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Six Tips To Shine On Every Job ... 
You Never Know Who's Listening
 
By Amy Taylor
Voice Actor
 
Let’s face it, not all voice-overs are created equal.
 
Budgets run the gamut, as do the size and scope of recording projects. Some voice-overs will only be heard when a caller is put on hold at Manny’s Fishing Tackle, while others may run for decades as a slogan for a major television advertising campaign.
 
Either way, each recording gig should be approached with the same enthusiasm and effort.
 
After all, you never know who’ll be listening.
 
TIPS TO SHINE
 
In order to ensure a great recording, here are a few tips to consider.
 
1. Make sure your studio is quiet.
 
Never send your client takes with noticeable background noise - like a car engine or a barking dog.
 
If you can’t get rid of the noise, do another take. These days, home studio quality should be synonymous with studio quality.
 
Refrain from thoughts like:
  • “Oh this is only for so-and-so. He won’t care if there is an airplane flying overhead during this read.”
  • “It’s only running locally.” Or worse yet,
  • “Well, they’re not paying me a whole lot for this recording. They can’t expect the best quality.”
The truth is, yes, they can expect the best. If you sign onto a project, you’re agreeing to give them a product comparable to the audition you did, or the demo they heard that made them choose you for the job.
 
2. Always give it your best read.
 
Every time you hit SEND, you’re putting your product out there.
 
That recording could become an Internet phenomenon with a million hits overnight! If that is the case, your voice - your “product” - will be heard and judged by many, perhaps even by prospective clients.
 
You’ll want to feel confident that you’ve done your best.
 
3. Be consistent.
 
If you have repeat clients, do your research and listen to the previous spot you did for them.
 
Those extra 60 seconds you spend reconnecting with the product or service will show in your next performance.
 
This advice is especially helpful with projects such as voice prompts. A client may have changes to their IVR years later and want you to redo some prompts. So you’ll want to hear a few of your old prompts and try to match the way you did them the first time.
 
4. Avoid the temptation to audition when you’re sick.
 
The sound you are able to produce when you have a cold or scratchy throat may end up landing you a gig that you won’t be able to reproduce when you are feeling better.
 
A pathetic attempt to recreate that sound when you’re well again will sound just that …pathetic.
 
What happens if you’ve booked a gig and then become sick? I suggest making every attempt to reschedule your booking if your voice is not up to par.
 
Be forthright with your clients. You owe it to them to get the voice they’re paying for, or at least, have the option of recording at a later date.
 
5. Keep hydrated.
 
If it absolutely, positively has to be recorded today, try a neti pot to clear the sinuses and keep hydrated.
 
Decongestants can really dry you up. There are pros and cons to taking them before a session.
 
Double up on your water intake if you choose to go that route.
 
6. Most importantly, have fun with every recording.
 
You’ve got the best job on the planet. If you let that show in your work, more clients will want to hire you!
 
Amy Taylor is a bilingual voice talent specializing in English and Spanish voice-overs. She recently recorded for Verizon Wireless, ESPN, SOAPNet, MSG, iVillage.com, and Starbucks. She was awarded the “Best FemaleVoice” trophy from Voices.com in 2009, and will lead a presentation on International Voiceover this June at the VOICE 2010 conference in Los Angeles.
 
Web: www.amytaylorvoice.net 

 

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Comments (2)
Jim Conlan
3/2/2010 at 11:05 AM
Really good advice, Amy. Why wouldn't we give our best on every job ... and why shouldn't we enjoy it?
BP Smyth, Narrator
3/2/2010 at 8:08 AM
Excellent points Amy. A very professional way of looking at our "profession". Putting one's best foot forward at all times is always the way to go. The universal "ficklel" clientele we deal with on a daily basis needs to be presented with our very best shot to help land not only the current gig, but future gigs as well. Maintaining a good professional reputation is paramount.
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