As I have said previously about my demos, the narration can’t really have anything done with it. It would have to be re-recorded. I did get the commercial one back today but I started listening to it and it was so loud it was distorted. I had to yank the buds out of my ears because it hurt my ears! I pulled it into Audacity to look at it and it stayed way up in the red all the way through. I wrote the gentleman back and told him as much and I thought it was time to start talking about a refund for the price of the demos. Once I got it down to a manageable level that wouldn’t blow my eardrums, I do like the music selection better. *sigh* I’m not looking forward to this fight at all. I’ve made a copy of it so I can play with it and maybe get it down to a manageable level for volume, once I find the right tutorial for how to do it.
So, as promised, my director had one of the Post Production gentlemen call me to chat about my demos. He asked about the comments that were made and things like that. We chatted and he said the commercial demo would go back to the cutting floor and I should have it back in a few days. The narration demo was another story. Apparently I should have known just a few months into training that I was supposed to ask for a certain kind of script. Of course, at that point, I had no idea anything like that existed. 😦 He ACTUALLY suggested I record and produce MY OWN corporate narration/e-learning demo! Yeah, just my USB mic and I in a ‘non studio’ environment. I think that would hurt me more than the demo I have! Now I’m just waiting for the commercial demo to come back in. *sigh*
Everything I have read/watched/learned has had a few things in common. NEVER produce your own demo was very high on the list! It’s gonna take some serious time to get the money together to get another couple of demos done after the chunk of change I put down for these. I hope the commercial demo is salvageable. This has already put a hiatus on my plans to purchase a new audio chain, so it will sit in my Amazon cart for good while now before I can get it.
All in all, it’s ok. I learned something from it. ONWARD to the next obstacle to climb!!
Ok, so I think I might have said something before about some of the feedback I’ve been getting on my demos being….well……not great. I contacted my director about it, she called and we discussed it. She was very nice about it, she didn’t get defensive or rude or anything, which I was very grateful for because I wasn’t trying to be rude either, and we chatted a bit about some of the things that were said, what type of people they were coming from and things like that. In the end, she still has all of her notes and the raw recordings I made in December so she is going to go back to the production team and see if we can’t change it up a bit and get some better feedback and get some work. I certainly hope so! I haven’t had any work since my job on Upwork. That’s ok though, I’ve been using my time as wisely as I can. I’ve been learning every tiny little thing I can about just about everything. Watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, reading all the posts in my many VO groups on FB and stuff like that.
I have my cart at Amazon filled up with all the new techy toys I’d like to have in my studio. Ok, not ALL the toys, but the ones I feel like I definitely need there. 🙂 I have the basket at just under $512. I have ten dollars in credit with Amazon and in a day or so, I’ll have five more dollars in credit. That brings the total cost for my audio chain down to less than $500, which is my goal. I get free 2- day shipping with my Amazon Prime so I don’t have to worry about that part either.
I think I have an idea for a recording space that is definitely ‘out of the box’. It has no parallel walls and uses no wood and costs less than $400….at least that is the goal. While it isn’t ‘take it to your hotel room’ portable, it is something you can take with you without much of a problem when you move houses, like I’m planning to do in the semi-near future. I’m waiting to run the idea by my new favorite YouTuber, Mike Delgaudio, who does Booth Junkie. I love watching him. Despite the fact that he hates combing his hair, he has some great information on his videos.
Since I mentioned groups earlier, I just have to say this. When I started all this, I was told I needed to join groups. Yeah, that was easy. Then they said I needed to be active in ALL of them! Are you joking me? I forgot how exhausting it was to be so active in a bunch of groups. Yes, there is some excellent information I would have missed in these groups if I wasn’t active and reading all the posts and comments and links, but WOW. How do pro VOs get any work done? If I didn’t work a day job, it would take me all day to get through my groups (I’m only in about ten or twelve I think) with reading, posting my own stuff (which I don’t really have much of right now), congratulating folks (because these people really do deserve it for some of the amazing stuff I’ve seen) and liking various comments. See, I don’t just go through and like everything. I actually read the posts, the comments that have already been added, all of it. If someone is asking about something I don’t know anything about, I keep my proverbial mouth shut and ears open. If the question is a good one, I’ll like it, but seeing as I have little to no experience with any of this, I (thankfully) get to stay mostly silent for now. That will change though, because I AM going to get work and I AM going to get paid well for it and I AM going to expand, because I LOVE it and because I CAN!
Despite all of that, I have ‘met’ some really great people in the groups I’ve joined. Yes, there are some bad apples, idiots, ass holes, people that are just bitter at the world and taking it out on others, but luckily they’re few and far between. One got ejected from a group for a really crude comment that was made because someone else in the group was non-union. Well, a lot of us in that group are non-union. She got a few crass comments in before she was shown the door. Never take it personally or seriously folks. Those idiots feel threatened by the ‘next generation’ of Voice Actors and they don’t want to be made obsolete. They think it’s us that will make them obsolete when it’s the market that will do that. Won’t have a thing to do with us.
I’ve been playing around with another idea. I am going to try to find where I can upload audio files to each of my posts and record each one, a little like a podcast. That way folks can read it or listen to it. I mean really. I’m a Voice Actor, why wouldn’t I record my blogs? It’s great practice, it let’s people (read as potential clients or connections to them) hear my voice and I can also get some practice in editing audio. No way but to practice, right?! Can’t get any better if I don’t do it. While work isn’t exactly plenty right now, I can still get my practice in and maybe even do myself some good!
I’ve been told several times that I shouldn’t let potential clients know I’m new to the VO world. While I don’t necessarily think this is bad advice and I don’t normally go screaming that I’m a newbie at every mountain top, I don’t see anything wrong with being a newbie. Not even to a client. No VA will last forever, the market will change, people will retire. Every VA was new once. As the market changes, the voices change, too. Yes, there will be some that want a seasoned VO, but then they get a seasoned voice. Nothing wrong with using a New Voice Actor and getting a New Voice!
Hey folks! Boy do I have some stuff to share today! Not all of it is good though. so hold on to your seats folks, here comes the roller coaster.
The GB groups I am in for VO are amazing. Ninety eight percent of the folks there are actually there to help and to listen. There’s always a few bad apples though. The last few days I have been the target of some pretty ugly….bashing. Not only me personally, but new Voice actors. I have heard folks say some horrible things. But there’s always a bully, right? They can say all they want to me; as far as I’m concerned, their talk says more about them than it does about me. I don’t try to defend my actions, I don’t even respond to them, I figure they’re just not worth my time. I firmly believe they people that matter will see what they’re doing and it will degrade them instead of me. So folks, bring it on, because you can’t hurt my feelings. An NCO in the Army I used to work with used to say that you “have to have skin like woodpecker lips” to get through. I love that saying and I believe it.
On to better stuff……I have been watching Mike Delgaudio on his “Booth Junkie” YouTube channel. This guy is great! He speaks language normal folks understand, he has great information. He compares products, he answers questions and he doesn’t say UM every third word! lol Sorry, that’s one of my pet peeves.
Now on to even better stuff! I can’t give all of it away, but I’ve got a plan, an idea, a thought….whatever you want to call it…for a semi portable vocal booth for less than 500 bucks! This includes the treatment of the space! I can tell you it isn’t a square, it isn’t a rectangle, it isn’t a diamond and it’s not one of those super cool units that are made to fit into a corner! It’s fully customizable to what you need/want in your booth and it’s expandable! You don’t have to be a carpenter to make it because there is no wood involved! The way I see it in my head you only need a circular saw, a tape measure, a marker, a set of three door hinges, a door handle and maybe a long strip of rubber weather stripped type stuff…and of course the secret thing that makes it all. I’ll post more on it after I’ve hit up a couple of folks to see if the theory is sound, no pun intended. If mine works, I could possibly monetize it later on down the road. If my sound gurus say it’s a viable theory, I’ll build one for myself taking careful notes on supplies, cost and taking lots of pictures…screw ups included, because hey, I’m not perfect.
As for my logo, my friend Jack sent it back to me and I’ve sent a couple of questions back to him on “what does your artistic eye say about…” type stuff. Minor potential changes and then my logo will be good to go and I can get rid of these pictures of me that are posted all over my stuff!
And finally, down to the last bad thing. Over the last two weeks, I’ve had some disturbing feedback on the demos I have posted on my website. Again, it doesn’t hurt my feelings, especially considering what the comments were. I have approached my producer/director about it and we’ll chat it out and see what we will do about it this coming week. In short, most everyone that sent feedback agrees on the issues and it boils down to one thing. I should NOT be using these demos to promote myself. Ok, I can take a hint, even one I was hit in the head with. 🙂 That just means it’s time to adjust and take aim again.
If you’re not excited about it, you shouldn’t be doing it. Now, as Mike says, “Go record something amazing.”
When I said there was almost too much information out there, I wasn’t kidding folks. Between books I’ve downloaded to listen to, free webinars, sites with tutorials, SEO marketing help videos and the suggestions from my domain hosting company….there is just so much!
One thing I have yet to find is a tutorial on mastering/editing my tracks on Audacity. Yes, I’ve read the manual, virtual cover to virtual cover, a couple of times but that just tells me where to go to use the tools in that program. Gain, attack time, release time, compression, filters and at least a hundred other terms that I need to know are a total mystery to me. I can look up each of the terms individually, but even then, these ‘definitions’ assume you know what these things are. I need something like this: Compression is the act of blah blah blah on an audio track. Things that need to be set for compression are attack time, release time, blah blah blah. If your attack time is too (short?) your audio will sound like (ummmmm).
I just need to know what these settings are supposed to do and what difference they make in sound, and maybe even a good place to start for my own tracks. Yeah, I am a total newbie when it comes to mastering/editing tracks but this is something I need to learn to do and need to learn fast. I’m finding some help on a blog I found last night but I still need more.
I have to learn how to get, and then keep, my site high in the Google search engines.
I have a long time family friend, Jack, working on an idea that cropped up last night for my logo. It’s a tall order I sent him this morning, but once he finishes, that will be one large portion of worry off my plate.
Then it’s cover letters on Fiverr, proposals on Upwork, mining Craigslist and about a thousand other places to look for work. I’m in for the long haul, but it’s going to be longer than I imagined it would. I had no delusions that this was some get rich quick scheme, I knew it would take a lot of work, but I was totally unprepared for all the things I’ve been hit with since starting this. I’ll figure it out, I always do. 🙂
I’m open to any suggestions as well……I have an open mind and a closed mouth, unless I’m behind the mic. Here’s to another day of soaking up information!
There is so much information out there right now. Almost too much to absorb. I’ve listened to ‘More Than Just A Voice: The Real Secret to Voiceover Success‘ by Dave Courvoisier so many times I could almost record the book from memory at this point. Dave puts out the down and dirty facts of running a VO business, and when I say down and dirty, I mean there is NO sugar coating on it at all. I appreciate his candor and it’s a huge reason why I’ve listened to the book so many times and will continue to do so. Every time I listen, I catch something I didn’t catch before. He gives you resources, TRUTHFUL numbers, he’s not afraid to tell you that this is going to be HARD WORK and that this isn’t a ‘get rich quick scheme’ where you can start making six figures overnight. He tells you several times in the book if you email him, he will send you a PDF of all the links from his book. I did, and he did. That document is GOLDEN my friends! Dave has his own blog where he shares tips, tricks and TRUTHS about this wonderful business. You can find it here. Through him, I’ve come across videos from Bill Dewees on YouTube. Over 450 videos to help you on your way. Those can be found here. I turn the videos on and listen while I’m doing everything from playing Xbox to doing laundry. Over and over again.
Both of these men have been amazingly helpful to me, whether they know it or not.
No matter how many other places I find information, I keep coming back to Dave’s book. It’s a gold mine! Nonetheless, there is still SO MUCH information out there. I’m doing my best to sift through it and absorb everything I can.
I’ve been focusing on Bill’s videos on home studio the last day or so and I’ve realized that while I have a very understanding family that will leave if I say I need to record, that is nothing next to having a space. Not necessarily a whisper room like Bill has, but just a space. Things are a bit cramped at home right now and I don’t have a set space for my work. I set up a mic stand with my PVC pipe when I need to record. I tell the family I need to do some recording and the next time I turn around, they’re gone. I don’t mean hiding quietly in their rooms, I mean the car’s gone! They left! They have no idea how grateful I am for that. So now, as I make more and more contacts for work, I have to figure out a way to move SOMETHING in the house to make a space. No clue what that’s going to be, but I’m sure I’ll be listening to a video by Bill Dewees or Dave’s book again when I do it.
Until next time, have a wonderful week!
Well, I have mentioned in past posts that I was having a heck of a time working with the SAV website editor and another voice actor mentioned another site. Wix. I went and read the reviews and looked at prices and checked out a few others and decided that Wix was indeed for me. I have now posted my fully functional website at http://www.ddholley.com. I have my demos posted and even a picture. I’m still working on building my brand visually, but for now I am using my picture across all platforms to keep it the same. Start locally, move forward globally. I do need to put something together for CRM, an excel spreadsheet might work for local contacts, but once I move past the local guys, that just won’t cut it. I’m thinking Zoho is a great place to start.
I made my first contact (ish) with a local ad agency today. Yes, it’s Sunday. Yes, they’re closed. Hence the ‘ish’ after contact. I wrote a short, succinct email on their website contact form, checked it for spelling and grammar mistakes and sent it off. I ran over to my spreadsheet for contacts and put all of their information in and copied the email I sent them to the page as well. As soon as I did that, I realized I’d forgotten something in the email. My phone number! It’s ok, I have my website address in it and the site has my phone number on it. But I need to make sure and include that information in the future. Live and learn, right? I set a follow-up date on my calendar so I can reach out again in a couple of weeks if I’ve had no response. So begins the self-marketing grind. 🙂
After fighting with the videos and the ‘editor’ on my such a voice website, I decided to look around and find another website hosting program with a better editor. I found one, on WIX. As the reviews said, not the cheapest but perhaps the best looking. Best of all, it’s WYSIWYG! So I have set up a site, still needs a few tweaks here and there for the overall feel, but I’m on my way now. I fought with the SAV site for over a week. I set up the WIX site in one evening. I purchased my domain name and in a day or so I will have ddholley.com out there and ready for marketing. Now I have to go learn something about SEO. More research!
If you’d rather listen to this blog, you can go to https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-f449j-8ae511
It really is sad, I LOVE to read, but I find I have less and less time for it as the months go by. I miss reading, I mean really miss it. It has left an empty spot inside me. I’ve tried to fill that hole with plenty of other things, but the only thing that seems to work is…..surprisingly enough…audio books. I’ve tried to listen to them before but always zoned out and wasn’t really listening to them. This time seems to be different. I’m enjoying books again, just from a different venue. I can listen in my office, in the warehouse, in the car, at home…..just about anywhere and just about any time. FINALLY! My love of reading is sated once again. Yes, yes, I know. It’s not the same, but I can imagine the scenes, imagine the conversations, the people, the places…the same thing I do when I’m reading. The difference now is that I can cook, wash dishes, do warehouse work, play the Xbox, or a hundred other things while I listen to my books. So now I have racked up a pretty comprehensive library in my chosen genres on Audible.com.
So, with that said…..I’ve heard some really Really REALLY bad book narrations. I’ve heard some amazing ones too, but the bad ones make it difficult to enjoy the story. I started thinking…I can do better than that, I know I can.
Enter ACX. I did some research to find out how people are chosen to narrate books. The process, the pay, the time, the requirements. Yeah, all that seemed pretty simple. Don’t get me wrong, it was going to take work, but nothing I couldn’t do. I kept saying, “Oh geez, surely so-and-so author could have made a better choice than so-and-so narrator!”
I have a book published, Going Green Without Going Broke. I also have friends and relatives who have published books. My friend and fellow author Jack Cotner, I thought he might be willing to let me at least try out for narrating his book. Either way, I can do someone else’s book or I could do my own. I thought I was spoiled for choice. On with the research.
One thing kept coming up in all my research. Voice Over. Well, I’d never heard of it. Sure, I think Mel Blanc is the bomb, doing so many of the voices for the cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings as a kid, but I never actively made the connection until I delved into all of this. So here we go. Voice over, voice actors, coaching, training, demos, auditions, royalties, anime, video games and so much more.
Such-A-Voice.com kept coming up as a great place to get training. Yeah, you see where this is going. I signed up with Such-A-Voice for coaching, marketing training, demos, and just generally to get on my way toward doing audio books and doing them well. To be able to read for a living, now THAT would be the bomb.
I paid my down payment and when taxes came in, I paid off my entire bundle. I hate being in debt when I don’t have to be. Skype coaching sessions, webinars, blogs, you name it, I hunted it down and read it and soaked it all up. On December 14, 2017, I drove from Abilene, TX to Garland, TX to a studio there and recorded my demos. Two of them, once for commercial, one for narration.
On January 11, 2018, they were submitted for final approval. Today, January 24th, I received the email and link for my completed demos. I went to my such-a-voice website and put in the link and have been working on finishing that page up so it’s presentable for consumption to someone besides me.
So that’s where I am now.