I am an actor/musician who makes a living doing voiceovers for TV and film. Living here in Los Angeles, I've been at it full time almost a year doing projects for Sony (Beyond: Two Souls), Dell, Kia, and many other brands. Currently, I am in production for a few animated projects, which I'm excited about. It always surprises me how little people actually know about the VO industry and how it works, so I thought, "Hey, why not do an AMA??"

My Proof: http://www.beaustephenson.com/ http://www.beaustephenson.com/voice-demos.html

Update: It's not too late to chime in! I have a newborn (1 week old), so I basically don't sleep anyway.

EDIT: Wow, the response has been amazing! Thanks guys for your awesome questions. Since I do work, I'll be in and out of the booth the rest of the night, but keep 'em coming! I'll keep answering as long as there's questions. Cheers!

Edit: Sorry for the spelling and grammar flubs. I change them as I see them. I'm typing as fast as I can to keep up with all the great questions!

Comments: 233 • Responses: 103  • Date: 

sleepy5529 karma

Do you ever record over pornos in your own voice to give it a feeling of reality?

FoggyInclination26 karma


sleepy5531 karma

Are you gonna try it after my suggestion?

FoggyInclination24 karma

hahaha... I did an asthma radio spot a few months ago. I could just use that heavy breathing. Sounds the same to my ears.

bigbadwimp17 karma

What would you say are the most important aspects of being a VO guy? The voice? The delivery? Luck?

FoggyInclination35 karma

The most important, obviously, is talent. But some people approach me and say, "I have a knack for this! When can I start?" When in reality, there is a butt load of work involved developing that talent through coaching, practice, and listening. Aside from that, there is a lot of hard working talent out there that don't get anywhere because their home studios aren't good enough. The sonic quality of the recording is how you present yourself to the world, so it has to be amazing. Even if your voice isn't "the best" (whatever that means), if you can mix/master or EQ yourself well, then you can compete. The delivery is always important. I find I have the best "luck" when I try to just be myself, experiment, or just do something that happens in the moment. The auditions where I have a funny little unique moment, have a fun rhythm, or just do something straight up sexy is when I land the job. Luck is for losers. I find that the harder I work, the luckier I get. There's no luck in doing 30-60 auditions a day, cold calling production houses, online marketing, and word of mouth. It takes an inane amount of work to get things going. I'm at a point now where I don't have to do that many auditions a day because there is a flow of work. I hope that answers your question. Thanks for asking bigbadwimp!! Happy New Year.

WiggleBooks1 karma

Wow thanks for that answer!

Also: what are the purposes of coaches? Can you tell us about some of your experiences with them? What did you sound like before coaching? After coaching?

FoggyInclination7 karma

No problem! Coaches, like in any sport, help you get to the next level in your skill. They've been there, the've done that, they can be that voice in the dark guiding you along. All of my coaches in acting have left an impact on me. While I haven't had one on one time with a coach for VO on a regular basis, I have listened to countless podcasts, read articles, participated in conferences, and had veterans give me feedback on my recordings. The difference before and after learning and mastering a technique is amazing. For example, the "1,2,3" rule is simply reading the first sentence of text out loud 3 times before going into the rest of it. Supposedly, by the third pass of the first sentence, your brain has tuned into where it needs to be and the rest of the performance will go a lot smoother. After learning that from a coach and implementing it into my auditioning, I noticed that they were sounding much more polished, even after just a single take.

I hope that helps answer your question!

Smeg-Head13 karma

What have you voiced before? Anything famous? Have you ever been recognised in public from your voice?

FoggyInclination22 karma

Right now, my flow of work is in the vein of "explainer," "narrator," and "promo." My biggest gig in the last 6 months was the European campaign for Sony's "Beyond: Two Souls." That one got seen by millions of people internationally, so that was a thrill. A lot of my VO heroes reached out to me and congratulated me, so that made me feel just straight up swell. The hard thing with voiceover is even the big dogs in this industry don't get a lot of attention. Even for dramatic reads that are mind-blowingly good, they aren't acknowledged in awards ceremonies, like the Oscars. I would really like to see that change, because we work our little asses off to be amazing and then get little credit for it after. But, as a result, most VO guys and gals are the most humble people you'll ever meet. You'd never know they just cashed a check for a few hundred thousand.

hbomberman7 karma

I think Tom Kenny referred to himself as something like 'one of the most famous people you don't know.' If you do enough, regular people occasionally notice that the voice/announcer on X sounds like the one from Y. And if you hit it super big and people really start to notice you, you might be known by something like "the 'In a world' guy" (real name Don Lafontaine, rip).

FoggyInclination5 karma

That is true. Usually character actors get more famous because of the personality they've created. Tom Kenny, Dan Castellaneta, Bob Bergan for example. Because Don did SO much announcing, he dominated his niche and is ingrained in all of our memories.

Smoked_Herb1 karma

If they did start acknowledging it at the Oscars, it would be a great year for video games. People like Steve Downes and Jeff Steitzer getting awards for their voices :)

FoggyInclination1 karma

Now you're talking. Totally agree.

NotYerDad13 karma

With more "A" list actors doing VO (Julia Roberts, Matt Damon...), do you feel it threatens your means of making a living? Or do you believe this trend is simply a fad?

FoggyInclination5 karma

No, not at all. The reality is using those guys is tremendously expensive. They get paid the same whether they are on camera or in the booth, so productions have to be able to cover those costs. While Matt Damon may get a few million dollars for a VO part, in a similar production down the road I could be hired to do something for half a million. As an unknown, that's freaking awesome cash. The production saves money, I make bank, and everyone is happy.

reddithaus13 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA. Do you have any advice how to improve my "normal talking voice"?

FoggyInclination22 karma

No problem! This is really fun and I am overwhelmed by all who are participating. So thank YOU!

What I notice a lot is that people talk in a part of their voice that doesn't resonate. The best way to improve your own voice is to open up your vowels a little bit, annunciate the consonants, and try to brighten things up. Brighter voices are louder because the tones cut through the air and resonate. Theatrical voices, like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are perfect examples of resonant voices that can be heard from far away without ever yelling.

Even though Lake Bell is being funny in this, try out her exercise she teaches Conan here: http://teamcoco.com/video/lake-bell-vocal-coach It actually freaking works! Report back to me in 30 minutes.

SecretAgent576 karma

What I notice a lot is that people talk in a part of their voice that doesn't resonate.

Especially young people today. A pleasant, resonant speaking voice was once a desirable asset, a charm to be cultivated. Few seem to realize or care anymore.

FoggyInclination6 karma

You my friend will like this then: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mksQ-8IG1WQ Kills me every time.

panamafloyd3 karma

Wow, that was fantastic. I actually haven't done any voice work in 25 years (local DJ making commercials), but the man hits the nail on the head. (Doesn't he? :D )

Unfortunately, becoming a pro doesn't seem like it's possible for me. I started smoking cigarettes again when I left radio. But when I hear Jon Bengamin, that temptation comes back. Is there any interest in the industry for those of us who are a little "raspy", or has Jon cornered the entire market for that sound?

FoggyInclination4 karma

Don Lafontaine smoked his whole life, and he was the king. Here's the thing, Jon Bengamin doesn't have your voice, so no, he has only cornered his niche. If you find your own voice, that is where your success will come from ultimately if you follow the VO career path.

panamafloyd1 karma

Thanks, man! I'm not trying to become a national sensation here..I just got laid off from the middle-class technical job I had, and the new one stinks. I'm just hoping I can pick up some local money doing ads again.

Lafontaine was a smoker?!?! Hate to admit it, but I'm actually kind of inspired by that. "In a world where people need extra income..." :D

EDIT: Yeah, I'll have to try those exercises you mentioned earlier. I think I'm more of a bass than a baritone..but I came to that conclusion while trying to shove it up high enough to sing Elvis Costello songs back in the day. I guess I really don't know. "ONE - two! -THREE -four! -FIVE..", etc. Thanks for the AMA, man. Gave me a lot to think about!

FoggyInclination3 karma

I mean, smoking is definitely bad for your health, but it makes for some cool sounding voices! Just so you know, though, he died a couple years ago from a spontaneous pnuemo-thorax. Basically, his lung popped suddenly. Fun fact: I've had major surgery on both lungs for spontaneous pnuemo-thorax. It almost killed me! And I've never even smoked!

panamafloyd1 karma

I actually had to look up pnuemo-thorax. Scary stuff. I'm glad you got through it. And sad that that's how Don went out..sounds painful.

FoggyInclination2 karma

Yeah it was terrible/terrifying when it happened. But that's a whole 'nother story. It is sad considering he was at his prime. He's missed by a lot of people.

reddithaus1 karma

Thanks so much! I am on a bus somewhere in Thailand right now, so it would look bit strange to start exercisea right here haha I'll do it as soon as possible and report back!

FoggyInclination1 karma

That's amazing! My uncle lived in Thailand for many years. He speaks like 8 languages or something. Crazy guy. Travel safe!

glrvsqz8 karma

How do you get started in this industry? People always comment on my voice & recommend VO but I have no clue where to start.

FoggyInclination4 karma

Check out my answer to nebnamfuak's question above. And the same stands for you that I offered him/her/her-him (you never know), PM me if you are really interested. Just know there is a TON of auditioning involved. If that doesn't scare you, then you CAN do this!

Nhsunray7 karma

I've always wondered how much money the really recognizable guys in your field make. Should you "make it big" what would be the yearly salary range you could expect?

FoggyInclination18 karma

Wow, that's really hard to say. The earnings potential in this field is limitless. The great "In a World" voice of the late Don Lafontaine made millions a year. He dominated a niche in the industry that he pretty much carved out himself. I think that is the key for anyone in this is to carve a niche for their voice that people couldn't imagine casting anyone else for. Right now, my niche is either the Jason Bourne-esque dramatic read, or the friendly guy-next-door, Casey Kasem style. Some of my friends make $50,000 a year, others upwards of $350,000. It's really a matter of the demand of your niche. For this year, I'll just hit 6 figures, which I am super excited about. It's been a long hard road to make it happen. I can't wait for next year!

WalkingBoy1 karma

can you explain what you mean by carving a niche? i don't follow what all you mean by that, what you have to do for that, etc. thanks!

FoggyInclination4 karma

Basically, finding what your voice naturally does best. For example, some people have a knack for animation. They are really good at character work and breathing life into 2D ideas. Other people, however, are better at narration, working in documentaries and other forms of storytelling. Or, perhaps your voice is very formal and professional sounding. In that case, maybe corporate training and eLearning is what you should do. There are so many different kinds of VO jobs out there, it's important to figure out the areas that you can excel in, then with a coach, get as good as possible. Does that help?

WalkingBoy2 karma

yes, thank you!

FoggyInclination2 karma

Ok good! I'm glad I could clarify myself.

Sckeckle6 karma

I've noticed there's been a huge decline of deep, gravelly, badass VO's (like the Raiders Nation ads) since the 2000s. They've mostly been replaced with nasaly, indifferent sounding voices. Do you know if there is a reason for this? When did a nasaly voice become more apt to grab the consumer's attention to sell a product than a deep voice and why?

FoggyInclination19 karma

Deep voices have traditionally been associated with loud, in your face style voiceovers. That used to work really well for TV to get people to listen. Since then, advertisers have realized that people just change the channel or turn down the volume. They are finding now that natural sounding baritones are much more pleasant and believable to listen to. Lucky for me, I'm a baritone! But I agree with you, the nasally poop I hear on informercials and celebrity gossip shows makes me want to stuff razors and drano in my ears.

SecretAgent575 karma

I used to perform on-camera in industrial videos, mostly for the medical and aerospace fields. Luckily, I have a knack for difficult and/or technical material. Now that I'm a bit older (and a lot less attractive) I'm thinking about returning to this work as voice-over talent only. Do you have any suggestions for finding industrial work? Also, if you could buy just one mic for a home studio, what would it be?

Edit: I just listened to some of your demos. I like your authenticity, your approachability, and the little nuances.

FoggyInclination6 karma

For finding any kind of work, an agent is super! Also, creating a profile on places like Voice123.com, Voices.com, and Bodalgo.com is a great idea. Buying a mic is hard because it all comes down to what sounds good on your voice. A $100 mic could sound great on you while a $6,500 one could be terrible. I would recommend going to a store somewhere where you can do a mic-shootout and test a bunch. As far as bang for the buck, check out the MiC from Apogee. That puppy is my travel solution and sounds legit. I've done several national spots for Fox and Kia with it and the clients had no idea.

SecretAgent575 karma

My son's a musician so we already have both an SM-57 and an SM-58, as well as an interface for the computer. We also have a Blue Yeti USB mic. Is any of that enough to get started?

FoggyInclination4 karma

As far as getting your voice recorded, learning how to work the mic, and getting the experience of EQing, absolutely. To be competitive in the job market, you'll want to learn as much about sound design as possible so you can really make your voice shine. Also, typically condenser mics are the money makers for VO because they capture so much more detail than the SM 57-58s. As a result, you have to be able to control acoustics and floor noise, so a booth will be necessary. Converting a closet works great to start! What kind of interface do you have?

SecretAgent575 karma

A PreSonus Firebox that we use with Cubase LE. We also have Audition. Thanks for the tips!

FoggyInclination5 karma

Nice interface! That should work nicely. Can you record at at least 48000kHz? Audition is perfect! Lots of VO guys use it. Since I'm a musician, I work in Logic Pro X, but that's definitely overboard for just VO.

tglo3 karma

48000Hz ;)

FoggyInclination1 karma

USB mics are fine for podcasts and things like that, but for VO, it's better to have a bus powered condenser. With the interface you have, just plug in and go at it!

SecretAgent571 karma

I'll have to check on the 48000Hz issue. Thanks again for all the help and best wishes for continued success!

FoggyInclination1 karma

No problem! And thank you! Cheers!

FoggyInclination1 karma

And thank you for listening to my demos. It's always nice for me to get feedback from strangers. So thank you! :)

wuggie4 karma

I'm just a teenager, and one thing I would want to do is voice acting. What are some tips you would give for practicing and becoming a pro like you?

FoggyInclination7 karma

That makes my heart sing to hear that from you. Here are some tips to get your voice sounding sexy:

1: Speak up: Try and express yourself in front of groups of people at school, church, in your family, or anywhere really. Get into the habit of using your voice to convince others, to soothe, to make them laugh, to frighten, to apologize, to say you love them. If you can use your voice to sincerely connect with others, you are well on your way.

2: Do some theater! Theater is the BEST place to get direct feedback. Other actors, directors, and audiences will help you gauge where you are and what you have to work on.

3: Listen. As much as possible. The more you hear and recognize, the easier it will be in the years to come to nail auditions because you will understand the context of a script and the style needed. Especially for character work, you need to have real life experiences that you can think back on. If you hear something that really hits you, write it down, save it, or anything where you can refer back to it again.

4: Be tenacious. Let this passion engulf you. Don't be afraid to do other things because all your experience will come back to help you as a pro creatively.

5: Learn as much as possible about sound engineering. In this day and age, you can build an AMAZING studio, and it is getting more and more affordable. At some point, buy a condenser mic, convert a closet into a booth, and record yourself as much as possible. Use recording software to EQ, mix, master, and experiment. It's a lot of work, but tons of fun. If you can be your own engineer, you'll have access to WAY more work.

If you want to learn more, check out Bill DeWees on Youtube. He is incredible and has a ton of videos on how to get your VO business going. Thanks for your question wuggie. Keep me updated with your progress!

wuggie4 karma

Perfect! I like public speaking and talking a lot. Your advice will be my guide, you better be right.

Thanks for this!


FoggyInclination3 karma

LOL - You'll find your own path and discover things that are "right" for you, and then you can pass those little nuggets on to others. Keep me updated on how things go!

evano903 karma

What's your go-to cure for losing your voice?

FoggyInclination9 karma

Sex. lol. Actually, that's not too far from the truth. And sleep. Water. A magical tea called "throat coat." I'm telling you, this stuff is like getting a blessing straight from Jesus. I'll gargle at night with honey, then in the morning my voice is back. It has slippery elm and licorice root in it, which both have been proven to be the only things known to actually speed up healing in the vocal tissues.

AlphaQ693 karma

I have a HUGE problem with losing my voice. I hae a midly deep voice and don't speak extremely loud naturally. I'll lose my voice very easily though and it's so annoying.

You say, you just gargle this tea with added honey and it helps?

edit: I moved to LA for university but I haven't been able to enjoy LA too much. How do you like living here?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Well, it does help if you have a normally healthy voice. It sounds like perhaps maybe something in your habits is causing the issue, such as dehydration. It's hard to know unless I could be there with you. Drinking plenty of water and getting good sleep is the absolute surest way to have a healthy voice. Beyond that, it might be a good idea to take a visit to the doctor and see what he thinks. I hope you figure it out! Let me know.

FoggyInclination1 karma

I love it here, but I actually live in Pasadena, just a few minutes outside of the hustle and bustle. It's a beautiful city and my rent is really decent. We can walk everywhere we need to go and people sing in the streets and spontaneously start hugging strangers. It's wonderful. I may have exaggerated a bit, but living here has been a blessing. Downtown LA scares me, so I avoid it unless I have an audition. But usually those are in Beverly Hills.

startin-over3 karma

put something up on the site so we know it's not just random dude claiming to be beau stephenson.

FoggyInclination7 karma

Your wish is my command: http://www.beaustephenson.com/

nebnamfuak3 karma

As somebody who wants to move out to La to chase dreams and whatnot, How can one start doing voice work? It's really something I would love to do as apart of my career.

FoggyInclination8 karma

Well, I think that's fantastic. I came out here with my wife, with no monies, and a crack-load of debt. But we did it. She's a costume designer, and fracking talented, so I relied on her, and she on me. If you do move out here, if you can't bring someone with you, make a support group you can turn to when poop hits the fan. You'll need someone to help you scrape fecal off your face.

First thing would be to do some cold reads for someone already established in the industry who will be 100% honest about where you are right now and what they think your potential is. I've seen some god-awful talent jump the gun and make a horrible first impression with casting directors. Even years later after developing the talent, these casting people remember names.

PM me if you are really interested, I'd like to help!

Thergal1 karma

Hey, I hope this goes for more people, I sent you a PM, hope you reply to it ! :)

FoggyInclination1 karma

I've been getting a lot, but I will get to all of them in the next day or two! Thanks for stopping by Thergal! Cheers.

Thergal1 karma

Hey usually I don't get a response at all in AMAs that I'm interested in, so take your time. :)

FoggyInclination2 karma

Cool man! I'm trying to respond to everyone. I had no idea this many people were going to participate! haha

ADuck0nQuack3 karma

Do you ever wake up one day and almost forget how to do a voice?

FoggyInclination9 karma

Hahaha, that's so funny you said that. A few weeks ago I landed a gig doing the VO for a character that was supposed to be an "urban" youth, which is just a PC way of saying black. Anyway, I had the voice all figured out, natural sounding, then went to bed. When I got up in the morning and started recording, I sent it off and the client called me and was like, "WTF happened to you??? You sound like Donkey for Shrek!!!" So, needless to say, I had to figure out what went wrong. For me, jumping back into a voice I've learned is a matter of finding trigger phrases. For Irish, I always say, "There's plenty of chicken for the baby," then I'm good to go.

fallopian_wolf6 karma

That's awesome. What are some other trigger phrases for accents?

FoggyInclination13 karma

For French: "Have a piece of cheese." or "There are so many really beautiful women in the alley."

Scottish: "That's great! Try to tell me more about your couch."

Russian: "The motherland is a place of wonder and beauty."

Elvis: "Hey baby, thank you very much."

Animal: "WooooMAN!"

TrepanningForGold3 karma

That makes me think of a bit with Jimmy Carr talking about accents.

FoggyInclination3 karma

This is so brilliant!!! hahaha "I want some chicken and a can of coke." Good stuff. Thanks for the link! I'm adding that to my go-to file.

hbomberman1 karma

That's awesome. I don't do VO work (except some small radio stuff a couple years ago) but I've noticed that I was using trigger phrases whenever my accents started to go awry (sometimes the accent fades/transforms if I keep talking for a while). The one that sticks out in my mind is a Sean Connery imitation; I just say "Sean Connery" and it pulls me back where I need to be with the voice.
Cool to see I was doing something kinda like an actual VO pro.

FoggyInclination6 karma

Haha! That is funny! Accents are literally your mouth muscles holding an unnatural position for as long as you are talking. Just like doing a pushup, those muscles get tired, so that's why even if you are pro at an accent, it can change a shift a little after a while. A few weeks ago I was doing a 2 hour corporate narration in a Russian accent (why, I have no freaking idea, but that's what the client wanted), and I had to stop and take breaks about every 10 minutes. I noticed my tongue getting really fatigued. It's crazy stuff!

Sabin2k1 karma

I love listening to interviews with Tara Strong. It's amazing how quickly and perfectly she can just switch in and out of any of her HUGE background of characters.

Sorry for the aside, thought I would mention it.

FoggyInclination2 karma

She is a mega talent and someone I look up to. She definitely knows her craft.

icouldcarelessman3 karma

How was it working for Sony?

FoggyInclination5 karma

They were incredible. My favorite experience so far. Very professional and aware of the whole process. Unlike a lot of people, they went out of their way to ask me questions about what I thought and even listened! I'm not high and mighty, but it's really nice to feel like you are being valued while working on a project. Plus the money was awesome, so there's that.

BadGirlSneer2 karma

What female voice melts you?

FoggyInclination2 karma

The girls that do those face cream commercials. That "maybe it's maybelline" voice is freaking awesome, too. Angelina Jolie also has a wickedly sultry voice that is too legit 2 quit.

BadGirlSneer2 karma

How about the sexiest and least sexy accents?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Least sexy: Russian, Scottish, Indian

Sexiest: Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Argentinian, Castillian), Italian, French, Elvis (Tennessee), Deep and sultry black man (Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman)

BadGirlSneer2 karma

Great AMA. Good energy in here. And thanks.

FoggyInclination1 karma

No problem! I'm having a blast! Thanks for stopping by.

sleepy552 karma

Would you rather fight 100 voice actor sized horses or 1 horse sized horse actor?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Well, I'll pick the horse sized horse actor, assuming it's an actual horse and not some terribly deformed human with elephantitis. Then, I'd saddle up and rodeo bareback into the sunset. The end.

sleepy552 karma

Ok, but I'm still waiting on that voice dubbed porno

FoggyInclination1 karma

You mean, like, add in thoughtful and clever banter?

Sponge_Pants2 karma

Can you record my voicemail?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Yes sir! I'll cut you a deal. PM me or send me a quick message here: http://www.beaustephenson.com/contact.html

TheAwkwardest2 karma

How difficult was it to learn the necessary software skills to present your voice talent?

How did you go about doing it?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Adobe Audition seems to be really popular with the VO crowd, but a simpler one that also works great is Twisted Wave, which also has a mobile version that has gotten rave reviews.

FoggyInclination1 karma

Well, there are many different DAWs out there. All of them with different application in mind. Personally, I use Logic Pro X because it is very user friendly, but can do anything I want, no matter how complex. Also, because of my music production, I was using this software years before going into VO full time. Actually, it might be too much software for just doing VO, but I really like all the control I have with it. It's just a matter of jumping in and clicking around your project. Have an end goal in mind for each session. If there is something you want to do, but you don't know how, there are millions of youtube videos out there that will walk you through anything. Even now after years working in Logic, I still have to every now and again go search for some help with something I haven't done before.

ned_burfle2 karma

I listened to your demo on the website and you sound great! What elements of your voice are most critical for your success and how did you develop them?

FoggyInclination6 karma

Thank you kind sir! I think so far, the part of my voice that people want badly enough to call me up with jobs is that natural, laid back, sexy baritone sound. It's always turned my wife on, and now it pays our bills! Ha! Developing that came about doing a project with a director friend of mine who was doing some spec ads for Gold's Gym. He gave me lots of great feedback and direction until we dialed in that voice. Gold's ended up loving the spec, buying it, and make 8 more for a regional campaign in Utah/Idaho/Nevada. The minute I added it to my demo reel, the phone started ringing. That was just a big fat blessing.

The other part of my business is doing accents. I do lots of them. They have come about from a childhood addicted to the BBC and other international channels and movies. My mom used to read to me in funny voices, so I was just a weird kid walking around trying to sound like other people. Later on, I used those basic skills in theater, where I got a lot better at it. Since those days, I've polished up dozens of accents I can whip out in a moments notice for auditions. It just takes a good ear, lots of practice, a sense of humors, and a knack for music.

irisexton2 karma

Wow, you got one sexy voice. You can make things right for me! But I need more than music to bring us together. My heart be skipping the beats.

FoggyInclination2 karma

You know it! haha!

donovanisthedonoman2 karma

I feel as though I am pretty good, and I practice everyday, but there's one thing I've had trouble with, and that's changing my average voice. Doing accents and old man voices and the such isn't easy, but I've gotten close to getting a hang of it. The problem is changing the tone of my normal speaking voice. Any tips on this? Take for an example, Tara Strong swtiching her voice to Timmy Turner's.

And thanks for doing this AMA, I've aspired to be a voice actor for a long time and I have been trying to get answers out of a professional source.

FoggyInclination2 karma

The key to every VO success story is doing what comes naturally first. Whatever your voice does on its own is what is going to sound the most convincing. Especially right now, there is a craze for natural sounding VO.

But, with that aside, to answer your questions, it just takes experimentation. It's like me trying to teach you how to whistle. I can throw a butt load of adjectives at you, but ultimately, you just have to blow, and blow well. Really listen to the voices you hear, and mess around with the different sounds your voice can do. Basically, you'll sound like a complete lune to your neighbors, but it's the only way to discover new voices. I hope that helps.

HexagonStorms2 karma

Mr. Stephenson, thank you for this AMA.

I work for my college radio station as a radio host, DJ, and production director. I am gaining a good amount of production experience in editing, voice recording, script-writing, and training. Our station even conducts radio dramas, which i frequently take part in. While I do not really see a career in radio, i have a strong interest in voice-over directing and/or acting.

Where is a good place for me to start looking for work after graduation? I also saw your answer about creating profiles in voices123.com and the like and I'm definitely creating profiles, but I am not sure how someone becomes a casting/voice over director for a studio.

Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you again!

FoggyInclination3 karma

Hey hexa, great question. All the casting directors I know got into it through casting their own projects. Using voicebank.net, voices.com, voice123.com, and other agency talent directories, you should start making an "A List" of talent that you really like. With this in hand, you can approach production houses and say, "Hey, I can cast talent you need. I have access to hundreds of fabulous voices ready to audition as needed." This will save productions a ton of time, so they would totally be willing to pay you to do it. These are literally just a few ideas of a dozen ways you can go about doing it. Since I don't cast talent myself, I don't have a "how-to" yet, but I think you'll have luck with my ideas. PM me your email or something. Let's keep talking. I know people who could help someone like you with skills.

Dabee6252 karma

Completely unrelated, but are you at all related to that guy tattooed guy in the mugshot that pops up when I google you?

FoggyInclination2 karma

HAHAHA... No, but that's hilarious. I've googled myself before (who doesn't), and I've seen that thug before. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbk4Bvic5jA

FreeToiletPaper2 karma

How would you reccomend getting into the industry? I would love nothing more than to be a voice actor.

Also, and feel free to say no, but if I were to send you my Youtube in a PM, would you be willing to tell me what you think?

FoggyInclination1 karma

I would recommend that you figure out how you can start auditioning as much as possible. To get an agency interested, learn how to record at home with a condenser mic into a quality audio interface using good software that you can EQ voice with and edit your performances. I've given some good tips in some of the other answers to questions like yours, so take a look at those for more elaboration!

I would love to see your youtube! Send it over. :)

FreeToiletPaper2 karma

Thanks! I have a condensor, but it has been a nightmare getting it working. Now im waiting for Presonus to have me send my audiobox in for repair so i can finally make it work. Until then I guess I have to keep using my Rockband mic. haha

FoggyInclination1 karma

What kind of condenser is it? Most of them require phantom power. Have you been able to supply it with power?

FreeToiletPaper2 karma

It does require the phantom power. I bought it before i knew that, so it has been sitting around since July. My Audiobox that I just got will not work with my Mac, so i have to send it in for repair before I cna use it at all.

FoggyInclination1 karma

That sucks! The very best for Mac is "The Duet" from Apogee. If you can even buy a used Firewire one, I'd say jump on it. It's fabulous.

FreeToiletPaper1 karma

I would love to, but the price is a bit high for what isn't bringing in money so far. haha

Someday I'll do much needed upgrades, but for now the Audiobox will do

FoggyInclination1 karma

I understand. This week I am investing in a professional grade sound booth installation into my studio. For the past year, I have been using one I built myself. While it works just fine, I am excited for the cush of a great recording booth.

FreeToiletPaper1 karma

That's awesome! I'm getting there bit by bit. About a year ago, I got a foam wind cover for my rock and mic. At the time I thought I was living large. Then the other day I added a pop filter. Haha

FoggyInclination1 karma

Little by little, bit by bit. That's cool man. haha If you don't mind me asking, what is your rock?

mattroes2 karma

Listened to your demo reel, you have a really nice voice. Giving great answers here, too, thanks for doing this AMA.

Any horror stories during a production you want to share? Losing your voice or something along those lines?

FoggyInclination3 karma

Thank you! And thanks for stopping by!

One time I had a director literally have me painstakingly record each phrase of the script like 50 times. I thought I was going to scream. "Actually, could you say 'the cat' with more of a yellow tone and more upwards in emphasis so that it flows better into the part about the mother who kills her own baby? This is all really important stuff here....." It was a terrible terrible experience.

Pretty much all of my horror stories have to do with working on cheap-skate budgets with picky clients. I swear, the less they pay, the more demands they have. I had a 30 second job a couple weeks ago that paid a few thousand dollars. It literally took me an hour to finish. The client was happy, and that was that. Another job last week was a 3 minute explainer video for about $350, and it took several days going back and forth with the client. There's something to my theory. Maybe you can explain the phenomena better than I.

mattroes1 karma

I've had a few jobs editing ads and noticed the same thing! Maybe there's some correlation to companies being successful and companies being easy to work with? Who knows!

Thanks for the response, hope you have happy new year.

FoggyInclination2 karma

I think the clients with money are going to trust you as a professional, while ones that are pinching pennies are trying to get as much as possible out of every dollar. Idk, that could be it though.

And Happy New Year to you, too!

unclePhill2 karma


FoggyInclination2 karma

I've acted for a long time in Theater and wanted to do film. My first ever agency audition was for the part of "the young Irish lad" for a documentary about the Titanic. I walked in and because no one was looking at me while I read, all my nerves left and I totally rocked it. They hired me on the spot. From that point on, it all started to percolate in my brain. It was so much fun. About 2 years later (late January), I moved to LA with my wife and started auditioning a ton. I've been doing this ever since.

teachthecontroversy2 karma

How often do you have to read from something you've never seen before? Or do you always get the chance to read through what you're about to say before delivering?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Occasionally I'll direct book with someone who wants to record that very minute. Even in those situations I'll ask for 10 minutes to look things over. They never have a problem with that simply because it makes the session go much smoother if I've at least read over things a couple of times. When they all of sudden say, "Oh that's not the most recent script, let me shoot over the new one," during the session, I'll still take 1 or 2 minutes to read over things.

Vileplumebitch2 karma

Hi! I've been interested in getting into voice acting but haven't a clue where to start. How did you start off?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Check out some of my responses here in the forum to questions similar to yours. Also, check out Bill DeWees on Youtube for a treasure trove of info! He's amazing, and also a really great person and friend of mine. If I missed anything you want to know in the forum, then hit me up again with your question and I will answer to the best of my ability!! :) Happy New Year!

WalkingBoy2 karma

forgive me, I just now saw this, but where's a good place to learn about recording and producing/engineering audio? (in general, not just for voice acting.) I'd love to learn, but I have no idea where to start...

Thanks!; happy new year as well

FoggyInclination3 karma

Check out Gearslutz.com. World class engineers gather here hourly to chat about audio. It also has a directory of posts that guide you through the rudiments of sound, mixing, mastering all the way to the most complicated and advanced topics. It's the very best place I've ever found. I hope that helps. Let me know what you think! Cheers.

jonfromsydney2 karma

I am a full time professional Voice over actor 20 years with ten years of part time before that.

Having a good, deep voice is like inheriting a Stradivarius violin. Learning to play the instrument is still the hardest part.

Read things outloud, record it, listen back. Compare to what you hear on TV/radio. Learn what makes a good v/o good and a bd v/o bad. Learn why some of the inflections on words differ from the way you normally say something. Do this every day. After a while it will start to make sense. When I was at school I read a page from the broadsheet newspaper out loud every day (ads and all) and listened back to it critically.

Learn to read several words ahead on the page. Your brain assimilates the words better that way and you will find it rolls off the tongue easier.

Learn spelling and grammar. You need to know exactly what the writer meant to say and the context in which the director needs it to be said.

If you are serious, GET VOICE TRAINING. Like any form of acting there are technical bits you must know. Either you learn this by trial and error over 10 years like I did before I started to get regular work, or you can have a professional give you the heads up on things like being directed in a pressure situation, intonation, energy levels, proper breathing techniques, and getting a 29 second script into exactly 29 seconds (30 second TV Audio tracks run to 29 secs to give 0.5 secs silence at beginning and end. No exceptions).

Just a few of the many facets to learn but it's rewarding work after you start getting enough of it.

Good luck!

FoggyInclination1 karma

Good point Jon! Thanks. These are things I try to tell potential talents all the time. Hopefully someone reads this and takes it to heart.

ifoundyourtoad1 karma

What is something an aspiring voice actor can do to go up the ranks? I personally actually just recorded some stuff with Funimation and it was incredible. I want to make a voice over, but I'm unsure how to make it good.

Thanks again, I've always wanted to do what you're doing, so seeing this has got me all excited and I do hope you see this.

FoggyInclination1 karma

I think "moving up the ranks" is an idea you should shy away from. All casting directors, creative directors, and directors care about is your delivery of their lines in the way they want to hear. If you can do that, then the job is yours! It's unbelievably simple, but also gives you something to focus on obsessively: your talent. Get those chops into shape by reading a LOT, listening a LOT, and getting feedback from people you respect. Get with an agency, find auditions online, and do all you can to get heard by the decision makers when you feel you are ready to do that.

You can do it! It's a mother-truckin' load of work, but it's so much fun. I love what I do, too! It's a blessing in my life, but not one that came without busting my butt.

bpobnnn1 karma

As an improviser, I have a lot of trouble with accents. Do you have any tips for creating a solid accent? How about recalling it on the spot?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Accents are funny. It's all oral placement and muscle memory. There are books that are helpful. This one is amazing: http://www.amazon.com/Accents-Actors--Revised-Expanded-Edition/dp/087910967X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388396719&sr=8-1&keywords=learning+accents I used it to learn Irish for a play about 8 years ago. It also just requires the ability to listen really well and mimic phrases. It all starts with a single word, then a phrase, then a sentence, then a thought. There's almost a musicality, rhythm, and playfulness when discovering an accent. I usually zone in on the attitude and the rest follows suit. I love the BBC and other international channels. They help a lot. Recalling accents is easy if you have trigger phrases that you can say at anytime that pull you back into the accent. I've gone into that here already on another Q. Take a peek down there to get more ideas.

I hope that helps!

Tanjinuts1 karma

Do you ever go in real clothes or just in pajamas? I would go in pjs everyday

FoggyInclination3 karma

When I work and audition at home, yes, every single day. I am the pajama King, and my microphone is my megaphone to the world. Together we conquer lands both near and far.

SirGingerBeard1 karma

I guess I'm a little late to the party here, but everyone I know tells me I have the kind of voice for voice acting. How would I go about getting into doing it? I'm still in high school so I've got time, and it's always something I have thought about doing and would love to do.

FoggyInclination1 karma

That's great! Well first off, take a look through this forum at some of the ideas I've given people about getting started. If there is anything that comes to mind while you're reading through, feel free to ask me. The main thing is to just start performing, reading, and developing your voice as much as you can. Focus on your strengths and use your resources to improve. Then at some point, start auditioning as much as possible through an agent, online, and for anything else you can find.

SirGingerBeard1 karma

I will do that! But I do have a question about something I've seen come up a bunch; What do you mean by "developing" your voice?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Developing your voice involves identifying your range (bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano), learning about proper vocal placement, and practicing a lot. Coaches are great in this regard because they help you understand where you are right now vocally and where you can get to with the right exercise.

SirGingerBeard1 karma

I sing in 7 choirs, 3 of which are professional, the other four are at my high school and we are one of the top choirs in the state. (Fun fact for you, I'm singing Beethovens Ninth symphony tomorrow night! :D) Is voice acting in regards to vocal placement and range similar in any way/shape or form?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Absolutely. In fact, singers and musicians going into VO tend to have a leg up because they have developed their ears so well. There is a musicality in the way we speak, and it is something that is hard to put into words. If you can bring that same kind of flow and interest to a block of text that you bring to a song, then the performance is going to engage and touch the listener.

Samkingbass1 karma

Hi, do you notice a demand for session musicians in your industry? I'm a bassist and have done a little session work/writing for iphone games but 99% is for bands in a recording studio. It seems like up here in Vancouver everyone who runs voice-over/jingle businesses do bass well enough to not need 3rd parties.

FoggyInclination1 karma

I think trying to book sessions with VO/Jingle businesses is going to be tough because most of those guys are musicians themselves who can manage to pull together their own demos just fine. Do you write music at all, or just perform? There certainly is a demand for good music, but session musicians typically have the most competition. Basically, big studios have hundreds of amazing established players to choose from. So, I would say get amazing (if you're not already), produce your own album (EP), and use it as a calling card to book session work. I'm not an expert at this, though, so it might be a good idea to ask a bass player who is earning a full time income.

swubaka1 karma

Hi there, thanks for doing this ama.

Im pretty self conscious about my voice. When I go to parties and places people always have trouble hearing me. I have to yell usually to be heard, which isn't very convenient or smooth. I was wondering if you have any tips to improve my voice so that i can be easily heard.

FoggyInclination1 karma

Thank you for your question!

My wife has a small voice, too, and I personally think it's adorable and lovely. However, the best way to have your voice heard without having to yell is learning how to change the placement of your voice so that it resonates more clearly. For example, great singers make their voices very bright so that it resonates through their chest and head. The sound produced cuts through the air and is heard much easier. If you are interested in learning more about this, I can point you toward some great resources that have helped me. :)

swubaka1 karma

Yes please! Much appreciated (:

FoggyInclination1 karma

So this guy is a big fat dork, but he does have a very bright and resonant voice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUraBXOJpj0 It's a bit boring, but he presents a lot of good information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32RVbwBcuYU This is also a great video, too, but it is more catered towards singers. Even so, do what he says and you'll transform into the sexiest voice within a 2 foot radius, GUARANTEED, OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

the_lemon_outlaw1 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this!
I've been looking into voice acting for quite some time (though mostly for my own projects, nothing professional), and I noticed there's quite a lot of courses offered on it - but they cost a heap of money (close to a thousand Euros). Would you say it's worth taking a course?
Also, does a voice change throughout the day or am I imagining stuff? I can't help but feel like my pitch raises a bit throughout the day...

FoggyInclination1 karma

Yes, coaching is very necessary. However, I would do your homework and ask around before shelling out that kind of money. Make sure that your coach is reputable with people actually in the industry. For now, check out Bill DeWees on youtube. He offers amazing coaching and pointers for free in his videos. He also does classes that I think are worth every penny.

Yes, the voice does go through changes throughout the day depending on how clear your throat is, temperature, hydration, fatigue, and lots of other things. Keeping it sounding normal throughout the day just takes practice and a good warmup routine in the morning! :)

the_lemon_outlaw1 karma

Thanks for your reply! I will check out Bill DeWees from now on, took a quick glance and it seems really helpful!

As for a good warmup routine, are the ones I find via Google (the WikiHow one, for example) considered 'good', or do you have any specific pointers?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Look up vocal instructors on youtube who are reputable singers. The mechanics are the same. If you can get your voice to sound good singing a note, you will be able to a solid VO performance, placement-wise. My personal warmup routine involves eating breakfast, drinking lots of water, reading out loud for a few minutes, then vibrating my lips and slapping my cheeks to wake up all of the facial muscles I use while talking.

LostInThisWorldx1 karma

Great you're doing this! I just finished Beyond: Two Souls, amazing game. What did you do for this game? And who are your biggest inspirations? Thanks :)

FoggyInclination1 karma

I did the cinematic and TV trailers for the UK release. The campaign ran in Europe and Canada.

My inspirations are Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Casey Kasem, and a whole bunch of other great voices I don't have the energy to write out here. lol! :) Cheers!

eternalistorm1 karma

I'm super late to this AMA but I do have a few questions if you don't mind:

1) How does it feel voicing significantly younger/older characters?

2) I've been a referee and judge for a few local martial arts tournaments in my area, and there's a lot of loud and commanding calls to the participants involved. Do you have any tips for voice stamina? I feel like my voice starts off well being loud and assertive, but wears off and loses power around the 4th hour of calling out results and whatnot. I depend on my voice especially in times like these due to my vertically challenged stature AND an unfortunately youthful appearance. Did you have any techniques that you used while you were practicing theater?

3) Do you have a "dream role" or anything of that sort? Is there a role that you've had your eye on for a while?

I've been extremely fascinated/borderline obsessed with voice acting for the past few years and have been poking around the internet for tips and whatnot to see how people take their steps to get into the industry. Everything is so interesting (especially that 1,2,3 rule you mentioned in a previous answer)!

Sorry for the long blocks of text. Thank you so much for taking your time to do this AMA! Congratulations on the new baby, and Happy New Year!

FoggyInclination1 karma

Hi eternalistorm!

Thanks for the questions! I had to go to bed and get some sleep, but now I am back!

1: If it is for cartoons, it feels fine. Character voices for animation can be off the wall, big, and energetic, so you can get away with a lot more. There still needs to be a sincerity and believability to the performance, but the charisma allows for you to create something totally not you. For more natural sounding reads, it takes a lot of preparation for me so I breathe properly, don't over do it, and sound convincing. Usually older voices are asked to be "mature" sounding, deeper, and a lot of times with a bit of gruff and raspiness. I personally can't go too terribly young with my voice and sound natural. The youngest I can do is around 16. I just speak at the top of my range, but make it sound that kid who wanted really badly to have a mature voice, but still sounds like a kid. Does that make sense? haha

2: Vocal stamina starts in the diaphragm. Take all the pressure off of your throat, and put it in your stomach and chest. At this point, you should also think about lowering your chin and allowing the sound to get as bright as possible. Think Willy Nelson. Try to get your voice as bright as his. So much so, that your lips and teeth vibrate when your mouth is closed. Then, add back some of the natural body in your voice, and you should be able to speak louder longer without the need to necessarily shout. It's very similar to singing. One trick that helps to find that placements is to lay on the ground on your back and hold a slight sit up position. Here, go through your voice using your stomach muscles, not your throat. Then, lay flat again, and start low, then slowly work higher and higher. Try to find the tone that will vibrate the floor around you. This works best on wood floors or in a bathroom.

3: Honestly, I'm just excited to be working in the industry full time. Sure, there are plenty of "dream jobs" that I'd love to land, but the reality is I have been mega blessed. At some point, it would be really cool to have a long term Promo contract with NBC, FOX, Hulu, etc. where I announce all the programming. Those gigs are CUSH. I would love to voice an epic character like Aslan or something along those lines.

Hope that helps! Thank you for the well wishes! Happy New Year!

eternalistorm1 karma

1: Yes, that makes a lot of sense!

2: Thank you! I've heard/read that it's all about using the diaphragm, but I wasn't sure how I would really be able to tell if I was doing it right or not. These seem like great techniques!

3: Ah, I see. I wish you luck and I hope to hear your voice on NBC someday soon! Thanks again for the AMA!

FoggyInclination1 karma

No problem at all amigo! Que te vaya bien!

bpobnnn1 karma

Don't know if you're still doing this, but have you seen "In a World..." with Lake Bell and Demetri Martin? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Is is accurate?

FoggyInclination1 karma

I did see it, and I really liked it. For me, being on the outside of Hollywood and working non-union mostly, my day-to-day experience in the VO industry is nothing like that movie at all. I think that they take a lot of liberties in the script, but it doesn't bother me. It made me laugh a lot. The reality is VO actors are incredibly humble, nice, and friendly. They get pissed if your mistreat them, but they are gentle fellows with big hearts.

chibijulie1 karma

My dream is to become a voice actress for either a cartoon show or for serious series or anime. I have always loved how disney could take serious subjects like divorce and death happiness and hardship and display them in a way that a child can understand and relate too gave me a goal. I made a demo with a friend a while ago, and it has always made me feel nervous. I'm shy and have a bit of anxiety - but it doesn't mean i can't have passions and dreams lol.

I went to an interview once at the sally corp in Jacksonville fl, they do animatronic rides and animations. It went well until i had to do 5 different characters having a conversation at the same time. That abruptly ended my interview. She was nice...but it has made it hard for me to try again.

Have you ever had a bad interview? If so what did you do to overcome it? And do you have any tips to overcome the anxiety of it all? And may i send you a copy of my demo for your review/pointers?

ok - those are my questions :3

FoggyInclination1 karma

I totally understand how that goes. Auditions in person are always going to be dicy because you are putting yourself out there, for better or for worse, to be judged by someone. That is just a hard thing. The only way to get over that anxiety is to do it often. I used to be invincible as a teenager in auditions, then I went to Argentina for a couple of years. When I came back, it was like all of my confidence had evaporated. It took time for me to get back in the game. That happened by just auditioning a ton and not really caring if I get the job or not. That's been the secret of success for me, not caring what they think of me. I accept the fact that the majority of what I audition for I will not get. It makes a lot easier. You have to have the "next" mentality. Didn't go well? Oh well, NEXT! Move on to the next one. I actually do pretty well in interviews, but I have had a few where I say the wrong thing and it changes the direction of the conversation. It can be hard to rebound from that. Whatever happens, you're still a good person and your talent is what it is, no matter what they think.

[deleted]1 karma

I am a musician and a producer and have been told by people my whole life that I should get into voice over work because I am constantly doing silly voices, accents, and pretty dead on impressions. I have tried more than once to get into voice acting, or making music for tv or film, but have learned that you need to know where to look and who to talk to, which sadly I do not. So my question for you is how on earth could someone like me get a foot in the door?

FoggyInclination1 karma

For any artist trying to "get their foot in the door," the best thing you can do is create a body of work that is excellent. For music, start building a library of tunes you've either or recorded, or both, and use that as your calling card when approaching music directors and publishers. For VO, a great way to solicit your own clients or agencies is to simply have some excellent demos. My opinion is that your demo should consist of work that you are proud of, but I understand that in the beginning this can be difficult. But start there, with a demo you can use to get yourself auditioning. Once you are with a couple of agencies, you'll probably not need your demos as much because auditioning will be the most important. If you want to know what your competition will be, head to voicebank.net and listen to those guys. These are the cats making millions a year. To hear other people, go to voices.com and click on the "recently hired" tab and check out people that are getting hired right now for things. This should help you gauge where you are. There is no right or wrong way in this great big world of entertainment, so get hustlin'!

Good luck! I hope this helps you.

Anymuss1 karma

I've done one voice acting job and it was kick ass I was timon in the lion king jr. My life would be complete if I could do it forever

FoggyInclination1 karma

Do you have a link to it? I'd like to check it out!

TeslasIdea1 karma

Been trying to get into voice overs FOREVER. Been in radio and on the air for 20 years. Can I send you a demo?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Radio is SO COOL! Yeah of course! Send me your demo. I'd love to hear it.

AIRmike18771 karma

When I speak in public, like for class presentations, my voice starts to crack and people can hear the nervousness in my voice. Any tips on how to fix this?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Steroids. Lots of them. The bigger your muscles, the better....

Actually, for me, preparation beforehand is key for my anxiety level. If I feel prepared, then I can let go and just let things be. After that, just practicing and doing it often helps. Have you ever tried reading a talk or presentation for your family or a group of friends? For me, performing for small intimate groups is the hardest. The bigger the crowd, the more confidence I get! So see the reactions on 2 or 3 faces is good for me to do every now and again. I hope that helps!

obviouslyCPTobvious1 karma

How are you paid? Is it a one-time payment, or do you get paid every time a commercial runs?

FoggyInclination1 karma

For my clients that I find myself, I negotiate payment based on the market it is going to play in, for how long, and how many times. For national stuff, it's best to negotiate something that will pay me again and again in the form of residuals if they plan on using the campaign again and again. But most of the time, it's a one time payment for local and regional stuff. I invoice them with PayPal. They either pay it directly, or cut me a check. The reality is sometimes I have to really follow up with clients and say, "hey, you best pay sucka!" That's the beauty of having an agent, though, because they take care of all that for you. But, I've made an excellent living and have been very successful in booking directly and collecting on my own for the most part.

WarMachineese1 karma

Great AMA, really insightful. I've been looking at pursuing voice acting as a career for quite some time now as I've always loved doing accents and impressions of fictional characters and famous people. It comes quite naturally to me and I can sometimes sit down, listen to someone speak, record myself copying them, listen back to it and repeat, and after a while I usually have the voice pretty much spot on. I was wondering if you knew if there was much of a market for mimicry/impersonations in the VO world outside of LA and if you know any tips on how to get into that field specifically? Thanks.

FoggyInclination2 karma

There is always a huge demand for celebrity impersonators to record ringtones, commercials, voicemail, GPS, audiobooks, etc. Make a "greatest hits" compilation and send that demo to as many agents as you can find that specialize in celebrity impersonators. If you're really good, you'll have no problem landing gigs like those. I've never done anything like that, but I know guys who do and there's never a shortage of work for them.

WarMachineese1 karma

Sounds good. I've always wondered, is there any sort of stigma attached to celebrity impersonators in your industry? Like people making money just because they can sound like someone else?

FoggyInclination2 karma

I mean, it's a totally unique animal. They are off in their own corner doing their thing it seems like. Audiences LOVE a good impersonator, so they can get laughs really easy. I don't think there is a stigma, unless you feel like your talent is being underutilized. That was the case with Jim Carrey back in the day. His impersonations brought the house down. But he got tired of it and started doing different comedy, at which point, he was met with criticism and booing. He eventually figured out his new brand, and audiences obviously caught on. For a typical voice actor, though, anything you can do to book a job is awesome. If you can do the impersonation, then just do it and laugh all the way to the bank.

WarMachineese1 karma

Haha that's solid advice if I ever heard any. How do you differentiate yourself in such a crowded industry?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Well, my voice is unique in that no one else has it (duh) and my delivery is my own personality, so that stands out on its own. It's just a matter of bringing something to the table that's impressive in the audition. My ability to deliver during an audition is what has helped me stand out from the other 50 or more voices that have gone out for that same gig.

isthisreelife1 karma

Hey there, I am curious, being married myself I don't like doing my voice over stuff while my wife is around. is that weird? is that just my pride?

FoggyInclination1 karma

That's not weird at all. I have to have my own space. We even rented a larger apartment and I have this room all to myself with my recording booth. I get anxious and nervous if I think someone is listening to me. haha!

juicycunts1 karma

Can you do a dramatic read of the Navy Seals copypasta?

FoggyInclination1 karma

PM me some copy and I might take a whack at it!

xkwon1 karma

Do you like bagels?

FoggyInclination1 karma

On occasion, I've been known to indulge myself with the likes of deceivingly donut-like bread.

Callen0131 karma

Besides your own, which person or fictional character has the best voice?

FoggyInclination2 karma

Well I certainly don't think I have the best voice, but I work with what I have. I really love Aslan, Gandalf, Hagrid, Snape, Jafar, and many others.

So obviously real people would include Liam Neeson, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and Elvis Presley. Elvis is the freaking best. I love his talking voice just as much as his singing voice.

As far as VO people, I LOVE Casey Kasem. Bob Bergan does amazing work as Porky Pig and Luke Skywalker (in Robot Chicken). Dude you are asking me to pick my favorite from a sea of incredible talent. It's hard!

BlandGuy1 karma

How do I change my enunciation to reduce sibilance, or find a teacher or exercise? In a general sense, how do you find a good voice teacher/coach/exercise?

(In case it matters: I didn't used to be sibilant - always had a resonant pleasant voice which served me well as a presenter - but lately I'm starting to hear a bit of whistle I don't like)

FoggyInclination1 karma

You're not this guy, by chance? https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ9RjJamnC7_MSM3ePtit4eFcZ16H0beZ_aiYIkrOlVkDJA7Zzv

haha jk.

Sibilance is something that takes a lot of effort to minimize. Especially us English speakers have a hard time mellowing out our S, T, P, C pronunciations. Along with practical correction, using a "Desser" in your audio editing will help to minimize the harshness of those sounds without having to sacrifice crisp high end. Everyone uses it, so don't feel bad.

Well, if you really are interested in some coaching, I do consultations through Skype. If I feel you have the very basic mechanics in your voice, I'll forward you on to some amazing coaches. I hope that helps! Thanks for your question BlandGuy!

Us3rnameiNvalid1 karma

Are you given a script to practice beforehand much like an actor? How is it like working with someone directing your voice vs acting on a film or on stage?

FoggyInclination2 karma

For most jobs I get, I've seen part of the script already in the audition. If it is a direct booking, then I'll see the script for the first time upon starting the project. Either way, I have plenty of time to read over it, make notes, ask questions, and get initial instruction from the director about what he or she is envisioning.

Actually, working with a director in VO is very similar to Theater and Film in that you get direction, perform the lines, then get feedback, over and over again until it is right. The only difference is that often times I work from my home studio, so the director will be patched into my booth via ISDN, phone patch, Skype, or Source Connect. I hear them in my headphones and they hear me on their end. It's almost like they are here with me and we can collaborate.

Often times, though, I'll land a job, get a little direction in a message, then do all the recording on my own. When I'm done, I'll send it all off and they PayPal me or cut a check. It's really nice when it works that way because I like experimenting and doing things that perhaps I wouldn't do if they were on the line with me.

Does that answer your question?

Us3rnameiNvalid1 karma

Damn right it does! Thanks for your time :)

FoggyInclination2 karma

No problem! Happy New Year!

pffftyagassed1 karma

I've always wanted to be a voice actor. How can I get started?! Do I just start recording myself? I appreciate the help!

FoggyInclination1 karma

I've answered this in other places on this AMA, but one thing I would like to add is this: Work on your talent and technical skills as much as possible. Start learning about recording and sound engineering, even if just enough to be able to at least get a decent mic and audio signal into your computer. From there, practice as much as possible. After that, start auditioning wherever you can! Online, through an agency, and through demo directories where you can list yourself.

pffftyagassed1 karma

I apologize about not searching the thread first. I am just excited and posted a comment before I even thought to look. This is my dream job. I'm fairly savvy with recording as I've done a bit of vocal and instrumental work for some bands around my city. Again, I appreciate your help and input!

FoggyInclination1 karma

No problem at all! I'm glad you asked the question. Gave me a chance to say another thought or two. I hope it helped!

Krispy891 karma

Sorry if this has been asked already, but what made you decide to become a voice actor in the first place?

Was it something you wanted to give a go, or was it your first choice for a career?

FoggyInclination3 karma

I was the weird kid making funny voices at recess. I could do pee wee herman, popeye, grover, elvis, kermit, george bush, etc. I also had a knack for accents, which I explored more in the theater. As an adult building my studio for music production, my wife kept saying I should go into voice acting. She is a costume designer and a very successful one, so she spends a lot of her time around actors and directors, so she had a pretty good idea of how competitive I could be. While she is of course my wife, she is also very honest and didn't mislead. Following her lead on this was the best financial decision we've ever made together. Currently I am working towards building a library of music to license in radio, TV, and film. In my heart of hearts, I am a musician, so that's where I gravitate towards all the time. But don't get me wrong, I LOVE this career and hope I get to do it for the rest of my life, but I'm excited for the opportunity to do music as well! This year alone, I've been able to do music production for about 10 projects. Actually, last friday, I had a producer from Seattle hear my VO demos and looked into my music after. Now I'm hired to do some session vocals on a song he is producing, and getting paid for it! Pretty cool, huh? I'm PUMPED!

epigrammedic1 karma

Do you have any tips (besides the ones in the previous comments that I have already read and began to implement) that would crossover to help a rapper like me?

FoggyInclination1 karma

Since I am about as white as they come, my rap advice is basically crap advice. However, I've noticed that a lot of rappers that become successful spend a lot of time finding a microphone that really accentuates their voices in a unique way. Actually, the microphone that I use, a Blue Woodpecker, is pretty popular with the Hip Hop and R&B crowd. It is an active ribbon, which is unusual because normally if you turn phantom power on while a ribbon is plugged in, it will burn out. Traditionally, ribbon mics are really smoky, warm, and analog sounding. They were really popular in the 60s and 70s, but are making a come back. The Woodpecker is an active ribbon, and has an amazing high end response, almost like a condenser. So you get the best of that crispy high end, but the warmth of the low end. Anyway, it makes for some rad sounding vocals, whether speaking or singing.

I don't know if that helps at all. :)

FoggyInclination1 karma

This is just my opinion, but I tend to enjoy rappers that speak really clearly. Pay attention to the pops of the consonants in the words you choose, because if you use them right, it can be beatbox-esque, very percussive and engaging.

megthegreatone1 karma

How different is the VO industry for speaking as opposed to singing? In terms of getting started, auditioning, competitiveness, training, demand, those types of things.

Thanks for taking time to answer so many questions!

FoggyInclination1 karma

Well, right off, the VO industry is very tight-knit. Everybody knows everybody. The community is really small and people find out about stuff quickly. While the industry is growing and changing as the cost of equipment drops and opportunities are appearing more and more online without the need of an agent, it is still very competitive to get work.

They are very similar though in that to be successful you have to have chops. Without the talent/skills at a pro level, you don't stand a chance because there are amazing talents out there auditioning right alongside you. Just like with singing, there's no one out there who has your exact voice. The best way to be known and to be heard is to develop your own unique voice and run with it.

The demand for your singing I think comes about through fanbases you grow through exposure while on tour or gigging around town. Or, you can go the other route and get contracts as a session singer for recording studios.

If you check out my website, I focus the main pages on VO, because that is where my work is coming from (and quite honestly better paying than music right now), but some of my other pages focus on my music and music licensing.

Fun fact: I've opened for Imagine Dragons on several occasions and have a good working relationship with their manager Mac. This year, my number 1 professional goal is to have a song of mine placed in a commercial, TV show, or film. I don't care where or how, as long as it is licensed and airs. A buddy that I write a lot with just had his first placement last week! It airs on "Nitro Circus" on MTV in 2 weeks. I'm so excited for him.