VOX Talk #45 – Say How?, Rodney Saulsberry, NPR Voice Acting Interview, Kristi Stewart, Adam Fox, Vicki Amorose


    Say How?, Rodney Saulsberry’s upcoming teleclass, Video Game Voice Actor Interview on NPR, Kristi Stewart in The Biz, Adam Fox in Tech Talk, and Vicki Amorose on taking time for yourself in the VOX Box.

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    Say How?, Rodney Saulsberry, NPR Voice Acting Interview, Kristi Stewart, Adam Fox, Vicki Amorose

    Transcript of Vox Talk #45

    Matt Williams: Episode 45
    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.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: Greetings! I’m Stephanie and welcome to VOX Talk! This week, Kristi Stewart, Adam Fox, and Vicki Amorose join us on the program. Let’s get started with some news.
    Matt Williams: The Loop, informing you of news and current voiceover events.
    Stephanie Ciccarelli: In voiceover news, you’ll want to get your hands on this. Nancy Wolfson of BraintracksAudio.com recently referred me to an online pronunciation guide perfect for voice actors who need to pronounce the names of those in the public eye.
    I caught up with Ray Hagen, the person who compiled this guide who also happens to be a voice actor who has recorded over 400 audiobooks for the Library of Congress Blind Recording Studio. Originally, this collection started out on index cards filed away but now with over 9,000 names to its credit, it was too good to keep at the filing cabinet and is now available for all to use.
    Want to see it for yourself? Check out the article on VOX Daily or go to the VOX Talk show notes to get the Library of Congress link.
    Onto our next story, Rodney Saulsberry is closing out 2007 with an educational bang, offering a 3-week Commercial Intensive Teleclass chock full of everything you need to know to be successful in the commercial end of the voiceover industry. As Rodney says, this is the genre where many of you will work the most and it’s imperative to be aware of the latest trends and business matters in this most competitive area of the field.
    To learn more about the class and register, go to RodneySaulsberry.com or head over to the VOX Talk show notes for the direct link to the class.
    In closing, there was an interview October 11th, 2007 on NPR, that’s National Public Radio in the United States hosted by Nate DiMeo featuring an interview about pay for voice actors in video games. The argument being that if blockbuster video games are earning hundreds of millions of dollars, union actors who provide voices for the characters should also get a bigger share of the profits, perhaps even residuals, just as their colleagues in television get when their shows enjoy re-runs.
    To hear the 3-minute interview, go to npr.com or visit the VOX Daily blog for details and to add a comment in on the debate.
    Matt Williams: The Biz, helping you grow your voiceover business.
    Stephanie Ciccarelli: Today in The Biz, Kristi Stewart shares her story on transitioning from broadcast to voiceover.
    Kristi Stewart: Hello everybody. This is Kristi Stewart. When Stephanie asked me to speak about my transition from radio to television as a voice actor, I don’t think she realized that I actually started working in television first.
    That’s right. When I was a journalism/communications major at Tulsa University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I actually interned at a local NBC affiliate, KJRH-TV. I worked in the newsroom throughout my second semester of my senior year. After I graduated from the university, I was one of the lucky ones. They hired me on full time in the newsroom as an associate producer for the 5:30 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Boy, those were terrific years and I learned so much. As a matter of fact, that’s the first time I got an opportunity to actually step into an audio booth.
    I was asked to go into the booth and record the sponsor tags for the end of the newscast when our normal announcer wasn’t available. So I went ahead and did it. I tell you what, I got hooked. But it wasn’t until 2 years later that I actually got my first job in radio. I ended up working at WKY Radio in Oklahoma City but not as an on-air personality as a promotions director. I got to write promos, I got the voice promos. I really learned the ins and outs of radio which came in handy a lot later.
    Now remember, well this was the 80s, you know, Dynasty days. Not many women were in drive time gigs. Most female DJs I knew were put on late nights or over night. Their prime morning drive and the afternoon slots were still occupied by men. And most clients sought out male announcers with big voices. By the end of the 80s, I met and fell in love with a Canadian man who brought me (Norris). I eventually ended up working at Global Television as the female announcer for the network across Canada and I also gained valuable experience working for them as well.
    So I did make a transition from radio to television. There is indeed a difference in voicing spots for radio and for television. It’s a subtle difference but for radio, you have no visuals or pictures to reinforce your message. So it’s up to and that voice of yours to get the total message across. So your voice and your read become very important. You only have a few seconds to get the client’s message across and make it stand out from the crowd.
    Now in television, visuals do most of the talking. Your voice enhances the visuals and makes it not only pleasing to the eye but to the ear as well. It reinforces the message or visual communication. For years, radio announcers were taught to be over the top or almost forced in their reads to sell or promote things. Use those big pipes of yours and they heard time and time again. Today, just about every promo, commercial or PSA you see or hear is just the opposite.
    In today’s voiceover marketplace, there’s more pressure being put on voice actors not to sound too over the top. Sounding natural or real, how many times have you heard that, has become the standard. Clients are looking for voice actors who sound like someone’s mom or a next door neighbor, not an announcer. For a lot of announcers who began their careers on radio, this becomes quite a task. If requires a new way of thinking. Not long ago, the Gary Owen or the Don Pardo type of announcer was the sound that was preferred. Now, not so much.
    It’s forced announcers to search for other ways to read copy. Announcers just can’t read copy. They have to read something into copy to allow for their emotion to come through in their reads. To actually get the listener a sense that the person who is speaking to them about a particular product really believes in what they’re promoting. This is where an acting background certainly comes in handy. It’s so much more than reading the words that have been written for you. You have to have the ability to feel or interpret a script in order to convey the message. However, being over the top still seems to be en vogue for sports announcing, car ads, and action-filled dramas for those movie trailers and this is where the big pipes can come out to play.
    As a television announcer, you were dealing with visuals, thoughts have already been produced with the music bed and pictures and the voice talent is required to follow along with their voice. So timing is also crucial. You’re only given so many seconds to read a line to match up with visuals and the television spot. As the case may be, the network television promos or movie trailers, you have to read into or play off of a sound bite making it come to life. There’s a lot of decisions going on in that brain of yours within a few moments. But as in everything, the trends in the voice industry will change yet again. And the key to staying no top, not over the top in this industry is the ability to be flexible and give it your all.
    And just remember, the next time you see an ad that asks for a real person, that announcers are real people too. They just work a little harder at sounding that way. It’s not as easy as it sounds. This is Kristi Stewart for VOX Talk.
    Stephanie Ciccarelli: Thank you, Kristi. That was great! If you enjoyed Kristi’s segment, I want to encourage you to send her an email at her website okkid.voices.com.
    Matt Williams: Tech Talk, walking you through the technological landscape.
    Stephanie Ciccarelli: And now, Adam Fox!
    Bob Oakman: You’re listening to another Defiant Digital podcast for Voices.com. Here’s your host, Adam Fox.
    Adam Fox: Hey folks! And welcome to another edition of the podcast. I just wanted to thank everybody for your cards and letters last week. You know, it’s so funny because they’re electronic and still we’re so pretty programmed as a society here, at least I am, to say cards and letters. How funny is that? Anyhow, thanks so much for all your comments.
    I did have an interesting point raised and that is that we discussed what, you know, what kind of options you would have for backing your equipment up, should there not be a more serious problem. And I did get one that said, “Okay, so what if I have a total hard drive crashed? Total failure?” And that’s an excellent question.
    Number one thing you should do is, I hope that you’ve had a whole bunch of that stuff backed up because you may be in for a shock, hence, the importance of backing all that stuff up. So there are a couple of options that you have for that. I did mention briefly that there are data recovery specialists that can recover a lot of that data off of a hard drive. The only thing is that you need a second – if you’re going to do it yourself, I should say, you need a secondary computer in order to do that. And I have one set up that is specifically for that purpose and I have all the cables that I need to plug everything up to it.
    And then once you do that, you’re actually mounting that drive as not a system drive and so therefore, it doesn’t really require as many of the extensions and controls that you’re just mainly mounting it just as a source of information. And once you’re lucky enough to get that source of information hooked up to the machine, you’re going to find one of two things. You’re either going to be able to access that drive or you won’t. You know, it’s kind of a final thing to say. If you can access that thing, great. There are some options. If you can’t access it, then I hope you did back up all your stuff because one of the few options that you will have is to do what’s called the low level format and you’ll basically be rewriting all of the information on the drive and you will lose everything.
    You can save the drive and certainly, if it’s not a catastrophic failure or you’ve had, you know, a screw driver jam through the back of the driver or something like that, you can actually reformat that drive and utilize it later as a back up drive as long as it’s electronic. A lot of that electronic stuff can be fixed. However, many drives just get old. If you’re spending these drives up and you’re using them 24 hours a day or heavy production schedules and you’re reading and writing from them all the time, a lot of times, they just get old, you know, they’re an electronic component. They have mechanical components, silicones and washers and things inside of them that they just simply breakdown after time. And that’s also if you’re lucky enough to avoid the spoils of say, a lightning storm or not having proper search protection no your studio at home and catching a spark or rubbing your feet across the carpet, you know, and walking in the room and still having a static charge on your person and you happen to touch something. And I mean, there’s just a zillion things that can go wrong with electronic components and that’s why it’s so funny that we rely on them so heavily because they have in this new technological age becomes so dependable, even though there’s this host of things they can possibly go wrong with them that can make everything come down just like pulling the centerpiece out of that Jenga game.
    So if you are lucky enough to be able to hook that up to your secondary back up system or data recovery specialist is able to get that thing to mount, you can copy those files over. If they’re too large, you can get – there’s a variety of different options. You can purchase another drive and have those files copied over as long as, you know, the person that you’re taking this to is a trustworthy individual and they’re not going to be duplicating your sensitive information and sound files and such like that. You can certainly ensure that that’s not going to happen. You can copy them over to DVD, depending on the size of the files. Dual layer disks are also a possibility. I – as well as backing my stuff up to external drives. I also do back ups onto rewritable DVDs that are dual layer in nature so that I can actually make sure that I have a current back up that is more solid. It’s not going to be as prone to the kind of electronic interference that some of our other pieces of hardware will, that are more apt to reading and writing DVDs just a stronger platform to be able to do that.
    And certainly, once you get the information recovered if you’re lucky enough to do that, lesson learned and we just move on and you know, don’t be hand shy. These things happen to everybody. It’s just kind of a par for the course. I’m sure I could ask for, oh well, let’s do that right now. Let’s ask for some stories. Let’s hear about your worst crashes and how those things have affected maybe your precautionary measures for things that you do now and how has that adjusted your routine that you’ve now become so accustomed to. So let’s hear them. Let’s hear those wonderful stories and we’ll share some of them.
    If you send me some audio clips, I’d be happy to cut those into the show as well. You can certainly send me an e-mail here at the Voices.com website at adamfox.voices.com or you can hit me at the production website at defiantdigital.com. If you send me some audio clips, go ahead and e-mail them to me at adam@defiantdigital.com, the Defiant Digital address and go ahead and e-mail me some MP3s. I’d be really interested to cut those into the show next week and share those with everybody because boy I tell you, we’ve learned from them, haven’t we?
    So I hope you’re all enjoying the change in the seasons. It’s starting to get wet up here in the Pacific Northwest or certainly we’re getting our dose of rain. Fire season is now over and at least I don’t have to worry about that which is a good thing and you know, with all these electronic worries, you know, little thing like fire season. Who really worries about that, right? You know, just small pittance for what we do in our business. So I hope you’re all staying safe and staying dry and we’ll definitely be chatting with you next week and thank you so much for your patience, your input, your podmail. It’s all just makes great, fun, and just gives us things to share within this community. It’s an awesome thing to do. So all right to folks. Take care of yourselves and we’ll see you next week. Bye for now.
    Stephanie Ciccarelli: Adam, you’re so knowledgeable! I’d like to take a minute to let you know how much we appreciate hearing from you each week and thank you on behalf of our VOX Talk audience for being so approachable and personal. Now, the floor is yours. Do you have anything to add? Send Adam your feedback and podmail to Adam@DefiantDigital.com.
    Matt Williams: VoxBox, sharing your audio feedback.
    Stephanie Ciccarelli: Now, take a deep breath! Ah, that feels good, doesn’t it? Vicki Amorose joins us in the VOX Box with some tips on how to stop and smell the roses.
    Vicki Amorose: Hi. This is Vicki Amorose and my little words of wisdom are these:
    I don’t care what anybody says. It is a hard job to constantly audition and constantly face not getting the job. So, how do you deal with that? There’s lots of resources out there for us. Fortunately, we’re pros or are giving us ways to stay positive and stay involved and all those are really valuable. And in addition to that, here’s my advice.
    Take a week off. Just stop. It’s one of the greatest things about the industry we are involved with. As voice talents, we have the freedom to stop when we feel like it. So, if you’re down, if you’re overwhelmed, you know, you just don’t have the energy to give the audition what it deserves, take a break. Take a walk. Give yourself time to stop. And if you have a hard time with that like I do, here’s a little visualization.
    Since I am my own boss, I pretend I’m walking into my own office and I say, “Boss, I’m down. I don’t have any energy. Can I have a week off?” And then I’d say to myself, “Yes! Take week off. You don’t deserve it. Refuel. We’ll see you next week.”
    Stephanie Ciccarelli: Wonderful ideas, Vicki! Thank you for sharing them. If you have anything you’d like to share in the VOX Box, send your MP3 to me via email to Stephanie@voices.com.
    If you like what you hear and you’re already a subscriber, we’d appreciate an iTunes customer review. For those of you who haven’t yet subscribed, head over to podcasts.voices.com/voxtalk or you can find us by searching in the Apple iTunes Podcast Directory for VOX Talk. Thanks for listening and staying subscribed. See you next week!

    Links from today’s show:

    Say How?
    Say How? Resource on Library of Congress Website
    Braintracks Audio Nancy Wolfson
    Rodney Saulsberry Commercial Teleclass
    NPR Interview on Video Game Voice Acting
    Kristi Stewart
    Adam Fox
    Vicki Amorose


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