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VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #242 – Valhalla DSP free and Radio 1 Big Weekend UK Imaging

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 08:37

Sometimes the week goes by faster than expected. Like always we have some sweet plugins for you to check out and a lot more! 

1.Plugin

Valhalla DSPs infamous Space Modulator is now free for everyone! Check out the possibilities in the video below:

 

2.Inspiration

You always wanted to know how the world-famous Capitol studios in LA look like? Then check this out:

 

3.Music

One of the top 10 songs of 2020 is „Toosie Slide“ from Drake. Listen to it now:

  4.Web/Social/Whatever

Have you read our blog that we posted two days ago? Come and check it out!

No Talk Day on Triple M – A MUST READ – Enter BT

  5.Imaging

Sam Wickens first big weekend with trails and imaging is online

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

No Talk Day on Triple M – A MUST READ – Enter BT

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 04:44

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/NTD-MMM-TONY-CALL-SCENE.mp3

 

BT sent me this fantastic piece of audio. I was stunned and asked for the background story and it is truly amazing. Guys, this is a must read.

No Talk Day is an initiative from Triple M in Partnership with the Beyond Blue Organisation in Australia, where every day 8 people take their life – 8 of those are Men. And it’s primarily because men don’t speak up and talk about their feelings.

So for a full day, Triple M doesn’t talk either. No shows, no ads, no news or traffic – to highlight this fact and give men the space to start a conversation with someone they might be worried about, or if they are troubled themself and having suicidal thoughts.

There is production played throughout the day that is stories of people who have seeked help and came out the other side – messages of support and information on how to recognize the signs within others and yourself.

Last year was the first year we did it and only on our 4 Triple M Metro stations. This year it’s across our entire network of around 45 stations across Australia.

In the lead up to No Talk Day (July 1) stations ran a piece that was a song called ‘Im Doing Fine’ sprinkled with messages from various men to raise awareness to the day.

Triple M Bundaberg took a call from a guy named Tony, who after hearing that piece wanted to share his story in the hope that it might reach out and help someone else and they turned that call into an Instagram post.

Our companies Digital Content Director shared the post with myself and the team of Content Directors and I thought that I could make a promo out of it. So after getting the cold audio of the call and while chopping it up, i started seeing the pictures as Tony explained his story – so i started to paint those pictures with SFX and try to bring the story to life. I had to be careful not to over do it, make it sound comedic with the Fx or too graphic and end up making a joke of or disrespecting his story.

The Song used is from an artist named Noah Kahan and its called ‘Please‘ I found it after spending an hour sifting through Spotify when i started building No Talk Day. I selected ‘Dean Lewis’ and then ‘find similar artists’ and Noah came up in a list of a dozen or so which i sifted thru as that music had the right tone to fit the No Talk Day production.

I had maybe 10 songs just sitting in my Pro Tools session –  so while building this piece i listened again through what I had recorded in and found that some of the lyrics in this song were going to help support and enhance Tonys story!  So with the combination of the song, the story and the FX, hopefully it has brought it all to life in a way that is respectful to his story… but also highlights what is possible for anyone in his situation.

___________________________________________________________________

Additional words:

Suicide and dealing – or in the case of most men – not dealing with emotions is an important topic, so please help spread the word. As men we tend handle our struggles internally, but it often is the right move to speak openly and to get your feelings and emotions off your chest. Emotions and addressing them is one of the main factors in being happy and moving forward, as internal struggles can eat you up. So try to not be scared of talking about your feelings as they’re human nature and nothing to be ashamed about. If you’re having trouble with this, try to write them down in a first approach, since even the act of confirming something to yourself can help tremendously. Take care of yourself, treat yourself right and seek help in case you need it!

Australian Suicide Hotline: 131114

American Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

German Suicide Hotline: 0800 1110 111

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #241 – iZotope Stutter Edit, Webinar with Steve Reynolds and wisdom from the best soccer coach in the world!!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 06/26/2020 - 10:15

Another week is over and we have some amazing topics for you. I hope you guys like it! 

1.Plugin

The hype is for real! Stutter edit 2 is now available! Check it out! 

2.Inspiration

Wow, it was a blast. Steve provided so much insight and value –  see for yourself! Here is the full webinar.

  3.Music Summer is here!! Finally!   https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWVAArCxuIRGQ?si=MRbvJhwvSBq4HPmFaZyYLA   4.Web/Social/Whatever

This is how you communicate in the hour of your biggest personal victory. An example of leadership by being real, humble, yourself and having the ability to form a winning team and acknowledge their hard work.

https://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/first-team/399910-jurgen-klopp-premier-league-title-winners-interview

5.Imaging

Great work from Marcel at Radio X!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Anne Vydra

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 06/25/2020 - 14:24

Anne Vydra knew she was a good talker when she got the ONLY speaking part in a musical in the eighth grade. In fact, she was asked NOT to sing, and to PLEASE speak, because she was the best at it in her whole class. Then came speech and debate, A/V club, announcements over PA, interning at a radio station, and now here we are. 800,000 years later, and she’s still trying to perfect the craft of reading the lunch menu out loud, but it’s just to a bigger audience now.

Anne is represented by CESD Talent Agency!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)? 

WUBL/Atlanta, WGNY/Poughkeepsie, and WMEZ/Pensacola.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

WRQQ/Baton Rouge, WKBU/New Orleans, WWZY/New Jersey, KLDZ/Medford, OR, WNEX/Macon, GA, and KCWD/Harrison, AR. I’m also voice tracking middays at KRAT/Reno and just added (and not radio at all) NBC5 DFW!

Check out Anne’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

The surprises in my inbox. It quite literally never gets old.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

16 years on the air (nearly all of those in the morning) and 3 moves made me ready to quit the moving van (plus, I met my husband and he wasn’t up for the life of a nomad). I had previously thought about it (VO) back in 2008, but my demo was shot down by really the only agent/agency I had heard of. I wish I had stuck with it back then, because now it seems like anyone with spare time wants to try to talk into a microphone! Fast forward to 2013, and the husband and I landed in Nashville. The only people I knew here were audio engineers. So, the timing seemed right, and here we are.

What was your first gig?

Yikes. Who knows. Probably a strip club. VOICING it. Ha! Any memorable ones since then? LOTS. Right now I’m LOVING the work I’m doing for NBC in Dallas. It’s right in my wheelhouse and I want MORE MORE MORE of that. In fact, if you are a N/T radio station, and you are reading this, we should talk! Also, about 3-4 years ago, I was handed sort of this innocuous gig, but it was for the Office of Refugee Resettlement. It was a video for families and sponsors of migrants and refugees coming over the border. I think about that a LOT when I see the news. It was some heavy stuff.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

Professionally napping. Honestly, I’ve been talking either on the radio or on camera since I was 17. I don’t know how to do anything else, but I can nap like a BOSS. Give me 10 minutes and I’m OUT.

The secret to Anne’s napping skills?

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Melissa Disney & Virginia Hamilton are my idols and Nancy Wolfson & Allen Peck are my mentors. I can add like 500 people to this list, but I’m hungry for a sandwich. Special love to Cousin Deke, although I hate Phish.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? 

That was a very long time ago. I probably hated it.  

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I’d say overnight, Source Connect has made me available to gigs I would’ve never been considered for before. As recently as 2014, when I started booking gigs, everyone asked if you had ISDN. That’s all but gone now.  

“Here’s my super-duper unfinished, but very much working studio. Scripts on the floor, panels up, paint that I want to replace, and those are the curtains that the previous owners left. How long have we lived here? Um. 9 months. I’m not only a procrastinator, but I also move slowly too.” – Anne 

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio? Thankfully on the road is not a thing right now. I need to upgrade! In studio the Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Mic and an Apogee Duet with some ROKIT monitors.

Which production system do you use and why?

ProTools. I honestly have it only because it was a gift given to me by Vance Powell (like I said, it’s good to be in Nashville).

Any favorite plugins?

I’m not a production nerd, I’m just the voice. I tell every client that off the bat. I have Izotope to clean up what’s needed, but you will get my audio as raw and clean as possible. Do with it what you like.  

“And since my studio isn’t anywhere NEAR done, I wanted to share what will be in it when it IS. BEHOLD: my Jesus collection. In there, you will find: 3-D Jesus, Velvet Jesus, Jesus on bottle caps on a wooden cross, plastic statue of Jesus kneeling next to sand on footprints (oh yeah, the whole poem is there too), some Marys on a mirror, Paint By Numbers Jesus, Laughing Jesus…not pictured: Jesus with eyes that follow you, and stuffed Jesus. Also, for good measure, the front page of the KC Star when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl (yeah!) and some Dash Rip Rock merch. I have an obsession with Jesus things. It’s not meant to be offensive. Feel free to ask.” – Anne

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

YES. I still do. And YES I recommend it.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work?

I’m type B. What is scheduling? Ha! Honestly, I just try to do all the work I can as quickly as I can as soon as my kid leaves for daycare. Pre-Covid, I would use the rest of the time for marketing/research. Right now, I’m doing more housework, mom stuff. It just feels a bit icky to market right now, although I’ve been doing some more the last week or so…

How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

Tough to answer. I’d say my day is usually about 1-2 hours of auditioning. On average.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Email. Everything beyond that is my trade secret!

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash? 

LIVING. IN. NASHVILLE. People here trade/sell things all the time. My panels I got for $20 a piece from a guy moving out of town. I have collected microphones by trading. It starts to become a game. Also, a fun way to make friends.

“Fancy schmancy iMac, Apogee Duet, Protools, thumb-tacks, some sunglasses from Mardi-Gras, of course. And roller-skating Jesus.  I actually highly recommend the b/w printer from Brother.  I think it’s only $50 or so from Amazon?  When you need to print out a script, and fast, get this puppy.  Save those color printer/scanner jobbies for your significant others. We got words to read! Now!” – Anne

What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know?

Jim Tasker said this randomly to me once, and I don’t think he meant it as advice or technique, but I use it: “JUST DO IT.” I have a tendency to dwell over copy and think about it too much. I over-prepare. Trust your instincts.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Yes.  But that’s a whole new interview.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

Hmmm. 1) Don’t do this to make money 2) Be ready for daily rejection, multiple times a day 3) Don’t quit your day job. 

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

How about just the one before this one? Because the start of 2020 is godawful.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Mushrooms and sausage.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Anthony. Fucking. Bourdain. 

Connect with Anne Vydra:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

The Royce of Imaging…Favorite PlugIns, Mentors and so much love for radio – Enter Royce Stevenson

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 06/24/2020 - 05:08

Scott introduced me to Royce a couple weeks ago, we had been fb friends before, but not really talked. I really fell in love with some of his productions and thought it would be awesome to chat a bit about imaging and…here we are! Enter Royce!

1. Can you give me a bit background on yourself, your career, achievements? I am sure a lot of the readers will know you or of you, but it puts a lot of the below in context I assume.

I have worked in radio since 2006.  I started at KSJM-FM 107.9 Jamz, which was an urban station in Wichita, Kansas.  I started off working one hour a week running board for a teen talk show.  Within a year I was doing nights and making mixes for the station.  While I was working at KSJM-FM I was also going to Butler County Community College.  I wanted to get into radio, and they had a program there, but more importantly, you could have your own two-hour show on the college radio station. 

I have always loved radio and wanted to work with audio, and I took all the radio production classes I could while I was there.  We were able to make our own promos for our radio show and that is where I started learning about radio imaging.   I told one of my classmates to show me how to record my voice.  I knew if I could figure out that I could figure out the program.  I had a Saturday show, and afterward I took the manual for the DAW (I believe it was called Sessions), and read through it and sat in the production studio all afternoon until I could work the program.  While at KSJM-FM I helped with production and one day they needed a promo done so I told them I could put it together.  After that, they started letting me do some imaging and producing the drops for my mixes.  I worked there for two years until the station got sold.  I then went to work for KDGS-FM, a rhythmic in Wichita, Kansas.  I have been working there since January 2008.  I started off doing mid-days and helping with production. 

I became the music director of KDGS-FM in 2011 and moved from mid-days to pm drive.  When I became APD/MD I also started handling all the imaging for the station.  Since 2017 I have been handling the imaging for another station in the cluster, KEYN-FM which is classic hits.   

 

2. Who have been mentors of yours and how did they support you?

Wow, I have had a lot of mentors.  Lance Hayes at Butler Community College was a huge mentor.  He had worked in TV and radio and really gave all his students real-world examples of what it is like to work in radio.  He only had two rules, no profanity and no vulgarity.  Other than that, he let us be creative as we wanted which was huge!  We could produce whatever we wanted to in the way of promos and audio.  AT KSJM-FM there were a couple of people who helped me a great deal with my production. 

Chris Stimpson (Playmaker) who now is on air at KPRS as well as Todd Reynolds and J-Smooth.  They gave me opportunities to produce imaging and it really helped me grow.  When I got to KDGS, Deuce who now does mornings at KPTT-FM in Denver showed me a bunch of tricks and gave me a chance to produce audio for the station.  On the commercial side while I was assistant production director BJ Stewart was there to help guide me and fine-tune my audio skills.  Each of those people listed helped my knowledge of radio production grow and gave me a chance to show it.  

 

3. How does a typical day in your life look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine?

I usually get to work around 8am or 8:30. The first thing I do is check emails and do any admin paperwork I have to do station wise.  That doesn’t take more than an hour.  After that, I begin to work on imaging.  If there isn’t anything pressing, I try and work on things to freshen up.  Sweepers and stations promos.  If there is a promotion or event, I knock that out as soon as I can.  In between all this, I might voice a spot that comes in from another market that needs my voice or record a client that needs a commercial produced for the cluster. 

Every now and then there might be a day when I don’t produce anything.   If there are a lot of remotes or station events going on, but that rarely happens.  Maybe only once or twice a month if that.  Most of the meetings a before 10:30am, which there are a couple a week that I attend.  They aren’t long, just a recap of what is going on for the week.  Around 2pm I do a bit more of the APD admin if anything comes in.  I go on air at 3pm-7pm.  If there is still imaging that needs to be done (especially on Fridays) I will voicetrack the 3pm hour to get what I need done.    

   

4. What is your “baby” ? Most fun project? 

The project that I had the most fun doing was the opening for our Powerhouse Jam concert.  It was the first time I had done the audio opening for a huge arena show.  It was amazing to sit in an empty arena and watch it on the screen for the first time during soundcheck because it was the first time, I saw the audio I produced with the visuals.  When the concert started, I stood in the back by the mixing console and watched it while it played.  That is still one of the highlights of my career so far.     

   

5. How important is politics, if you work in an organization that size?

Interesting question.  It is important to a certain degree.  I play my role and when I am asked something, I give my two cents.  I think in some ways there are politics in every workplace no matter the size.  It is important to be seen.  Out of sight, out of mind.   

 

6. What DAW do you guys use?

We have Adobe Audition 3 as the DAW that everyone uses in the cluster, which I use to record VO and to produce spots that have a music bed and that is it.  All the imaging I produce is on Pro Tools 12.  I have it on my laptop that I bring to work and on my iMac at home.  Around 2012 I bought Pro Tools when version 9 came out.  It took me awhile to use it, but once I got the hang of it, I never looked back.  It is all I use.   

 

7. What are your favorite plugins?

The Waves SSL Channel strip is a must-have for me.   

 

You can’t go wrong with the AIR Vintage Filter and Filter Gate.  For free plugins that come with Pro Tools they can do so much!  

 

Waves H-Delay and True Verb I use a ton!   

For EQ I use the Q8 EQ from Waves a lot, but most of the time I use 7 band EQ that comes with Pro Tools

Native Instruments The Mouth I use quite a bit. 

 

Love the L2 Ultramaximizer 

 

8. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations?

I get inspired daily.  I always try and listen to what other producers are doing or new plugin videos to give me some inspiration.  Lately I have been trying to build beats using kicks, snares, etc.  I see that being done quite a bit lately and have been trying to incorporate that a bit more.   

 

9. Any new tools you discovered lately?

I was recently listening to the Earshot creative podcast and the Waves morphoder was mentioned.  I grabbed it and love some of the vocoder sounds it has.  I never used it too much, but I am using Waves Tune more and more.  It’s one of those plugins that (for me) took a while, but once I got what I was doing I love using it.  I have also been trying to use little alter boy from Soundtoys a bit more lately.  The promo below I use both the morhphoder and little alter boy.   

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #240 – Webinar with Steve Reynolds and Soundtoys 5 Sale!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 06/19/2020 - 08:38

Another week is over and we have some amazing topics for you. I hope you guys like it! 

1.Plugin

Have you seen the Soundtoys 5 already? It includes all 21 plug-ins they sell and makes it into a powerful collection that everyone needs.
Check it out now! https://www.soundtoys.com/product/soundtoys-5/

2.Inspiration

Next one in the making. This will be fantastic.
Steve will be overdelivering.  Learn from the best morning show coach out there! Join us next Thursday, June 25th, for the next webinar in our Global Radio Ideas webinar series: Why Great Talent is Needed Now More Than Ever! 

https://event.webinarjam.com/register/21/vom6vax

3.Music

My fav french Hip Hop song of all time!!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Ken Benson from P1 Media (linken) shared this article with me. Quiet interesting, when so many companies want something non melodic and non key related these days. Food for thought.

http://www.insideradio.com/free/here-are-the-top-audio-logos-in-the-u-s/article_867c1ff8-aed6-11ea-8f24-3f5cb2898f13.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

5.Imaging

Some very different work from Denzil Lacey for SiriusXM Calm Channel!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Heather Walters

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 06/18/2020 - 14:16

Heather Walters has a cool, gal-next-door sound that has been used in all radio formats, from Country to Hot AC to NTS and beyond, and used in Top 10 TV markets across the country!

Heather is represented by Atlas Talent!

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I am so fortunate to be on so many of the best, most award-winning radio stations!
KKBQ-FM/93Q Country – Houston, TX
KSCS-FM/New Country 96.3 – Dallas
WKLB-FM/Country 102.5 – Boston
KSTP-FM/KS95 – St Paul-Minneapolis
KYGO-FM/98.5 KYGO – Denver
KFKF-FM/94.1 KFKF – Kansas City
WFMS-FM/95.5 WFMS – Indianapolis
KBEE-FM/B98.7 – Salt Lake City
WKHK-FM/K95 Country – Richmond
…to name an honorable few!

What do you love about your job?

I’m also a writer, so what I appreciate most is how all copy has a story to it; whether it’s about a cool ticket giveaway or about supporting each other through these difficult times, I love bringing the life and character to whatever story is being told. 

Check out Heather’s Imaging Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

PD Johnny Chiang hired me right out of college to host mid-days in Houston. One day, he said, “Have you ever thought of becoming an imaging voice? You’d be great at it!” So, I went for it!

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

My first imaging gig was for The New 93Q (KKBQ-FM) in Houston (which I still have the honor of voicing with my buddy, Scott Fisher!); my first national commercial was for Canon Cameras, and my first TV promo was for Food Network. They were all amazing experiences! But I think my most memorable VO experience was when I voiced the national commercial for Michelle Obama’s tour, Becoming. That was the coolest honor!

Take a tour of Heather’s studio!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

There are so many women I’d love to be when I grow up…Joanna Gaines…JK Rowling…VO extraordinaire Virginia Hamilton…as you can see, I like to aim for the fence! lol.  

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I’d be a bestselling children’s novelist. Most definitely. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? 

“Hey, that person sounds like me…Oh wait, that IS ME!!” lol.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I’m able to work quickly and from anywhere, really. I’ve voiced TV promos in Vegas hotel rooms, TV news copy in an airport terminal, etc. It’s amazing, really.

Inside Heather’s VO Booth!

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

ROAD: Sennheiser 416, Audient iD14, Mac laptop, Adobe Audition
STUDIO: Sennheiser 416, Avalon V5, Audient iD14, Mac laptop, Adobe Audition

Which production system do you use and why?

I now use Adobe Audition. I used ProTools for forever, but when I hosted mid-days in NYC, the production crew there used Adobe Audition. I loved how everything bounced in seconds and not in real-time (like ProTools used to do), so I switched to make my VO “quality-of-life” more efficient, and I’ve never looked back.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

YES!! And, YES!!! My go-to coach is Dave Walsh for all-things VO, including TV Promos, Commercials, and Affiliate News. He’s AMAZING!!!

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

I approach all copy the same – what story is being told? And how do I want to tell it?

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

Invest in a coach first…create a demo…then go for it! 

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Sausage and mushrooms!

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

I would like to cook my way through The Magnolia Table cookbook while Joanna Gaines reads from it. I’ve never actually read my way through a cookbook before, but her passages were so loving, I enjoyed them as much as the scrumptious recipes.

Connect with Heather Walters:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #239 – Webinar with Ken, Mike and WATERBOY (Me) and Melodyne 5 Sale!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 06/12/2020 - 09:56

After a stressful week we can now look forward to the weekend. Therefore we have some amazing news for you! 

1.Plugin

Melodyne just published the melodyne 5! It is one of the best pitching und correction softwares on the market for instruments and vocals – Check it out now!

2.Inspiration If you want to feel bad about your home studio situation. Here are the top 10 recoding studios in the world.   https://blog.sonicbids.com/most-beautiful-recording-studios-in-the-world 3.Music My favorite Aretha song!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmjHMUZQ8s0     4.Web/Social/Whatever It was a pleasure do to the webinar with Ken and Mike.  In case you missed it, here is the link for you guys to learn from the legends. Ken, Mike, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, findings with the audience.   www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwmC0QJvv9M&feature=youtu.be 5.Imaging

We produced a Composite in reaction to the events that happened in the last few weeks. Check it out!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Adam Schneider

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 06/11/2020 - 12:04

Hip. Young. Contemporary. That, in a nutshell, is Adam Schneider. A true rockstar at heart, he began his obsession with sound at the age of 10 when he bought his first guitar. After many years of producing for numerous stations, Adam jumped behind the microphone and is now the voice of numerous stations including 93x in Minneapolis, Rock 100.5 in Atlanta, 96 Rock in Cincinnati, and KATT in Oklahoma City.

Adam is represented by Nate Zeitz at CESD!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

I’ve had the honor of being the voice of quite a few stations including Rock 100.5/Atlanta, 93x/Minneapolis, CFOX/Vancouver, 107.7 The End/Seattle, 105.1 The X/Kansas City, and dozens more.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

Where do I begin? Besides voicing for a bunch of radio stations, I am also the Imaging Director for Cumulus/Atlanta (mainly Rock 100.5 and 99x). I also voice/produce a monthly imaging package for all of Cumulus’ ‘rockternative’ stations, voice/produce all of Westwood One’s rock & alternative collective contesting promos, and whatever other random freelance projects that happen to come up!

Check out Adam’s Rock Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job?

It’s something different everyday and allows me to be my creative weird self. Some of the stuff I get away with saying off the cuff would never fly in almost any other profession. Being able to wear a t-shirt and jeans every day doesn’t hurt either!

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Via radio. After I graduated college, I interned at Kiss 108/Boston under the amazing Jeff Berlin. Getting to watch and absorb his methods and work ethic on a daily basis really struck a chord with me. I then got my first full-time imaging gig in Columbus, OH at 99-7 The Blitz. Soon I found it was much easier to produce my own voice than someone else’s, as I could tweak anything I needed on the fly without having to wait for the VO talent to send the tracks back. Ironically Jeff was (and still is) the voice of The Blitz so it was fun interspersing both of our voices together in the same promo.

Greetings from Adam’s studio – featuring Josie!!

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

The first station where I was the actual station voice was Rock 100.5 in Atlanta. Before he even set foot in the building, Troy Hanson wanted to hire me as the new station voice, as he was our just announced new PD. Little did he know that I was also his Imaging Director and worked literally across the hall. He soon put me on most of Cumulus’ ‘rockternative’ stations. I was/am quite fortunate.

Check out Adam’s Alternative Imaging Demo:

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Luckily, I’ve become very close with a lot of my idols/mentors: Chris Corley (I still miss him everyday), Jeff Berlin (don’t know where I’d be without him), Jim Cutler (super busy yet always takes the time for you), Keith Eubanks (monster influence), and a bunch more than I’m sure I’m forgetting.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

My dream job may actually be Anthony Bourdain’s career: combining my love of travel and food in some fashion. My goal is to get to a point where if my wife were to say, “let’s fly to Vienna for the week” I can immediately pack up my travel studio and go.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

Probably the same as when you see a band’s reaction to first hearing their song on the radio. Too bad I didn’t record a video of my reaction. It’s still cool to this day. When I hear a new piece on a station that I haven’t heard before, I still drive my wife nuts by asking her to be quiet while it plays.

Nice rack, Adam!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It’s allowed me to work faster and to consolidate my gear. I now have a bunch of rack equipment that just sits there (see photo). It also allows me to travel and not shut down my studio, which is nice.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

On the road: Sennheiser 416 into Yamaha AG03 into Macbook Pro with sweetening via plugins. In my studio: Sennheiser 416 into Apollo Firewire into MacPro with some sweetening via plugins.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I’m 100% Pro Tools. I used to get into the argument of Pro Tools vs Audition. Now I think that the best DAW is the one you are most comfortable with and can work the fastest in. Keyboard shortcuts are key (Jeff Berlin taught me well!). My favorite plugin (another tip from Jeff Berlin) is Metric Halo’s Channelstrip. I have used this plugin on literally every single session for nearly the last 20 years. It’s easily my go-to for voice processing. 

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I’ve studied with Marice Tobias and Nancy Wolfson. I definitely recommend it and need to do it more myself. It’s like being an athlete. Even Michael Jordan and Tom Brady need coaching.

Welcome to Adam’s VO recording crib!

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

Whatever comes in first gets voiced first unless a client sends me a rush job. Those will always go to the top of the list. I’ll sometimes group similar sounding stations together to keep me in a certain zone. I used to audition a bunch, but unfortunately I’ve become too busy. However, whenever my agent, Nate Zeitz/CESD, sends me a station audition I’m Johnny-on-the-spot.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Very lazily? In all seriousness it’s mostly word of mouth and networking. I’ve found that the best marketing is super-serving your current clients and they’ll end up being your biggest supporters and best marketers.

When it comes to VO work, studio, and gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

Keeping my equipment in tiptop shape so I don’t need to replace it unless I want to. I also keep all of my sessions. It’s better to be able to go back to something you’ve already done to work off of rather than reinvent the wheel.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

I think processing voices is the single toughest thing to do properly in regards to production. Ultimately, unless you are going for some crazy effect the secret is to not overdo it. Maybe just a touch of EQ and compression may be all it takes. But no trick will ever replace the sound of your room. If your room isn’t properly treated, you’ll be fighting a losing battle.

If microphones could talk, we bet this one would have a lot of stories to tell!

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

100%. Both involve acting, but radio imaging would be like Dwayne Johnson whereas commercial ads would be like Tom Hanks. Does that make sense?

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

1. Be a sponge for information. 2. Network and reach out. You’ll be surprised how open and sharing most in this business are. 3. Practice and don’t be afraid to get outside your brain. Overthinking it can both help and hurt.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade, which one would you go back to and why?

The roaring 20’s would be fun, as would the 70’s for all of the amazing bands I could see in their heyday. Heck, probably any decade as I love to travel so much!

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

My all time favorite pizza is a Margherita with fresh basil and minced garlic (hello Santarpio’s in Boston!) Green pepper and onion would be my 2 favorite toppings for a normal run of the mill pizza. Pepperoni is a close third, although recently I’ve really gotten into spicy sopressata.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Do I have to pick just one? Freddie Mercury to hear all of the amazing stories. Mark Cuban to learn the art of business. Anthony Bourdain to just hang out and shoot the breeze.

Connect with Adam Schneider:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #238 -Webinar with Ken Benson, Mike McVay and THE WATERBOY (Me) And Alliance Plugin Sale!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 08:32

Hope your week went well and you can’t wait for the weekend to arrive! Let’s get right into this week’s highlights: 

1.Plugin

Plugin Alliance is selling a mega bundle where you can get all of their plugins! Check it out!

2.Inspiration

From my time in isolation comes the feelgood Mashup banger of the summer/winter…

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Mike McKay

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 06/04/2020 - 11:39

Mike McKay: A versatile, veteran communicator who talks to listeners, not at them. 

Mike is represented by Nate Zeitz at CESD!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

The vast majority of my work has been radio imaging, although I’ve done some TV, Film narration and some national ad campaigns. I’ve been at this a while so I’ve covered some ground….from Toronto to San Francisco, Houston to Bismark and, thankfully, many in between.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I’ve been a freelancer for 20 years…so I’ve been quarantined since 2000. This is nothing new to me.

What do you love about your job?   

The freedom is nice, but I’m still a radio nerd at heart. So dealing with the stations, seeing what makes them tick and combining forces to create new sounds and better ways to entertain and communicate with their listeners. That’s what I love.

Check out Mike’s Imaging Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I was doing production in Austin at KHFI when my program director (and newly named VP of programming for Clear Channel), John Roberts, asked me to help with some imaging in other markets.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

My first was a station in Grand Rapids, MI (I 96)…oddly that ties into one of my most memorable. The program director, Jeff Andrews, ended up giving my name to the Super Radio guys and I landed the job as VO for the syndicated “Open House Party” show for many years. It’s amazing how many people still remember me from that show. Such a gift.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

There are many. Brian Lee is so good at so many things. Love Scott Mathews, Scott Fisher, Ann DeWig…but Sean Caldwell is my mentor. He has selflessly given so much of himself to me and others. I can safely say I wouldn’t be talking to you without him.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I’m sure I’d be working in radio somewhere. Maybe a knee model. I have nice knees.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

Hahahaha. As a DJ, I wasn’t impressed. I wondered why anyone would keep me on, then it came to me. Let that be a lesson to all, working cheap does pay off sometimes.

Mike laying down some hot VO!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

It clearly makes things more efficient. I’ll admit to being a late adapter on most things, but digital is better than 15ips and posting/emailing is better than having a daily FedEx pickup. I’m sure the UA Apollo is better than my analog rack and, one day, I’ll find out.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

There are a couple of us who still refuse to take a rig on vacation. I think we all deserve a break from time to time. Besides, my vacation days usually start with a mimosa, so I’d have to record before I woke up and that seems unlikely. My studio is very simple: I need my MKH 416, my EL8, and my Whisper Room. Other than that, I have some gear in the rack that I pop in and pop out, but they’re nothing special and are interchangeable.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I’ve used Adobe Audition since Peter Quistgard was calling it “Cool Edit.”

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I’ve never had a professional “coach” but I’ve had some great coaching from PD’s and imaging guys. There are some people out there with a great deal of talent in sound design and the best are gifted communicators with their VO.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

It’s difficult to schedule anything when you don’t know that copy is coming. I just try to make myself as available as possible. Auditioning is hit or miss (for me) since radio imaging is my primary focus.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

I work with my agent, Nate Zeitz at CESD, I’ll do the occasional campaign on All Access. My wife is a program director (Leslie Whittle @ KRBE Houston) so I get invited to events where there are a lot of PD’s and very few VO’s…it’s a perk.

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Imaging, Podcast and feeding half a rugby team – Meet Darren Robertson

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 06/04/2020 - 03:41

Robbo has been a long time friend and also partner in crime on some benztown custom projects in the past. He is in the game for long time and one of the early adapters in many directions, you could call him a gear head as well. The list of stations and people he worked with in his career is massive and to this day he images some of the biggest radio brands in SEA. He personally does and hosts several podcast and i was lucky enough to be invited before. So much to talk! Thanks for your time Robbe!

Overall question…where does our name come from?

Hey Andy, and firstly thanks for inviting me onto your blog. It’s humbling to be included along with some of the great names you have featured here.

Well “Robbo” has hung around since my days at Triple M here in OZ. It came from shortening my surname (Robertson) a very Aussie thing to do. But at the same time, everyone seemed to have a nickname. There was my boss, the great Jeff Thomas (Thommo), Wayne Fox (Foxy), Simon Hicks (Slash) and Michael (Sideshow) Anderson.

As for my company name, Voodoo Sound, I have to tip my hat to the Great Rolling Stones and their “Voodoo Lounge” Tour for that one…

1.Give me a bit background on yourself, your career, achievements – I am sure a lot of the readers will know you or of you, but  it puts a lot of the below in context I assume.

Wow, I’m not sure I can remember that far back… lol!

I started at an AM station here in Sydney called 2SM as the “cart boy” back in the late 80s. It had been the number one station in town for years, but the introduction of FM had seen it loose numbers to the FM band. It was a shame, because there were some amazing names in Australian radio who’d been through the doors there, and it’s heritage was amazing. In fact in my first few weeks there I found some archives of AC/DC doing some station jingles for them. It’s also where I first met Duncan Cambell (now the Group PD at iHeart’s stations here in Australia), a name that would pop up a number of times through my career.

By the time I left SM, I had worked my way out of the cart room and into the commercial production studio, and I went to my first (and Sydney’s 2nd) FM station 2DAY FM. In my time there, the station became the first in history to Cume over 1 000 000 people. And (for one survey at least) we managed to topple Triple M from their number 1 position. There were so many talented people there at the time who feature heavily in Australian Radio.

After leaving 2DAY I went to Newcastle to work with a bunch of Radio buddies who were launching a station called X13 that soon got an FM licence and became X107. It was my first experience working with some American consultants, and I really learned a lot about imaging a CHR station.

And from Newcastle I started my 13 year run with the Triple M network around the country. Jeff Thomas (KIIS, Capitol, Killer Hertz) gave me my shot, and I started in Brisbane, and by the time I Landed back in Sydney, I had worked in every market besides Melbourne. It was a great time in my career. The network was spending money on massive promotions (we even sent one listener into space) and I was working with Jeff, and the rest of the guys I mentioned above. Creativly and personally I learned so much from all of the, but to work with and learn from the great Jeff Thomas was easily a career highlight. I still keep in touch with most of them and treasure my time at (what was then at least) the greatest network in Australia.

I left radio for a while, and got a gig at one of Australia’s largest Advertising Agencies. Working on campaigns for some reasonably large clients was an eye opener, and then spent some time with the title of “Senior Sound Designer” at one of Sydney’s best known Post Production Facilities.

When my first son was born in 2005 (I have 5 kids) I wanted to spend more time with them than a job in a Sound House would allow (I was working 8am till 10pm) and I had recently invested in a Pro Tools rig, so I quit and took a mix of Radio and Post Production clients on working from home, and along with going back to Triple M to fill in when Michael (sideshow) Andersen was on leave I carved out a living and managed to spend much more time with my growing brood. And that’s where Voodoo Sound got its start. I’ve never looked back.

2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio stations in OZ and SEA? How do the task differ between the different stations / brands? What is the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats between podcast and radio imaging?

I have always enjoyed a challenge, and after setting up Voodoo Sound, found I actually loved the different tasks that being a Freelance Imaging producer provides. The roles I take on at each station also varies. For some clients I work side by side with their own imaging guy (or Gals), at others I AM the Imaging Guy, and at others I actually take on the role of creative director. Conceptualising imaging, writing scripts and liaising with the Promotions team and PD to come up with competitions and survey promotions.

I love all of that for a number of reasons. Firstly because by default I get exposed to a bunch of really talented people, and get the opportunity to learn from their experience and talents. Plus I get to push myself in new ways and I find both my actual work behind the DAW and my creativity in general get a great kick along because of that.

3. How are your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine ?

I never used to have a routine, until I read a book by Daniel Pink called “when”. In it he talks about different personality types and how your body’s natural clock can effect what type of tasks you should be doing and when. Turns out that (as I was probably already aware) I work best at the back end of the day in terms of creativity and energy. So I start my day with the mundane tasks of email, social media posts, and editing Podcasts etc. Just stuff that doesn’t need a great deal of creativity and cognitive input.

Then after lunch is the time that I really get into my Imaging work, music composition and the sort of work that really requires me to be 100% in the game and at my creative best.

The last hour of my day (whatever time that may be) is spent preparing for the next day. Sourcing work parts I might be able to use in projects I need to work on, and setting up the sessions I will need. I also do my podcast prep here too, watching videos or listening to the work of guests that we have coming up or just preparing questions etc.

I even have dedicated times to check email and phone messages. I do that 4 times a day. First thing whilst Pro Tolls is booting up, then at lunchtime, mid-afternoon and at the end of my day. I answer the simple stuff straight away, but anything that requires some thought or time (and can wait) gets prioritised for the following morning. This way I find I’m not being distracted by all those things that can so easily suck up hours of your day. Oh, and the other great tip… Turn off your Socials during the day. And I don’t mean shut them down, I mean find a way to stop yourself accessing them without some hassle, that way you’re less inclined to spend three hours of your day watching some guy train his cats to jump over a high jump bar he made in his garage yesterday…

One other thing I do that I find helpful is to schedule an hour or two in my week (usually on the weekends) to just sit and listen to other peoples work. If I hear stuff I like and I can download it, I keep it in a folder called “Idea Starters”. Then when I’m stuck for an Idea or just not getting a vibe on something I open up that folder and listen through until something sparks an idea in my own head and I can get started.

None of this works however without copious amounts of coffee to keep me suitably motivated!! lol

4. What is your baby? Most fun project?

To be honest I’ve become a bit of a Podcasting nerd. I am involved in 3 that are my Babies. The 1st, The Mojo Radio Show is in its 7th season and is hugely popular. It focuses on personal development, Creativity, Time Management, and business skills in general. As you can imagine it’s not your regular sounding Podcast.

The other two are Audio centric. There’s The Pro Audio Suite, where we talk about everything Home Studio (pro setups only, not mum’s with a Voice Booth under the stairs).

And the other is a new one that I’ve just started with some Imaging buddies called The Imaging Hangout. Each week we invite a couple of Imaging Producers from around the world to “hangout” with us and chat about… well… everything. It’s not your deep, in-depth sort of technical show, but more just an exchange of ideas and thought starters. So far we’ve had Staxx (Z100), Brendan Tacey (Yep the BT Iron Imager), and a bunch of other really talented guys. It’s a whole lot of fun…

I love working on all these shows for different reasons, but the theme that runs through all those reasons is it makes me better. Better as a Producer, Audio Engineer, Imager, and in the case of the Mojo Show, a better Parent (I have 5 kids), person and business owner (and Footy Coach.. lol).

5. How important is staying current with new stuff, trends and creative for you?

It’s vital. Because I work from a Project Studio I built in my home you can end up in a creative bubble being so isolated (a concept I’m sure many of your readers are currently familiar with). If you don’t keep up to date with trends, and spend time just chatting with people in the industry over a Coffee or Beer you can quickly get left behind. That’s partly the reason for my time investment in the Podcasts, but I also have a network of mates in the Industry in similar positions, and we catch up regularly to chew the fat and bounce around ideas and just flex those muscles that need some work.

One of those is the great Andrew Peters. AP lives outside Melbourne and has an amazing home studio, together we are 2 of the 4 clowns on the Pro Audio Suite, but we also chat pretty much daily, just talking gear, and work life in general… He’s a great mate who I’ve known since the mid 90s, we just don’t get to drink enough beer together!!!

6. What DAW do you guy use?

I’ve been on Pro Tools since 1999, for Imaging (and Post Production in general) it’s by far the standout player. I have Audition on my Mac and use it occasionally for various reasons, but I always come back to Pro Tools. It’s just where I’m comfortable, I don’t want to have to be thinking about what button I push or how I do what needs to be doe mechanically, I’d rather focus on the Creativity of my work.

7. What are your favorite plugins?

Now you’re opening a can of worms… My most frequently used would be Pitch n Time and Auto tune. But my favourite ones to get really creative with would be just about anything from the “Sound Toys” collection. I love the flexibility of them, and when you stick a few on a track one after the other you can always come up with something interesting and new.

For voiceover, my new go to is Nectar from iZotope. I had resisted the “all in one” plugin for a long time, thinking “I bet the compression is great but the eq sucks or something like that”, but after interviewing Dan Gonzalez from Izotope on the Pro Audio Suite last year I downloaded Nectar and after a bit of mucking around fell in love with it! It’s so versatile and sounds good on just about any voice you stick through it.

8. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations?

This probably mostly shows in my CHR imaging right now, but I’m really concentrating on my music editing within the imaging I’m producing. Both “What” I’m using and “How” I’m doing it. I’m loving really challenging myself to find (or create) the perfect piece of music and pairing it with a great vocal grab from a contemporary artist that fits both musically and within the context of what the piece is all about.

9. Any new tools you discovered lately?

I’ve been working on streamlining my Pro Tools templates to be honest. One of the best things that I learned over the years (and something Thommo was always preaching to us about) was to save everything. So I’m always doing mix outs of Promos and work parts that I make to use again and again. So recently a came up with a template that lets me record all my different passes in one go.

To explain a little further, I have created audio tracks that are fed by busses from the main session. They include Bed and FX, FX only, VO only, Music only and the Full Mix.. Then rather than “bounce” the audio, I record enable all those tracks and hit record, and all my mixes are done in the one pass. Then I just label them and export them to different folders on my work parts drive to be use again somewhere or other!!!

10. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

God I wish I had a copy of it, but back in the early 90s when I was working at Triple M, we sent a listener into space (The Stratosphere anyway) in a Russian MIG jet fighter. They went to somewhere near Russia and went through basic pilot training before taking off and flying to where the Earth’s Atmosphere meets space.

We called it “Red Angel” and Thommo (Jeff Thomas) made the promo. It was just mind blowing. It was made at a time before Pro Tools (on a 24 Track Analogue multi) and just kicked Butt. Not so much in terms of amazing FX and crazy drops and montages, but in terms of theatre of the mind (the thing that radio and Thommo does best in my opinion) and creating excitement/vibe around an already awesome prize.

The music cane from a piece called Amin Bahtia and Thommo’s work (as usual) was mind blowing.

11. What would be your career advice for a youngster your twenty year old self?

Be yourself, but at the same time challenge yourself. It’s something I try to do constantly these days but for a while, early in my career I was probably guilty of just getting into a comfortable space and staying there. These days I’m working on all sorts of formats from Talk, to CHR to Rock (my spiritual place) and Country, plus the Podcasts. I find challenging myself and pushing myself also brings out my best work. But the nice thing is, just when you think you have pushed yourself as far as you can go, you push a bit harder and all of a sudden you’ve achieved something even greater. The nice thing about this is that it’s a lesson that not only works in relation to imaging, but to getting better at anything! And it’s something I definitely try to teach MY kids… Get uncomfortable, it’s a great place to be!!

____________________________________________________________

Check out the demo Robbo produced for the Benztown Blog!

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Benztown-Blog-Demo.mp3

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #237 – Free Valhalla Reverb, Beat Academy and the latest from Dom Evans!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 07:21

Time for another episode of fiver friday! Long week, but great findings, let’s get right into it: 

1.Plugin

Valhalla DSP just released a brand new reverb for lush sounds and huge spaces and it’s entirely free! Grab your download here:

Valhalla Supermassive

2.Inspiration

Beat Academy just released a production breakdown on the latest single by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, Rain on Me – great insight into production, check it out here: 

3.Music

The latest release from german upcoming artist Majan featuring electronic music producers Tujamo and VIZE – entirely produced on 3 different setups due to corona, check it out: 

4.Web/Social/Whatever

From the creators of “The Office” – Space Force looks like loads of fun! First episode is out just now!

5.Imaging

The latest from our friend Dom Evans – What the Fox going on!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Gary McClenaghan

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 10:28

As an imaging producer, Gary started to work with his voice and coached to improve his abilities to start voicing stations. Now, as a full-time voice actor with Atlas Talent, Gary voices 30+ radio stations across the US and Canada as well as actively working in commercial having voiced spots for Burger King, Sony, Samsung, Franks Red Hot, and more, as well as in promo with Nickelodeon, CBS, and ESPN among others.

Gary is represented by Atlas Talent!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

I am the voice of Indie 88 in Toronto, The Bert Show syndicated out of Q99.7 Atlanta, the Rogers AC Network in Canada, along with many other great radio stations.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I’m solely voicing now, but do lots of personal funny bits and projects with my family to keep my production skills up to date and have some fun.

Check out Gary’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job?

It brings me absolute joy to perform and I love the freedom I get to be with my family, the ability to follow my dreams and focus all my energy on voice-growth through self-growth.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I started out as an imaging producer and leveraged my experience with working in sound design and with other talents to spark my own growth. I’ve also had a lot of support from my wife with a few profound leaps of faith, not to mention my good friends Lisa Keys and Amanda Madi. Believing in yourself can be difficult at times, so it’s good to have people that unquestionably share those beliefs in you. Oh…and I’ve emailed like a billion people.  

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

A small station in Arkansas was the 1st to bring me on (though I’m not on it anymore). Working with Kyle Taylor at Indie 88 in Toronto is a lot of fun – Kyle was the 1st person to really take a chance on me on a major level. Kyle, and his writer Sean, really get me as a talent, and Kyle directs our sessions which I find extremely beneficial to nail down their vision for each piece, plus I know he loves our weekly calls as I bring summer sunshine into his life (he’s murmuring expletives reading this right now). Also, landing a network of stations in Canada with Rogers was very exciting and brings many rewards along with continued growth!  

Gary’s studio set-up!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Jamie Watson, David Kaye, Steve Stone, John Frost, Scott Matthews, Chad Erikson, Scott Fisher, and Damon Oaks. I’ve definitely picked up something from each one of these guys.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

Inspiring, entertaining, and teaching children somehow. I’m big on supporting kids in developing their emotional intelligence to give them the tools to realize their full potential. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television? 

Great…with a quick side of self-judgment. Since then, I’ve learned to accept the way I hear myself isn’t always the way others hear me and leave discretion to the ear of the director and listener. I continue to grow my ability for self-direction through coaching.  

How has new technology changed the way you work?

Well…the internet is pretty great. Though, I don’t find it’s changed too much since my VO start in 2014. I learned to do some video work and have expanded in that regard – I like to be able to build a project all the way from writing to audio to video. When time allows.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

I use a Senn 416, Scarlett 2i2, and Symetrix 528e both on the road and at home. The 528 doesn’t fit snugly in a suitcase, but I don’t leave home without it. I also have an Apollo Twin, but since Covid came, I haven’t had a chance to get into it full force quite yet.

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I used Audition since it was called Cool Edit until I switched to Pro Tools a couple years back for imaging.  But I tend to use both now…depending on the projects I’m working on. Plugins don’t amuse me much anymore. I’m more into developing my own internal voice plugins.  

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

Yep. A pivotal part of my growth. I’ve coached with Nancy Wolfson, and most recently with Dave Walsh.  Both have profoundly changed my life. Many more to come. In my mind, it’s imperative to get out of your own way and listen to how you’re perceived outside your own mind.  

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I voice everything as it comes in. I may hold off on certain auditions to ensure I’m in the right headspace if it’s not something I consider myself more fluent in. Plus, ya gotta do that prep.

Studio shenanigans!

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Emailing updated work. Networking at events. It’s all still very new to me. I’m learning new methods all the time.  

When it comes to VO work and studio gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?

I’m not opposed to buying used gear. As long as it comes without a hum, click, or fire.

What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know? 

Ask the coaches I mentioned…better yet…schedule with them and pay them for their time and learn them all. I sometimes voice auditions and then come back to them a few hours later, to see where my head was at at that point in time. Then I redo if needed. 

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Oh, yes. Still figuring this all out. They are all different, but each project is different as well. But it’s my goal to get it all sorted out and fire on all cylinders. Wearing these multiple hats has, without a doubt, been my biggest challenge (and reward when it pays off). Generally speaking, I find radio imaging to be a bit more forceful of a read (call to action) and commercial to be very laid back and conversational with promo snuggly in between.

Check out Gary’s Commercial Demo:

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

1. Patience. If you don’t book something – it’s just not for you…yet – or there’s something better on the way. 2. The only person potentially holding you back is you – eliminate your self-limiting beliefs and you’ll see success in all areas of your life – aka believe in yourself. 3. Be kind to you first, then watch as that kindness spreads to others. 4. Always give one extra helpful tip.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade, which one would you go back to and why?

The 60’s. I’d make a great hippie.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pep ‘n Canadian Bacon

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Um…living…? Gross, Benz.

Connect with Gary:
Website
Facebook
LinkedIn

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Handling Covid 19, Imaging in the UAE and Future House Remixes for Fun – Meet Vish B!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 02:30

I already had the pleasure to interview Vish for the benztown blog some years ago! He’s seriously one of the most profound imaging heads and one of the best in the game. Check out how he handled the Covid-19 crisis by expanding his home setup and his latest findings. Enter Vish!

1. How has Covid 19 changed the work situation for you? New workflows? 

To be honest, not surprisingly work has really dried up, but the good thing is it’s forcing my to diversify my skill set, It’s definitely led me on the path of more experimentation. I’ve been dabbling with sound design particularly and also trying to improve my music production chops as well. I enjoy producing beats and playing around with samples and a lot of my imaging ideas come from music itself. I try add some of that musical experimentation workflow into imaging as well. It’s been a lot of fun honestly, I’ve spent loads of time learning new software too and also getting a deeper understanding of some of the existing tools I have like my NI Maschine and Komplete controllers and, some synths and plugins

2. What’s new since we talked last time? what stations do you currently working on?

Well honestly, Covid’s dried up a lot of the work so it’s been fairly quiet. I’ve worked on some IDs for a station in the Cayman Islands called Z99 such as a Top of Hour and some Alexa IDs. Was hard to find some apt Alexa drops cos there isn’t a text to speech emulation I found so went with a generic one just to add some color to the IDs in the hope that listeners won’t be able to tell the difference

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #236 – Memorial Day Composite, Sound Design Contest and iZotope Flash Sale!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 07:08

Hope your week went well and you’re slowly but surely getting ready for the weekend! Let’s get right into this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Check out iZotope’s Spring Flash Sale, with up to 50% off their best plugins, even Ozone 9!

Grab your deals here!

2.Inspiration

For all the Hip Hop heads out there, this looks real promising!

3.Music

Already 2 months old, but great sound, good bounce and sweet vocals

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #235 – The Benztown Coloring Book, Soundtoys Sale And Tony Robbins!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 08:44

Time for another edition of fiver friday! Hope you had a great week and get smoothly into your well deserved weekend – here are this week’s findings: 

1.Plugin

Soundtoys has yet another sale to offer and its huge! Up to 75% off of their best productions, check it out here!

2.Inspiration

A good friend send that to me this week and after seeing Tony live a couple of years ago at the inc5000 and in this special times I think it is a great narrative to stay positive and level headed:

Tony Robbins – 3 Decisions, Choose Wisely

3.Music

Some smooth Drake vibes for the weekend!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Check out the latest addition to the Benztown Universe, the Benztown Coloring Book!

Get it here for free – would love to see some submissions!

5.Imaging

The latest Power Intros from our friend Staxx!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Matt Fogarty

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:33

Matt Fogarty’s contemporary sound and style have been chosen to represent major brands on radio and TV across North America. From station imaging to national commercial campaigns, Matt delivers a fresh sound that engages audiences and captures listeners. 

Matt is represented by Hoss Management, CESD Talent Agency, Premiere Talent, and Voxtalent!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

WZYP in Huntsville, WNCI in Columbus, WPLW in Raleigh, KIKV in St. Paul, and the MyFM network of stations across Ontario, to name a few. 

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

In addition to running my voiceover business, I’m a creative services director and write commercials, promos, and imaging for a group of 6 radio stations on Vancouver Island.

Check out Matt’s Imaging Demo:

What do you love about your job? 

Being able to collaborate with like-minded creative/programming people to create a sound we are all proud of, every day.  

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

A friend of mine who was, at the time, doing mornings on our Hot AC station and doing voiceover on the side, heard a spot I voiced on the air and suggested I explore doing VO myself. That was in 2007.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then? 

My first memorable VO gig was being the signature voice for a national chain of restaurants across Canada. I did the voiceover for their commercials for a few years. The first radio station imaging gig I got was a big one for me – coming from a radio background, I love imaging and was stoked to land WAJI in Fort Wayne, back when they were called BEST FM. 

Matt’s sweet set-up!

Who are your VO idols/mentors? 

Oh, man. That’s a tough one. There are a lot. The guy I mentioned earlier who got me into VO, Dave Pettitt, for sure. He helped kick it all off and I’m grateful. Lisa Keys, because she’s awesome and inspiring. Sylvia Villagran who I learned a lot from when we were voicing Country 98.9 in Seattle together. 

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career? 

Hmm, outside of radio/VO, I could see myself doing something in the culinary world. I like to cook. Something where you still get to be creative every day. 

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?  

I remember just smiling like an idiot. I was so happy that I’d found something I loved doing that could also pay the bills! I felt very fortunate that way. 

How has new technology changed the way you work? 

I can connect remotely with studios across the globe. It’s incredible. Pristine audio from my home studio to theirs, almost instantly using Source Connect or other connection options. Plus, gear has shrunk in size, so I can pretty much match my home studio sound on the road for continuity no matter where I am, without dragging around a ton of gear.  

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio? 

In my studio, I use a Sennheiser 416 mic into a Universal Audio Apollo Twin with Adobe Audition, and I record in a custom-built studio room, inside a Studiobricks booth. On the road, I bring my second 416 and a Universal Audio Arrow, which allows me to access all the same plugins I use at home, but in a more compact device, to match my sound at home. Plus, the Arrow is BUS powered so there isn’t a bulky power supply to carry around. It runs off the computer connection.

Take a tour of Matt’s Home Studio:

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins? 

I’m using Adobe Audition for my DAW, along with some Universal Audio, Waves, and iZotope plugins. I like the Manley Voxbox plugin and Nectar 3, to name a couple.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it? 

Yes and yes! I’ve worked with Nancy Wolfson and Mary Lynn Wissner who are awesome and I would highly recommend them both. Good coaches can help you with your delivery, but also with navigating the tricky waters of VO do’s and don’ts which is very valuable, especially early on in your career.

A glimpse inside Matt’s voiceover booth!

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work? 

I have two young daughters, and we get up pretty early most days, so I’m able to get an early jump on stuff most of the time. First thing in the morning I’ll send off anything that’s come in from clients in Eastern Time (I’m PST), and then knock off auditions as they come in, most days. I’m doing more actual work than auditioning now, but I still send out probably 3-5 auditions on an average day. I use Evernote and Week Cal (iOS app) to prioritize and organize my sessions and jobs as well.  

How do you market your services to potential clients? 

I do some advertising on industry podcasts and websites. Social Media. My website. I’m fortunate to have excellent representation who put me in front of a lot of quality buyers and bring in great opportunities. Professionally produced demos are super important, too! 

What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know? 

I suggest working with an engineer or producer you trust to dial in your sound. I’ve taken audio courses and worked with several different audio guru’s to help make me proficient in operating my gear and helping me dial in my settings. 

Check out Matt’s Commercial Demo:

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry? 

Listen. Practice. Repeat. 

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why? 

I’m a huge fan of 90’s punk and alternative, so that’s where I think I’d wanna hang. You know, relive the first time you heard Smells Like Teen Spirit or Basket Case on the radio and just be like…whaaaaaa?

Favorite 2 pizza toppings? 

Extra cheese and pepperoni, baby! Classic!

Connect with Matt Fogarty:
Website
Facebook
LinkedIn
Soundcloud
YouTube
Instagram
Twitter


Twitter
Instagram

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Imaging South AFRICA during Self Isolation, Levels and playing the Piano – meet Lindsay Johnson

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 08:34

Lindsay and I go back quite a while. Even if I never met the dude in person I feel we know each other so well. Crazy what the internet can do :).. Finally we sat down to chat and Lindsay brought some really interesting stuff to the table I wanted to share with you.

Side Note :   Jan was so lucky to go to SA for RadioDays two times and has covered a lot about the scene there.

Enter Lindsay.

Overall question. How has Covid 19 and the self isolation changed your world, routines?

Hey Andy, thanks for having me on the blog. It’s a huge honor! COVID19 lockdown regulations haven’t necessarily changed the way I work. The workload may have slowed down a bit, but as far as working in isolation goes I’ve been producing from my studio in Cape Town for the last 4 years and have worked remotely for the majority of the time. So I’m quite used to it already. A lot of commercial radio production in SA has come to a halt though, as would be expected, with most businesses freezing their marketing and advertising campaigns. So the industry has taken quite a knock on that front.

My routine has changed though. I have 2 kids and with all our schools being closed during lockdown we have to tackle the school work first thing in the morning. That is quite a challenge, but it needs to be done. If there are urgent recordings that I need to do in the morning then we re-arrange the diary, as we need to.

1. Can you give me a bit of background about yourself, your career and achievements.

I’ve worked in commercial radio for quite a while. Probably, around 15-16 years. My production path has always been a mixture of radio imaging, sound design and final mix for post-production. I was never satisfied with just the one. I started working in radio around 2002 for KFM 94.5. In addition to production, that role involved a lot of the technical aspects of broadcasting too – outside broadcasts, marketing events etc. A few years later KFM was taken over by Primedia Broadcasting, which already owned 3 other stations – 947 and Talk Radio 702 in Johannesburg and Cape Talk in Cape Town. After a number of years at Primedia I left radio to join a post-production house where I was doing sound design and final mix for TV shows, commercials and documentaries. When I left the post-house I relocated to Johannesburg and got back into radio again with Primedia. In Johannesburg I focussed primarily on 947 and Talk Radio 702, and helped out on the Cape Town stations when needed. During my 5-year period Johannesburg I took on the role of Sound Production Manager, which encapsulated production and the on air sound, so I had one foot in production and another firmly in the technical department. The technical side of things involved everything relating to the transmission path – the most fun part of that for me was being responsible for the overall On Air sound quality for the Johannesburg stations. I spent quite a bit of time tweaking their Optimods and trying to improve their signal chain over the years. Eventually I moved back to Cape Town for family reasons where I joined their Cape Town office again.

A couple months later a new commercial FM broadcast license was awarded in the Cape Town metropole area and I jumped at the opportunity to become part of the start up team – Smile 90.4FM. That’s where you and I had our first interaction, I think? We signed the Benztown Hot AC package at the time. The FM frequency spectrum in South Africa is very limited and It’s not everyday that you get to launch a brand new radio station from the ground up. So it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up on. My role at Smile 90.4FM was to develop a new AC sound and set it apart from the competitors who had been entrenched in the market for at least 15-20 years already. Of course, the technical tasks weren’t far behind either. While taking care of the imaging and production, I was also responsible for the technical and IT operation for the station. It was quite a lot, but it was a lot of fun too.

After 4 years in that role I left Smile 90.4FM to start my own business called Crossfade Studio and built my studio. I’ve been focussed on the business for the last 4 years. I still focus quite a lot of my time on radio imaging as a freelancer and produce multi-station campaigns for commercial brands that advertise on all the major commercial stations across the country. The other half of my time I spend working on audio post-production.

Most recently I’ve jumped on board with Benztown in their custom-imaging division and I’ve been having heaps of fun working with Matt Anderson. He’s a guy great and super helpful! 

2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio brands in SA and now with Benztown world wide? How do the task differ between the different stations / brands? What is the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats?

It’s always great hearing your production on air and having the opportunity to be able to influence a part of the station sound, especially since I’m not employed directly by any radio station. In South Africa there isn’t a lot of outsourcing happening in the imaging and production departments. They mainly keep those tasks for the in-house crew, so I consider myself lucky in that regard to still be able to contribute to the On Air sound. I never take it for granted, no matter what station it’s on. The multi-station campaigns I work on for example, all have to reflect the advertising brand, while maintaining the respective station’s sound. Some stations are ‘hotter’ than other’s, so to find that groove in the middle and adapt what you need to for each of the stations is all part of the creative fun and making the campaign work. I like working on a variety of formats, even though I’m better at some and not others. That’s why I’m enjoying producing for Benztown right now. There are various formats, so it keeps me challenged. But for me, less is always more. I think there’s a fine line between producing for you and producing for a listener. So you have to strike a good balance between production wizardry and the message to the listener.

3. What do your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine?

No blueprint at all, other than the daily school work during the COVID pandemic!  Because I’m self-employed and work on all types of audio production, it can be anything on any day. There’s a good balance between radio and post-production. I take it as it comes. And well yes, there are days when I’m not doing any production. On those days I try and get the admin work done and I sneak in a cold beer when I can. The sun on the African continent is hot, you need to quench that thirst! 

4. What is your most memorable project?

I have 2. The first one was launching Smile 90.4FM. It was great to be part of something new that reached a wide range of audiences and be able to influence their sound. The other was starting my business and building the studio. It was a long-term plan that I always kept my eye on and I’m really grateful that I got to follow through with it. I don’t regret a single moment of it.

5. How is the SA radio market different from others?

My answer to this question would probably be quite different to when I actively worked at a radio station. But I think I’m back down to consuming radio as a listener again. Enjoying the medium as a whole and not trying to dissect every hour, which is what most of us do, I think. I prefer it this way to be honest. I think it informs my production approach… and that is to get out of the way of the message, but still be creative and draw their attention. Even though I have my favorite station, I still flip through the frequency band regularly to hear what’s going on. I think it would be fair to say that the SA radio market is relatively conservative. It’s dominated by a lot of AC and Hot AC format stations, so their music playlists are more or less the same in whatever province you happen to be in. I’m sure there’ll be people who would disagree, but that’s just my opinion. There are a few unique sounding stations to the SA market though, these stations usually give a lot of focus to the local music market. The vernacular stations in South Africa probably have the most listenership figures – easily a good couple of million and those are not necessarily your mainstream AC/HotAc stations.

You and I have had this discussion before, but as far as writing copy is concerned, the imaging team very seldom writes the copy too. Most stations have a dedicated writing team to handle copy and sometimes you can find a slight disconnect between the production and the writing. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed about the setup of production departments elsewhere around the world…the imaging person is also the creative writer. I prefer that approach. I think it lends itself to being more creative in your imaging.

6. What DAW do you use?

It’s always been Pro Tools. I know it has it’s glitches, but it works me. I’ll use NI’s Maschine and the Maschine Studio controller when I need to cook up sound design or if I’m working on a beat or music cue. I like that it’s all integrated with the hardware controller so I can keep my eyes and ears focused on the sound I’m producing and drop the mouse for a bit. I’m not a big fan of setting up MIDI maps and assigning parameters to controllers and all that – it takes up too much time. I like to get onto the task immediately.

7. What are your favorite plugins?

I think monitoring your levels are very important from start to finish, so you’re going to find Waves’ VU meter plugin on every Aux Bus and Master Fader.

I can’t live without PSP’s micro warmer on vocal channels. It gives it a nice boost and presence.

ProQ2 – the user interface makes it super easy and straight forward to carve out a sound.

SSL Channel Strip – I think the character and colour it adds. Sometimes just adding some of it’s top-end is enough.

H-Reverb or Eventide’s Ultraverb

SoundToys’ Alter Boy and Echoboy

And recently I’m quite enjoying NI’s Raum reverb plugin.

8. What are new learnings? Inspirations?

I started going for formal piano lessons close to 2 years ago. So I’ve been focusing a lot of my spare time on getting ahead in that. I’ve made excuses for years not to, but eventually just got my ass into gear and got on with it. I know a lot of people would probably say you don’t need music theory to get ahead, but it’s a personal goal and achievement of mine.

I also love watching the Masterclass videos online. I watch a range of topics and I think you can learn quite a lot from those professionals. The Masterclass on Space Exploration was really inspirational in some way, in that hard work, dedication and focus will yield results.

9. Any new tools you discovered lately?

I love the Native Instruments and Heavyocity products. None of it is overly new, but I just love the sounds and textures those companies produce.

10. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

Many years ago in an edition of RAP Mag they featured a piece by Jerry Rohira. I think he was working at Sirius XM at the time, based in New York. It was a 4min40 imaging piece describing what radio imaging is to a ‘normal’ person without all the radio jargon. It was really well written and superbly produced by Jerry. I still find it valid today. It really paints a picture for the listener and demonstrates how you’re able to tell a story and be creative using audio production. I still have that audio all these years later. It’s a great piece!

11. Who have been mentors of yours and how did they support you?

There have been a few over the years. The first and most important is my wife! She’s really the voice of reason in my life. Always being objective about things and giving me alternatives to think about. The next one I’d have to say is the guy who first employed me at KFM – Jaco Viljoen. He’s given me tons of advice and guidance over the years. Nearly 20 years on we still remain great friends! The other guy who really had a great influence on my imaging is Brendan Taylor, who is now at the Nova Group in Sydney. At the time Brendan was part of the consulting team for KFM and made a few trips over to Cape Town over the years. We had a lot of group production sessions with the programming and creative departments. Chris Thorpe in London, who was also part of the consulting team and Mitch Callendine too. The common thread with Brendan, Chris and Mitch is that I made them all drink the worst rum shooter you can find in Cape Town when they visited  I’d do the same to you too if you were to visit Cape Town!  I also have to add a very good friend and client of mine – Cameron Naidoo. He runs a successful creative agency and he’s given me tons of business and entrepreneurial advise over the years.

Some additonal questions:

  1. The best tech purchase under a hundred dollars?

I have to say it’s probably Izotope’s Music Maker Bundle for a sale price of $49. I’m not overly crazy about the Izotope plugins (except for RX), but you can’t beat what you’re getting in that bundle. I picked it up myself! 

  1. If you had to pick five plugins….

Waves H-Reverb / EchoBoy / PSP Micro Warmer / C6 Multiband / L2 Ultramaximizer

  1. Gear: your dream studio would have…

Avid S3 or S4 + Avid Dock and Dolby Atmos with Adam Audio monitoring in a theatre-sized mix room 

  1. Who or what inspires you?

I love being outdoors. Getting away for a weekend always resets the brain and outlook on life. We’re very spoilt for choice in Cape Town with getaway options. I love information too. I’m not a big reader of novels, but I always try and soak up new and varied information – hence me spending a lot of time on the Internet. But the big inspiration is always music. I really try and be open to all genres of music. In some way I’m sure it influences my style of production.

  1. Best advice you have ever gotten?

Never burn your bridges. It’s a small world and an even smaller industry. Most of the people I work with on a regular basis are folks who I have a long relationship with. We’ve built up a lot of trust over the years. Word of mouth recommendations are priceless.

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Behind the Mic: Johnny Panzarella

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 05/07/2020 - 10:40

Johnny has gone toe to toe in featured roles opposite Cuba Gooding Jr, Ned Beatty, Craig T. Nelson, Bruce Willis, David Morse, and Andre Braugher. His acting instincts and creative choices have made the leap from the screen to the audio booth, including rock and sports imaging where he showcases his unique attitude, edge, and humor.

Johnny is represented by Atlas Talent & Hoss Management!

What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

I started out doing a Beatles show at my college radio station and the hook was in. I was on-air at four Baltimore stations often doing their imaging…WLPL, WIYY, WGRX, and WOCT. The good thing was I never had to hook up a U-Haul and move around.

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I’m currently the voice for some great stations and staff including WBLM “The Blimp” in Portland, WQBK Albany’s Rock station, WQNT Classic Hits in Charleston, and KZZK “The Grizz” in Quincy Illinois. I was also very proud to have been the last image voice for KSWD 100.3 “The Sound” in LA. Thank you, Dave Beasing! I also image for several TV affiliates and do a variety of political spots and commercials including the national campaign for Interstate Batteries. Don’t you love it when they use the option for a second year!

What do you love about your job?

What I love about my job is that I get up every day, cross the hall into my studio wearing Spongebob pajamas, and spend the day creating characters and bringing words to life with no boss around stopping me from taking naps. Who wouldn’t love that!

Check out Johnny’s Imaging Demo:

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I have to credit Oprah Winfrey with that. In 1985 I was filling in for the regular station announcer at WJZ TV in Baltimore when you actually had to go to the station to record. Oprah was an anchor and we met by chance one day in the coffee room. She said she loved my voice and encouraged me to pursue my dream and never give up. Then she asked me if she could borrow a quarter for a cup of coffee…said she’d pay me back which she never did. It’s been my life’s quest to get that quarter back!

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

My first gig was an anti-drug PSA that ran on Public Television. The first time you hear yourself on a spot is a legal drug! There have been a few memorable gigs doing dialogue spots with Daryl Green of the Redskins and Ben Stein. Bueller!!

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

I have always loved the work of Don LaFontaine, Ben Patrick Johnson, Howard Parker, Chris Corley, and Hal Douglas…just to mention a few. They can rearrange your DNA when you hear their work. To me, it’s all about how it makes you feel and think. My favorite has to be Anthony Call, the narrator for “A Haunting.” He can raise the hairs on my neck reading the phone book!

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

If I wasn’t a voice actor I would probably be in some form of teaching. It’s a great feeling to enlighten and educate others.

How has new technology changed the way you work?

I started doing VO in the ’80s, so I logged many miles traveling to studios to record. Today’s technology gets it all done from home and I save tons of money eating from my own fridge!

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

Where Johnny creates his VO magic!

I don’t take gear on the road. I plan my time away around studios I can go to and there are plenty out there. I like the conditions to be perfect. I’ve booked some great work from auditions on the road in my bathing suit. My home studio is pretty simple. Very streamlined and effective. I use a Scarlett 2i4 interface with my best friend 416 mic into my Mac. I have retired my Avalon 737sp, but still keep it in the rack because it looks great in pics! I have Source Connect Standard 3.9 and use Audacity for my day to day record and sends. I’m a volume freak and love my KRK Rokit 8 monitors…these go to eleven!!

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I’ve studied with David Lyerly. He is awesome, but in general, I prefer to keep a sharp ear on all forms of media for the actors who are booking. Also, videos, blogs, and other forms of industry teachings give me guidance. I trust my acting instincts and sensibilities to make good choices based on current trends. I’m not saying don’t use a coach. Do whatever works for you. It’s definitely not a one size fits all.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I schedule my work based on priority. Most work is needed by the end of the day, some asap, and some next day. I spend a couple hours a day auditioning. I treat auditions like I would a real session. There’s so much competition you have to deliver performance-ready reads. Plus some clients will use the audition for the gig.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Johnny knows how to get serious when it’s time to promote himself.

My marketing is heavy email lists, calls, and social media. I’m always carrying business cards because you never know who you’re going to meet. I’ve met a lot of clients out and about at pubs, ball games, airports, even at a funeral. Always be aware and listen to conversations around you and don’t be afraid to jump in and introduce and sell yourself.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

I believe if you have the right gear and studio treatments and you employ the proper vo techniques, you’re going to get an amazing sound!

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Two totally different approaches. Radio imaging for me involves a lot of acting, ad-lib skills, instincts, attitude, and humor. The ability to go off-page and make the copy yours. Most Program Directors and Brand Managers will be fine with you going off-road as long as you end up at the same destination. Commercials, on the other hand, are rather restrictive. The writers usually don’t like it when you mess with their words. There’s a lot of room for creativity with pace, style, and character…just stick to the script.

Check out Johnny’s Commercial Demo:

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

Everyone’s journey is different with different tips as to how they made it. For me, number one is Never Give Up!! I purposely didn’t have a Plan B because I probably would have used it when times got really tough. Number two, be trained and prepared. You’ll be competing against the best in the world. Anything short of greatness is not enough. Lastly, if you have talent, confidence, and a good sense of humor – you will do fine.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

The 70’s. High school, lava lamps, platform shoes, and bellbottoms.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni and Anchovies!

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

My Dad. I miss him and he loved Anchovies, too. We could split a big pie for our dinner!

Connect with Johnny Panzarella:
Facebook
LinkedIn
Website

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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