Behind the Mic: Rich Rubin
I’m Rich Rubin, a 20+ year radio and VO vet and still going. Now I’m almost exclusively in commercial voiceover with campaigns including Ford, Honda, Xfinity, Pepsi, Disney, Comcast, Dish Network, The NBA, ESPN…I’ve done a lot of Disney Toy Commercials. I was the voice of Max Steel for Mattel Toys and I’m the voice in the Max Steel toy which I am beyond proud of!
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
Imaging voice for Channel 93.3/KTCL Denver and KWOD 106.5 Sacramento. I was the voice of NASH FM/The Blair Garner Show, and The Ty Bentley Show/Ty, Kelly, and Chuck from 2014-2020. Stationed in New York and Nashville with over 100 syndicated markets.
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
Work with Benztown/Yaminair regularly for commercials and I’m the voice of WKFR and 104.9 The Edge in Battle Creek, MI. I’m also the Alt & 80s host at LiveXLive.
What do you love about your job?
I wouldn’t shut up as a little kid and that pretty much hasn’t stopped 😉 I dunno, it just feels natural to read and talk.
Check out Rich’s Demo:
How did you get started as a VO actor?
In Denver, at Channel 93.3/KTCL, I wore a ton of hats so I was busy 12 hours a day. Part of the contract required reading local commercials. Eventually, a few clients started requesting me for their reads which was fine but I didn’t have time to read as much. During one really busy day, I told a top sales guy “If they’re insisting on me reading their spots every week, then tell them I’ll do it for $200 a read.” The next day I became “the voice” for the Vans Skatepark just outside of Denver. That led to a local voiceover agent tracking me down and asking me if I was interested in having an agent. I’m still with Kathleen Ham of RAA in Denver today 🙂
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
My first ever VO gig was when I was 12 singing for local Pete Ellis Dodge spots in Phoenix, “Pete Ellis Dodge, freeway 17 Camelback Exit Phoenix.” Really fun! A very memorable gig was for a big national campaign where there were seven “directors” in the room. The client, producer, and actual director were giving me seven different types of directions and weren’t listening to each other. I knew that my voice was going to give out in 20 minutes as it was a very high-energy read. I had to take a stand and let them know what was going on. It was risky and difficult but a great learning experience.
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
I’m still in awe of my pal Mike Bratton. I was lucky enough to hire him to be the imaging voice of KTCL and then KWOD. I even had him as the voice of a Podcast I hosted for a few years called Fandom Sports. Mike is dynamic in that there isn’t a read that he can’t make work. He’s also technically sound and really works hard, but mostly he works smart. He’s also given me such great advice every time I’ve needed it.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
Marine Biologist. I’m in the water a lot, continuing my search for turtles, dolphins, sharks, whales, etc. I watch at least three ocean docs a week. Love the water.
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
It felt good!
We bet it also felt pretty good to be on Lethal Weapon
playing the part of “Radio Host” (a real stretch!)
How has new technology changed the way you work?
Doing live auditions/gigs on Zoom is new. My home studio is also a haven of sorts for me…I like the quiet and working at my own pace, so when a client is in your ear or watching you read, that’s a big change.
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
Apollo Twin, Sennheiser MKH416. Sometimes I use a Blue Icicle on the road as a pre-amp.
Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?
Twisted Wave. Been using it forever and I like the simplicity of it.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
Yeah a few including the amazing Elaine Clark. Not so much a voice coach as a voiceover coach. She is a master at breaking down copy, finding the subtext, and getting you out of your head. If you feel you need a coach for anything voice-related, then I highly recommend it.
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
I record auditions in batches; I lay everything down at once, then edit according to which read needs to go out first. It’s never a set schedule and I never know how busy the day might get. So whatever I have in the hopper, I get to it as fast as possible. I’ve had days of non-stop reads from 9-6…some audition days can go for three hours.
How do you market your services to potential clients?
I really don’t market myself. I know I should but I spend most of my time staying in touch with my manager and agents. When it comes to repeat clients, I make sure to stay in touch with them as well.
More awesome work from Rich:
When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?
Saving time is all about getting on your auditions as soon as they come in. You never know how busy the day might get. Time equals money so, again, I stay on top of my work and that translates into more $$.
What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know?
Mic position and where your mouth is in relation to the type/style of read is a tried and true technique.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
Yeah depending on the direction and the type of read. Most radio imaging is straight down the barrel. More and more commercial reads are natural/conversational so a little off to the side of my down-facing directional mic can help with that.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voiceover industry?
1. Take a class! Get in front of your peers and a teacher and see if you’re comfortable reading in front of them. When it’s time to read a pro spot, you never know how many clients, directors, producers, engineers, etc will have their eyes on you. You need to be able to focus and do your job in that arena.
2. Be patient. You may hit lightning and book early, but all vo actors have ups and downs. Lay a good foundation of what you can roll out of bed and voice naturally. Get a few reads that you become known for (so you don’t have to audition as much).
3. Ask for advice from everyone. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten on auditions came from my wife, Beth, who isn’t in the industry but she is a perfect representative of the listening audience. So I’ll send her some auditions that I’m not 100% with and she’s always spot on with what rings truest.
Rich’s favorite person for audition feedback: his wife, Beth!
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade, which one would you go back to and why?
I was born in ’66 so I’ve seen my share of decades but I wonder what it would be like to be my age now in the 70s…
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
PINEAPPLE and sausage. Those of you who feel that pineapple doesn’t belong on a pizza are missing out.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
Here comes the most boring answer ever but I would invite my wife, Beth. She’s my favorite person in the world and I’m the luckiest dork alive. We eat dinner together every night and I always look forward to it.
Connect with Rich: