This week on the VO School Podcast, we’re discussing studio connectivity. While this may not be the sexiest subject, it is an aspect of voiceover that needs to be understood in order to compete as a voice actor in 2018 and beyond.
What is studio connectivity? It’s the technology that allows you to connect your home studio (however modest) to the world. This enables you to be directed live in much the same way as a talent visiting a recording studio but from the comfort of your own home.
This can be a complicated subject and is often misunderstood, so allow us to strip everything down to the basics as we discuss the history of this technology, where we are today, and where this tech is going in the next five to ten years. If acronyms like ISDN, IPDTL, SPID, SIP, VOIP, or PRI hold little meaning for you, this episode is for you!
Joining us this week are Kevin Leach and Tim Friedlander. Kevin is the founding director of In:Quality, makers of the popular ipDTL studio connection service, and an engineer with decades of experience in radio for the BBC. Tim is a voice talent and owner of SoundboxLA, a recording studio in Los Angeles that specializes in recording voice talent.
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.
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!
Editor’s note: This article is written by Heather, Elizabeth, and Sara to shed light on the recent allegations of sexual assault and harassment against a prominent member of the New York voiceover community, Peter Rofe. For the sake of full disclosure, we feel it’s important to let readers know that Rofe was, at one point, affiliated with Backstage as a writer. Since learning of these allegations, Backstage cut ties with Rofe and he has not been associated with the publication since.
As performance artists, we are taught by teachers, coaches, and directors to tap into our own vulnerability, something that requires an enormous amount of trust. In the case of New York voiceover coach Peter Rofe, that position of power and trust was exploited for decades. Until now.
On Feb. 8, 2018, CNN published an article detailing the accounts of many of his victims, the healing they’ve found from connecting, and finally outing Rofe as a sexual predator. Since the story broke, more women have come forward. A total of 57 victims have connected and told their stories, finding solidarity in their traumatic experiences.
While the dates of the assaults span from 1999 to 2017 and every woman’s story is unique, the calculated tactics he employed to groom, coerce, and manipulate his victims are eerily similar: His choice of overtly sexual scripts, hammering that “sex sells,” repeatedly pointing out that voice acting is “no different” than stage or film acting, and shaming women for not going far enough outside their instinctive comfort zones are some examples of what he routinely employed. Rofe’s acts range from sexual harassment and verbal abuse to sexual assault of his female clients, including groping, forced kissing, exposing himself, stripping naked, demanding that clients strip naked, barricading himself nude in a locked office or sound booth with clients, masturbating in front of clients, and many more acts of unwanted physical violations.
As Heather Costa shares, “My story began in 2008 when I went to Peter Rofe after a glowing recommendation of his abilities as a voiceover coach and demo producer. It was a turning point in my career and I was ready to take that next step. Looking back on that experience with Rofe, he was very calculated and manipulative and over the course of multiple sessions together, he became bolder in his actions until he went too far, and his boldness turned into sexual assault. In the moment, my brain was telling me something wasn’t right but it didn’t make sense as to what was actually happening. It felt almost as if time slowed down and all the while I’m thinking I’m not reciprocating this, I’m in control. In hindsight, I wasn’t. It took years for me to fully understand what happened in that room, and to stop blaming myself for what he did. When you experience a situation such as this, you’re left to question and doubt yourself. Then when the predator acts as if it’s normal or you’re at fault, you quickly believe it. Now, we are taking that power back.”
The day #metoo happened, everything changed. In October of last year, Elizabeth Laime posted her story on Facebook about Rofe assaulting her in 2005. From her came others; soon there were ten, then sixteen, then thirty, then nearly sixty. They believe there are many more, too. They created a private Facebook group where the women Rofe sexually assaulted were invited to share their stories, find support, and work toward stopping this from ever happening to anyone again.
The group has had an enormous impact on many women who thought they were alone. Sara Asselin explains, “For many of us, Peter Rofe came as a glowing recommendation from agents, friends, teachers, and people in the industry. We were told he would produce a great demo for us and coach us into a lucrative VO career. This was a turning point in our careers, a next step, someone we were investing a large amount of money, energy, and trust into. Because of this investment, Rofe’s increasing manipulation and disgusting behavior over the course of our coaching and recording sessions was often overlooked. Questions like, Is this normal? Is this really happening? Did I bring this on? Am I the only one he did this to? plagued us. We didn’t want it to be true. We didn’t want our own sense of reality and instinct to come into question. But here it had, and here we were, all of us physically and psychologically hurt and blaming ourselves for what were the actions of a man out only for power and his own arousal. Today we are taking that power back.”
The New York Police Department is investigating these accusations and searching to find someone within the statute of limitations. Despite multiple attempts by media sources, Rofe has declined to comment. It is the women’s hope that by sharing their stories, it will give other women he has sexually assaulted the strength to also come forward, and warn others who may have unknowingly become victims of his in the future. If you have a story you’d like to share privately with them, please email email@example.com. If you believe someone has acted inappropriately towards you or someone you know, you can find available resources here.
Jamie Muffett of VO School Podcast has offered to help warn others about this sexual predator. Below is the latest episode of the podcast featuring five of the incredibly strong women Peter Rofe assaulted, sharing their story.
The microphone is the centerpiece of any voice actor’s studio setup and this week on the VO School Podcast, we put this piece of technology front and center. Join us as we geek out over an exalted but often misunderstood piece of technology!
Do you need an expensive microphone to be a professional voice actor? How much better is a $3,000 mic compared to a $200 model? How do you use a microphone to get the best out of it? Do they require maintenance? And how long should a mic last?
Joining me this week are Dan Friedman and Emmett Andrews. Dan is an audio engineer, producer, voice talent and author from the mountains of Asheville, NC. With nearly two decades in the voiceover industry, he has produced, directed, and provided his voice to thousands of audio productions. In 2010 he published “Sound Advice: Voiceover From An Audio Engineer's Perspective.” A first of its kind in the industry, the book covers audio engineering and studio session etiquette as it relates directly to voiceover talent.
Emmett’s background includes over 20 years in commercial radio, with much of the time spent in St. Louis and Indianapolis. Additionally, he has worked for Sweetwater as both a sales engineer and tech support specialist. He is also a national voice talent with clients like Dell, Long John Silvers, Spalding, Lexus, and Pandora. He offers technical design services for home studio owners and ad agencies. Emmett currently serves as production director for Emmis Communications.
Welcome to VO School Podcast’s first interview of the year! It’s also the first of a new semi-regular series that will examine the different genres of VO. Today, we begin with audiobooks.
Do you have to have a certain temperament to be an audiobook narrator? How much stamina does it take? How do you land your first book? And how can you reach out to publishers for prestige projects? We discuss all of these things and more! Joining me are two of the world’s top audiobook narrators. They are multi-award winners, respected coaches, and have narrated well over a thousand books between them.
Sean Pratt has been a working actor in theater, film, TV, and voiceovers for over 30 years. He has been an audiobook narrator for 22 years, recording over 950 books in almost every genre and has received eight AudioFile Magazine Earphone Awards, five Audie nominations, and one SOVAS nomination. He narrates for such companies as Blackstone Audiobooks, Tantor Media, Gildan Audio, Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, and Christian Audio. Sean is also the author of “To Be or Wanna Be—The Top Ten Differences between a Successful Actor and a Starving Artist.”
Johnny Heller is a narrator of over 500 audiobooks, specializing in adult, noir/mystery, personal development, history, comedy, and children’s book narrations. His awards and accolades include being the 2008, 2009, and 2011 Best Audio Book winner, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award winner from 2008 through 2013, a 2014 Audie Award nominee for Solo Narration, a 2005 and 2009 Audie Award winner, a double Audie nominee in 2012, one of AudioFile magazine’s Top Fifty Narrators of the Twentieth Century, and a multiple AudioFile Earphones Award winner.
This week’s podcast episode is the final part of our Voiceover Guide. We cover such wide-ranging subjects as voiceover conferences, anxiety and motivation, branding and marketing, and the business and legal practices successful voice actors employ.
What will attending a voiceover conference do for your career? How can you perform your best at an audition when you suffer from anxiety? What is the difference between branding and marketing? What does a Madison Avenue advertising executive look for when choosing a voice talent? And how should you structure your business affairs?
Podcast guests this week include voiceover conference directors Gerrald Griffith (VO Atlanta) and Dave Courvoisier (WOVO Con), psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael, author, voice actor and comedian Anna Vocino, marketing and advertising gurus Celia Siegel and Doug Melville, and business savvy brainboxes Tom Dheere and Robert Sciglimpaglia.
This week’s episode of the VO School Podcast is the first of three highlight shows for the holiday season. I scoured the first four episodes to pull together the most important tidbits of information for the new or working voice actor.
Think of these episodes as a pocket guide to starting out as a voice actor, as well as a quick reminder of best practice for those who are more established.
We take a look at the current state of the voice industry, what qualities you as a voice actor need to develop, where you should go for advice, how you can avoid being exploited by unscrupulous coaches and demo producers, and we talk technology as we dive into microphones, audio processing, and file formats.
Join me and seven of the industry’s top professionals as we examine some of the most important factors to consider when starting out in voiceover.
Blog and show notes for the VO School Podcast - produced by Jamie Muffett.