Information-packed Books for Your Voiceover Business

book libraryIs there a bookshelf in your studio? Does it hold dogeared or sticky-noted books you find useful from day-to-day? Do you have room for more? Is your iPad or other tablet device loaded with your goto business references? With gigabytes of space, imagine the almost endless possibilities.

During time in the studio, I find myself reaching for one or another from my collection. I use them for both inspiration and to run my business. While I understand the convenience of the Internet and it’s connection to all things informational (If it’s on the Interweb it must be true, right?) I depend on the access I have to my physical and digital bookshelves.

Even if your is answer no, read on because you might find something that interests you in the following recommendations. You’ll also find a selection of books that other voiceover talents and freelancers have shared with me, that according to them, are excellent resources.

 

cache_320_320_0_100_100_coverThe Confident Indie” and “The Confident Indie Keeps Good Records

by June Walker

For creative types just starting out or people who have been in business on their own for a while and need some practical tax guidance, June Walker, Tax Adviser to the Self-Employed, has your needs covered with her two books.

The Confident Indie Keeps Good Records

The “Confident Indie” is easy to understand, fun to read, and very accessible for the non-financial freelancer. Chapter coverage includes initial stages of setting up your business, expenses, record keeping and taxes.

The companion title, “The Confident Indie Keeps Good Records” is a deep dive into understanding the methods for keeping financial records and why detailed records are important come tax time.

Both books are available in either hard copy or digital form. Currently, June is offering a great deal when the books are purchased together.

vo_legal_bookVoice Over LEGAL

by Robert J Sciglimpaglia Jr.

When looking for legal advice for your voiceover business, I recommend starting with Attorney, Actor, and Voice Actor Robert Sciglimpaglia’s “Voice Over LEGAL.” You’ll learn about insurance, unions, copyrights and more. The included sample talent/client contract that Robert wrote is worth the price of the book alone. Since Robert is a Voice Actor, his writing is geared specifically toward the voiceover business.

Voice Over Legal” is available in multiple digital formats plus paperback.

Voice Acting for DummiesVoice Acting For Dummies

by David Ciccarelli and Stephanie Ciccarelli

If you are looking for a goto book on just about everything in the voiceover business, “Voice Acting for Dummies” is a solid contender. In this book, authors David and Stephanie Ciccarelli, founders of Voices.com, combined their years of experience and observations about voiceover. With over 300 pages, it’s loaded with detail and coverage includes creating characters, building a home recording studio, auditioning for voiceover jobs and several other areas in its compendium of 23 chapters.

Digital and hard copy formats are available.

VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over ActorVO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over Actor

by Harlan Hogan

Have you ever been curious about what the voiceover business was like before it got all fancy with the Internet and home studios? If you are a voice actor or have an interest in how the business has evolved, this is one book that you must read.

Harlan Hogan takes you on a journey from the early days of being a voice actor, where auditions were done in person with other talent, to his predictions of where voice acting may be heading in the future. Each chapter in “VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over Actor” features a narrative from Harlan’s rich voiceover background and useful information and techniques about the voiceover biz.

You’ll be saying, “Wow!” to yourself the entire time you’re reading it and you won’t want to put it down until you’ve hit the last page. It’s a very cool read!

VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over Actor” is available in digital and hard copy formats.

Power TalkingPower Talking – 50 Ways to say What You Mean and get What You Want” (out of print)

By George R. Walther

Any book with the word “talking” in its title is certain to be an eye catcher for voice talent. I picked this title up when it was first published in 1991 and I continue to refer to it today. George R. Walther does an amazing job of writing about positive talking. There are several ways something can be said. The way which has positive What You Say Is What You Getimpact typically provides the most power and will be better received. The book contains many examples and solutions that can be used in real life.

While “Power Talking” is out of print, its replacement was released in 2010. “What You Say Is What You Get : How to Master Power Talking, the Language of Success” is available in digital and hard copy formats.

Green Eggs and HamGreen Eggs and Ham

by Dr. Seuss

You may be saying, “JC, your melon has spit its last seed. What is this book doing in your list of recommended reads?” This is a great book to practice diction, breath control, rhythm and timing. Are you interested in character voices? Create a voice for each character in the book. If you have kids, they’ll love it! Dr. Seuss wrote to capture the imagination with Sam I Am encouraging readers that green eggs and ham are best eaten anytime, anywhere with anything.

As with the other books listed, “Green Eggs and Ham” is available in both digital and hard copy.

These are seven from my library and I’m always looking for more. What books have you found useful in your career as a voice actor?


Recommendations from other voice talents and freelancers

There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is: A Complete Insider’s Guide to Earning Income and Building a Career in Voice-Overs (Third Edition)
by Elaine A. Clark

The Voiceover Handbook: Practical Advice for Aspiring and Established Voiceover Artists”  (out of print)
by Gary Churcher and Paul Bridge

Voice-Overs: A Practical Guide with CD
by Bernard Shaw

Selling the Invisible
by Harry Beckwith

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
by Keith Ferrazzi

Sound Advice: Voiceover from an Audio Engineer’s Perspective
by  Dan Friedman

The Voice Actor’s Tool Box – Beginner’s Edition
by Maxine Dunn

 

Other posts you might find interesting:

Find Your Voice-Over Answers in These Five Amazing Books

Five Tips for Better Client/Talent Workflow
JewelBeat: A New Royalty Free Music Source
Are You Available?

The Power of Asking

3d characters welcoming at doorDo you dislike asking for stuff? Do you get all wigged out and feel it’s self-serving to ask for something you need or to a lesser extent, want? Would you rather receive that thing you want without asking? You are not alone.

Working with clients every day provides several opportunities to ask for something. With a new client it might be billing, contact and delivery preferences. It could also be a request for a mailing address, a copy of the finished piece; and a testimonial.

Getting a mailing address is simple and should be one of the primary pieces of information you request from your new client.

The request for a copy of the completed production should be made in the agreement you have between yourself and the client. (You do have a written agreement, right?)

Asking for a testimonial is probably the most uncomfortable request to make at first. Perhaps typical thinking is that when a client likes what they receive, a testimonial will follow, unsolicited, right? That seldom happens. It’s similar to when I read a blog that I like. If I have time and feel UN-rushed, I’ll leave a comment. When time is not a luxury, I tell myself that I’ll go back later and leave a comment. As with automatic, unsolicited testimonials, that seldom happens.

Here are three examples that will help you get the information you need, the copy of the finished product you want and the praise you’d love to receive.

Client Information

When I’m in the client setup phase, I send an e-mail that details what I need for the project confirmation I’ll be sending for review and approval. I write the info request in such a way that one thing needs to be satisfied before another step can be completed. (Give me the information I need and I’ll write a project confirmation that will lock in the session time.) The words I use are along these lines:

I’ll write a project confirmation that outlines the process, billing, delivery and associated followup processes. All I need are a few pieces of information from you. Once I receive the info, I’ll send the Project Confirmation for your review and approval and lock in your session time.

Then I add what information I need.

Final Production Copy

Asking for a copy of the produced video, spot, narration or whatever, should be straight forward. Most producers understand the importance of receiving a copy of the finished production. A collection of these will probably be great building blocks for your next demo. I call this out in my Project Confirmation and then remind them one-week after delivery of my voiceover.

Thanks again, for hiring me to do the <name of project> voice-over. I would like to consider using the work I’ve done for you on an upcoming demo reel. Would it be possible to get a digital copy of the finished video? A link to a file that I can download might be the easiest. If you prefer, feel free to send me a CD or DVD copy.

If you choose to send a copy, my mailing address is:

<Your physical mailing address here>

I really appreciate you taking time for me and I look forward to receiving a copy.

If you don’t hear back from them after a week, you may have to reach out to them again. Be persistent and if it’s a piece of work that you know is amazing and clearly needs to be part of your next demo, call your client with your request. There is a fine line between being persistent and annoying and that is something you’ll need to be sensitive about.

Words of Praise

Asking for a testimonial from a client may feel a bit weird. Don’t let it bug you. When you get along well with a client and the project came together nicely, you owe it to yourself to get validation. I know it sounds very self-serving and that’s because it is. Testimonials are useful to share with prospective clients, post on your website, and even use in your signature. They are valuable.

Could you help me out with a small favor? I’m in the process of collecting material for my next website update and I wanted to ask if you would consider writing a testimonial for me.

It can be as short as a sentence or a whole paragraph about your opinion of working with me or what I’ve created for your client. What would be especially helpful is to mention the benefits of working with me. But really, anything at all you’d like to say. I would love to be able to put a quote from you on my website.

If you’d like to see some great examples of what other clients have written, check out the testimonial section on my website at <your website>.

To keep the process simple, you can type your testimonial into the body of an e-mail and send it my way. Then, I’ll copy and paste it into a document and send to my web designer when the time comes.

Thanks so much, and please let me know if there’s any way I can return a similar favor.

Send this one as soon after delivery of your voiceover as possible. Clients will be the happiest about your work right after delivery, that’s why I suggest not waiting any longer than a few days. When you’re met with silence, contact them again.

These tips should come in handy the next time you’re anxious about asking for something. I hope they work for you.

Are there questions you feel uncomfortable asking your clients? Do have any situations where you asked and the response was negative?

Other posts you might find interesting:

Five Tips for Better Client/Talent Workflow
JewelBeat: A New Royalty Free Music Source
Five Ways to be Remembered by Your Clients