just voice

Between Generations…

When I was in high school, a movie that was supposed to epitomize our generation, Generation X, came out. “Reality Bites” was supposed to be about us. The problem, which my sister and I have discussed at length, is that we just miss being Gen-xers and we just miss being millennials. How much of a problem this is I’m not sure, but I loved the drama of reality bites and wondered why my life was so lacking of such problems. As a teen, I thought this was clearly because I was really not a Gen- xer, not understanding at the time that it was Gen-X in Hollywood.

But what I now appreciate is that being born in between periods gives me an advantage, I hope. I easily identify with and relate to people a little older and a little younger, finding a lot in common with both, and this is essential in helping be the voice of a brand. As a full time, professional voiceover actor who does a lot of commercial work on tv, radio, and internet, I want to make sure that I deliver what my client wants: an advertising package that is memorable!

Get their attention

When my sister and I used to get in and out of taxis in college in NYC, somehow we often said hello and greeted our driver in unison. This in turn would call attention to our high and youthful voices which were then typically commented on. I never minded, especially since it has now turned into a career. That was the beginning of getting their attention. You want to pick a voice to represent your brand that people associate with it in a positive way.  When I do youtube videos for the New Jersey lottery, and I get to say the famous tag line “Anything can happen in Jersey,” this is my chance to give my spin on the brand. I imagine being the girl at the party or in the casino that is so fabulous that everyone wants to be with her, the life of the party that no one can resist, and that is the sound I project. As the voiceover talent, it is our job to self direct and coordinate with our clients to create the right image for that brand.

Keep their attention

Casting the right voiceover actor allows you to get brand recognition.  Using the same voice for a campaign instead of hiring talents for one-offs allows them to get to know the brand. This brand recognition helps you carefully define the relationship you want your clients to have. This can happen very commonly with on-camera talents, but it happens quite a lot in voiceover as well. For example, I have been working on an on going campaign for a hospital in Florida. It is very important that all of the reads for these local tv spots be the same: warm, comforting, trust worthy, and reliable. That voice is now associated with the brand. When I work with the producer, the only direction he needs t give me at this point is how to pronounce the different names in the spots, because we need to maintain consistency for each commercial. The viewers in that area recognize what the ad is for as soon as they hear my voice, and that is brand recognition.

Stay Current

Choosing the right voice will not only enable you to draw in your dream clients, but it will help you reach across generations from millennials to baby boomers. Why have major brands like Cadillac chosen a millennial female voice for their national tv campaigns recently? Because they know this voice reaches across generations and has universal appeal. The millennial, conversational read is the sought after commercial read of the moment, where it sounds like you are the girl-next-door talking to a friend. If you want to reach your dream clients and keep them listening this is who you need to cast for voiceovers.

Maintaining Relationships

If you want to maintain a lasting relationship with your clients, then you need to cast a voiceover talent who will work hard to maintain a relationship with you! In order to have brand continuity, a professional voiceover talent who can truly deliver will work hard to get to know what you are looking for during the duration of a campaign to bring out all of the nuances of your brand. She will work hard to deliver the best quality audio and let you know that you can rely on her repeatedly. And in the end you will be proud that you chose so well. You want new. You want fresh. But at the end of the day you also want reliable.

It’s not about the voice…

The voiceover is never about the voice. There are so many of us out there who can do the same job, and there are a lot of talented folks. And it is not even about the studio, because we do all have different studios that give you different finished audio. It is about the result of the voiceover that we leave you with, the impact it has on your brand and on your marketing. You need a talent who understands that!

The Unfathomable

On Friday morning I sat next to my son, in the midst of our grief stricken community, at a friend’s funeral. Tragically our friend had what is believed to be a sudden heart attack while traveling for work in Asia. Everyone was devastated, most of all his wife, his two beautiful daughters, his two brothers, his parents, and his grandmother who is a Holocaust survivor. Taken from his family at just 43, and listening to their tearful tributes, one after the next, the theme that came through is that there is no promise of tomorrow. If today is all that we have, are we making the most of today?

In voiceover, the rhythm of our days varies. Voiceover talents typically talk about our field being feast or famine. But sitting at this funeral, and thinking about the totality of how we live our life, forced me to take a step back and look at my career as a whole and not in microbursts. If today is all I have, then these are some of the reflections I am grappling with.

The Relationships We Build Mean Everything

While voiceover can certainly start to feel like a numbers game in terms of how many auditions an actor submits or how many marketing emails we send out, the building of real, inter personal relationships is far more important. Getting to know our clients and the producers who work with us means so much more than whether we submitted 10 or twenty auditions on Thursday.  Remembering to ask how someone’s son’s asthma is or checking in on how the toy fair went out of genuine concern, and letting these folks get to know you, is far more meaningful then submitting into the abyss.

Relationships with our fellow voiceover talents is also so important. I will never forget the first time I heard another talent say “the rising tide in the harbor lifts us all.” The sense of camaraderie in voiceover is incredible. I have blogged before about my womens’ accountability group. In addition to daily contact with these women, I look forward to our weekly meeting and that our is one of the most important hours of my week. It gives me a support, stability, and confidence. I am so thankful for the close relationships that I have built with other professional voiceover actors. I particularly love the women that I have met and am so thankful for this bond in my post sorority years.

Stand Tall and Be Proud

If today were all that I had, I would want my children to know that every single day, all the work that I do is for them. That every single booking, each commercial and phone message, each narration,  they all add up and they were all for them. As a momtrepreneur, I have done my best to show them that as a family we stick together and we take care of each other. That I am proud of all of my projects. I am proud of both the actual work that I have done and I am proud of what it represents. I am proud that I figured out how to work full time and get the laundry done and cook dinner, because believe me when I say that was not easy to learn and I still wish that fairies would come into my house and do it all. But nothing means more to me than having dinner with my husband and kids and talking about our day, and I guard that time like a hawk. So I am trying my best and somedays I juggle better than others, but when I look back I am so proud that I have at least figured this out for them. And as far as jobs go, working as a professional voiceover actor is a pretty cool one!

Leaving the Bubble

One of the biggest challenges for me when I went back to work was leaving the bubble which I pleasantly inhabited for the prior part of my married life. In that bubble, even though we live in a fairly diverse area relative to where I grew up in Pennsylvania, most people are from the same socio economic background, lived in NYC at one point, and are quite well-educated. Having attended an Ivy League University in the North East, when I first left the bubble, it was a bit shocking for me, meeting people from different parts of the country with very different lives. I very quickly learned that you could not make any assumptions about peoples’ backgrounds based on their last names, and that despite where we were from and where people went to college, I loved being around other creatives and meeting people who were so different than those around me every day was a joy and an inspiration. It opened my eyes to a new world and I have met so many amazing folks. Leaving my comfort zone was far from easy, but in my travels and at all sorts of industry events I am so thankful to have pushed myself to engage. This is an aspect of voiceover that a lot of folks don’t talk about but has been a big deal for me.

A Last Glimpse of Studio Life

Lastly, but certainly not least, I am so thankful that I spend my days in my professional studio with my dog Violet. Violet, a lovely and sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is the light of my life. She is the best companion a girl could ask for. If I had all the money in the world I would clone her like Barbra Streisand did with her dog. If tragedy struck today, I would be so thankful that Violet was on my lap or by my feet and brought me the greatest joy.

It’s funny that I spend so much energy to be careful to mask my natural Philadelphia accent, which just seems to flow from within. Just imagine the horror if I had recorded the commercial for Culligan Water as Culligan Wooder as I grew up saying. But regional dialect aside, I do accents in my work quite regularly.

I have family in London so I find doing a generic British accent comes quite easily. I am one of the voices on the UK Tampax channel, https://www.lauraschreibervoice.com/commercial/, and just get my nephews  in my head and out it comes, which sounds really funny when talking about Tampons. I can differentiate between central London and South London, but the way my family sounds is my go to British accent.

I have also worked in a hispanic accent. I had to do a spot for Pandora radio as a Latina girl speaking English.  Although Pandora has quite an accomplished bi-lingual roster, they needed someone who sounded solidly 13, and that was me. So, I went with somewhere in between Sophia Vergara and Selma Hayek and I gave them a few versions. As the producer himself was Latino I was so nervous to be accurate and not make it charactery. I gave them my standard three takes and it worked!

I have also worked in an array of regional American accents, from generic Southern to New York.  What do I enjoy the most? When my family listens to the spot and is waiting for me to come and then they figure out they have been listening to me all along! Sometimes they say that my voice sounds deeper or that they were confused. I love it. I love that just a subtle change can throw even the people who know me best.

While some of us for sure have more comfort in front of the mic than others right from the get go, and some people for sure have natural abilities that come out in one genre of voiceover or another, coaching- or professional lessons in the technique of voiceover, are essential to becoming a professional working voiceover talent.

Professional coaching covers many aspects of voiceover. First, coaching covers acting and performance technique. While the hot buzzword in voiceover right now seems to be the conversational read, a lot goes into the perfect conversational read. From understanding subtext to highlighting the right words, these are all skills that we work on as we build characters for each scrip. Whether practicing for commercial, eLearning, character work, etc… we need to learn how to mark up a script and self- direct.

Mic technique is also taught by our coaches. Learning how to stand in relation to our equipment, how to record, and how to edit properly is all part of what is learned when working with a good coach. Particularly for new talent, the coach should critique all recorded homework assignments and give feedback on all aspects of the recording, from the read itself to the EQ, compression, breaths, mouth clicks, etc. Sending out pristine recordings has to start somewhere.

Coaches should also set the standard for voiceover best practices. From teaching you how to use programs like ipDTL and source connect to  talking about client/talent relations, coaches should cover all of this.  While many best practices can be learned by some of the industry books, when you are working with the pros you can learn so many tips first hand from their years in the business. From policies on revisions and pickups to basic etiquette, working with a top notch coach is an essential foundation for a voiceover business.

It’s one of those new buzz words like snap chat and LOL, you hear the term “millennial” everywhere – but just who are we talking about?  According to the Pew Center for Research, millennials are defined as people born between 1981-1996, so they are presently between the ages of 22-37.Typically, when advertisers think of this core age group, they think of young, fresh, hip- everything that is au courant. So, what better way to describe my vocal sense than millennial and conversational?

Whether we’re talking about commercials on tv or radio, eLearning, or a YouTube narration, what better way to establish your product or company as relevant than to use the millennial sound? Consumers are looking for lots of qualities in advertising, but a huge piece of the puzzle is when it is relatable. Millennials relate quite well to other millennials, so across the board it works well to cast a millennial sounding voiceover actor or actress.

According to a Forbes article from September 2017, there are over 80 million millennials in the United States alone with a combined purchasing power of over $200 billion per year. People like relate to voices that represent them, so with the millennials comprising such a huge market force, it makes good business sense to cast millennials in projects, from 6 second YouYube bumpers to 30 second tv spots- the conversational  read epitomizes this trend. 

As a voiceover talent, it is my job to make every word come alive and bring the script to life the way its creator intended. So I have been exposed to some pretty sensational writing, and I can tell you that as of recent sometimes the only word to describe a client who is all kinds of wrong is not even found in the English language. The word we need, instead, is the Hebrew word hutzpah.

If you are not familiar with hutzpah, let me share this mornings hutzpadic story and you will get the gist right away. A new and potential client from another country wrote to me overnight. “Sam” offered me $50 and said that was per role for an explainer video, and for those not in the know standard rates for explainers average from $175-$300 depending on the length. He then went on to explain that $50 was for a 3-4 minute script! Yes, I kept reading, mouth open, in shock. Sam then said that as this script was shorter than usual, he would be willing to offer me $50 for two scripts! This is what I call hutzpah!  If you’re thinking I was unreasonable, read my blog on how long a short recording really takes! 

So, how did I respond? I did actually respond. I thanked him for his interest and sent him a link to the GVAA rate guide, an amazing reference if you don’t know it.

I told Sam that I always maintain industry standards in every single booking, and that when he can afford to pay me a standard rate he should feel free to reach out again. I then wished him all the best in his future endeavors. No need to show hutzpah on my end.

There are a few problems with this situation. In order to send Sam walking, I had to have the confidence in myself and my work that I am worth what I know my work to be worth. I am not afraid to maintain my rates. Sadly, in recent weeks, I have gotten responses from these undesirable clients that they have multiple voiceover actors willing to submit at their rates. As long as folks new to the industry are willing to accept these low rates, they undermine the pay for the rest of us. If you are in this category, you might want to check out https://www.mikecoopervoiceover.com/. Mike often presents about this very topic at voiceover conferences!

Imagine calling a tutor for your child. The tutor is an expert in their field and that is why you trust them to begin with. They have an education in their area, and in the time that you pay them, they are going to share some skills and pass on a specific benefit to your child. You would never have the hutzpah to bargain with them or try to negotiate a different rate. As voiceover talents, we have had countless hours of training, have expensive studios to maintain, and have demos that have cost thousands of dollars. Our rates not only take this into account, but also pay for the session fee and the license for the use of our voice for a given amount of time. Attempting to undermine our rates is just hutzpah and we should never be afraid to maintain our standards.

Laying in bed at night, I watch HGTV mesmerized by their programing. Even with the magnetic personalities of their hosts, who also happen to be good looking, guess what? There are always professional voiceover actors, typically women, narrating the show. Why don’t they have the hosts or realtors doing the voiceover too? Well, they have a product to sell and it takes a pro to do it!

Would you ever cut your hair yourself? Right. What happens if you need new kitchen lighting? Yeah, I’m not that girl either. What about your teeth? Do you have dentist appointments? I hope! So, in case you didn’t know, voiceover actors actually have multiple levels of training. We are trained actors, typically with years of training, acting classes, improv classes, voiceover coaching, and then continued professional development throughout our careers. We also have ongoing extensive technology to do the audio production necessary for our V.O. work. That is what makes us professionals. When I suggest that you hire a pro, I don’t just mean a creative talent who has booked  a lot of work, I am talking about what they bring to the table and why they have the skill set necessary to enhance your real estate project.

On the local level, let’s say you’re a realtor at the top of your game, with a multiple six figure listing who promises excellent marketing to your client. Do you make a youtube video? This video is truly a clients first visit to the home. That is why it is so important not just to have the house look just right, but to have your video sound warm, inviting, and professional.You narrating your own video is the equivalent of a homeowner selling their house without a broker: just like on HGTV, you really need a professional.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 9/10 of buyers rely on the internet. 52% of buyers use the internet as their first step in the buying process, and interestingly YouTube is the most popular video research destination at 51% .  Real estate searches on google have grown 253% in 4 years.  77% of first time buyers drove buy a house they viewed a video of online. Even in an older demographic, the internet is crucial for marketing home sales. 75% of senior home buyers now use the internet to search for a home. Clearly it is in your best interest to market the houses you are selling online.

But marketing them online is not enough. Do you think I’m the only one watching HGTV? No. Folks hear voiceover all the time- in the car, watching tv commercials, on in-show narration. So when you present your video, why not close the deal with top notch marketing done by a passionate pro? Draw them in. If the video is good enough and has the right voice, by the time you show them the house in person your buyer should feel right at home. Be a pro- present a well-orchestrated package that shows that you are a listing agent with savvy, marketing know-how, and creativity, and hire a voiceover actor today!

10. A talent who is well connected in the voiceover community will be an asset to you, particularly if you need to cast other voices for your project in a pinch.

9. A talent who takes feedback well.

8. Someone who takes direction well.

7. Someone who is responsive to calls/emails.

6. Someone with guided session capabilities like ipDTL, source connect, or ISDN.

5. Talent with a clearly stated turn-around time

4. A clear and honest policy on pickups and revisions

3. A pleasant personality that will be a delight to work with.

2. High end equipment in the studio that will enable pristine sound

1. Top notch talent who can do the job you need!

You’re so excited…you’ve made a fantastic video. Great job!  You want your client to be as excited as you are when you present it, and a silent film is probably not what they had in mind. So how do you match your creativity with the ideal voice talent when there is a sea of potential candidates? Let’s delve into what specifically to seek so that you can cast someone who is sure to dazzle all involved with the project.

First, when writing your spec sheet, or description of the job to the voice actors posted online, be as specific as possible. When you had a voice in mind when creating a video, you should look for that voice. If you were looking for a happy, young adult female do not request senior serious females. If you want a male with an announcer read, ask for that.  Lack of specificity as to the voice sought will get you too many applicants and you will be spending time sifting through bunches of auditions that can’t help your project.

If you aren’t quite sure which voice type you want, you should consider your target audience. Are you trying to reach baby boomers or millennials, and who will draw them in the best? Look for the voice that your audience needs to hear.

Next, your spec sheet is written with the description of the job and the voice that you are seeking. Your auditions will start pouring in. You need to listen to them carefully and decide what really matters. You may have asked for a specific naming convention and for the talent to slate, which is the industry term for stating your name at the beginning of the recording. Other companies do not want slating.   In either case, some people seeking talent put a lot weight on the actor’s ability to follow these details. If you are running the show, you should consider how important these details are to you because you will be the one ultimately working with the actor.

Now you are ready to listen to the auditions.  You hit play. What are you listening to the auditions on? Are you listening on, dare I say it, your computer? IPhone headphones? Beats? Regardless of the quality, all of these devices alter the way the voiceover actor’s voice actually sounds.   The unique components of some of these devices provide added bass or filters that don’t always reflect the voiceover actor’s actual sound.

If you are going to be casting a lot of voiceover actors, consider investing in a pair of solid Harlan Hogan or Senheiser head phones.  These head phones, also known as “cans” in the industry, are the best at reflecting the true sound of a voice so that you can hear it the way it will actually sound on your finished product. Once you are really listening, you can hear the voiceover actor and consider several factors. Does the voice fit the spot? Will the voice resonate with your target audience? How is the tone, pace, and overall delivery of the voiceover actor? Hopefully you will be able to narrow down your selection to a final few.

So now that you have some hi-tech equipment, it is time to consider what your voiceover actor is recording on. First, there is a difference between audition quality and broadcast ready samples.  If you know what kind of equipment the talent is recording on and what kind of software they use in their studio, you can make better choices in casting. For example, did they submit an audition recorded on a travel USB mic but at home they have a higher end microphone with interfacing? Maybe you can get lucky and the audition quality was actually recoded on what they would give you for a final product.

Because this is so important to the process, let’s break this down a little bit more. In the most simple basic terms, a USB mic plugs directly into the computer. There are some that sound okay but the top of the line microphones are never, ever USB mics. Then there are microphones.  There are many many different microphones that vary in quality, that plug into interfacing, which, in turn, plugs into the computer. The interface is converting the analog signal of the microphone to the digital signal for the computer. There are all levels of interfacing. 

The more professional the voiceover actor is, the more expensive his or her equipment is likely to be. He or she will also likely have backup equipment and travel rigs when on the road. Typically there is a section on every voice actor’s website where he or she lists what equipment is available in studio and you can factor that into your choice.

Voiceover work can be done on both Macs and PCs. Some editing softwares, like TwistedWave, are exclusive to Mac, but this does not effect the quality of what you get. Some commonly used software programs include Audacity, Adobe Audition, and Protools. The list goes on and on.

What really matters, though, is how proficient your actor of choice is at editing. All of these programs allow us to edit the raw file and make them sound perfect, but you want to pick the talent who has had enough technical training to send you a file that is pristine.

You also might consider what professional memberships and accreditations the voiceover actor has to his or her name. Someone bidding on one of your jobs will not be a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild because, once in SAG, bidding on non-union jobs threatens their union status. You might, however, find non-union voice talents who are members of WoVo, which stands for best practices in the professional voiceover world.  So, any one who has been vetted by other professionals and is a member is a good start for you. Further, they may likely have a stamp on their website with an approval number that shows that his or her studio has been approved by WoVo. This means that the voiceover actor has gone through a lengthy approval process and multiple engineers have tested his or her files and certified the quality of the studio. Casting a voiceover actor with such a certification is a guaranty of a high level of quality for you.

What other certifications might you look for? You can look for Small Business Association certification. A voiceover actor who has taken the time to do this has likely met with a local PTAC officer or has spent a lot of time on registering the business with SAM, providing it with a certification from the federal government. A talent who has gone through these steps is likely to be reliable and someone you can depend on longterm. Talents are often members of local Chambers of Commerce, the E-learning Guild, and other professional organizations that require different certifications. These memberships not only give you a glimpse into the voiceover actors values and interests, but also give legitimacy to the voiceover actor as a small business owner who you can trust for your booking.

Another consideration when working with a voiceover actor is whether or not they offer guided sessions or phone patch. Particularly if you have not worked with this talent before, a guided session or patching in for several minutes can be extremely helpful. Essentially, these interactions are the same as if you are live and in the booth directing the session. The voiceover talent can hear you in his or her head phones but your voice is not picked up on the microphone.

Typical methods of phone patch include but are not limited to Skype, ipDTL, Source Connect, and ISDN. Skype is the most basic and often international clients choose this as they are not familiar with ipDTL or Source Connect which offer much clearer sound. When a talent has either ipDTL, Source Connect, or ISDN, you can assume that they are professional and working with a certain level of sophistication. IpDTL and Source Connect are quite similar and are both in a race to replace, ISDN, the original method of phone patch requiring copper phone wires. For you, though, as long as the talent that you hire has any of these options, you can ask for a guided session.

Some voiceover actors have a minimum session fee to have a guided session, others do not.   Consider how much direction you feel the talent needs before committing to additional cost. The other important thing to understand is that, in voiceover, a live session equates to final delivery so there are usually no revisions or script changes after that point and there will be an extra charge.

Next, it is time to review the voiceover actor’s proposal. You can learn a lot by a talent by looking at the proposal. Just from the proposal you will get a sense of how pleasant and accommodating the voiceover actor will be. Some proposals are thorough and it  seems like he or she will move heaven and earth to make you happy and includes revisions in the quote.  Other proposals are very brief and it is difficult to tell what they include.  You can always dig deeper but you have already gotten a glimpse into attitudes toward customer service.  You also should be considering turnaround time. Some people offer rush service and others simply do not. If you need your project right away it is important to know a talent’s availability.

Even if you have thoroughly looked at the proposal, there is still so more to consider. Before I hire a talent, I would go to his or her website to do some due diligence. Here, as mentioned above, in addition to checking out what equipment is in each studio, you can learn who the client list includes, and view testimonials from past clients. You should factor all of this into your final choice. After all, you are making an investment into this person. You want to enjoy working with him or her, you want your client to be happy, and, in the end, you want to find someone that you can book again and avoid this entire search process.

Once you pick your final choice, you will give the good news to the happy voice actor.  At this time, let him or her know if there was something on the audition that you were really pleased with or if there was a spot on the demo that you want your read to match that. It makes it easy for both of you if you communicate clearly.  Making a spreadsheet to compare these details, including key deadlines, can be helpful putting everyone on the same page.

  Imagine, just by listening carefully to both the auditions and the proposals, you can find the ideal voiceover actor. And from that, your video will soon have the perfect narrator voicing it. And then… do you know what comes next? That email from your client telling you what an amazing job you did!

Are you curious about studio equipment that voiceover actors should have or what their policy on pickups and revisions should be? Look out for the next blog post!

Further Reading:

Home Studio Monitors are Much Better Than Headphones to Catch Noise

Selecting V.O. Home Studio Headphones

“VO Proposal Basics

WoVo Approved Studio

Help for Government Contracting

Certificates of Competency

I’ve never been one obsessed with meeting celebrities, although I will confess that years ago I was having dinner with my husband at Niko’s on Broadway on the upper West Side and A. Martinez was sitting at the table next to us. I first knew of him from Santa Barbara when I was young and he had played Roy on General Hospital while I was growing up. I’m a pretty chatty girl and I literally could not speak to Harlan the entire meal. Cruz/Roy was next to us for heavens sake!

When I went into voiceover, there were many successful folks that had made good names for themselves that I really admired and I hoped that my career would reach the pinnacle that theirs had. That list could go on and on and would be more of a book than a blog post, from Anne Ganguzza and Kim Handyside, Lisa Biggs and Tracey Lindley, Sophia Cruz, and Cristina Milizia to Marc Scott, J. Michael Collins, and Jody Gottlieb. My list like this could be quite long and it really does go on, these are just a few that come to mind right away. They are regular folks like me who with talent and a lot of hard work have built solid careers. I also love that there are so many women supporting their families and making it work.

With the Bill DeWees and Dave Fennoy in Chicago, IL 2016

With the Bill DeWees and Dave Fennoy in Chicago, IL 2016

Then for some reason in my mind there are some others that I just get super excited to meet. Perhaps in my mind they are booking work that I would love to book, or perhaps it’s because they have been at voiceover consistently for a while. Perhaps it’s their gumption. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it is somewhere in between admiration and the A. Martinez/Oprah reaction in terms of how excited I get just to be in their presence.

One of the first “big names” I got to meet was Dave Fennoy. The BAFTA nominated legend known for his many video games including “The Walking Dead,” happened to be one of the presenters at a marketing conference I attended called Voicover revolution in Chicago last year. Not only did I get to meet Mr. Fennoy, I sat with him at lunch! We talked about printing scripts versus using ipads to read and we talked about travel rigs. We also talked about his SAG centered career. I loved every minute.

With Randy Thomas and J.Michael Collins in Studio City, CA

With Randy Thomas and J.Michael Collins in Studio City, CA

Another exciting moment was when I met Randy Thomas this fall in LA. Randy is heard regularly on promos and radio imaging across the country but is probably most known as the announcer for the Oscars and the Grammys. I came to meet her by way of a colleague J. Michael Collins. J. Michael had produced my new radio imaging demo and said that I should give Randy a call if I really wanted to pursue imaging. He sent an email of introduction and next thing I knew I was talking to Randy! She suggested that I come to LA for VO Mastery which was truly an excellent experience. I met this amazing genuine, authentic, kind, and extremely talented women in person and loved her conference.

While at VO Mastery I met Elize Jane Schneider of “South Park” fame!!! I had wanted to meet Eliza since I started my training as Eliza trained my first character coach Fred Frees and did his demo. Eliza is nothing short of brilliant. She is a dialect specialist and seems to have a photographic memory and the best ear of anyone I have every met. She can compare someone in rural Alabama to someone in Australia as she has traveled the world talking to common folks and neurologists alike all in the name of amazing voiceovers. As if that isn’t enough, she also sings. So on a Saturday morning in October, I sat next to her at breakfast and drank coffee. It’s a miracle I didn’t spill it on myself I was so excited.

I also got to meet Bob Bergen this year. The current voice of Porky Pig and a sitting member on the Television Academy’s Board of Governors was presenting the lifetime achievement award to Lily Tomlin at the SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts and Sciences Awards) at Lincoln Center this year. I knew that he would be there and I was so excited just to be in the same room as Bob. Shock of shocks I would myself face to face with him and we actually had time to chat at length. We had a substantial conversation about rates, giving up work to wait for the right gigs, and going for union bookings. It was far from small talk and I was so thankful to have the thoughts of someone with so much industry experience. Wow. It blew me away. All that and a photo…

My list of industry folks who I have met that I look up to is also quite long, from Debi Derriberry to Joe Cipriano- the existence of these folks is an inspiration to me every single day. They set the bar high and they make our industry community great. When I was a little girl and my mom told me I could be anything I wanted if I just tried really hard, I am pretty sure a career in voiceover never once crossed her mind. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life!