Podcasts Voice Over Experts Giving Back as a Professional Voice Talent
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Giving Back as a Professional Voice Talent

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Stephanie Ciccarelli
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Have you ever considered volunteering your voice? Professional voice talent Amy Weis describes her own journey on this path and shares her reasons for doing pro bono work. Giving back should come from the heart with no strings attached. Listen in to discover how giving your voice to select organizations can enrich your life, touch countless others and on occasion, lead to paid work from business clients.

Links from today’s show:

Amy Weis on Voices.com

Your Instructor This Week:
Voice Over Expert Amy Weis

A Cincinnati, Ohio native, Amy Weis is an American voice over artist with over 15 years’ experience. Amy brings creativity from her background in advertising and marketing, including experience with writing copy, media planning/buying, and strategic and promotional planning. During her tenure at WGRR-FM as a senior marketing specialist, Amy began voicing commercials for various clients. Her knowledge of both the business and the creative side gives Amy a unique perspective and a sincere commitment to her client’s needs.
Amy has voiced hundreds of commercials, internet “explainer” videos and corporate imaging and training materials for clients including Procter and Gamble, Frigidaire, eBay, Make A Wish Foundation, London Life, Life Way, Allianz, Johnson & Johnson, Minute Rice/Success Rice and many others. In 2014, one of the commercials voiced by Amy received the “Best National TV Commercial” from The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).

Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform and succeed from the privacy of your own home, and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else. Now for our special guest.
Amy Weis: Hi. I’m Amy Weis, voice over artist, just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, and today I’m going to share my experiences about, well, sharing, or what a lot of people call giving back.
When I made the transition from part time voice over artist into fulltime work I was looking for ways to build my business and additional ways to be able to us my voice. I did a lot of research and I reached out to a lot of different people, and one of the first opportunities I came across was reading for the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and the Visually Impaired.
In many cities across the country there are organizations like this where there are many, many opportunities to take the written word and make an audio form of it. Cincinnati Association for the Blind has its own radio station where it broadcasts reads of local and national newspapers and many different kinds of publications. For almost four years now I’ve gone down to the recording facilities weekly and have read a section of the USA Today newspaper.
Another thing I do there is occasionally narrate a podcast. We have great local museums, and sometimes we’ll narrate the details of the display for those who can’t visually experience it. One of those podcasts I narrated won a national award, which if I want to use it, could be a talking point on my resume. That’s not why I did it, but it seems there’s always an unforeseen benefit that comes back.
When I initially signed up I have to admit, it was to help improve my skill set, make connections, and just have something to do to bridge that gap from part time to fulltime. But something happened the longer I was there and that was that I realized what an impact I could have. I realized that just by giving back something that was very second nature to me, I could make a real impact for someone. So over time it became less and less about what was in it for me, and what I could do to give back.
That was a starting point of looking at things a little differently for me, and realizing when certain opportunities came to me that I could make a difference. That I could really help somebody. You know, I hear it all the time in the voice over community, we have the best job, and I would certainly agree with that. I love what I do. So for me, giving back is just the cherry on the top that makes my career complete. The thing is, when you give back with the right attitude, or at least this is what I’ve found to be true, it comes back to you tenfold. People have heard my donated work and have sought me out to do work for their company. Now that wasn’t what I intended to happen, but, am you happy it happened? Well, of course. Because we are in business.
And that does lead to a word of caution. I think you have to be careful what you give back to. Be careful when someone says, if you do this one for me for free, I’ve got lots more for you to do and we’ll pay you for those. To me, that’s a red flag, and that’s not really the true spirit of what giving back is.
I remember last Christmas a client of mine reached out to me. His church was doing a program and they wanted to put together a very short video promoting it to the congregation. And they had a tiny budget. And I mean, tiny. But I had worked with him before and I really liked him. I connected with the cause and I recorded for it. And when it came time to invoice him I decided it would make more of an impact if I donated that money to the cause rather than keep it. The side effect of that was that he was so moved and the organization was so moved that it cemented a bond between us, and they come back to me with projects that do have budgets.
Again, that’s not why I did it, but realize that every time I give back, something comes back to me. And I don’t think that’s just a coincidence. I do think, though, that when you give back, you need to do so unconditionally. Not expecting some great return. If it happens, great. But ultimately it’s just something that you do because you want to, not because of what the return might be.
I think these opportunities also allow us to demonstrate our character, our dependability, and allow us to build a deeper relationship with our clients or people who might become clients. There’s really no downside to giving back, and I can tell you from personal experience that it just feels right. And it just feels good to make a difference.
If you have any questions about giving back, feel free to contact me at Amy at amyweis.com.
This has been Amy Weis, thanks for listening.
Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first-time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory, or by visiting podcasts.voices.com. To start your voice over career online, go to Voices.com and register for voice talent membership today.

Stephanie Ciccarelli
Stephanie Ciccarelli is a Co-Founder of Voices. Classically trained in voice as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. For over 25 years, Stephanie has used her voice to communicate what is most important to her through the spoken and written word. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, Stephanie has been a contributor to The Huffington Post, Backstage magazine, Stage 32 and the Voices.com blog. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.
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  • William Peck
    January 27, 2015, 6:08 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Amy! Have been narrating for Learning Ally [formerly Reading for the Blind & Dyslexic] for almost four years. Used to go to their studios in Cambridge, MA till two years ago, when they had me record from my home studio as a beta test – which worked out very well. Am now on my fourth book for them. It’s greatly satisfying when we have a get together with the recipients who tell us how much this all means to them.
    I’m currently narrating three books with one of them being for Learning Ally. I have learned how to work this effort into my daily job flow routine so that I am able to still accomplish my commercial market objectives. Well worth it!!!!!
    There is nothing like “giving back” as you state!
    Thanks much for the informative podcast!!!!

  • Kurt Feldner
    January 27, 2015, 6:28 pm

    Amy’s a great talent and a fellow Ohioan! I fully agree on giving back with your voice. I do it as well with a non-profit organization of which I serve. You have the talent – why not put it to good use! Everyone should practice this – for their own good & the good of the organization or cause.