There are many opportunities to use your voice professionally.
The more obvious ones we often talk about here include being a voice over artist for Radio and Television commercials or as a Radio announcer or Podcast presenter…but how about as a Traffic reporter?
Traffic reports are one of the key things that people turn on the radio for on their daily commute and as a Traffic Reporter it involves delivering a lot of time critical, ever changing information in a short space of time.
Here’s an example of a traffic report script;
Victoria St in Richmond’s closed off to citybound traffic right now, with a 5 car smash at Burnley St, and delays are pushing back around the Kew tram depot.
Diversions will get you onto Bridge Rd, but that’s a lot heavier than usual. Try Studley Park Rd into Abbotsford.
There’s some power lines down too, in Flemington, on Racecourse Rd near the Newmarket shops. Both directions have been closed off with repairs underway, and trams on route 57 aren’t getting through that stretch either, with buses running instead.
[sponsor credit] Want blindingly-fast NBN? Try the HelloNet Turbo plan. HelloNet – The most friendly internet you can get. Visit HelloNet dot com dot auThat’s the latest real-time traffic.
The Australian Traffic Network is currently looking to build its talent bank of casual traffic reporters in Melbourne. We spotted this job ad today.
The traffic reporter role involves gathering real-time traffic information in a fast-paced environment during breakfast and drive times and presenting reports on radio and possibly TV.Successful applicants will work well under pressure, have a good understanding of Melbourne’s road network, and be passionate about radio.
Would suit journalists, producers, announcers or street-teamers with proven broadcast experience and who are looking for casual work, with the possibility of permanent full or part-time employment. Possible shifts include early mornings, afternoons and weekends.
It sounds like this role requires people with some experience but it’s a great example of some of the different types of work available where you can use your voice.
When recording a voice over in a professional studio there’s a few people you can expect to be working with.
In an earlier post we met Geoff Esdaile, a creative writer.
Another key person here is the Audio Producer (also known as a Sound Engineer or Sound Designer). Today Andy sat down with Ray Peters, sound designer with the Australian Radio Network (KIIS / GOLD104).
Ray talks about what goes on in recording sessions and offers some great advice for anyone new to voice overs.
Transcription: Interview with Sound Designer – Ray Peters
ANDY: In our series of interviews with people involved in the voice-over industry, we’ve spoken to several voice-over artists, and heard their stories about getting started; and some advice they had for those who are new to voice-over. I’ve also spoken to a creative writer about scripts and casting voice-over talent, but today…get ready…we’re speaking to a key person involved in any voice-over recording process, the Audio Producer! Ray Peters, a sound designer for the Australian radio network. G’day Ray!
RAY: G’day. It’s great to be here. Well, it’s great to be anywhere.
ANDY: You were already here. I came to see you!
RAY: It’s great to be with you. Hello every one.
ANDY: Alright, now, for anyone who’s not familiar with the process of recording a voice-over, you’re not just here to push the record button. You’re really leading the voice-over session. If the writer’s not here, or the writer or the client is here. How does that all play out?
RAY: Ok, we have the writer in and it’s basically a to and fro with him or her, where the writer will say “hey I want this sort of delivery for this particular paragraph” and I’ll say “I think we should have a different sort of delivery towards the end of the script” and then we’ll have the client say “No, this is what I want.” And of course the old saying is “whatever the client wants is correct” so…
ANDY: When you’re giving your feedback during a recording session, as the audio producer or sound designer, you’re hearing the end product.
RAY: Yeah, as soon as the script comes in, and with the client and I here, or the actor hasn’t turned up yet, I’ll go through the script and I’ll think “ok well, first up, we need certain sound effects, certain music,” but then again, the music is not always correct because you’ll have the artist come in and if it’s a flamboyant delivery, and the client wants a rock bed underneath, it’s odd. So whether we’ve picked the wrong talent or the client has picked the wrong music…but we’re here to educate the client, and of course the voice-over person. It’s all about the customer experience nowadays. There’s an old saying that voice-over people, and I’m sure you would have heard it, Andy, voice-over people are puppets. Which means “look, you’ll play them as marionettes.” They will do…they have to do what you want them to do. It’s nothing nasty, it’s just you will perform to what beat we want you to perform.
ANDY: I completely get that. And you mentioned talking about clients being in there? How often do you have a client in there with yourself, the writer and the voice-over artist? How often is the client there?
RAY: Fairly often, because a lot of new clients or a lot of the business we bring to the table, these sorts of clients have never been in a production studio and a lot of time we try to make them feel comfortable and even the new voice-over people we get. Have a laugh with them, have a laugh with the client, say something silly in the background, and sometimes, if the client is ok with it, we’ll do some colorful words and all of a sudden, the client will start relaxing, the voice-over person will have a laugh and start relaxing.
ANDY: Good tip there, coz it is a fairly high pressure situation, if you’re the voice-over artist in the studio, you’ve got three, four, maybe more people staring at you and telling you to dance.
RAY: I’m not a firm believer in having all these people in here. I mean one or two, fine. But you’ve got to understand when the voice-over person is trying to read a spot and you’ve got one person saying one thing, another person saying another, and then you’ve got me saying a third, it’s confusing for the artist and the voice-over artist will start freaking out thinking “Oh, maybe it’s just me that’s doing it wrong” and folks, it’s never you that’s doing it wrong, it’s the client. He has one thing in his or her head, and the artist will hear something else in his or her head. But of course, as I said previously, the client is always right.
ANDY: Scenario here: Let’s say you’ve just recorded a 1 30 second ad, how much time do you generally allocate for the voice-over recording session.
RAY: It’s usually an hour, for one 30 second spot, or be it 10 30 seconds spots.
ANDY: You hope to not have to use that full hour?
RAY: Yeah, we try not…no. We had a situation where a high end car dealership wanted to advertise an open day at a certain place and we had Rod Mulliner come in. He nailed it first take, but of course, we need some back-up takes and also look, there’s a safety whatever. And we had the client on the phone, and the client was very picky about certain inflections on certain syllables where after half an hour, I mean after half an hour any voice-over artist will start getting flustered, and you can tell. They don’t get angry, it’s unprofessional to get angry, but I have seen it. They just don’t hear it in their heads anymore and they won’t embrace the script anymore. It’s like “oh, look, if that’s what they want, fine.”
ANDY: How did that work out in the end? It all came together in the end obviously.
RAY: It came together, from Rod Mulliner’s point of view but then as the sound designer or the cowboy putting the stuff together, then you put it together, send it off for the client approval and then you’ll get half a page of “At this point, the sound is too loud, at that point it’s too soft…” and of course, you just go back and forth, back and forth. And again you do what they want.
ANDY: How many spots do you think you’re making in a day?
RAY: Look, we might do 20, 25, spots a day, but we don’t sausage factory stuff. And I know guys in country markets, provincial markets and I’ve been there before, where you’ll do 40 or 50 spots a day or something…
ANDY: Yeah I think my record was 55 in one day in Shepparton.
People coming in here to read ads, what sort of talent are you usually working with? New talent, are they experienced, clients voicing their own ads? What’s the average VO talent like coming in here?
RAY: Well they’ve been doing it for long, long time. Again, when we write our commercials, we’ll go through all the websites …RMK…and pick the right talent…
ANDY: ahem…EM Voices
RAY: EM voices, sorry. We do audition the voices to what would suit that particular script. This has happened a couple of times where…please folks, you guys that are starting out, don’t fall into this, we’d hear the demo reel of a person A and they just don’t sound like that when they come in here. Their demo tape has been doctored to make us as writers and producers impressed where they don’t come up with the goods.
ANDY: That’s an interesting point because I’m getting a lot of people coming to me saying “Can you help me put together a demo.” These are people who are very new. And they haven’t…maybe they’ve only done one or two recordings in a studio before and I said…and the problem with that is people like you and me as audio producers, we can actually spend enough time with someone in a studio, you can actually make them sound amazing, but it’s not reflective of their actual performance level. So when you then go…so if someone was to work with me for a few hours, I’d make them a great sounding demo, then if I threw them in the lion’s den with you Ray, I think they might be in a bit of trouble. And you don’t want people to come undone like that. They need to have the experience, right?
RAY: No, no, no.
ANDY: Is there anything that talent sometimes does that sort of bugs you?
RAY: What bugs me sometimes in with new talent is they’ll come in and be very nervous. What we try to do here is as soon as someone new comes in, we put on a show…a comedy show for them to help them relax and even, as I said earlier, even with the client, we’ll all have a laugh just to make you feel comfortable and it certainly helps the new talent, even with…who’s afraid that “there’s a client here, and oh no, how am I going to perform in front of a client?” Folks, you’re starting out, you’re performers, you’re actors. Embrace it. A long time ago, working up in Queensland, in Mackay as an on-air announcer. The program director always said to us “every performance, every time you’re on air, think of it as a rock performance. You’re in front of ten thousand people, and you’re giving the performance of your life. Every shift should be like that.” Every voice-over person should embrace that kind of thinking when you get employed by Southern Cross Austereo, or ARN or DMG or what are they now?
ANDY: Nova Entertainment.
RAY: Nova Entertainment. When you go into a radio station, you should…
ANDY: Bring you A game. Is that what you’re saying?
RAY: Yeah! Bring your A game.
ANDY: Bring your A game to every job.
RAY: Even if you end up buggering up the script or whatever, it doesn’t matter. Attitude is, I think, 85% of the job.
ANDY: What ultimate tip would you have for someone who just, out of the blue, they work in a completely unrelated industry, you’ve run into them, you tell them what you do, you say “Hey I make radio ads for a living,” they say…you say you work with voice-over artists” They say “Voice over artists? That’s sounds like something interesting, how do I get into that?” Where do you send them from there?
RAY: If they only want to be a voice-over artist, I’d say do an acting course, just to know how to deliver certain lines. And that’s what sets you apart from anyone else. A lot of guys that haven’t done an acting course as such, they’re not sure of how to deliver certain lines, and you can repeat and repeat it to them, they won’t get it. But an acting course really helps. There’s a million voice-over artists, I think half of them, they don’t embrace the script, as in…I’ve seen it before, I’ve heard it before, where we’ll have a voice-over artist come in, or actor, come in and he or she doesn’t or cannot read three words in advance. For instance, an example would be, the artist will come in, read the commercial and not know what the commercial, what the script is all about. With anyone new starting, I seriously recommend that, for want of a better word, it’s embrace the script, but understand what inflections, what delivery, whether it be a big verbose delivery or something more of a cartoonish delivery. You’ve really got to know what the script is about. It’s no good just reading the words on the paper, because you’ll just never get it. What I suggest again, acting and learn to read out aloud. We were always taught to get a cassette recorder, listen to how old I am now. Get a cassette recorder…
ANDY: Ray’s 150 everyone!
RAY: Get a cassette recorder and a newspaper, shut the door, and read the newspaper out aloud while you’re recording yourself and then go back to the tape, have a listen to your inflections and you’ll start…it’ll start clicking. But it doesn’t matter what sort of voice you have, you can have a squeaky voice, or a big voice, nowadays, if you have a squeaky voice, great, we’ll have you doing a mouse in a certain ad. If you’re good, you’ll get the gig again, if you’re not, well…
ANDY: I’m a bit worried now, because I haven’t been in here for a while and I had to invite myself over today. Ray, some great advice, some great stories in there as well. Folks, if you ever do get to come into ARN, chances are you will be up against this guy Ray Peters. Thanks again for the chat.
RAY: My pleasure. And folks, if you really want something bad, grab it with both hands. Thanks a lot, Andy.
One of the latest episodes of this podcast covers the importance of your voice for health and wellbeing.
Have you stopped to think that how you articulate and project your voice could be tied back into your own sense of self.
Reality is, we are constantly marketing ourselves with every conversation we have, so best make that count. In this episode, Nat is asking Cecelia the questions about her own career as a radio host and voice over artist, how she has learnt to use her voice in various ways as well as tips and tricks for even the shyest of people to really make your voice heard. Listen below.
Some of the ideas and tips discussed here are expanded on in the activities during the Introduction to Voice Over Course.
The next courses are running over the weekends of September 1 & 2 and October 20 & 21. Only 10 places are available for each date. Book your place here.
That’s just some of the advice that Tamblyn Lord shares during our conversation about how he came into the world of Voice Overs.
This week Andy managed to get Tamblyn into a studio for a 1:1 chat to discover not just how he got started in the industry, but how he balances his work with other interests and the value of having a great agent.
Firstly, we’ve set this short, two day course us as the absolute first step for anyone thinking about doing any kind of work with their voice. That means you don’t need any experience, just a desire to know more about the voice over industry and what you can do with your voice.
Many people have come to us because somebody has commented on their voice or they’ve been listening to the radio or watching TV and wondered if they could do what those voices in the Ad breaks do.
This weekend you could discover if doing Voice Overs is something that you’re really interested in pursuing.
Over the two days you’ll learn more about controlling and using your voice, and spend plenty of time recording with the help of two voice over coaches who have decades of experience.
This all takes places in a professional recording studio setting which also gives you a great taste of what the future could hold.
Finally, it’s important to be realistic and remember that no course can ever guarantee you paid work. What we can do for you however it help you develop your skills and demonstrate some of the pathways to expanding your experience if you’re looking at becoming a professional voice over artist in the future.
We’re really excited to be working with the 8 people who have already signed up for this weekend and perhaps we’ll see YOU there too. If you have questions about the course, email or call as we’re happy to chat about all things voice over.
Over the past week we’ve had many emails and phone calls about the course and what it involves, so if you also have a question please DO reach out and ask. Both myself and Cecelia love having conversations about the industry that we’re very passionate about, so feel free to email or call (phone number top right of your screen). You can even jump onto our Facebook page and hit us up on chat.
The course days are informative, fun and very practical. You’ll be spending plenty of time in front of the microphone with the voice coaches and you’ll get a copy of everything you record with us, including one recording that will be fully produced (Like a radio commercial for example).
If you’re holding out until the ‘next’ course…we’ve yet to set a date for it so if you can, grab one of the last spots in the July 7 & 8 course.
We’d love you to come along and discover more about your voice and what you can do with it.
We have a few different payment options available, which means you can simply pay up front… or pay the same amount over 3 installments.
Payment option 1:
Use the first ‘Pay Now’ button on the Course Dates-Bookings page and pay $550.
This option uses PayPal, however you don’t need to have a PayPal account to use it, you can simply use a credit card.
Payment option 2:
Use the next ‘Pay Now’ button under the title “Pay over 3 installments option”.
This option also uses PayPal, but sets you up to Pay the amount of $183.34over 3 months.
Payment option 3:
If for any reason you don’t want to use the PayPal / Credit card options but you’re happy to pay the full amount you can contact us and we’ll send you a Tax Invoice for $550 that will need to be paid prior to the weekend of the course.