VoiceWorld Toronto, It’s a Voice Conference

You may or may not be a professional voice person but you are somebody who enjoys learning about the biz, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading a blog about voiceovers. Now that I have that out of the way, I would like to direct your attention the information below. You’ll find details about VoiceWorld Toronto Conference.

This will be a key opportunity for you to meet like minded people, hear from experts that have been doing the voiceover craft for decades and enjoy the beautiful city of Toronto.

VoiceWorld Toronto Conference

Date: Saturday May 4th, 2013
Time: 8:00 am – 5:30pm
Location: Toronto Hilton Hotel

Prepare to be educated, equipped and empowered

  • Audition like a pro — understand the do’s and don’ts of auditioning in person and online.
  • Learn the ins and outs of the voice acting business, and what it takes to be a successful voice-over talent.
  • Get into business — explore ways to turn your voice acting talent into a business.

About VoiceWorld Toronto

VoiceWorld, the industry’s premier conference, being held in Toronto in 2013, is an immersive experience focused on engaging voice actors from across Canada and the United States. Connect with amazing, influential people who can change your life through courses in artistic development, business and technology preparing you for success in the exciting world of voice acting. A breath of fresh air, VoiceWorld sets out to invigorate and intensify your love for the art of voice acting as never before with an action plan for you to take your business to the next level.

VoiceWorld Toronto Speakers

  • Pat Fraley – Man of Four Thousand Voices, CESD Talent Los Angeles
  • Elley-Ray Hennessy – Award-winning actress, Director and Producer
  • Deb Munro – International Voice-over Talent and Coach
  • David Ciccarelli – Co-Founder and CEO of Voices.com
  • David Goldberg – Owner of Edge Studio
  • Dan Lenard – The Home Studio Master
  • Sunday Muse – Voice-over Artist, Author and Coach
  • Dave McRae – The Voice Mann
  • Stephanie Ciccarelli – Author of Voice Acting for Dummies
  • Wayne Young – Audio Producer and Mixing Engineer

10 Reasons To Attend VoiceWorld Toronto

Early Bird Special ends February 28th!

*Tickets are limited. Purchase your full conference pass by visiting, http://voiceworldtoronto2013.eventbrite.com/

Voice World Toronto
Join us in Toronto for the voice acting conference of the year on Saturday May 4th, 2013.
VoiceWorld

JewelBeat: A New Royalty Free Music Source

If you’re looking for a huge library of inexpensive, high-quality royalty free music tracks, check out the offerings at JewelBeat.com.

– First and only $0.99 music for projects solution.
– Over 35,000 tracks
– True royalty free worldwide
– License agreement to your name/company name with every purchase
– All music is not associated with any performance rights organizations (PROs).
– Huge 3000 sound effects and loop selection that is completely free.
More info can be found here: http://bit.ly/ifgFjD.

You’ll be amazed at the selection and the high production value of each track. Very cool!

Find Your Voice-Over Answers in These Five Amazing Books

First, let met point out that books are not dead! While mobile devices like the iPad and Kindle have reshaped the publishing landscape, books are still useful. They offer a wealth of information that’s just a page turn away, whether it be digital or physical. While I can dive into the Internet and search for answers, I also like having a book written by a knowledgable expert that’s within easy reach.

The reference library for my voice-over business ranges from setting up a home studio to marketing my services. The books I’m sharing with you are what I think are some of the best available for people investigating, starting up on, or successfully working in the voice acting or voice-over business.

“The Art of Voice Acting” Fourth Edition “The Art of Voice Acting” Fourth Edition

James R. Alburger

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders

James Alburger has earned eleven Emmy Awards, Omni Intermedia Awards, and Silver Microphone Awards for his work as a director and audio producer. He has over 35-years of experience as a performer and in the recording studio. James has condensed his success into a book that every person interested in a voice acting career should read. “The Art of Voice Acting” features chapters that include a business overview, working with copy, auditioning and studio stories. The book includes a CD of demos from top voice-over artists along with exercises to help prepare your body, mind and mouth for optimal performance.

“Voice Actor’s Guide to Recording at Home ... and on the Road”“Voice Actor’s Guide to Recording at Home …and on the Road”

Harlan HoganJeffrey P. Fisher

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders

This was the first book I bought for my voice-over reference library. The duo of Hogan and Fisher do an amazing job of explaining what’s needed to set up a home studio that’s suitable for recording. They cover hardware, software, production techniques and more. Both authors have had fascinating careers and you get a glimpse of that along with all their helpful information. This book will help get your brain wrapped around the basics of working from a home studio.

“Voice-Over Voice Actor”“Voice-Over Voice Actor”

Yuri LowenthalTara Platt

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders

There is something for everyone in this book. Yuri and Tara explain the art of voice-over in a casual but very knowledgeable approach. They draw from a number of years of combined experience with clients that include Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Dell, McDonald’s and Budweiser. The book includes a great chapter on warming up your body and vocal path before you audition or perform. I’ve adopted this into my daily routine.

“Voiceovers: Techniques and Tactics for Success”“Voiceovers: Techniques and Tactics for Success”

Janet Wilcox

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders

The approach of this book is to train like an athlete. Long time veteran Janet Wilcox breaks down the process into understanding the rules of the game, training, preparing to compete, and discovering your game or what you’re good at. Janet has done a great job of making what can be ambiguous in the career path of voice actor more understandable. The included CD features exercises and interviews with top voice-over talent.

“Secrets of Voice-over Success”“Secrets of Voice-over Success”

Joan Baker

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders

This book is a must read to get insight from the top voice-over pros. Each chapter is written by a professional who candidly shares their life as a voice actor. You’ll discover how Jim Dale, the voice of all the Harry Potter books, was in the right place at the right time. Each chapter ends with an industry secret, based on the experiences of the chapter writer. A CD is included, which features the demos used by the book’s contributors to get voice-over work. The tragedy of Alzheimer’s struck home when Joan’s Father was silenced by the disease. Proceeds from the book go to The Alzheimer’s Association.

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

Five Must Have Online Gizmos for Your Voice-over Toolbox

It should never be said that voice-over work lacks variety. Whether it be the type of project, length, emotive delivery or just the file format requested by the customer, most projects are unique.

Along the way on my voice-over trek, I’ve gone searching for tools to help me get a particular job to the finish line. Most are easy to use and intuitive to implement. Except for one, all cost nothing to use. Free is a price most anybody can afford.

1. Word to Time

When I get a request to quote a narration project, I start by getting the word count of the script. Most modern word processors have the ability to display word count. Then I head to Edge Studio’s Word to Time Calculator to get an idea of how long the finished time should be. This easy to use calculator allows me to enter the word count or paste in the actual script, and then adjust the delivery rate.

2. Say What?!

Sooner or later you’re going to run into a word that you won’t have a clue how to pronounce. You could ask the copywriter for a phonetic pronunciation and if that’s not available there are three tools you should definitely check out.

The first is Dictionary.com and it’s just what the name implies. Words that you search are retrieved with their definition and an audio pronunciation of the searched word.

In cases where Dictionary.com doesn’t resolve your phonetic quest, check howjsay.com. This online talking dictionary of English pronunciation has over 14-million entries.

For words that are not part of the English lexicon, take a trip to Forvo.com. Touted as the largest pronunciation guide in the world, this tool goes way beyond spoken English. The top languages covered are English, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Czech and Swedish. And for the occasional Star Trek commercial, Klingon is also supported.

3. Audio Formatting

Most clients need the audio file format of MP3, AIF or WAV. For occasions when you need to provide something other than those or you don’t have the means to convert to different file types, I recommend starting with Media.io. You can convert to OGG, WMA, WAV and MP3, and for a few of the formats you have the choice of multiple quality levels.

File formats are pretty standard for most voice-over projects. However, those in the area of telephony may require something completely different. ConvertMyFilesNow.com is great for converting to a variety of on-hold and phone-tree formats.  While this tool does cost a small amount to use, the price is negligible.

4. Save the Video

I ask for digital copies of the finished production whenever I hand off audio to a video producer. For the times that the request goes unfilled, I take a trip to the video sites to see if the project has been published. If it has, I’m in luck and I can download a copy using Keepvid.com. This tool works on YouTube, Vimeo and others.

5. Say Thank You

When you get done with a session, take a moment to write a thank you card and send it off to your client. Include two business cards in the envelope with the card and let them know that you appreciate their business. If you need inspiration on what or how to write a thank you note, take a look at these three sites.

Thank You Note Examples and Tips.com

Thank You Note Samples.com

Letterbarn.blogspot.com

thank-you-notes.com

I use these tools every day, and I’m continually hunting to find more. What are your “must have” online tools of the trade?

10 Things to Keep in Mind when Building a Home Studio

Congratulations on making the decision to set up a home recording studio. With your own studio, you can audition for voice over jobs as much as you want, improve your narration abilities and most importantly, be available to your clients for work. There are many options as far as equipment is concerned, and it should be easy to stay within a relatively small budget.

1. Recording Space

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on a location for recording. A smaller space is easier to set up than a larger area and with the right sound absorbing/dampening material, you can create broadcast quality audio. The goal is to remove as much life or echo as possible. This can be done with sound absorbing material such as Auralex. Find a room without windows if you can. A walk-in closet would be perfect.

2. Digital Audio Workstation

Mac or PC? It doesn’t matter. I recommend that you use an operating system that you know since there will be a learning curve for understanding how to use recording software. There is no sense adding more to your educational stack by having to learn an unfamiliar operating system and recording software.

3. Computer Audio Interface

To get your voice into your computer, you need a computer audio interface (CAI). A single input is all you need to get started. The Apogee One features a single input interface that’s simple to use. Another choice is the MicPort Pro from CEntrance that allows you to convert an XLR microphone to USB. Others to consider include the Fast Track Ultra CAI form M-Audio that will allow input of multiple voices simultaneously. Also take a look at the Lexicon Omega Studio. Since you’ll be using a condenser mic, make sure that the CAI you purchase has 48v phantom power.

4. Software

Take a look at Adobe SoundBooth, Audacity (which is free) or use GarageBand if you go with a Mac system. Also on the horizon is Adobe Audition for Mac, which is currently in Beta. You want to record spoken words and get them to a file format that can be used in post production. ProTools is overkill. While it is the standard for experienced musicians and sound engineers, its not well suited for beginners. Keep it simple.

5. Microphone

The Rode mics are great introductory hardware and they do an amazing job. Other mics to consider would be the Audio-Technica 2020 or 2030 and the Blue Bluebird. Since no voice is the same, it’s a good idea to audition a variety of mics. Some work better with deep resonating voices, while others do a better job with higher voices. Make sure you get a cardioid pattern condenser mic and pick up a pop filter. If you are buying over the net, check the return policy of the retailer. Order 2 or 3 mics and return the ones that fail your audition.

6. Headphones

There are a number of options for headphones. Consider those from reputable companies such as Sony, Sennheiser, AKG and Audio-technica. If you are purchasing a computer audio interface make sure to purchase one with headphone amps built in. There really isn’t a need for a separate headphone amp.

7. Cables

When you purchase your hardware, ask the sales person to set you up with appropriate cables. Monster makes an excellent line with several price points. DO NOT GO CHEAP ON CABLES!!! EVER!!! You’ll need cables for mic, monitors and connecting your CAI to your computer.

8. Monitors

Hearing what you recorded should be done with speakers equal to what your audience will be using. If your audience is primarily listening to the audio you create with their computer, then a smaller monitor is all that’s needed. Since you’re recording spoken word, stereo is not important. Consider self-powered monitors made by Mackie, Behringer, and JBL.

9. Stands

On Stage makes a great line of mic stands. Also consider a music stand to hold your copy while you read. Make sure to purchase solidly built stands.

10. Work Desk

Look for a desk that is comfortable to sit at and will hold all the gear you’ve purchased for recording. The desk should have a top large enough to accommodate your computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, audio interface and a pair of studio monitors.

This should give you enough information to start thinking about how you’ll assemble your home studio. In future posts, I’ll go into each one of these areas in more detail.