By Stephanie Ciccarelli
September 11, 2007
Join Voice Over Expert Connie Terwilliger as she teaches you about "Self-Evaluation". Take the bull by the horns during the "Gold Rush of Voice Over" and learn more about who you are as a voice talent, what you have to offer and identify who wants what you have to sell.
Connie Terwilliger, Voiceover talent, Coach, Self-Evaluation, Self-Assessment, Gold Rush, Voice Overs, Voice Acting
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It's never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won't find anywhere else.
This week, Voices.com is pleased to present Connie Terwilliger.
Connie Terwilliger: I think the thing we first need to consider is that we're experiencing the gold rush of the voiceover business right now. We have to constantly be on our vocal and mental toes to keep up with the changes. It also put us first but in a way those getting started right now are already a little behind. If you're not online now for example with the web presence that stand outs in the search engines, you're knot going to be easily found. But services such as Voices.com help level the playing field a bit because they do so much internet marketing. You can't buy the kind of internet placement and promotion you get with Voices.com elsewhere for the money. So in a way it's a no-brainer to have a membership if you're looking for new contacts and audition opportunities.
But opportunities don't necessarily translate into work. I've listened to the earlier podcast from Mark and Bob and Debbie and my talk today will cover a few of the same basic rules if you will, of the voiceover business from another perspective. You have to know what you're bringing to the table. This takes self-evaluation and you have to know who you are inviting to dine. I must be hungry at the moment but the metaphor is this, if you make a thick, juicy, delicious medium-rare steak for dinner and you've invited a vegetarian then you just spend a whole lot of money on something that you can't get the other person to eat.
How this translates into the voiceover business is that you not only need to know what you have to sell but you need to know who wants to buy it. No matter where you are in the voiceover spectrum, wannabe, newbie, part-timer or full-time pro, self-evaluation can help you in all aspects of the business.
I guess step one is figuring out what you have to sell. This means a detailed, realistic analysis of your own voice and your potential at creating a signature sound that people want to buy. This not only means understanding your own voice but understanding what other voices are out there that are currently being used. It also means understanding the different types of markets that hire voice talent. Just where does your voice fit? It is tightly-niched or does it have broader appeal?
The formula is really very simple. Eventually you have to find the people who want to buy what you have to sell. This means, knowing what you have to sell, having demos that showcase your abilities and then getting that demo into the hands of the people who have the money. Bob Bergen's podcast was spot on in my opinion about demos. Most people do them too early in their career and now with the ability for nearly everyone to record and edit in their home studios, that temptation to create your own demos from scratch without any input from a producer is really great. Resist it, please if you want to compete in a small local market for small local jobs than whatever you put together should be fine but if you want to compete at a higher level than your demo must compete. It must be ready for prime time.
So, in this particular podcast that's step two, understanding what is good and what is well, not so good. And there really is a difference if you can hear it when you listen to actual recorded material but can't evaluate your own material with the same critical ear, you're not ready to put together that demo just yet and you're not ready to start auditioning just yet. Everyone can use self-evaluation skills when auditioning. The same process happens when you audition.
Debbie Munro talked a bit about this in her podcast. You must understand what the producer is expecting before you hit the send button on your audition. Before you even decide to audition actually, go ahead and verbalize it but critically analyze whether your voice and or your read is right before you spend a lot of time recording, editing and sending something that will just waste the producer's time.
Producer's have a sound in their head when they send out the audition notice. They may not be able to articulate it exactly but if there's a script and some sort of description of the project, you should be able to get a general feel for the kind of delivery they are expecting. For example, if the voice age is listed as young then don't send an audition that sounds middle-aged and if you don't know the difference between young and middle-aged, then you haven't done your self-evaluation yet. If the description says real or conversational then you need to know that you can get into that kind of delivery and you're not being an announcer.
As a producer in a former life, I would listen to the first four seconds or so of generic demos in order to get a feel for the general sound of the voice. If the voice was in the right ballpark, I would listen just a little bit longer to get a feel for how the person interpreted copy and then I'd go back and I'd listen to all the ones that I starred. A little bit more depleted, just make my final decision. Just what was it about their delivery that brought the words off the page? That's what I was listening for. If I wasn't able to decide by just listening to the generic demo, I would consider holding a directed audition with some of the actual script with a few of those people that I had pre-selected.
Today at certain levels of voiceover work that still happens and for some talent their demos, their agents, their experience, their referrals are so good that they don't do a lot of cold auditioning. But when you're auditioning in a vacuum, you not only must understand what the producer maybe wanting and whether or not your voice maybe generally suited for that project but you also need to know whether or not you've actually recorded what you think you've recorded and it's going to strike some sort of cord with the producer preferably not a cord that makes them delete your audition and remember your name forever as the person who sent in the really, really, really inappropriate audition. Those kinds of things can haunt you for a very long time.
So, this is where self-evaluation techniques work for the pro and for the newbie and don't forget, this business is not just about having talent. You also need to clearly look at the realities of the business, things like book keeping, marketing. Am I going to market by self? Do I need an agent? Should I join the union and then there's the technology. Should I have a home studio? If so, what kind of equipment should I have in there? Should I market my services as an editor and a producer. All of these things you really have to know critically about yourself before you can really progress as a voiceover artist. There's lots more to talk about of course but for right now, I think I'll sign off. I've a got a bunch of auditions to review to see if I'm right for them.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
If you're a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes Podcast Directory or by visiting Podcasts.Voices.com. To start your voiceover career online, go to Voices.com and register for a voice talent membership today.
Connie Terwilliger is one of the most well known names on the Internet when it comes to female voice talent. She's been online with an Internet presence since 1996. Connie did her first official voiceover work on air at KCOE-FM while in college in Cedar Rapids Iowa in 1972. After getting her Masters in Radio and TV at Indiana University, she started a long career juggling many hats - Producer, Writer, On and Off-camera talent. Over the past several years Connie has been able to "retire" as a Producer and Writer and concentrate on full-time voice work for clients around the world out of her home studio and the studios in San Diego and Orange County. She teaches one class a semester - Acting for Radio/Voiceovers - at San Diego City College.
Her session on Self-Evaluation presented at VOICE 2007 was well received and has led to invitations to speak at media performance schools across the country. She is also the immediate past President of Media Communications Association-International - MCA-I, a networking and professional development group for media communicators that she joined back when she was producing.
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