The_nightmare_before_christmas_poster

A voice over nightmare…

It was the week before Christmas, and Neil, the voice over, was excited about the festive holiday fun that was ahead – lots of eating, drinking and merriment with the family. Before that could begin, however, there was lots of voice over work to be done.

There were scripts for training videos that needed voicing, a script for an easter advert campaign that needed voicing – yes, we’ve not even got through christmas yet, but I’m working on easter voice over stuff – and a number of corporate voice over jobs for on-hold messages and IVR’s that needed updating before the christmas break kicked off.

But there was a problem, you’ve heard of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ …

..well this is most definitely the nightmare for every voice over! It wasn’t to do with the studio, thats easily fixed, it wasn’t to do with time – theres lots of that! This was to do with….the voice!!

Its the season for germs and yukkie stuff! I take my vitamins, eat healthy and do everything I can to stop myself getting sick. Sometimes, it just gets ya though – Ive come down with a stinking cold! Whilst I’m now great at doing husky, sexy sounding voice overs, thats not what my regular clients are really expecting from me!! Cant see it going down to well with my medical clients when I update their ‘on-hold messages’ with a stinking cold, not really on brand!!

So, everything has gotta stop, for now! I do have a secret weeping though…Manuka Honey, every voiceover should use it!

My secret for getting rid of a cold spur quick is proper, homemade honey and lemon. You use a whole lemon and a big dollop of Manuka Honey – its gotta be manuka honey with a UMF level of between 10+ to 15+, its got lots of antibacterial goodness that helps fight colds. Its best taken as you feel yourself coming down with something.

If you’ve got any amazing tips that get rid of colds, Id love to hear them, leave them below. If I don’t speak to you before hand, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And, of course, if you need a voiceover, I’m around….okay, not right now 😉 Click here to get in touch, I’m gonna be back in the studio voicing stuff real soon.

Neil

 

You can read more about Manuka Honey and its benefits by clicking here

Corporate Voice Over, Showreels and Christmas Update!

Unfortunately, the voiceover blog has had to take a back seat recently…due to voice work commitments, lots of corporate voice over jobs recently, more about that in a moment!! I’m not complaining here, honest, keep the work coming, I just wish there were more hours in the day sometimes.

I’m gearing up for Christmas now, lots of festive voice work being done and stuff for the start of 2014. With my own studio and extremely competitive rates, I can offer same day recordings and rush jobs are a breeze – if you need an English male voiceover during the festive season, drop me a line, I won’t be far from the studio.

Since my last post, Ive been busy working on lots of corporate promotion projects, training videos, TV commercials and product demos for companies such as:

  • AMI Learning
  • AutoSport
  • Canyon Spectral Bikes
  • StrikeAd

Lots of clients I have require corporate voice over work or commercial voice work (tv & radio adverts/promos). When Ive had feedback from clients, they’ve commented that they really like the tone of my voice – corporate clients like it as its friendly, upbeat and informative, without being a know-it-all! It gives they company a good voice, so to speak. It makes training videos less monotonous, keeps hold of clients attention during product launches and is clear and easy to understand for on-hold messaging.

Clients I’ve done adverts and promo work for have fed back pretty much the same thing, with the added line of  ‘your upbeat style makes everything more exciting and interesting’. I’m particular good at fast paced, upbeat reads, which, depending on what the client is trying to get across, can work really well on the radio and tv – makes it stand out amongst the voiceover crowd, you sit up and listen.

With the corporate and commercial sectors being a large part of my voiceover work, Ive created two bespoke voiceover showreels to demonstrate what I do, have a listen below:

Corporate Voiceover Showreel

 

Commercial Showreel

You can hear lots more recent voice over samples here.

As I mentioned earlier, I won’t be far from the studio over the Christmas and New Year period, if you need any voice work doing, drop me a line. Also, just because its the festive season, I won’t be cranking up the prices! I’ll still be extremely competitive and deliver your project on time and to the highest standard.

Get in touch here, or fill out the contact form below, and I’ll get right back to you.

If I don’t speak to you before hand, have a great Christmas and all the best for 2014 – its gonna be a stormer!

Neil

Neil Williams English Male Voiceover

http://neilwilliamsvoiceover

 

 

 

 

 

 

A busy voiceover is a happy one

A busy voiceover is a happy one!

September was another busy month, both in the voiceover world and personal world, hence the lack of posts! Quick round up goes like this…
– More voiceovers done for the British Heart Foundation. Main voice for their Great British Bag-A-Thon campaign. Heard recently that the adverts helped them smash last years target for bags collected, so chuffed to have been part of that
– Working with a new TV station, providing on demand voiceover for promos.

– Signed up for another year of work with Global Radio

– Had the voiceover website re-designed, thanks for all the lovely feedback

– Did a sky dive – just as well there wasn’t a microphone recording my voice when I jumped out of the plane at 10,000ft, definitely not for broadcast! It was the most amazing experience, free falling through the sky, went through a cloud – which was really cold, then the parachute kicks in and had the most amazing views over Oxfordshire. Thats me doing the jump in the picture.

– Lots of work done on the weightloss app, hopefully it’ll be out soon.

As ever, drop me a line here if you’ve got any voice over requests or questions, always happy to help. You can hear recent voice over samples here.

Catch you soon, have fun.

Neil

https://neilwilliamsvoiceover.com

 

A busy voiceover is a happy one! Hire A Voice Artist

The smile on my face says it all, sky dive was amazing

 

Just a quick one…..

Summer has been fairly busy, hence the lack of posts!
1) I’ve been working on various different voice over projects recently; did a string of radio adverts for the British Heart Foundation, some corporate work for Schlumberger  (tech company) along with a fair few radio and television promos for various different companies.
2) There have been lots of early mornings, like 4am – Ive been covering breakfast on Heart FM in London! As well as being a voiceover, I’m a radio presenter, have been for more than 10 years now. I usually host evenings on Heart FM, its a national show across the UK from 7pm – 10pm called Ring Roberto – yes, Roberto is my stage name, its a long story about how I got that name, but feel free to ask! Doing breakfast, Ive been up at silly o’clock, doing the show then heading back to my studio and cracking on with the normal daytime voice work and then heading to bed early, ready for the next day! Ive discovered I’m not a fan of early mornings!! Find out more about my radio career here
3) We’ve upgraded the studio to include new processing for voice overs, had lots of fun playing with that and setting it up. I noticed that clients had varying requests for how they wanted the voice to sound, some wanted a fully processed voice, ready for air, others wanted a completely raw voice so they could send the audio to a production house who would add their own processing, others wanted a half way house  – not overly processed but not a raw voice. The outcome of it all is that the audio coming from the studio now sounds even better than before and I can match clients desires even better.
Thats it, for now! But, if you need a voiceover or have any questions, get in touch here. And you can check out voice over samples here.
Catch you laterz
Neil

English Voice Over Abroad

In most jobs, when you take a holiday, you get holiday pay. When you’re a voice over and self employed, that doesn’t happen – if you don’t work, you don’t get paid, simple as that. Thats our choice and I’m not complaining there at all.
Voice Over holidays can be tough, I have regular clients who require scripts to be voiced on a weekly basis. You can hardly turn round to them and say ‘sorry, I’m off for a week, find someone else for that week, and I’ll pick up when back’ The likely hood is that they’ll tell you to ‘go jump’! They want continuity on their voice over projects, not lots of random voices.
The solutions are: 1) you don’t take on work from clients who require regular(weekly) voice over work – bit of a stupid idea, really, in my book!  2) You get a portable studio and take that on holiday with you, simples!
The portable voice over  studio doesn’t have to be stupidly expensive either. Ive seen a number of home made jobs that require a few pieces of acoustic foam, a few pieces of cardboard and a microphone stand – the idea being that you glue the foam to the cardboard, place the pieces around the mic and hey presto you have a very makeshift voice over studio – you just need to find a quite place to put it and a small room!! One voice over I know swears by the acoustic brilliance of a duvet, I kid you not! On many holidays she’s’ been under the duvet having fun with her microphone, then popping back out to the beach when the voice over audio is done and uploaded, the client none the wiser that it was done under a duvet.
At the end of the day, whatever practice a voiceover uses to make sure theres no sound leakage, background noise and good acoustics of the voice on the audio, surely it doesn’t matter – as long as it sounds good and the client is happy.
Ive just come back from my weeks holiday in the sun. Prior to going, i advised clients that Id be away and gave them the option of recording double lots of voice overs either before I left or on my return, or me voicing scripts whilst I was abroad. All of them went with voicing whilst abroad – no stress whatsoever. I packed up my mac, microphone and other bits, which all fit nicely into a hand luggage suitcase – years of practice – although you can’t get anything else in the bag, so if you’re travelling with some airlines you can’t buy any duty free as theres no-where to put it!
When I arrived at our apartment, I found the quietest place to set-up, got all my gear out, which includes roles of acoustic cloth, and within about 30 minutes I had a perfect soundproof studio – again, years of practice helps here! I was then set-up and ready to go. I voiced a few scripts in the morning before hitting the pool, a couple in the afternoon and then clocked off for a few cocktails. Clients happy, me happy, everyone is a winner.
I bet you can’t tell which audio was recorded whilst abroad – some of its online right now, check out the voice over samples here.  As ever, if you’re in need of a voice over, get in touch here.
Neil

The Right Tools – to be a voiceover contd.

So, the other week I got an email through the website asking about my voiceover studio – it was from a new voice who wanted to know more about the set-up. I started the reply, but time got the better of me, so here I am to continue it.
In the first part of this, I mentioned microphones – quite a big part of being a voiceover, really! 😉 In this part, I’ll cover the rest.
You can spend thousands on gear for your voice over studio, get all the latest equipment, all singing and dancing….and a few months later, its all out of date. Technology moves at such a fast pace. My actual voiceover booth is minimalistic – microphone, microphone stand, iPad, headphones, sound proofing, stool – thats it. No need for anything else, it clutters up the space and, depending on size, can play havoc with acoustics. Incase you’re wondering, I use the iPad for the voice over scripts, doing my bit to save the trees.
Outside of the voiceover booth, I have another studio, where all the editing gets done and the computer sits. For actual editing of the audio, I use a MAC with a mix of pro-tools and Adobe Audition. Most other voiceover artists Ive spoken to, tend to have one or the other, I grew up using Audition(or Cool Edit) as it was back then, I know it like the back of my hand, however Pro-Tools offers so many more features that Id be stupid not to get it and know how it works – the benefits of it are amazing and I just can’t draw myself to get rid of Audition.
I also have an ISDN and phone patch. I can dial other studios, using the ISDN, and do a voice over session as if I’m actually there – its like a phone line but just crystal clear and better quality. I use the phone patch for clients who’d like to listen into the voiceover session via phone, a feed from the mixing desk goes to the phone line, so they hear the final mix and they can also talk to me whilst I’m in the studio, without it interfering with the recording.
Final part of my studio is the sound proofing, Ive double sound proofed the studio, nothing gets in, nothing gets out! First of all theres sound proofing panels directly on the walls and door, then on top of that are acoustic foam panels. The foam panels would’ve been fine, but I like to be thorough!
As ever, if you’ve got any questions or need a voiceover, get in touch here. You can hear recent voice over samples here.
Neil

Is it voiceover, voice-over or voice over?

This question has troubled me for years, I know, I clearly need to get a life. But seriously, what is the right way of writing what I do? Whilst putting together this website, the designer asked me which one to use, I advised to go with a mix of all three, that way we’ve covered all bases! Grammar gurus will be freaking at that!
You maybe asking, why is it important? Well, in a nut shell, to the average joe, its not massively important. It only becomes important and an issue whilst doing SEO for the website. The different variations – voiceover, voice-over and voice over mean you either have to pick one and target that for your SEO – and potentially miss out on searches for the other two, or cover all three, which then gets a little complicated and time consuming.
Having done a little research into the words voiceover, voice-over and voice over, heres what Ive found, just in case you’re interested….
  • Some people, mainly in America, forget this problem altogether and call the industry Voice Acting. I like that, but doesn’t work so well for SEO.
  • If you’re a little lazy, you may just call it VO or V/O…think we’re adding another level of complicatedness if I go with that, as doesn’t really help, just abbreviates.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary only show sthe hyphenated form, I should really take that as gospel, so that means we stick to voice-over.
  • The most searched term by clients is voice over – so, if thats what people are searching for, I should really take that spelling.
  • Lots of people, including many dictionaries, don’t even recognise the word voiceover, as proved above with the Oxford English Dictionary. Try typing voiceover into your phone, or word document, it will try and correct it.
I stopped the research there, mainly because you could do it ALL day long and not come up with a definitive answer, because we’re all different and say it how we want. One thing is for sure, voiceover is frowned upon in the grammar world in a big way, but I kinda like it.
Not forgotten about the continuation of the other post about studios, still got soundproofing and computers to do, its on the way.
If you need a voiceover or have any questions, do feel free to drop me a line here. And to hear some recent work, check out the voice over samples page.
Have a good day
Neil

The Right Voice Over Tools

Tuesday morning after the bank holiday, coffee in hand and I’m getting ready to start work on the new voice over script for British Airways (sessions not booked in till later today, but like to read scripts through a few times first, make sure Im prepared for it!)
Along with the script, Ive got a message through the website asking about my voice over booth – what its made up of and how it sounds. Naturally, it sounds amazing 😉 No, seriously, its a BIG thing when being a voiceover with own studio. Ive learnt that most people who aren’t in the business think you can do voiceovers straight into a dictaphone, or on record it onto your phone and you’re done, urm nope – involves a little bit more than that.
All voiceover studios are based around three main things – microphone, editing equipment and soundproofing. Without those, its going to be pretty tough to do voiceovers – the microphone is quite a biggy!!!
When I say microphone, you could use a cheap one from Maplin or something, but you wouldn’t get a very good sound, certainly not of the quality needed to be a professional voiceover. I remember a few years back, a friend of mine was very excited that he had got a USB microphone that looked just like mine, but cost a 10th of the price and he was going to make his fortune being a voiceover. We put them to the test…whilst it had its positives – didn’t cost much, plugged straight into your computer, came with its own editing software –  its one negative outweighed ALL of them…it sounded rubbish – It had a very tinny sound to it, no depth at all – might’ve been okay for podcasts or as flashy mic for Skype or something, but that was it.
Without sounding flash, Ive got two mics! Not showing off there, I purchased the first one years ago, a Neumann TLM 103 – which is absolutely brilliant, it picks up every detail of the voice, then I moved studio and decided to do a full upgrade to BeyerDynamic – the entire studio is kitted out with the stuff. I use the BeyerDynamic one most of the time as the studio is set up for it and it produces a stunning sound. The Neumann is more of a back-up now, should anything ever go wrong with the mic, I can just pop in the other one and carry on working  on voiceovers. Ive actually used the Neumann as a travelling mic too, if I’m away on holiday or just away from the studio for a few days and need to get work done, I pack the Neumann up, along with my travel booth and hit the road.
So, microphone is the most important thing, but you can’t just have a great mic, you also need good editing software and sound proofing…
….and having looked at the time, I’m going to chat about those in my next post, work calls. If you’ve got any questions though, or need a voiceover, get in touch here.
Neil

A solution to dealing with difficult names if you’re a voiceover

Over the last few weeks, Ive been working with a company producing video highlights of sporting events – ironically, I’m not a massive sporting fan, yet get lots of voiceover work for sports stuff, such as ESPN!

The scripts come through with lots of complicated names that, unless you were a native, are hard to pronounce exactly the right way. This was a concern of mine, I didn’t want to let the client down and I also didn’t want to do the athletes any injustice  – they’ve just slogged there guts out, got first place and I go saying their name wrong – not good!
Recording the scripts remotely i.e. the client is abroad at the event, emailing scripts directly to my studio in London, I voice and send back for them to put together with the video, it was hard to talk on the phone all the time, also costly to keep ringing – from a mobile abroad is an added expense, especially if there are lots of names to go through.
So, what was the solution? Very simply a voice/memo recorded on a mobile phone. Most smartphones come with something that you can record your voice with and email the file to someone, and if they don’t there are apps you can get that will enable you to, and thats what I suggested the client did.
And that was that problem solved. The client recorded all the names directly into his phone – any they didn’t know, they could find someone that did in their own time without having to worry about call charges etc. They then emailed me the file, I could then listen to the names over and over again, to make sure I got them completely correct.  Client v happy, me v happy…..athletes v happy at having their names said correctly!!!
Hear samples of how this production came out at neilwilliamsvoiceover.com
If you’ve got any questions about being a voice over or need a voice over, get in touch here.
Neil

How does a brace affect your speech? By a voice over!!!

The quick answer to this question is….it doesn’t, in my experience! As a voiceover it was really important my speech wasn’t affected, let me explain…
Up until I was about 25, I had real straight teeth. Not going to blow my own trumpet too much, but I had a good smile and loved flashing it, thats just sounds wrong, you know what I mean! Id looked after my teeth, followed the dentists advice and my pearly whites were looking good.
As I got older, I started to notice my teeth shifting! Not rally sure what was happening, I spoke to the dentist. After a consultation, he advised that my wisdom teeth were coming through, no jokes about me not being wise enough to have wisdom teeth, thanks! Anyways, long story short, over the next five years, the front bottom teeth had crowded quite badly from where my wisdom teeth had pushed through and the top ones had twisted round a bit and were out of place.
Whilst it didn’t bother me masses, I was conscious of it and decide to look into getting a brace. My biggest concern, being a voiceover and needing to be able to talk properly to earn a living, was how the brace was going to affect my speech.
I researched this lots, spoke to the dentist and friends that had had braces – no one gave me the answer I wanted – a brace won’t affect your speech at all! Most people said, ‘it shouldn’t affect your speech’.
I took the plunge and got a brace, went for a six-month smile brace, its more for looks than proper orthodontic work, and as the name suggests, only takes six months. My thinking was, six months isn’t the end of the world and I could just about cope for six months if my speech was affected.
The day came to have the braces put on, all went well but unfortunately I had a voiceover booking that afternoon. It wasn’t intentionally done like that, the booking was for the day before but the client had to move it. I advised the client I was having braces put on, they were cool with it as needed the script and my voice, for continuity. So it was a bit of a baptism of fire with the braces really.
I’m pleased to say that voice session went really well, considering I had a mass of wire and plastic in my mouth. We listened back to a previous recording and the current one, to compare. You couldn’t tell the difference. Someone even commented ‘when I’m looking at you and can see the brace, I notice it more in your speech than on a recording’.
That booking was for a TV show for ESPN, no one made any comment when it went out. I think a lot of it is as the persons said, when you see someone with a brace, you’re more aware of their speech, but if you don’t see them, you’d never know. The strangest thing for me about having a brace was the feeling  of it in my mouth, very strange. I think that adds to the wearers awareness of it and how they might possibly sound to other people, but rest assured, in my experience anyways, speech wasn’t affected.
If you need a voice over, or have any questions about becoming one, drop me a line here. And, you can hear recent voice over samples here.
Neil