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Facebook Voiceover Groups Galore

Join A VO facebook group today

Join A VO facebook group today

If you love Facebook like the rest of the world, you probably already know about several groups that cater to the big world of voiceover. I am a member of several of these groups both public and private. Some are more worthy of reading than others, but they all have a place and serve their purpose. Some have 2 members while other host 1000’s of members. Some are moderated by the creator/host while others are a free-for-all. Some are public and some require you to go through a joining process. Why be a member of select voiceover groups? There are many reasons. If you are the quiet type and don’t post much, that’s okay. You can read through many of these groups/forums and learn a ton. People ask all sorts of questions, answer questions, share stories or gig news, share their newest music, share coaching and training tips and tricks, set meetups, exchange gear, learn about conventions, read blogs, provide support, mentor and chat about software and hardware, etc. Yes, there are lots and lots of voiceover groups out there. Out of curiosity I did a quick search on the Book Of Face and found a bunch of groups I didn’t know existed. Will I join them all? Um, NO. But I will explore them and join the ones that may benefit me over time. I’ve compliled a list of the top voice related groups on Facebook. There are many that I am not listing here, but you can simply do a quick search within Facebook to find any local or specialty groups. For example, if you have a small workout group for folks in your region, those are probably not on the list. Just know that many more groups exist out there. Ready? Let’s go!

  • VO Peeps
  • VO Community
  • World Voices
  • Voiceover Universe
  • VoiceOver BodyShop
  • VoiceoverCentral
  • Voiceover booth stories
  • VO Rockstars
  • VO Gear Exchange
  • Twisted Wave VO user group
  • VoiceOver Chat
  • VO University
  • VO in TO
  • WoVo-members only
  • Voice Over Marketing Podcast
  • Faffcon friends
  • Voice-over camp
  • VOICE convention
  • Voice Over Heroes
  • Voice Over Artists
  • Voice-over Fridge
  • Voice Actors Network
  • All Star Voices
  • Voices Anonymous – LA
  • Voice For Hire
  • VAU – Voice Artists United
  • The Voice Acting Hub
  • Voice Acting Alliance
  • Voiceover Master Class
  • VoiceXtra
  • VoHeavenWorkOuts
  • LoveThatImprovVO
  • ProTools VO user group
  • I’m A Voiceover Pro Who Wants To Have An Even More Wildly Success
  • TwistedWave VO user group
  • Voice-over Collective
  • The Professional British Voice-over group
  • Voice-over Mamas
  • VOiceover Artists Network Shuffle
  • Mid-Atlantic Voiceover
  • Audacity Voiceover users group
  • UNION – VOICEOVER UNPLUGGED
  • International Voice-over Bank
  • Voice Artists Who Do Dubbing And Voiceover
  • Voiceover Voices for Commercial Radio Tv Movie Audiobooks
  • Professional Voiceovers
  • Voice Over Women – VOW

Now get out there and join in the conversation! I’ve provided you with hours and hours worth of fun. You’re welcome.

Your friend in voiceover,

Rhonda

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13 Ways To Improve Your Home Business

Improve Your Business

1. Get organized

Can’t see the top of your desk? Maybe it is time to organize. Take it from messy ol’ me, this can pose quite a challenge. Try this – remove everything from your desk other than your computer, keyboard and mouse. Now put back those items that you use on a daily basis. Now return anything you are working on this week. Nothing else. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better, I did.

2. Clean up your office

Now that your desk is a cleaner and happier place, it’s time to look around the room. Do you have piles of this and that laying around? How about that project that you started and never finished? Old boxes or files piled high? Once again, purge and replace. You’ll be amazed how much non-work stuff winds up hanging out in your office space.

3. Delete Delete Delete

Computers needs to by tidied up now and then. Do you have files from years past just hanging out sucking up your memory? I personally keep client audio files for a long time on an external drive, but when it comes to auditions, I keep the past 2 months worth. Everything else is delete delete delete.

4. Improve your workspace

When is the last time your office had a fresh coat of paint, new wall hangings or decals? When is the last time your moved your desk? I did all of these things within the past week and it made me feel 100% better about my office. We painted, moved my desk to a different wall, purchased a storage solution and minimized everything. I had a loveseat in my office that ended up being a catch all, so, bye bye couch.

5. Use Technology Wisely

Try using technology to keep the clutter down and stay organized. Here are some very noteworthy apps:

HabitList – create good habits
Evernote – keep notes organized
Asana – Team Tasks
Dropbox – File Sharing
Latergramme – for Instagram
HoursKeeper – Time tracking
Splashtop – remote desktop sharing

Helpful websites:
Madmimi – email
JotForm – Form making

6. Work More – Socialize Less

Social media is a very important part of your daily marketing plan. But marketing and socializing are two different things. One minute you’re checking your Facebook feed ‘real quick’ and before you know it an hour or two has passed by. Come on now, you know I’m talking to you.

7. Work in smaller chunks

There is only one of you. If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything your business requires of you, it’s time to start taking smaller bites. Divide chores into 15 minute chunks. File for 15 minutes then move on to something more fun like Tweeting. I mean bookkeeping sucks, but knowing I only have to do it for 15 minutes here and there makes it much less traumatic. Take short breaks through out the day as well.

8. Clean Out Your Inbox

Hi, my name is Rhonda and I hoard e-mail. Yep, I do. I know it’s a problem but I can’t seem to find a support group out there. So, I guess I need to take matters into my own hands. The mighty delete key holds all of the power. Unsubscribe to all the crap that fills your inbox daily. Take 15 minutes a day to tidy up your inbox.

9. Keep it professional

Those who know me know that I throw cuss words around sometimes. Ok, sometimes more than sometimes. But that is just who I am. When I’m e-mailing, dealing with clients, social media or the general public, I keep that #*&% to myself. You should too.

10. Get some fresh air

It’s cold cold cold here in Colorado, but that doesn’t stop me from getting some fresh air, even if it’s just watching my dogs play in the backyard. Take a 10 minute walk, you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel.

11. Get Creative

All work and no play makes you a very dull person. Find a creative way to express yourself outside of work. Paint, sing, take dance lessons, go on a wine tour.

12. Meet with other pros in your field

Join FB groups that make sense to your business. They will help you stay connected to the pulse of what is happening in your professional world. Go to conferences and meet-ups. Reach out and connect with a new colleague today.

13. Have fun

Think back to the excitement you felt when you first began your business. Remember how you felt when you first announced your website to the world? It’s time to figure out how to get back to that person. Get excited. Open doors. Connect. Market. Organize. Feel alive and have fun with your job. Even if you work in your pajamas!

~Your Friend In Voiceover, Rhonda

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Narrow Your Focus To Catch The Perfect Clients

Fishing on the boat. Vector retro styled illustration.

Fishing on the boat. Vector retro styled illustration.

In the big bad world of voiceover, there are many many areas in which you can specialize. Think about it this way, you are holding an umbrella and voiceover jobs are falling out of the sky. Each job lands in a separate bucket after hitting your umbrella. There are buckets labeled, “commercials”, “e-learning”, “IVR”, “audiobooks”, “animation”, etc. Of course, there are buckets within those buckets that hold their own specialties.

Some voice actors believe that they are a perfect fit for any and all voiceover jobs. Maybe that’s true but it’s probably not as true as you might think. Can your voice be all things to all people? It’s time to narrow your focus.

Ask yourself some key questions:

What delivery am I best at?
What do I feel most comfortable voicing?
What delivery does my coach think I’m best at?
Do I have the stamina for long form recording?
Do I have the acting chops to pull off characters?
Is there a market for the voiceover choices I’ve made?

For me, commercial work for radio, television and internet ads are what I’m best at. Audiobooks? Not my thing. Long form narration? Not my thing. Medical? Definitely not my thing. So why would I try to break into those genres of voiceover? I won’t – and you shouldn’t either unless they are ‘your thing’. Stick with what you do best!

You’ll also find that your marketing efforts will go much farther with a specific target audience in place. Why throw a giant net to catch a few perfect fish? Narrow your focus and target your specific audience.

Your friend in Voiceover

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4 Voice Actors Walk Into A Bar…..

4 Voice Actors Walk Into A Bar…..

Samuel is 71, Alice is 52, Brad is 36 and Sara is 21. A sign greets them at the door saying, “please wait to be seated”. Samuel says, “I see an open table” and walks over to claim it. Alice, on the other hand, waits patiently and does as the sign asks. Brad could truly care less about what the others are doing and takes this free moment to check his text messages while Sara holds up her cell phone displaying that she has already reserved a table through the bars sweet new app.

You see, Samuel is from the Veteran generation, Alice is a Baby Boomer, Brad is a GenXer and Sara is a Millennial. How does the generation gap affect their daily decisions and interactions with each other and why is it important for you understand their generational views? Let’s explore.

The Veteran: Born between 1919 – 1942, this generation makes up a smaller percentage of the U.S workforce because many have already retired. They are known as one of the hardest working and loyal generations. Veterans did what they needed to do to survive, cared for their family and took control of every situation. Technology is difficult for this generation and they would prefer to do everything the traditional way. Samuel saw an opportunity for a table and seized it. His mentality is “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

Baby Boomer: Born 1943 – 1961, this generation is filled with hard working, chain of command following, generous, respectful and dutiful individuals. They very much enjoy feedback. Hand a Baby Boomer an award for an accomplished and you will make them extremely happy. Titles are also important to the Boomer generation. CEO, Executive Assistant, Head Pencil Sharpener type titles. They keep their work life and home life completely separate. Boomers love to work and may even be called work-a-hollics. They love initiating and attending meetings and are big fans of teamwork. Although challenging at times, this generation has slowly adapted to todays digital world. For example, most Boomers would say that is distracting to use a laptop during an in-person meeting while the Millennials think it is a necessity. Since this generation is made up of rule makers and followers, Alice chose to follow the direction of the “please wait to be seated” sign.

Generation X: Born between 1962 – 1979, this generation is more cynical and has an attitude of work to live instead of live to work and may be known as the “me” generation. They have an egalitarian view of leaders. GenXers grew up with technology and are very savvy. Things like computers, video games, microwaves and MTV shaped this generation. GenXers are in search of individual freedom, human dignity, stability, tolerance, human rights, diversity and love. Working WITH you feels much better to a GenXer than working FOR you. They always want to have a voice in how things are done and are quick to take charge of any project, even if it is beyond their scope. Brad couldn’t be bothered with where to sit. Why should he be? The others are handling the situation which frees up time to do personal business.

Millennials: (AKA Generation Y) – Born in 1980 and after, this global-centric generation is optimistic, goal oriented, team focused and led. They are enthusiastic workers and learners and are diverse. Because change is so welcome to the Millennial, they will likely have around 17 jobs in their lifetime. At times, they can feel entitled and over confident. This is the generation that grew up with the Internet. Millennials require constant feedback on their work and enjoy praise and pats on the back. It is best not to put a Millennial in a cubical alone. It is very important for this generation to be in constant contact via Facebook, Skype, Google Hangouts, Texting, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etc. However, for work purposes, they prefer face-to-face interaction. The sharing of knowledge and new ideas are openly sought after. Since Sara is a child of technology, she used her cell to reserve a table during the cab ride to the restaurant. Plus, she already knew what she wanted to order thanks to the online menu. Isn’t technology cool?

So, how can you best work with all of the generations successfully?

Be Patient: People from the Veteran generation require your patience with todays technology. Understand that getting the job done is basically the only goal. No. Matter. What. Technology will be of less importance than face-to-face hard work. 

Be real: If you are working with a Baby Boomer, be sure to keep things real. Always tell it like it is. They may work longer hours than you and may question your work ethic if you don’t work quite as hard. Give them feedback in a straightforward manner, but make sure that it is useful feedback. Don’t waste a Baby Boomers time! Be thoughtful, respectful and to the point and you’ll get along just fine.

Be creative. GenXers see themselves as the force behind technological innovations. They are motivated by originality, creativity and imagination. They seek balance between work and play. A unique point-of-view is always on display from a GenXer. To get their attention, you must be a good listener and be willing to talk about solutions. Remember, the GenXer works to live. Rest assured, the project will get done, but it will get done the way they see fit.

Be connected. Millennials seek the personal interaction and participation that face-to-face communication makes possible.Often times while connecting with you face-to-face, they will be multitasking and interacting with others at the same time via the Internet. Handing out positive feedback like candy will be welcome to a Millennial. Teamwork motivates this generation. The more diverse the team is, the better off they are.

But most of all……BE AUTHENTIC. 

As a voice actor, I work with people from every generation. Even the Nexters! Knowing how a different generation thinks can help you work, manage and complete projects faster and with less emotional ties. 

I’ll keep talking if you keep listening! 

Your friend in voiceover, Rhonda.

 

Reference materials for this blog were taken from the following sources:

 

Generations At Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans,

Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace by Ron

Zemke, Claire Raines and Bob Fillpczak.

www.hermanmiller.com/research/research-summaries/

 

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Repeat After Me……

Tongue Twister = word, phrase, or sentence difficult to articulate because of a succession of similar consonantal sounds.Tongue Twister

~~ What time does the Irish wristwatch strap shop shut?

Love them or hate them, tongue twisters should be incorporated into everyones daily routine.
No matter what you do for a living, tongue twisters will help you with articulation, enunciation and diction. Who doesn’t want that?

~~ Frivolous fat Fannie fried fresh fish furiously

Tongue twisters are a great way to lighten your mood and put a smile on your face. It not only works out your tongue, but it trains your lips to move quickly to keep up the pace. And unless you are a master tongue twister, you’ll no doubt screw up the twist and say some pretty silly things, therefore, making you laugh at yourself. You can probably count on others laughing at you as well. All-the-while, without even knowing it, you’re practicing another skill: Speaking with a smile.

~~ Seventy seven benevolent elephants

As a voice actor, I get some pretty crazy scripts to record. And no, not all scripts are created equal. Run-on sentences; poor grammar; poor English; random thoughts; :41 of copy crammed into a :30 slot; crazy made-up words; difficult/impossible pronunciation; foreign words; words I’ve never heard of; technical mumbo jumbo; medical jargen; the list goes on. These are all things that I encounter on a daily basis. Sometimes things roll right off my tongue while other things trip me up repeatedly. I’ve found that doing a few tongue twisters can wake up a lazy tongue and get the words flowing.

~~ Shut up the shutters and sit in the shop

According to MIT researcher Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, the world’s trickiest tongue-twister is this:

~~ pad kid poured curd pulled cold

Enjoy this short list of tongue twisters. Its very important to speak them out loud. Reading them to yourself doesn’t count. Incorporate a few into your vocal warmups each day!

Give Papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup

Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie

A loyal warrior will rarely worry why we rule

Six sharp smart sharks

Which witch wished which wicked wish

Three gray geese in the green grass grazing
Gray were the geese and green was the grass

Chop shops stock chops

Many an anemone sees an enemy anemone

She was a thistle sifter and sifted thistles through a thistle sieve

A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk

Which witch wished which wicked wish

Many of these tongue twisters are courtesy of http://thinks.com/words/tonguetwisters.htm

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Your friend in voiceover, Rhonda.

Stay tuned for more of Rhonda’s Ramblings on her new blog at www.rhondasvoice.com.  Please be sweet and re-tweet.

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Pajamas VS Productivity

Put Some Pants OnPajamas VS Productivity

Working from home is a dream job for many. You can sleep in as late as you want, take long lunch breaks whenever you want and end your work day whenever you want. Basically, you are the boss of you. And considering that you are the boss, you are in charge of setting your workplace standards. Yes, I said standards. Wait. What? Did you think that working from home meant that you can wander the house all day in your pajamas snacking on popcorn? Yes? Well, think again. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Having the ability to work from home while wearing your pajamas seems like pure bliss. As a matter-of-fact, many of you are probably reading this blog right now while sporting your pajama pants right in the middle of a work day. Maybe you even have on a cute little pair of monster slippers or your favorite fuzzy socks. I’m not judging. I also have a favorite pair of fuzzy socks. To be quite honest, I have voiced more than one project late at night wearing my pajamas and bunny slippers, but I don’t make a habit out of it. Why? Because I am a work-from-home professional, not a stay-at-home individual who works on occasion.

Looking good = feeling great, right? We’ve all heard it over and over. If you look your best, you feel your best and in turn, you perform your best. Treating your business like a business is the first thing on the agenda. Let’s say you have an appointment to work outside of your home office or studio. Do you shower? Do you get dressed? Do you comb your hair? Ladies, apply makeup? Are regular pants making an appearance? Or, would you roll your lazy butt out of bed, brush your teeth and attend your meeting in your pj’s? I certainly hope not! Then why are you treating your home business like that?

Put on some pants. Enough said. If you want others to take you more seriously, you have to start taking yourself more seriously. Get your butt out of bed and get ready for work. Yes, work. Do I consider cleaning my house work? Yes. Do I get paid to clean my house? No. Therefore, I don’t do it during my work hours. Do I get all dressed up in my best work clothes every day? No. I can be very productive in casual business wear.  Blouse, jeans, shoes. Hair and makeup done as it would be any other day. P.S., I’m also not a wear my pj’s to the grocery store kind of gal.

Here are some tips on how to be more productive throughout your day.

 

Get up and get going: Prepare for your at-home work day the same way you would if you worked outside of the home. In other words, PUT ON SOME PANTS.
Get Organized: Make to-do lists, plan out your day every day.
Schedule your time: For those in the voiceover industry, this can be a difficult chore. Of course clients come first, but try to schedule certain times each day to do your auditions and voice work. Schedule time for social media, marketing, accounting, etc. Keeping on a schedule will help you achieve more throughout the day and get less distracted.
Keep distractions away from your work area: If you love to watch television, make sure that there is no tv in your work area.  It’s really easy for your inner slacker to talk you into just one more episode of your favorite series. Avoid that cute cat video on YouTube because you know it just leads to more and more videos. Make time for these activities before or after your work is done. The dishes, laundry and everything else can also wait until your finish your work day. It is amazing how the gravitational pull from the fridge is much less the further away from it you are. P.S. You look fabulous! Thanks for putting on some pants.
Set work hours: If your day doesn’t start until 10:00 a.m., great! Make sure you begin working at 10:00 a.m. and follow your daily schedule as planned.
Communicate your work schedule: This step is crucial for family and friends. It is easy to get pulled away from work for a million different reasons. Because you work from home means that some people will view you as not having a job.  There is a big big difference between the two. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t have a job. Reinforce this with setting, keeping and communicating your work schedule.

Work on your communication skills: Since you won’t be working with people face-to-face daily, you’ll need great communication skills for email and social media. The words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ should always be utilized!


Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Your friend in voiceover, Rhonda.
Stay tuned for more of Rhonda’s Ramblings on her new blog at www.rhondasvoice.com.  Please be sweet and re-tweet. 

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Learn how to have more fun in the booth!

Fun: It’s what we do.

Fun.  There, I said it.  Hi, my name is Rhonda and I’m addicted to having fun at work. I’m not talking fun as in holding the annual chair Olympics in cubical land.  I mean having fun every single time I step into my studio to work.  After all, happy people are more productive people. 
As a voice actor, my work changes from day to day.  One day I’ll be working on radio commercials for a large tire chain, then the next day I’ll be playing the sweet southern voice of an ATM machine for a video game. But no matter what type of script I’m working with, I do my best to always infuse the session with a little fun. Even if the final prouct is dry, you can still have fun in the booth during the session. Why? I say, why not? After all, us voice actors are just that. Actors. And if you aren’t having fun “acting” then why do you call yourself an “actor”? Granted, not all scripts are created equal.  Some just have fun written all over them while others are as dry as the Sahara desert. But no matter what, I always seem to make myself laugh at some point or another during the session. Perhaps working alone all of the time may have something to do with that? Maybe. But the bottom line is that I love to keep myself entertained and the voices in my head need to make an appearance regularly, and they do. Even my most serious reads sound better once I step outside the box and then step back in. Plus, when I’m having fun recording, the listener is having more fun listening. Having trouble having fun in the booth? Let’s work on that!
Let’s say you are recording something that requires a natural or conversational read and you are just not getting it right. Try this! (I suggest recording this entire exercise.)

Read the script as you normally would interpret it. 
Now create a new character and read the copy as that character. This character can be your annoying mother-in-law, a hyped up football player, a frightened monster, a snarky valley girl, etc.)
Don’t forget to use your body language! I mean really, what is your frightened monster’s body language saying? How about the expression on its face? Go over the top with this read.  Flail your arms around and flare those nostrils. Even though it makes no sense with the current copy, act your way through it baby.  You can do it! 
Wasn’t that fun? Do it again! This time, keep the same character but change their attitude.  Were you happy? Try being melancholy instead. How about sleepy or even sexy? 
Now that you’ve had a little fun and have stepped outside of your comfort zone, read it again normally. As you. Just you. Nothing fancy smanshy or forced, just be yourself. 
Now go back and listen to all of that nonsense.  Pay close attention to your initial “normal” read and your final “normal” read. Hear the difference? I’ll bet it’s huge!
See, having a little fun doesn’t hurt anyone! Plus, you may even discover a new character voice you didn’t even know lived inside your head. Smiling and generally being a happy camper will help your overall performance on any script. Today I push you to step outside of your “I’m all business and I can only convey that I’m all business all day every day for the rest of my life” box. Its time to unleash your fun side!

Thank you for stopping by my new blog. I’ll be writing about all types of FUN things related to the voiceover world. Feel free to share your comments on how this practice sessions goes for you. I love to hear success stories!

Until next time, keep on talkin. 

Rhonda’s Voice
www.rhondasvoice.com

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