Behind the Mic: Josh Goodman

Posted: 7th February 2019 by benztownvoiceover in Voice of the Week

Josh Goodman is a long-time radio vet, who started in the business at age 12. After almost 25 years in the business as an air talent, music director, and production director, he now enjoys the full-time life of a v/o talent. He lives in Denver, CO with his wife and two daughters.

goodman-0308 copy 6web

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

On the radio side, you can hear me on WTMX/Chicago, KFMB/San Diego, KAMX/Austin, KODJ/Salt Lake City, KRFX/Denver, KRQQ/Tucson, WTTS/Indianapolis, WTVR/Richmond, and WQMX/Akron to name a few. For TV, I’m on WNYW-Fox5/New York, WBNS/Columbus, WTVF/Nashville, KCTS/Seattle, and KLAS/Las Vegas. I voice a decent amount of commercials both regionally and nationally, and have narrated shows airing on National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Science Channel, History Channel, and Smithsonian Channel.

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

Currently, I’m a full-time v/o talent after almost 25 years in the radio biz (I left radio in 2014). I spent time on-air in Denver, Philadelphia, Seattle, Charlotte, Albany, NY, and Burlington, VT.

What do you love about your job?

As strange as it sounds, I love being a client’s problem solver. As a voice-talent, that means helping to deliver a message in a unique and authentic way. Maybe offering a read or point-of-view that the writer didn’t think of. Or, better yet, telling a story or delivering a read exactly how the writer had it in their own head. And in today’s world, that also means turning that read around FAST!

How did you get started as a VO actor?

In the early 2000s, I had the opportunity to be the Production Director of the Entercom cluster in Denver, which after being solely on-air for so many years, allowed me to work some different muscles. I really enjoyed the assembly of commercials – everything from the writing to the narration to the production, and that sort of lit the spark for me to start exploring voice-over.

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

My first radio gig? Well, my first PAID radio gig was when I was 14 years old at WQQY/WKAJ in Saratoga Springs, NY. I got to run the board on the FM for a syndicated countdown show (Dave Sholin’s Countdown USA I believe). On the AM, I would run the board for NYMets games. I got paid a whopping $3.35/hour, and got to crack the mic 2x/hour for the weather – I LOVED it.

My first big v/o gig (the one that allowed me to go out and make my v/o biz a full-time endeavor) was when I became the voice of HBO Sports. I did all their boxing, 24/7, and Hard Knocks promos for almost 3 years. It was a GREAT gig – I learned a ton, and it really gave me a lot of confidence to say, “yeah, I can do this”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Past VO Idols are, of course, Don LaFontaine (the original Movie Trailer guy), Edward Hermann (world class narrator and actor), and Peter Thomas (Forensic Files). All have passed away unfortunately. Current v/o mentors include Leiv Schreiber (HBO 24/7), Stacey Keach (American Greed), Will Lyman (Frontline), Brian Lee, Steve Stone, Chris Corley, John Willyard, Ann Dewig, and Thom Pinto to name a few.

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

Good question. I happen to love the “business” of the business, so I would dive into something in the business world – starting another business of my own, or being involved in something that “creates” something.

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

Wow. It was amazing. Honestly, it was almost like an out-of-body experience – I couldn’t believe that was actually ME! I still get that feeling honestly. Whether it’s a commercial that I hear or a show that I’ve voiced, or if I’m streaming a new radio station that I work with. It’s a real thrill to be a part of the creative process and I’m always wanting to improve.

 

Gear/Technology

How has new technology changed the way you work?

JoshGoodman_Studio_Road-Setup-150x150

I can now (and am expected to) work wherever I am! I have a great, very comfortable studio at home, but I also have a backpack that I travel with so I can record from the road. Tecnology has been a blessing and a curse in that way – you don’t need to be in NY or LA anymore, but you better be available when your client needs you!

What gear do you use on the road?

On the road, I use a Sennheiser 416 into a Yamaha AG03 into a MacBook.

In your studio?

In my studio I’ve got a Sennheiser 416 (used for most of my radio/tv imaging and tv promo), as well as a JoshGoodman_Studio_IMG_5209-150x150JoshGoodman_Studio_IMG_5214-e1530211845274-150x150Neumann U87. I have an Avalon M5 and Avalon 737 preamp. That’s running into an Audient ID22, into my Imac. I use ProTools (because I’ve used it so long!), and have a great, dead silent booth where I spend most of my days. Technology has gotten SO good that, over the years, my studio and gear have simplified tremendously. Nowadays, devices like the Universal Apollo let you have $10,000 worth of recording gear in a portable and affordable device!

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

Again, I use ProTools, only because it’s what I started editing on all those years ago, and I’m just very

comfortable with it. Izotope is a GREAT plugin that I use frequently, especially when on the road. The

Nectar2 Gate has saved my bacon many times when recording in a hotel and housekeeping is vacuuming outside the room!

Skills and Helpful Tips

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

Absolutely – it’s mandatory if you want to succeed at a high level. For many years, I worked with David Lyerly, who really helped elevate my skill level. I also have worked (and continue to work) with some other great coaches like Dave Walsh, Maurice Tobias, and Harry Dunn to name a few. Having a good coach makes ALL the difference – not just for coaching you through copy, but also as a confidant and, well, psychologist. So much of our work is done in “isolation” that you need to have someone to confide in and vent to sometimes! Voice coach might not be the right title – it should be more like voice therapist!

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

Managing workflow is vital, and the more successful you become, the more important it is. After all, we ARE in the “service” business. And these days, the turnaround is incredibly fast, and your clients expect that. The days of 48 hour turnaround while you go golfing are soooo done. With that said, so are the days or ripping and reading. Each script has it’s own story, and deserves your undivided attention, not matter how big or small the project. This includes auditioning – or “planting”. Your garden won’t grow if you don’t plant new seeds! As  Maurice Tobias would say, the audition IS the job. So treat it like one.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

For my commercial and narration clients, I do my damndest to never have just ONE job with them. I turn it into repeat business. By being a professional….by making them want to work with you again…by solving their problems. I develop relationships with copywriters, ad agencies, and production houses. I mail a hand written thank you card after every new job – it’s a lost art and no one does it anymore! For radio stations, I advertise a little on allaccess, and make sure that I’m promoting new stations that I start working with. Getting those first few stations are the toughest – radio stations don’t take risks on v/o talent they’ve never heard of, but once you get 2, turn that into 4, then turn that into 8 and so on. Make the stations want to work with you again!

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

Honestly, at the top level of commercial and promo and narration – the producers want CLEAN and QUIET. Don’t do their job for them by over compressing and over EQing their audio – because it’s very difficult to “undo” that. However, for TV affiliates, I’ve learned that they appreciate you sending them audio that is “air ready” – that they can just drop into a promo and have it go to air. Clean and quiet is self explanatory. Getting “air ready” may not be (depending on your level of audio expertise). I use George Whittham (audio tech guru) to dial in some “processing stacks” when I need it.

Listen to Josh’s demo below!

 

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

Yes, but it all depends on the station and the situation. Radio imaging needs to “cut” through and grab you, so there is a different feeling to it than a bank commercial. But I think that’s changing, and v/o talent need to be versatile. After all, a killer commercial from Mercedes Benz with John Hamm or a cutting edge Apple commercial certainly cuts through – but it cuts through with a read that’s not pushed or polished or showy. The “anti” read – or doing “less” is what’s actually able to accomplish “more” in a way.

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

I believe that to be successful in voice-over, there is a 40/40/20 rule. If one of these areas is missing or deficient, then your chances of succeeding are diminished.

40% Business…40% Performance…20% Tech

BUSINESS: V/O is a business, and if you don’t treat it like one, you will fail. That means being a pro, servicing your clients, and delivering on what you promise. I know it sounds stupid, but I know a LOT of very TALENTED people with very poor business skills who ultimately fail at this. Hussle trumps talent.

PERFORMANCE: V/O is a craft, and an artform. It’s creative, and your performance is absolutely part of that. Coaching and training, and practicing and failing and then practicing some more are all part of it. Anyone can read words off a piece of paper, but as a voice-over craftsman (or woman) it’s your job to bring an authentic point-of-view to each and every piece of copy – even if it’s a :10 tag for Free Donuts at a car dealer. The client is hiring you to put some magic into whatever it is you’re reading, and someone who’s a great businessperson but who has very little to offer in performance, will also fail.

And last but not least – TECH: It’s only 20% of the equation, but it’s still important. You have to be comfortable with your editing software, with your equipment, with the sound of your mic and your room. I also know many many talented v/o talent who work hard, coach and train, but can’t figure out how to send an MP3. They too, will ultimately not succeed. Because having a quiet room to deliver quality audio quickly is the bare minimum of what is expected. And there are too many other v/o talent out there who have all 3 of those things going for them that will replace you on a job if you can’t deliver on the last one.

For Fun

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

I’ve always been fascinated by the 1920s. It seemed like an incredibly creative time with music and art and technology. There was a real “energy” to that decade!

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Double mushrooms. I’m not a vegetarian, but I LOVE mushrooms (and not the trpping kind – ok, well, maybe)

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

Well, that’s easy. It’d be Chachi and Masa of Benztown! I know that’s two people, but come on!

Behind the Mic: Jamie Frye

Posted: 1st February 2019 by benztownvoiceover in Regular Features, Voice of the Week

Jamie FryeAfter 10 years as an on-air radio talent, I started a career in voiceover. My voice is heard in markets across the U.S. and the world in multiple formats. These days I work primarily in Hot AC, CHR and Rock, but I’ve done almost everything including Country, News, and Sports Talk.

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

My voice has been all over for the last few years currently on KBFF/Portland, WSTW/Wilmington DE, KRXP/Colorado Springs, KEZR/ San Jose, Sports X/Atlanta, and several others. I’ve previously been a voice on stations in Denver, Sacramento, and Richmond as well as Kenya and Dubai.

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

My VO work is all freelance.

What do you love about your job?

I really enjoy working with the creative teams at each station to make sure I’m representing their brand the way they envision it. I think I’m pretty open to direction and easy to work with, and gettin it right for the client feels great.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I started out as an on-air radio talent and did the required million local spots and promos there. After the second downsize in four years, I stepped up my freelance game.

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

I don’t remember my first gig through Benztown, but a couple of my longest-term clients have been through them (WSTW and KRXP). I have been able to do some cool stuff over the years including trying my best not to mangle the Portuguese language for a station in Brazil, and some work with a syndicated radio personality.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

When I started out in radio, I did a lot of production. It was mostly local commercials, but I did some imaging and I remember reaching out to Ann DeWig. She was very kind, and even though I didn’t end up continuing on that path, I love hearing women who rock. There is sometimes a really narrow idea of what female voices are right for, but I think that’s changing. Why can’t we be the “voice of God?” We can!

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

I have done lots of different jobs to pay the bills – I can write a newsletter or a press release, help you figure out your health insurance, and even explain the intricacies of bowling lane conditions (seriously!). I’ve been doing Improv for the last few years, and that has been a blast, if not exactly a career.

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

I don’t remember the first time I heard my voice on air, but I have still have a tape of my first air-shift somewhere. Maybe I’ll work up the courage to listen to it again. I remember being terrified and thrilled at the same time.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It has really allowed me to pare down and keep it simple.

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

I use an AKG Perception 120 mic connected to an M-Audio box into my MacBook Pro. I have a small Port-A-Booth on a sit-stand desk. It’s great because I can work on administrative stuff, then when I’m ready, put the desktop up and stand to record. If I travel, I take my mic and use an iRig pre to record on my iPad.

voice over jamie frye

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

I haven’t yet, but I’m working on getting one. I think it’s really important to keep working on my skills and keep my voice in good shape.

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

I do work as it comes in. Most of my work comes from regular clients, so I can usually predict pretty well what I’m going to get in a given day. I don’t spend as much time auditioning as I would like, but increasing auditions is on my to-do list along with coaching.

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

I’m pretty lucky in that my imaging clients are clear about what they want their stations to sound like, so I have great direction from them. My approach to everything is to try to follow the brief as closely as possible.

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

  • Make friends and connections in the industry and stay in touch. I’ve gotten work through people I worked with years ago who recommended me to their connections.
  • When you get feedback, take it seriously, but don’t let it discourage you.
  • Get the best equipment you can afford, but realize that you don’t need to break the bank to sound great.

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

I would love to wear clothes from the 60’s a la Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but I’ve seen enough Mad Men to know I would not like living in that time.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

I love mushrooms. On everything

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s a genius, but also spend a lot of time being silly. He’s serious about joy, and I appreciate that.

Connect with Jamie Frye

Website: www.jamiefryevo.com

Twitter:  twitter.com/jfropitz

Demos: https://www.benztown.com/brigade/jamie-frye

 

Behind the Mic: Oscar Vasquez

Posted: 25th January 2019 by benztownvoiceover in Interviews, Voice of the Week

Oscar Vasquez is a 22 year radio veteran and voice over talent that does radio, TV, commercial and audio production.  You can hear his voice on the Benztown Rhythmic Library, and on different radio stations across the globe. For the past 15 years, Oscar has been honing his ninja production skills while perfecting his ability to change as a VO chameleon (Thanks Teddy!) We are ecstatic to have him on the Benztown Brigade as a voiceover artist!

oscar vasquez voiceover

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

At the moment, I am currently voicing for:

  • KBIU Hot 103.3 – Lake Charles, LA.
  • KHXT Hot 107.9 – Lafayette, LA.
  • KJMG Majic 97.3 – Monroe, LA.
  • KRUZ 106.3 SpinFM – Oxnard/Ventura, CA.
  • KSXY-HD2 Latino 95.5 – Santa Rosa, CA.
  • WPTY Party 105 – Long Island, NY
  • WNUE Salsa 98.1 – Deltona/Orlando, FL.
  • Dash Radio (BakaBoyz, L0UD, Young Money Radio & a few others…)
  • And last but certainly not least, Benztown’s Rhythmic Format Library VO four years running! (Blessed!)

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

I was previously a production assistant for a cluster of stations up until December of 2017.  Taking that break allowed me to focus on myself, my family & my clients & associates. Currently, I am a Daily Shift Producer for the Benztown/Yamanair Commercial library sites, an automotive industry (dealership) VO in the region, and will occasionally lend my services to whoever is in need of some VO and/or production (commercials, music demos, etc.)

What do you love about your job?

When I love what I do, I don’t even consider it work.  For me, production is fun, and allows me to be creative in ways I would have never imagined.  When I work from home, I enjoy being able to cook breakfast for my kiddo, drop her off at school, and once my wife leaves for work, the solitude helps me focus on the task(s) at hand.  And…I mean..where else can you wake up and start the day in your PJ’s?

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Back around 2005 I was let go from Clear Channel, and after being an on-air personality since 1997-98, I figured ‘Hey, what the heck, I can voice DJ Drops’ for friends and word of mouth clients, all thanks to Tom & MySpace.  I picked up a couple of clients throughout the years, one which happened to be a rapper out of Dallas by the name of Dorrough. He uses my VO on all his tracks as an “artist tag”. Well one day out of the blue he texts me that some people out of LA wanted some VO.  Lo and behold, it turned out to be Dash Radio, which eventually led to a phone call from Benztown.

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

My first official VO gig was with a dealership here in town that was looking to replace their VO guy.  A great friend of mine was the Director of Marketing at the time, and as soon as I reached out and mentioned I was available for work, she said “I’m sending you work tomorrow”.  From one day to the next, I was the official voice for the dealership’s brands around the region, and have been so going on 7 years now. As far as radio imaging is concerned, my first gig was with a station out of Indy, WRWM 93.9 The Beat back in December 2015 (which has since flipped) and I am truly thankful to Jay Michaels (PD at the time) for that opportunity.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Pretty much every VO talent I have connected with either through social media or in person I consider an idol/mentor.  They have been the kindest and dopest people to work with (and if you’re reading this right now, THANK YOU!)

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

Between ‘station hopping’ (kinda like bar hopping, except they don’t let you walk in drunk) I worked at a university police department as a dispatcher, and also in TV as a news photojournalist “photog”.  I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a little bit of the police side of things. Once, I went on this ride along with a buddy of mine (PD) and it just so happened we got caught up in a high-speed chase.  Talk about adrenaline. So, it’s a toss-up between Law Enforcement and News…although I do watch a lot of LIVE PD so…yeah, that’s a tough one…

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

The very first time I heard my voice on the radio, I thought to myself “that’s me?!”  I must have been about 17 going on air for the first time, and I was a “weekend warrior”.  And back then, well we used to air check ourselves with these small white cassettes. After every shift I’d pop them in my truck stereo and would listen on the way home.  I would always give them to my dad who lived out of town at the time because that’s the only way he could hear me in the 90’s, and I believe he still has some of those cassettes to this day!  On air, I was green as they come. Commercial wise, again, green as they come. But that didn’t stop me. The constructive criticism along the way is what helped me get where I am today, and it still helps me to this day!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

When I started, my budget was $300.  I bought an AT-2020, Alesis 3630 & a Behringer Preamp.  Today everything can be done through the DAW’s preset rack(s).  I’m still a fan of old school knob turnin’ though. What I don’t think I’d be a fan of to this day is the old school splice, tape and reel to reel editing.  I have one sitting in my studio as a paperweight. So, new technology has changed everything for me, with services where you can file share with links and email.

oscar vasquez voiceover

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

If I’m on the road, I’ll try and find a studio to voice out of, but when I can’t, I’ll take my laptop & Yamaha board, MOTU Ultralite interface, and either a Shure KSM27 or Blue ‘Baby Bottle’ mic.  OH, and can’t forget my Sony MDR7506 headphones which I’ve used both on-air and in the studio.

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

I will always have Adobe Audition 3.0 as my go to.  I’m not into the whole buying of subscriptions and “cloud” service.  Call me old-fashioned. I learned it when it was Syntrillium’s Cool Edit Pro, then AA1.5 finally landing at 3.0 This year, I made it a point to drop Adobe Audition and go straight Pro Tools.  That’s a huge step out of my comfort zone, but “ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it!” In my vocal chain, I use plugins by Fab Filter & Waves (big fan of the CLA plugins)

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

YES!  I was very lucky to be able to attend a workshop with the legendary Marice Tobias.  Although it was short, I learned so much in so little time. I would absolutely recommend it, and I am looking forward to making more trips out west to work with some coaches that I’ve had my eye on for a while now.

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

I will try and turn it around no later than 24 hours after receiving the email.  When I wake up in the morning, I’ll have a quick “me time” outside to thank God for everything, to gather my thoughts for the day, and as soon as I set foot in the studio, I knock everything out in the morning, so that I can spend time with the kiddo when she gets back from school.  There has to be a life/work balance for me. I audition every chance I can get, and have landed a few good ones since starting.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Social media is a for sure way of getting potential clients (although sometimes I think a break is needed from that too).  Also, old school cold calling and emails.

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

When it comes to VO work and production, keyboard shortcuts are key for me.  They’ll cut your production time in half. Especially in Adobe Audition as you can program your own shortcut/command keys (not a plug, nor an endorsement lol) I like to share my keyboard shortcuts with Audition users, so if you’d like a copy, just shoot me an email to ov@oscarvasquezvo.com

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

I’ll sometimes alternate between a cork and a pencil to help stretch out the muscles in my mouth while reading the script one syllable at a time.

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

When reading copy, whether it’s radio imaging or a TV/Radio commercial, I learned to look for the billboard.  The main message they are trying to convey. So I’ll read the copy from beginning to end, and end to beginning.  Just a little tip I picked up at the workshop with Marice Tobias ☺

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

Yes.  First, sometimes it isn’t about the money, it’s about doing what you love.  A little pro bono work won’t hurt, and it’ll help get your voice on a platform which can potentially help you land a gig.  I’m amazed what a little giving can get you in return. Second, work with a professional coach in the field that you plan to pursue, whether it is radio, TV, narration, video games, cartoons, etc… And finally, DO NOT GIVE UP.  Learn to accept constructive criticism as positive feedback and not negative. Also, I started adding the word ‘yet’ to everything going on in your career will change the dynamic. “I haven’t voiced for this/that station…YET”, “I am not where I want to be as a VO talent…YET”.  Best of luck in your VO career and hope to connect with some newbies that might need some advice.

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

It would have to be November 5, 1955 when Doc Brown invented time travel.  I’m kidding. (Back to the Future is playing while I type this) I’d have to say the 70’s.  Huge Earth Wind & Fire, James Taylor & WAR fan. Plus I heard they were some great times…and I love funk music.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni and Ham or Canadian Bacon…I can never tell them apart.  How about LEAST two favorite? Black Olives and Mushrooms.

via GIPHY

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

I’d have to say, without a doubt, my mother.  Working from home, and with our schedules both pretty tied up, I never really get to have a one-on-one with her, and would just like to show her how much I appreciate all the life lessons she’s taught me and for giving me life and being there when I really needed her.  And it’s because I chose to stay with her when I was faced with that decision that is allowing me to type this out right now. Thank you, Mom. XOXO

Connect with Oscar on Social Media!

Twitter: @oscarvasquezvo
Instagram: @oscarvasquezvo

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.

Check out Rob’s website for more demos and the latest updates: https://www.robreedvo.com/

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? ☺