By Stephanie Ciccarelli
June 10, 2008
Join Voice Over Expert Julie Williams as she interviews graphic designer and branding consultant Jason Sikes of Village Green Studios in her podcast "Visual Branding for Voice Over Talents". Learn what it means to make your website stand out and how graphical differentiation will help you succeed in voice overs.
Julie Williams, Voice-overs.com, Jason Sikes, Village Green Studios, Graphic Design, Website Design, Branding, Marketing
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 Julie Williams.
Julie Williams: Hello, my name is Julie Williams and marketing and voiceover is so essential that I wanted to share with you today a segment of a much longer interview that I did with Jason Sikes for the soon to be released update of How to Make Money in Voiceovers even if you don't live in New York or L.A. In marketing, if you're not as professional or as out there as the next person, then your marketing isn't good enough. Last year, every single one of the nominees in the Best Branding Voicey Award category had their sights done by Jason Sikes of Village Green Studios so Jason is with us today because he's the expert on branding on your voiceover website. Welcome, Jason.
Jason Sikes: Hi, thank you.
Julie Williams: Hey, with hundreds of thousands of talent in the market place world wide, how does one talent stand out?
Jason Sikes: That is the million-dollar question.
Julie Williams: You know, the temptation is to have a microphone in your marketing stuff and yet you say not to do that. Why?
Jason Sikes: That is definitely one way to not stand out. I have seen so many sites that have used not just microphones but other industry iconography in their marketing materials, be it sound waves or a microphone or headphones or something like that. That it is just been overdone. It's tried, it's unoriginal. That's the message that you're putting out there about yourself to the people that see these things everyday.
Julie Williams: Okay, well then let's back up to the very beginning. I'm a talent, I come to you, what is your process in coming up with a concept for branding?
Jason Sikes: A lot of it depends on who the client is and where they come from and how much experience they have. An overwhelming majority of my clients happen to be new freshly-minted voiceover artists who have just graduated from a teacher, who are seeking agents and have a brand spanking-new demo in their hands. So a lot of times, I will be able to talk the instructor who worked with the talent to get some branding terms from them, you know, who is this person, what's their niche in the market place, what do they sound like, give me some descriptive terms to go off of.
That happens more times than not but there are other times where I have highly experienced voiceover actors that will come and want to do a re-branding or really branding for the - branding themselves for the very first time. In that case, I'll often try to get branding direction from their agent if they already have one, you know, who is your client here, how do you see them in the market place, how do you try to sell them and then come up with the brand that fits that.
Now in both of those scenarios and other scenarios, it's also very important for me to do two things. One, ask the talent how they view themselves in the market place and two, take a listen to the demo myself and see what I hear and hopefully, by gathering all of the information among all those different resources, there will be some sort of overlap and that's what I can go off of.
Julie Williams: What do you look for in the sound of a voice for branding?
Jason Sikes: When I am listening to a demo and trying to come up with branding terms, I listen to the demo, I let it roll, I close my eyes and just kind of start to grab images in my head of what that person sounds like, you know. Is this a sarcastic bomb? Is this someone I could see working out in the tool shed? A sports fisherman? It's just who I hear inside their demo.
Julie Williams: Now Jason, you wrote an article in one of my very first voiceover insider magazines about branding and you used the example of somebody named Campbell and what they should and shouldn't do based on their sound. Would you share that information with us?
Jason Sikes: Sure. This is one of my pet peeves, people that mistake branding for a play on names. So if someone's name is Sarah Campbell, all too often, you will see them with the website that has a Campbell Soup can on it because they think that that - that's their idea of clever. Campbell soup can, my name is Campbell. You're going to remember me for that which is kind of true. You may remember Sarah Campbell as, "Oh yes, she's the one with the Campbell Soup can but along with the Campbell Soup can comes everything that the brand of Campbell Soup is which is wholesome, mom, recovering from a cold, all that kind of thing that when you think of soup, that's what you think of.
Now, if Sarah Campbell is those things, then maybe that might be the right way to go for her but chances are not, she's not. If Sarah Campbell is young and wild and vivacious, a lot of things that soup isn't, then that is the wrong way to go.
So my advice to everyone is budget for marketing yourself into this whole process. I know that you have spent a lot of money on lessons and you spent a lot of money on demo but if you budget this money in which is really the last step before going to market with yourself, then you're going to be a lot happier and chances are, more successful.
Julie Williams: I agree 100 percent. Okay, how can people contact you for more information?
Jason Sikes: They can check me out at my very own website, VillageGreenStudios.com.
Julie Williams: Thank you, Jason of Village Green Studios. I'm Julie Williams and if you would like to get a hold of me, you can go to www.Voice-overs.com.
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.
Voice Over Expert Julie Williams
Julie Williams is celebrating her 30th year in voice-overs. She has voiced thousands of commercials, narrations, video games, infomercials, documentaries, and other types of voice-over. Julie has been heard all over the world, and nationally on HGVT, WE, and other media outlets.
Julie Williams boasts such clients as Coca-Cola, Pampers, Pizza Hut, Billy Graham, The US Army, US steel, Imperial Sugar, Sunny Delight, Dominos Pizza, Adobe, and thousands of others. Currently, Julie is heard on national Eyeglass World commercials, The New Body Shaper infomercial, and Skincerity Skin Care Product ads, as well as hundreds of regional and local spots, and non broadcast flash productions. In addition, she's the voice of the video game "Stevie Learns Pool Safety." Samples of Julie's work can be heard at www.voice-overs.com.
Voice Over Experts is the industry's most downloaded educational podcast featuring renowned voice over coaches from US, Canada and abroad. Join us each week for pearls of wisdom and tricks of the trade to improve your voice over career. Listen online or subscribe in iTunes to hear from leading experts in the field of voice-overs.