Join professional voice actress Lisa Rice in her lecture “Being Persistent in Voice Over”. Lisa focuses on two distinct areas where voice talent are tempted to throw in the towel, including sending out auditions, and promoting your services. A blend of personal experiences with age old wisdom, Lisa helps you to learn how persistence can raise anyone’s game at any stage of their voice over career and gain the respect of those around you.
Lisa Rice, Lisa Rice Productions, voice overs, voice acting, tips for business, persistence, Voice Over Experts
Transcript of Being Persistent in Voice Over
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 Lisa Rice.
Lisa Rice: Persistence. We first learn about it before we even know there’s a word for it. Remember skinning your knees as you struggle to find perfect balance on your bike? You may not have realized you were persevering when as a pre-teen you begged your parents for the most popular pair of shoes. But more than likely in high school, you knew exactly what it meant as you worked your way through Senioritis in the final exams and eventually received your diploma.
Persistence finds its way into so many areas of our life as an adult. Paying our mortgage, raising children and yes, our job. Today, I’d like to discuss being persistent in voiceover and focus on two distinct areas where we might find ourselves wanting to throw in the towel, sending out auditions and promoting our services. I’ll touch on sending out auditions first.
As a former television producer and a talent seeker myself, I have been on both sides of the mic. But even I have to remind myself of the importance of sending out auditions. These opportunities usually come through online sites such Voices.com or from a customer wanting to give their clients some narrow down choices or our agents. Before I go any further, it’s assumed that your recording studio is up to par and you know exactly what’s expected regarding the submission of custom demos. In other words, you’re auditioning for jobs that fit your age and voice style. You’re slating or not slating depending on what’s been requested and you’re naming the file as directed.
Auditions flood our inbox from all the aforementioned sources and we devote various chunks of our day and sometimes nights churning them out. This is where persistence comes in. First of all, directing ourselves isn’t easy but it’s a must in today’s voiceover world. And of course, getting as much training as possible and gaining experience will make this more comfortable but it doesn’t necessarily make auditioning a joyride either. It’s easy to get discouraged submitting audition after audition, day in and day out, and not book a job.
You’ve no doubt submitted your best. You’ve warmed up your voice, you’ve studied and marked your script, you’ve tried to recall all you’ve read and learned from your coaches and past experiences, and you’ve recorded and edited your best take. In fact, the audition you’ve uploaded might be wonderful. Proper placement of the mic. A beautiful interpretation of the script. Overall, a stellar performance. But don’t forget, our audition is going up against many others. Sometimes hundreds of others.
And before we beat ourselves up for not getting chosen for the job, it’s important to remember that it very well might not have anything to do with how well we auditioned. You see a video or audio production is like a puzzle that has various pieces that either fit or don’t fit. The producer knows their project inside out from their client to the script to the music and our voice might not fit any better than a straight-edged puzzle piece would fit into an area meant for a rounded one. We might be the exact age and gender but our voice might not sound like what they have in their mind. We can’t do a thing about that. I have to stop and share with you at this point a peculiar episode of my personal voiceover history.
I was hired to voice a non-broadcast commercial for an insurance company’s national convention. It was a spot designed to motivate their sales force by enticing them with an overseas vacation. It was a tricked-up trip, so to speak. Anyway, the recording was set up as a phone patch. I was on one end and the production team was on the other and as we started to move through the script, I was directed to keep my voice in a lower register. Every once in a while, they’d stop me and ask me if I could go even lower and if I could put more power behind my voice.
Well, after about 20 minutes into the session with multiple takes as directed, it began to dawn on me that perhaps they really wanted a male to voice their project. I mean, I have pretty good range going from high to low but I can’t fake a man’s voice to save my life. Guess what? I posed this question to them and after a little chit-chat amongst themselves, everyone in the room agreed that yes, indeed, a male had voiced a similar project for them last year. And even though they had specified a female talent this year, they couldn’t get the deep booming voice out of their heads. Well, needless to say, we ended our session with the production team scrambling to find a male voiceover talent and I proceeded to record my other projects for the day. See what I mean? They had an entirely different voice in their heads and mine wasn’t it. I realize this is an extreme twist on the point I’m trying to make but just remember, it’s the producer’s puzzle, so to speak, and your voice may fit and it very well may not.
Back to persistence. Another area we might find ourselves lagging behind in is the area of selling ourselves, letting potential customers know about our services. The sales technique I want to talk about today is good old fashioned cold calling. I’ve looked up the official definition of cold calling and out of several I found, Wikipedia pegged it best. Cold calling is the process of approaching prospective customers or clients, typically by telephone, which weren’t expecting such an interaction. The word “cold” is used because the person receiving the call is not expecting a call or has not specifically asked to be contacted.
I can hear you now. I’m not comfortable doing that. Cold calling takes too much time and what if they hang up on me? I don’t like talking about myself. Well, first of all, marketing our services is not a neutral thing. We’re either moving forward or we’re moving backward. And granted, there are many ways to tell others about what we have to offer that out of them all, cold calling is one of the least expensive and over time, I found to be the most effective. Before we go any further, it must be mentioned that to successfully market ourselves by cold calling, we need the following: A quiet atmosphere, contact management software, and contacts. Phone calls should be made when there are no distractions or background noise. That means, no barking dogs, blaring music or people noises because even though we primarily work out of our homes, we are professional.
Also, track your phone calls with some type of contact management software. I work on a Mac and I found Marketcircle’s Daylite software easy and effective to use. There’s also ACT for Windows, A-C-T. And of course, you need to have a database of prospects. Who are you going to call? Well, what kind of voiceover do you want to do? Compile a list of potential customers by Googling keywords such as advertising agencies, production companies, software developers, TV stations, and the list is endless.
Okay. So now you’re ready to cold call. You’re in a quiet place, you’re at your computer, and you have your contacts but you’re hesitant because you don’t like talking about yourself or you’re not sure what to say. I’m right there with you. Listen, I’ve sold Girl Scout cookies, commercial airtime, and even industrial-commercial janitorial services. But hawking my own voiceover services has to be one of the roughest of them all. For one thing, talking about myself runs contrary to the character lessons I learned growing up, like the time my parents asked me to look up the word “humble” in the dictionary because they felt I was getting too big for my britches.
Promoting ourselves always runs the risk of stepping on humility’s toes but the two have to learn to walk side by side. There’s a time to toot your own horn and there’s a time to be humble. Cold calling is a way to let potential customers know about our services. We’ll rarely book a job on the spot but if the decision-makers hear something they like, they’ll bookmark or demo and possibly call in the future. I’ve received phone calls for work many, many, many months after the first call to a potential client.
Here are some cold calling tips including a few from Chuck Piola, dubbed “The King of Cold Calls” by Inc. Magazine. Stick with it! Eighty percent of new sales are made after the fifth contact, yet the majority of salespeople give up after the second call. The best time to reach a decision-maker is early in the morning or late in the day. So try to catch people on their way in or out of the office. Consider secretaries and administrative assistants your allies. They’re valuable sources of information that might connect you with the right person. Never assume the person you’re talking to isn’t the decision-maker. Many production companies are small and employees wear different hats or the secretary just might be out for lunch. Stay consistent. It’s like anything. If you do it on a regular basis, it becomes second nature. Try to make it the very least, one cold call a day. Cold call during slow times. If you aren’t booked with work, use that time to put in multiple calls. Don’t take rejection personally. They might not need the kind of puzzle piece you offer right now. Follow-up with the e-mails, notes in the mail, and calls periodically. Things change. People change. Opportunities arise.
And so we’re back to where we started. When it comes to doors closing from submitted auditions and cold calling, don’t give up. For every door that closes, another will open. For every disconnected dial tone, there’s a ring-tone with your name on it. Keep auditioning. Make some cold calls and be persistent.
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:
Lisa Rice is an experienced communications professional. She landed her first radio job as a disc jockey at eighteen. Then, an announcer/producer stint with Trans World Radio took her to Guam. After graduating college with a degree in Communications, she began producing, writing, and directing. Her one-on-one interviews have extended from the White House and Capitol Hill to Nashville.
Other experience includes on-camera work, print modeling, sales, marketing, and motivational speaking.
Voice work has been Lisa’s passion since she first discovered the thrill of recording – when the red button is on, so is she! Her voice-over work includes customers and organizations from a wide range of business and corporate levels as well as advertising and marketing agencies, radio and television stations, non-profit groups and ministries. While voice work has been a mainstay, her production experience helps meet the expectations that accompany results-oriented, deadline-driven production work – she knows that your time is as valuable as your project.