Behind the Mic: Joe Cappelletti
Joe Cap has been fortunate to work in virtually all areas of VO in his 20+ year career. More importantly, he’s made a lot of great friends and has had a blast raising his three boys with his college sweetheart wife. VO has been the perfect fit for a curious and gregarious guy who loves to learn and enjoys the collaborative process of creating characters and selling ideas, products, and entertainment.
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
My voice has been heard on more than 100 stations over the years on concert promos for tour design, commercials, promos, and retrospectives in many formats . . . but mostly country stations! For the past several years I have been the imaging voice for Taste of Country Nights – syndicated across the country in around 100 markets. Currently, I’m the voice of all the Country stations for Townsquare – from Shreveport to Sioux Falls to Abilene and lots of cities in between!
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
In addition to imaging, my wonderful agents at CESD are always providing me with opportunities in all other areas of VO. They are a fantastic team and I love working with them. Additionally, I have a company that provides voiceover for TV shows and films in post-production – so I’m always busy with that. We provide voice matching, voice replacement, specific announcers, and all kinds of group voices.
What do you love about your job?
The thing I love most about my job is that it allows me to be creative and no two days are the same. Each day there are new challenges to face, new people to meet – and always an opportunity for growth. I also believe that there is a direct correlation between your effort and professionalism and your outcome. I have found that hard work, determination, and personal accountability deliver results.
How did you get started as a VO actor?
I never planned to pursue voice over. I had no idea that people made a living doing this! Shortly after I graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NY, I booked a local commercial – Road Hawk car batteries! They decided they wanted to do a radio spot because the original had been so compelling – lol! I did a couple of radio spots for them and never looked back.
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
My most memorable gigs were the early big ones – my first commercial campaigns for Expedia and Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando were fun. Working on huge videogames like Call of Duty, The Last of Us Part II, and Ghost Recon. I also loved voicing spots for some of my favorite bands: Jane’s Addiction, 311, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band – especially when I got free tickets! But my absolute favorite has to be directing and performing ADR in the presence of top film directors like Kathryn Bigelow, Antoine Fuqua, David Ayer, Ridley Scott, Roland Emmerich, and even Rob Zombie!
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
I don’t have any specific VO idols but there are certainly people who inspire me based on their incredible talent – many of whom can be found on the Benztown roster. In terms of mentors, I think about my early acting teachers, especially Jorie Wyler and Jackie Bartone at the American Academy and the late great Bobby Lewis who I studied with after that. I credit my success in voice acting to my training in acting under the caring, critical, and creative eyes of these three in particular.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
I have been writing on the side over the years. If I wasn’t a voice actor I would likely be a full-time writer and also spend more time pursuing other creative interests like painting and photography. I think it would be fun to be a film producer as well.
Joe’s sweet studio space!
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
The first time I heard my voice on the radio I was proud and a bit surprised at how I sounded. That’s what I sound like?? It’s true that your voice sounds different in your head than it does when you hear it coming at you from speakers. And after about a second I thought, ok – now let’s get another one!
How has new technology changed the way you work?
Technology has made it much easier for me to work. Even in just the past couple of months, there are new ways of linking up with producers. When I started it was phone patch and ISDN, then Skype and Source Connect and ipDTL, now there’s Zoom and Cleanfeed . . . it’s important to be able to adapt! I’m not a tech guy by any stretch, but it’s fun to be able to ride the wave and stay ahead of the curve.
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
I work out of a custom double-walled booth within a double-walled office. I have an Apollo Twin, Pro Tools, Avalon 737, Telos Zephyr ISDN, Gentner phone patch, Source Connect, and a few mics: 416, Neuman TLM 67, Gefell M930, Pearlman TM1. I take some combination of the above on the road.
Some of Joe’s gear!
Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?
No favorite plugins. I deliver dry VO.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
I have worked with a few coaches over the years and I would definitely recommend it. Having said that, it’s important to be your own coach as well. Listen to the current talent. Pay attention to who’s working, current trends, styles. Make sure you are reading out loud every day and playing it back to hear how you sound. There’s always work to be done! I always go through my acting checklist – Who am I, who am I talking
to, what do I want, what is my obstacle, what am I doing to get what I want — it applies to every read I do.
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
I try to knock out my auditions right away – early morning or even end of the day. If a client is waiting for a job I try to get to it as soon as I receive it. It’s very important to be attentive. I think fast turn-round is a hallmark of a pro.
How do you market your services to potential clients?
Marketing is a critical skill that is often underutilized and overlooked. Remember the 90/10 rule. We as actors have to do 90% of our own legwork (at least) if we want to remain competitive. It is vitally important to have good phone skills with a confident and clear pitch. Email writing is also an easy way to demonstrate your enthusiasm, experience, and value to a potential client (a great way to make a positive first impression). Ultimately, I believe that the best marketing is a fantastic session. So be ready when the call comes and leave them wanting to have you back!
When it comes to VO work, studio, and gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?
I think the best advice I can give in saving time and cash is to get yourself set up properly from the get-go. By that I mean invest in yourself. The old aphorism – there are no short cuts – is true. Talk to pros and buy the best gear you can afford. Don’t nickel and dime your tools of the trade. Spend as much time trouble-shooting your space to make it acoustically sound as you do shopping for your mic. Most of all – ask a lot of questions. Become a part of the community. The more questions you ask and the more pros you meet, the better your chance of avoiding beginner mistakes and having to fix or replace avoidable missteps.
What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know?
The best trick I know is to warm up fully – both vocally and physically. I have always found it helpful to go through a series of simple stretches and tongue twisters to make sure that I’m energized and focused. I also drink a lot of water or tea. No one likes to edit mouth clicks after a long session!
Inside the booth!
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
The basic technique is the same for me. Talk to someone in particular and say the truth. Have fun. Each style of read has its own style and you need to cultivate your own natural “signature”. In the end, I make a choice and commit totally. All the spots I do are submitted for approval or are directed in the moment, so I’m always ready to pivot and make another choice to meet the client’s vision.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
1) Take acting and improv class. Booking jobs has a lot more to do with your acting chops than the quality of your voice.
2) Be prepared and early for every job.
3) Live by improv rules: yes, and…
4) Bonus: Imagine every project is your passion project- because it likely is for someone that is responsible for you being there.
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?
I would love to go back to the turn of the century and relive some of the awesome times when our kids were little and our family started and ended each day together.
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
Any and all vegetables – please! Oh, and lots of hot sauce.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
I would invite my Dad to dinner. Any opportunity to spend even just another meal with him would be a dream come true.
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