VOX Talk #42 – CreatiVoices, Simpsons Sound Alike Challenge, Nancy Wolfson, Darbi Worley, Adam Fox, Jesse Springer interviews Joe Cipriano
CreatiVoices Productions VoiceWorx workshop, The Simpsons Sound Alikes Challenge at Voices.com, Break Into VoiceOver Teleseminar, Darbi Worley on Improv in Auditions, Adam Fox with some listener feedback and Musings on Assumptions, and the conclusion of Jesse Springer’s interview with Joe Cipriano, Part 3 of 3.
Adam Fox, Darbi Worley, Jesse Springer interviews Joe Cipriano, Nancy Wolfson, Simpsons Sound Alike Challenge, CreatiVoices
Transcript of Vox Talk #42
Matt Williams: Episode 42
You’re listening to VOX Talk! The voiceover industry’s number one podcast brought to you by Voices.com. It’s about voice acting, growing your business, and sharing your knowledge. VOX Talk is a show that you can be a part of. Getting involved that’s both fun and rewarding. It’s time for this week’s episode of VOX Talk with your host, Stephanie Ciccarelli.
â€¨Stephanie Ciccarelli: Hi there, I’m Stephanie and welcome to VOX Talk! Today we’ll hear from Darbi Worley, Adam Fox and the final interview segment from Jesse Springer with Joe Cipriano. First, the news!
Matt Williams: The Loop, informing you of news and current voiceover events.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: In voiceover news, Philippines-based CreatiVoices Productions is offering a voice-acting and dubbing workshop this September. Did you know that there are 10,000 voice actors in the Philippines?
To learn more about the voice acting and dubbing workshop “VoiceWorx” at CreatiVoices Productions, visit creativoices.com
Continuing on, a teleseminar from Nancy Wolfson and Anna Vocino of Break into Voiceover is scheduled for August 29th lecturing on Acting for Advertising, part II of their series on the subject. The cost to participate in the 75-minute lecture followed by a 15-minute question period is $39. To book your spot on the call, go to breakintovoiceover.com.
In closing, there’s still time to enter the Voices.com Simpsons Sound Alikes Challenge. Just send in an MP3 impression of the Simpsons character you can perform best by August 24th, 2007 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time for a chance to win one of $100 gift certificates to Amazon.com. Prize categories include Best Homer Simpson Impression, Best Marge Simpson Impression, Best Bart Simpson Impression, Best Lisa Simpson Impression, and of course Best Krusty the Clown Impression. So send your MP3s to Stephanie@voices.com to qualify.
â€¨Matt Williams: The Biz, helping you grow your voiceover business.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: Today in The Biz we’re joined by Darbi Worley as she talks about using improvisation as an auditioning technique.
Darbi Worley: Hello there, Voices.com. This is Darbi Worley from the Everything Acting podcast and I’m coming to you today to talk about the use of improvisation in the voiceover audition.
Now, not everyone agrees that using improv is a really good idea in an audition. Some people feel that you know, you are insulting the copywriter by changing the dialog but I don’t know. For me, it sure has helped me book a lot of jobs. But here’s the trick, for me anyway, I don’t change the copy. I just add something to it. I read everything as written and then I add a button. I add something on top of it. I add something from me to the audition. So maybe the best way to illustrate this is to play a spot I did last year at Thanksgiving time and then I explained why I was cast and know that – I don’t do this, you know to like toot my own horn or whatever. It’s just because the only way I know how to teach or to help people is to share my own experiences and I do hope that it’s helpful. So here’s a spot that I did for Dickey’s Barbecue.
Roland Dickey: Hey it’s Roland Dickey. You know there’s something that bothers me about the holidays. Some of the women out there, they see how they leftovers and they go nuts. I don’t what it is but a few shreds of day old turkey that gives the creative juices flowing. I mean, I’ve heard this stuff makes you sleepy but I didn’t know it made you crazy.
Darbi Worley: Let’s see. I could make turkey tetrazzini, turkey nachos or cream turkey, turkey pot pie, turkey spaghetti. Oh! Crock-pot turkey corn pudding. Kids, I hope you’re hungry.
Roland Dickey: Look peaches, how about you not making any at all this year? Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Come to Dickey’s where our holiday turkeys and hams taste so good, there won’t be any leftover to fuss with. Get your choice of a smoked turkey for just $39.99 or Cajun turkey or spiral-cut honey ham for only $49.99. For location here’s too, come visit us at Dickeys.com and while you’re there, enter for a chance to win a free turkey. Just don’t let her get a hold of it.
Darbi Worley: Turkey on a half shell, little tiny turkey tarts, turkey juice skin cream, turkey for the baby!
Roland Dickey: Dickey’s. Slow cook, served fast.
Darbi Worley: Okay. So what you should know about that spot is that a bunch of that copy was stuffed that I thought up on the fly during the audition. The thing about the kids, I hope you’re hungry and all of that stuff at the end came from me. Actually, some of the stuff came from the audition. In the audition, I read everything that they had written. They had written a bunch of stuff that you know, that could be made with leftover turkey and then I added the hungry kid line on the one take and then on the other, I said something along the lines of you know, “Where are you going with that? If we put the bones on the coffee grinder, we can have turkey spices all year long!”
You know, this audition happened to be at my agent’s office and when I saw that comment about, you know, grinding up the turkey bones, her response was, “You’re crazy, get out of my booth.” And I know when she says something like that; I really know I’m on the right track. So anyway, I booked the job and when I got to the session, the copywriter who’s a really funny guy named Johnny Elbow, got to give credit where it’s due, he said that I booked it because he was so impressed with my improv skills and as we were recording the spot, he let me go crazy and let me came up with you know, some other funny, some other rather disturbing and stuff obviously we didn’t use at all.
At one point, he even just, you know, let the track roll and you know, asked me to try to come up with everything I could possibly think of. That’s where the turkey on the half shell comment came from and the skin cream comments came from. The point is that you know, far from being insulted by me improvising, this copywriter was energized and chose me because he wanted to collaborate to make something funny and memorable. Now, a couple of words of caution, I have had an advantage over some of you guys because I’ve had lots and lots of auditions in front of industry and I get feedback. It’s certainly more difficult to grow in this way if you don’t have somebody listening and coaching you along the way. And so I feel for you guys who are out there kind of you know, doing this by yourselves and I would suggest, if you want to try to play with some improv, I suggest that you share some of your auditions with professionals you know and whose sense of humor you trust. And then ask them you know, did they think it’s funny?
And then secondly, corporate industrials and medical copy are not the types of reads to play with. In those types of auditions, you really do want to stick to the copy because lots and lots and lots of lawyers look at the stuff before, you know, we ever see it and it’s really just not the place to kind of play around. This works the best for commercial auditions for sure and not just on VO. I know some of you guys like me do on-camera work as well. And a few weeks ago, I booked a couple of spots for Burlington Coat Factory and I got those because I went off the script and had some fun. The spot was about me berating my assistant. I’m supposed to be yelling at my assistant and I just you know, when the script ended, I just kept on berating and I just you know, kept going off until I kind of ran out steam and when I got done, I’m telling you, it’s one those call backs where you had you know, 10 people in there and they’re all very stern. Well when I got done, they erupted into applause and laughter and I got the job.
So you know, there’s a lot – when people are casting commercials, they’re looking at 32, 100 to 200 people or listening to 32, 100 to 200 voices maybe more and improv is one way to stand out from the crowd. So I hope that this has been helpful. If you have any questions about what I’ve covered, please visit my website, darbiworley.com. That’s Darbi with an I, darbiworley.com and there’s a link out there where you can get a hold of me. And I also would encourage you to stay tuned to Everything Acting Podcast. I’m going to be interviewing our very own Adam Fox in a couple of weeks. So look out for that interview coming up soon and thanks for listening.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: Those are some great ideas, Darbi. Thank you for sharing them with us. As Darbi mentioned, you can reach her at everythingactingpodcast.com or at her own website, darbiworley.com. That’s Darbi with an I.
Matt Williams: Tech Talk, walking you through the technological landscape.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: This week in Tech Talk, Adam Fox, shares some listener feedback about High Speed Internet access in hotels and also assumptions that are made in business.
Bob Oakman: You’re listening to another Defiant Digital podcast for Voices.com. Here’s your host, Adam Fox.
Adam Fox: Well, good morning folks! Welcome to another edition of the podcast. Well, you know, granted that it’s morning or where you are or that you’re listening to this in the morning. If not, well good afternoon, good evening and goodnight. Oh boy, that was cheesy.
Anyway, welcome to another edition of the podcast and I hope you guys are all having a wonderful week. I wanted to share a little bit of feedback that I got from one of the listeners and some podmail that I got and that was (Brian Maday); I hope I’m pronouncing that correctly. He was writing to comment on the vacation podcast that we just did and (he came up) with an interesting point and I think that he had various expansion. What he was reminding was that you know, not all hotels have internet access that’s high speed. And of course you’re going to need high speed internet access if you are hoping to do work from he said, hotel room. He also brought up that it’s always a good idea to bring a light with you if you’re going to be voicing under a blanket. Well, and in regards to the second one, I just you know, I didn’t mention that because I figured that was pretty much common sense that if we can’t see it, then we can’t voice it. But at the same time, his comment about the internet service as well.
Also, I didn’t mention that. I apologize to the listeners. I didn’t mention that because I really just kind of assumed that at this staying age, most hotels have high speed internet access to help you access the web. It’s all part of any of the business packages that you would pick up at one of the business rate rooms and so I didn’t mention it because I just figured that it was pretty much of a done deal.
Therein lies the problem. I made an assumption and I apologize to everyone for making an assumption. However, I think that as I was thinking about this and I got the letter, I started thinking you know, what other assumptions do we make in our business? Well, you know, I think that’s a really good point to consider because we get so busy and we’re doing voiceover work all the time, what little things do we assume as part of the deal that are going to just be there with our clients that maybe we work with a certain client a certain way and they want things a certain way and they always wanted it that way, so we just do it and do it and do it.
Well, I thinks it’s important to note that in the interest of giving the client exactly what they want, maybe just a second thought at maybe what assumptions we might make with our clients and you know, that’s a really good point to consider because what other things do we just make assumptions about that we’re so used to doing as a matter of routine. And I always like to go back to the basics. I feel like you know, I spent most of my life in the martial arts and it’s always about going back to the basics. If you can go back to the basics and put that white belt on for a moment, you know, maybe we’ll start to hone our skills and really go back to some of the very beginnings of what we do and make sure that we’re not making certain mistakes or making certain assumptions as to what we’re doing in this business and with our lives in that manner.
So here we go. What I was thinking about was what kind of assumptions do we make from a technical standpoint since this is a Tech Talk segment. What kind of assumptions do we make on a technical standpoint that our clients may not even consider at this point? Well, here’s a few things to consider. If we’re doing delivery for a client that’s going to be digital and we’re going to be sending the spots, e-mailing the spots in MP3s or what have you. You know, most clients are just going to say, “Okay. Yes, go ahead and send me the MP3s.” Well, what happens if we have a client? Maybe somebody who’s new, you know. We see a lot of postings like that here on Voices.com of people that are new that find the website because they’re looking for voice talents but maybe they don’t have a whole lot of experience in the back end, in the technical end of the delivery of said spots, and what to expect or what to ask for and maybe the don’t even know they mean.
So, maybe a few simple questions as we’re quoting the deal and maybe with our further conversations with the client and again, these are probably common sense. I really try to do this as much as possible. I try to specify everything with the client, but I just mentioned it as a matter of circumstance here so I hope nobody’s feeling like I’m talking down because that’s certainly not it at all. We all have an opportunity at the point when we’re negotiating with the client to ask them. “Okay, what kind of file delivery do you want? Did you want me to send that in an e-mail? Did you want me to post that up to a web server?”
If you have a client download page, what kind of information is going to be necessary to give to them? Make sure you’re enclosing a copy of the invoice or the website address for the finished spots. Okay, all these things are real basic, right? Yes but you know, we also have an opportunity. We’re always talking about how we have an opportunity learned from the things that we’re doing with our clients. Well, we also have an opportunity to teach them. We have an opportunity to help guide some of those newer people that you know, could go either way, you know.
Imagine if you’re a client and you’re coming to a website where you’re looking for a voice and you’ve never done this thing before. So you’re doing this voice thing and all of a sudden you realize that you found a voice you want and you found the person that you want to work with. You really enjoy the company of the person that you’re working with. How they do their business and now, okay, it’s time to do the job. Well so, you know, they’re going to through and that’s why it’s so great. You know, Voices.com has such wonderful support systems in place. They have the sure pace system, you know, to help take some of the worry or the uncertainty of – well, you know, “Gosh! Am I going to get what I need and you know, I’m paying for this and so how does this work?”
And so thinking about from the client’s perspective, we have an opportunity to teach them how this all works and it’s a unique opportunity. I mean, because they’re going to be basing all of their future decisions if we put you know, ourselves in their position. They’re going to be basing all of their future decisions on how they hire talent, who they hire, what kind of experiences they had. They’re going to be basing all those decisions for their next job on how their first experience is and it’s pretty big, huh? We don’t even think about that because you know what? We just assume, when we do the job and we kick out the stuff that most people are already savvy to doing that because most of us are working with that agencies. They’ve done it before, they have people that specialize in that kind of thing and have contact personnel that handle all that kind of stuff for them.
So now, let’s put ourselves in the place of the beginning client who wants to do something and really has an enthusiastic project but maybe they just need a little guidance. So is it our job to give them a little guidance? Well, yes sure! If they’re coming to you and they say, hey, you know, we would like to do the spot but you know, I just did a spot for a company in Germany that’s an internet company in Germany and they’d never hired a voice talent before. They’re a huge internet company but they’d never hired a voice talent before. That’s kind of weird to think about, right?
Well, you know, it does happen and the person that I spoke with, the contact person there had never really understood how the process went. So as I was explaining things to him, sure he was internet savvy. He knew about all the transfer options but he still didn’t know what kind of format’s going to work fast in my project? What kind of things are going to be required for me to send the money to you and how much do you want down and you know, when am I going to get my delivery and things like that, that we assume and take for granted everyday during the course of our business.
But I had a unique opportunity to be able to help this individual with their questions and their circumstances and because I took that extra time and explained how it worked to him, you know, now I’ve got myself a nice long term contract and you know, anybody who comes along in the future is going to reap those benefits because he’s going to already have the knowledge that he needs in hand. It’s going to bank it easier for the next person and especially if the next person is busy, it’s going to make it that much easier for them to get the job done and to give the client exactly what they want. So that’s the point, really. It has given the clients exactly what they want. I mean, it’s really what we build our business on. If we don’t give them what they want, you know, we have a harder time getting those jobs in the future and you know, we’re certainly not trying to carry the pressure of the world but you know, from a client’s standpoint, if we were to go in and let’s just use a common example.
If we go in and buy a car, is that cheesy enough for you? If we go in and buy a car, how we have that experience has based in that first time we went to go buy a car has really given us our ideas of how we think about car dealers in general. Was it the same car dealer that you went back to 5 years later when you’re buying your car? Of course not. It was a completely different dealership or maybe it was the same dealership but you know, odds are that it probably wasn’t the same person 5 years later because they have such a high turnover rate there and you know, and on and on and on with that particular example.
But I think you see what I’m getting at which is, every single person is different and if we made that assumption that all car dealers are going to treat us in the manner in which this first car dealership treated us and this first car dealer treated us. I mean, when I bought my first car and I was 16 and I went with my father. I want to this car dealership and the guy wanted to put me on the clipboard so bad and get us to stay there so bad that he asked for my shoe. Yes, I kid you not. He asked for my shoe to take to his boss to see if, you know, he could show his boss how serious we were and of course at that point, my father smiled and we got up and walked out of the dealership and he chased us all the way to the curb.
So, you know, things like that do happen. So how that relates to us is you know, far less severe but if we take that extra time with the client and discuss those things and not making any assumptions as to what this particular client’s level of expertise is. You know, we’ll have plenty of the (gravid) clients that are already do what they do. They know it, we’ve worked with them before and that’s great. But if we take that little moment of time, we can certainly shape – that one little action can shape how this person – you know, who knows? Maybe they’re a new ad agency getting into the business. Maybe they’ve you know, done some things in the past but never really worked a lot with voice talent and maybe they’ve done print ads their whole life, and maybe they’re making a reach out in the voiceover. Who knows?
I mean, I’m certainly not going to assume that that’s what it is but you know, if we take that time even with the smaller clients, people that you know, with the internet people are doing audiobooks now and people are taking their experiences and putting them on DVDs and CDs and selling them on Amazon.com and you know, there’s this whole new boom of internet business that’s really given rise to a whole new type of economy and if we take the time to help maybe let that person understand how the system works and to guide them through it, you know, we might just make ourselves a good long term client.
And we’re going to make things a lot easier for people down the line and for them because really, if we can give them a positive experience by specify everything that is involved with the process and with the transactions at hand, oh boy, that’s a great thing. Well, I’ve rattled long enough this morning but I just wanted to thank Brian for his e-mail and it did spark just a wonderful thought in my head as I was driving down the street. I thought, “Oh wow! You know, that’s something I hadn’t even thought about because I assumed.” That everything was pretty much status quo on that topic but again, I am shown that we are in this to learn everyday and if we do, we open our eyes and we try to learn everyday. Boy, that’s just amazing the things that we can pick up.
So, thank you very much for listening and letting me rattle on today. I want to encourage all of you to continue to send those things to me. You can hit me right here at the Voices.com website at adamfox.voices.com or at my website at defiantdigital.com. Keep them coming folks. I love sharing them with all of us and I think they’re really great valid points for all of us to learn from and grow from and share. So until next time. Bye for now.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: Thank you, Adam. As always, you can send Adam your feedback to Adam@DefiantDigital.com.
Matt Williams: VoxBox, sharing your audio feedback.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: Now, for the third and final interview segment from Jesse Springer with Joe Cipriano.
Jesse Springer: Okay, switching to a less sentimental side of things now. Most people know that you’re a big fan of your Neumann. Neumanns have kind of been considered, “The Mic” for voiceover. Personally, I’m a fan of Sennheiser Shotguns which I know is what Ben uses also and I’ve never recorded on a Neumann though. When did you first record on one if you remember and was that the moment you decided you never wanted to turn back to anything else?
Joe Cipriano: Oh yes, I remember very, very specifically. I was working at a studio. This was early 80s maybe about 1982, ’83. I was working at a studio called Prism Recording and they were on (Shure) at that time in Hollywood and they had a U87 and I was doing – I think I was doing some movie trailers for either “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” or there was a Tom Cruise movie that was out around in “All the Right Moves” and I kind of bellied up to that microphone and spoke into it and I had never heard that voice that way before. It was amazing.
So I then said, “All right. I want one of these babies.” And then I found out how much they were. It took a few years.
Jesse Springer: Yes.
Joe Cipriano: It took a few years. And as I said before, my wife actually bought one for me for my birthday. I also used the Sennheiser 416. Fox uses them. CBS uses a Neumann’s. NBC uses Neumann’s as well. I think ABC is on Shotguns. The shotgun is interesting. I use it only when I’m on a location, so to speak. For example, when we were just in Europe and you’re going to be doing sessions from something much less than a soundproof studio. You’re in a hotel room or wherever. One of the places, I was in Florence. I was in this 15th century villa and doing sessions from a room that had marble floors …
Jesse Springer: Oh no!
Joe Cipriano: … and tile walls. You can imagine what it sounded like. But using the 416 because it has that tight pattern and it focuses in right on your mouth. You don’t get a lot of excess noise that you get with the U87. You hear the room a little bit more with the U87. The 416 really kind of locks you in so, I’ll use both depending on what the situation is but I always prefer to be on a Neumann U87. I think if you can drive a Rolls Royce, man, you might as well take that out most days.
Jesse Springer: All right, very true. Here’s another interesting question that is affecting me today. I woke up this morning with a bit of a sort throat that I picked up from a party guest last night and kind of stumbled through some of my recordings this morning. Do you have any funny or I guess, they could be horror stories of where you’ve been really sick or unable to record when you’ve just got a deadline on your back?
Joe Cipriano: Well, I’ll tell you. It’s not really funny but I’ve had that from time to time. I’ve been very lucky in that. Usually, I’m kind of like rock solid but there are times when you’ll pick up laryngitis or you’ll have some sort of a sore throat and there’s just nothing you can do about it. I found that for example, at NBC where I do the dramas, it really doesn’t hurt my performance that much. In fact, I sound a little bit deeper and it sounds a little bit richer. But doing the Fox stuff and things that I would do at CBS, that really up tempo stuff, it’s just a joke. I mean, if you have laryngitis and you to try to push it just a little bit, it cracks and of course, I’ve tried to do sessions when I was sick and had laryngitis and I remember being on the line with Fox and trying to say, “Sunday, on an all new Simpsons.” And you know, we tried a couple of times and then finally they go, “You know, that’s okay Joe. We’ll get you next week.”
Jesse Springer: Right. Okay, one last question. Back to the technical side of things for the sake of the gear gurus and engineers listening now, what does your set up look like? I mean, we’ve seen it in some videos probably on YouTube and you’ve got your Neumann and how do you run that to your computer and ISDN line? Are there any presets or special preamps that you like to use?
Joe Cipriano: Well, I keep it as clean as possible. I think the source has to be immaculate. If you’re working on an ISDN, you have to start off with the source that is even better or rivals what they would be getting in their own studio, in their own booth. So I keep it very clean. The Neumann goes into Avalon M5 and from the M5, it goes into my digital workstation board. It’s actually a radio station board. It’s made by Logitech, but it’s a digital board and all of the faders on it. There are three, six faders on it and they’re all assignable, and I have a patch bay.
I can patch things in and out. So it’s a very clean signal, it’s all digital. I try to stay digital through the entire path. I have other outboard gear, you know, for example, I have a few – I have a Lexicon, I have a compressor limiter that’s a UREI LA-4. I have a back up compressor limiter, a DBX. I usually have redundancy on everything. I have two mic preamps, I have two Zephyrs, I have two ISDN lines, I have two headphone amps, two CD players, two monitors. Everything comes in pairs in the studio because if one goes down, I have a back up. So I try to keep it as pure as possible, going in and out of my pro tools rig. I’m using an Mbox and we go in SPDIF in and out. So that’s a digital path as well. So it’s all about keeping it clean.
Jesse Springer: Very cool. Well, thanks so much for your time, Joe. I’m sure you’ve got NBC patching in and negative 10 minutes or something. So get back to that or your dinner or whatever is in store for you now. We all appreciate your willingness to help. So thank you and have a great week, Joe.
Joe Cipriano: Okay. You too, Jesse. Thanks very much.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: Thank you, Jesse. If you enjoyed this interview series, please send Jesse a note – hey, send Joe an email too! You can reach Jesse at jcspringer.com and of course, you can reach Joe by visiting his website, joecipriano.com.
You can find links in the show notes to both of those websites as well as any of the links that we’ve mentioned in the show.
And with some link love there, that brings us to the end of this episode. If you haven’t subscribed already to VOX Talk, you can go to podcasts.voices.com/voxtalk or you can track us down in the Apple iTunes Podcast Directory by searching for VOX Talk. Thanks for listening to the show and for staying subscribed. We’ll be seeing you next week!