Voiceovers from Home Sweet Home

I recently booked and recorded a bilingual (English/Spanish) voiceover job from home thanks to a referral from fabulous fellow “Voxy LadyLisa Biggs. Being a new mother, I’m now submitting more voiceover auditions from home so that I can enjoy being with my baby girl as much as possible. Most of my voiceover work has taken place in various recording studios throughout New York (and elsewhere), so I’m still learning how to best pursue, book, record, and deliver voiceover jobs from home. As a SAGAFTRA actor, I thought there would not be many opportunities for me to work from home since union voiceover jobs tend to record in the city, but I have heard several top agents say that they are now requesting that all of their talent be able to record and deliver quality files from home, even if only for auditions. With all the advances and ease of new technology and equipment, recording from home is becoming quite common for professional union jobs!

For any other voiceover moms out there, another “Voxy Lady” and work-from-home voiceover talent, Heather Costa, has some good tips on how to “fit everything in” as a working mom in this great blog post.

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And we have a winner!

Congratulations to voice actor, Rachel Fulginiti!  Carnival time is here and the king cake Rachel won from the Voxy Ladies is being shipped to her from New Orleans!

If you are reading this and saying to yourself, “Yummy!”, there are two things I suggest you do… one: order a king cake from Haydel’s Bakery for a taste of Mardi Gras, and two: make a donation next year to the Voxy Ladies 12 Days of Voxmas for a great cause and a chance to win!

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Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

I’m featured in this blog post on The Girl’s Guide To Voiceover so I just HAD to share!  It’s for a GREAT cause: The Children’s Holiday Magic Project.  Many thanks to the Voxy Ladies for organizing this.  I am very proud to be a part of such a worthy cause.  I am contributing a delicious King Cake Package from my hometown New Orleans! Tis the season for giving! King-of-Carnival--Traditional-~vo

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Donate a Halloween Costume & win a microphone!

It’s that time of year again: the annual Halloween Costume Clothing Drive!  As a Voxy Lady, I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this wonderful clothing drive, benefiting children throughout the US and Canada.  And if the feel-good feeling and good karma of doing a good deed isn’t enough, visit www.voxyladies.com/events for all the info & the scoop on how to enter to win a brand new NEUMANN MICROPHONE when you make a donation! Many thanks to Sennheiser USA!

1229920_571598502900243_530235123_nThere are drop off locations throughout the US and Canada, however, I am partial to the donation box I created for the Edge Studio in NYC.  They have graciously offered to partner with us for this worthy cause, so if you’re a New York actor or voiceover artist familiar with the Edge Studio, please donate there!  (115 W. 45th St, between 6th & 7th) All New York donations are going to Jersey Cares.

VoxyBox

 

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Welcome sweet Colette

Sorry I haven’t written a blog post lately, but I have an excellent excuse… I’m a mother!  I’m taking some time off to spend with my beautiful daughter, Colette.  I love her so much.  She is amazing.

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IN A WORLD- A movie about a female voiceover actor

I was very excited to see this great movie trailer today and thought I would share it on my website.  As a professional voiceover actor, I was able to identify immediately with Bell’s character.  Here is the trailer along with a terrific short article and interview with Lake Bell: IN A WORLD- Trailer

From the article: “I love the idea that you aren’t judged by what you look like, but you can literally take on any social group or age or gender, even,” Bell said. “So you have this beautiful tool that you can manipulate and play with and express yourself with.” And she worries that young women today are not utilizing the power of their own voice.

Lake Bell in the recording studio (in a scene from the movie IN A WORLD)

Lake Bell in the recording studio (in a scene from the movie IN A WORLD)

Me in the recording studio

Me in the recording studio

Read the full article for more from Bell.  She echos many thoughts I’ve shared in the past regarding this profession, especially as a woman.

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Update Your Profile With SAG-AFTRA!

sag-aftra_logo2This past week was a great work week!  My jobs included recording voiceovers (looping) for a TV show, and I had one of the best voiceover sessions ever for a wonderful movie. The film session was particularly enjoyable because there were ten incredibly talented voice actors in the studio, capable of doing over a dozen languages and accents between all of us.  It really keeps you on your toes to work with such an impressive group of actors.  Best of all, I enjoyed working with friends.

The looping voiceover jobs I work on are SAG-AFTRA day player rate jobs, meaning they pay $842 each, plus residuals, going up to $859 in July. (See SAG-AFTRA Theatrical Wage Tables here.) Having special skills with languages and/or accents as a union actor is one of the best ways to break into this lucrative line of work, and yet, many union actors do not update their profiles with SAG-AFTRA or promote these skills!

The day I worked on the TV show, the casting director told me she had a hard time finding union talent who could do certain voices because actors had old profiles at SAG-AFTRA. She had booked me because she needed my Southern accent that day, but she also needed some fluent Hungarian speakers.  She eventually found a couple of stellar actors, but not without a search.  She was actually getting old answering services when she called people.  Who still has an answering service?!

Your website may be up-to-date and your agent may have your latest resume, but don’t forget to update with SAG-AFTRA!  Not all roles are filled via breakdowns and agent submissions.  Many people like to find talent on their own and will book you directly.  It’s not enough to have a great agent or to promote yourself with a fantastic website or to update friends and followers on Facebook or Twitter if someone who has never met you is searching for talent with specific skills directly through SAG-AFTRA. Make sure you can be found easily through key words on your resume (such as any languages, accents or dialects), and that you are easy to get in touch with so you don’t miss out on work!  You can update your profile with SAG-AFTRA here.

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Embrace Your Voice Type And The Work It Brings

Last week, I had the pleasure of working on a feature film where I was asked to do voiceovers with 10 year old girls.  Let me clarify: I was asked to speak in the voice of a ten year old girl, along with actual ten year old girls.  As an actor, there is something magnificent about standing next to real ten year old girls and being able to convincingly match their voices and energy!

Ready to do our voiceovers together, the girl next to me turned and sheepishly smiled up at me.  In that moment, I was an adult standing next to her.  We then stared at the film screen and heard our “beep beep beep” cue to begin, and that’s when the transformation happened… suddenly we were equals as our similar sounding voices lent themselves to a scene with young energetic girls on the screen.  We didn’t look at each other, only at the screen, and the scene before us embodied our voices.  Such is the magic of voiceover work.

I have often discussed how fascinating it is to me that our voices are capable of both revealing and betraying so much: age, sex, race, class, ethnicity, what country you’re from, what region you’re from, what city you’re from, even what part of the same city you’re from, such as Brooklyn vs neighboring Queens.  For those of us who do voiceovers for a living, it is a matter of pride as well as a thrill to be able to convincingly master multiple voices.  “It doesn’t matter what you look like!” is the familiar enthusiastic exclamation of every film, TV or stage actor who has discovered voiceover work.  Ah, but it does matter what you SOUND like.

Even in voiceover work, there are types.  Some voiceover actors may shun my saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway because I’ve found it to be true:  Embrace your voice type and the work it brings.  Sure, I can convincingly “play” someone 20-30 years younger than I am with my voice (yes, I said 30, don’t do the math) but by the same token, I don’t book jobs where they want a woman my age because I sound too young.  I am proud of the fact that I can speak multiple languages and do multiple accents flawlessly, but I can only lower my voice so much, try as I may.  My natural speaking voice sounds like someone in her early 20’s.  My voice is great for commercial work, not so great for the medical training video audition I submitted last week… which brings me to my next point.

Should you submit to EVERY audition that comes your way?  Again, some may disagree with me, but I say, no.  I submitted a couple of auditions last week that I sadly knew I wouldn’t book.  I sounded great, mind you, but I also sounded too young, and I knew it.  Just like actors who work on stage or on camera, there is something to be said for knowing your types (notice I added an “s” there).  We actors face a lot of rejection.  Why subject yourself to that when you can focus on marketing yourself for the types of jobs you know you’ll likely get?  Actors believe they can play any part, but casting directors don’t think of actors as being able to play every part.  They think of actors as types.  I know this because I worked at a casting agency briefly and gained this valuable education firsthand about how actors are really perceived and cast. The same goes for voices.  Brand yourself.  Highlight the things you know will likely book the job for you over someone else.  For me, there are a handful of things that consistently book work for me:  my young, friendly voice for commercials especially,  my Southern accent, which I love to do (I’m originally from Louisiana), Spanish and English in the same session since not many actors can do both with zero accent, and my facility with improv that helps with certain jobs such as looping for films and TV shows.

What are your specialties?  What do you consistently book?  How do others describe your voice?  Just as an actor asks others to help him or her to define his or her type, so should a voiceover actor ask others for input as well.  Share your demos with others and ask for honest feedback.  Then take that feedback and market yourself with it.  Take classes and keep expanding your vocal range, try new accents, new animation voices, and so on, but don’t neglect the voices you already do well, the ones that have lead to jobs.  The more you embrace your voice type(s), the more work you’ll book!

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Women in film are still Missing In Action (and Comedy, and Drama…)

Flavorwire came out with this article yesterday: Guess What: Hollywood’s ‘Bridesmaids’ Revolution Never Happened

“52% of the people in the audience are women, but only 28% of the people on screen are, and that’s not a problem that can be solved by a half-dozen catch-all “women’s pictures” per year. If Hollywood is serious about monetizing their audience, they might want to consider putting characters into their product that the majority of that audience can engage with.”

Please read the whole article, and then engage with other actors and filmmakers to continue this important dialogue.

As a female actor, after writing about how grateful I am to have voiceover work, I thought this was an appropriate follow up post.

Kudos to the author, Jason Bailey (yes, a guy wrote it).

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A Voice Actor’s Perspective on Angelina Jolie’s News

Late last night, I was reading the New York Times and happened to come across this article written by Angelina Jolie, which had been published just minutes before I read it. I tweeted the news right away and posted it on Facebook, then went to bed mulling over it all in my mind.

In the article, which she herself wrote, Angelina Jolie reveals that she just had a preventative double mastectomy.

As a woman, and as an actor, it is extremely thought provoking to read this sort of news. Women already have societal pressure to look a certain way, and to place value on the appearance of our bodies.  For a female actor, that pressure is doubled.  For those of us in voiceovers who started out in front of the camera, on stage, or still do both, we especially understand and appreciate how acting just with your voice is a unique luxury.  Being a voiceover artist is liberating in that we can put aside our own personal physical traits and create a new persona through the voice.  I love my body, my “shell” as my husband lovingly calls it when trying to remind me that it is what’s on the inside that he loves even more.  But what I love most about my body is what I can do with it.  I’m grateful to be able to use my body, including my voice, to do so many things I love.  Through my voiceover work,  I’m able to let people “see” me, whatever “me” I present to them, through what they hear.

A couple of friends have unfortunately been through this difficult procedure, so I applaud Angelina Jolie, as a public figure, celebrity and sex symbol, for helping others see this as a something anyone could potentially experience. 

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