If you're under pressure and quality is essential
- I get you.
With so many voice talent out there, you'd think that getting a voiceover done would be straightforward. In one sense, yes, you can very quickly find any number of people happy to record your script, perhaps for a bargain price. But the saying is true that 'cheap' is 'expensive' in the long run. While the best producers know that paying for quality voiceover is worth it, some clients with less experience might need convincing.
So here are some future headaches you might avoid by booking premium talent today: working hard to produce content that is ultimately perceived as lower in quality because of poor audio or a wooden voiceover, needing to redo an entire project because the original voice is no longer available to record small pickups (or that voice cannot match the exact audio quality or performance from the first recording), losing money on a commercial that doesn't connect with the listener because the voiceover wasn't convincing, losing potential customers because an on-hold voice sounds annoying, reducing content retention in eLearning because the voiceover wasn't personable or easy to listen to, alienating potential customers from a brand by choosing a voice they don't relate to. Ugh.
So what should you look for in a voice talent? Consistency, Reliability and Effectiveness.
Consistency: The talent can provide you with the same quality audio across gaps of time. They can also match their performance from past recordings for seamless pickups.
Reliability: When the talent says they will deliver in under 24 hours, you can be sure they will keep their word. They can also be depended on to let you know if what you're asking is not possible, or to ask you if they need extra information. When a session is booked, you know they will arrive with time to spare and not embarrass you to the client.
Effectiveness: The talent can quickly adjust their performance to execute the read that will be most effective. An effective voiceover is first of all one that satisfies or exceeds your client's expectations. Other measures of effectiveness might include direct consumer feedback, improved content engagement, learning or even sales results.
Within that brief there remains a pool professional talent who could serve you equally well, and that's where it comes down to individual preference. Listen to demos and ask for a custom read of your script. Asking for an audition read is a good way to 'try on' the service of a particular talent without committing.
Where do you record?
In the Brisbane studio of your choice. If you're looking for one, some places I can personally recommend are The Voice Plant, Rosco Audio, 3P, Cutting Edge or The Post Lounge.
Alternatively I record from my own private broadcast studio. It's a double-walled isolation booth built from MDF wood and lined with Basotect foam. The booth stops noise from the outside getting in, and the foam creates that professional "dead" sound.
What's your equipment?
Sennheiser MKH416, Neumann TLM102
Audient iD14 interface
Macbook plus Twisted Wave
Do you edit the files?
Absolutely. I can edit, de-breath and lightly process my files so they're ready to go. Alternatively I provide you with the RAW file for your team to produce. I upload to Hightail, WeTransfer, GoogleDrive or Dropbox - let me know your preference.
Do you do live sessions from your own booth?
Of course! Just let me know your time zone and we'll tee something up. If you're a recording studio I have Source Connect Standard under 'jenmaryvo'. If not, and you'd like to listen in HD sound, Source Connect Now (SCN) works great. You just need to click this link in a Chrome browser, and wear some earphones that have a built-in microphone. Old-fashioned wired ones work best (wireless do work too, however they seem to be less consistent). The other advantage of SCN is more than one person can listen in.
What do you charge?
Every project is unique and the value is determined by usage/reach - how long the recording will be used for (e.g., 3 months) and how many people will hear it (e.g., one state / national, internal training / public internet). When you get in touch, be sure to let me know the length of the script and/or it's intended reach (the location and duration of broadcast). For Australian broadcast please get in touch with the lovely Claudia and she'll work with you to determine a rate that fits for all.
What do you bring to the microphone?
Hundreds of hours recording all kinds of voiceover for a diverse range of clients (from international brands to start-ups, to Australian government agencies and small to medium businesses)
Extensive Improvisational Theatre (Impro) training and performance
Many hours of individual coaching in advanced voiceover technique
What background did you come from to become a voiceover artist?
Well you might be surprised to learn that, unlike many Australian voiceover artists, I didn't come across into voiceover from a broadcast or acting career. I'm a generalist who loves learning, loves reading out loud, and shamelessly loves being recorded! A few years back I had a lightbulb moment realising I could merge these into a voiceover career.
When I was 6 my mum used to put me in front of an old reel-to-reel tape recorder, and I would record my little heart out until the tape finished. At other times I would entertain myself and annoy family by mimicking the time announcer (you know the one that said ‘on the third stroke it will be…’)!
Interestingly, voiceover goes way back in my family – my grandmother and great-grandmother were pioneers of the early radio broadcasts of the ABC in Tasmania, recording children’s programs and doing their own sound effects.
I love the medium of recording and the potential it offers to play and draw out the beauty, comedy or zany that’s behind a seemingly plain string of words.
In high school, I dreamed of becoming a radio announcer. Yet I thought it wasn't a sensible choice for me, and deep down I didn't believe I had the talent. Back then I thought success was more about having a natural gift than hard work. Today we'd call this a "fixed mindset". I used early failures (like not getting a good part in the grade 8 musical!) as proof of my lack of creative ability, and gave up performance for many years. So when it came time for uni, I studied Speech Pathology - which was safe and sensible and gave me incredible skills and experience - but I never had the spark of passion for it that I saw in my peers .
Other random facts about me. I've completed a ministry traineeship and a couple of years at Bible college. I've played the cello and ridden motorbikes. I'm often found baking sourdough. Places I've lived include Far North Queensland and Sydney's Inner West. Favourite downtime activity is listening to great books and narrators on Scribd.