Susan Berkley Teleconference Notes

by | Training

I sat in on a teleconference this week with Susan Berkley with the Great Voice Company, who also happens to be the scheduled keynote speaker at this year’s VOICE 2008 event this August in Los Angeles.

The woman is a marketing genius, hands down.

The  free teleconference was set up to promote one of her voiceover training bootcamp in May in NYC, but I really must admit I enjoy listening to her as she always drops a few pearls from her money makin’ lips.

Susan began the seminar by speaking about her experience in radio while living in Florida, where it was hard to make any real money. Figuring she’d take a chance to move up to a larger radio market and go for the big time, she moved from Florida to Manhattan. She was bowled over by the extreme jump in costs it took to live in New York, and worked 3 jobs  just to make ends meet. All she wanted to do was work by using her voice. She did work on the Howard Stern show, but was only making $25K/year, and had endure a lot of abuse along the way. I can olny imagine what it might be like to work with Howard.

Living that dream was too hard. She quitradio and went into voiceover full-time, because she felt she could make more money. The light went on one day as she worked on a v/o job with another vo talent who indeed made more money, as he stepped into his nice ride home as she fished for her subway tokens. She asked him what made him so successful. He pulled out a stack of business cards consisting of clients, and prospects. He told her that when he’s not working, he’s calling the clients and prospects and marketing his services to them.

It was then and there Susan realized that sales and marketing is what really works. She read every book on marketing she could get her hands on. She started booking business,  and began teaching her methods to others. The more she shared, the more her business grew.  The moral of this story is; The more you give the more you get.

Susan cites the big challenges facing vo talent today:

Technology creates failure possibility
Lack of Directors giving input into auditions and readings
More competetition in the vo marketplace
Technlogy & self direction
Online auds (in general) lack the ability to follow up

Dirty little secret of online casting– auditions barely get listened to because of poor recording quality, regionalisms accents, mouth noise (clicks & pops) and  tension are the major causes.

Certain foods can be a problem. She talks about helpful Granny Smith apples,  or se of use Salivart mouth lubricant. Also Entertainer’s Secret. (I use many of these remedies)

Many vo’s don’t book jobs because of weak performance skills- She says, “Don’t sound like you’re reading. “
She suggests that we all need a coach throughout our career.

Here’s a good pearl: Go to “You Tube”- use to find pronunciations, or Miriam Webster also.

You also will not book because you’re not the right v/o type for that particular job. Many times this is very subjective on behalf of the client and is out of our control. If your voice reminds the producer of his ex-wife, well, you may as well kiss that one off!

You can’t build a business by auditioning alone.

Go for the Head heart and hips. Sound REAL!!!!  No announcers need apply.

Book the job and dare to be different. It will get you noticed. Sometimes, you’ll get booked for no good reason.
And don’t look back after your auditions.

Increase your odds of booking the job:
Get there FAST.
Answer every audition you can. Today’s tiny job could grow big over the life of the client’s use of your services.
Be believeable.
 And remember—-The product is the star, not YOU.

3 Laws of VO Success-
Techniques -Voice Control
Equipment- good Gear
Marketing- The most important to do well as it can carry the other 2 skills

It doesn’t mean doing Mass mailings, etc. It  does mean that you must follow up with leads you encounter.

Susan’s latest “Bootcamp” is May 16-18 in NYC. It’s not for everyone. It’s not all about positive thinking. A good voice helps, but the latest strategy works and takes people to the next level.  For more information:

800-333-8108 ext. 229 or


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