Convert Text Speech

David Radtke wrote an excellent article on rates, just posted on  VoiceOverXtra called “Lowballing Hurts”.

I agree wholeheartedly with his argument.  But even  he admits people who lowball are often newbies who just want to get their foot in the door.  Been there?  yeah, me too.  I had NO IDEA what to charge when I started out.

No matter how much you agree with David or Paul Strikwerda or any of a number of other erudite and well-versed apostles for this point of view, the low-balling will not likely stop.  There will always be the poor.  I”m not recommending that we give up the fight.  Just prepare that the battle will  never end.

Niche Business Model

I had an interesting chat yesterday with a guy who’s developed an enterprising business model.

He’s found a niche that would require the use of voice actors.  The venue is long-format narrations, and he admits the pay would fall into the “lowball” category..that, after we had a talk on Skype and I explained it to him.

He’s not looking for excellent quality. But he’s pretty sure he wants human  readers.

His idea is text to speech with REAL narrators, not the synthetic voices that are making inroads in some areas of our business. The copy is mostly business documents…pdf’s, spreadsheets,  analyses, proposals, technical reads, and other content generated by any of an endless number of offices in an endless number of companies in hundreds of cities across our nation.

His argument is that most of the people who are supposed to READ those documents don’t have the time, and would rather have someone read the document TO them.  He believes the listener is not too discerning, and won’t mind if it’s not a totally professional read.

Is he right?  Is this the kind of thing a newbie should take on as an “intern”, for minimal pay, while he/she practices?  Could a voice-actor take this on as a successful “niche”?

I’d like to hear what you think about it.

In the meantime, here’s the website to Convert Text Speech.

CourVO

 

Celebrity Voice vs. Voice Actor

On at least two ocassions, I’ve used this blog to bash the practices of hiring big-name celebrities in the roles that voice-actors traditionally filled.  Yeah, there was some jealousy involved.  (notice how I conveniently omit the blog links) :)

For a couple of reasons, that view is shortsighted.  First, it’s not going away, and secondly, THOSE GUYS are making more work for US GUYS.

I couldn’t explain it any better than the YouTube video below…featuring, I might add, Kevin Delaney and Pat Fraley and others who speak very well (heh) for the reality of having screen celebs play key voices in animated films.  Just watch, you’ll see what I mean.

CourVO

(to watch on YouTube, click HERE)

ISDN Listing

Studio master, and voice-talent pro Michael Minetree is seeing a flurry of activity on his new website: VOICES WITH ISDN.

The site is self-interactive.  In other words, when you register as a user, you can begin to add yourself to the listings with a pic, brief bio, links, etc.

Michael is a genius at setting-up this kind of stuff, and for the price (free!), it certainly can’t hurt to add your info to the list of luminaries already joining.

There’s also a place to tout your Source-Connect capabilities along with your ISDN codecs and contact numbers.

Thanks Michael!

CourVO

PieHole

piehole ‘Dedicated to the proposition that your best chance of getting a job as a voice-over talent is through the copywriters, producers and advertisings, PIEHOLE is an Ireland-based website that offers to make that happen.

Their website “about” page states: “We market the site directly to copywriters and producers in the advertising industry.”

If it’s true that overseas markets are the hot opportunities not to be ignored by today’s voice talent…and that a North American accent is coveted by booking agents as much as any other dialect, then this may be a site you’d want to visit.

The sign-up process is free and painless.  The usual photo, bio, and a single .mp3 upload and you’re on your way.

All you have to do is get past the glottal wallpaper everywhere on the site (sample above), and you might even find some tips and leads that work to your advantage.  They also offer a free downloadable document on “…the free ebook with 25 tips and tricks of the millionaire voiceover artist…”

CourVO

In Residence x 3

Resident_Evil_1 Should I feel flattered or flummoxed?

‘Love getting audition notices, but when they’re from three different respected agencies, and all three leads are exactly the same, which do you answer?  All 3?  Pick one?  Which one?

I suppose every well-connected voice actor has seen the call for an edgy “Resident Evil” game movie-trailer voice by now.  Which means, oh…maybe…ah….what?…. 300 other top-notch voices are vying for the same job…maybe 500 voices even.

Don’t tell me this isn’t a competitive business.  That’s just a little fib we all reassuringly perpetuate on the VO message boards to make us feel better that we didn’t book the job.

S’OK…I put mine out there.  Maybe this time MY trailer voice is the one they pick!

CourVO

EveryDemo and MyNextDemo Throw In Together

See below the fold to read the announcement that  EveryDemo and MyNextDemo are merging into one service.

I’m neither endorsing nor criticizing either…this is just info.  Theirs might be a service that could interest you.

CourVO

SIGjpg2bigger 

[Read more...]

VOCareer

vocareer 

‘Might want to check out this site.  I got an e-mail today with this announcement:

—————

Dear Dave,

We are please to introduce a brand new company in the world of voiceovers – www.VOCareer.com. As an existing or aspiring VO talent, VOCareer.com is the place for you to Start, Accelerate and Dominate as a voiceover artist. Our service provides ALL a voiceover talent needs including training, marketing, brand building, graphic & web design, small business services and so much more.

We offer a variety of services plus honest feedback and career consultations.  It’s our vision to recommend the best products and services to help you achieve your voiceover goals, that’s why we recommend not only our services but those of many other reputable VO companies too.

If you have not already done so please visit www.vocareer.com and receive your FREE no obligation voiceover evaluation. This value tool is packed with free, honest information that will help you to know if your career is on the right path. It includes suggestions for improvements as well as a review of your demo by one of our highly skilled voiceover evaluators. In addition, we recommend you take advantage of a FREE counseling session with one of our VO Career Consultants that comes with each free evaluation.

Get your career on the right path with www.VOCareer.com today!

—————————

‘Looking at their staff as shown on the website, the only person I recognize is Gabrielle Nistico of VoiceHunter.com…but who am I?  I just know Gabrielle is a stand-up kinda….er…uh…girl.

Let me know if you’ve heard anything good or otherwise about this site or it’s people.
I have NOT had a chance to check ‘em out myself.

CourVO

Strangest Thing…

On air
…to happen to me in a while.

A new client finds me on the internet…presumably through my Google Ads, or maybe on V123…I forget.

That's good.  And he likes my voice.  That's also good.

'Says he runs an internet radio station, and wants me to voice (3) :60 ads with character voices.  He's not willing to pay much, and he keeps mentioning I can "doctor" the copy if I want…to make it better.

I tell him that's an extra fee, but that I'm game if he's not in a big hurry (remember: fast, cheap, good — you get to pick 2).

Not only is he not in a big hurry, but he doesn't care if the ":60" is a :60…not even close!…and when I look at the copy, I see why…it's long.

I dunno…after 30 years in broadcasting, I can pretty much land a :30 or a :60 within one second and never have to look at a clock.  I'm not bragging, it's just an internal clock you earn after a while.

I guess I'm glad I don't have to pack :80 secs worth of s#%&+ in a :60 bag, but something about not having any FCC rules hanging over your head just seems really odd to me.

I'm trying to learn this new internet stuff….I really am!

CourvO

Adventures in Voice Acting

Adventures in VO
No, that’s not meant to be just an eye-catching headline.  It’s actually a website.

And the picture you see depicts their main product as far as I can tell…an instructional DVD they want you to buy that will explain the ins and outs of the voice-acting business.  One website testimonial states “it’s a must-see documentary for fans and aspiring voice actors alike”.

Digging deeper, you’ll quickly see this is a site for people who aspire to voice anime’ cartoons.

Dig even further, and you’ll find BangZoomEntertainment (worth a look just for the great cartoon animation).

BangZoom is a full-service audio post-production animation studio in SoCal that boasts clients like Atari, Cartoon Network, and MTV.  Their website is an online example of what they can do.

I don’t know if buying the DVD is worth it, but if voicing animation, cartoons, or anime’ is your goal in life, it might be worth your while to spend a little time at these two sites.  They could be looking for someone with just your voice.

CourVO

Internet Trolling for Voice Jobs

How much time do you spend on the internet on average?  My ball-park guess for Dave Courvoisier is roughly 5-6 hours/day over the last few months. 

Coming up with that number makes me think I should put a stopwatch on it, and I’d probably be surprised to find it’s much more.

The stuff you find!  The internet-less world of my youth was certainly different.  I’m reserving judgement on whether it was better/worse…but entirely different in terms of time spent at activities.

Luckily being a voice-actor these days requires being technologically savvy.  Some do it only to the extent they have to…I go beyond — way beyond what’s needed, ’cause it all fascinates me.

The following are links to sites on the internet that from time to time (or exclusively) post jobs for voice-actors.  I’m registered on some, planning to register on others, and will drop a couple for the absolute lack of decent leads in several month’s time.

VOICE TALENT NOW – This is the only site of the ones I’m listing which seems to cater only to voice-actors and voice-seekers. (Author’s add 4/27/08: acclaimed voice-actor Peter O’Connell writes to tell me that this site offers Radio & TV ads for $50…sounds like a lowballer to me!)

HARD LIGHT PRODUCTIONS
– "Bringing Modders Together" is the byline here.  ‘Gotta admit, I didn’t know that meant, so thank God for Wikipedia:  "The term modding is often used within the Open Source software movement
and within the computer game community, particularly in regard to creating new
or altered content and sharing that via the web."  This site has an active forum where developers are often seeking voices.  I have no idea what they pay.

ONLINE PROJECT CENTER
– This site really throws a lot of stuff at you…covering a ton of different professions globally. ‘Took me some time to digest it all, and I have no idea how legit the leads are, but HERE is a recent VO lead, just to give you an idea.

NET4MANPOWER – Another site like Online Project Center, it seems, that tries to cover almost every conceivable job description world-wide. There site says: "an Incorporated service
of  Eurostall LTD in Switzerland, UK, USA provding this online
service for the manpower related resources. using this service you can
find the suitable freelancer…"
They do have a MultiMedia category, though, that lists "Voice Talent". Click HERE to see a recent job posting for voice needed.

SIMPLY HIRED – "Job Search Made Simple"  Maybe it’s just another Monster.com… they claim:  "Looking for a job shouldn’t be a full-time job!
      That’s why we built the biggest, smartest job search engine on the web." 
When I chose "film documentary" in their search engine, HERE‘s what I got…just to give you an idea.  I haven’t landed anything here, at least not yet.

STARSEARCHCASTING – This site claims it’s: "The #1 Site Casting Directors Use to find new talent!" That’s a lofty claim.  I’ve registered here, it’s roughly $10/mo, and I must admit I haven’t worked it very hard…so maybe someone who puts a little more time into it would glean more leads.  ‘Jury’s still out for me.

I’m sure this is a short list.  But each one has DOES list jobs for voice-talent.  Let me know if you have any luck!

CourVo