Blog 2014

Do I really sound like that?

Posted On: November 04, 2014

Have you ever heard your voice played back, from a recording, and said to yourself:  'Do I really sound like that?' That's kind of what I said when I first heard my voice over the air; the recording doesn't lie.  The truth-of-the-matter is you're not hearing what people are hearing; as it is when you hear someone else's voice- they're not hearing what you're hearing.

When you speak, what you're hearing are 2 versions of your voice, the normal sound that comes out of your mouth and a 'muffled' version which usually is more 'bassy' sounding.  This is a cruel trick that happens because of the way sound travels to our inner ear.

The sounds we hear everyday create a wave of pressure that moves through the air. Your outer ear “catches” these waves and funnels them into your head through the ear canal. They strike the ear drum, which starts it to vibrate, and those vibrations travel to the inner ear and onto your brain.










The inner ear is also stimulated by vibrations happening inside your body and it's a combination of the inner and outter sounds that make up the sound you hear when you talk.

When you speak, your vocal chords vibrate from your throat, some of that sound gets absorbed and re-transmitted by the bones and tissue in your neck and head. The inner ear responds to these just like any other vibration.  Whenever you speak, your inner ear is stimulated by both the internal vibrations in your bones and tissue and by the sound coming out of your mouth.

The combination of vibrations coming to the inner ear, by two different paths, gives your voice (as you normally hear it) a unique 'bassy' character that other sounds don’t have. In particular, your bones enhance (or amplify) deeper, lower-frequency vibrations which gives your voice a fuller, bassier quality that’s lacking when you hear it on a recording.

So be prepared for the first time you hear your voice (on a recording); you'll probably go into shock over what you hear.

by Rich Brennan


Practice scripts

Posted On: October 03, 2014

  I've been seeing alot posts lately about where one could find practice scripts and are there any legalities if you use them on your demo.  Practice scripts are national commercials that have aired at an earlier date; last month....a couple of months ago...even last year and beyond.  There's nothing preventing you (ethically or legally) from recording them and using them on your demo, lots of folks do. I'm not aware of any legalities that would prevent you from recording any and using them on your demo; in fact, I think the only legality you'd come across is if you tried to sell a spot by claiming that you wrote it which wouldn't get you very far since all the practice scripts are from the big corporate folks. 
  So, how do you find 'em?  It's really VERY simple; open up a tab in your web browser and in the search window type 'Practice Scripts', you'll notice 29 million results that popped up.  However, 'practice script' is a pretty generic term, you'll want to simplify and narrow that down; if you type in 'Practice Scripts for Voice Overs' you'll get about 94,000 results.  Much more manageable and geared towards the voiceover community.  You'll find that the top 10, or so come from The Edge Studio and  Both are good and reputable places to get practice scripts.  If you're feeling really ambitious you could always write your own.

Good Luck.

by Rich Brennan



The Summer Savings Event

Posted On: June 23, 2014

Take 30% off your broadcast quality recording.

by Rich Brennan


Getting Started in Voiceovers- Pay To Play Sites

Posted On: May 12, 2014

Let's continue the series of blogs on 'Getting Started In Voiceovers'.  Today I'll talk about the 'Pay to Play' sites.

This is, often, a big topic of discussion within the voiceover community, Voice123, VOPlanet, Bodalgo, The Voice Realm, Elance, VoiceJockeys...etc...are all referred to as 'Pay to Play' sites (often referred to as P2P).  Many argue that, these sites, are nothing more than 'sweat shops' for the voiceover community; often, because of the rates (or budgets) that are associated with the postings for voice recordings that are well below the 'standard' for recorded material.

The best way that I can describe the 'Pay to Play' site is:  An online talent agency, whereby, you pay a membership fee to be listed on their site and that membership buys you opportunites to audition for voiceover projects- it doesn't guarantee you'll get any work; although...some have better luck than others. There's no screening process to determine your experience level or qualification; they do have categories that voice talent can be placed in.  When you fill out your profile you'll check certain boxes that you feel best suited for; like...accents, dialects, languages, male/female as well as the category of work you'd be interested in...commercials, on-hold messages, narratives...etc.  Most of them do carry free memberships but the only way you can audition for a project is if you're personally invited; and that invite would be based on how your demo sounds.  If you're new to the business it's not a bad way to broaden your web presence, to get your demos posted and your info listed (until your own site is up and running). 

To audition for the P2P sites...You have to learn the "rip 'n read" process.  If you're not familiar with the term, it goes like this:  Back in the early days when radio and tv was LIVE, announcers and news people had to 'rip' the copy from the teletype and 'read' it on the air.  There was no time to rehearse what you were about to read- it had to be read, NOW.   This is basically the same with auditions, time is of the essence; because, your're competing for a job with 100 other people (more if the job is not gender specific).  You have to open the script, scan the first few lines, record them and send 'em out.  If you open an audition notice and see that 15 or 20 people have already submitted their auditions, you're wasting your time; because by the time you get your recording done and submitted that number could be up to 30 or more; and the chances of your audition being heard?  Well...they ain't good.  For me, that number is 20.  If I see 20 auditions submitted- DELETE.  Often, I'll get an audition notice- to see that 50, 60 or 70 people have already responded to it- DELETE.

What's your time worth? 

Think about this for a second: 

-You get an audition notice (via email) and you see what it's budgetted for (they average between $100-$500); you feel it's a job you could do well with (maybe you have experience on the subject), so you want to give a good read.

-You notice that 10 people have already replied to this audition.

-You see the script...practice it a few times...

-Record about 45-60 seconds of the script (maybe record a couple of takes); prep it and upload it.

-You write your proposal:  turnaround time, fee...etc.

-SENT.  How long did that take; a couple of minutes?  Maybe a little longer?

-So, you go back to notice that the number of responses is up to 50, or more.  So you say to yourself...WOW. 

-What are the chances that your audition will be heard?  SLIM.  However, if you do get your audition in relatively quick, it's likely that it WILL be heard.  In fact, some of the P2P sites have indicators saying that not only was your audition heard...but that it was LIKED; and that's a good thing, too. 

-That's why you need to be fast with these sites....because it doesn't matter WHO auditions...but HOW MANY audition; it doesn't even matter if those auditions are even worthy of being listened to; if you get your clean audition submitted faster than most, it's likely to be heard...and maybe LIKED...which might turn into a PAYING job.  You could've recorded a world-class audition but if 75 people submitted their audition ahead of you, it's not likely you'll get heard.

Let's take a look from the clients perspective:  If you submit for voiceovers and get 75 responses how many clips could you listen to before you start pulling your hair out?  Consider that when you want to submit your audition after 50, 60 or even 70 people have already submitted their audition.

Every once in awhile I'll see a job posting with a budget of over $ (yeah....they do pop up every now and then).  Those are fun to watch; because if you don't submit your audition within 30 seconds, you're wasting your time.  lol.  I laugh when I see 200+ responses to those jobs.  Talk about CRAZY! (for me) has proven better than the others (your results may vary); I maintain a free listing on Voice123; here's why.  I joined Voice123 a long time ago (I think it was the first P2P site) and I did alot of auditions.  Then they introduced their 'SmartCast' system, I was leery right from the start.  Their claim was that it's intended to 'keep the playing field even'.  It works like this:

Based upon the info in your profile you'll be grouped with other voice talent, with similar profile attributes.  When a voice seeker submits for a project, they'll indicate what catergories they're looking for:  male/female, type of voice, style of delivery...etc.  Over the course of a certain period of time if 1 (or more) voice talent(s) has more auditions than the others (in your grouping), their audition notices will be 'scaled back'; this is done in order for the others (in that group) to 'catch up'.  I had a problem with that; if I'm paying for a premium membership- why am I being limited to the number of auditions I can submit?  Granted...back then, I did alot of auditions.  So after alot of back 'n forth with them, I gave up my premium membership. has a similar system, although there are no restrictions to the number of auditions you can submit.  When a voice seeker posts for a voiceover you'll be given a compatibility percentage rating for that job.  When I get an audition notice it'll tell me how compatible I am with that job.  Anything below 90% I won't audition for.  If there's a 95% or better compatibilty, I'll consider an audition (again...that's based on how many people have already submitted their auditions). claims that if you're at 95% (or better), your audition will be pushed towards the 'front of the line' of those folks who submitted with a lower percentage compatibility.

The other P2P sites:, Bodalgo, The Voice Realm, Elance, VoiceJockey and a few others. 

VOPlanet- Not 1 paying job over the 2-3 yrs I had my paid membership.
Bodalgo- is a European P2P site (paying attention to the currency conversion rate is important there)
The Voice Realm- is a generic site (I think it's an American site).
Elance- (in my opinon) is a 'No-Frills' site.  The rates that are offered there are really, REALLY LOW. 

When you're awarded a job there's, often, a process to follow until the recording is completed and the client accepts the voiceover.  When comes to getting paid- 1 site will charge as much as a 50% commission fee; 1 will only send out payments on the 15th or 30th of the month (with a 10% fee taken out); 1 site has a 15% fee while another charges 20%.  So, aside from having to pay for a membership voice talents have to get paid. 

Having a listing on the P2P sites is not a necessarily bad thing; it increases your web presence and it gives you some practice when it comes time to auditioning.  After you've submitted your audition....forget about it and move on to the next thing; if you get a call on it...great, if not?  Move on to the next one.  Don't attempt to make contact with the voice seeker on your own, it's not professional.  If the client wants to contact you, they will; just make sure that all your profiles have some (if not all) of your contact info on them. 

Pick and choose which project to audition for, at times you'll audition for a bunch where, at other times, you might not audition for a day or two.  Use your time wisely, don't rely on the P2P sites for your work; work on making contacts, advertising and marketing.

Good Luck.

by Rich Brennan


Getting Started In Voiceovers- Getting Paid

Posted On: April 10, 2014

  I negotiated a fee for a voice recording; the client and I are both in agreement on the terms:  How the voiceover is to be read, edited, delivered (WAV or MP3 in a single file or mulitple files) and in what timeframe they can expect the finished recording.  Done.  Once the client approves the recording I submit the invoice and are paid in a, reasonable timeframe- No problem.  If, every time, that were the case we'd all be so much better off; however, it's NOT.  Sure, I have clients that submit their electronic payment 5 minutes after the recording was approved (I LOVE THOSE GUYS); clients that pay within the agreed upon 'Net' timeframe (often 30, or 45 days, maybe even 60 days); I also have clients that work off of a 'monthly' arrangment- whereby, I create an invoice and over the course of a month I add to it and submit the invoice on the first of the next month; and I'm paid pretty consistently.  I have foreign clients, where you have to watch the exchange rates, transaction fees, investigative fees...and however many more fees there are.  Then there are those clients that you have to remind (a few times) that their invoice is open; and if they happen to be from a another country?  lol...oh boy.

  There are some that would say that you should have foreign clients (if not..all of your clients) submit their payments prior to recording, or held in escrow; in the perfect world that works great, but not everyone is open to that and if you're just getting started in voiceovers- you'll grab up any job that you can get your voice on.

  When your discussing a project with a new client (whether it's on the phone or an email conversation) the last thing you want to talk about is how you're going to be paid; don't make that the first point of a discussion- it tends to give the client a bad impression; talk about the project, first; how they want it read and delivered- then ask how payment will be made.  If you're an American voice talent dealing with an American company a check, money order or electronic payment can be accepted; it wouldn't be a bad idea if you verified that a check or money order is from an accredited U.S. financial instution- hey...ya never know.  Years ago, I had a client with an Amercian address send me a check from a Bahamian bank- talk about a headache.

  An American voice talent, when dealing with another country, should only accept an electronic payment (which includes a wire transfer); it's the safest way.  The client may offer to pay by check but unless you're absolutely certain that their check is connected to an American financial institution your best bet would be 'electronic'.  The electronic 'Pal' site charges a percentage fee (3%) for this service; the bigger the dollar amount, the bigger the fee.  A 'wire transfer' is a is a transaction between your bank and your clients bank; basically, it's a direct deposit; although there's no wait-time for the transaction to 'clear'.  My bank charges a flat fee for this service, so it doesn't matter how much is transferred, I'll still pay the same fee; check with your bank.  For a wire transfer you do have give some info:  At my bank, it's the physical address (not the corporate address) and it's routing number; your account number and your address.

  Recently I voiced a project for a Canadian client that I worked with once before where I was paid via that 'Pal' site.  Once I completed the new project he said that a check would be in the a day or so.  I didn't think twice about since we'd worked together on another project and there were no 'bells or whistles' going off (complacency can really take advantage of  Well..the $300 check came and when I went to the bank to desposit it the teller told me that it would cost over $100 to cash it (exchange rate and a bunch of those fees that I mentioned before), because it was drawn from a Canadian bank with no affiliations to an American bank- here come the headaches.

  The bottom line is; make sure of your financial arrangement prior to'll save ya a whole lot of trouble down the road.

by Rich Brennan


Getting Started in Voiceovers- Your Demo

Posted On: March 16, 2014

Continuing the series of blogs on getting started in voiceovers, todays topic is the ever-important DEMO.

  Now that you're all that set up, Tax ID, logo, invoices, equipment and  a place to record etc, you’ll need to put together a demo(s).  Afterall, how are potential clients going to know what you sound like? Demos are compilations of your 'best' work and are assembled into 1 file.  You're going to put them your site and they'll be what you'll send to clients who ask for them.  Some will take an MP3; some, a CD. 

  Demos are broken up into categories:  commercials (for radio/tv), narrations, promos, characters, impersonations and on-hold messges etc...  Commercials and on-hold messages are (obviously) what they say they are; promos can carry a few sub-categories:  radio, tv, events, announcments...etc; however, narrations (in my opinion) carry the greatest number of sub-categories:  there are documentaries, audiobooks, presentations, 'how-to' demonstrations, walking tours, training material, medical and legal narrations (for the terminology) and whole bunch more. 

  When you put together your demo, regardless of what category you're using, your very best recordings should be at the front; not your favorite...your best; you can add your favorite from the middle on.  Get feedback from others on your recording.  What they like about your recordings...may not be the same that you like. Demo clips don't necessarily have to come from the beginning of a recording; it could come from the middle or end, as well.

  To put together a demo you'll need to compile some of your best work; but if you're new to the business how can you do that?  Practice scripts.  Practice scripts are (or were) actual scripts that were recorded (and probably aired) at an earlier date (perhaps a couple of months ago, maybe a year or 2); and they're usually NATIONAL spots.  The Edge Studio (  is a great place to find practice scripts for every category there is and alot of other info on 'STUFF' (lol).  I wouldn't recommend writing your own material, unless you're an establised writer.  You can find practice scripts at some of the 'pay-to-play' sites, as well;,, (I'll go into the 'pay-to-play' sites on another blog).

  On to the demo(s)...

  If you've sought out other voice talent you noticed that most list a few demos on their site (usually commercial, narration, promos and maybe on-hold).  Some list more...some less; so you're going to need more than 1, also.  While you were there, did you... 

- LISTEN to the demos; to the clips (usually around 10 seconds each)? Listen to the inflections?  Did you hear any music or sound effects?

- count how many spots were in the demo?  That's about how many you'll need to record.

- notice how long the demo was? 

A commercial demo averages 60-90 seconds (max); a promo and on-hold demo,'bout a minute; a narration demo can last up to 3 minutes. have some practice scripts to record for your commercial demo:  Record them- in their entirety; pretend you're voicing the spot for airplay….then what?  They have to be edited and ‘cleaned up’- do you know how to do that?  There are lots of videos on YouTube that can show you how.  Do you want to add any music?  Sound effects? What about putting any effects to your voice?  There's videos for that, too. When you're done with the demo and you're happy with it move on to your next demo; narrations, on-hold messages, promos...etc.

These are all things to consider when you want to put together a demo; or, you could pay to have them produced (shameless plug)-  JustMyVoice Production can produce your demos. 

by Rich Brennan


Getting Into Voiceovers- Training

Posted On: March 11, 2014

In the continuing blogs about getting started in voiceovers, today I'll talk about training.

  As with any other profession, training plays a big part in your job as a voice talent. Sure…anyone can ‘read out loud’, but can you tell the difference between someone reading out loud and someone telling a story?  It’s amazing how different it sounds.  A professional voiceover recording is someone telling you a story, with that person being an expert at what you're hearing; because it sounds natural, unrehearsed and it doesn’t sound like their reading, right?  Well…they ARE reading; and they’re probably not an expert in what they’re telling you; in most cases, they probably don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about, even though it sounds like they do.  Translating the written word into a voiceover recording is not easy; you have to control your breathing, know where the inflections are, how to sound emotional, natural, authoritative…etc.  There are some great books, training programs, workshops and coaches out there that can help you get going (usually for a fee); all ya gotta do is go out…and do it.  They're not that hard to find.

   To get you started, do a search for some practice scripts or you can pick an advertisement in the newspaper (any advertisement) and TELL a story about the ad; just tell about it, don’t ‘read it’…tell the story.  Tell it in a few different ways:

        Tell it in a non-chalant way…(matter of fact), like in a conversation.

        Say (in an excited way) how it’s the greatest thing in the world; and how you'd be so much better with it.

        Explain it to a person has no idea what you’re talking about.

        Be sarcastic about the ad

        Ponder if this product would benefit you.

   Use hand gestures (you can hear those); smile, you can hear that, too.  Record it if you’re able.  You can use your phone; or, in one of those rare instances- record it on your computer using the mic that came with the computer.  I know I said (in an earlier blog) about not using the mic that came with your computer; but this is for training purposes.  If you do have a professional recording setup (or access to one), use that. This way you’ll be able to save your recordings for comparison.  When you’re done- play it back and listen to what it sounds like.  If you know someone in the business, ask if they’ll critique it for you. 

  While you’re watching tv…LISTEN to the commercials (instead of changing the channel), the same goes with radio.  Do you like documentaries?  LISTEN to the narrator.  Have training seminars at work?  LISTEN to the narrator.  How do they ‘sound’?  They all sound like an expert in what you're hearing, right?  You can sound like that, too; it just takes a little work on your part.

  If you’re looking to do narrations or audiobooks, pick up a book or a magazine article  and ‘tell the story’.  Audiobooks are tougher because you have to be the narrator and the characters.  The narrator voice could be all you…natural sounding, while the character voice has to sound different from the narrators voice and the other characters; sometimes of the opposite gender.  Search out and sample some audiobooks and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.

  For short voice recordings (up to 2:00, or so), you may want to memorize the script; some like to scan it over a few times before recording.  It depends on what works best for you.  For long-form narrations, reading a book (before recording it) might not fit into the time constraints.  Perhaps reading the chapter first, then recording it, might work; again, it depends on what you’re comfortable with.

 Good Practices:

When you’re recording have a bottle of water handy, the mouth tends to dry up pretty fast with all that air going back and forth. 

Things to avoid:

Avoid eating a big meal prior to recording.  Having a full stomach going into a recording session may leave you feeling winded.  For you to speak your diaphragm needs room to move, if you have a full stomach the diaphragm doesn’t have that room and it leaves you feeling a little out of breath when you record.  It also has an effect on the pitch of your voice.  If you have a meal-break in the middle of a session- eat light.

Don't hold a script in your hand; if the paper is rustled the mic will pic it up; it'll also prevent you from using your hands- as a gesture.  Use a stationary object, like a sheetmusic stand.

Carbonated beverages- nothing worse than being halfway through a script and you belch one out; not very professional either.

Dairy products:  They tend to leave a film in your mouth.

Citrus juices:  Have a tendency of constricting the muscles in your mouth; if anything dilute it with water.

Or you can...

 Just use water


by Rich Brennan


Getting Started in Voiceovers- Equipment

Posted On: February 28, 2014

In the continuing series on 'Getting Started In Voiceovers', today I'll talk about equipment.

Research buying equipment as opposed to renting studio space; studio space is expensive and you're held hostage to the studios operating schedule.  You'll probably find some good deals on used equipment; when voice talents upgrade and buy new equipment they tend to sell their 'old' gear.  Here’s a list of the equipment I use:

WhisperRoom- MDL 4242S/SNV

22” ViewSonic touch screen monitor (VSD220)

Mic:  (2) EV RE 27n/d

Mixer:  Mackie 1402- VLZ Pro

Computer:  Dell Studio XPS9100 Desktop with a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Pro Series PCI Sound card.

Digital editing program: Adobe Audition CC

Phone patch:  JK Audio autohybrid

An ever-growing library of royalty free music and sound effects from Sound Ideas.

  Keeping in mind...that you're main objective is to make YOUR VOICE sound the best it can.  In the voiceover business, you'll absolutely need 4 things: Computer, microphone, recording software and a place to record.  Of can't get an 'off the shelf' computer (from one of those popular retailers)'ll need a computer with a big hard drive...with an upgraded processor; and an upgraded sound card; or you can use an interface (it's the way to go, these days).  Do you prefer a MAC or a PC?  MAC's are more expensive than PC's; but again, it depends on what system you’re more comfortable with.  You can expect to pay from $1200 and up for a computer whether you get a laptop or a desktop.  External hard drives are a safe investment; I have 3- 1 for sound effects; 1 for music and 1 for all my backups.  I recently picked up the third one (4 terabytes) because I had a virus on my pc and was at risk of losing EVERYTHING I'd recorded; so now I keep everything I record on the 3rd external hard drive.  I've also been playing around with video, so I keep it on there, as well.

You'll need software to record your voice onto....and, of course, you'll have to learn how to set it up and how to record onto it. There’s a whole bunch of recording programs that voice talents use and depending upon your skill-level and what you’re looking to do, you should have no problem in finding something to get you started.  I use Adobe Audition CC because I can also produce material (meaning add music and sound effects to projects).

Garage Band is a popular program:

Audacity is another:

And Wavpad:

Then there’s always Pro Tools (considered the industry standard)  (in my opinion- Pro Tools has the biggest learning curve)

Most software will offer free downloads of their programs, but you’re limited to what you can do; some offer a 30 day trial period.



  You probably won‘t be spending a whole lot on a mic (for the first time).  A decent mic will run from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand; realizing, of course, that you NEVER, EVER, use the mic that came with your computer.  Lol.  The best I can tell you about mics is to go into a Sam Ash or a Guitar Center and have the guy show you all the different types of mics that a voice talent can can use for voiceovers.  Your voice has a natural ‘sound’ and depending upon which mic you use….will give your voice a different sound.  I know people who have a bunch of different mics that they use…each for a different purpose; 1 mic for audiobooks; another mic for commercials etc…

Portable gear.

Being able to record on-the-go is booming right now; and the gear needed is getting smaller.  You can record your voice on Smart Phones; however, you can’t edit on them (not yet,  Laptops are popular and you can get the same quality as being in the studio; you’ll still need a good mic and a place to record.

...and finally, where are you going to record?

  Do you own a home or rent an apt?  Is there a lot of outside noise?  Do you have kids running around?  Pets?  Is your phone always ringing?  These can all affect how and where you can record.  When I first got started, I set up a little space in my basment, it worked well; until the boiler kicked had to wait for it to cycle and shut down before I could continue with the voicoever project.  Some people use a closet (with the clothes hanging in it).  I saw a picture of this one guy who sets up a couple of high-back chairs and throws some blankets over  Some people have a booth (either from a manufacturer, or they construct their own)…some convert a whole room,  which is expensive and somewhat permanent. Again, your situation is different, so it’s difficult to point you in ‘any’ direction.  The room is important and it has to be DEAD (meaning- NO ECHO).  Oddly enough, a room ‘lives’.  Walk into an empty room with no carpeting….big echo, right?  Add carpet and some furniture…and the echo is reduced, but there’s still some echo there, you may not hear it, but the MIC will; and then you’ll hear it on the play back.  Youtube has a lot of videos on sound proofing a room.

by Rich Brennan