit to who we are as individuals the more the market may start to accept the niching we create through our own voice. We are people with a wide variety of experience and points of views. We help make up a large portion of this country and therefore represent a large segment of consumers. The larger the market that relates to my voice, what ever that may be, the better chance I have to get work. The beauty of acting is I get to be as many people as my range will allow.
  • Thanks for the invite...lookin forward to being an active member...
  • We are Voice ACTORS. That's what everyone has to remember. It should be the range of our acting skills, which includes portraying characters with a variety of speech patterns, which determines the voice projects we're submitted an chosen for.
  • Piggybacking on Big LLou's question....What does a BLACK voice sound like? Things that make you go ...................hmmmmm.
  • Thanks for the invite. Wonderful presentation.
  • Thank you for the invite. God bless.
  • Great questions, Lou. These are trick questions, though, because the answer depends on what "sounding black" means. Usually, advertisers don't go out of their way to create special ads directed at the black consumer market in the first place, unlike ads directed at the Spanish-speaking market for example, but when they do they try to find a voice that is "recognizably" black so that it is "obvious" to whom the ad is directed. At least that's my take on it. So the black actor who doesn't sound black maybe should just drop ALL references to black. But you know ad agencies like Burrell for years clinched a market niche by producing advertising directed to blacks and in the process hired a lot of voiceover actors. They effectively and respectfully conveyed ethnicity without pandering to it and making it a caricature. That's the trick maybe.
  • Oh.. and my wife wants to know.. "What does a Black voice sound like"?
    Thanks
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