- March 2017
- October 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- June 2015
- April 2015
- October 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- A Child’s Creativity
- Dealing with Rejection
- eLearning logistics – how to create files in seconds
- Character Voiceover Tip: Build a library
- Character Voiceover Tips: Learning an Accent
Exceeded expectations. Lighting speed delivery.
"Jay was amazing to work with. Exceeded expectations. Lighting speed delivery. Easy to work with and a great communicator.
A couple of unique things about Jay. First, his demo reel shows a great selection of voice options to chose from... but none of them were exactly what we were looking for. However, when we told him what we wanted he was able to take our abstract ideas (about being educational, sincere, conversation etc) and transform those directions into EXACTLY what we had in mind.
So if you're thinking about hiring him... tell him what you want... give him a sample to read... I'm sure he can deliver what you want. We're very VERY impressed. Will use Jay's services many more times in the future. Secondly, he delivered our project within a day and made adjustments within the hour. Highly highly recommend."
- John Sweeney - Academy of Mine
"We are now big fans and I'll tell my colleagues about you as well!"
On receiving my read as Arnold Schwarzenegger Barbara had this to say:
"THIS IS GREAT!! Love it already, you are very talented, glad we found you! We are now big fans and I'll tell my colleagues about you as well!
-Barbara Schroeder, Answers Productions
When it’s time to quit…
So the last few weeks have been pretty hard for me as it’s been one of those periods where I’ve had more no’s than yes’s, it happens to us all and they can be the most testing times of a Voice actors career. We all put so much into our auditions and our marketing efforts and a little piece of us goes in to everything we do because if there’s one thing you can say about voice actors it’s that the professional ones are extremely passionate about what they do.
In these times it’s very easy to have thoughts like “Oh, what’s the point”, “I’m no good at this”, “I’m doing everything right, why aren’t I booking” and although it might not feel like it, these are the most important parts of your career. They represent “corners”, a time when you can’t see what’s ahead and could just stop, turn around and go back the way you came, they are your test, a test of how much you want the career at the end of the road you put yourself upon and a test of your knowledge, skill, patience and staying power.
One voice actor I greatly admire is Maurice LaMarche and he was recently kind enough to share a poem penned by his Father on Facebook, within it there is a line which really spoke out to me…
“Success is failure turned inside out”
I love that phrase because to me it’s saying you need to fail before you can succeed and in my experience that’s absolutely true because not long after I’d received all those No’s I launched my new website and within days I had two LA agents contact me to see if I was interested in representation, I was booked for 4 separate corporate videos on the same day and to top it all I got an audition for possibly the biggest video game franchise in existence. Now, just imagine if I hadn’t carried on round that corner……
Here’s the poem in full, enjoy!
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit –
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns;
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won, had he struck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow;
You may well succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the Victor’s cup!
And he learned too late, when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are
You may be near, when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
It is when things seem worst you must not quit.
Don’t bother finding your niche…
So my first blog post in a while, in fact since before the fabled L.A. trip (though if you missed it I did write a two part article for the VO Herald on said trip – Jay Britton Voice Over Herald)
Also welcome to my new website! It’s been a few months in the planning but I’m really happy with how it came out and must give enormous thanks to my designer – Kathy Osborne Design
Ok on with the blog!
So my title is slightly misleading (but nothing like scandal to drive traffic, just ask TMZ!) but I do think there is an important distinction to be made between finding your niche and learning your niche.
Voiceover is performing and with performing there is always a certain amount of ego (there has to be to take the inevitable rejection) and with ego there can also easily become delusion. When I was a kid I loved football, I loved to play football and aspired to be the next great Arsenal goalkeeper, the issue was, I was useless. Seriously, there isn’t a bone in my body that is attuned to sporting prowess and you know what, I don’t play sport.
Regardless of my initial thoughts to the lofty heights of football fame through many losses, coach feedback and self actualisation (putting my psychology A-Level to good use there!) I came to realise that I simply didn’t possess the talent required. Now I could have blindly ploughed on, insistent that I was the best footballer ever to have lived or I could have turned my attention to other activities I was more naturally suited to.
The analogy I’m rather ham-fistedly trying to draw here is that it’s not up to you to find your voiceover niche, nor is it up to you to decide what your niche is, that job falls fairly and squarely in the lap of the potential customers.
In my head I have a voice that is suited for every single type of job and I should book every one of them, I sound like Morgan Freeman and Joe Pasquale and I do every accent on the planet flawlessly. The issue is that pretty quickly my bookings will show that’s not the case. The way to find your niche, in my opinion is to look at what you get booked for.
In theory you should be auditioning for everything that comes your way, regardless of the genre and breakdown so if you’re booking more corporate jobs than you are commercial what do you think your niche most likely is? If you’re booking the “guy next door” sound and not the Gandalf “You shall not pass!!!” sound, what do you think your niche most likely is?
It’s important not to let your own preferences cloud what the industry is telling you’re good at and will be booked for. Personally I love character voices, animation and video games but I can’t deny that a significant proportion of the work I get booked for is “guy next door” corporate videos and “clean, British sound” e-learning. That’s the industry showing me what my sound is preferred for and so that should become my niche, does that mean I’m going to stop auditioning for character voices, no of course not but it does mean I might tweak my branding slightly or go after corporate rather than animation companies. To be clear, this isn’t quite clean cut and if you’re not booking for certain job types that you really should be, the issue may well not be your niche but a need for some more training so this isn’t necessarily always the reason you don’t book!
Yes, it can be disappointing to find out you’re the IVR king when what you really want to do is video games but that’s the reality of the business, the other reality being that this is in a constant state of flux! The biggest example of this is the now absent sound of “Announcers”, every other booking these days says “not announcery” and that’s because the social tastes and culture change. This means that while my “guy next door” sound might be dynamite for corporate work at the moment, in 6 months or 6 years that might be the touch of death to any corporate video and be all the rage in radio promo’s so it’s also important to not see your niche as a single fixed point of reference but more what the industry wants from you at any given moment in time.