Join Voice Over Expert David Alden in debut his lecture “Let’s Talk Promos Be A Voice Over Olympian”. Listen to this revealing episode and be initiated into the highly lucrative and exciting world of promo voice overs as shared by someone who has coached top promo talents including notable voices such as Joe Cipriano, George Del Hoyo, Beau Weaver, Ben Patrick Johnson and the late Don LaFontaine.
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David Alden, Promos, Television, Olympics, Olympians, TV, Voice Overs, Voice Acting
Transcript of Let’s Talk Promos
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.
David Alden: Hi. This is David Alden and I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to this podcast. I also want to thank David and Stephanie and everyone at Voices.com for allowing me this opportunity to share with you.
So, let’s talk promos. Now for some of you, this may be a little basic. Kind of like Television Promos 101. But from time to time, whether you’re a seasoned promo guy or gal, or fresh off the voiceover training boat, it’s important to be reminded of the fundamentals. Like my old tennis coach used to tell me, “Get out of your head and get back to the basics.”
Just to clarify and to get our lingo on the same track, I am talking specifically about television on-air promotions. You know, the commercial that promotes your favorite TV show. “Tonight, on 30 Rock” or “Next on Survivor, so and so takes it one step too far.” Usually, these promos end and sometimes start with a tag that tells you the name of the show, what day and time it’s on and most importantly, which network.
These are far different from radio imaging, radio promos or even movie trailers, which by the way, is a whole other podcast. Now, I have directed thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of promos and I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with the top names in the voiceover promo business. Such as Don LaFontaine, who I miss dearly. Joe Cipriano, the voice of the recent primetime Emmys. Tress MacNeille, Tony Rodgers, Rino Romano, Beau Weaver, Jonathan Cook, Scott Rummell, Vanessa Marshall, Ashton Smith, Ben Patrick Johnson, and so many more.
As an aspiring promo announcer, I would encourage you to know these names, get familiar with their work. Google their names, go on You Tube, go on Voiceover Universe, go wherever you can to learn from the very best. Because in my estimation, these people, these creative talents are the Voiceover Olympians of promo announcing.
Here’s yet another sports analogy and don’t worry. I’ve got plenty.
Think of the recent Summer Olympics in Beijing. If performing audiobooks can be likened to running the marathon, lets say. Then performing on-air TV promos is like running the 100 meters. Promo has a style and pace all its own. You want to start strong and finish right through the tape. In other words, if you give up too soon, throwing away the tag for instance, it could be the deciding factor for not getting the job. And although a TV promo exec may not be able to put their finger on it, they just know something’s missing. Just ask the guy who lost to Michael Phelps by a fingernail. His decision not to take that final stroke and float in cost him a gold medal. That “something missing” made all the difference.
To be an Olympic Promo Announcer and to perform at the highest level possible, takes – say it with me now, practice. And it takes all those other motivating words as well. Determination, passion, love, joy, dedication, preparation, and focus.
To the jaded few, those words are just clichÃ©s, but to me, and hopefully to you, those kinds of words are the basic building blocks one must embody in order to perform and behave like a true Olympic voiceover champion.
This fall is a great time of year to really dig in and learn about promos right from the comfort of your own home, because it’s during this time of year the big four networks and some cable networks launch and really push their new and returning shows with, yes, you guessed it, promos. Watch them, record them, dissect them and as I mentioned earlier, learn who’s announcing them. Now is the time when your inner promo voiceover Olympian kicks in.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “So, how do I practice and get the experience it takes to be a top promo announcer?” Well, like any other discipline, study, study, study and practice, practice, practice. Get into a voice-over class or workshop or study privately with someone who really knows and focuses specifically on promos. In fact, start or join a voiceover promo group.
With today’s technology, the opportunity to practice and learn how to do promos has, as they say, never been easier. Getting onto a network’s promo rotation, on the other hand, can be a bit more challenging. But it can happen. I’ve seen it manifest in so many ways, time and time again.
Here are just a few of the questions you want to have answered for yourself long before you step into the booth for a promo session.
If you have go to CBS, NBC, ABC or FOX, do you know how to read to picture?
If you’re in the booth or hooking up via ISDN, are you familiar with “the beeps”?
Do you know how to adjust your read to make it fit in time?
Do you know the questions to even ask before you start a promo session?
Do you speak “Promo-ese”?
That’s right. In the TV promo world, there is a script structure that sometimes defies all the proper rules of the English language. It’s almost a language unto itself and I encourage you to learn it and all you can about the culture of on-air promos.
Like an Olympic athlete, learn all you can about your event. In this case, on-air promotions. Have a disciplined approach. Practice everyday and work smarter, not harder. Find classes, coaches, mentors specific to promos. Before too long, you’ll be giving gold medal reads.
I’m David Alden and thank you again for taking the time to listen to this podcast.
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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Links from today’s show:
Your Instructor this week:
With nearly 30 years of experience, David Alden is a well-trained and seasoned actor, voice actor, voice-over coach and voice-over director for on-air network promos, and for a number of years, theatrical trailers.
He has worked and continues work with the top trailer and promo voices in North America, such as, the late Don Lafontaine, Joe Cipriano, George Del Hoyo, Tony Rodgers, Ben Patrick Johnson, Scott Rummell, Jonathan Cook, Rino Romano, Ashton Smith and many, many more.
To date, he has directed voiceover sessions for approximately 50,000 promos & trailers. Being an actor and voice actor allows David to bring forward his unique perspective and wisdom to the creative process thereby facilitating an environment in which a voice actor’s best performance may emerge.
As a consultant/career coach to Promo voice-over talent, David coaches privately as time allows and is available to teach as a special guest at educational events.