Microphones lined upThe Promo Panel is always a session to look forward to at VOICE and this one was no exception.

Joe Cipriano moderated the panel which was jam packed with top talent who do promos and trailers including Scott Rummell, Ashton Smith, Rino Romano, Sylvia Villagran, and Stew Herrera.
Glean some wisdom from promo royalty today on VOX Daily.

Promo Panel

Saturday afternoon gave way to the Promo Panel moderated by Joe Cipriano. The promo consisted of voice over professionals who work around the clock to ensure that your favourite shows on television and movies are accompanied by a thrilling, exciting and captivating call to action.
Individuals on the panel included Sylvia Villagran, Ashton Smith, Rino Romano, Stew Herrera and Scott Rummell.

What Can Women Do To Prepare for Promo?

Promo work is about 90% dominated by male voices and trailer work is approximately 99% dominated by, you guessed it… male voices.
So how does a female voice break through and get hired?
While most of the challenges women face trying to get into promo and become successful are imposed by focus groups (Don LaFontaine knew this all to well), there are some ways that women can ready themselves for the opportunity. Sylvia Villagran make the following recommendations to all the ladies in the audience:

  • Don’t take something (current circumstances or landscape) as the way it will always be
  • Recognize that things are always changing
  • Celebrate inroads that have been made over the past several years for women in promo
  • Find your voice
  • Bring something specific to the table
  • Be fully confident and know that no one else is you!

Being YOU

One sentiment expressed across the board was that you need to be your own person and be known for what you can bring to the table. Imitating other talent can only get you so far and you need to find your own voice.

Rino Romano shared a story about how he spun his wheels for a short while trying to sound like other talent he admired before realizing that he should just be himself. Imagine that! Someone as talented as Rino Romano also started somewhere and discovered that his voice was what the producers wanted and not some imitation of an established voice they had already heard.

That’s really encouraging!
Also, if you are feeling discouraged because of others who tell you that you have no business being in voice over, don’t listen to them.
Early in his career (radio at the time), Scott Rummell was told that God didn’t give him a voice for it and look at where he is today! What if Scott had given up? Well, he didn’t. He chose to put his cans back on and keep at it day in day out.

What Kind of Preparation Goes into Recording a Promo?

A member of the audience asked Ashton Smith if he takes a lot of time reading scripts sent to him before he has to record promos. Ashton replied that although he does read some of the scripts ahead of time, many of his jobs are read cold. He likens voicing promos to simply reading a children’s bedtime story without having rehearsed.

An accomplished and experienced voice talent like Ashton is able to do this because he has confidence in his abilities and knows more often than not that the client is seeking his signature voice. If a client has hired Ashton to do the job without auditioning him, it is safe to assume that they expect to hear the kind of delivery he is known for unless otherwise indicated.
Similarly, should a client book you to record for a particular kind of read that you specialize in, the same expectations may apply to you.

Promo Tips

Scott Rummell: “Be great at timing.”
Stew Herrera: “Realize that trailer is different from promo.”
Sylvia Villagran: “Be able to control your voice pitch while speaking faster or slower.”
All agreed that promo was far more technical than trailer. With promo, you have to be concerned with the three beeps before you record and also tighter timing constraints.

Any Comments?

If you have anything you’d like to share about promo or comment on, you’re welcome to join the conversation!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
©iStockphoto.com/Valerie Loiseleux


  1. Great article Steph !!!! That panel was good. I went back and did my research on Scott, Rino, and Miss Sylvia. I was inspired !

  2. I swear to you, since that weekend I have been motivated to wake up early and start the day off with a prayer and more gusto to get my vo career kicked up a notch! 🙂

  3. Hi Stephanie,
    The Promo Panel was certainly one of the highlights for me at Voice2010. Learned a lot from the best. Also, I am very impressed with how accurate your note taking is. An excellent summary, thanks for sharing this.
    Hope all is well with you.

  4. Hi Stephanie!
    Thanks so much for such a great wrap-up of the promo panel from VOICE 2010. I was inspired by the panel’s stories , and was especially encouraged by Sylvia as a woman in voice overs. I am excited for the furture of women in this genre!

  5. There is no such thing as a cold reading for a pro. There may be new copy but the reading is not new.
    Consider that every time a baseball player comes to the plate, each pitch is new. But all the hours of batting practice enable the player to hit the ball enough times to earn a living at it.
    We have to be doing voice ‘practice’ all the time, too, to be able to hit voice jobs out of the park and get paid.


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