A helpful tip!
I know that there is a huge ongoing debate in the voiceover community about online casting sites, commonly known as Pay to Play (P2P) sites. I am not a fan ... though I have used P2P sites in the past and have made some good contacts and many repeat clients who still use me, even though I no longer have a paid for membership of any pay to play site.
One little tip:
Never ever share a link to you P2P profile on your own personal website.
Imagine you're a voice seeker for a moment and you've just found Fred Voice Actor's website ... he has just the voice you're looking for. You're reading through his client list, his experience, his home studio details and yes ... he is perfect! But wait! but wait, what's this link at the bottom of the page? Oh, it's a link to his online profile on a casting site. Out of curiosity, you click on it, and it immediately takes you away from Fred's personal website and into a whole other world where there are lots more voices to choose from. You decide to have a quick look around ... and you find lots of people who sound a bit like Fred - and some whose rates are lower as well. Then, because it's nearly lunch time, and because you haven't actually bookmarked the link to Fred's own website, you just pick the first Fred soundalike and book him instead. It's easier.
OK Got it?
When people find you on your own website - you want them to stay with you and book you to do the job, so why are you helping them to go wandering off to another website where there are literally hundreds of other voice actors for them to choose from? Don't give them the chance!
Podcasts & Webinars
I have never been overly fond of listening to podcasts or tuning in to webinars; I so often find them frustrating and unsatisfactory and usually lose interest and drop out of the session. But why? My antipathy to podcasts and webinars puzzles me because as an avid 'talk radio' listener (BBC Radio 4) : people talking about what interests them, interviews and radio documentaries are what I listen to most. As far as TV is concerned, I watch far more factual programmes than anything else, so why do I frequently find podcasts and webinars, which are essentially an online version of what I enjoy so much on the radio and television, so singularly unsatisfactory?
Today it suddenly struck me ... a lightbulb moment!
One of the cardinal rules for journalists, interviewers and presenters - it is not about you; it's about your guests.
It is most definitely not the interviewer's role to judge, nor to give an opinion and definitely not to pop in their two penn'orth or their comments - or worse still, to chime in with the dreaded 'Oh yes, that happened to me! I remember when I did .... blah blah blah!' At this point, I (and probably everyone else listening or watching turns off ... literally as well as emotionally! Of course this is not solely the province of webinars and podcasts, it occasionally happens in broadcast interviews as well particularly when the person doing the interviewing is in the same line of work as those they are interviewing when it becomes almost a competition. I can think of several cringe making moments where an interviewer refuses to take the back seat and feels he or she has to 'top' whatever the guest says at every point in the discussion.
Listening to a discussion where the interviewer is following their own agenda is like having a health related discussion with a hypochondriac - every illness, every ache and pain you've experienced, they've had - not only more often, but more seriously!
Only at the end of a podcast lasting for over an hour, did I find out that those doing the interview were actually in the same business as those they were interviewing. Their names are Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano and their podcast series, about all things voiceover and audio related, a series which I thoroughly recommend, is called 'The VO Meter - Measuring your Voiceover Progress'
Narrators and Producers discussing Audiobooks
If you're already a narrator - or would like to be, if you're already working on ACX and wondering how to make it work more successfully, if you're looking for a coach to work on audiobooks with you or if you're thinking of dipping your toe into the water, then this is something you need to listen to.
It takes a while to get going, but has so many insights as to how things work in the US - where it seems that producers and publishers are much more open to being approached directly - and how narrators are increasingly taking control and creating their own opportunities.
The discussion is between Andi Arndt, Scott Brick, Steven J Cohen, Sean Pratt and Debra Deyan. I can't recommend it highly enough: the interviewer asks the right questions of the right people and leaves them to answer in detail, rather than jumping in and taking over. This 'taking over' happens all too often in podcasts and webinars which many interviewers seem to think is about them rather than the people they're talking to. Those are the folk the listener is really interested in.
Just click the link HERE and settle down for a fascinating discussion. (NB. You might want to fast forward to around 17 minutes to get to the nitty-gritty.)
The narrator's view
'Acting ... Audiobook narration is all about acting'
Performing Audiobooks is a whole different ball game from doing any other kind of voice work - and you might think that 'performing' is an odd word to use. Most people use narration or reading - but to my mind - audiobook narrators are performers in exactly the same way as actors, dancers and singers are performers. There is so much more to reading an audiobook than just reading aloud.
'Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning'.
There is absolutely no doubt that performing an audiobook is a huge challenge - and it is little wonder that so many voice over artists balk at the idea of being shut in a padded room for days on end for such small reward - for there is absolutely no doubt that financially at least, audiobook narration is the poor relation. A thirty second network commercial shown across all networks at peak time for a major brand can command a higher fee than a ten hour audiobook ... and the work will be completed in hours rather than days. People do make money in audiobooks - but we generally don't make very much - and we certainly don't make it quickly - and we earn every penny.
In this article, I am going to look at what's involved in creating an audiobook from scratch from the performer's point of view.
I actually narrate more than I listen ... I am very picky when it comes to listening and hypercritical - but when I love a narrator's voice and what he or she brings to a book - then I will look for other works they've read and the narrator often leads me to books that I would never have previously considered.
Anyway back to the article ... Theatre of the Mind! Wow.
Click on this link to read it
February 2018 ... Newsletter
Crikey it’s been cold here in Derbyshire! We’ve been in the grip of ‘The Beast from the East’ and storm Emma – and have had snow! Proper snow and -10C temperatures if you count in the wind chill factor. Fortunately, I have heat and a cosy and toasty recording space.
Here’s my latest news:
Published in February:
Fern Britton’s latest novel, ‘Coming Home’ – reached no 5 in the Sunday Times Best Seller list within four days of being published. The audiobook, read by me and produced in-house by the lovely folk at White House Sound for Harper Collins UK is now available on Audible.
Jung’s Psychology – An Introduction’ by Freda Fordham recorded for Ukemi Audiobooks. Something of a classic this one!
‘The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II’ by Karen Dolby recorded for W F Howes Ltd
In the Studio:
‘The Allotment Girls’ by Kate Thompson is a WW2 novel woven around the lives of the extraordinary women who worked at the iconic Bryant and May match factory in London’s East End. In production for Lamplight Audiobooks
And in other news . . .
Sun King Media - investigated by Simon Hare on BBC ONE
This organisation has cropped up in various guises - and they're still at it - I recently saw them advertising jobs for Audiobook Narrators recently on LinkedIn - of course they were calling themselves something different, but a little digging revealed it was good old Sun King. And it sounded very appealing ... audiobook narration at a PFH rate of £300 - in the UK? The old adage holds true - it it sounds too good to be true - it probably is!
Reporter Simon Hare of BBC One's Inside Out programme has Sun King Media in their sights ... and his report airs this coming Monday on Inside Out on BBC One at 7.30pm across the Midlands and on BBC One HD - also available on BBC iplayer for thirty days. A must watch (and a warning) to every voice actor, actor, and voice artist in the UK. Watch and Learn.
You can find out more here. HERE
My opinions are mine and my views are my own!