Tips for Voice Actors: Maintaining Healthy Vocal Cords

As a voice actor, whether you’re just getting started or find work regularly, caring for your voice is of utmost importance. Though it may seem obvious, keeping your vocal cords healthy isn’t as simple as avoiding yelling or preventing strain by talking softly. While these tasks can certainly help, there’s plenty more you can and should do. In maintaining healthy vocal cords, you also need to be aware of the many factors that can put strain on them.

Needless to say, your voice is your most important tool as a voice talent, and you need to ensure it’s ready to go at all times. You never know when you’re going to get that next call and if your voice isn’t in shape, getting the job done won’t be simple. No matter your experience, take a look below to learn how you can prevent vocal strain and keep your vocal cords healthy.

Maintaining Healthy Vocal Cords: Factors to Avoid

It doesn't have to take a common cold to affect your vocal cords. Though a stuffy nose and sore throat will definitely inhibit your abilities, there’s plenty of other factors that can hinder the health and sound of your voice. Check them out below:

  • Smoke: Whether it’s your own or secondhand, cigarette smoke is quite irritating for your vocal cords. Though a low, raspy voice is often needed for productions, smoking isn’t the way to achieve such.
  • Exhaust: Much like smoke, you also need to avoid exhaust. If you live in a big city, or find yourself near exhaust, cover up with a scarf!
  • Caffeine: Stated to dry out the larynx, caffeine can also give your voice some trouble. So, come the morning of a recording or audition, try skipping the coffee to keep your voice fresh.
  • The Elements: During the winter months, that cold air can really be rough on your throat. Needless to say, stay warm when out and about, and consider throwing on a scarf.

Though it may seem a bit much, maintaining your vocal cords and avoiding the factors above is a must for voice actors. Compare it to professional athletes, for instance. From football players to Olympians, each and every one of these athletes must refrain from certain activities that could ultimately cause injury. Of course, staying healthy doesn’t only involve avoiding harmful factors—it also takes a good routine.  

Vocal Care Tips

Referring back to the athlete analogy, such professionals work hard each day to keep their bodies in shape, and you need to do the same for your vocal cords and voice. Not only that, but there’s plenty of warm-up exercises you can practice before a recording session.

Daily Care

  • Keep hydrated at all times.
  • Refrain from yelling and whispering, as it’s quite strenuous for the voice.
  • Try not to clear your throat, as this too can be irritating.
  • Stay active. Physical exercise, like cardio, can work wonders for your voice and acting skills, as so much of it is controlled with breath.
  • Avoid talking from your throat. In other words, ensure you breathe with your words. Otherwise, you could put extra stress on your voice.

Before the Session

  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Drink plenty of water before and during the session.
  • Much like caffeine, alcohol can also dry out your larynx. Avoid drinking the night before.
  • Before putting your voice to use, do some light humming.
  • Try gently singing (within your range) on your way to the session. It’ll stretch out your vocal cords, much like an athlete stretches their muscles.

Keep It Up

From maintaining healthy vocal cords to improving your technique, there’s plenty you can do to better yourself as a voice over talent—no matter your experience. Staying healthy is always essential, and doing so will help you get the most out of your voice. If you’d like more tips on voice acting, you can check out the pages we’ve provided below. If you’re interested in taking voice over classes, be sure to sign up today! For questions, give us a call at 212-213-9487.

How Famous Voice Actors Got Their Start

Whether it be famous on-screen actors or those simply providing their voices, most well-known faces and voices these days got their start through some form of training. While some actors have paved their road to success without classes or lessons, most had to work to perfect their skills—and it clearly paid off. Considering this, voice over classes are often a necessity for anyone seeking a career in the industry, as they provide invaluable insight as to how to improve your voice, perfect techniques, and much more.

Though not all famous voice actors took voice over classes specifically, some of the top names in the industry did take some form of lessons. As a result, they’ve maintained life-long careers in the industry and set the standard for many. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most famous voice actors and how classes benefitted their careers.

Famous Voice Over Actors and Their Beginnings

Just like we said, most voice over actors had to get their start somewhere, and while most took lessons other than voice over classes, they all took some form of education to get where they are today. In short, each of the famous voices to follow had to be trained and perfected, which is the case for many. Without further ado, let’s take a look:

Dan Castellaneta

Best known for voicing Homer Simpson and many others in The Simpsons, Dan Castellaneta found a passion for impressions at a young age. By the age of 16, his mother enrolled him in acting classes to help him hone his skills. From there, he worked on a radio show in college, in which he began to further perfect his voice over skills—and the rest is history.

Jennifer Hale

From cartoons to video game characters, Jennifer Hale has established herself as one of the top female voice actors. However, she too benefitted from taking classes. First studying theatre at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Hale began taking voice over classes and training upon landing her first voice over roles, such as Ivy in Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? From here, she went on to voice various video game and cartoon characters.

Nancy Cartwright

Another Simpsons alumni, Nancy Cartwright is probably best known for voicing the infamous Bart Simpson, yet she’s had quite the career since. Discovering her talent at an early age, Cartwright studied theater in high school while entering public speaking competitions for categories like “Humorous Interpretation”. After doing part-time voice over work for a Dayton, Ohio radio station, she met fellow voice actor Daws Butler  (Huckleberry Hound & Yogi Bear), and began training as a voice actress with him every Sunday. Along with her natural talent, it was her studies and lessons with Butler that helped her become the voice actress she is today.

June Foray

Deemed the “Cartoon Queen”, June Foray worked on a broad range of cartoons, including some alongside Walt Disney. Better known for her various roles on Rocky & Bullwinkle, Foray first got her voice over start in radio. Before that, however, Foray got into doing voices at just 12 years old and began taking speech lessons with the host of a local radio program. From there, her teacher (who became her mentor), added Foray to the radio show and her career took off from there.

Get Your Start With Voice Over Classes Today

Clearly, most voice over actors need to get their start somewhere, and for many, that involves taking classes and lessons. However, aspiring voice actors today have an advantage that may not have been so readily available in the past: voice over classes.

If you’re interested in becoming a voice over actor and don’t know where to start, consider taking classes with the Voice Shop in NYC. We offer a range of classes for every skill level, so be sure to check out our options today. For questions, you can give us a call at 212-213-9487.

Key Tips for Creating a Voice Over Website

As an aspiring voice over artist, you surely know how difficult it is to find regular work, or any work for that matter. Aside from having a quality demo, we all know the next thing is promoting yourself—whether that be via posting on social media, finding an agent, or hitting every audition possible. Of course, every voice over talent needs their own website, as well. However, simply having your own website won’t set yourself apart from others. What you need is an attention-grabbing website that exemplifies your skills and talents, and convinces prospective clients to cast you.

Seeing as our main goal at the Voice Shop is to help aspiring voice over talent break into the industry, we’ve laid out a few key tips and practices necessary in creating an appealing voice over website to promote yourself and secure work.

Step 1: Creating Your Voice Over Website

If you have yet to create a website for yourself, now’s good time to get started—so long as you’ve also created a voice over demo. Having a website without a demo will do very little for you, so be sure to get your demo recorded before promoting your site. Anyway, the first thing you’ll want to do it find a place to host your website, whether it be WordPress, Wix, or SquareSpace (among many others). The platform you choose will all depend on your preference and computer skills. Regardless, in creating your website, pay mind to the following aspects:

Domain Name: Essentially the name of your website, the domain name will be displayed in every URL. With this, you need to make it clear who you are and what the site is. For example, a good domain could be “www.jonsmithvoiceover.com”. Simple as that! Of course, you may want to include the type of voice over you do (if you specialize in a specific discipline), but it may not be necessary. In short, you need to ensure your URL is catchy, easy to remember, and to the point.

Search Engine Optimization: While SEO can get pretty in-depth and require quite the work, there are a few basic things you can do as your create your voice over website. Similar to your domain name, the pages of your sites and their titles (which will display in the URL for that page) should also be to the point. Page titles and headers on your pages should include keywords like “voice over”, “voice acting” and similar variants, while also including your name throughout. From here, you’ll want to search for other keywords that pertain to you and use them throughout your website to help it rank in search results. This way, potential clients can find you easier. SEO is great when performed alongside social media, blogging, etc.

Usability: Another key factor to consider in building your website is its usability. Make it easy for your potential clients, otherwise, they may get frustrated and look elsewhere. For starters, ensure your contact information and demo reel are easily accessible wherever the visitor is on your site. A resume or list of past work is also key if you have it. Other than that, just make the site intuitive—think of how other websites are designed.

What to Include on Your Voice Over Website

Once you’ve registered a domain name and are ready to add pages to your site, the aforementioned contact info and demo reel is crucial, but there’s plenty more to keep in mind with regards to the homepage and other aspects. For more help, view the tips and considerations for your voice over website below:

  • In regards to navigation and usability (user experience), keep scrolling and clicks minimal. In other words, require little of the site visitor. Put the best content above the fold and link other relevant pages of your site together to help users click through your site with ease.

  • A key part of SEO, adding fresh content to your site regularly is essential. However, you don’t want to add too much content to your site and alter the usability. Creating a blog on site is always good practice. This way, you can utilize keywords (don’t overdo it) and improve your chances of ranking in search engine results.

  • Mobile usability is also important to consider. So many people these days search online with their smartphones. If your website doesn’t display well on a mobile device, chances are the user (client) will exit your site. Many web builders (like Wix) have plugins and apps to help you ensure the site is mobile friendly.

  • For static pages of your site (i.e. demo, contact info, resume), keep them clean and easy to scan. For instance, keep your resume concise and use bold letters to note specific work that may appeal to clients.

  • Every page of your website should include a call to action. Especially the homepage. This is how you encourage clients to contact you and give them an easy way to do so. For example, you can leave a sample of your demo right at the top of your home page with a “contact me here” link above.

Learn More at The Voice Shop

While we’ve provided a great foundation for building a professional voice over website, there’s plenty more you can do to create an appealing site and promoting such to find more work. For additional help, the Voice Shop offers workshop webinars for building your brand. If you’d like more information, give us a call at 212-213-9487.

Voice Acting: 7 Tips for Voice Over Auditions

Though a strong voice over demo can help you land gigs, you won’t always be able to rely on such to find voice over work. Quite often, you’ll be auditioning for each job, alongside countless other voice actors with the same goal: getting the job! So, aside from having the perfect voice for the role, you’ll also need to prove you’re the best fit—as your competition may have a similarly-fitting voice for the audition.

Simply put, knowing how to enter an audition and set yourself apart from the competition is crucial in landing voice over jobs, and there’s plenty of ways to do so. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some key tips in nailing a voice over audition.

7 Tips for Voice Acting Auditions

Before you head off to the audition, we’ve got a few tips for you to practice at home. Whether the voice acting gig is for a video game, commercial, or film, you’ll need to have the tone dialed and have a firm grasp on the role you’re auditioning for. Regardless, the voice acting tips below will help you prep for the big day.

Voice Over Auditioning Tips: At Home

1. Analyze the Script: If the script is available prior to the audition, take time at home to completely analyze it. If it’s a commercial, consider what’s being sold and how. If it’s a video game, you need to know the setting, each character, and the voice required. Of course, you won’t always get the script before arriving at the audition. In this case, arrive 10 to 15 minutes early and start reading through the script.

2. Determine the Tone: Similar to analyzing the script, you’ll need to determine the right tone for the role you’re auditioning for. This may also be impacted by the setting, but you also need to know the type of character it is. If it’s a commercial, the tone may reflect the type of product being sold, it’s benefits, or it’s necessity.

3.  Know the Role: Needless to say, you need to know the role you’re auditioning before, and that includes the aforementioned tone. Not only that, but you need to have an idea of who the character is—their personality. How do they respond? What’s their role in the game? You may have a general idea of the character and their role, but you need to look deeper into the script.

Before and During the Audition

1. Warm Up: Regardless of whether or not you received the script prior to the audition, you should always arrive early for last minute warm ups, whether in the car or in the waiting room. In warming up, you should read through the script, focus on delivery, and drink plenty of water.

2. Adhere to Directions: Of course, the casting director will typically have some set directions and you should follow them as closely as possible. However, this doesn’t mean you should change your delivery and the tone you’ve determined for the role.

3. Be Physical: When you’re in the booth, you should strive to be physical with your voice acting. Not only will this help you better voice the role, but casting directors actually like to see when a voice artist also has acting skills. Regardless, voice acting is physical. If you bring life to the voice and tie in movement, you’ll set yourself apart from other auditioners.

4. Make the Role Yours: Keep in mind, everyone else at the audition is after the same role. While you should be sure to follow direction, don’t be afraid to make the role yours. Whether it’s being physical like we mentioned above or finding the right tone, own the role!

Improve Your Skills with the Voice Shop

While the voice acting tips provided above can help you set yourself apart from the competition at auditions, this is just one discipline within voice over. Maintaining a career in the industry takes hard work, diligence, and commitment. No matter your skill level, you can gain valuable insight in every aspect of voice over through classes at the Voice Shop. If you’re interested in learning more about our classes, give us a call at 212-213-9487.

Voice Over Classes for New and Working Artists

As with any company, we enjoy the excitement of creating and planning our vision for the year ahead, especially when it comes to what we can offer our students! This year, the Voice Shop is rolling out a wide array of classes to help you further expand your voice over abilities and grow as a creative, skilled artist.

The Voice Shop gears its classes toward both breakout actors and working artists looking to expand their capabilities, so we’re confident you’ll be able to find a class that suits your needs and interests. If you’re ready to contact a coach, feel free to call our studio today. Otherwise, read on to hear more about the new classes we’re offering in addition to our already stellar schedule.   

Essential Classes to Build Your Voice Over Skills

Technique Classes

As with any skill, technique is the foundation which allows you to perfect your skills as you move on to harder and harder concepts. Every first Thursday of the month, we’ll be offering a new and exciting technique class to help you sharpen your craft. During classes, you’ll work on vocal techniques such as pitch, pacing, value and volume. You’ll also learn about when and where to utilize these skills and how to introduce them into your “cold” reads. We recommend technique classes to anyone and everyone looking to hone and polish their voice over competence.

Master Class

On the second Saturday of each month, The Voice Shop will be bringing in expert coaches to provide our students with a unique Master class experience. These classes are for students wishing to learn from the best and who are ready to branch out and learn about different specialties within voice over acting. Master class subjects will be found soon under our class schedule!

Open Coaching

Two days each month will be dedicated to open coaching classes here at The Voice Shop. Open coaching classes provide a relaxed environment in which you’re able to work on specific skills, techniques or specialties along with fellow students and peers. Open coaching classes also provide the opportunity for multiple sources of feedback and help to foster connections you may not get through private coaching lessons. We welcome any and all skills sets in our open classes!

Online Skill Classes

Our online skill classes are designed to teach you about the business of building your voice over brand. Classes will go over things like creating your brand, taxes as a self-employed artist and audition techniques. While it’s important to be a skilled artist, you must be able to successfully promote and run your business in order to create a strong, likable brand. We highly recommend attending these online classes as they are a great addition to any voice over talent!

Expand Your Skills and Knowledge with The Voice Shop

Whether you’re a brand new artist just learning about the exciting world of voice over, or a seasoned actor looking to broaden your skills, we have something for you at The Voice Shop. If you’re ready to begin classes, you can contact our studio at 212-213-9487 or learn more by clicking here!

Branding Yourself as a Voice Over Artist

For voice over artists, it can take a great deal of promotional effort to connect with and expand your base of clients. Building a brand is no easy task, but it’s a fundamental part of any self-run business. Once you have the training, the equipment, and a strong voice over demo, the next step might be to begin growing your brand as a voice over artist.

Why is Branding Important?

Put simply, marketing your voice over talent abilities is the only surefire way to find ample work, and to ultimately create a career out of voice over. You likely engage in marketing or branding efforts every day without realizing. Whether by talking to family and friends, working on your demo reel, or cold calling for voice over work, you’re bettering your chances of finding meaningful voice over work. But for those serious about turning their voice over talent into a viable career, it’ll take a more concerted marketing and branding push. Below we’ve highlighted some tips for branding yourself as a voice over artist.

Tips for Branding Yourself as a Voice Over Artist

  • Agency Representation: One of the best ways to get your name out there as a voice over artist is to find an agency to represent you. Agents will advocate for you and help you find meaningful voice over work. All you’ll need to do is keep in touch throughout the process to ensure you’re being adequately represented. Of course, being represented by an agency comes with a price.

  • Build a Personal Website: Building a personal website for your voice over business can be both eye-catching and professional. You’ll have a space to design and define your brand. Your personal website can also serve as an impressive portfolio for those seeking voice over talents.

  • Generate Publicity: There are a number of ways you can generate publicity around your voice over business. You can reach out to influencers to provide guest blogs and seek out radio interviews, but there’s plenty more you can do Just get your name out there! It’s likely you have stories or wisdom to share from your experience building your brand.

  • Seek Referrals: As you complete voice over work with satisfied clients, don’t be afraid to ask if they can refer you to others. Simply asking could mean the difference of a few extra voice over gigs.

  • Social Media: Much like a personal website, a strong social media presence can have the same effect as a resume. It’s a place to showcase your talent, and at the same time, create a network of potential clients.

Needless to say, there’s plenty more you can do to brand yourself as a voice over artist. In fact, you can even take a class here at the Voice Shop, which is specifically geared to help you market yourself and your voice over skills. If you’re interested in signing up, you can view the class page.

Sign Up for Online Voice Over Classes Today!

Whether you’re ready to market your skills or would still like more training in becoming a successful voice over actor, we have a class for any level of voice actor. If you’re interested in any of our classes, sign up before it’s too late. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us today. You can also call us at 212-213-9487.

The Varying Roles of a Talent Management Company

If you’ve worked in the talent industry, you’re probably familiar with the many roles of talent management companies. Within these companies you’ll find a variety of roles. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to keep up with what everyone does. You have talent agents, talent scouts, casting agents, and a variety of other positions, all of which go into curating talent to some degree. As such, we wanted to discuss some of these roles, and the work they entail!

Here at the Voice Shop we offer classes in New York City, but also throughout the country. Our online voice over classes, including webinars, are perfect for those looking to better their voice and delve into the world of voice over. Offered via Skype with our professional voice over coaches, you can get one-on-one time with VO experts from the comfort of your own home. Now, join us as we further discuss talent management companies, and all the work they include!

What is Talent Management?

While the term talent management will ring a bell for some, many don’t know what talent management is, or what a talent management company does. In truth, talent management companies are paramount in recruiting, maintaining, and developing some of the best talent out there. While many compare talent management companies to HR, they have some key differences that are highlighted below.

Who is Involved in a Talent Management Company?

  • Talent Agent: Talent agents work with talents themselves, doing everything from casting, negotiating contracts, and handling invoices and payments. Talents are typically paid through commission from the contracts they negotiate.

  • Talent Scout: Talent scouts are responsible for finding and selecting new voice talents. New talent might be highly trained, or they might have no training at all. They might be found in acting classes, on voice over networking websites, or they might be someone just walking down the street. As a prospective talent, beware of talent scouts who are solely interested in your money!

  • Casting Agent: As you might expect, the casting agent is responsible for casting roles in any given project. In some cases, the talent agent and casting agent can be filled as one role, but they are often separate entities.

  • Casting Director: The casting director contacts talent or their agents, directs the casting process, and compiles the finalists in the selection process.

  • Advertising Agency: The advertising agency creates or markets products or services being sold. Advertising companies create a diversity of marketing communication products, like radio commercials, web videos, and similar audio products.

  • Producer: This is often an individual or agency that produces a film, commercial, game, tour, or similar productions. Some producers will prefer to do casting themselves.

Sign Up for Online Voice Over Classes Today!

If you’re interested in any of our classes, sign up before it’s too late. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us today. You can also call us at 212-213-9487.

Online Voice Over Classes

For those seeking a career in voice over, namely the entertainment industry, there’s plenty you can do to perfect your voice, learn new techniques, and find work. However, to expedite the process and fully understand the industry, voice over classes are often necessary. For instance, we here at the Voice Shop offer a variety of classes to help get your voice over career of the ground. Of course, voice over lessons don’t only cater to entry level voice talents. Classes can be beneficial for voice over artists of any skill level. In short, voice over classes may be just what you need to develop your voice and start landing voice acting gigs.

While we offer a range of classes right here in New York City, we also offer classes for those throughout the country. Our online voice over classes, including webinars, are perfect for those looking to better their voice in delve into the world of voice over. Offered via Skype with our professional voice over coaches, you can get one-on-one time with VO experts from the comfort of your own home. Take a moment to learn more about our online offerings and how voice over classes could help you.

Why Online Voice Over Classes are Beneficial

While any aspiring voice over talent should be comfortable with speaking in front others, many beginners struggle to truly project their voice in the presence of others. With this, online voice over classes can be very advantageous. In the privacy or your home, you’ll feel more comfortable in practicing techniques. Of course, this is only one small benefit to online lessons.

When working in private, the voice over coach can focus their attention directly on you. You can ask specific questions and use each class you sign up in for certain disciplines, as well as work at your own pace. As you can see, our online voice over lessons aren’t only directed toward beginners. No matter your skill level, you can choose what to work on in each of your online sessions, touching upon advanced techniques and much more. Don’t forget, private voice over lessons aren’t the only online option we offer. You can also take part in our webinars!

Workshop Webinars

In addition to the private online voice over lessons offered via Skype, our workshop webinars can provide further insight into the voice over industry. Catering to those who’ve developed their voice and looking for work, our Marketing Your Brand webinar will teach your key points on self promotion, marketing to agencies and casting sites, and how to market your own brand. Our second webinar, Building & Improving Your Home Studio, will teach you just that.

Sign Up for Online Voice Over Classes Today!

Clearly, we have online voice over classes for everyone. No matter you skill level or aspirations, classes from the Voice Shop are surely beneficial. Plus, we offer much more than our online classes and webinars. Be sure to check out each of our offerings to find a class that best suits you!

If you’re interested in any of our classes, sign up before it’s too late. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us today. You can also call us at 212-213-9487.

Phone: 212-213-9487
Email: info@voiceshopcoaching.com