Lost? Get on Track with William Williams Voice Over GPS™

Voice-Over-GPSVoice Over has changed in the last few years.  Once you were “the Talent”.  Now you’re the talent, the casting director, the engineer and the VO director.  Oh, and the marketing  expert.

If you feel a bit lost on your voice over journey here is a free ebook to get you from point A to Point B.  I call it William Williams Voice Over GPS™.  Find out where you’re at, where you want to be, and how to get there.

Just fill in your name and email to download your free copy now.  And then put the pedal to the metal!

Posted in Marketing, Professionalism, Voice Over Business | Leave a comment

Does Singing Help with Voiceover?

Singing helps voiceoverPeople come to voice over from a variety of different backgrounds. Some come from the broadcasting world. They bring clear enunciation and solid reading skills. Others come out of on-camera or stage acting. They have and edge when it comes to voice acting, which is a required skill in modern voice over performance. Still more are cartoon or game junkies. And they have an acquired reservoir of of characters stored away in their mind. But what about singing?

Does singing enhance your voice over skills?

Disclosure: I was (am still) a singer. I spent my early years in a band singing rock, pop, country and even oldies. Never tried my hand at broadway or classical. Probably to the relief of many opera fans. So what benefits does singing bring to a voice over talent?

It’s all about the words

A song consists of chords, a melody and lyrics. Some people can hum the tune but would be hard pressed to tell you the lyrics of a song. Like “Hooray for Hollywood. Da da  da da da da da da da daaa”.

But for most, the lyrics have the most impact. And they contribute the factors that you will find in voice over copy.

VO copy has a “theme” just like a song

First there is the underlying meaning of the song. Just like a voice over script, there is is a basic theme to every song. You’re not going to sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic in a silly voice. So, like a singer, you should discover the fundamental message in your copy and make sure that it is clearly communicated.

Similar to the message, each song has an attitude or “vibe”. You may be angry, or disappointed, or amazed, or confused. This feeling will often color most of the performance. Find the vibe that goes with the theme.

And the words have a sound and a rhythm

Gilbert and Sullivan were famous for exploring the actual sound of the words (Gilbert wrote the words but Sullivan incorporated their sound into his music). “I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral…”

Copy writers use all that stuff that you forgot about from English class. Alteration, onomatopoeia, similies. They don’t consciously incorporate these techniques. But they’ve read Chaucer and Shakespeare and Frost and Angelou. So it’s built in to their writing. “The Subaru Sizzling Summer Sale”

And listen to the meter of this avocado commercial: ” The simply sensational Hass Avocado” — same as “’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house”.

A song fits lyrics to the rhythm of the melody and requires awareness of these cadences: “un-forget-able–That’s what you are”.

The sentences in songs — and in copy — are in phrases

Singers naturally learn to break a sentence into smaller phrases. It gives more impact to each idea contained in a line. And it also allows a big breath before the next phrase. Voice over copy also consists of longer sentences made up of shorter 3,4 or 5 word phrases. Each phrase adds more information to the sentence.

Learn to read the phrases in copy, rather than trying to tear through an entire sentence. You will give a more understandable performance. And you’ll have the luxury of breathing after any of the phrases.

You don’t have to be Luciano Pavarotti

So even if you’re only the diva (or divo?) of your shower, singing will complement your voice over performance in a variety of ways. And if you sing, but haven’t attempted voice over, give VO a try. You probably already have many of the skills required for a quality performance.

And remember: keep talking!

William Williams




Posted in Acting Skills, Animation, Auditioning, Commercials, Narration, Professionalism | Leave a comment

Here’s Why You Don’t Want Voice Over Jobs

It Ain't Ditch Digging

OK, voice over ain’t ditch diggin’

What? Are you crazy? Of course I want jobs!


Well, in most voice over jobs you work as a private contractor.

So unlike in a job job, you may have several different employers each week.  And several different bosses.

A steady stream of these jobs is the life blood of a voice over career. So jobs is a good thing, right?

But if you are just chasing jobs, you need to change your focus.

Here’s what wrong with jobs.

Besides doing the actual voice over performance, each job has a certain amount of overhead.  You have to communicate with the client, determine their direction, file formats, delivery requirements, input their company in your accounting, invoice them and keep track of payments.

Oh, and did I mention 20, 30 40 auditions you did to land that job? Then the next gig comes along and it’s the same routine.  So how do you improve on this situation? Continue reading

Posted in Auditioning | 4 Comments

Create Winning Voice Overs with Your “Non-Verbal Toolkit”

There’s a myth about speech that has been around since the Egyptians invented hieroglyphics. And that myth is that somehow you can take all of speech and condense it down to written words on a piece of paper.

Actually I think that 70% of speech is what I call nonverbal. What I mean by that is it’s not the words that you’re saying but how you say them that conveys most of the information.

So to be good at voiceovers you need to understand and control your nonverbal toolkit. This video explains what it is and how to use it to produce winning voice over auditions and jobs.

What techniques do you think contribute to a winning voice over?  Leave a comment below.


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Promote Your Voice Overs with “The Milking Stool” Strategy

vulturesYou’ve worked on your voice over performance skills and technique.  Yeah, you can always get better but you feel you’re competitive and can give the clients a read they’ll be proud to exhibit.

Your voice has interesting variety and you have an authentic sincerity that will even warm the hearts of dishwasher soap consumers.

I always say, to be in the voice over business, you need to enjoy the process.  Auditioning should be fun, engaging your performing skills.  Recording and editing should challenge your left brain.  And the business aspects should give you pride of accomplishment.

But if you’re not getting any work… Continue reading

Posted in Marketing, Professionalism, Voice Over Business | 2 Comments

Are You Missing These 6 “Musts” for a Pro Voice Over Demo?

Your demo is your calling card in the voice over world. It is used by you, casting services, agents and clients to evaluate and market your skills.

With the availability of high quality recording equipment there is a tendency to attempt to create your own demo. But recording is only one aspect of a top-notch demo. And a “home-brewed” demo could restrict your opportunities for the best work.

Here are six aspects of a quality voice over demo. And some reasons why working with a demo producer will give you the best results.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Click here for more info on Demo Production.

Posted in Animation, Animation Demos, Auditioning, Commercial Demo, Commercials, Home Recording, Marketing, Narration, Narration Demo, Professionalism, Voice Over Demos | 1 Comment

Voice Over Home Recording Studio – What you really need

Yes you need the ability to record at home to be a voice over talent.  But if you’re just beginning, keep it simple.  Here are the four things you need to create broadcast quality recordings.  Any other tips? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Auditioning, Equipment, Home Recording, Marketing, Professionalism | 2 Comments

ADR Automated Dialog Replacement for Film-at Aliso Creek Studios

aliso creek adrEver since the “Talkies” were invented, film has been a combination of the visual element – the film – and audio elements – dialog, ambiance, sound effects, “foley” and music.  The first problem they had to solve was “synching” the sound with the video.  A primitive way to do that was the slate clapperboard.  When they clapped the top of the board together it provide a visual cue and an audio cue which they could align when they married the sound and picture together.  Later techniques involved time code that connected the camera to the sound recording equipment. Continue reading

Posted in Acting Skills, ADR for Film, Equipment | 5 Comments

Build It and They WON’T Come. 5 steps to Voice Over Promotion

baseball field and mic

Don’t wait for them to come… promote your voice over skills

We all remember the line from Field of Dreams.  Kevin Costner kept hearing a voice in his head that said “build it, he will come”.  If you’re interested in being a voice over artist you have to, indeed, build it.  Establishing a firm base in voice over includes getting solid instruction.  Learn what you’ve mastered and what you need to work on.  Always keep improving.

It also means getting the technical equipment and knowledge necessary to compete in this 21st century cyberworld. Learn to record at home and ship your audio files to anyone in the world in any format.

But unlike the figure in Field of Dreams, you can build this correct foundation–but they WON’T come.  The missing ingredient is PROMOTION.  Here are five steps to follow to promote your skills. Continue reading

Posted in Auditioning, Home Recording, Marketing, Professionalism | 3 Comments

Think “I Can’t Afford a Voice Over Demo”? Well, Think Again!

man-on-mic-cropflopI was talking to one of my students.  He had invested in taking my commercial class and showed good potential.  He had also purchased the bare equipment needed to record at home.  He sent me a MP3 of a test recording and it sounded fine: quiet recording, good levels, and good performance.

Then he said: do I really need a professionally produced demo?  I can’t afford it.  This surprised me because he is also an on-camera actor.  He has the required professional headshots and a resume.  And I know he’s taken several acting classes to fill that resume.

So I asked: Why are you interested in doing voice over?  His answer:  Because I want to earn money doing what I love.

I’m usually not so abrupt, but I said: Then you can’t afford NOT to have a professionally produced demo!  Continue reading

Posted in Animation Demos, Auditioning, Commercial Demo, Commercials, Home Recording, Marketing, Narration Demo, Professionalism, Voice Over Demos | Leave a comment