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The Making Of A Narration Demo With Gabrielle Nistico

Demo production is both an art and a science. It’s a combination of matching the voice and personality of the talent along with the trends in voiceover production. To do that, not only do you need a producer that knows what are the current trends in voiceover (things like the 6 second commercial), that person also needs to know, or at least have a feel for you as a talent. My Demo Producer Pick It had been too many years since I had updated my demos. When I sent out my last set of demos to various production companies, clients and agents, I had almost always received positive feedback. But among people who knew me, including myself, I had always felt that my demo was a bit stiff. It didn’t truly reflect me as a person. So when I decided to do a new narration demo I wanted someone who knew me as a person as well as having great experience and insight into the world of voiceover. So I picked Gabrielle Nistico. Relationships Matter Gabby and I have known each other for years. She knows my background. She knows my voice and every time we speak it’s always fun. She teases me. We’re both New Yorkers so she gets me and she sees a lot of my crazy social media post and follows me on my adventures. Oh, and she gives great hugs too. While not every talent and their producer will have this kind of relationship, it’s important that there is some kind of relationship beyond “ok, when I press record, say this line kid”. Why is this important? Because the scripts she picked out have to be tailored toward me personally to [...]

When To Retire Your Old Gear

Whether you're a Photographer, Videographer, DJ, Graphic Designer or a VoiceoverTalent and Producer like myself, you can relate to the hard decision of knowing of “when to retire your old gear?” There is a old adage that says “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. And for many people in many industries, we stick with what we know and works for us. I’m like that to a degree. I love new things but don’t always want to put in the effort to go with the latest and greatest and so I don’t. Meanwhile the latest and greatest flashes across facebook ads and post by fellow voiceover pros who get new audio gear. And that fuels my temptations. But usually unless I really need something, I don’t switch. Recently though, the need became obvious, so I switched out my old gear. I did a video a few years ago called “What’s in my voiceover studio?” At the time it was about how my studio of some high end gear and some low budget solutions can get you into a pretty productive voiceover career. But as of 2016 some of that gear began to wear, especially the computer. My Dell XPS from 2011 just didn’t want to do the trick anymore. So I tried to do some upgrades but after months of being in denial, it was time. So I consulted my computer guy (Gerald X- Identity Kept Secret To Protect His Family And Friends) who steered me towards a number of great PC’s that would both do audio and some video editing. After much deliberation, I picked the HP Omen because of the graphics card. I upgraded the RAM to 32 gb instantly and I [...]

Vacation & Voiceover In Australia- The Movie

I had met Australians in various parts of the world; China, Thailand, Hawaii and even in South Beach. And my experience with them has always been the same…. Excellent! I had found them to be intelligent, friendly and laid back people who were relatable and worldly. And this was the conclusion that I reached long before I made the plans to actually visit. But when I arrived even I wasn’t prepared for just how hospitable they are on their own soil. I met Marion Just, a fellow voiceover artist on LinkedIn after she saw a posting of my Vacation & Voiceover Video In Hong Kong. We messaged with one another for months as I was planning to visit Down Under. Her spirit shone even through her online presence as she reminded me of the open invitation to visit her and her husbands studio in Sydney. And I accepted. It was a 15 hour ride from L.A. straight with no layover. American Airlines had the best direct flight but for a deal, check out China Eastern. Upon arrival, we were picked up by my cousin and his best friend and taken to the hotel where we freshened up. From there they took us to a large Aussie lunch gathering of friends and family who refused to let us pay for our own meals. I wasn’t used to this. But this was the start of Down Under hospitality that didn’t stop till we boarded the plane to go back to the States. Everyone was so friendly and so conversational and happy. I felt at home in a place I had never been. BlackBox Voice Productions And that spirit continued when I met Marion Just and Mark Kennedy [...]

Should My Facebook Page Be Personal or Professional in What I Share?

Facebook has done well for me in a lot of ways. It’s made a person who ordinarily struggles to reach out to friends actually keep in contact. And my facebook page is more than just a portal to my personal contacts. It’s been a great marketing tool also. I’ve been allowed to share my business with clients, potential clients and colleagues. I’ve shared this blog, helped inspire and teach other voiceover pros and “newbies and I have also learned a lot from you guys. But with 1584 friends to date, admittedly I don’t know even half of the people on my friends list. While I wanted to have a space where I could share personally with friends and family and professionally with contacts and colleagues, those two things often conflict. My ideas, ideals and even sometimes elements of my lifestyle are not always agreeable with professionalism. Striking a balance between self expression on a page that “I own” and posting the happy go lucky kind of post that don’t scare off those who write the checks or support my blog, is tough. There are things that I have passions for outside of my career like social justice which make some people “uncomfortable.” I can hear them in my head everytime I post video of police misconduct saying “Why is Dane SO political?” And perhaps that cost me a few readers. Maybe even a few dollars. But I decided that awareness and activism was more important. But then I learned the harsh reality of facebook algorithms and the happy happy online community. For the most part, FB chooses who you will interact with based on what they think you like and filters much of what you [...]

4 Reasons To Voiceover Blog- An Interview With Derek Chappell

I’ve been fortunate to do two things that I really love to do in this lifetime. One of them is to travel. The other is to do voiceover. I’ve been all around the world to some really impressive places and in many instances, wherever my physical body hasn’t been, my voice has traveled to. But one such place where neither had ever journeyed to was Ottawa, Kansas. Ottawa is a town one hour from Kansas City and where I met Derek Chappell in person. And from the first moment we met, we hit it off. Derek was quite humble about his town, thinking that my international travels would cause me to be bored as we drove around his hometown. He was wrong. Ottawa was Middle America, at the center of who we are. And how fitting! Derek himself was at center of the voiceover world. Derek was one of the first people to ever pick up on my voiceover blog and channel. When I first ventured to tell my story as a voiceover talent, he was one of the first ones to listen. Derek had been listening to the stories of voiceover bloggers for several years. As a voiceover talent himself, he not only blogged but was an enthusiast and cheerleader of other talents. He developed a system of being alerted of new voiceover blogs and industry news. This not only allowed him to continuously learn more about the business that he loved, but also to promote the work of fellow voice talents that he admired. Derek and I had one major disagreement though. He is an avid Royals fan. As a lifelong Yankee fan and Mets supporter, it was hard not to [...]

Beware Of Voiceover Scams

Scammers are everywhere. In every business and in everyday life. Each day someone is trying to steal your personal information or cheat you in some way and each time you have to be a step ahead of them. There are the ones who call you telling you that "A" computer in your home is infected and they can clean it for you. This past week I received a call saying that the warranty was up on my car. And while I field many calls of these types and embarrass the callers with questions that they can't possibly answer (and making it obvious to them that I know its a fraud), some scams, like voiceover scams are a bit trickier than others. Whenever someone knows your name and a bit about what you do for a living then it gets harder to spot. While I was almost amused by the warranty attempt this week, I was a bit more challenged by a professional scam in the same week. I received a text message from someone who said they found my info on a site called Production Hub. I haven't logged onto that site in a while so to see someone with an interest in my work there was interesting to say the least. But it was welcome. The message asked me to email them if interested. Nothing about that seemed too odd, so I did. Everything was normal. The next morning I received an email from the prospective client which was very detailed and professional. He outlined what he needed, leaving me with few questions. Admittedly I was tied up with other projects when I got the email so I didn't read through it thoroughly the [...]

A Voiceover Career Is Not An Easy Way Out + Vacation & Voiceover In Panama

LinkedIn has a way of reminding you every year that it's your anniversary of how long you've been at your present job. Thank you LinkedIn. This September marks 12 years since I started my voiceover journey and I have to say that it has been both trying and super rewarding. But sometimes as I blog and post pictures from various places around the world, I think that people only see the rewarding part. They get the impression that all they need to do is to part with their full time job as I did in 2006 and the great voice that everyone tells them they have will propel them into a glamorous voiceover career where they work a few hours a week in their underwear and collect BIG checks. I'm sure that's what they think. I can hear it in their voices when they solicit my help on the phone on how to get started. I recorded this video after a voiceover hopeful called me last year while I was in Panama and I told her that "this is a process and it takes time." Building my voiceover career took years. I was nowhere close to being an overnight success. But I found since writing my blog that many people will go to my website, find out how to reach me, call me, ask for advice and then get offended when I tell them not to quit their day job. I once had a testy exchange with a woman (who in my opinion had an aweful voice and an even worse speech pattern) who told me that she would have no problem building a voiceover career in spite of not having any training and not [...]

The Voiceover Interviewer Gets Interviewed- With Charlie Sill

  It was never supposed to be me. I was never supposed to be the subject of the interview. I was always supposed to just ask the questions. But when fellow voice talent and fiend of ten plus years Charlie Sill asked me for an interview, I took a deep breath and said "Yes." He got me. The Voiceover Interviewer got interviewed. I'm Not The Authority On Voiceover I never considered myself an authority on voiceover. I’m more of a beneficiary of good timing, opportunity and ingenuity. I rarely like to tout my mediocre successes in this industry where the big guys are on every major brand possible. Although I have represented a major brands also many times, I don’t keep track. Voiceover is a love of mine and so I never keep score. All of that combined with a popular blog attract a lot of questions for me. I usually deflect by sending people to the blog itself where I have had the wonderful pleasure in interviewing some of voiceovers finest players. When I set out to do a blog where I interviewed experts, it was to have fun while learning more about the passion that I shared with them. But the bi-product has been the perception that I myself am the expert, or that I do coaching or demo production. And while I do produce commercials, it’s only on a for client basis. The Interview As the Voiceover Interviewer Guy, I’m no stranger to either the microphone or the camera but I am a stranger to answering questions. But Charlie, knowing me, took it easy. He finessed it, offered me a sandwich and asked me a ton of non-voiceover related questions while sitting in [...]