Dane: I’m Dane Reid, The Voiceover Guy. I am here with the team from voice actor websites. Guys! (Team Introduces Themselves) (Dane) And I don’t have any labs that fit five people.
I used to steal software and plugins for voiceover. I started my career with Cubase LE which came as free software with my Emu 1616 audio interface. As I realized the limitations of that software, I wanted to grow but I didn’t have the money to grow. But having friends in audio engineering, I found out that there were ways to get what was called cracked software.
My first cracked software was a Cubase SX. There was a company that was famous for cracking audio software called and I used to find their software either online or through a friend who had it. Cubase 2.1 was how I really learned to produce commercials. But a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is only as good as the plugins. So for that, I had to find more cracked software.
Free Plugins? Or Digital Piracy?
The hot plugins of the day were waves plugins. Waves were really good and really expensive. Of everyone that I knew who did audio, maybe only one of them actually bought any of the waves plugins legally. Waves plugins could run 10k for a bundle. Being who I am I had to have the best bundles. I had the waves platinum, mercury and gold bundles at some time in history.
As my career grew, I never really considered buying the actual plugins. They were still out of my reach in price. Plus, what was the point? I was getting them for free. Free beats cheap any day. So I perfected my skills with free software and even upgraded as more cracked software replaced the older versions. I went from Cubase SX to Cubase 2.1. Then I moved on to several Nuendo versions for a few years. Meanwhile, voiceover and commercial orders piled on. I had a nice workflow.
I never shorted on hardware though. I bought my first Neuman for $1500. UA LA 610 for $1400. I owned several computers. A Mac and a PC and a PC laptop. I had travel gear and swapped out several audio interfaces at that time.
The Day It All Went Bad!
So what happened? Well, one morning I got up to do my work. I had several commercials in the pipeline for the day. I fired up my computer and my trusty Emu and then started Nuendo and BAM. Nothing. It wouldn’t start. I tried it again and still nothing. So I restarted the computer hoping that would help. Nothing again. I tried a few times and no result. I was in a bad position.
I called a friend and fellow talent to ask if I could come to his house and record this work and he asked me what had happened. I told him. And his response was something I didn’t expect. He said to me “Why don’t you just buy the software?” I had never thought to actually buy the software. So I did. I bought my first version of Cubase, which was Cubase 5. It cost me $300 at Guitar Center. I came home that morning with my dongle and installed the software and BAM…. Nothing!!
At this point, I’m even more panicked. Installing and getting up and running was much easier with cracked software. So I called Steinberg to help me. I went over several things troubleshooting with the tech before I finally had to admit to the tech that I previously installed unauthorized software. He went silent for a second, and in a judgemental tone said “Well then you have to wipe your entire computer clean and reinstall windows to install Cubase properly.
You can imagine my horror. But I had work to do and the day was coming to a close by now. I got off the phone, backed up as many of my files as I could, and wiped my hard drive. I realized that I had to change at this moment. I did put the plugins back on the computer because I needed them at that moment but over time I began to buy them. I didn’t buy all of them but I bought some.
Pay The Money. It Will Pay You Back!
Over the years I replaced Cubase 5 with Cubase 7 Artist. I also bought Cubase 8 Elements for my mobile rig and then upgraded to Cubase LE AI Elements 9.5. I also bought Cubase Artists 9 for my desktop home studio. That version made all of my 32-bit plugins obsolete so now I had to buy all new plugins. That’s when I bought the Apollo Twin and then the Apollo Arrow with all the plugins for those machines. Now, I can’t steal plugins. I buy them. I also fell in love and buy the Izotope plugins. I have several of those bundles for mixing and mastering. I continue to buy software and plugins for voiceover. For Christmas, I bought UAD’s Manley VoxBox and Valley People Dyna-Mite.
Where To Find Free Software
You don’t even have to steal software and plugins. For plugins, there are literally thousands of free ones online. All you have to do is google free audio plugins. For a DAW everyone knows about Audacity which is free but you can also download a free version of Mixpad which seems better than Audacity.
In my opinion, I get the fact that starting a business or learning a new craft is very expensive, but with free software and plugins for voiceover available now, don’t steal. Don’t steal anything actually. People work hard designing this software and they deserve to make a profit for their efforts. I left some links in the description for Mixpad and Audacity.
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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.
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 get the best reads.
The Right Scripts
The producer has a bunch of scripts. They could randomly throw some scripts at the talent and that would be the end of that but it’s important that they can visualize the way the talent will interpret and project that copy before it is recorded. That helps them pick better scripts. Gabby knew both how I read things and how I say things normally. That helped. Bigly! Having knowledge of my background in education helped in choosing one particular script on my demo and another which we later decided to table was chosen because of my background with live announcing (I decided to create a dedicated live announce demo instead produced by Jean Francois Donaldson)
Talk But Also Listen
Short of having been to your demo producers house, finding a demo producer could leave you scratching your head. I know experienced talent who still play the guessing game as to who to produce their demos with. Firstly I recommend having conversations with demo producers who are recommended by industry professionals. Talk to them about their dogs, their favorite ice cream and their philosophies about the voiceover industry. Ask a lot of questions but also listen to hear whether they ask a lot of questions about who you are. Wait to see if they ask if you have a website or any work you’ve already done. A good producer will want to research you as well.
Not A Production Demo
Listen to a producers samples of past work carefully. Has the producer worked with voices like yours before? Are the demos overproduced? Remember that this is a voiceover demonstration of your voice, not a demo showcasing great overbearing production. And remember to take into account that the demo has to be a true representation of the work that you really perform as a talent. Don’t get stuck with a demo that you can’t reproduce in real life scenarios.
Your Producer Cares About The Next Step
Bonus points should be given to a demo producer if they also ask about how you are going to market your demo. Of course they may have additional services that help you at extra cost but it also shows that they have a vested interest in the final product with their name on it. Gabby offers complete voiceover career coaching so she stands by her work. For me that means I’m not getting trapped in a demo mill where I get coaching for a few weeks and then a demo whether I’m ready or not. (Tip for new professionals) I of course have been in the voiceover industry for many years so I know many producers but if you are new you probably don’t. But a voiceover demo takes time. First, extensive coaching and evaluation should be done, then a demo if the talent is shown to be ready. But I digress.
The Final Product
I got my demo back from Gabby within a week. Before listening I dialed back my excitement to allow myself to objectively critique the demo. It’s my voice and ultimately my project that represents me and so I couldn’t allow neither the pressure now the excitement to skew my opinion of the demo. Ultimately after listening, we decided to make some changes mostly to the arrangement of the pieces. Most people in the industry will advise you to put your best demo clip first. So we agreed to change the order around based on what I thought was the best. Also I allowed a few professionals to take a listen and give feedback which I factored into re-arranging. Working together Gabby and I came up with an order that we both felt truly told a story. It’s my story. It’s partly who I am and what I offer the voiceover world. Take a listen.
To Book My Professional Voiceover Services
Or please go to my contact page at https://danereidmedia.com/contact/
linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/danereid/
Voice Over Talents aren’t used to being seen, but as of last week, Dane Reid will have a new video in a series that fills a void in the voice over community.
For close to 10 year this New York native and voice over professional has made his living by being heard and not seen; Something opposite of what we were taught as children. But when he is seen out in public and networks within Atlanta and elsewhere, he is usually asked the same few questions about his curious profession. Most often he is first asked “How did you get into that? which is followed by “You do have a nice voice.” and then “I’ve been told I should do voiceovers.
With so much curiosity surrounding his job, he decided to produce a series of Youtube videos about voice over. Certainly the idea is not new, but what Dane brings to it is a fresh fun energy. Many Youtube videos made by voice actors today lack entertainment value, scripting, viewer engagement or cutouts in the scenes. Dane Reid sought to change that and still allow viewers to follow a real life voice actor throughout his day.
Additionally Reid journeys to other cities towns and countries in search of voice work. Viewers watch him do auditions, commercials and even interview some the industries big voice over Superstars who share their stories and knowledge.
Shows air on Tuesdays at 7am online and his blog can be read and watched at his website DaneReidMedia.com by clicking the banners. With so many voice over newbies and aspiring talents, this new blog and channel are a must see.
Dane Reid Media
646-504-1376 Studio #
P.O. BOX 640055
Altanta, Ga 30364
1562 Steele Drive, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30309