We’re back with an all-new season of the VO School Podcast and for our first episode, we’re tackling a very popular voiceover genre: video games!
Working in the video game genre is both challenging and rewarding, and offers an opportunity for talent to become recognized for their work (a rarity for voice actors).
How does a voice actor make their way into this genre? Do they need to have gaming experience to be successful? What skills are needed to compete and where does one go to acquire them?
Joining us this week are three extremely successful video game voice talents, covering the union AAA and indie worlds, as well as gaining perspectives from both sides of the pond.
Dave Fennoy has been an industry heavyweight for over 20 years and has voiced major roles in games such as “The Walking Dead,” “World of Warcraft,” “Lego,” “Final Fantasy,” “Star Wars,” “Batman,” “Transformers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Fallout 4,” “Minecraft,” “Infinity Blade,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Assasin’s Creed,” “Metal Gear Solid,” “Mass Effect,” and many, many others! He is also an in-demand voiceover coach and travels the world teaching and speaking about the craft.
Amelia Tyler is a prolific voice actor and motion capture artist from the U.K. She has voiced games such as “Divinity Original Sin II,” “The Spectrum Retreat,” and “Elite Dangerous: Horizons.” She’s also voiced multiple characters in “Star Wars Battlefront II,” “Forgotton Anne,” and “Frostpunk,” plus motion-capture work for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” This year, she’ll be appearing in “The Occupation” and as several characters in titles including “We Happy Few,” “Du Lac and Fey: Dance of Death,” and “The Bard's Tale IV.”
Jay Britton, also from the U.K., is a Voice Arts Award-winning voice actor and motion capture artist and has appeared in over 50 titles and 285+ roles. You will have heard him in “Divinity: Original Sin II,” “Elite Dangerous: Horizons,” “Total War: Warhammer II,” “Planet Coaster,” “The Turing Test,” and “Augmented Empire,” among many others!
This week on the VO School Podcast, we take a deep dive into the murky waters of rejection and failure. Every actor has to deal with rejection at all stages of their career and it is a crucial part of the job, but how do you learn to befriend it?
We take a look at the many ways actors face rejection and learn that instead of viewing it as a negative, we can use it as motivation, an opportunity to learn, and a way to build confidence. So what steps can you take to cope with rejection or negative feedback? How can you reframe failure as a positive experience? How do you deal with negative people or influences? And when is enough enough?
Joining me this week are three voice talents—Kathleen Gonzales, Jason Lenere White, and Tim Friedlander—who all have a great perspective and have fought their own battles with rejection and failure on their own voiceover journey.
This week on the VO School Podcast, we’re exploring the commercial voiceover genre.
Commercial voiceover is one of the most sought-after genres and it can also be one of the most lucrative. So how do you break into this part of the industry?
To find out, we spoke with Alison Freed, a Los Angeles-based voice actor who counts Metflix, AT&T, Disney, Dunkin Donuts, CNN, Buick, Whole Foods, eBay, Twitter, and M&M’s amond her clients, and Roger Leopardi, a 16-year veteran of the industry who has worked with AARP, Sprint, Taco Bell, Go Daddy, Toyota, Geico, McDonald’s, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Michael Kors.
We discussed the skills you need to have and/or learn to not only break in but continue to work in this ever-changing industry. We also find out the importance (or not) of training, what the work is like day-to-day, how you adapt to shifts in style, what’s popular in commercials right now, and what the future of the genre looks like.
Let’s be honest: LinkedIn is confusing. Are you sure you’re using it correctly? Are you getting the most out of it you can? I know that for a long time, I wasn’t, which is why I so excited to speak voice talent and LinkedIn guru, Tracy Lindley.
After her now-infamous talk at VO Atlanta 2018, I knew I had to get Tracy on the VO School Podcast to help us to optimize our LinkedIn profiles and offer strategies for reaching out to producers, colleagues, and potential clients.
In this week’s episode, Tracy shares how vital the platform has been to her career and how she uses it to connect with clients. She also offers advice on optimizing your profile for maximum success and to project your unique personality, how to build touchpoints with your dream clients, maintain relationships while having great LinkedIn etiquette, and just how much time you should devote to the site every week.
The tables were turned on me this week on the VO School Podcast as students from Syracuse University pitched their questions about voiceover to me, in a Q&A covering a wide range of topics.
Tina Perkins teaches voiceover at S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and she invited me to talk to her students about my experience in the industry and my thoughts on where it is going next.
We run the gamut, covering subjects such as characterisation, accents and accent reduction, getting high profile commercial contracts, production value, finding your niche, audition technique, how to read conversationally, reimagining characters and career ending mistakes!
Many thanks to the students of Newhouse and course leader Tina Perkins for facilitating this Q&A.
This week’s VO School Podcast is the first episode in a new series we’re calling, Ask Jim!
Jim Kennelly is a studio owner, producer, and legend of the voiceover industry in New York City. What Jim doesn’t know about voiceover isn’t worth knowing, so we’re presenting all manner of listener questions to him this week.
We find out things like how to give yourself a competitive advantage, the importance of marketing, the way emerging technology is changing the game for voice talent, determining what to charge, and what first steps a newbie should take.
If you’d like to submit your own questions for a future installment of Ask Jim, email the VO School Podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This week on the VO School Podcast, we’re looking at vocal health, and how keeping your voice in tip-top condition is one of your highest priorities as a voice actor.
Why is voice health so important? What parts of your body need to be in good condition to perform your best? How can diet affect your performance? How soon should you start building up liquids prior to a session and why is alignment so crucial for developing stamina?
We also walk listeners through a typical preparation routine for a major session, including vocal warm-ups and tips to keep you at peak performance throughout a long or strenuous recording.
Joining us this week is Nic Redman, a voice actor and voice/accent coach hailing from Northern Ireland and based in Manchester, U.K. As a coach, she specializes in accents and dialects, breath, articulation and resonance, voice and text, and character voicing. She has taught at some of the U.K.’s most prestigious institutions including RADA, LIPA, Arts Ed, East 15, ICAT, The Actors’ Guild, and The Actors’ Lab, with her recent accent and character voice coaching work heard on BBC Radio 4.
This week, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of promo with one of its most experienced practitioners, Joe Cipriano.
As a 40-year veteran of the voiceover industry, Joe’s extensive resume includes many years as the voice of networks such as NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, Disney, Sony Television, The Food Network, and many more. He has also worked extensively in commercial, live announcing (including the Emmy and Grammy Awards), imaging and radio. But he’s best known for his work in promo.
What is promo? How does one get into it? What does a typical day look like for Joe? How important are mentors? What are the skills needed to compete? And how do network and cable promo fit into SAG/AFTRA? We answer these questions and more with this week’s VO School Podcast!
This week on the VO School podcast, we’re celebrating our 20th episode by honoring Black History Month with a show devoted entirely to diversity.
This episode is guest hosted by Doug Melville, chief diversity officer for the international advertising agency, TBWA. As a vocal proponent for diversity in all its forms both day to day in his role within TBWA and via his personal outreach on social media and public appearances, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge to this episode.
Joining us this week on the podcast are power couple Joan Baker and Rudy Gaskins, founders of SOVAS (the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences), a not-for-profit organization that helps educate and advocate voiceover around the globe. They organize and present workshops and learning opportunities across America and curate That’s Voiceover and The Voice Arts Awards, a voiceover convention and voice awards show, respectively.
In this episode, we learn how Joan and Rudy established themselves in the industry, how they advocate for talent that come from diverse backgrounds, where they believe the industry is heading, the importance of the human voice, and how the collaboration of technology and voiceover presents new and exciting opportunities for voice actors.
This week on the VO School Podcast, we’re doing something a little different. A few weeks ago, I asked listeners to submit a recording of themselves reading a commercial script and then we’d assess the performance on the show.
Jim Kennelly, producer and casting director of Lotas Productions, along with engineer Sam Ufret and myself played through a selection chosen at random. We get a behind-the-scenes peek at how reads are assessed and why some are picked to be forwarded to a client and why others may not be.
We learn the importance of reading and understanding specs, using your imagination when you read, how pace and energy are critical to garnering or losing attention, the importance of audio quality, and some dos and don’ts that will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Blog and show notes for the VO School Podcast - produced by Jamie Muffett.