Behind the Mic: Anne Vydra
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.