Recent Audio Book - First Life - Discovering The Connection Between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting Paid To Narrate Audiobooks

Getting paid to talk in general is a pretty amazing - in my opinion.  I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to find work in a variety of voice over roles.  The area that I've always had an interest in since I first thought about voice acting, however, has been audiobook narration. 

I really struggled with trying to figure how to break into this competitive field.  After years of banging my head against the wall, I came across a great site called

This site is a great resource for aspiring narrators.  You simply create a profile (for free!) and start auditioning.  It's really that simple.  Publishers listen to your auditions and decide if they want to hire you. 

Now, the one caveat is that you are responsible for fully producing a finished audiobook, so if you aren't adept at recording AND editing, be careful not to commit to something you can't complete.  Editing is not my strong suit, but I'm fortunate to have a good friend and business partner, Jason Noxon who is not only a gifted voice actor, but also a terrific audio engineer.  I couldn't have completed the two audiobooks we've recorded so far without his expertise.

If you need help producing the book, there are great resources on the site to link you up with studio professionals who can help you.  Just be aware that there's more...much more... to the process than just auditioning.

So go check out the site and start auditioning.  Let me know how you make out!

UPDATE:  My second audiobook is now available on, and itunes!!  Here's the link to the site.  Please check it out!
Keep Talking!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Never Stop Learning and Sharing

     I'm always amazed how "subcultures" emerge revolving around such varied interests.  My sister is an avid knitter, and she recently showed me a podcast and blog that she follows regularly.  The woman who hosts is a living legend in the knitting subculture.

     She has thousands of followers, and knitters worldwide anxiously await her next post or podcast.  I've never heard of her because knitting isn't one of my interests, but I'm certain that in the knitting community, there are many blogs, forums, pod-casts, blog radio shows, and more, that are shared with knitters everywhere.

     If you are a voice actor, it is just as important to find and develop your own online community network, and always be on the lookout for great suggestions.  Being part of the voice over "subculture" not only involves gathering information, but also being willing to share as well.  The reason I started this blog is to do just that.  My recent post on the benefits of potato chips for improving vocal quality was the direct result of reading that suggestion on a voice over forum that I participate in.

      In keeping with this theme, I recently came upon a great post on Voice Over Audition Tips from the Voice Over Club.

     Their blog and forum both have tons of great advice for aspiring and veteran voice over artists.  This is just one example of sites you can find to help you along in your career, no matter where you are in your journey.

     Always be on the lookout for resources, and be sure to get involved and participate in sharing information.  Remember, the more you give, the more you get.

UPDATE:  My first audiobook narration is now available on,, and itunes!  Here's the link to the site.  The book is available this week for only $5.95 so please check it out.

Keep Talking!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Potato Chips Required - Who Would Have Thought!

I came upon a great recommendation for keeping your vocal chords soothed and lubricated during recording sessions - potato chips!  I'm always on the lookout for suggestions on how to improve vocal quality.  Since I've started recording audio books, I'm talking for really long stretches of time and it's tough to keep my voice sounding good. 

While scouring some voice-over forums, I came upon an unusual suggestion.  A fellow voice actor had eaten some potato chips before a recording session because he was hungry and had nothing else to eat.  He was amazed how good his voice felt and sounded.  As it turns out, this "secret" is used by musicians and opera singers all the time.

I decided to give it a try and - amazingly - it really works.  The oils from the chips coat your vocal chords and the salt helps to remove excess moisture from your mouth.  The result is a beautiful read!  I now keep a bag of potato chips in my recording studio and eat a few whenever I need to soothe my throat.  

The best part is I get to eat potato chips as a requirement for my job - how cool is that!

Any other suggestions for vocal health, please let me know.

UPDATE:  My second audiobook narration is now available on,, and itunes!  Here's the link to the site.

Keep talking!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Audiobook Recording - Preparation Makes A Difference

Having been through the audiobook recording process now for the first time, I want to share some of the insights I've gained along the way.  In particular, I want to talk about the importance of preparing for the actual recording.

Woody Allen once said about screenwriting, that the writing was the easy part.  He felt that all the hard work was done in the preparation - developing your characters, understanding the arc of your story, creating the back stories that bring depth to the heroes and villains.  After he had all that stuff worked out, putting the story on paper was a piece of cake.

Voice acting isn't screenwriting, but I know now from first-hand experience that the more you've worked over the copy - marking it up where you need to add inflection and where you need to take a breath, making sure you have all of the pronunciations correct, developing the proper character voices - the better your read will be.  If you've done your homework, the actual recording will go so much more smoothly and efficiently.

So get your pencil and eraser out and get to work.  The better you understand the story and the style of the author, the better you'll be able to convey that meaning to the listener.

Here is the link to the audiobook I just completed:

Green Intelligence Audiobook

It's a great listen for anyone interested in how to protect yourself and your loved ones from environmental dangers.  I really enjoyed narrating it, and I hope you enjoy listening!

Keep talking.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

It Looks So Easy...But It's Not

I'd like to digress from voice-overs for one minute if I could, and talk about what it takes to make it look easy.

I was sitting at an amazing concert a few nights ago, enjoying a late spring night out with my wife to see the Zac Brown Band perform.  I will admit that I'm a recently converted country music fan, and Zac Brown is the reason.  A friend of mine hosts CMT Top 20 Countdown, and a few years ago when he first got the job, he told me to watch.  Up to that point I was not a country fan at all.  But being a good friend, I tuned in.  Well, the first video I saw was Zac Brown - - and I was hooked!

Flash forward to this past Friday night, when I was thrilled to be able to cross off "see Zac Brown perform live" from my list of things I want to do before I die.  Actually, I didn't cross it off, because I hope to see them again!

While I was watching and listening to the incredible vocals, the amazing guitar and drum performances, and the way that the members of the band seamlessly blended together to create such amazing music, it dawned on me how much practice, time, and effort it must have taken to get to this point.

Let's face it, the members of this band didn't wake up one day and suddenly find that they were able to perform at such a high level.  Each of them had to practice for years to hone their individual skills, and then practice even more together to make their music and live performances sound and look so amazing.

When we decide to undertake anything in life, even if we're passionate about what we're doing, success will require hard work, dedication, and the realization that we will have to continually hone our skills if we want to get better.

If you're just starting out in the voice-over business, realize that this is a profession that will require life-long practice.  Our job is to make the read seem effortless, to convince the listener that what we're saying is real - not just words on a piece of paper.  Those at the top of our profession make it look (or sound) so easy, but they know - and you know - that it's not.

Watching that concert not only made me appreciate great artistry, it reinforced my belief that you should never stop trying to improve, always seek to learn, and practice every day.  If you do, the producer on your next voice-over gig will say " made that look easy..." even though it's not!

Keep up the hard work, and keep talking!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Audiobooks - The Reading Is Just The Beginning

If you're a voice actor considering voicing audiobooks, and have never recorded one before, this is a post for you.

I recently began recording audiobooks.  When I was selected for a recent job, I was thrilled.  Audiobooks have long been an area of voice-overs that I've wanted to break into, and this particular book was an incredible opportunity.

Since this is a blog about my voice-over journey, I thought it might be helpful to take you through the process to give you an idea of just what goes into the recording of an audio book - and I came to find out that it's about a lot more than talking!

After the initial excitement of being selected, I knew that I had to assemble a small team to help complete this project.  Seasoned voice-over pros will often do all the recording and editing themselves.  I have a basic knowledge of editing and can handle smaller jobs, but I knew a project of this size would require the help of an audio engineer.

I'm fortunate to have some good friends in the voice over industry.  One in particular is a great audio engineer, who has himself just entered the world of voice acting.  He agreed to come on board as my Editor, and we were off and running!

This will take more than one post, so I'll start with an overview:  We had to record a total of 300 pages, plus a prologue and and epilogue - so we were up against a big project!  We created a project plan, laying out the chapters and establishing when to do the recording sessions and how much time we estimated each chapter would take.  We had to leave ourselves enough time to complete all the editing and mastering that would need to be done after the initial recording.

So the first thing I did was print off a copy of the manuscript for myself and my editor.  I put the transcript in a binder, and it became my constant companion for quite a while.  I like to read through the entire book to get a feel for the style of writing and the sense that the author is trying to convey.  This particular book is scientifically based, so it has some dry parts with a lot of lists - but it's also a compelling account of some serious stuff, so my reading had to convey that (no funny character voices on this one).

Our first hurdle was making sure all noise was eliminated from the studio.  We recorded what we thought was a good first 15 minute sample for the Publisher to review.  She liked it, but pointed out a low grade hum in the background.  We realized after listening again that the hard drive was creating the hum, so with some ingenuity and long cables, we were able to get the hard drive out of the recording area, and the hum was gone.

So, tip #1 is: Make sure your recording studio is completely quiet.  Many of us don't have soundproof rooms to record in, so you have to listen intently and be a super sleuth to find the sound source and eliminate it.  My recording studio is in a room in the basement of our home, so when I record, I literally have to shut the house down - turn off the dehumidifier, turn off the hot water heater, turn off the phones, and kindly ask our 4 children to go upstairs and be quiet - oh yeah, and no dishwasher or washer/dryer either - we're talking total shutdown!

With the studio perfectly quiet, we were ready to begin recording - but more on that in my next post.

Keep Talking!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

I had an interesting experience on Linked In recently.  I was working on my social media marketing, and finally concentrated on updating and maximizing my site.  I've had a somewhat varied background professionally, and currently am a partner in a successful company (which I really enjoy) that is totally separate from my voice-over world.

I made a decision to make my Linked In site exclusively about my voice-over experience, to really drill down on that aspect of my professional life, and started to send out invites to connect.

I received a terrific response from someone who happens to know of the other things I've done in the past, and my current goings on.  She was effusive in her praise of my decision to zero in on voice-overs exclusively on the site.  It definitely reaffirmed my decision, and also made me think about the ways in which we present ourselves to those around us, both the people we know and friends we haven't yet met.

Many of us are complex individuals, with many interests.  We all have varied experiences we bring to the table, and all of these experiences help define who we are.  That being said, there are times when we need to laser beam our thoughts and actions for a specific goal.

My decision to focus exclusively on voice acting on one of my social media sites doesn't take away from all the other things I do - both professionally and personally - that make!  I do believe, however, that the power of compartmentalizing can bring powerful results.

Best of luck in your social media world.  Let me know what's working for you!

Keep Talking


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Your Support Network - So Important!!

If you get a chance check out the recent post from a wonderful voice over artist, Bob Souer, about the importance of having a great support network.

 Here's the link to Bob's blog post:

 I know that my support network is definitely my family.  When Daddy is recording, our children are all very mindful of keeping as quiet as possible, and my wife has been my biggest cheerleader.  I couldn't do any of this without their love and support.

I'm very grateful as well to have many good friends in the voice-over business.  I'm always meeting new people who are interested in getting into voice-overs.  One of my greatest enjoyments is helping others learn about and succeed in this awesome industry.

Let me know who your support network is!

 Keep talking!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Staying Hydrated When Recording

I don't know about you, but one of the biggest issues I face when recording is keeping my mouth properly hydrated.  You've all experienced the different vocal issues when your mouth is too dry, or how about when you're producing too much saliva.  Then there's always the issue of mucous slowly working it's way up into your throat and vocal chords, causing you to cough or have to clear your throat (usually at the worst possible moment).

When you start to analyze why your mouth and throat experience these various symptoms, you realize just how fine an instrument our vocal chords are, and how much effort it takes to keep this instrument properly tuned so as to function effectively.  So many factors play a role in how well your voice sounds in the recording studio.  What you eat, when you eat, what you drink, how often you drink, nerves, health, strain, and fatigue are just a few of the many daily influences that your voice is subjected to.

Through my recent experience of recording an audiobook, I came face to face with all of these issues and factors.  Recording almost every day for about a month really put my voice to the test.  I found a few treatments that seemed to help me.  Hopefully they can help you as well:

1.  Drink water - lots and lots.  I am a notorious non-water drinker.  I can literally go almost an entire day without even thinking about drinking water.  As a voice actor, I have to force myself to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day.  This is by far the best thing you can do for your voice.

2.  Decaffeinated!! tea with lemon wedges and honey.  This drink is very soothing to the throat while recording.  There are some schools of thought that hot beverages can cause the vocal chords to inflame, but the tea cools pretty quickly, and I've found it quite helpful.

3.  My personal quirky favorite is ginger chews.  I use these as a lozenge in between takes.  Ginger can be a bit spicy, but I absolutely love them for soothing my throat and generating saliva production.

Do you have any special things you do to keep your voice in top shape before, during, and after recording?  If you do, please let me know - - I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!


Keep Talking!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Entering The Audiobook World

Let's talk audiobooks. If you're a voice actor, you've probably aspired to recording audiobooks. I don't know many people who would say that they don't want to voice audiobooks. That being said, the world of audiobook recording is very different than any other area of voice-overs. I've had the opportunity to record quick radio commercials where you arrive at the studio and an hour later you're done. I've also worked on longer projects that required me to do several sessions, each lasting a few hours. This is the typical scenario for most voice-over jobs. You zip in - get the job done - and move on to the next project.

 Audiobooks, however, are a completely different animal. I would compare it to the difference between voicing the trailer to a movie and actually being a main character - if not the actual star - of the movie. In the first instance, you rehearse a few lines, and record the trailer - your work is done. In the second instance, you are on the set every day, prepared to deliver your lines and act your role, until the movie is a wrap. Recording audiobooks requires a great attention to detail and a desire to immerse yourself in the job for potentially a month or more of intensive recording. If this sounds like fun to you (like it does to me!) then audiobooks are definitely an area of voice-overs that you should work toward.

My current audiobook project should wrap up in about a month. It's been an amazing process to lay down the actual recording of over 300 pages! The preparation was intense, as I read through the entire manuscript and marked up the pages with notes for myself, to help when recording. The actual recording of each chapter took a lot of time and I drank a lot of tea with lemon and honey to make it through. Now, my editor will be working his magic, and we'll be reviewing every word to make sure it's ready to go
It's been a truly rewarding, collaborative effort - and a whole lot of fun!

If audiobooks are your passion, then go for it. You'll work harder than you ever have, but in the end, it will be worth it. After all, even though we're getting paid to talk, it never really feels like work. That's the best job of all!

Keep Talking!


Monday, March 26, 2012

The Longest Journey Begins With One Step....

"The longest journey begins with one step".... I love that line. In life we so often envision our dreams and immediately believe we'll attain them overnight. We see others living the "perfect" life, and imagine ourselves doing the same thing. I bet if you looked below the surface of any person you believe has reached a level of success that you aspire to, you'd find out that he or she has been working hard to achieve that "overnight" success for a long, long time.'re probably wondering why Elmo is staring at you. Well, I watched a great documentary the other night, called 'Being Elmo.' You can find out more at It's the story of Elmo's creator - Kevin Clash. Watching this inspirational documentary really brought into focus how important it is to determine what you love to do, and to take a step every day in the direction of that dream. If you get a chance to watch it, I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

If voice acting is your passion, keep working at it every day and watch how you progress. Try this test: Every morning when you wake up, commit to doing three things that will move you along in your journey. Write them down - - and then do them. Do this for one month, keeping track of each day's goals and accomplishments. After the month, take a look at where you are and where you began. My bet is you'll have progressed much further than you thought.

And remember.....Elmo Loves You!

Good luck! Let me know how you did.

Keep Talking


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stay Connected With Other Voice Actors

Had a great breakfast this morning with a talented young man who is just getting started in the voice-over world. Talking with him reminded me how important it is to stay connected with other voice actors. Hearing the experiences he is going through just starting out, made me re-evaluate my own efforts and really re-energized me.
Social networking is great - Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc. are useful tools for getting yourself noticed. Nothing, however, can replace the energy that occurs when you talk with a real live person face to face and share ideas and your passion for the world of voice-overs.
So make sure you get out from behind your computer this week and get out there and actually talk with someone! It's invigorating and fun, and I guarantee you'll learn something you hadn't thought of. You'll also be nurturing or beginning a friendship, and that can never be a bad thing.

Great quote for the week:

"Don't ask the world what it needs; ask yourself what makes you feel alive. Go and do that. That's what the world needs." Whitman

Awesome advice!

Keep Talking