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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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Should Voice Actors Quit Social Media?

I have just been reading the news that one of the UK's largest pub and restaurant chains has pulled out of all social media platforms. JD Wetherspoons has dumped Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with "immediate effect". 

The company cites trolling, lack of engagement and concerns over personal data. 

But what about voice-over artists? Should we consider doing the same?

This would fly in the face of accepted wisdom. In fact I have been touting the benefits of social media for years and in one video I suggest it is an essential part of your marketing. 

Did I (and many others) get it wrong?

Firstly, I feel we may be the victims of group think. One expert says social media is important, so we all jump on the bandwagon. And why not? It has been the hot topic for many voice-over talents for a long time. 

Scratch below the surface, though, and it is difficult to find any reliable evidence that social media promotion actually works. In my own case, I only have circumstantial evidence from my voiceover students. 

Linkedin has worked for a couple of people and Twitter's network business hours have yielded voice-over work for one of my graduates in Leicester. Other than that, affirmations are hard to find. 

Let us face it - few voice actors know how to use these networks properly in order to find VO jobs. 

And here is an inescapable aspect of social media: you end up only talking to likeminded folks. Voice-over groups inside our filter bubbles rarely attract the people we really want to reach..... the clients. 

After all, why would a potential client be looking at a voice actor's Instagram or Twitter account? All those pictures of microphones, headphones and acoustic foam can become tiresome.

They are more likely to be doing a Google search hunting for a voice they think is a good fit for their project. Your website's SEO is surely of greater importance. 

So what should you do?

Taking a stand and quitting social media for moral or business reasons seems laudable and you are probably chiming with the current zeitgeist. 

However, it is a high risk strategy. What if Facebook et al get their house in order and emerge invigorated and more user-friendly? They have deep pockets and can withstand substantial knocks.

If this happens, you will have quit prematurely and will probably be on the wrong side of marketing history. 

On the other hand, if the backlash against social media intensifies, most voice-over talents will want to be as far away from the swamp as possible. 

These are interesting times.

What has been your experience of social media? Please let me know in the Comments section.


Gary Terzza is a UK voice-over coach.