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

  • I currently do spots for a few stations here in St. Louis but I would like to get out of this market considering I'm moving to NYC. What do you all suggest?

    I've read diff. books on marketing yourself but those books are GENERAL guides. I believe I need something more specific being African American. I could be wrong, but I'm not sure.
  • Good advice, Mike. Thanks, I get that and I think it will help my audition process to think of it that way! But...using class as a parameter, then a white scientist would likely speak differently than a white laborer as well... in which case there is no need at all to reference race in the desired effect. Too bad copywriters haven't yet grasped that distinction!
  • Good question and, not being white, one I can't answer. I will say that it sometimes is easier to think of creating an ethnic range if you think in terms of class instead of race. A black scientist is likely to speak differently than a black laborer, for example. But I know what you mean. That kind of stuff frustrates all of us.
  • Script instructions at this morning's audition called for my character's voice to have a "deeper African tone warmth" (no accent, not a character voice). I immediately became concerned that if I couldn't produce the required effect, it might be written off as a 'fake' black woman. It's very frustrating when you have to second guess whether or not your tone radiates enough of the African in you. Just curious...when non-ethnic caucasians read for a part, are there ethnically specific 'caucasian' instructions cited?
  • Happy Thursday all.

    On the agenda today... medical narration, auto commercial, museum tour recording... and, WNBA Basketball. http://ow.ly/2vfBp
  • Hey folks - Unfortunately, I don't get onto VU very often (that will change!) but this is a group that's much needed. I'll be picking your brains and contributing what I can in the coming weeks and months. Please visit my page for more info and critique my demos!
    Thanks
    Jerry Wells
  • I recently received 2 invitations to audition from voice123. What was interesting is that they were seeking a Caucasian voice, which I am not. The breakdown was as follows "DOCTOR: LATE 30’S WHITE CAUCASIAN, INTELLIGENT AND PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT HE DOES. Must be normal guy non announcer sounding. believable natural natural natural not selly!

    The 2nd "TOM: MID 40’S CAUCASIAN. INQUISITIVE,BUT POLITE. LOOKING FOR THE BEST DEAL, SO DETERMINED, BUT ALSO FRIENDLY. More notes: We need guys that sound more like actors and regular dudes, and less like they’re trying to sell something – that would be ideal. Don't try too hard needs to be believable."

    My questions to the forum are.. 1. Would you have submitted an audition being an African American? 2. If you did submit an audition.. would you include any commentary concerning the race issue and if NOT.. then why?

    I look forward to your replies and thank you for reading!
  • Hi Mike, glad to be a part of your group. Looking forward to learning a lot here as well as maybe meeting you some time.
  • Mike ...I will see you at Joan's event in September !
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