The Power of Five-by Vanessa Hart
A Product Review of the downloadable lecture for Voice Actors
Listening to The Power of Five feels like having a friendly sit-down with the entertaining and vibrant Vanessa Hart, who offers a bundle of advice while laying out the fundamentals of a career in the voiceover business. She covers a large amount of content in one hour’s time. While aimed primarily at beginners or intermediate students of the craft, some solid and useful insights can be gleaned for the seasoned pros as well.
The Power of Five comes with a fourteen-page handy study-guide and helpful references including Michael Shurtleff’s “12 Guideposts” to the audition process.
Your signature voice: She urges the listener more than once to listen to the talent on Voicebank. Hear how the demos there are structured, noting differences between large and smaller market voices. Listen and find one (a voice) close to yours. Then study that talent’s websites, and marketing strategies. Take notes!
Acting ability is key to success in voiceover! Acting skills are developed from studying with coaches, taking classes, like improve, and reading books. Books she recommends:
Uta Hagen “Respect For Acting”.
Michael Schurtleff’s 12 Guideposts from Audition
Vanessa reminds us that having a good voice is a great start, but knowing how and what to do with it is far more important. Acting skill will help you to break down a script and make specific strong choices in your delivery. The character will reveal itself with much practice. Much practice!
There were tricks offered on taking direction, and setting up a home studio, including sound proofing options and acoustic treatments
On recording software, Vanessa suggests you try trial versions, and learn the software before you take a job!
Royalty-free music and sound effects libraries mentioned include the Music Tool Box by Michael Whelan.
Also addressed is the importance of Business & Office Administration and
client file/preference management. Keep track of client preferences.
It’s vital to be able to generate invoices, reports and expenses, and perform bookkeeping.
A critical thing she says is, don’t deliver the audio without first being paid. OK, though if it’s for a larger, long-time client. For payment processing, Vanessa mentions paypal’s payment methods, invoicing, and reports functions as an effective, efficient way to work.
Hart says, “Don’t spend thousands on your first demo.” Learn your craft first. Hire an engineer to help you when you’re ready. Your commercial demo should contain 3-4 spots, opening with your signature voice, then 2-3 clips that show versatility within that signature range, and end with the signature voice cut.
Having them doesn’t guarantee employment. Start small. Be aware of casting companies.
Social Networking, web site, direct marketing.
Get contact info of producers. Cold call. Be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn- and when you do, stay away from politics & religion. Remember don’t lay too much personal information out there.
Important: Follow ups, promotions, be aware mindful of client preferences file format, who receives the bill, etc. Have a structure on re-dos in place.
Vanessa does at least 2x/year. She says make your marketing fun, and non aggressive. Ie., Don’t prod people to hire you.. No badgering them for work. Find something that speaks about you as an artist. Have an ongoing system of customer marketing. Share a joke, Send a youtube video. Get yourself at front of mind, so when casting time arrives you’re there!
Study with coaches with those in industry who are well- known and respected . Self education. Listen to TV & radio. Be aware of ads and watch for trends. Read newsletters and blogs, like Voiceover Insider, Voiceover Xtra, and forums are great and FREE! Get on free tele-seminar calls, which can have much content! Avail yourself to learning, and study for a lifetime.
Don’t get too slick and stop working the copy. Check in occasionally with your coaches for a tuneup and stay fresh, honest.
Help Others- In giving, you’ll receive more back.
Synergy is huge. The more you work & network, you’ll find it’ll make you not only a better voice actor but a better person. Give Back!- Avail yourself to union waiver gigs, donate your voice to a PSA, when asked. This will keep you firmly centered with what’s really important.!
I found the Power of Five to be an interesting and thoughtfully crafted presentation, based on years of experience from Vanessa Hart. The lecture goes by quickly, and narrated with strong personality elements which make the hour not only interesting, but the minutes fly by quickly! Learn more at http://vanessahart.info