Blogs About The Voiceover Business

A 5-Point Checklist For Choosing the Best Voice Over Production Company

Posted On: December 11, 2015

audio productionWhether you realize it or not, audio production has deep roots in American culture. From Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats to the podcasts you listen to at the gym, chances are good that you'll hear a voiceover or audio production (in some form) every day.

Even in our digital times, radio is the second most far reaching medium in the country, reaching 59% of consumers on a daily basis and 90% of consumers weekly. All told, nearly 236 million Americans listen to the radio every week, to say nothing of new mediums like podcasts, online music streaming, audio books, and more.

So what should you look for from voice over services? How do you know you're working with only the best voice over production companies? When researching audio production studios for your next professional voice over project, here's what you need:

  1. Demos, Demos, Demos: The best professional voice over artists are proud of their work. If a diverse sampling of demos isn't prominently displayed on their website, that should be a major red flag.
  3. Fast Turnaround: Obviously long projects, like full-length audiobooks, take longer to record, edit and produce; but the best production companies can turn around your project quickly. For small projects, there's no reason you shouldn't have a demo or even a completed recording in a day, or two.
  5. Script Writing: Even the most well-written piece of copy writing will need to be modified for voice narration. That's because voice over projects are usually more conversational. The best audio production companies can provide copy writing and script consultation services to ensure your project is optimized for audio.
  7. Commercial Production: Not all voice over artists are capable of doing audio production themselves. Make sure you're working with a studio that can handle all your production needs, including complex multi-track projects with music and sound effects.
  9. Experience: Just like the best companies proudly display demos, the best companies proudly display their clients. Look for artists and studios that have experience recording audio for a wide array of sectors.

And finally, you should work with a company that's willing to work with you. That means they should know how to listen before they push that little red record button.

by Rich Brennan


Donald Trump Picks Radio Over TV For His Campaign's First Commercials

Posted On: November 11, 2015

radio advertisingDigital technologies are disrupting everything from the way we read the news to the way we book flights. In fact, while print is dying, radio is thriving in the 21st century. But don't take our word for it.

On November 4, the New York Times ran this headline: "Donald Trump to Run His First Campaign Ads... on the Radio." Yes, Donald J. Trump, love him or hate him, has been not-so-quietly buying up radio advertising in three early voting states. So why is the most-loved and most-hated presidential candidate focusing so much on radio commercial production?

So far all of Trump's publicity has been what's called "earned media," or organic publicity. But now that his poll numbers have started to slip, the businessman is going after voters in the most cost-effective way possible -- high quality audio production.

"The purchase for a week of radio ads usually costs only several thousands of dollars, as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that television spots could cost a campaign to air at this point in the race," wrote the New York Times.

Fast Facts About Radio Advertising...

While print media has been disappearing in the new media age, the internet is in many ways expanding the market for audio and voiceover production companies. In addition to traditional radio, consumers now use streaming apps, satellite radio, podcasts, and more audio products.

Plus, radio productions remain the second-most far reaching medium in the U.S. Each week, radio reaches 90% of all Americans, roughly 236 million of us. Not only that, but radio reaches 59% of the country daily, and more than two-thirds of that audience includes full-time workers, who listen at work or during their rush-hour commute.

That's just one reason radio advertising is so popular among politicians; however, targeted radio ads can be even more effective. So says Nielsen in a recent blog post about political radio advertising. According to the Nielsen blog, "Learning how to place ads effectively on the radio could be a difference-maker for the winning candidate in 2016" and "a key way for candidates to connect with specific voting segments."

If you're looking for a high-value, high ROI (Return On Investment) form of advertising, then investing in professional radio commercial production is a great place to start.

by Rich Brennan


Why I love doing voiceovers

Posted On: November 01, 2015

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."  -Confucius

There's no truer statement (today) from when this statement was first coined 2500, or so, years ago.  However, it is often hard work to record voiceovers (it is); like when you're hired to record a medical narration with terminology that ties your tongue into knots; but it's supposed to sound like you say these words/phrases everyday. Good thing there are a few sites that have audio of how medical terms are pronounced. 

Voiceovers are a labor of love.  I get paid to talk; if it were only that easy. What you hear is only a fraction of what goes into hearing...what you're hearing. Its great when I get material that I'm familiar with or have knowledge about, or even better- I have experience with.  For those times when I don't have a clue about the material, I have to do some homework.

Prior to sitting in front of the mic there's alot of work (not fun) that has to happen to before I can hit the record button. For new clients, there's the virtual door-knocking, phone calls and emails that introduce me to the decision makers; that, tied in with, SEO and marketing is what keeps me current in cyber-space.  Then, of course, after a job is complete- getting paid. 

Now for the 'FUN' part.  When I get a project that needs to be produced (adding music and/or sound effects) the wheels in my head go into over-drive.  I look at the script and place myself in that scenario:  'What would I hear if I were at this place, am I in the city? Is the traffic heavy?  Maybe it's windy; are there any sirens?; or maybe, I'm inside...'; it goes on and on.  It's crazy what the mind can do from reading a script.  After the voiceover is recorded, the project starts coming together (like building blocks); sound effects are strategically placed, the proper music is chosen; then the volume levels are all adjusted and BOOM- a produced recording; or is it?  I listen to the finished piece and adjust accordingly.  Sometimes productions come together by accident, like Bob Ross says:  "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents". Halloween projects are alot of fun to produce; the things you can do with the right program, music and sound effects is amazing. 
The finale is when I get positive feedback from the don't get much better than that. 

 by Rich Brennan


The Grammar Police

Posted On: August 31, 2015

Have the Grammar Police fallen asleep at the wheel?  Remember being in school and getting your paper back with red marks all over the place because you wrote incorrectly? An 'X' through this word...or a 'slash' through this phrase with a circle around it; and sometimes it wasn't in english class. 

Or, how about when grandma used to correct the way you said something?

Child:  'Me and Joey are gonna go to the park.'  
Grandma:  'It's Joey and I are going to the park' (emphasizing the '-ing' sound).

Where has that gone?

In the voiceover business, grammar is very important.  A piece of copy riddled with mispellings and inconsistent grammar can leave a voice talent scratching his head and making some pretty funny faces; and only increases the amount of time spent in the studio.  Grammar indicates where the 'pauses' are and lets the voice actor know if they're asking a question or not.

Spelling and grammar have both suffered a major setback in the last 20-30 years; thanks to the advent of the cell phone (with text messaging capability); remember having to press the #7 4-times, in order to get the letter 'S' to appear?  And if you're in a rush(?) Forget about it.  How do you think all those crazy abbreivations came to be (ur, idk, omw, omg, lol...among others)?  Today, those abbreviations are the norm and we've become so complacent that no one ever would attempt to correct the person who wrote it.  Spelling is another issue; or, should I say WAS an issue- thanks to auto-correct.

Through all the advances in technology- grammar still suffers; because auto-correct doesn't place punctuation marks where they need to be; at least, not yet anyway.  It's important to use spelling and grammar, to best articulate our thoughts and feelings to the rest of the world. 

by Rich Brennan


Voiceovers and Allergies

Posted On: June 30, 2015

Voiceovers and allergies; they don't play well, together, in the sandbox.  I love when the warm weather comes but I don't love knowing that allergies come with it.  I've been suffering from allergies since my late 20's (I didn't have any growing up); so I'm sure you know that they can be a real pain in the...ears, nose and throat.  Allergies have caused me to lose my voice, which led to an upper-respiratory infection, appointments to the doctor then filling prescriptions at the pharmacy and, of course, time off from work:  Not fun.  As a male voice talent I can't let that happen; no voice?  NO WORK!  No work?  NO MONEY!  It's that simple; a client ist't going to wait around til it clears up,either.

Allergies can be anything that your body is sensitive to; for me, the big one is ragweed.  Every year from mid-August thru mid-September I'd SUFFER terribly; sneezing fits (sometimes up to 10 in a row), not a runny nose- a flowing nose (I'm not kidding) and eventually- NO VOICE.

Remedies, be-it homemade or over-the-counter, helped but they weren't consistent from year to year. My doctor gave me an allergy test (a simple test that's done in the office) and it told me what elements I was sensitive to.  Aside from ragweed I have a few smaller allergies that I wasn't even aware of; so, to aid in these reactions I get 2 injections a month and they greatly reduce the severity of my allergies.  So now, when I'm ready to hit the RECORD button all I have to worry about is JustMyVoice.

by Rich Brennan


Web Responsive site

Posted On: May 01, 2015

Here's a desktop snapshot of


Looks normal, right?  Have you ever checked out a website (from your mobile device) and had to scroll, pan and/or zoom-in to be able to read it (because the text or content ran off the screen)?  Websites were designed for desktop/laptop use; and since smartphones with integrated mobile browsers have become the usual way people are now viewing websites it was difficult to navigate since they were originally designed to fit a desktop screen without having to scroll and zoom in. 

FACT:  Two out of three people are now using a mobile device to access the internet.

That being said, it is more crucial than ever that a business has a site with a compatible viewing format across the board, no matter what size screen. on an iPad...  ...and on an iPhone.

They look similar, right?  You may have had issues with scrolling, panning and zooming in the past; however, the next time you access (with your mobile device) you'll have minimal issues with scrolling and zooming. is now a 'Responsive Web Designed' site.

A term coined in 2010, 'responsive web design' is a technique aimed at providing an optimal viewing experience, making it easier to read and navigate a website with minimal resizing, panning, and scrolling. While desktops may display three columns on screen, a responsive website will allow a mobile device to reduce this to one column, while maintaining proportions for user-friendly viewing. 

Contact your site's host for more into.

by Rich Brennan


Phrases That Make You Cringe

Posted On: April 14, 2015
Writing a script for a commercial is an art form.  Trends come and go.  An experienced copywriter knows what words/phrases work and what doesn't.  As a male voice talent I see alot of words/phrases that don't work either because they don't make sense or they're popular (even though they're grammatical trainwreck); but because the client wrote them (even if through a copywriter) you have to say them, usually verbatim.  Most often, these words/phrases are used to take up space, make the commercial sound classy; like you missed something ("...that's right...") or you are about to hear something fantastic ("...but wait, there's more..."), all so that the recording finishes on time (:30, :60...etc); nevermind that the script has way to many words in it to begin with...but that's another blog.

For me, the phrase "conveniently located" makes me cringe.  There's a local commercial that I hear all the time:  "...conveniently located on Long Island..."  There's no mention of where (on Long Island) this business is located; just that it's 'conveniently located on Long Island'.  First things first- Unless you live next door, there's nothing convenient about any location.  If you're not familiar with Long Island, it's an Island that's long...really it is.  Long Island juts out east from New York City (Manhattan) about 120 miles and about 20 miles at it's widest and if you've ever been on the road at rush hour, going around the corner can be inconvenient.

So where's the convenience of being conveniently located on Long Island?  There isn't any.

I posed this question to other voiceover talents- 'What phrase(s) make you cringe?' Here are some responses (names are witheld to protect the innocent):

- "Use only as directed."  (this was the most popular)

- "Our friendly and professional staff ..."

- "(Holiday or season) is upon us."

- "For all your__________ needs". This voice talent had to say that in an Explainer Video; and cringed.

- "The weather is heating up - and so are the savings!"

- "Just in time for _________" (like it was some big surprise).

- "You've tried the rest, now try the best."

- "How about the restaurant commercial that enumerates the various categories of food they serve ("Try our delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, meat, poultry, seafood, and desserts.") Gee, no other restaurant has THAT? "


Then there's the whole 'Pre...' thing; putting the prefix 'pre' in front of every word in the english language- totally out of control.

I'll revisit that blog another time.

by Rich Brennan


Facts about your voice you probably didn't know

Posted On: March 25, 2015

Prior to the Renaissance period, the voice was thought to be ‘sent forth by the heart’. Vocal cords are now referred to as ‘vocal folds’ which reflect the different layers of muscle, ligament and membranes that make up their structure. The normal anatomy of the human voice includes both ‘false’ vocal folds and ‘true’ vocal folds.  Many of the muscles used for swallowing are also used for talking; it's impossible to talk and swallow at the same time. When you swallow the epiglottis, at the back of the mouth, closes (like a valve) preventing aspiration of the food into the lungs. That effectively closes the layrnx; which prevents speech.

When you speak air travels in/out of your mouth and throat, causing normally moist and lubricated surfaces to become dry.  We drink to hydrate our body but liquids do not, directly, coat and lubricate the vocal folds.  If that were to happen, we would choke and cough badly!  Think about what happens when you drink something and it goes down the 'wrong pipe'. 

Whispering may actually make your vocal folds work harder. 

Maximum phonation time (MPT):
The average time during which an individual can sustain a sound at a comfortable pitch and loudness (with one breath). An MPT of more than 15 seconds is commonly considered to be normal for adults.  Women are thought to be more talkative than men; but, in some studies, males have been found to have a longer MPT than females.

Voice problems usually have multiple causes. Even with good voicing technique that optimizes breathing, vocal fold vibration and amplification, it is still possible to develop a problem if other lifestyle and medical issues are not addressed.

So take care of your voice and it will take care of you. 

by Rich Brennan

Source:  Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

The 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