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Saturday, November 03, 2018

Google Plus is Closing Down - It's Time to Re-evaluate Your VoiceOver Social Media Strategy

I must admit I felt quite sad when I heard Google Plus was shutting down - not that I was surprised, as it had been mooted for a long time - as I had become rather fond of its ad free charms. 

For voice-over artists, there were a number of useful groups providing helpful advice and support. I even hosted a voice-over jobs community section where I curated VO gigs from around the web, which proved quite popular. 

It was different from the other social media sites too. For starters it was kinder and lacking in trolls. Experts would generously give up their time to answer voice-over queries from newcomers. No question was considered too silly or naive, as contributors usually gave encouragement in a kindly way.

Of course other platforms provide similar communities and there are some very supportive groups on Facebook and Linkedin, but Plus seemed more inclusive and less judgemental. The interface was cleaner and less cluttered. 

Fans became quite protective of its quirks and regarded its environment as a safe haven in which to discuss voice-over issues.

I suppose in a funny sort of way, you could say it was special.

But it is about to rest in peace in that great social media graveyard, along with the likes of Friends Reunited, Vine and Yahoo Buzz (no, I've never heard of it either). MySpace is still hanging on in there, but for how much longer? From a voice actor's point of view it is a timely moment to review your social marketing strategy.

For starters make sure you have a Facebook page in addition to your profile. Regularly post articles about what you are doing. Even if you have not yet been hired for any voice-over work, there is plenty you can talk about. Let visitors know that you are compiling a refreshed showreel or buying a new microphone for example.
Remember a Facebook page is just like having your own voice-over website.

There are some great Facebook groups as well that offer support and even jobs like Online Voice Actors Actresses: Support‎OVAA: Paid Content Only

Then there is Linkedin with its more business like approach. Again the platform hosts useful communities such as these below:

Consider Twitter and Instagram too. The latter has become one of the most successful social media operators and a 'must have' for anyone running a small business, which as a voice-over artist is exactly what you are. 

Google Plus is dead, long live (the spirit of) Google Plus.

Gary Terzza is a UK British voice-over coach helping newcomers break into the industry. 

Friday, September 07, 2018

Improve Your Voice-Overs.... Don't Let The Script Get in The Way

There's an old saying in acting, and that is you have to learn your lines and then forget them. But what does that mean? And how does it apply to us as voice over people?

It's a puzzle isn't it, what does it mean? You're learning your lines and then you're forgetting them. Well it doesn't mean you don't remember them. 

What they're referring to in the acting community is that the words on the page are not really important once you are delivering your lines because it's the meaning and the tone and the emotion that is far more important. 

Okay you've got to try and get the words in the right order and remember what they say. But that's part and pass of being an actor I guess. Now for us as voice over artists, we can't forget our lines, can't possibly do it, there they are, written on the script in front of us. 

But I think it has some relevance, that old saying has some relevance to us as well, in terms of our performance. 

And that is because really the words on the page are just that, that's all they are. They have no meaning, no life until we bring our voices to them. And it is the way we do that, that is important.
So the words on the text, on the page are of course, they're important. 

Clients have probably spent a lot of money on copywriters or whatever trying to get the best words they can in some cases. But they don't really as words that just lie there, they don't really live, they don't breath and it's our job to do that. 

It's our job to infuse them with emotion and to convey that message. Whatever it is, whether you're selling second hand cars or you're informing people doing a corporate or you're narrating an audio book. It really doesn't matter. The principle remains exactly the same. You're owning those words. 

We talk about ownership of words in voiceovers. 

So they're somebody else's words but they become yours and that's the important thing to remember. So although you can't forget your lines, you can't forget your words, you can at least forget that they are just words, and start to bring your personality, your individuality and your tone of voice to the message that is being written or has been written on the page. 

So I think that old actor saying has quite a lot of relevance to what we do. As long as you own your words, you should be fine. Alright, thanks very much for watching today. Look after your voice and see you next time.

Gary Terzza is a British voice-over coach.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Best Way to Edit Your Voice-Overs

When it comes to recording and editing, there are various ways to achieve the same result. But in my opinion, the BEST route to take is to do the following:

Go into record mode on your DAW software (eg Audacity) and keep that red button pressed. Don't stop the recording. 

As you start reading the voice-over script, you will begin to make mistakes - it happens to us all, so don't worry. When you do fluff, correct the errors as you go along. 

The important thing to remember is that you are amending your mistakes as you read. Always leave a small gap between your retakes so you have enough room to edit cleanly. 

Now, when you review the complete recording in post production, you will be able to hear and see where the issues are. You simply remove the incorrect read and bring the two correct deliveries together, making a seamless, mistake-free recording.

It is definitely the simplest way to edit your voice-over recordings. 

See this video for a visual insight. 


Gary Terzza teaches beginners in the UK how to break into the voice-over business.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Cracking The Audiobook Market: A Beginner's Guide

In this video I take a look at the plusses and minuses of starting out in the audiobook narration business. Take it from me, not everyone is suitable.

Would you have the stamina to cope with hours of reading? This can be a real marathon, especially when you consider you also wear the hat of the producer. An audiobook can take hours to produce.

If you are sharing the royalties with the author, your potential profits could be high, but if not many people purchase the downloads you may have invested all that effort for nowt. Check it is a book you actually want to read.

That said, audiobook narration is a growing area of voice-overs and can really help sharpen your voice acting skills. 

Are you up for the challenge or will you read 'em and weep?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Huge Meditation Voice-Over Script: How Long to Record?

I have just recorded this video about estimating the length of time it will take to record and edit a very large meditation app totalling more than fifty thousand words. 

The next day I had an email from Tess in the West Midlands, who asked:

Gary I didn't quite understand your calculation from the video (yup there's always one and today it's me). 
How did you get 5hrs 20mins from 53,000 words?
And if i understood correctly the 5 is 5 days?

Hopefully my reply added some clarity to the issue:

Hi Tess 
53,0000 words is 5hrs and 20mins finished audio i.e. if you were using this particular meditation app, it would take you 5hrs 20mins to listen to. 
However as the voiceover artist it is going to take you much longer than the project length to record and produce ie 5 times that.

So multiply by 5 to give you your production time and you get 26.5hrs of work required.

I used the example of recording 5hrs a day, so after five days you would have recorded 25 hrs worth with 1.5 hrs left to record, so on the Friday (assuming you started on Monday) you could push the boat out and do 6.5hrs instead to make up the 26.5hrs in total.

Of course if you have a proper day job, it could take you a month or more to record 26.5hrs, depending on your availability.

The main thing to remember is the ratio of 5:1. In other words for every 1 hour of finished audio (10,000 words) it will take you 5 hours to record and edit. This should be your yardstick.

Hope that (sort of) makes sense!
All the best
If anyone else has a question about the video and the principles behind calculating recording time from word count, please let me know in the comments section.