Voice Over Newbies……

From Gary Terzza

VO Masterclass

One of the features of the industry is that it is in a constant state of flux – genres come in and out of fashion. Take audioboooks; these were once the preserve of leading actors and personalities such as Martin Jarvis, Miriam Margolyes and Stephen Fry. But now there are so many books published every year (in excess of 100,000 in English alone) that demand for narrators has skyrocketed.  You could make a similar case for videogames and explainer videos which only existed (if at all) on a small scale a few years ago.

If you bought a ‘how to’ book back in 2005, chances are you would need to buy yourself a new, revised copy… if there is one.

Crystallising everything I know about voice overs into some bite-sized chunks of knowledge would be impossible; in fact even though I have produced a number of blogs and videos on the subject, I feel I am only just starting to scratch the surface. So when the nice folks at VoicesUK asked me to write a Beginners’ Top  Ten Tips, I knew it was going to be a tough call. Perhaps 100 maybe?  How about a 13 part series?

So please take my list as a basic introduction. Some of you will be thinking ‘tell us something we don’t already know’, whilst others may think this is all there is to know. It isn’t. There is so much more. Notwithstanding, and after a cup of strong Earl Grey and a jam tart (well two actually), I have produced the following pointers. Let us scratch that surface together.

In no particular order:

Read Aloud.  Do this whenever you can, in the bath, in the car, in your kitchen, don’t just mumble – perform.  It’s the best way to practice. Incorporate a wide variety of material from fiction to history books, gossipy magazines to cultural articles. Breadth and diversity are key.
Set Goals. Give yourself a time-frame and decide where you want to be in 6, 12, or 18 months. Make these achievable and realistic. Start with making your showreel and honing your craft and aim to secure some work, however small. It will be a great confidence booster.
Be a Business. You are a professional voice artist, so keep accounts, receipts and develop a charging structure. Create a business plan with projections over the next one, two and three years. Of course you won’t know exactly how much you will earn, but keeping tabs on your expenses will give you an idea of your bottom line.
Know Your Market(s). Keep an eye on the internet and become an expert on new trends. Are there exciting genres your voice would suit? What are the hot topics doing the rounds? Follow the VO influencers on social media and see what they have to say… you will be learning from the experts.
Set Up A Home Studio. This sounds rather grand, but really it is just a quality microphone, your computer and lots of soft furnishings to improve the acoustics. For recording software download Audacity; it’s easy to learn how to use… and free!
Volunteer. Join a hospital, community or student radio station. This will help with your microphone technique and timing. Joining an amateur dramatics group will give you a deep insight into script delivery and characterisation.
Persist. How dare that TV channel reject your voice demo!? Try again after a few months. Still being shunned? Keep on sending out your voice-reel; a phone call to a production company’s creative director may just yield a positive result and at the very least will raise your profile and signify your interest.
Advertise. Hand out your CD or YouTube link on a business card to people you meet, or try a classified ad or Google Adwords. Set up your VoicesUK showcase – it has great Google ranking and with links to your own social networks along with a direct contact form you’ll help yourself be found – exposure is key to creating brand awareness. When you have a new demo announce it on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook and provide a link (e.g. on Soundcloud) so everyone can hear it. In short,  let the world know you exist.
Think Laterally. Does your local garage need a better on-hold message? Is that estate agent making a promotional video for their website? What about those start-ups on the outskirts of town. You have the voice, so offer them your services.
Keep Your Demos Fresh. Every time you record a job, always ask for a copy of your performance and add this to your voicereel. Review the content on a regular basis; your reel should be dynamic and forever changing, just like a CV.

Unlike the original Ten Commandments, mine are not set in stone, but I hope they give you some useful ideas. Other voice over professionals may make different suggestions, so (as I mention in point 4) learn from the industry’s key players as well.

Be inspired and go for it – your career as a British voiceover artist is just around the corner


audio for your audition

Making Your Audio Shine |

When thinking about creating your sound, the decisions you make start with the mic you choose.

Bryant says that, “Right at the beginning, you have a choice to decide on your sound before you even play with [software] plugins.”

He advises that a microphone can make you sound differently. For instance, some are designed to make you sound deeper, and some will make you sound more bright.

When it comes to the number of mics you need to own Bryant says, “Do you have to have a million? No, you need about two, you can go to three.”

You might choose a few different mics for different types of work. For example, if you’ll be reading a lot of promos you might go for a mic that emphasizes the bass in your voice. If you were looking to create a more conversational sound, you might go for something that’s brighter.

Preparing Final Audio is Different than Preparing it for Auditions

When it comes to audio post-production, how you approach preparing auditions versus final files, may differ.

For instance, Bryant recommends that all voice talent normalize their auditions, as doing so has become standard. He’s seen clients move on when an audition wasn’t normalized because the levels were low, as clients are looking for a reason to narrow down their auditions.

Bryant advises that once you get the job, it’s wise to ask if the final recording is going to a mixing engineer, or mixer, before delivering the final file. If it is going to a mixer you don’t have to do much to manipulate the audio, including fixing glitches or room noise.

He says, “Send it to us! We’ve got all these plugins – thousands of dollars of plugins to fix [room noise]!” However, he notes that if you’re going to be sending out an audition directly to a client and you know that your audio would sound better with noise reduction, that is the time to apply it.

Perfecting Your In-Studio Sound is Up to You

Due to different setups, there isn’t one standard solution to create a great sound.

“Everyone’s room at home is different. Everyone’s setup is different. Keep this in mind,” he says.

While it may seem like having no one solution is a drawback, he suggests that the advantage of owning a home studio is that you’re in that environment all the time, and you can really get to know your sound.

“You only have to work on one voice, which is yours. So you have a big advantage there too.” He suggests that since you can become so familiar with your voice it means you can, over time, optimize how you sound.

Audition Tips for Voice Overs

Auditioning Tips

Ok so, you have taken the necessary classes, learning about voice tone, how to deliver the message with sincerity, and how to interpret every last detail of the copy. You have done your work well, creating you demo and delivering it to all the casting directors and agents you can find. That paid off big time because your phone just rang and you have arranged for your first voice over audition.

Here is where everything comes together. You are aware that you have all the talent and skills you need to get into voice acting, and the only thing standing between you and success is that first voice over audition. Calm down, there is nothing to worry about. With the tips below you will be ready and primed to take that audition by storm.

1. Every audition begins long before it actually takes place. The best time to start preparing your voice is the minute you hear that you have one scheduled. That means avoiding any and all beverages and other things that are known to cause stickiness or dryness in your throat and mouth. You should only be drinking water right now and leave the coffee, milk, sodas and other beverages alone until after your voice over audition. Replace these with water so that you will remain hydrated.

2. This is not the time to stay mute, but you will want to avoid straining your voice. In order for your voice over audition to be well received, your vocal cords will need to be strong for your audition. Even if you do watch your favorite sports team in their final competition, make sure that you refrain from screaming at the refs or yelling with excitement when they score.

3. Get to bed early, and if you can, take a nap before going to your audition. Make sure that you early enough to go over the script without being rushed. Stress will show up in your voice and you don’t want that to happen so do what you can to stay calm. Do some vocal exercises so that your voice will be warmed up and ready to go.

4. You want to feel comfortable and confident during your voice over audition. That means dressing the part of a true professional. Business casual will get you there without being overdressed. Don’t wear noisy clothing or jewelry that can interfere with your microphone techniques.

5. Practice your script analysis technique the night before your audition so that you will be ready when the time comes to go over the real script. Take a pencil with you to your voice over audition and mark the script according to how you feel the advertiser wants the message to be conveyed.

By using the above tips, you will be well prepared to offer your best voice over audition. Just remember that even if you do not get this one there is another one down the road that is just right for you. It is these auditions that give you the exposure you need to be recognized. You should take advantage of every opportunity to audition, even if you feel that you may not be a good fit. You never know when you will get that break you’ve been waiting for. By giving your best performance every time, you will gain the confidence you need and make a good impression on clients.

So you want to be a voice over

You have got to read

So, you want to be a Voice Over? | Sarah Sealey

studio finder

Marketing your with voice over promotion is quite difficult, years ago ad word was a great way of voice over promotion, you got your credit card out signed up and  with a little cash to splash you could be seen and booked.

These days ad words is soooooo  expensive  so what can you do to improve your search results and there fore get more gigs.

Well you could go to a P2P site and there are lots……seems like there are  p2p sites opening up every day, like voice 123 Voices .com or Bodalgo  they are all there to take your money and put you up for jobs and audition with a numerous other voice actors so how do you get your self out there, well, if you have your own studio and you want to maybe earn some cash to pay for isdn, or more equipment then a great site is the have  list of voice overs and studio’s that are available to hire.https://voiceoverstudiofinder.com

It is a great site with details of uk and European  studio and voice over artists that are available and if you do a lot of traveling and you don’t want to carry a mobile rig with you and a job comes in it’s a fantastic site to find a friendly studio you can use, some have isdn or ipdtl or source connect, so the next time your on the road have a look at www.studiofiner.com and you can sign up to it as well for free it will also help you with seo, it is run by the wonderful Guy Harris.

So when you have a minute go on and take a look.


I hope it maybe of use in the future for you.


Audio Books

Audio Books

There areso many sides to voice over, not just commercial or tv  work,on of the most interesting  is audio  book narration.

You will need stamina lots of tepid water to drink and an interest in story telling an audio book session will be 5 hours of continious talking……told you, you need stamina didn’t I.

It is  thought you should read for a max of around 50 mins, and goes on non stop.

And this process could be 1 or 2days a large project  would last for a few weeks.

Audio Books

You could moths later be called back to do pick ups or even replacing whole pages or 2 thats when you need to be able to  match your delivery and vocal quality from original session.

You may end up being both the narrator AND the producer

It might be worth looking out for a coach that has experience of this type of vo work taking an acting class or two would be very useful..

You can get more information on  the audio book industry at www.audiopub.org.

It is a pretty tiring doing audio books but if you enjoy acting and storytelling this maybe the area  of voice over work that could be for you.

One of the top audio book narrators is Hillary Huber at www.hillaryhuber.com have alook at here site  she has done loads………not as lucrative as other area’s of the VO industry  but lots of fun.

Voice Over Booth




If you are looking for a voice  booth for your  business thought  to Booth or not to booth that is the question.

As you can imagine  there are  lots of options  around  but none are cheap, but it will last you a long time you can see an Esmono booth here http://www.esmono.co.uk/ they come in a variety of sizes  just bear in mind they are pretty heavy so you what ever booth you buy you will need help to set it up or you could get the company to do it for you.

Another option is Vocal Booth they have UK distribution




I am sure that if you are reading this blog, you are interested in voice over, maybe as a hobby, or you would like to pursue it as a career, maybe you are an actor who wants more ‘strings to your bow’.


Well, I would like to help you on your way, first the good news…….. there are  so many opportunities to use your voice, from  ‘on hold’ messages for phone systems, to explainer videos for ‘You Tube’ and of course, radio and TV commercials.


However, where do you start? Well, there are lots of  great courses out there like  <a href=”http://www.voiceovermasterclass.com”>www.voiceovermasterclass.com</a> run by Gary Terzza who is  a continuity  announcer and voice over at Channel 4, who runs VO workshops and helps people put together a showreel and gives some great insights into the world of voice over.


Before you put your hand in your pocket and shell out your hard earned cash, what should you do to see if you are cut out for this crazy but fun business?


The first thing you should do is listen to everything, the ads on radio and TV, and when you are  ‘on hold’, waiting to pay your gas bill, have a listen to the person who is telling you about what services they offer.


If you feel that you could do better, then why not give it a go?


If you don’t live in London and would like to try your hand at voice overs you can always give us a call on 07973 690257 to book a taster session.


Our studio is in Bournemouth Dorset a ten minute taxi ride from Bournemouth station or bus from the station.