When I was on “Mr. Belvedere,” I was signed with one of the best voice over agents in town: Cunningham, Escott and Dipene (CED). From age 12-21 they represented me. I worked consistently and really enjoyed all the aspects of doing voice-over work. It was fun and it didn’t matter what you wore or how you looked _ it was based on your sound and your read of the copy.
I was always told I have a very specific sound. Even today people say I sound like I sounded when I was a kid. My voice sounds on the younger side, and when I get mad, I sound even younger. Not always a good thing! Some of the jobs ranged from playing Wendy from “Wendy’s Hamburgers” for years, Nike, McDonald’s, Coke, and more. I absolutely loved it!
When I decided to get back into the business, I called CED and found out not only are they not called CED anymore, but they didn’t want me back. They had too many similar sounding voices like mine. Like everything else, I started looking for voice-over representation.
Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to get a meeting with my old agent from CED who’d started his own company. Peter listened to my demo CD and signed me. I was really excited to get back into the voice-over world.
Like a naive dummy, I thought I would book everything I read for immediately. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The business had changed so much. You didn’t exaggerate or “overact” anymore. Things were more “real,” as if a stranger had approached you and asked you to describe the glass of orange juice you just drank. Very “authentic” and not “sales-ey.” That direction is on every audition I go on: “Authentic Not Sales-ey”
Typically, there is what feels like 5 minutes of copy they want you to say in 30 seconds and not sound sales-ey while you PITCH their product!! My step back into voice overs made me feel like I needed to sharpen my tools again.
A lot of serious voice-over artists had recording studios in their homes: sound-proofed, the latest equipment, and they could record their audition and email it into the agent. Not what I was used to. I used to drive to CED to their recording booth every time I had an audition. This time around, it was hard to drive to my new agency and work my full-time job. So, I tried inventing my own booth … in my Chevy Equinox, sitting in my work parking lot.
My agent’s assistant told me sometimes people who don’t have a recording studio in their home can record into a microphone in their I-Phone inside a closet. It had to be a tight space. I tried it five times on five different auditions and always had the same result. They would call me and say the sound was terrible and if I wanted to book something I would need to figure something else out.
I tried recording in my car with all the windows up. I even went to the Apple store and bought the best microphone. Then I tried draping a T-shirt over my head to keep the sound from echoing. It just wasn’t working, so I finally asked my friend who is a local DJ in town if there was ever a time to come in and record an audition at the radio station. There was, thankfully, at 5:30 am. That is the picture of the microphone.
I’m so thankful for the representation and the opportunity to audition and keep plugging along.