Podcast

WFHVA #25: Demo Review #2

Melanie

If you didn’t listen to last weeks’ episode, we are currently doing a Demo Review series where you submit your commercial demos and I give my honest feedback. 

I had a question this week about reviewing other types of demos i.e. narration, e-learning, etc. Know that I am only reviewing commercial demos because that is my area of expertise. I’ve had a lot of high-paying commercial gigs with well known brands and have produced my own commercial demos that get me booked time and time again. So, I’ll be offering reviewing within my lane of knowledge and expertise.

Ok, this is how we’ll organize these reviews:

I’ll play the whole demo and from there we’ll go through the demo spot by spot and review. And we’ll conclude with general notes about the demo, what I hear and what I don’t hear as well as any next steps I’d recommend.

This week’s demo is from C.

Links & Resources:

Subscribe, rate + review on your favorite podcast app.

Podcast

WFHVA #24: Demo Review #1

Melanie

Welcome to the first demo review podcast episode! 

I’m excited that all of you have been so excited to share your demos with me for some, hopefully useful feedback.

This is how we’ll organize these reviews:

I’ll play the whole demo, from there we’ll go through the demo spot by spot and review. And we’ll conclude with general notes about the whole demo, what I hear and what I don’t hear as well as any next steps I’d recommend.

If you’d like me to review your commercial demo on the podcast email me an mp3 or wav file at hello[at]melaniescroggins.com with the subject line “Podcast Demo Review”.

Links & Resources:

Subscribe, rate + review on your favorite podcast app.

Podcast

WFHVA #22: 3 Creative Voiceover Services You Can Offer Clients

Melanie

Auditioning is important. Especially as you start out, it’s the lifeblood of your business. And frankly, even two years later, it’s still the 2nd biggest piece of my business success.

But now that I’ve had some time to take a look at how I do business, what I want to do more of or less of, and how I see myself showing up for my clients in the future, it’s got me thinking of other less common ways to be a resource for my clients and keep my work relevant and fresh.

One of the ways to do this is to get creative with what we offer our potential, current, and future clients. Because there are so many different genres of voiceover and our clients have a vast array of needs, it’s important to show them that while we may not be jack and jills of all things voiceover, because we don’t need to be, we show up in a holistic way with the work we do and maybe in ways they haven’t come across with other talent.

In this episode, we’re talking about how to be creative with your service offerings. Meaning, we’re going to take a 10,000 foot overview look at our businesses and figure out some unique ways we can show up for clients and get paid.

Time Stamps:

0:50 – Beginning of episode.

1:43 – Bulk project pricing.

2:23 – Done for you services.

3:23 – Sponsor message.

4:18 – Casting management.

Links & Resources:

The Business of Work From Home Voice Acting for Beginners Course

Podcast

WFHVA #21: From Podcasting to Voice Acting – Finding My Voice Through Audio Production (A Presentation)

Melanie

In this episode, I’m sharing a talk I presented at the Outlier Podcast Festival a few weeks ago. I got to share my story of how audio production has totally changed my life personally and professionally, as well as what I would do differently and what I would do again. 

If you’d rather watch the presentation, check out the video below.

Time Stamps:

0:57 – Beginning of presentation + my story.

8:04 – Teaching everything I know.

8:51 – What I would do differently.

11:17 – What I would do again.

13:42 – Strategies for the creative and the business owner.

17:08 – Takeaway: Your journey isn’t going to look like anyone else’s and that’s how it’s supposed to be.

18:18 – Q&A with Ever Gonzalez.

Links & Resources:

Subscribe, rate + review on your favorite podcast app.

Podcast

WFHVA #20: 3 Arguments for Why You Should Keep Pursuing Voiceover Work

Melanie

This week, we’re discussing a question submitted by Denae. She writes:

Thousands of people love singing and have flocked to audition for American Idol over the years. For some of these very well intentioned folks, all the work, effort, and dedication in the world, will not make them professional paid singers. I love love love using my voice. I always have, but it doesn’t mean I have a voice people want to hear or would pay to use for a project. How do we know we should even pursue voice over work? AKA Am I deluding myself? Is it necessary to have a voice for voiceovers?

Time Stamps:

1:37 – Beginning of episode.

1:37 – Argument #1: It’s all subjective.

4:08 – Argument #2: You don’t know until you know.

5:02 – Sponsor message.

7:41 – Argument #3: Let the client decide.

Links & Resources:

Subscribe, rate + review on your favorite podcast app.

Podcast

WFHVA #19: The Process of Creating the World in Your Head, Sourcing Talent, and Being Proud of What You Do with Keiko of MLA Entertainment

Melanie

Keiko of MLA Entertainment

Keiko is a Voice Actor and the Owner of MLA Entertainment. Web series and movies are her creative passion but Keiko always has her hands in other unique projects.

MLA Entertainment is an award-winning entertainment company founded in 2010. Their main objective is to deliver original web series, movies, music videos, and other entertainment that reaches deeply into the human soul.

I am thrilled to be sitting down and chatting with Keiko on this episode of the podcast!

Keiko and I have been working on a YouTube web series, Project Infinity, together (she has the creator and me as voice talent) for four years this fall. It has been a heck of an adventure and I’ve loved getting to know my fellow cast members and Keiko over that time. I’ve always been super curious about her process and how she brings the worlds in her head to life.

While this conversation actually took place last fall, with the finale of our web series airing soon, I thought it appropriate to share Keiko’s thoughts on her creation process, how and why she decided to outsource voice talent and a bunch of other wonderful gems and insights when it comes to being creative and sharing your genius with the world. You don’t want to miss it!

Time Stamps:

1:40 – Beginning of interview.

3:03 – How her web series are different than others online.

3:58 – Keiko’s origin story.

7:00 – The inspiration behind her current approach to creating.

10:00 – Keiko’s process.

11:55 – Deciding to outsource voice talent.

14:54 – Sponsor message.

16:40 – Connecting with other creatives and the talent she hires.

21:03 – Keiko’s advice to other creators.

Connect with Keiko:

Subscribe, rate + review on your favorite podcast app.

Blog Business + Marketing Client Work

Understanding the Most Popular Genres of Voiceover and What They Pay

Did you know there are 11 main genres of voiceover? And that doesn’t include the sub genres under each of those. You may be familiar with TV commercials and radio ads, but you may not be familiar with the other genres of voiceover that Voice Actors get paid to work on every day. 

Today I want to help you understand the seven most popular genres of voiceover and what Voice Actors can possibly get paid for each one. 

Note: All rates are based on the GVAA Rate Guide.

1. TV Broadcast

TV commercials or ads that are broadcast include local, regional, and national commercials. Everything from your local hardware store’s ad to the national ads you see for McDonald’s are considered TV broadcast because they are being broadcast, or aired, on regular TV. 

Depending on the market, one broadcast TV spot could pay anywhere from $400 for a three month run time for a local ad, to $3500 for a year run time for a national ad. There is a lot more money in TV ads both for Voice Actors and (potentially) the companies that run them, so that’s one reason the payout for these jobs is quite a bit higher than most other genres.

2. Non-broadcast

Unlike TV broadcast, non-broadcast spots are exactly what they sound like – videos that are not broadcast or aired to the general population. These include…

Corporate & Industrial narrations are voiceover projects for corporate and industrial purposes like corporate training or internal videos a company uses to talk about the company, train employees, etc. and the payout for these kinds of videos is anywhere from $350 for 1-2 minutes of audio to $2350 for up to an hour of audio.

Explainer videos are usually no more than 90 seconds long and are used to educate viewers on a product, service, company, etc. These can be animated with cartoon-like characters and scenery, or include stock footage of people and places. The payout for these videos ranges from $300-525 per video. 

Medical narrations are voiceovers that explain medical specific topics. These can be for hospitals, a pharmaceutical drug or company, etc. The payout for these videos ranges anywhere from $400 for 1-2 minutes of audio to $2400 for up to an hour of audio. Notice how these narrations are slightly more expensive than the average explainer video? That’s because medical narrations often have complicated language outside of the layman’s normal vocabulary, and yes, that means the Voice Actor gets paid more. Win!

3. Video games, toys and games

A popular genre to say the least, video games, voices for toys and any kind of at home game that requires a voice are a genre in and of themselves in voiceover. 

Video games are by far the most popular genre outside of animation. Not only for a lot of Voice Actors but for consumers as well. Though popular, they don’t pay as much as say, commercials. The average video game job ranges from $200-400/hour for non-union Voice Actors. 

Voiceovers for toys and games, depending on the type of toy or game, pay anywhere from $500-$750 for a 2 hour recording session.

4. Radio Broadcast

Radio broadcast voiceover is similar to TV broadcast but rates for these jobs are much smaller. The average radio broadcast job ranges anywhere from $250 for a three month run time to $1700 for a national ad on a year run time.

5. E-learning

E-learning, or electronic learning, means that educational material is utilizing electronic means, i.e. the internet, to share educational information. So voiceovers for e-learning projects are simply adding voiceovers on top of educational material. This is similar to what we talked about for corporate and industrial voiceover recordings. If the material is strictly educational, it is considered e-learning.

Payouts for these jobs range anywhere from $600 an hour for RAW audio to $3300 an hour for edited audio, depending on how technical the language of the project is.

6. Web Usage/Internet Videos (broadcast & non-broadcast)

Think of any and all videos you’ve seen on the internet – both advertisements and general website info. These jobs are under the genre web usage and can include broadcast paid placement for social media, broadcast paid placement on the internet like YouTube and streaming services, and internet radio like Pandora or Spotify. This genre also includes non-broadcast web videos that outline general information about a company, explainer videos, as we discussed before, podcasts, YouTube content, and digital greeting cards. 

The broadcast jobs start at $400 for a three month run time in a local market and up to $4000 for a one year run time in a national market, depending on the particular type of broadcast media.

The non-broadcast spots vary widely in price. To learn more visit the GVAA rate guide.

7. Animation 

Animation is exactly what you’re thinking – any voices for characters in a Pixar film  you’ve seen or an adaptation of your favorite manga, animation is a super popular genre for Voice Actors and the world at large. Animation refers to Feature Film, Animation, Animated Series, and Direct to DVD. 

These jobs pay about $1000 per session for an 11-22 minute episode on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. And if you’ve been hired to dub an animation, you could get paid $75-200/hr, depending on the platform on which the animation will be placed. 

To Wrap Up

The world of voiceover is HUGE. It includes any type of job you can think of that requires a voice to share a message. Everything from the training you have to take at work to the voice that comes on the overhead speaker at Home Depot talking about how much they value you as a customer – it’s all voiceover, and usually these are jobs that hire out professionals. 

The genres we talked about today in no way encompass the entire industry, but they’ll provide you with a good idea of the kind of work Voice Actors do on a normal basis and will hopefully give you some inspiration if this is a career you’re interested in pursuing.

Blog Business + Marketing Mindset

5 Tips for Mastering Any Audition Confidently (a Voice Actor’s Guide)

Auditioning is stressful. There’s no getting around it. But that doesn’t mean auditioning is bad! On the contrary, auditioning presents us actors with the type of stress that’s actually kind of good for us – it’s an invitation to think about the copy we’re presented more deeply to deliver a product that’s more effective to become better versions of the artists (and business owners) we’re wanting to be.

While it would be wonderful to be hired for every single project we audition for, that’s just not realistic. So when auditioning, we each have to call upon our unique strengths, coaching, training, and insights to help us deliver the very best product we can for our potential clients. 

Here are a few tips for mastering any audition confidently (from a Voice Actor’s point of view).

1. Understand what the client is asking for. 

When we’re given the opportunity to audition for a project, the first step for any audition is to understand what is being asked of us as the talent. It’s nearly impossible to give a decent audition if we’re not sure what someone wants, which is why we’re usually given a project description and some notes. 

No matter if you’re auditioning on a casting site where project descriptions are usually pretty thorough or if a potential client reaches out to you directly via email, you will usually be given information about the project and some notes for what the client is looking for from you for the piece.

Take some time with the project description and read over the copy a few times with that direction in mind before you hit record. If you’re still unsure what’s expected of you, set up a phone call with your client or send them an email asking for clarification or examples. 

2. Be yourself.

Each time you record, be sure you’re offering up a sample of what you can actually deliver the client. If you try too hard to make yourself sound like what the client is asking for versus being able to naturally provide a certain type of voice, chances are you aren’t a good fit for the project they’re casting. And that is totally fine and normal and honestly, good. There is competition in this industry for a reason – diversity is good and needed. It’s our job to figure out which styles and tones we can best represent and show up with what’s in our wheelhouse when the time comes.

We each bring a unique take on a piece of copy, so be yourself and give them what you’ve got. 

3. Provide at least two takes. 

Options are always good and I’d say that’s even more true when you’re competing with multiple voices for the same spot.

As Voice Actors, we’re usually given an idea of what a client wants for a project but I find that sometimes the copy doesn’t always fit how I personally think the copy should be read. 

It’s not because I’m ‘right’ by any means, it’s just an indication to me that the client is thinking about the script in one way and I have an opportunity to give them a unique take in a different way. 

So my recommendation to any Voice Actor auditioning for any role is to give each potential client one take based on what is being asked in the project description and then a second take based on your individual interpretation of the copy and direction

This provides the client with options when reviewing multiple auditions and shows that you can provide variance for the read. This also provides a great opportunity for you to stand out against the other voices. 

4. Don’t assume anything. 

One thing I’ve learned in my voiceover career is that it’s never good to assume a client means or wants something they don’t outright ask for. 

That’s not your job. 

For an initial audition, it’s best to go off of what you’re told, and if a client likes the way you sound during your audition, they’ll reach out with any further wants or needs and you can ask specific questions at that time. 

Don’t assume they want a reassuring and professional tone if they straight up ask for a real and believable voice, even if the copy dictates so. Go back to the last tip and give them: 

– What they are directly asking for

and

– Your interpretation based on the copy

5. Audition as much as you can. 

This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s proven to be pivotal in my career. 

I recently heard an actor say, “Audition until it’s no longer special.” This has been very helpful for me each time I step into the booth. It doesn’t mean that I find my profession boring or that any single audition doesn’t mean something to me, it’s just the opposite: it means that if I want work and I enjoy what I do, I should be auditioning every day to the point where it is a normal part of my routine and not an exception to it.

When we feel too close to any one thing in our careers, it can be devastating when that one thing (that one gig) doesn’t pan out. So approach each audition as a new opportunity, be excited about it and glad for, and then move on. If you get hired, great! If you don’t get hired, great! 

To Wrap Up

Even though auditioning can be stressful and sometimes daunting, it’s the life blood of any actor’s career. Auditioning provides endless opportunities when we decide to keep putting ourselves, and our work, out into the world. It’s the chance to showcase our individual styles, interpretations, and creative processes. You truly never know what can come from any single audition!

Blog Business + Marketing

Want to Know How to Run a Fully Remote Voiceover Business? Here’s How.

Working remotely has become synonymous with Zoom meetings and wearing pajamas, but did you know you can run a fully remote voiceover business? 

While this year has been wild for life and work for people across the globe, I’m fortunate to have been working 100% remotely for over a year as a professional Voice Actor.

Voiceover started as a side hustle for me – something I enjoyed doing in my spare time. After some pretty decent success, I decided to pursue voiceover a little more intentionally. After about six months of working on my remote voiceover business with nothing more than a USB mic, a free DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and the internet, I decided to make my voiceover side gig my full-time gig. 

And after a little over a year in, I was running a successful, completely remote voiceover business. 

How can this be? Don’t I need a local studio I can go to for auditions and jobs? Well, my home studio is good but surely not good enough to land high paying clients? 

Actually, it is and I have. 

Over the course of my first year offering remote voiceover services, I’ve landed two national commercials, multiple regional and local TV spots, a televised documentary series, my first video game, a couple of VR simulations, radio spots, multiple corporate training gigs, explainer and promo videos for some of the world’s most well-known brands, and more. 

Here’s how I’ve managed to run a fully remote voiceover business.

1. Learn the ins and outs of the industry.

When you have zero experience, you have to start at ground one, level one. I didn’t know anything about voiceover outside of Hayao Miyazaki movies and old radio shows I’d listened to growing up, and there I was wanting to run an online voiceover business? From home, nonetheless! If I was going to take my new business seriously, I needed to know the who, what, how, and everything in between with this new industry I was jumping into. Otherwise, I was pretty much SOL.

So, for me, level one came in the form of taking a class all about the business of voiceover and another class focusing on improvisation.

I wanted exposure to the business side of what was a new industry for me, while remembering my theatrical roots with an improv class, which I highly recommend taking no matter your profession. I took both of these classes (one remote, one in person) during the same time period, which was a great decision in hindsight. This marriage of classes exposed me to both the practical and creative aspects of voiceover and helped me feel more prepared to dive into my business. 

2. Set up a professional home studio. 

Even before the pandemic, having a professional home studio setup should be the first checkbox on any professional Voice Actor’s list. What does a professional home studio entail? A good mic, usually an XLR mic, an audio interface, a professional DAW (think Audacity and Adobe Audition), and good to really good internet. 

Running a remote voiceover business takes savvy business sense to be sure, but just as important as running the business is showing up with appropriate tech and equipment to provide the best possible product for a client.

3. Practice anything and everything.

One of the most important elements of running my remote voiceover business has been to preserve my curiosity and focus on building my confidence and this has naturally happened for me in the form of auditioning for anything I can get my hands on. 

I not only want to get better at my craft but I want to continue to grow as a professional and a business owner and I can’t do either of those things without practice. Lots of practice! Remember the 10,000 hours rule? No matter your perspective on this, I believe that you can never have enough practice, and in voiceover, there’s no such thing as too many auditions. In my world, more auditions = more money = more opportunity to continue doing what I love. It’s a no brainer.

4. Connect with other industry professionals.

Connecting with other voice actors and industry professionals online has been invaluable in running my remote voiceover business. 

The internet is a fantastic tool and it’s allowed me to meet people from across the world working in the same industry. Both people I can learn from that are way more experienced than I, as well as beginner voice actors I’ve been able to speak into as they begin their own voiceover journey.

I spend a lot of time in Facebook groups and on LinkedIn, but Reddit, online forums, and podcasts also offer loads of opportunities to meet and connect with other industry professionals. 

5. Ask questions.

What’s interesting about a fully remote voiceover business isn’t that it’s literally a job I’ve done in my closet for over a year, but that it’s really just like any other job when you think about it. Even though I don’t physically leave my house, I go to work every day and have colleagues I work with on certain projects.

I say this because asking questions while working remotely as a voice actor is just as important as asking questions at any other job. We’re all learning in our own ways and at our own pace, and since I work for myself, relying on the expertise of other voice actors, coaches, directors, etc. has given me industry insights I would not have known without asking and has helped me to make better decisions in my business as a whole. 

To Wrap Up

Working remotely has its upsides and downsides, to be sure, but it’s 100% possible to run a successful, remote voiceover business just like any other online business. I’m living proof and I know many others who are as well.

No matter how you want to run your business, investing in education, getting a kick-butt home studio setup together (whatever that looks like for you), practicing, connecting with other professionals, and asking questions are just some of the ways to go about doing it. Other than that, creativity and openness go a long way in this (and any) industry as well.