Live Announce Pros Headline Seminar

The importance of continuing education and training in voice over really can’t be stressed enough.  And considering how many great opportunities there are to learn from and interact with other industry talents, you’ve got to throw your hesitation or your excuses out the window!

Yesterday I had the great pleasure to meet and perform for a couple of VO industry titans!  Randy Thomas is a voice you’ve heard on awards shows like the Academy Awards, the Tonys, the Emmys, etc, etc…  And Steve Ray is a seasoned announcer who just this year, accepted the high honor of becoming the official announcer for the Presidential Inauguration! But his credits also include many other notable events.

Hosted by Anne Ganguzza and the VO Peeps, Randy and Steve were the featured VO artists for a seminar on the ins and outs of live announcing.  They provided us with a fascinating look at what it takes to live announce the Oscars and the Inauguration of a President!!  The two of them were deftly able to convey to the attendees the ways in which the skills they need for those huge events are applicable even to a hospital charity dinner or a local fashion show.

Live announcing is something I love to do.  It’s not for everyone but if the thrill of performing live gets your blood circulating, there are lots of opportunities – especially if you’re motivated to “make it happen!”  And while the “big time” live announce jobs are generally in major urban areas, Randy and Steve talked about some of the ways that VO talent all over the country can make things happen…

  • Hotels in your area that host events will need live announcers
  • Sporting venues large and small use announcers for games (non play-by-play)
  • Convention centers throughout the country have to have talent for clients
  • Hospitals hold various charity events/dinners

Now if you find yourself thinking that these venues probably already have announcers, well they always need backups because sometimes the person scheduled just can’t make it!  That’s where making yourself available at a moment’s notice makes you invaluable.  Don’t let cold-calling intimidate you!  You’re offering a valuable service and nine times out of ten, people are happy to hear about what it is you have to offer.

Before you contact the folks you think might need your live announcing skills, get a demo together.  As Randy suggested, YouTube is a great resource for getting ideas on delivery and style.  Use those examples to write up some copy and voila – you can create a produced demo and then once you start getting some gigs, use those examples to sell yourself.  Randy Thomas has great blog posts as well like “5 Top Tips for Live Announcing,” so utilize the myriad of resources online to help hone your abilities within this niche!  The possibilities are limited only by the boundaries of your imagination and drive….

4 Important To-Dos When Establishing Client Relationships in Voice Over

Establishing good, strong relationships with your voice over clients is paramount to enjoying success in this business!  Ideally, you want them to come back to you and your voice as often as possible.  Now of course your VO skill level, the quality of your recordings and your ability to effectively deliver copy will comprise a great percentage of your success quotient.  But aside from the obvious skills needed, there are customer service skills that are requisite to establishing relationships that bring your VO clients back when they have other projects for which your voice may be appropriate.  But if you alienate the folks you work with, no matter how perfect your voice may be, chances are they won’t come back for more.  Let’s examine four of the most important:

  • Prompt Response When a client responds to you directly from an audition you’ve submitted, don’t wait around until it’s “convenient” to respond.  Even if you won’t be able to jump on the project right away, get back to the person, thank them for their interest in hiring you and get the dialogue going.
  • Be Realistic Never, never be unrealistic with a client regarding project delivery times.  If you can’t get it done in four hours, don’t say that you can!  Trying to impress a client by saying that you can get something done really quickly and then coming to find that you’re not going to be able to deliver will ruin a customer relationship faster than just about anything else.  Promising something to someone because it’s what you think they want to hear and then not delivering, does much more harm than good.  Unrealistic delivery assurances do not make for repeat customers!
  • Proofread Written Materials I know it may sound silly, but be sure to proofread all your email messages and written responses as well as the titles that you name your audio files.  Although it doesn’t impact the sound of your voice, if you make typos or incorrectly title files, it’s indicative of a general “sloppiness” that may be a red flag to a client.  The next time they think of you, they may pass because of the appearance of carelessness.  Remember that there are many people out there for whom this kind of correctness is important and it basically says that you’re careful and you review things before you send them.
  • Be Patient Don’t be over anxious about hearing from your clients.  Especially when you’re new in your voiceover career, it’s really exciting to be producing work and interacting with clients.  But remember that producers and artistic directors at agencies all around the country are very busy and the project that you’re voicing is probably not the only thing they’re working on!  Sometimes it can take days to hear back from someone.  Don’t pace the floor wondering when you’re going to hear back.  If they’ve said they want to work with you, they mean it and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.  The worst thing you can do is send emails demanding to know what’s going on.  Be patient and let the project take its course.

Make sure you keep an active email list of your clients as you work with more and more people.  It’s also a good idea to thank a client once a project is completed.  Good voice over business is like any other – establishing great relationships with clients will pay off over the long run!