Behind the Mic: Jules Riley

Posted: 15th January 2019 by benztownvoiceover in Interviews, Voice of the Week

jules

Jules has been on air and programmed stations across the U.S. including 103.3 KLOU and The Arch in St. Louis, T95 in Wichita, BEN in Philly and The Peak in Phoenix. She has worked in multiple formats including: Adult Hits, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country and Hot AC.  She is currently Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartmedia St. Louis. With a radio programming and improv theatre background, Jules knows how important your station voice is to executing your brand vision. She can be heard across the U.S and Canada on radio and television commercials and on stations like 680 News Toronto, WSOC Charlotte, WBAP Dallas, KCKC Kansas City, KLOU St. Louis, WBBB Raleigh and KOLA Riverside-San Bernadino Represented by Nate Zeitz /CESD Talent Agency.

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

Current: 570 News Kitchner, 660 News Calgary, 680 News Toronto, News 1130 Vancouver, 1310 News Ottawa, KBVB Fargo, KCKC Kansas City, KKTX Tyler, KLOU St. Louis, KOLA Riverside/San Bernadino, KPRF Amarillo, KQSR Yuma, KVDU New Orleans, KYMK Lafayette, News 95-7 Halifax, WBAP Dallas, WBBB Raleigh, WERK Muncie, KSD St. Louis, WSOC Charlotte, The City Fargo
Former:  WARH St. Louis, WFMS Indianapolis, WLWK Milwaukee, CHLG Vancouver KVRV Santa Rosa


What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)

Senior Vice President of Programming iHeartmedia St. Louis, VO for above stations, commercial voice work for regional and national platforms.

What do you love about your job?  

That listening to music is a big part of my day!  Also, like the variety of stations I get to voice.  Always fun to move from a News Talk to a snarky adult hits.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I was working as a consultant with Folger Media and we developed a format.  We needed to put a demo together so potential clients could get a feel for the brand.  I voiced the demo, the first client that bought the format wanted to use me on the station.  Thanks Popster and Ingstad Broadcasting!

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?  

The first long term one was the on hold voice for a pizza place in Wilkes Barre.  It’s pretty annoying hearing your own voice thanking your for your patients while “we are helping other customers”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Ann DeWig, She was on a few of the stations I programmed over the years.  When I moved to Phoenix, we met and became great friends. She was instrumental in getting me established as a VO talent.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?  

Programming radio stations ☺

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

It definitely makes you stop for a second…then it’s like…is that me…I think it is.  No maybe not, oh yea, I remember that read.

Gears/Technology

How has new technology changed the way you work?

RIley Internal StudioIt has allowed me to build a solid studio at home, so I don’t have to head in to the station if I get copy late at night!  Also makes it so much easier to record on the road.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

Rode NTG 3 Shotgun Mic, Sound Devices USB Pre2, a small Mackie board, computer, phone line

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I use Adobe Audition.  Pro-Tools gives me the sweats, too many choices!  Since I rarely produce, I just need a simple platform to record with.

Riley External Studio

Skills & Helpful Tips

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?  

I work before and after my day job!  I like to turn copy within 24 hours (usually less time).  I’m on both sides of the equation, so I know how awesome it is to get your new production on the air quickly.  I get auditions from my agent, but I’m not doing blind auditions from websites or cattle calls much anymore.

How do you market your services to potential clients?  

CESD, website, bothering friends, word of mouth., Benztown!

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

A trick I learned from Ann DeWig, have a set of you doing #’s (500-1) on hand with your different reads (Rock, AC, News, etc.) that way when the end of the year hits and everyone is doing countdowns, you already have all the #’s recorded.

If you do a lot of work for one company and they tend to use the same keywords, contest pieces, etc.  Once your record for your first station, send to other stations in that group, then they have what they need without event asking!

If a major event happens in a format you do a lot of work in (Artist passes, unexpected single drops out of the blue) record some generic lines about the event and send to your brands that may be able to use them.  Be out in front to help the PD and Imaging Directors get breaking events on air quicker than their competitor.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Yes, but really a different approach for different formats and brands too.  All want to convey a feeling, you’ve got to find what is going to best sell the brand you are currently reading for.  I probably do more research auditioning for a radio station/audio platform, then a commercial.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

  1. Find your style/your brand and look for potential clients in that wheelhouse.  Very few people are good at EVERY type of read.
  2. You may need to take some free or low paying jobs at first.   You have to be heard what you can do.
  3. Audition as much as you can.  The more you do, the more comfortable you will get.

For Fun

Favorite 2 Pizza Toppings?

Pepperoni and Mushroom (though jalapeños are moving up)

Keep up to date with Jules at her website julesrileymedia.com

Behind the Mic: Rob Reed

Posted: 10th January 2019 by benztownvoiceover in Regular Features, Voice of the Week

Rob Reed is the David Puddy (think Seinfeld/Rules of Engagement) of radio imaging. He’s the Mr. Big of v/o. Radio is in his DNA;Rob_Reed_Mountains radio owns him and he owns radio (we’re not kidding). Rob’s entire career has been devoted to our media and branding voiceover work is his final frontier. The Right Honorable Mr. Reed is killing it for his affiliates and he will for you too. His voice has an 80 inch chest and 25 inch biceps, all natural, steroid free!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

Currently voicing:

  • WWLY Wild Willie 100.1 in Panama City Beach, Fl.
  • WXUS US 102.3 in Gainesville, Fl.
  • KWBT CBS Sports Radio Central Texas, Waco, Tx.
  • KZXM Real Country, Tyler, Tx.
  • WBBN B95 Hattiesburg, Ms.
  • KLDZ KOOL 103 Medford, Or.
  • KSTV Stephenville, Tx.
  • KCCN Kickin Country 103 San Angelo, Tx.
  • KRVL Rev FM Kerrville, Tx.
  • WLQM Real Country 101.7 Franklin, Va.
  • WVNO HD3, 97.3 The Spur Mansfield, Oh.
  • WMKC Big Country 102.9 Indian River, Mi.
  • KSNY AM & FM, & KLYD FM, The Lid Snyder, Tx.
  • KKAJ 95.7 Ardmore, Ok.
  • KFLP Flip FM Lubbock, Tx.
  • And serve as the voice of Benztown’s Horsepower Library

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I retired as a Market Manager for Bicoastal Media in radio in December of 2017, and currently, work full-time from my home studio.  So, I’ve gone from talking to myself on the air, to just talking to myself inside my 4×4 vocal booth, on the edge of the earth in far, northwest California.  The radio imaging work, that I’m able to do, allows me to stay closely tied, though to a career that lasted 30 years. Right now, my time varies between radio imaging, narration, and commercial work, which includes regular casino/resort spots, automotive spots and a handful of law firms around the country.

Additional things about you

What do you love about your job?

Well, it doesn’t really ever seem like a job.  It’s an adventure every day. I meant that as a joke, but honestly, it’s very true.  I love the fact, that even though, I get the chance to be many people during the day, as a voice actor, I still get to be me.  So, whether it’s a promo for Classic Country’s Wild Willie or I’m playing the voice of a block of wood, that will soon be a piece of furniture, or narrating a documentary…  it’s all, really just me. And the other really cool part of it, is…I can do it anywhere, really.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Getting into VO, for me was kind of a natural progression, now that I think about it.  About 6 or 7 years ago, a friend, that I worked with in radio, Chad Letts called, and said, I should check out some of the ‘Pay 2 Play’ sites on the web.  I did, which led to finding terrific friends, which led to coaching, demos, and low and behold, I’m quite sure that I’m even more passionate about Voiceover, than I was for radio.  And the VO community, is one of the most incredible group of people that I’ve ever been around. So many give back, with knowledge, help and advice – that it just kind of rubs off on you.  I’m very grateful to so many.

What was your first gig?

Any memorable ones since then?  HA, my first paying gig, was a Chicago gangster, for Al’s Italian Beef.  I get called on often, to sound pretty big and tough – or even sarcastic.  This last year, one of my favorite gigs, was as a narrator for a cigar company based in Atlanta, called the Good Cigar Co., and we basically went through the basics of how to smoke a cigar – some great stuff, and that video ended up living on their website.  I also end up narrating a lot of tool-related products, like Edwards Iron Workers, Olympia Tools and outdoors-related media, like a film series for Tackle Direct on the east coast, and their film series called “Saltwater Underground”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Idols for me, have to include some radio imaging legends.  Think the first voice that I remember hearing, and thinking…”that’s what I want to do” was the late, Brian James.  Of course Don Lafontaine, and Earl Mann, too. As far, as mentors go, I mentioned Chad Letts, who is based in Vegas.  Chad continues to hold me accountable – often. Melissa Moats is another part of the Las Vegas VO community that I consider a mentor, as well as Tom Pinto, who I’ve recently worked with and Nancy Wolfson was also a big influence on, helping me change my delivery from an on-air jock to a working voice actor.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else. For as long, as I can remember – it was in a media related field.  As a little kid, all I wanted to do was be on the radio. In the beginning was a sports-caster. But all of the things I ever wanted to do, involved a microphone.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

I was hooked.  I was 12 years old. My mother owned a fabric store, and she advertised on the local radio station in town, which I would later work for for many years.  And doing her commercials, I just knew, that’s what I wanted to do.

Gear/Technology

How has new technology changed the way you work?  Rob Reed - Studio1

Well, technology is really amazing – think we take it for granted how fast things move and change, compared to the way things were done when I landed my first job in radio in 1987.  Not to mention, how Source Connect has become an intricate part of what I do and where I live. ISDN is not an option for me, as I mentioned ….I truly live on the edge of the earth. So, with just a little bit of bandwidth, I’m still able to connect to studios for directed sessions with no problems.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

On the road, and in my studio at home, I use a Sennheiser 416.  I own several other mics, but the 416 is my go-to for just about everything that I do.  From time to time, depending on the Rob Reed - Booth1gig, I have a Neumann TLM 49 that I also use. On the road, it’s pretty basic – I carry a Focusrite 2i2 with me, as well as a handy little ShureX2u as a back-up.  At home, from my booth, I use a John Hardy M1 preamp, or an Avalon M5, and a Focurite 2i2.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I use Adobe Audition, because that’s what I started editing on when computers became the way we work.  In the beginning it was Cool Edit Pro, and then moving on to the upgraded version of Audition. It’s just simple for me, and I know it well.  Plugins, I use a variety of Izotope products. Nectar, Alloy, Neutron and the Rx line is a life-saver for me.

Skills and Helpful Tips

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I’ve had a VO coach from Day1, and yes I recommend it. In fact, almost on a daily basis.  I’m asked pretty frequently on social media, how to get started in the industry by others, mostly from a radio background.  The first thing I tell them, is to work with a coach. I still do, on a regular basis. And I soak up other knowledge in podcasts and social media that I can read, watch or listen to.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work?

How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?  Well, that’s quite honestly the toughest part of my day, is prioritizing. I have started working out of a calendar, to keep myself organized instead of a To Do List – for me, it just keeps me, more on-task.  Auditioning, is a little different. I probably spend anywhere from 2-6 hours a day, auditioning for new work. Prioritizing – that’s really the key, right? I guess, being a manager in radio, I learned early on…how to make sure what is on fire, and which fire needs to be put out first.  I do my best, now that it’s just me – to be as proactive as possible. Seriously though, the calendar thing, helps me a lot.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

I use a variety of different ways to reach out to prospects.  I use social media a lot. But, I also do some grass roots, prospecting and email and phone calls.  It’s really just basic relationships though. The people that I work with, or really I call them partners, and not clients… learn that what I do, is solve problems for them, so “they” can worry about their business.

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

You know what, if you have a great answer for this question, email me info@robreedvo.com and help me, because I truly suck at time management!

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

You know, for what I do – it doesn’t require a lot of production. I do a lot of straight VO reads, that producers don’t want a bunch of compression and bells and whistles with.  They want clean, raw audio they can alter however they need it. I hired George Whittam to create a plugin rack for me, to use in Audition. He created one for each of my microphones.  So, I record at the proper levels, slap it through that basic rack, and send off my work.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

I think each piece of copy has it’s own approach, so yeah. For me, a lot of the radio imaging copy that I do is “big” and announcery (one of my least favorite buzz words, but it’s true, I guess)  And much of my TV/Radio and Narration, Documentary and other, is more drawn back, from a volume aspect… I try to picture who were directing the message to… how old are they, men or women, or both?  What do they do for a living, and so on, so that I can do my best to connect to the copy – I think that’s the real key, is connecting. And being believable.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?  

1- Hire a coach, but do your research. There are a lot of coaches offering their services and insight.  But you need to make sure that their style matches you and your personality, and what you are trying to accomplish in your VO career.

2- Surround yourself with people that will push you to be better, not just as a voice talent, but also as a person. I have a group of friends that I feel like are another level, beyond my talent level and pay-grade.  Another group of friends that I feel like are equal to where I am in my career, and then another group of friends that are just getting started, and I’m able to give back with tips and advice from people that gave me that same help.  Pay it forward!

And 3- Be patient. Let it come to you. There are very few people who start hitting it out of the park immediately after starting.

For Fun

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

From a radio stand-point, I think the 40s would have been a great place for me. Just the connection people had with radio at the time, was amazing.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni & Mushrooms

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Teddy Roosevelt. Think his stories of experiences would be fascinating.

What’s Been Goin’ On with Joe Cipriano?

Posted: 22nd October 2018 by benztownvoiceover in Interviews, What's Been Goin On

It’s always a pleasure to hear from our friend and voiceover legend, Joe Cipriano. Joe has been a part of the Benztown Brigade as a voiceover artist for years and had an extensive career as a voiceover artist for both television and radio imaging.DSC_0031adjRet A lot has been going on with him since the last time we invited him onto the Benztown blog so we’re excited to share all the new dish!

1. What have you been up to lately (new projects, life happenings, etc)?

It’s been a great year, Susan…thanks for asking. Besides continuing to work on TV shows like America’s Got Talent and Hollywood Game Night, I’ve started working as the promo voice for a couple of new cable networks as well.  Of course, radio imaging is something I love to do. Radio is where I came from and where I was discovered originally by the Fox Network just a few months after they hit on the air.  I was their comedy promo voice for 20 years and also the comedy voice for CBS 15 years. Radio holds a special place for me and I’m honored to work with great stations like Classic Hits, K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles.  In everything I do, radio imaging is the most fun and continues to be the most creative.

Joe Cipriano VO – Video Promo Demo Vers 2 from Joe Cipriano on Vimeo.

2. You’ve had an outstanding career already. What are some goals you have professionally?

Voice Over is an ever changing business and in the past 10 years there have been huge disruptors in the industry, like the pay to play casting websites that have changed the way voice over jobs are found and won.  It’s always my goal to remain relevant. It takes constant attention to what’s going on today and have a clear understanding of the business. It’s why I went with Benztown from the beginning of the operation, because the business model was innovative and I knew it was about to change the radio imaging business. So staying relevant and always looking for new opportunites are my professional goals.

Take a listen to a few of Joe’s Demos:

3. Any new gear or upgrades?

Something else that has changed dramatically in 10 years.  When I built my Clubhouse studio 10 years ago it was an absolute must to have a great pre-amp such as my Avalon M5, imperative to have had ISDN capability and so much more.  Today, my studios are drastically different. I have a studio in our apartment in New York and one here in Los Angeles that are built around newer technology, such as the UA Apollo Twin Solo which replaces not only my Avalon pre-amp but every single piece of outboard gear I could ever have in a rack.  Some things stay the same…I still rely on my Sennheiser 416 and my Neumann U87 for different uses, but the way I record now is almost exactly that same in both my studios and my “on-the-road” rig. Same equipment.

4. How has new technology changed the way you work?

Just about everything I’ve mentioned up to now underscores how technology has changed the way I work.  Gear like the UA Apollo Twin Solo as my interface in my studios and road gear has been a great advance. And now the utilization of the CEntrance Mixer Face to record at an extremely high level of quality into my iPhone, when needed, has given me even more flexibility.  I’ve always tried to be at the cutting edge of remote recording technology and it’s always exciting to find new ways to be able to work while on the road without disrupting the reason I’m on the road in the first place. The latest addition to my road gear is the Skyroam mobile wifi interface.  I took Skyroam with me to France and Italy this summer and I was able to connect at VERY high speeds on cellular networks wherever I was for an all-inclusive $99 fee for 30 days. The wifi connection was fast enough to connect to buyers via Source Connect and I was able to do virtual ISDN sessions on Skyroam via ipDTL all from my laptop.  Technology rocks! ☺

5. What advice can you give to aspiring voiceover artists trying to get into the biz?

It ain’t about the microphone. It ain’t about the equipment. Those are tools.  They are the shovels you use for digging, the scissors you use for cutting. It IS all about education.  Workshops, coaching, seminars…layering a foundation where upon you can build your voice over career. So don’t fall into the trap where you think a certain microphone will make you a successful voice over artist.  It’s the work you put into your career before speaking into a microphone that counts. Don LaFontaine could interpret a piece of copy and turn it into something remarkable to listen to and then speak it into a two dixie cups connected by a string.  And it would still be magical.

Connect with Joe on Social Media

Twitter:  @joecip

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joeciprianovo/

Website:  www.joecipriano.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/joecipvo

 

Behind the Mic: Tre Mosley

Posted: 26th September 2018 by benztownvoiceover in Uncategorized

20180724_163047As a VO talent Tre Mosley likes to give the client exactly what they want, but with his own style and personality. You can say that he likes to bring personality to the work. He’s easy going, loves what he does, and enjoys having FUN while he does it.  Tre does his best to get the work out to the buyer as fast as he get it in. We’re in the service industry, no matter how you look at it, and it’s his job to serve you with the quality work, every time.

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

Nothing at the moment…but I’m available.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I just did some work for WBHJ in Birmingham, Alabama.

What do you love about your job?

Creating, I love the process of voiceover,  the energy of it all…and the final cut is the result of that work. I feel like booking the work is the pay, and the actual pay, well…it provides me a means to support my family.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Working in customer service and in the Mortgage Industry, always doing impersonations, being silly, plus I was in the choir and drama in school. Natural performer I guess. When they laid us off, I took my severance and started looking more into “narration”. I didn’t know it was called voiceover until I started my research on it.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

I read Spanish pretty good, (sometimes) and I read a ‘JUST SAY NO’ PSA campaign. 250.00! BIG TIME, lol. I was chosen to narrate a short piece on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which had to be approved by the King Family. They said it would have made Dr. King proud.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Dave Fennoy, Joe Cipriano, Al Chalk, I could go on and on.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

My mom taught for 40 years … I think I would be too. That or an attorney or salesman. I can talk anyone out of anything.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

I literally sat there, and said “that’s…me?” Beaming. The coolest moment was when my mom heard it that I kinda teared up a lil.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

Cuts down a lot of editing time…remote recording is awesome! Source Connect has saved my hide numerous times.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

In studio: Apollo Twin, My Mac, and my AT 875r shotgun, recommended by George Whittam.  One the road, my Presonus or Scarlett gets the job done, and my Macbook has everything the big boy in my home studio has. If I’m in a hotel it’s pillow fort time or my Porta Booth. If I’m traveling to visit family, they ususally have a quiet room set aside for me.

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 7.27.27 AM

 

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I’ve been with Adobe Audition since forever, but Cubase was the first one I learned how to use. They’re 1 and 1 A to me.  Plugins are so….expansive, it’s just so many of them! Maybe something to take out breaths or clicks, and for fun I like using the plugin that makes you sound like you’re on a phone call and prank my friends with messages, calling from unknown numbers. I’m a good friend, just a bad one too!

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

Every major profession has some type of continued training. Sports of course. Lawyers and teachers have to be certified every so many years to keep their job. Why not us?

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I take what the day gives me most of the time. If I have a heavy VO workload that day, I try to knock it all out, then audition and market, then relax alone (read: Xbox) or spend time with baby (My wife Danielle), Slow day means more marketing and auditions. Weekends I do PA announcing as well. I know when to turn it all off though.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Calls, Emails, or I walk up to you and strike a convo while I’m in your establishment, and see where it goes. We exchange cards and then I’ll send out a thank you email a few days later just as a reminder that we talked, along with sample of my work (if I didn’t show them on the phone when we first met) and go from there.

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

ASK ! That one thing has saved me from a lot of stress and worry. We’re sometimes conditioned to do it all by ourselves. Asking for help is a STRENGTH not a weakness

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

Less is more….I try not to process at all, let the engineers handle it.  Don’t get me wrong I use it, but not enough to say “Hey try THIS!” I don’t want any mean emails saying “You said to do this and now I sound like a duck!” In the words of the singer Shaggy, “Wasn’t me.”

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Oh yeah…more energy in imaging versus Tv and Radio. Well, they each have their own energy, but radio imaging (at least for my market) is very bombastic, you gotta be cool, have energy, swag, and all of that. Rarely for a commercial on TV and Radio do they ask for that.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

Be nice, even if they say no. ASK, you wont know unless you put it out there. Say thank you, don’t assume and feel entitled. Manners and professionalism are VERY important. I got more but you asked for 3 lol.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why? 70’s…things just seemed so much COOLER back then.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? You assume I eat pizza…I DO ! Bacon, and sausage.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be? My grandpa, wait….ugh this is tough! I’m gonna cheat a lil. My grandma because we never met, and my grandpa because I know how proud he’d be of me. Are you trying to make me CRY!?! ☺

Connect with Tre on Social Media

Twitter: @TreMosleyVO

Behind the Mic: Adam Kecskemeti

Posted: 5th September 2018 by benztownvoiceover in Interviews, Regular Features, Voice of the Week

Adam Kecskemeti (Ketch) is a baby-faced imaging producer with over a decade of production, writing and voicing experience. Having worked on various formats and rebrands including CHKetchR, Hot AC, Rock (Alt and Classic), Talk, Sports and Classic Hits, Adam finds a way to inject each with its own style of personality. Learning from some of the best VO talents in the biz, he has created his own unique sound and style that brings humor and excitement to even the most basic scripts. With a wide array of characters, accents, and range, Adam can sing, shout or be subtle in his delivery. Adam is currently Senior Imaging Director for Virgin Radio Toronto as well as a commercial and animation voice actor.

What do you love about your job?

That feeling of walking in and delivering. Being a key part of making a project work. The collaboration with the director and addressing character development is a blast. Of course, walking out I always think “I’m getting paid for this?”

How did you get started as a VO actor?

When I first started as a producer, my voice talent was in-house, so we riffed ideas, pitches and characters. Eventually, he said we should cut a demo and send to his agent. Which we did and she agreed to rep me.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?   

My first voice gig was a National Radio Ad for Hyundai. I have been bumping around at auditions getting a good response, but no gigs. Finally landed what I assume was a called in favor (My Agent was a big hitter). My line was a joke about washing the car so much my hands were like giant raisins. Listening back I don’t love it…but the client loved it. So I was thinking “Ok…I can actually do this.”

Memorable ones since then would include working with RedBull. The unique challenge of not just lip syncing, but matching to an animation written to the German language. A bit tasking, but the RedBull guys are incredibly helpful and collaborative, so it was a great experience in dubbing.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Jamie Watson is one of the unknown greats. His ability to improv, riff and deliver is unparalleled. Watching him taught me that the VO artists is a writer too.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

This is always a hot-button issue! I love pro tools. BUT I do appreciate that AA has some things going for it that the guys at Avid haven’t incorporated yet. I was an early adopter of Izotope Plugins. I really love Ozone 5. YES, 5! It has incredible master presets that V6 or 7 have lost. Nectar has some really good and funky settings that can take ALT reads and production to a strange and interesting place.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I haven’t yet. I may down the road. I’ve heard some really positive results from friends who have used coaches.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

What I am getting paid for already gets done first. Any auditioning comes after that. I try to audition for as much as I can. But if I see a script or product I don’t endorse or love, I walk away.

Follow Adam on Social Media

 

Behind the Mic: Chris Rollins

Posted: 28th August 2018 by benztownvoiceover in Interviews, Regular Features, Uncategorized, Voice of the Week

Chris Rollins is an Emmy winning voiceover actor that does radio and TV, commercial and narration.  Selfie 1You can hear his voice on FOX television as the voice of “Lethal Weaponpromos, and on a bunch of different radio formats around the world. We are ecstatic to have him on the Benztown Brigade as a voiceover artist!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

In the past? I was on 95.8 Capital FM in London, 100.3 The Sound in LA, i101 in Chicago, 102.1 The Edge in Dallas, Channel 4 in Dubai, 2Day Network in Australia, Cities 97 in Minneapolis, DaveFM in Atlanta, and a many others.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I am doing voiceover work and freelance exclusively, and have been since 2009. In addition to many awesome radio stations, I am also the voice of the “Lethal Weapon” promos on FOX, and narrated the last two seasons of “Yukon Men” on Discovery.  I’ve also done work for ESPN, Weather Channel, MLB, NFL, FX, etc.

What do you love about your job?

What’s NOT to love?!?!  I work from home. No two days are ever the same, and I get to interact and work with some amazing and creative people.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I was the imaging director for many years at many different stations in many different cities, and I knew I wanted to get into voiceover.  So I started using my voice as a spice, and eventually, stations started paying me just to do voice-over. How cool is that?

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

I can’t remember to be honest.  The first station to pay me for only my voiceover was either Power 98 (a defunct CHR in Amarillo), or 96.7 KissFM in Austin.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

My dad, first of all. He worked in radio in the DC area, as well as at the Voice of America.  He also did some voiceover himself. He introduced me to the studio when I was really young, and I fell in love with the turny pots and the blinky lights.  He also introduced me to some local VO people. Their stories were fascinating!

I also learned a lot about what to do and NOT to do as a voiceover, working with some of the best.  The late great Brian James was so accommodating and so much fun to work with. Chris Corley, Brian Lee, Jeff Berlin, Jen Sweeney, Annie DeWig and others were always so easy to work with, and fun to BS with on the ISDN.  I am proud to be working alongside them now, and to call them my good friends. As far as what NOT to do as a voiceover actor… those mentors shall remain nameless.

And my idols?  I grew up loving “Ernie Anderson” and of course “Don LaFontaine”.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I can’t imagine doing anything else.

(But I have always wanted to drive a train.)

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

Surreal.  And I will add, it never gets old. ☺

How has new technology changed the way you work?

With technology, you can work just about anywhere these days!!  The biggest worries you now have are finding a quiet space, with good acoustics.  But usually a small closet, some pillows and a thick blanket fixes that.

I’m also VERY glad to have FTP delivery, as opposed to FedEx’ing out reel-to-reel tapes.  What a pain in the ass!

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

3- Doorway View

HOME SET-UP: Sennheiser 416 Shotgun.  Avalon M5 Mic Pre, and an AirTools 2x Processor (thank you Brian Lee).  I route everything through a Mackie 1604VLZ4 because I like the analog sound.  I also have a Behringer Headphone Distibution Amp, to add treble and bass when needed.  You can screw up the monitor, but not the mix!

SIMPLE ROAD SET-UP: Sennheiser, into a MicPortPro into my laptop.

COMPLICATED ROAD SET-UP: Sennheiser, into AirTools2x, into MicPortPro into my laptop.

REALLY COMPLICATED ROAD SET-UP: All of the above, plus and Audiobox USB interface and a Mackie Mix8, to send to my Comrex Bric-Link so I can bridge to ISDN.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

Don’t laugh … I use SawPro32 to do all my editing.  It’s old, and simple, and kinda clunky, but I love it.  And I am lightning fast on it. I always tell people, whatever helps you do the best work and be the most efficient, use that.  If it’s ProTools, good for you. If it’s an Orban DSE-7000, I am impressed. If it’s an Otari MX5050 8-Track, I bow to your greatness.

I don’t use any plug-ins for voiceover – unless I am on the road.  But when I produce (which isn’t very often anymore), I just use EQ’s compressors and other fun things in Waves Platinum.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

Yes I have, and I would absolutely recommend it.  Just make sure you work with somebody who is not promising you overnight success and guaranteeing a “multi-million dollar career”.  Coaches help you find your sweet spot, find your read, find your VOICE.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I use the calendar feature in Outlook ALL the time.  I also categorize all emails that come in and use those little color coded categories – RED for Radio stuff.  BLUE for TV. PURPLE for commercials. LIGHT GREEN for auditions…etc, etc…

Auditioning is mostly what I do.  I would say 75%-ish of my time behind a mic is auditioning.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Email is the best way these days.

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

This saved money, AND my ass.  Because AT&T sucks, I lost my ISDN lines.  Luckily, a very good VO friend of mine had ISDN that he didn’t use very often.  He also is a technical mastermind, and told me about this ingenious little box that talks to other ingenious little boxes over the internet and sounds amazing and had NO latency.  It’s called a Comrex Bric-Link, and I really hope it becomes the industry standard for communicating – kind of like Zephyrs were the ISDN industry standard back in the day.

Anyway, I am part of a gang of four VO dudes that co-op an ISDN box, and our little system has worked flawlessly.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

Less is More.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Absolutely!  Commercial is completely different from Radio imaging and Affiliate work.  Commercial can be conversational or it can be announcery. It can also require you to have a good sense of comedic timing, or you just have to be able to squeeze 45 seconds of copy into 29.

Promo is sort of related to Radio work, but different enough that it makes the transition very tough.  Narration is way over in left field, but still a REALLY fun part of VO. They are all different and you really need to know how to approach each piece of copy correctly.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

A – Work Hard, do the legwork. Network and market.

B – Have Patience. LOTS of patience. Don’t expect success right away. And accept success humbly.

C – Cost agents money. That is the ONLY foolproof way of getting an agent – when you take jobs from their talent, they will pay attention to you.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

I’d go back to the 80’s, and re-do it with all the info and experience I have now. I miss parachute pants and big hair…and 80’s new wave.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Besides the usual… I like pineapple on pizza. I also like mushrooms.  But not on the same pizza.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

My father-in-law.  He was a very successful economist, and was one of the smartest guys I knew.  He was kind to me and believed in me when I was a young stupid kid dating his daughter.  Despite the fact that his daughter and I were too young to be getting married, and despite my screwy career choice.  He passed away about two years ago, and I miss him dearly.

Connect with Chris on social media

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrisrollinsvo

Twitter: www.twitter.com/chrisrollinsvo

Behind the Mic: Dave Hoffmann

Posted: 21st August 2018 by benztownvoiceover in Voice of the Week

Dave Hoffman Voiceover

Dave Hoffmann is a Benztown Brigade voiceover artist that can be heard on national and international airwaves. A veteran of the industry, we’re proud to have Dave on our roster representing the Benztown family!

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I’m excited to share that I booked my very first audition that Benztown sent and I’m now the voice for FM2 in Manilla.  I also just started as the new voice for WOTW, 103.1 The Wolf Orlando, and got that one from my demo being on the Benztown site. Personally, there is no greater compliment when a station signs you on and I truly look forward to helping anyone who needs something different.  Oh ya, I just moved to Atlanta with my family in July and I can’t wait to see what this new and booming entertainment market will bring next.

What do you love about your job?

This is my dream job and is exactly what I always wanted to do since I was a kid. I absolutely love that this type of work always brings something different each day AND that it allows me to help others with their dreams too.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I did my first commercial VO at 12 years old and never looked back. Who wants a real job after that, right?

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

My first commercial recorded was for a Chiropractor where I played a kid with scoliosis. I’d love to find the guy who made it and tell him what I do now.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

I have huge respect for all the talent I’ve been able to meet through Atlas Talent and Benztown. I’m someone who believes that you can learn from anyone if you just take a moment to listen. My list of favorite voice talent is, well, too long to list. I’m a fan of many.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I could always be an audio engineer… but I rather be a race car driver. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

I thought hearing myself on the local radio station meant that I had “made it”! Boy did I have a lot to learn! But hearing yourself never gets old.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I started on reel to reel machines … so, digital editing is flippin’ amazing.  I still have a tape splice block and razor on my studio desk to remind me how much harder this all could be.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

Dave Hoffman Voiceover Studio

I use Sennheiser and Neuman mics for my VO and various plug-ins and outboard amps.  Since I’m an audio geek and come from an engineering background, I have a much bigger studio setup than most VO talent would ever need.  But I love it and I just bought a C24 motorized console for my new studio that’s being built in Atlanta. It’s going to be sweet! On the road, I dig the Yamaha AG06… combined with a nice little hotel room pillow fort.  Hello, Room Service … can you send up more pillows?

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I’m a ProTools guy.  I started with ProTools 5, so I know it quite well and speed is a plus in this industry. I also had my 003 sent to Black Lion Audio for an internal upgrade on the mic pres, A/D convertor, etc.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I’ve studiied with numerous coaches along the way and I still study with one today.  I honestly think training with a quality VO coach is imperative to succeed. It’s been the best investment I’ve made yet.  Learn. Apply. Repeat.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I try do the work as it comes … or whichever script is on fire.  I try my best to do all auditions that come in from my agents. You’ve gotta keep planting that seed.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

I fill out blog questionaires from Benztown. 😉  Oh, and I use this thing called the internet. It’s amazing what you can do on there.

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

Work smarter. Plug-ins like RX from iZotope can help speed up simple tasks.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

I could tell you … but then I’d have to.. oh, nevermind.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Radio imaging is surely different than TV and commercial VO work .  You have to breathe life into the copy to make it come alive. Yet, it’s still very personal.  No other media type allows you play around and have so much fun.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

1) Study with a good VO coach to learn all you can.  2) Invest in quality gear to help make you sound your best.  3) Like Journey says … “Don’t stop believing …”

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

I think I’d go back to the 90’s and invest in Apple stock … or Google.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?  Pepperonni and Green Peppers

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?  

My Grandma… I’d love to show her what I’m up to these days and get more advice for the future. Awww, right? ☺

 

 

 

 

What’s Been Going on With Harry Legg?

Posted: 14th August 2018 by benztownvoiceover in Uncategorized, What's Been Goin On

What a great day to hear from our talented friend and voiceover artist, HarryLegg_WebOptimizedHarry Legg! It’s been a while since we last checked in with Harry on the Benztown Voiceover Blog and a lot of awesomeness has been happening with him both in and outside of the studio.

1) What have you been up to lately (new projects, life happenings, etc)?

On the radio imaging VO side, I voice the NBC Sports Radio Network. I have also been having a lot of fun with international clients like Cork’s 96 FM in Ireland, 89.7 Bay in Malta, Beat FM in Jordan and most recently I’ve landed on Radio 1 in the UAE, an English language CHR that covers the country out of both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s great to work again with Benztown’s Scott Phillips who is providing Radio 1’s production wizardry. It’s been another year of growth and learning. Besides being part of the Benztown team – I voice the Benztown CHR service and the Today in Rock History feature – I signed with Atlas Talent Agency last year and they have helped me expand into other areas. Nickelodeon and Travel Channel are a couple of the clients that have come my way. I’ve also been working on my video production skills. I use Final Cut Pro and created my most recent voiceover demo as a video. If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you’ll see plenty of martial arts training and teaching posts for my school, New Jersey Tai Chi. Most people don’t realize it’s a vicious martial art – they think it’s just an exercise for old folks…far from it! Tai Chi Chuan has equal parts martial and equal parts health and healing. In the next year, I’ll be making more and more online instructional videos.

Check out Harry’s Imaging VO demo:

2) You’ve had an outstanding career already. What are some goals you have professionally?

2-Vocal Booth-1

I want to continue evolving. As the business changes, I want to make sure I’m on the top of my game. I’ve been fortunate to work at some legendary calls, KIIS-FM, WKTU, and at a very special station where the passion was at an all-time high, Energy in Chicago. It’s not possible to recreate the magical days at any of those stations. Voicing for stations that are having fun, that are creative, that want to establish loyalty and emotional bonds with the listener is what turns me on from an imaging VO standpoint. Continued growth in the other voiceover categories is important as well – I enjoy sports promo VO and TV documentary narration.

3) Any new gear or upgrades?

Yes! I travel a lot, 7-New Toy - CEntrance MixerFace R4primarily for martial arts training and teaching, so mobile gear is always something I’m looking at so that I can provide the best quality VO from the road. I’m a bit of an audio freak and really pay attention to the acoustic environment as well as the transparency of the electronics I’m using for the mic preamp. I recently received the long-awaited CEntrance MixerFace R4. After hearing the quality of the company’s previous unit, the MicPort Pro, I was immediately excited to have their latest piece, which promised an even cleaner mic pre and connectivity to smartphones. They did not disappoint in the quality department – it sounds really clean and smooth. It will be my new travel interface along with a Sennhesier 416. The MicPort Pro will be my backup. I’ll bring my MacBook Pro, but it’s great to know that if that should die or if Pro Tools should decide to give me any BS, I can plug right into the iPhone. I use the Twisted Wave app and it works very well.

4) Is there any crossover between your voiceover career and your martial arts career?

6-Vocal Kung Fu

Yes, I’ve found several ways. I combined my passions with an ad that I called “Vocal Kung Fu” –where I had headphones on while wielding a Chinese broadsword and speaking into the mic. Plus, we all know that you need to have thick skin in the media business. Martial training helps provide a very strong mindset – you know how hard you train and what you have learned to endure – that training directly translates to confidence and a focused mind when it comes to business decisions and difficult situations. While others may be freaking out about something, the martial artist typically has control. Then there’s the obvious, a healthier you means you feel better and thus, sound better. I recently saw a funny Tai Chi FB post, “Are you rich? Do you want to live long to enjoy your wealth? Practice Tai Chi.” There is also crossover in that I voice and produce promos for martial arts events. I am also beginning to spend more time in front of the camera lens as a teacher. Now, here comes the face for radio wisecracks!

5) What advice can you give to aspiring voiceover artists trying to get into the biz?

3-Vocal Booth-2Get coaching! Spending hours everyday talking over Cardi B, Blake Shelton, Drake, Led Zeppelin, or presenting the news will affect your delivery. Radio has a different delivery style that almost always sounds a bit forced. Radio is a bad word in the voiceover industry. Seriously. That doesn’t mean we leave radio if you want to do agency level voiceover work. It means you invest in yourself and your business. Take acting/improv classes and/or get a professional voiceover coach to sledgehammer the radio out of you and teach you the various voiceover industry protocols. Next, network! Here’s my quick Benztown networking story: I was working as the Creative Director at WKTU in NYC and was listening online to overseas stations for inspiration. I heard an amazing promo on 2day FM in Sydney. I called the Creative Director, Kacey 1-Manley VoxBoxBaker. We struck up a friendship and he ended-up hiring me to be the American VO for the station as well as most of the CHR’s in the company across 12 markets in Australia! All because I reached out with that one phone call. Andreas Sannemann, CEO of Benztown in Stuttgart, Germany was listening online to 2day FM. He was just starting Benztown Branding with Dave “Chachi” Denes, who is the President of Benztown in Los Angeles. He played my voice for Chachi and asked if he knew who it was. We knew each other because Chachi worked at KBIG while I was working in the cluster at KIIS-FM. Chachi said, I know that guy! He called me in New York and I became the very first Benztown voiceover talent as well as one of the imaging producers that helped get Benztown up and running! You never know what twists and turns will happen in your career – stay in touch with people. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Network! I made a video several years ago about my transition from radio to voiceover and have included that link with the interview. Thank You Benztown for checking in with me!

Connect with Harry

Facebook: facebook.com/harrylegg
Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/harrylegg
Twitter: twitter.com/harrylegg

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/harrylegg
Instagram: instagram.com/harryleggvo
Facebook (Tai Chi): facebook.com/newjerseytaichi

 

5-Harry Legg Business Cards

Behind the Mic: Tasia Valenza

Posted: 8th August 2018 by benztownvoiceover in Voice of the Week

Tasia Valenza is an Emmy-nominated actress for her work playing the role of Dottie Thornton on janbirch.comIMG_3194 2 copy All My Chilren and has acted in numerous television shows and series throughout her illustrious career before finding her true passion off-camera as a voiceover actor. She’s had the good fortune of being one of the top female voiceover artists in the county over the last several years, having voiced thousands of national commercials, promos for major networks, narrations, etc.  Known for her range and versatility, Tasia is best known for her Iconic strong female roles in video games and animated television shows such as Poison Ivy in Batman: Arkham Games, General Shaak Ti in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and SniperWolf in the Classic Video game Metal Gear Solid to name a few. She’s also worked in radio imaging over the last twelve years in radio stations around the country!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

I started in radio imaging after a successful vo career in all the other mediums, when I was handpicked by Alan Burns for the the Movin format and have remained there since 2006 I worked for years at Chicago’s rewind 100.3 as well as other markets around the country.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I’ve been the female voice of the Marconi winning 101.1 More FM for the last eight years and counting.

What do you love about your job?

My motto is I love what I do and I do what I love and for me that’s exceeding my client’s expectations! I love collaborating with my clients and being able to translate their direction quickly, and easily and make it a fun and creative experience.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Tasia Valenza

They say, “Mother knows best” and for me that’s true! My mother helped me start my on camera acting career with a bang when I was just 15 being cast opposite Sean Penn in a Louie Malle film called Crackers and went on acting in movies, television shows, including being nominated for an Emmy for All My Children.

In my twenties my mother told me she’d met a girl doing voiceovers and insisted I attempt it. Being a good mother she nagged me until I tried it and found my true calling translating my love for acting into my love for voice acting.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

My very first voiceover job was a radio spot for Blockbuster video.

I’ve been blessed with a long and fruitful career with some of the highlights being the voice of Soapnet for 10 years which combined my love of VO with my soap opera background so well.

I’ve also been lucky enough to do a lot of animation and video games and have played some iconic roles such as Poison Ivy in many games and then some as well as Shaak ti from Star Wars the Clone Wars and Sniper Wolf from Metal Gear Solid.

I’ve recently been the new computer for newest Star Trek Discovery series which super cool, and I created an affirmation meditation app called Haven which is a passion project that allows me to give back in a meaningful way. I also love to donate my voice to charities and was thrilled to be part of an Emmy winning video for the Wild life Sanctuary, playing a magnificent lioness named Morelia.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

I was privileged to know and be mentored by the late Don Lafontaine for promo and trailers, which was pretty cool since he was the king of “In a world.”

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I’d be teaching “Giving Great Voice” which is the art of confident verbal communication, by thinking like a voice actor in your own life! (which I do:) )

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

I loved it, because it was the first time I was freed from the physical limitations of what I looked like, which my on camera career was so much a part of.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

IMG_5647I was limited only by what my voice could do and it was and still is exhilarating! That’s also where my “hat logo branding came from, since it allows for a little mystery. (plus it’s an excuse to buy more hats ☺)

It’s also been liberating. The old saying for successful VO artists is that you have on golden handcuffs because you have to be in your studio or near it because the old technology was not portable. I missed out on my trip honeymoon, because I couldn’t transport my telos box and my isdn lines.

Now I have source connect and IDPTL and along with my equipment and a good closet, I can pretty much work anywhere.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?Tasia Valenza

I have had my trusty sennheiser 416 shotgun for over fifteen years and it’s never failed me in keeping noise room at a minimum and my voice at a maximum.

That, my headphones, my apogee one and my Macbook pro and I are good to go, “I call it VO on the GO.”

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I’m a big believer in always continuing to grow and expand my talents and keep them sharp. I’ve had and still have vocal coaches, acting coaches and singing coaches. I love honing and refining my craft and keeping my main instrument, my voice at its best.

I’m lucky enough to work in many voiceover mediums so each day brings something new. I voice multiple stations so there’s usually something in my inbox for me to turn around by the next day. I also have several agents around the country so there are always auditions and jobs to turn around which I can all from the comfort of my own studio, unless it’s animation in which case I always head over to an outside studio.

I’m a social media convert. I used to be resistant to it, but since I’ve learned to embrace it, I’ve connected with all kinds of different clients from around the world and it’s been a great opportunity that would not have been possible when I first started. I particularly love Integra since it’s become more than just photos so I can share videos as well.

What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know?

My favorite VO trick that everyone should know is the lovely “lead in” which I use in every medium from Radio imaging saying “OH Yeah!” to get my energy going before I say my first excited line to. Here’s the coolest thing before I say the word “introducing.” It helps to get “into a script” in a more organic and real way.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Every medium is different and even in each medium there are different reads. Sometimes when I’m reading Imaging copy it’s big and fun and over the top and then sometimes it’s man or in my case “woman on the street” Each is unique and I draw upon my acting skills to tap into the right read for each piece of copy.

Three tips for newbies would be to join a FB Voiceover group or on LinkedIn to learn from those that have gone before. Listen to the current trends in VO to stay current. And work on your craft. There is no substitute for that.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

I would go back to the eighties since it seemed like such a fun, decadent and yet simple time and dance the night away!

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Favorite two topping pizza, eggplant and caramelized onion.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

If I could invite someone to dinner, it would be my mom who passed away five years ago, so I could ask what it’s really like on the other side and share with her my wonderful and blessed life.

Contact: 

Benztown: https://www.benztown.com/brigade/tasia-valenza

Website: http://tasiavalenza.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TasiaValenza/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tasia-valenza-1

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tasiavalenzavoice/

Affirmation Meditation App:  http://haven.am/

Behind the Mic: Dave Steele

Posted: 18th July 2018 by Loren Kling in Interviews, Voice of the Week

DaveSteele2012-copyDave Steele had many different career opportunities, like an electrical engineer. That is what he spent all of his tuition money on. Or, a firefighter, for 8 years, he did that too; dealing with structure fires to auto extrication, even a first responder and training on R.I.T. (Rapid Intervention Teams). The other option was scuba search and recovery; he also did that for a sheriff’s department for 2 years. All great experiences, but throughout, he still loved the radio and entertainment business, and he has been doing it since 1985. Dave started in radio at 15 and by the time he was 22 he was a Program Director. He has been on the air in every day part and position since. The Voice Overs bug caught him back in the late 90’s and in 2000 officially started Steele Imaging, Ltd. His company provides cost effective voice imaging for all projects across a variety of media platforms. Dave knows the media industry moves fast, which is why his clients enjoy same day turnaround time.

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)? I am currently the imaging voice for over 50 radio stations across the US/Canada and one random station in Sweden.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)? I still do radio imaging VO work but I have also done TV narration and commercial work for local, regional and national spots.

What do you love about your job? The freedom it gives me to be with my kids and family.

How did you get started as a VO actor? I would just eat up hours and hours in radio station production rooms when I first started as an on-air talent. I got better, then people asked me to voice their stations.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then? I started out doing freelance VO/Production work for Paul Orr at WYNK-FM in New Orleans. He was the first guy to ever say, “Yeah. Ill give you a shot.”

Who are your VO idols/mentors? Charlie Van Dyke, of course. As a part time weekend talent at 98.9 Magic FM KKMG-FM in Colorado Springs, Charlie had delivered the most memorable Top Of Hour ID I have ever (still to this day) hear. It was simple. Big. Magnificent. Powerful. Since the station’s transmitter was on Cheyenne Mountain the ID said, “Serving the Magic Kingdom from the Top of the Rockies, KKMG Pueblo, Colorado Springs. Magic-FM” – And if you know Charlie’s pipes… you know how bad ass that sounded.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career? I went to school for Electrical Engineering. So… back up plan. Boring. But a back up plan.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? The first time? I was scared shitless. I was on the air at 15 years old.

How has new technology changed the way you work? Reel to Reel and splicing tape. That is how I learned. DO a VO, drop it in the mail. Buy more supplies, get more stamps, drop it in the mail. Now, digital, upload. Done. Much easier. The problem is, everyone with a 20 microphone, any sound card with a 3.5 mm jack and some recording software thinks that they can do this kind of work… problem is, many times, with better tech and lower price points, people will still go ultra cheap and dummy down the entire industry.

Studio

I don’t do road gear. I am not pushing records or pharmaceuticals, selling shower curtain rings or traveling with the circus. This is my job, in my office. Not a closet. Not a bathroom with towels and dirty clothes to dampen the acoustics. I keep regular hours. As for my equipment, I will only say Neumann Microphone, great audio card (because if you skimp on the quality of either… it’s crap in. crap out.). I use various software for recording, depending on the project and complexity.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins? I don’t record music, play the guitar or try to lay down drum tracks. So, multi-track systems, while I do know how to use them, over complicate my process. I grew up learning DAW systems when they first came out. Windows was the most prevalent platform. As systems and software came and went, I have settled into the Sound Forge product line. Although I have Vegas, Pro-Tools, Audacity, Audition, Cubase, etc. The Sound Forge system does and have everything I need for VO.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work? I don’t treat this like a hobby. A client sends me something, I cut it. I have studio hours and will be working like it’s a real job during those hours.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?  Why would I share that? LOL. Why would any established VO talent share this kind of proprietary info that made him or her successful? It’s an over-saturated business, people are trying to break in all the time. Not to sound mean or insensitive, but processing chains, gear settings, etc. This kind of stuff is what give people their signature sound.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads? Yes. All copy, radio, TV, narration, etc. sent to a VO talent has been written by someone who has a specific sound or vision in mind. The way you (the talent) interpret that may not be correct. Never assume you are awesome and your reads are above reproach. If needed, get input from the writer/producer/director to find out what they were envisioning when they wrote it.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why? I had fun all throughout my life. Enjoyed my experiences and failures. I don’t look back. I am excited to see what happens next.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? Anything. Everything.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be? Mike Rowe.

Contact:

Benztown: https://www.benztown.com/brigade/dave-steele

Website (Steele Imaging): http://www.steeleimaging.com/

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/steeleimaging

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/steeleimaging

Thanks for the interview, Dave!