Blogs About The Voiceover Business

The Voice: Piercing the Mystery

Posted On: February 19, 2015
The voice
Is an instinctive, complicated, process that people use every day as a form of communication; and have been for millions of years.  In fact, 'the voice' can also be applied to the animal kingdom, as well.  In simple terms, the voice is the movement of air (from the lungs) over vocal folds, up the trachea (windpipe) and out through the mouth- creating sound.  It's the evolution and refining of those sounds is where we are, as humans, today.  Within the animal kingdom defining what those sounds mean and how they're interpretted is another subject; although, I suppose you could apply that concept to the way some people speak, too.

Like a radio, anyone can “turn it on” anytime and anywhere, but only few know how it really works. To pierce the mystery of the voice, one needs to understand how it works – there's the power source, the vibratory source, and the amplification.



Power Source
The power behind the voice, is breathing.  Breathing is essential; with each breath, the diaphragm (muscles that separate the lungs from the stomach) expand downwards. This allows an individual to take in as much air as needed to power the voice for speaking. During speech, air travels from the lungs to the windpipe (trachea) before reaching the vocal folds (larynx) at the top of the windpipe and out through the mouth. 


Vibratory source
When exhaled air from the lungs reaches the voice box, the vibration of the vocal folds produces sound. The pair of vocal folds forms a ‘V’ shape during quiet, relaxed, breathing. During voicing, the left and right vocal folds come together and oscillate (in an opening and closing movement), producing a tiny “buzzing” sound. The sound produced is then carried by the air molecules upwards along the throat and out through the mouth.


The sound gets amplified and becomes audible through the various spaces in the throat, mouth and even nose. Typically, sound amplification through the mouth and nose is regarded as the most efficient. Additionally, the lips, tongue and teeth help shape the sounds, enabling us to pronounce words and phrases used in speech.

by Rich Brennan

Source:  Speech therapy dept. at Singapore General Hospital.

All information provided within this blog is intended for general information and is provided with the understanding that no recommendation, surgical and/or medical advice is being rendered. Please do not disregard the professional advice of your physician



Your Email Signature

Posted On: January 08, 2015

I got this email recently and had no idea who it was from- it had no signature and the email address (where it came from) wasn't familiar.  Sure it had a subject (2 old trucks) and it was sent via a cell phone, but that's it. It is from someone I know because of the nature of the, very brief, message (which narrows it down to about 100 people) but I still have no clue who it's from.  Any business contact is eliminated because this email is on my personal account. 

So, naturally, I replied with:  "Who is this?" 

               I didn't find out til a few days later....(that's another story lol)

Everyone sends email but does everyone 'sign' their email?  NO!  Back in the day, when pen-met-paper and we had to (physically) 'write' messages, we would sign the message with something...anything letting the person, who's reading the message, know who sent it. So...wouldn't it be in your best interest to do the same with email?  It's a very simple thing to set up and every mail server has one (as well as mobile devices).  If you're operating a business it's a requirement (provided, of course, you're looking to be successful). 

Here's a pic (from my cell) of my personal email signature using my name and that the message was sent from my cell.  This signature will be attached to every email I send from my cell.  And the same goes for when I send email from my desktop (without the 'Sent from my iPhone' add-on).

If an email pertains to voiceover business my signature gets a little more informative; because as the old saying goes:  'Nothing should leave your hands without your contact info attached'.  Contact info should include:

-Your name.
-The name of your business
-Your email adress(es)
-Your website
-Your phone number(s)
-and any links to your social media profiles (provided that the postings are fairly current).

If you have a slogan it wouldn't hurt if you put that there, too.

To the right is a snapshot of a new email ready to be sent from my phone; and the below graphic shows my signature when I open a new email in Outlook.  I use the same format when I use Yahoo, too.  You'll notice that my signature does not include any pictures; that's because some email servers have their security features set so that emails containing pictures will not be permitted (or need to be approved) to enter their system. 

The difference between the signature on my phone and from my computer is that the phone signature doesn't contain any 'links' (or it could be that I just haven't figured out how to set them up yet). Links are important, espcecially when you're making contact with a perspective client for the first time.  You want that person to be able to read, hear and contact you with the least amount of effort.

So...go ahead and create a signature, it'll save you alot of 'head-scratching'.

by Rich Brennan


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