Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Is This Thing On?

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to do voice work - be a radio DJ, read commercials, do anything in front of a microphone. When I was young, very young, I would spend hours just talking into a microphone about anything that came to mind. (Those closest to me aren't at all surprised that I was a talker from an early age) I would read books aloud and add in all the inflections and emotions of each character. I was an only child, so I didn't annoy any siblings with the chattery behavior.

My Dad had a mini-studio in our basement, complete with microphone and reel-to-reel recording equipment. He used to sing in a quartet and had friends in a bluegrass band, so there was always southern gospel or country music blaring from our basement. Dad would hook up the tape recorder to the official microphone and I'd take off. I'd sing, chat, tell stories, and even do my own commercials. Station breaks consisted of me saying "Thank you for the interruption."

As I've grown older I've taken voice and speech training and done some non-professional recordings. Every time I do it, someone would tell me to pursue voice work based on what they heard. I guess it's more flattering to hear "you have a voice for radio" than to hear "you have a face for radio." I never really knew where to start, and didn't want to do this gig full-time, but still held on to the dream.

Last Tuesday evening in the torrential rainstorm we had in Louisville, I left work and headed for a class to take the first step in my dream. Our local public school system offered a "Voice Over Class" - one night, two hours and it only cost $35 and my delaying of viewing American Idol (not a big loss this season). The voice coach did a quick overview of the industry - how to get started, how to market - and then did some coaching and we all were recorded reading a few lines. I loved it! Due to my early love of the microphone, those electric ice cream cones don't scare me at all. He promised we'd each get evaluated and receive it via e-mail the next day. The promise included the disclaimer that if you aren't good, he'd tell you.

I anxiously awaited the e-mail and when it came, he said "You have quite a bit of potential. Your voice is young, real, and believable." I don't know if I was happier that he noted my potential or said I had a young voice. Either way, I was ecstatic. Now, off to create a demo as the next step of my dream.

After a week of research and phone calls on the best way to proceed, I am scheduled to talk with a producer this evening and record my demo, if he thinks I have potential. I'm amazed that only a week ago I thought this would be a fun way to spend a couple of hours and now, I'm within hours away of starting to see my dream come to life.

The moral of this story is to never let go of your dreams. You just never know when the right doors will open and your dreams may come true.


Katrina said...

Oh, Rose--how exciting!!! You are inspiring! I will be praying for your dream to come true; wouldn't that be wonderful, doing what you love and being paid for it?

Please keep us updated! (Maybe you could post the audio file of your demo?)

TimTheFoolMan said...

Congratulations Rose!!! Although I have found myself doing voice work in a back-handed sort of way, I have often thought about being 'the voice' doing narration of a book, or for radio or TV. That's fabulous news, and I can't wait to hear you "on the air." (And I second Katrina's request for an audio version of your demo!)

Shell said...

That is truly awesome! Best of luck in pursuing your dreams!

Julie McCLung said...

That is soooo awesome, Rose! Congratulations on completing the first steps (and with kudos from others to boot!)! I'm so excited for you. That does give me hope with a particular dream of mine. Thanks for the encouragement!

Alisa said...

I am SO PROUD of you!!! You will be marvelous at this. I can't wait to say "I knew her when..."

(BTW, you are very right about American Idol - ugh this season.)

Twinkie said...

I'm excited for you! I'm such a huge fan of recorded books that I really appreciate a great reader/narrator.

Please keep us updated!!!

Cherie <> said...

That's awesome Rose! I'm so excited for you! Definitely keep us updated.

Just recently I realized I had given up on my biggest dream...mostly because I have no clue how it could come true...but this gives me a little more hope that maybe someday I could sing professionally. I've always wanted to be the next Bethany Dillon or Nichole Nordeman! :) Who knows?

AVATC said...

Hi, Rose. As a voice-over actor who specializes in narrations and audiobooks, I was interested to find this post on your blog. I'm delighted to see you taking action on your dreams.

I hope you won't mind some unsolicited advice. Since your demo is your calling card, you really don't want to rush the process. You may want to take some more classes or at least practice more before spending the time and money to produce a demo.

Also, you should pick your demo producer with care. Be sure that you are not using scripts used by other people. Some people are all too happy to take advantage of newcomers.

You can find out lots more about getting started in voice-over by reading a book. My recommended reading list at Amazon is at this link:

Amazon voice-over books

You can find excellent advice on blogs from other voice actors (including mine!), the forums at vo-bb.com and the Voices.com blog.

Since you said you missed an episode of American Idol, I thought you might be interested in a blog post that I wrote about the show:

I couldn't care less about American Idol

Congratulations again on knowing what you want and having the courage to create the life of your dreams!

Karen Commins

RosieBoo said...

Thanks for all the great comments! I'll keep you all posted on my progress...

Amy said...

how exciting!! It must really feel wonderful to follow your heart (and you've known this all along!!)