The Compassionate Voice
by Leesha on April 21st, 2016

If you’re a voice talent with your contact information on the web, you may have seen some of the recent rash of email scams. Over the last few weeks, many of my VO colleagues (including myself) have received some type of email from a potential scammer. You never know where one or many may strike. Always practice safety online and in business; it may keep you from being scammed.
 
Scams are serious and you should practice safety on and off-line. Voiceover talent Doug Turkel writes in his April 2016 blog, Anatomy of a Voiceover Scam about scammers targeting #VO talent. His story is eye opening as to some of the tactics used by scammers. It’s a must read. 
 
Today.com’s article, 10 Simple Tips To Avoid Being Scammed tells us not to assume things are always as they seem:

      Question everything: phone calls, mail solicitations, email offers, links on social media. 
      Don't take things at face value. Con artists know how to make their scams look and
      sound legitimate. They can doctor pictures, copy logos, fake testimonials. It's also easy
      to "spoof" caller ID and create fake websites. 

  I encourage you to practice the tips and habits noted in the articles. I know you want to grow your business, but smart safety should never be an after thought.
 
Be safe!


by Leesha on April 13th, 2016

Spring cleaning can take many forms. Take some time to do a little voiceover business cleaning too. Now is a good time to review your business and see if a little cleaning up or cleaning out is due. Here’s a reminder of some things you may want to put on your cleanup list.
 
Computer review:  If you have a PC, take time and do a De-frag to recombine old or scattered files. 
 
Review your computer’s files, hard drive, and storage. Are there files that need to be moved from your computer’s drive to your external drive? Voiceover files can take up a lot of memory, so reviewing your drive’s storage should be a regular habit.
 
What about those old voiceover scripts and other files that you have not looked at in years? If you’re not sure whether you’ll need the files later, just archive them externally. Label the files by date or subject just in case you may need to locate them in the future.
 
Your work space: Do you have files all around you as you try to work? Voiceover and voice acting are creative businesses, so creativity needs calming and inspiring work spaces. Clean out those old papers and files from in and around your space. You will find that a clutter free work space helps clear you mentally and will improve your focus while voice acting.
 
Your phone: If not done already, clean out your phone's old photos and download them to your desk or laptop computer. If you’re like me, you use your phone for voiceover practice and audio recordings. Over time, those files can take up a lot of phone storage. While you may or may not have space on your phone, if the items are important, back them up to your external drive.
 
Your business Plan:  The Northern Hemisphere is fully in spring now, so are your 2016 business goals on track? Do some review to see if some of your plans need updating, revising, or rewriting. This exercise will also help refocus you mentally as you work your way though a successful spring season.


by Leesha on April 7th, 2016

Reading a voiceover script is not just what comes from your mouth. Our entire body supports how sounds come from our vocal area. Seating in your booth affects the sound and feeling of your voiceover.
 
You may wonder why I’m addressing seating in the voiceover area. Well, you may have noticed by now that the way you sit can affect your voice. For example, if you sit on a stool with your feet and toes on the floor and with no back support, you cannot help feeling a little tension and alertness. Your body is focused on supporting your upper torso. Therefore, you cannot help but to voice in a more commanding, serious, and attentive voice. 
 
When you sit in a comfortable, relaxed chair with support for your arms and back, you physically respond by relaxing, slowing your pace, and voicing in a warm and more comforting tone.
 
Your seat is important because if you are voicing a warm heart felt story, you need to sit in a comfortable chair to subconsciously communicate warmth and comfort through your voice delivery.
 
If you are voicing something that is important, commands attention, or is a call to immediate action, sitting on a stool or in an upright position will help communicate your message in a subconscious manner.
 
Try changing your seats from a stool to a chair. Change your position on your seats. Record and listen to your voice. You will surly notice that your voiceover delivery automatically changes and is modified just by your seating choice.
 
Seating your voice can help or hinder your vocal delivery. Making the right choice could cut your vocal work in half. 


by Leesha on January 20th, 2016

​You’re up for another voice job that’s just right; you already have a passion for the subject. You know others who are auditioning for the same job and you’re nervous. What if you don’t get the job?  Have you lost to a competitor? Or, have you lost to a colleague?  As a successful voice talent, learn how to turn your voice over competitors into voice business colleagues.   
 
It’s about the “Right voice” (not you)  
 
Believe it or not, most managers looking for a voiceover talent usually have a voice in mind for a project.  Your voice may or may not be the voice in his or her head.  We usually have no idea of what or who that voice is.  Your voice is your personal style, so don’t get hung up on not having the “perfect voice” or not getting a particular job.  It could just be that your voice is not the “voice” in someone’s head.
 
Know your Real Competitor
 
Your real competitor is quality and service. A successful professional voice actor knows that having a “great voice” is not all that.  What is important as a voiceover professional is good delivery, connection with the script and good business service.  You’ve got to give your customers first-class service at all times.  This is not an option.  Producers usually continue to choose and use voiceover talents who get the job done and are easy to work with on jobs. If you don’t practice the basics of good customer service including improving your skills as a talent, you’re only defeating yourself.
 
Embrace your Colleagues (figuratively speaking)   
 
Voiceover talents are a wealth of knowledge and support.  We all have to start from some point, and you can always learn or teach someone along the way.  If you lose a job to a fellow talent, be happy for them, and keep building your business.  You need friends in this business, so look to your voiceover community for recommendations on the talent and service you need.  

Most voice actors that I know are unique, artistic, and sensitive folks.  Voice actors usually want to please their customers and provide the best services.  This spirits of giving and serving are rare and special in today’s society.  Embrace your voice over competitors and make them your voice business’ best colleagues.

by Leesha on January 15th, 2016



With a new year comes a new look at one’s long held hopes, dreams and goals.  If voice acting or voiceover is a part of your 2016 goals, you may be rummaging the internet for voiceover conferences and training. You’ll have a LOT of choices. But how do you choose the right voiceover conference for you? I offer you this list of voiceover conference tips to help you narrow down the best use of your time and talent (if even their under development).
 
Support Your VO Goals 
 
Outline what you want to learn in voiceovers.  While many new talent want to do everything voice related, that is simply not realistic.  Focus on what you want to do in voiceovers.  For example, are you interested in audiobooks? What skills do you need (i.e. audio engineering, acting, marketing?  Note one to two major voiceover goals and then develop a sub list of what you want to learn about your specific goal or genre.
 
Shop for the Right Fit
 
Look over each voiceover conference's agenda. See if you like the topics and if they are the subjects relevant to your goals.  Will the discussion areas further your career progress and do they relate to what you want to learn (the specifics in your list)?  Your takeaways should be viewed as part of your road map for the coming months or years in your voiceover career.
 
Also, read reviews from earlier conferences and look for endorsements.  Ask your VO colleagues where they have attended.  Look at voiceover social media chatter on upcoming events. 
 
Look for Voiceover Superstars
 
Read each presenter's bio and visit their website. What are their specialties and how long have the speakers been in the voiceover industry? What projects are to their credit?  Note the projects they’ve worked on and if they are in line with the area or areas that you want to work on in the voiceover market.    
 
Pace your Budget
 
Is the event near you so you can commute?  If not, how much travel can you afford?  As a voiceover professional, you should budget for one to two conferences per year. Choose wisely. If you do travel, share the expenses with another VO talent (room, board, drive, etc.).  Some of these costs are a part of doing business, so your voiceover business should pay its own expenses.  If your budget is not there yet, you may need to get creative on financing your conference attendance. 
 
Whatever you choose it will enable you to network within the voice acting community and with other talent.  Take advantage of these times as you build relationships and learn from the novice to the seasoned voice over actors. Make each event a productive voiceover conference experience. Have fun!

by Leesha on January 12th, 2016

“I’m here!” One, two, ten, ten-thousand-how many voices does it take to hear one?  How can you be the voice that stands out in the voiceover market place?  Well, it takes work. If you have ever seen the movie (from the book) “Horton Hears a Who”, there is a scene where all the citizens of Whoville are screaming to the top of their lungs “We are Here.” but they can’t get their message through. Their voice was critical and had to be heard to prove they existed and to save their very lives!  Building a voice over business can feel like being one of citizens of Dr. Seuss’ Whoville community with almost no way of being heard (individually). Well, your voice is important and you can have a place in the voiceover world.  Try a few of these to get your VO heard and get a response to your “I’m a voice talent and I’m here!”
  • Become Loud by Association 

    Are you a part of a group, church or, organization?  What are you doing as a part of that association? Do you volunteer for outreach?  Make an effort to meet people with and outside of your group and let them know that you are a voice over professional. Develop a public service announcement for your group or even develop artwork or an article for your group. Just make sure your name is on the product along with your organization.

  • Share Social Media Deliberately

    What's hot with you and your associates?  Share a popular social media post or blog.  I've share on Twitter items from NASA on launches to breaking news from Reuters.  Share and positively comment on items from voice over talent or groups.  The point is to be heard by association with voice talent and others.

  • Speak Publicly 

    If you're a voice talent, you're or can become a public speaker.  Does your local high school need a speaker? What about your civil organization?  Is there a topic that you are passionate about?  Look for a forum and make sure you let them know that you are also a voiceover talent.  

  • Teach a Class (something fun)  
     
    Are you an expert on something or things other than voiceovers?  Look into volunteering at community colleges and local clubs to teach what you know.  Develop a good lesson plan and teach a short course.  (If' you're going to teach something physical, remember to get those signed releases before you start teaching your class.) What about teaching "Why Not to go into Voiceovers."  Different, yea, but folks will take notice of the title.   

Now, go and get heard!  You're here!   


by Leesha on November 15th, 2015

(Photo Credit: Cermsle)
If you have been in the voice over business for more than a month, you know that voicing is a great way to connect and compel feelings through voice.  But, it is also a profession of ups and downs, highs and lows and, dare I say, mistakes and rejections.  So make sure that while you are perfecting your voice delivery, you are perfecting your inner voice to support you through the hard times.

Most talents are sensitive, heart feeling people.  Because we are sensitive, we may take rejection and mistakes personally and want to give up.  Don’t!  Develop your own personal elevator speech to elevate your attitude and to keep you moving forward in your voice acting career.

Here are a few tips to perfecting your inner voice:
  • Remind yourself that you are nurturing the unique gift of your voice:  Becoming your best voice talent is a journey.  Practice to become better as you learn through the ups and downs of your journey. 

  • Record your own compassionate encouragement:  Make a five minute recording of self encouragement.  Make the recording after you have had a big win (any win) when you are on top of your game.  Your voice speaking back to you during the hard times will help you remember that you can and will win again!

  • Promise never to put yourself down:  I once heard a preacher say, “Don’t talk negatively about yourself; others will do it for you.”

  • Meditate on and review your situation:  Positively determine what you can learn from a setback.  If you did your best, great. Keep up the good work.  If you did not do your best, determine why and write one to four positive improvement statements.  Read the statements daily for at least one week to help change your behavior.
Remember that each day is a gift that can only be received once.  Don’t waste time with negative self talk that will only keep you from moving forward.  Challenge you to perfect your inner voice to support and elevate you through the hard times.  Be there for you, no matter what. 

by Leesha on November 8th, 2015

(Photo credit: Tom Baugis)
To stay on top of the ever improving voiceover business, you’ve got to keep up with what’s going on.  Doing voiceovers is the best.  But as members of a networking society, blogs can help keep you on top of trends and changes in the VO industry.  We can communicate, share, and learn from each other in the VO field.  Interacting with the voiceover community will help improve the quality of your voice delivery, business, as well as services to your clients.  Learn from the best and check out the rest in Derek Chappell’s “11 Top Voiceover Blogs Post This Week-Jan. 20, 2013.”  

Voice on!!

by Leesha on April 23rd, 2013

Let’s face it, we are all human.  As humans, we are basically relational beings.  So as a voiceover talent, your job is not to become a loner as you fight your way through the voiceover market forest.  In today’s market, successful voice actors learn and cultivate the art of relationships - even online.

Many of us perform voice acting from a home studio.  This solo working atmosphere may lead to disconnecting with others on personal and professional levels.  While it may be profitable for a while, without human connections, you and your business may suffer.  Take care not to loose your edge.  Instead seek to develop virtual relationships in the business and voiceover community.  Here are a few tips to building on-line relationships for a successful voiceover business:

Remember Clients' Special Dates.  Contact your new or potential clients on the holidays, but also on the owner’s birthday, business anniversary date, and their other special dates. These remembrances provide an opportunity to connect personally and professionally.

Comment on Associates’ and Colleagues’ Blogs.   A positive, genuine reply of agreement or encouragement can be seen by the writer as well as their followers and readers.  Remember when making your comments, make them brief, genuine, and always positive.  

Build your Network of Colleagues through Give and Take.  Many new voice talent seek  mentoring by more experienced or famous talents.  However, it is not advisable to ask a stranger to become your voiceover mentor.  Build friendships and look for ways to add to the voice actor’s life or business.  For example, look for ways to give and be of assistance to others.  In time, you should receive a return on what you have given.  The return may or may not be within the same relationship, so don’t get discouraged.  The approach works, so keep at it while you look for the right fit.

Connect from the Heart Over Time.  People like people who connect, listen, and show concern for others.  You want your associates and clients to see you as more than another voice talent trying to nab a job; you want to become the right person for many jobs and business relationships.  As others get to know you and your style, they may recommend you as a talent, think of you for specific projects, or at least keep in contact until the relationship pays off for the both of you.   

Go ahead, show some compassion and make a (virtual) friend.  It will payoff! 

by Leesha on April 6th, 2013

There is much talk these days about whether automation will replace the professional voice artist.  The buzz is also circling about voice talent offering products for $10 or less.  While these items may seem like great voice “buys,” I would advise the buyer to beware!  Voice acting is a talent skill as specialized as developing a masterpiece on canvas; each project should be a treated as a classic.  

The voice artist who takes time to learn all aspects of his craft lays the foundation as a master voice artisan.  Such an individual understands the importance of discovering the essence of each voice clients’ project and making each script come to life.  Time learning delivery, tone, elocution, are like learning how to properly care and feed a new born.  No matter if the project is a voice mail system or a narrated feather film, a masterful voice actor treats each client’s project for lack of a better word,  like a “Baby.”  

How much would you spend on your baby?  If you only paid a caregiver a dollar to watch your baby, what kind of service would you expect?    I know times are challenging, but many talent are willing to with clients to develop a masterful projects.  Yes, it may cost more that $10 dollars, but, in the long run, the rewards have a better change of being greater and with better quality and service.   Remember, the baby is worth a lot more than a dollar or “a dolla.”

by Leesha on January 29th, 2013

(Photo credit: Curtis Kennington)

Professional voiceover is a great career, and the field is full of seasoned pros who deliver phenomenal talent.  However, even the industry’s best voice talent had a start.  Many of those new to the craft are tirelessly seeking and searching to find their position in the VO community.  New talents have the potential to bring wonderful benefits to their clients. For producers and clients, working with new voice talent can lead to a great long-term voiceover relationship.   

Many new voice talent, with five years or less of experience, are desperately trying to make a name for themselves in the VO industry.  This can be a great plus for clients in the following ways:  
  • New talents may offer discounted rates helping to save the client’s bottom line

  • Talents sometimes offer pro-bono work to help build their voice over resume

  • New talents can be eager to please new clients and will work hard to get the project right

  • When new talents become established, most still offer the best services and rates to their initial clients as a sign of appreciation and loyalty
As with all relationships, even in business, they take work to last.  With such competition in the VO industry, there is an ever changing group of voice talent becoming equipped with new voice acting skills ready to deliver their best to you and your bottom line.

by Leesha on December 26th, 2012

Fill in the blank.  “In 2013, I resolve to _______________ for my VO career.”  Really!!  

If you are like me, you have started, stopped, and started so many things in life.  Don’t let your VO career take the same course.  Voiceover is a great career as well as an adventure in discovering the facets of your own soul as a voice actor.  

I’d like to share with you Voice Talent Manager Celia Siegel's thoughts on how not to skimp on your VO career in the new year (http://www.voiceoverxtra.com/article.htm?id=6teiw9zw).  

The industry continues to grow, and we must grow with it.  Consider Celia’s article, and know where your voiceover business is going in 2013. 

by Leesha on December 7th, 2012

Spending time on social media is great for connecting within the voiceover community.  The various outlets provide an excellent way of keeping up with trends, events, and innovation in the vo industry.  How much time of any given day should one spend on social media?  Is it possible to spend too much time on media?

As a self employed voice over artist, I find time management is crucial.  I know that many voice artists are verst in computer skills, which is necessary for successfully managing one’s home studio and electronic interactions.  However, it is important to plan your time so you are not spending more time on social media than on your voice over work.  

Schedule Your Time:  If you share your time in many daily pursuits, plan when to check in with social media.  Social media is an excellent marketing tool, and provides a great opportunity to connect with potential clients.  Still, this is only one tool in your marketing plan.    

Make time for your VO craft:  Always seek ways to hone your skills.  Regular practice helps you to develop a better voice delivery, so as they say, “Practice makes perfect.”    Never minimize the need for practicing your voiceover skills over web surfing.

Don’l leave out human interaction: Remember, you are a talent on the move.  Compassion, tenderness, and kindness are great attractors within the human spirit.  Let your soul show through when meeting others.  Personal interactions can lead to new business relationships just as much web connections.  Social media should not replace human interaction just give it a different flavor.

Okay, now go for it! 

by Leesha on October 29th, 2012

Don LaFontaine and many others have found fame and fortune as a voice talent.  These greats perform with seemingly little to no effort and bring scripts and stories to life.  My soft, warm, compassionate delivery is only one style of voice acting. Voice actors can be as unique as petals on a rose or as varied as snow flakes.  Below I provide a few more of my tips on becoming a professional voice actor:

Find your niche: what you do well. Many new voice talent want to do every delivery and style right out of the gate: compassionate, animated, girl or guy next door, etc.  You need to understand your best style and delivery, which usually is not everything.  Perhaps your voice is best for e-learning, hard sell, or perhaps for soft, warm, and hart-felt messages.  The point is that you can waste a staggering amount of time pursuing the wrong type of jobs.  Break the habit now.  

Develop a support system.  It can take years to become a stellar voice actor and that is with study and perseverance.  Disappointments will come, and at times, you will be the one who needs compassion.  This can be lonely business.  Many folks like the idea of being a voice actor but not the hard work needed for regular practice, quality auditions, continued learning, good home studio skills, etc.  Try to get someone to hold you accountable to help keep you on track towards building your voice business goals.  

Do it or don’t!  Recently I met a guy who said to me, “... I’m trying to do voice overs.”  My first thought was, “Why.  You are, or you are not.”  Decide on who you are and what you do.  A voice over artist is a skilled artisan.  You don’t want to become someone who spends thousands of dollars on audio equipment and voice training to the become a professional (voice) student and not one (voice) job to your credit.

Know when to quit/know when to stay.  Some folks hit the ground running and never look back.  But if you have challenges or have tried and still are unable to overcome them, perhaps voiceover is not the right career for you. We all have personal issues, but if your obligations make it almost impossible for you to do what’s necessary to be successful, you may need to take a break or close the business until you can really commitment to your success.  

Whatever you decide, voice overs is a unique and fun career.  Well, that’s it for now.  

Happy voicing!

by Leesha on September 23rd, 2012

Voice artist or voice over is one of the most enjoyable professions in the entertainment business.  Friends and associates often ask me how to get into voice acting.  Compassionate lines in a script sometimes make folks believe it’s easy to be a voice actor.  Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.  

To those looking for the opportunity to make their dreams come true as a compassionate communicator or as an over-the-top movie trailer orator, I encourage you to consider my tips on getting into voice acting.  

A new voice talent must first “think” like a new business.  Below is my short list of how to begin thinking and being a voice acting business.  

Consider your reason for wanting to voice act:  Think about why you want to be “in the business.”  If you want, jot down your reason or reasons.  Don’t worry, you can revise it later if you want, I won’t tell.

Drop the attitude, please:  Voice acting is what I call a “service business.”  All the pros I know have an attitude to serve others with excellence.  The pros know that it’s not about having a great voice, but about bringing a script to life!

Start to make connections through the Internet:  Start by doing word searches on Do a word search on voice over, acting, etc.  Follow talent you find and like on Facebook, Twitter, etc, but in a causal friendly manner.  You are seeking to develop new business connections not looking to stalk top voice over talent.  

Find out all you can about voice acting for free:  Before you sign up for that class that promises to make you a killer demo and voice over star in one year or less, do your homework.  There are many sites that offer free advice on how to start developing your craft. You can take out the check book later.  

Next time, I’ll will warp up my best tips on becoming a voice talent.  So for now, have fun with your homework.

by Leesha on June 30th, 2012

I know that’s a funny question because we all assume we can be compassionate. Really?

Compassion is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering” (Dictionary.com). Without compassion, you cannot really understand how to relate to others or how they feel.

Do you know how to help alleviate the suffering of another in a caring or sensitive way?  Some of the smallest acts of kindness can speak volumes about compassion: a warm hug, conversation (more listening), a word of encouragement, etc.

Genuine heart-felt emotions and tender non-verbal actions can have far reaching effects and rewards.  Something as small as a smile can warm your heart and touch the heart of another. 

Do you fear showing others your own feelings or disclosing your compassionate responses to others?  

Dr. Kristin Neff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, has developed a test to score compassion.  See how your compassion rates:  http://www.self-compassion.org/test-your-self-compassion-level.html. 

Go on, you can do it!
Type your new text here.

by Leesha on June 8th, 2012

The question is, “What is a “compassionate” voice?  How is the actor’s delivery different?”  In a society where narcissism is arguably preferable over altruism, compassion seems an odd position.  While sympathy is often overlooked, people routinely response to the daily tragic events reported by the media with outpourings of aid and well wishes.  But a compassionate voice actor knows how to sincerely tap into the reservoir of his or her’s own heart and understand the sentiment of others.  So, a compassionate voice actor understands compassion, how to feel it, what it means, and how to convey it in a touching way through voice acting. 

Understanding compassion begins with understanding empathy.  Dictionary.com explains Empathy to be more of a “…intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”  On the other hand, sympathy is defined as “…the feelings or impulses of compassion.”   Impulses are fine, but a compassionate” voice actor must make the mental and emotional connection to process and develop real compassion. 

Real compassion stimulates actions and makes heart-felt calls changing lives of our children to our elderly. Compassion cuts through sarcasm straight to the heart and soul of the matter.  It can guide the heart and mind to receive instruction and consider various options like no other emotion can. 

Compassion champions the rights and needs of our families, culture, and communities.  The voice talent must be comfortable and able to feel the empathy called for in a project or script and channel that emotion into a performance making for a real connection.  In short, a heart – felt emotion must come from the heart. 

Easy right? Perhaps, but, I try never to overlook such a basic and powerful position.  Compassion is being real and touching the mind through the heart.

Posted on May 15th, 2012

I'll be taking a little rest and relaxation for a few days (May 18th - 24th) and I won't have studio access during that time. Check back at the end of the month for more exciting changes.

by Leesha on May 1st, 2012

Thanks to www.VOCareer.com for a great new website. I am looking forward to beginning anew in serving the voiceover market with my best. This new site is much more a reflection of me and my voice.