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- 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
Character Voiceover Tip: Build a library
Prepare your character stable!
One of the most important things you can do to increase your capabilities is to actually document what you already know and build a character library.
Your character library will be your rolodex of voices that you can “turn on” immediately and be the go to resource when you need to create a character quickly e.g. an Audition!
Creating your character library is a great way of establishing what your voice can do, what you are comfortable doing and where your true talents lie. When I talk about documenting the library I mean exactly that, write it down! The way I created my library was to turn my phone on to record and work my way around the globe doing all the different characters I knew I did from each region. Once I had that recording, I listened back writing down every voice, giving the character a name, an ideal genre and some basics notes. Any voice that didn’t sound “real” got resigned to the bin so that I only had the best of my best written down. You should also include any “bad” celebrity impressions you do as a bad impression is, after all, another character voice so it’s worth having it to hand just in case!
By having this library and becoming familiar with it you prepare yourself for that moment either in a session or an audition where “just try this character” is sprung on you and you have to come up with a voice immediately. Usually within your character library there will be someone close or you can mix a few together to get something close quickly. This is also a great way of establishing a “stable” of characters from which you can grow and expand your repertoire!
Check out the video below for more on this topic!
Character Voiceover Tips: Learning an Accent
Don’t learn an accent in character
One of the biggest problems with accents and character voices is that it’s very difficult to disassemble them when they’ve been learnt together. What I mean by this is that if you create a character called “Friendly Scottish Nanny” you might find you have trouble doing a Scottish accent without it sounding like your character or vice versa, you might have trouble creating a friendly nanny without making her Scottish.
Always learn accents outside of a character voice and always try to make a character more than just a voice.
Check out the video below to see what I mean and its pitfalls!
Chasing my voiceover dreams
Dreams are made to be chased
“Whatever you want to be you already are, all you have to do, is do”
Hi everyone, no fancy intros this time, no character tips, just me talking to you in the hope I can inspire just one of you to follow your dreams. I want to tell you a little bit about my story and what I’ve learnt about pursuing dreams. I’ve been wanting to write this for some time and now finally it feels like the right time to do it. This video has almost nothing to do with voiceover and absolutely everything to do with chasing your dreams.
My story in a nutshell? 6 years ago I was a normal guy in an IT job, went to work and paid my bills now? I’m a full time voice actor sat here talking to you from my professional studio, something I never would have thought I’d be doing.
Ever since I was a kid I was a performer, growing up with the Simpsons and the awesome cartoons of the late 80’s and 90’s, I’d wander round the house making up voices and mimicking everything I heard on the TV. Fast forward to when I left college and despite continuing to pursue performing throughout my education doing Theatre, Musicals, being in a band I didn’t follow it when I left. Why? Because I wanted a secure job, I wanted to be sure I could pay my bills, I wanted to be able to have a nice car and a nice house and following my dream would have meant too unsure a future, heck I was the guy who at 16 had a spreadsheet tracking his income and expenditure, the idea of not having a monthly salary was terrifying to the point where I abandoned my dream and pursued IT.
Thing is……everything we’ve been told is a lie.
From birth we’re told that someone who earns £100k is better than someone who earns £10k, we’re told that someone who drives a BMW is better than someone that drives a Ford, we’re told that big boobs are better than small boobs, we’re told a six pack and pecs is better than a beer gut and you know what, it’s all nonsense and all it does is make most of us struggle through life trying to achieve an ideal that is often neither possible nor even desirable once you attain it because it’s an utterly hollow concept. We’re continually bombarded with imagery that teaches us money = success and that money is so intrinsically linked to happiness you couldn’t possibly have one without the other. There is a favourite philosopher of mine called Alan Watts, a British philosopher who specializes in translating and adapting eastern philosophies and one of him most well-known lectures incorporated the question “What would you do if money was no object?” I implore you all to think on that, think and figure out how money has constrained your dreams and passions into a prison and think, what would you do if money was no object.
I was in that prison 6 years ago, I had an IT job that in US dollars paid a six figure salary, I drove a BMW, I had a big 4 bed detached house, ok I’ve never had a six pack or pecs but I had everything else I thought I should have to be happy…and the truth? I was utterly miserable and why? Because ultimately none of that stuff will fulfill you, true fulfillment comes from being true to yourself and following your passions.
In a world that tells you what you should want and everything you should want to be, you can stand firm and state for yourself who you are and what you want that is an immensely courageous and worthwhile thing.
All the clichés apply here, life’s too short, get out your comfort zone, follow your dreams, they’re all true.
Different is always scary and it was for me, the fear of failure, the fear of disappointment, the fear of rejection, it all serves to hold you back but here’s the thing. Following your dream rarely changes your life overnight, nor does it mean abandoning everything you have and taking on massive risk. My life changed day by day, little by little over 6 years from the life I thought I wanted, to the life I do want. I’m not going to sit here and tell you there’s no risk in changing your life, of course there is, there can be no reward without risk, but the bigger risk is never changing your life, floating through life absent of fulfilling your true potential, losing out on a life where you felt at peace with who you are and your place in the world. No longer striving to attain a life that would always be out of reach.
Here’s the other thing we’re taught, we’re taught that failure is a bad thing. Even the word, failure has negative connotations, that failure couldn’t ever be a useful thing, failure couldn’t ever form part of a larger success story. Here’s the thing, you will never succeed without failing, ever!
The minute you take a single step to start living the life you want you are a success and you are never a failure until you stop trying. No matter the setbacks, no matter the problems, if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other you will never be a failure. The only way to ever truly fail at something is to never try.
The other part here is that you need to take a conscious choice, you need to choose to follow your dream and it needs to be a dream you love because it’s going to be hard, you are going to be tested and you’re going to want to give up. A favourite saying of mine from Jim Rone is that “Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change” and the thing is, humans aren’t built to change. Our minds and our bodies love the status quo, no matter how damaging that might be and it will fight to maintain it. Your biggest enemy in any life change be it relationships, jobs, diets is going to be yourself and you need to be prepared to understand that and fight that when your mind is telling you to give up and go back to what you know.
A question I would ask you to ask of yourselves is “What is stopping you?” This was a question my wife asked me two years ago when I’d been pursuing voiceover but never given it my all. When I stopped to think of the answer I discovered I didn’t have a genuine answer, all I had were excuses and now two years later here I am recording this talk. As soon as you accept that anything is possible any reason why you can’t do it is an excuse.
I want to leave you with one final thing, these are the last words spoken to me by my Uncle Mike, a man who I greatly admired, he said “Keep on the Up and Up” and that’s all you need to do. Today, right now, take the first step toward your dream, google something, email someone, tweet someone, watch a video, do something, anything and then….. just keep on the up and up.