In this installment of Voiceover Profiles, I chat with the prolific David Kaplan. David has one of the largest portfolios of work in the industry, and is one of only two talents to eclipse 600 5-star feedback ratings on Voices.com. Let’s see what this iconic talent has to say about how he got here.
JMC: How long have you been in the voiceover business, and how did you get started?
David: I started to get hooked on VO at the tender age of 6 as my dad brought home an amazing new piece of technology called a cassette recorder. I was hooked right away and I took that portable recorder every where I went. As it just so happens I bought the same one I had recently on Ebay to put on display in my studio. I had been in broadcasting for many years as a director for sports programming and since we had no internet back then you had to have a staff announcer ready to go at all times and very often we did not, so I was elected to jump into the booth to do the promos for changes in programming. It was a fun but I never took it seriously until the day Don LaFontain passed away. The media attention opened my eyes to what I should be doing with my life. At this point the technology caught up to me. Not sure what year I started with Voices.com but since I had a full time job I would spend lots of time during the day going out to my car to do auditions. I was running out of the office so often you would think I was a chain smoker. The high that I got from booking jobs was amazing and continues to this day. Eventually the income from VO was more than on my full time job so it was time to move onward and upward. I took the leap of faith and have been enjoying the life I was meant to have. It has not been easy and trust me many times I had my doubts after a less than great week.
JMC: In addition to hearing you on a daily basis, many people in the industry know you from your success on Voices.com, where you are one of only two talents who have completed over 500 jobs directly through the site. A lot of people struggle to find success in online casting. What’s your secret?
David: The key is to just keep pushing forward.
JMC: What matters more, the performance or the quality of the audio?
David: To me what matters most is a combination of all the elements that go into an award winning job. The sound quality is paramount as is ones ability to lift the words off the page and own them.
JMC: How many auditions do you do on an average day?
David: An average day will have about 50 auditions for me and anything less makes me jittery.
JMC: Are there any secrets to making the auditioning process more efficient, while maintaining quality?
David: To maintain quality and be efficient one must have the studio set up and turned on at least 10 hours a day. Speed in auditions is a major factor since very often we are the last part of a project to come together and the client wants to cast and produce right away.
JMC: Can you tell us about a job you found particularly memorable, or one you are especially proud of?
David: A memorable job to me is one that had lots of re work that was a pain in the rear. Those are usually also the lower paying ones. High grief low gross. This is a business and you have to handle all the hats you wear with proficiency. The best jobs are the ones that come in and I crank out within an hour and then forget that I ever did it. But if I had to note one that I enjoyed I would have to turn to my short memory and say the NYC Marathon since it just happened. Everything blurs into one great heck of a good time career.
JMC: You are New York-based. Do you feel that location is an essential element of success in today’s VO world?
David: Today I feel as if I can do what I do from any place in the world because I have associates spread across the glob who are as successful as I am. Even though I am based in NY I can tell you that the last time I went into the city for a job or audition has got to be 6 months.
JMC: Tell us something about you people would find surprising.
David: I think that most people will be surprised to learn that I do all of my work on a $20 Radio Shack mic. Just kidding. However one surprising thing about me is that with all the success I have been blessed with I still do not feel as if I have attained the level I am looking to achieve. It’s not about the money but don’t get me wrong that is very nice, it’s about happy clients and the over 670 five star reviews I have on Voices.com that make me feel good. People work for praise, appreciation, and then the money.
It’s hard to get a VO to shut up after asking a bunch of questions but the one sure fire way for me is to go and do another audition and so I am off. As REO Speedwagon sang “Keep The Fire Burnin” and with those words success can be yours.
To hear David’s work, or to hire him for your next project, visit http://voiceoverservicesny.com/