Join Voice Over Expert Bettye Zoller as she explores the subtleties of honing an individual’s acting or voice acting craft by being attentive and observant in the most universal of people watching places on earth, the local supermarket or grocery store.
Bettye Zoller, VoicesVoices.com, Inspiration, Voice Acting, Supermarkets, Grocery Stores, Commercial$peak
Links from today’s show:
Transcript of Finding Voice Over Inspiration in Supermarkets
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
This week, Voices.com is pleased to present Bettye Zoller.
Bettye Zoller: What, you may ask, does a supermarket have to do with voiceovers? A supermarket is one of the finest acting schools on the planet. Why you may ask? Listen. There’s a lady upset with her little child. There’s the man cajoling his wife to please not buy so much fruit it will only spoil. There is the woman who’s talking sadly to another woman about a death in the family. There’s a man excited about the date he has tonight and telling his friend how excited he is, that the girl would finally go out with him.
Life is your best acting coach. Famous film actors have wonderful stories about learning their craft best in the street, at a funeral, at a wedding, in a supermarket. Life around you is your best voice acting coach.
There are two classes of voice actors, two groups of voice actors. Some voice actors really are announcers or primarily announcers. They tend to be good at straight reads, radio sound. They do the hard sell, hard sell car commercials we all love to hate. Those are our announcer voices and some of them are making a lot of money.
Then, there are the characters in voice actors who often come from an acting background. They can change their voice so dramatically. I’m one of those that when you listen to their demo, you can’t believe it’s all the same lady or the same man. It sounds like 10 or 15 different people but it’s all the same voice actor.
Students ask, “Do I have to do all those voices? I really haven’t developed that skill. I’m really more of an announcer.” The answer is no. You have your own set of skills and you are what you are. You are unique. That’s why we call it a voice print. Everyone has a voice and an attitude for that voice as unique as a fingerprint. But if you are the type of voiceover talent that has the ability to do characters and dialects and various approaches, play on that. You’ll expand your market dramatically.
Practice in front of your bathroom mirror. Read cartoons aloud. Read children’s books. You’ll delight all the youngsters. Read at a library story hour. What a great way to volunteer your services and practice your characters at the same time. Listen, listen, listen to the world around you.
If your acting coach or voiceover coach hasn’t done this for you yet, make a list of voice attitudes and practice them. Record your reads and play them back. Try to do each read three times. Your list might include, the woman is sad because her son has just died of a drug overdose, the man who is ecstatic because he just won the lottery, the classroom teacher who is stern and matter of fact, the preacher, the salesman on the used car lot trying to convince you to buy this car. Make up a couple of lines for each attitude and practice. Take acting courses but don’t get too theatrical. Be careful who you study with in that field.
One of the common problems with voiceover talents is being too stagy, being too booming voice, being too theatrical. And go to the supermarket often. Browse the miles of aisles. Go to a funeral list and to help people speak. Go to a wedding, listen to your girl friend or guy friend when they’re really, really happy. Listen on the telephone when people call you. See how quickly you can pick up their moods on the phone. You can tell what attitude they have, what mood they’re in, in the first five or six words.
Here’s a brief compilation of some of my recent voice attitude work, just a small sample. I have hundreds of dialects and attitudes in my repertoire and celebrity impressions and even languages.
Get rid of costly mandates that make health insurance coverage prohibitive.
If you’re interested in long lasting energy staying trim, taking control of your metabolism then, Jet Fuel is for you.
It was 50 years ago. I was a young woman then. But oh, how I loved roller coasters.
Cellular One wants to know when was the last time you rewarded for talking back.
In the actor studio, spend time with Kevin Costner tonight at 8 on Bravo.
Here at my salon, we got three styling cares and good customers.
Let’s get serious.
Toss and bake with Homestyle Bakes and you’ve got something for everyone.
Those vertical stripes are so slimming.
I’ve seen how you look at those flat screen. You hardly ever look at me anymore. Now, it’s over.
Voice acting. See you at the supermarket.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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Your Instructor this week:
Voice Over Expert Bettye Zoller
34 years as a respected university and private educator in voice, speech, theatre, radio-TV, and voiceover techniques along with her award-winning career in voiceovers and jingles has won Bettye Zoller an international reputation that brings clients and students to her workshops and to work in her Dallas recording studio (she’s an accomplished audio engineer/producer) from all over the globe! She is educated through the doctorate (from Missouri University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of North Texas) with faculty positions in the past at Southern Methodist University, University of Texas at Arlington, Dallas County Colleges. She has also studied with famed NYC acting coach Uta Hagen, in Chicago at the “Second City School” and her career began long ago at Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s Hollywood studio school (as a child performer signed to MGM).
Her voiceover credits number in the many hundreds (she’s never counted!) and range from voiceovers and jingles for national TV commercials to audio books to cartoons, from toys to podcasts to anime. You’ve heard her for decades worldwide! Clients have included American Airlines,Pepsi, Visa, Lifetime TV Channel, The Weather Channel, Pace Picante Sauce, Lionel Trains, Texas Instruments Talking Toys, Seven Seas Dressings, Pedialyte Vitamins, promos for ABC, NBC, and BBC America. She is a Simon and Schuster audio book author, narrator, and producer. She has won ADDYS, CLIOS, GOLDEN RADIOS, and AUDIE awards over the years. She is the author of eleven audio titles sold worldwide and continues to produce new titles annually. She is known for teaching voiceover techniques including audio book narration and production, and her BUSINESS OF VOICEOVERS workshops are legendary with students who credit her with starting them in their lucrative voiceover careers!
Bettye, with four top male announcers, has written and produced a wonderful CD program entitled “COMMERCIAL$PEAK” featuring interviews and sections announced by guests and male announcers of reputation. The foreword is by Dick Orkin of Hollywood Radio Ranch, a man who is well known in the U.S. as a commercial creator producer as well as Voice Over performer and teacher.
She began as a singer and actor, opening act for the legend, Tony Bennett, touring America with her show group and releasing hit records as an RCA artist and songwriter produced by the late Chet Atkins. Voiceovers entered her life by accident when another jingle singer mentioned her work in the voiceover area. The rest is history! She served as Creative Director of several major production houses in the past, which she credits with “making me the audio engineer and producer that I am today. I sat beside some of the greatest audio pros in our business and learned from them.” Now, her Dallas recording studio is constantly busy cranking out voiceover demos, commercial projects, audio books, and more! “I’m like the shoemaker’s daughter…some days I can’t find a minute to voice the projects I’m supposed to do myself… I’m wall-to-wall with studio clients! But I love it.”
She continues to teach “mass media singers” in her Dallas studio and periodically gives “studio singing workshops” too. “I can’t let singing go away…it was my total life and I’m an excellent coach who knows the business!” But her voiceover career has really taken “over” full time in the past decade or so. “Voiceovers know no age and that’s a big plus. Singing tends to favor the very young…been there, done that.”
“The ‘Internet revolution’ like this excellent resource, Voices.com, is what’s new, what’s fresh, and what’s happening! Voiceover work worldwide is better than ever before and growing exponentially!” We’re fortunate to be able to make this kind of fabulous money without ever leaving home (except when I travel to teach elsewhere by invitation!).
“Always check out my homepage on my website VoicesVoices.com to see where and when I’m teaching. And if you want to come to Dallas to work with me, I always help with travel facts and sometimes even have my staff pick you up at your hotel or whatever we can do to ease your travel.”
With her husband, a professional bassist with major music credits worldwide, and her Chow dog “Sammy,” she loves travel and teaching in other cities. “I love the new sights, meeting new people, learning new things.” Her two adult sons live in NYC and Switzerland with great careers in journalism and computers. She has three young grandchildren.”They still are babies, but I’m going to try to get them into showbiz… it’s my life.”
She teaches several university guest professor appointments next Fall and will do workshops again in Dallas and elsewhere. She’s always happy to speak with you via phone or email!
Check out COMMERCIAL$PEAK at Bettye’s website.