Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Voiceover News December 2010

Here is what our team of voiceover artists have been up to this month:


Lynsey Hooper recorded a podcast for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and two more podcasts for the Original Volunteers website. Mark Walker recorded more voiceovers for Wendy Wu Tours. Robb Dee is the new male Welsh voice for Tom Tom SatNavs.

Ricky Salmon's voiceover clients included Cosmos Holidays, Superbreak, Associated Reclaimed Oils, Oasis FM in Tenerife and the Big Sleep Hotel. Ricky was also the Voice of God for the Caring Times Care Awards Ceremony and the Nursery Management Today Awards Ceremony.

Sally Beaumont recorded voiceovers for Gloden Health and Beauty. Our work for a NovoSeven DVD continued as we recorded several child voiceover actors for acting parts and Sara Starling recorded a voiceover for the DVD too.

Tom Sandars recorded an in-vision corporate presentation to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James' edition of the Bible. We made a voiceover showreel for aspiring voiceover artist Sally C Davis. And we welcomed new voiceover artists Drew White, Graeme Mackenzie and Josey Miller.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Voiceover News for November 2010

November was a very showbiz month for BigFish Media's voiceover business:


Mick Brown appeared on BBC2's "Never Mind The Buzzcocks";

A BBC TV News report about the Chilean miners - featuring BBC Radio 2 Newsreaders Ricky Salmon and Tom Sandars - is now on our website. (You can see it here).

Congratulations go to Steph Bower because a BBC Radio Scotland trail - using her voice - won the Promax Award GOLD for Best Radio Trail 2010. (Steph also recorded the voiceover for an Open University film called "Going Green" about the Isle of Eigg.)

And Ricky Salmon was the "Voice of God" at a charity auction and awards ceremony at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey alongside Ulrika Jonsson and BBC Newsreader Nicholas Owen.

Ricky also recorded a voiceover for a driver presentation video for First Capital Connect, a corporate video for Blue Motion Technologies, a commercial for Channel TV and on-hold prompts for Renew Insurance, Hastings Direct, Debenhams and Whitmore's Vauxhall dealership.

Elsewhere, Sara Starling recorded a voiceover for Transplant 360. We recorded a TV advert for Now Mobile using a male Bengali voiceover artist. Michelle Horn recorded on-hold prompts for Ageas Insurance. Jennifer Munby recorded a Halloween Ghost Story for Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Peter Offer recorded a corporate video for EuroFood Brands and Penny Scott-Andrews recorded voiceovers for Gloden Tanning and Beauty.

New additions to the voicover team are French Voiceover Artist Alexandre Liaume, husky Voiceover Artist Maddy Myles, Urban Voiceover Artist Jahson Bones and young and bright Voiceover Artist Sally Beaumont. And no sooner had we taken on Australian Voiceover Artist Colin Cassidy than we got him a great voiceover gig for Sony!
November was a very showbiz month for BigFish Media's voiceover business:




Mick Brown appeared on BBC2's "Never Mind The Buzzcocks";



A BBC TV News report about the Chilean miners - featuring BBC Radio 2 Newsreaders Ricky Salmon and Tom Sandars - is now on our website. (You can see it here).



Congratulations go to Steph Bower because a BBC Radio Scotland trail - using her voice - won the Promax Award GOLD for Best Radio Trail 2010. (Steph also recorded the voiceover for an Open University film called "Going Green" about the Isle of Eigg.)



And Ricky Salmon was the "Voice of God" at a charity auction and awards ceremony at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey alongside Ulrika Jonsson and BBC Newsreader Nicholas Owen.



Ricky also recorded a voiceover for a driver presentation video for First Capital Connect, a corporate video for Blue Motion Technologies, a commercial for Channel TV and on-hold prompts for Renew Insurance, Hastings Direct, Debenhams and Whitmore's Vauxhall dealership.



Elsewhere, Sara Starling recorded a voiceover for Transplant 360. We recorded a TV advert for Now Mobile using a male Bengali voiceover artist. Michelle Horn recorded on-hold prompts for Ageas Insurance. Jennifer Munby recorded a Halloween Ghost Story for Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Peter Offer recorded a corporate video for EuroFood Brands and Penny Scott-Andrews recorded voiceovers for Gloden Tanning and Beauty.



New additions to the voicover team are French Voiceover Artist Alexandre Liaume, husky Voiceover Artist Maddy Myles, Urban Voiceover Artist Jahson Bones and young and bright Voiceover Artist Sally Beaumont. And no sooner had we taken on Australian Voiceover Artist Colin Cassidy than we got him a great voiceover gig for Sony!

Voiceover News for November 2010

November was a very showbiz month for BigFish Media's voiceover business:

Mick Brown appeared on BBC2's "Never Mind The Buzzcocks";
A BBC TV News report about the Chilean miners - featuring BBC Radio 2 Newsreaders Ricky Salmon and Tom Sandars - is now on our website. (You can see it here);

Congratulations go to Steph Bower because a BBC Radio Scotland trail - using her voice - won the Promax Award GOLD for Best Radio Trail 2010. (Steph also recorded the voiceover for an Open University film called "Going Green" about the Isle of Eigg.) ;

And Ricky Salmon was the "Voice of God" at a charity auction and awards ceremony at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey alongside Ulrika Jonsson and BBC Newsreader Nicholas Owen.

Ricky also recorded a voiceover for a driver presentation video for First Capital Connect, a corporate video for Blue Motion Technologies, a commercial for Channel TV and on-hold prompts for Renew Insurance, Hastings Direct, Debenhams and Whitmore's Vauxhall dealership.

Elsewhere, Sara Starling recorded a voiceover for Transplant 360. We recorded a TV advert for Now Mobile using a male Bengali voiceover artist. Michelle Horn recorded on-hold prompts for Ageas Insurance. Jennifer Munby recorded a Halloween Ghost Story for Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Peter Offer recorded a corporate video for EuroFood Brands and Penny Scott-Andrews recorded voiceovers for Gloden Tanning and Beauty.

New additions to the voicover team are French Voiceover Artist Alexandre Liaume, husky Voiceover Artist Maddy Myles, Urban Voiceover Artist Jahson Bones and young and bright Voiceover Artist Sally Beaumont. And no sooner had we taken on Australian Voiceover Artist Colin Cassidy than we got him a great voiceover gig for Sony!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Voiceover News October 2010

It's been another incredibly busy month for BigFish Media. We contintue to be very near the top of page one on Google for the vital key word "voiceover" and its variants. Lynn Parsons ended her run on the BBC Radio 2 Early Show to move to present the newly-networked Smooth Radio Breakfast Show.


In voiceover land...Ricky Salmon recorded E-learning modules for the Ministry of Defence, voiceovers for the Pen Warehouse website, sponsor break bumpers for M150 for Sky Sports TV, in-store announcements for Westfield Shopping Centre in Derby and a corporate video for Pelagon.

Ricky's on-hold prompt clients this month were Claims Helpline, Hi-Speed Services, Anglia Freight and Ancar Technologies. He was also the Voice of God at the Live POPAI Awards (celebrating the best in point of purchasing advertising) at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London with comedian Adam Bloom.

Congratulations to Steph Bower who has been nominated for a Promax Award for Best Radio Promotion (for a trail aired on BBC Radio Scotland). This month Steph also recorded the narration for the Kilomothan Scotland Running Race shown on Sky Sports TV and a commercial for Vogue Furniture for Real Radio and Clyde FM.

We recorded voiceovers by an African Male Voiceover Artist and an Indian Female Voiceover Artist for Astro Mirage. And we made a voiceover showreel for Portuguese Voiceover Artist Joana Raio.

And here is what the other BigFish Media voiceover artists have been up to:

Peter Offer recorded a corporate video for Cega Air Ambulance. Jason Harvey recorded commercials for the Glasgow Housing Association. Sara Starling recorded on-hold prompts for LG Electronics. Richard Cartridge recorded a voiceover for TNT. And Lynsey Hooper recorded a voiceover for the Original Volunteers website.

And we are delighted to welcome American Voiceover Artists Lisa Rice and Chris Mezzolesta, Spanish Voiceover Artist Luis Soto, African American Voiceover Artist Lowell Deo and Italian Voiceover Artist Lara Parmiani.

And no sooner had we take on Southern Irish Voiceover Aritst Grainne Gillis, that we got her - and Andrea Simmons - to record voiceovers for Lifeline Screening,

Can it really get any busier? Find out at the end of November; we'll certainly need that Christmas break!


Ricky
www.bigfishmedia.co.uk

Saturday, 23 October 2010

How to write your voiceover script

If you are looking for a voiceover artist to record a voiceover for your radio or TV ad, website or corporate video or podcast,  for your finished product to be effective, firstly you need a good script.

No matter how good the voice talent is, if they are reading a badly-written script, your potential clients aren't going to get the most out of your project if they are unable to take in the information which you want to convey.

There is a huge difference between writing for a newspaper or online and writing for broadcast. Or to put it another way you need to write for the ear not the eye. And it's not as easy as it sounds. The voiceover script needs to flow easily, be conversational and not be full of sub-clauses or long, complicated sentences. Your sentences need to be short and to the point.

If you, while reading this blog, doesn't quite get a point at first or mis-understands an idea, you can simply re-read it. With the broadcast media - and your voiceover - you don't have that luxury

Ricky
http://www.bigfishmedia.co.uk/

Saturday, 16 October 2010

How Voiceover Agents earn their money

One of the jobs of a Voiceover Agent is to go through all the voiceover reels that they get sent (mostly via email these days rather than CDs in the post). They then have to choose the voiceover artists, who they think, they can make money from.


The first thing - the very first thing - that you will need is a professionally-produced Voiceover Showreel. If you don't have one you will never, ever get a Voiceover Agent. Just because you are presenting programmes or reading news or travel bulletins on the radio or tv, doesn't make you a Voiceover Artist. We don't want to hear you broadcasting because our clients don’t want to hear it. They want to hear what you might sound like selling or promoting their product.

There is only one instance in which this is useful - and that is in assessing whether we can make you a voiceover showreel.

Many voiceover agents won't even reply to unsolicited voiceover reels, so do bear with us if it takes a few months to reply. It's hard work - and long hours - running any business and this aspect of the job is a low priority. Don't be offended, that's just the way it is.

Voiceover Agents listen to many Voiceover Showreels from many “would-be” Voiceover Artists and make their decision to listen further within the first few seconds. If they like what they hear on your voiceover showreel and take you on, there is no guarantee that you will get any work -let alone regular work - as a voiceover artist.

The agent handles the details of the booking and negotiates contracts and your fee. Most Voiceover Agents take a 20% commission.

Potential employers rely on the Voiceover Agent as a “filter”; they know that Voiceover Agents are bombarded by people wanting to get into the voice-over business, most of which are not talented enough or ready to break into it yet.

Even as an existing voice talent, it’s still difficult to get a Voiceover Agent; most try to keep their pool of voiceover artists to a manageable size. They will also want variety among their performers; they won't represent a voice or style that they already have. These are the two main reasons for rejection.

However if you cannot break into our represented voices, you could invest in your career by buying space in our Voiceover Directory.

Ricky
www.bigfishmedia.co.uk

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Spammers bothering a Voiceover Artist

Why don't spammers and cold callers do their homework before bothering us?


Having had a phone call from, what eventually turned out to be, someone selling Google Adwords on the phone (which we are more than capable of managing ourselves thank you very much), recently we received this email via our voiceover website. We make no apology for publishing their details. Perhaps their email address might get abused in return.

"First_Name: Carrie

Last_Name: Cain

Address:

Postcode: 18235

Telephone: 0120120120

Email: ceceliamaloney15@gmail.com

Subject: Marketing suggestion for your voiceover website

Message:

Want more clients and customers? We will help them find you by putting you on the 1st page of Google. Email us back to get a full proposal"

And where do you think these idiots found our website? Yes, on page one of Google.

Ricky
http://www.bigfishmedia.co.uk/

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Voiceover News for September 2010

Here is what we were up to last month:


Our listings and hits on Google shot up this month: our position is very close to the top of Page one.

We have now launched our own Voiceover Directory. Our Introductory Offer is a half-price listing but it won't last forever. Get listed, get heard, get hired.You can find details here.

In other news, we had an extremely busy month: easily our busiest ever!

Lynsey Hooper recorded a voiceover for the Original Volunteers website. Elliott Webb recorded a voiceover for Zenith Optimedia. Mark Walker recorded a voiceover for Wendy Wu Tours. We recorded a young DJ for a podcast for the National Union of Students.

Ricky Salmon recorded on-hold prompts for the NHS, Anglia Freight, Superbreak, Hastings Direct and Ancar Technologies and voiceovers for corporate videos for Pelagon, Croda, Postsaver and Centrica as well as more voiceovers for the Pen Warehouse website.

We were delighted to welcome on board: American Voiceover Artists Lisa Rice and Alexandra B Harris; Southern Irish Voiceover Artist Grainne Gillis; young Eastern European Voiceover Artist Yana Yanezic and Greek Voiceover Artist Manolis Emmanouel.

We made Voiceover Showreels for Radio Presenter Sue Lloyd and aspiring Voiceover Artist Rachel Brooker.

TV Presenter Hannah Scott-Joynt recorded an in-vision presentation for NovoSeven at our TV studios in Surrey, followed shortly afterwards by a voiceover session for the same video.

We also broke the back of the work of recording and edting half a dozen male and female voiceover artists in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Gujarati for a series of web videos for the NHS.

And no sooner had we taken on BBC1 TV's longest-serving Continuity Announcer Peter Offer, than we landed him corporate voiceover work for DRL.

Ricky
http://www.bigfishmedia.co.uk/

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Just Another Voiceover Directory?

Did you know that in April 2004 the government made it illegal for voiceover agents to charge up-front registration fees?


If you are seeking a voiceover agent make sure that you are not charged a joining or registration fee. Neither should you be charged a monthly or annual membership fee. There are a lot of websites which do charge a monthly or annual fee but these are either Voiceover Directories or dodgy agents who will take your money and not find you any voiceover work. Ever. They are not bona fide voiceover agents.

Due to the overwhelming demand for the BigFish Media Voiceover Agency, we have now launched our own Voiceover Directory. As a a Voicover Agecny we do not charge an annual fee; we do take a 20 per cent commission but only on work which we secure for you on a non-exclusive basis. However we do charge a small fee to be listed in our Voiceover Directory.

So, you may think, "Oh no not another directory!" but the difference between us and all the others (except for one), is that we are at - or very near the top - of page one of Google when you search for the highly competitive keywords "voiceover" or "voice-over".

We have invested in our website, we have invested in Search Engine Optimisation and this month we have had over 2,700 hits. It's time to invest in your voiceover career; our half-price introductory offer can't last forever.


Ricky
www.bigfishmedia.co.uk

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Attempt at scamming a Voiceover Business

Recently at BigFish Media Voiceovers we received this spam - or scam - in our email inbox. The fact that it actually got through the spam filter, wasn't of the type of spam email we have all seen before and that it was personalised, took me in for a while.


Here is what it said:

"Dear CEO,

We are a domain name registrar centre in HongKong which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally, we have an important issue to confirm with you.

1. On the August 09, we received a formal application from a company named "Brilliant International Holdings Ltd" who are applying to register "bigfishmedia" as domain names and Internet keyword.

2. During our preliminary investigation, we found that these Domain Names' keyword is identical with your Trade Mark, this is why we inform you.

3. I wonder whether did you consigned "Brilliant International Holdings Ltd" to register these Domain Names and Internet Keyword with us? Or is "Brilliant International Holdings Ltd" your business partner?

4. If you do not have any relationship with this applicant, we assume that they have other purposes to obtain these Domain Names and Internet Keyword.

Currently, we have already postponed this company's application temporarily. Pls let the relevant principal make a confirmation with me ASAP.

Best Regards,

Stars.liao

Sponsoring Registrar: Link net Service Company Limited

HongKong Office

Tel:+00852 95 660 489

Fax:+00852 30 696 940

E-mail:stars.liao@skhkdns.com.cnmailto:Stars.liao@skdmrc.org

Web:www.asia-gov.com"

After replying to state that we have no interest in registering a BigFish Media domain in other countries -seeing as we are a UK-based voiceover business, we received the following:

"Dear Sir/Madam,

According to your reply, we know your decision.So we will finish the registration of third party asap.If there are some conflicts on the internet with third party in future,we will not be involved with it.

But as a domain names registeration organization,I suggest you had better protect internet keyword. Maybe you don't need these domains,however I hope you are aware of importance of internet keyword which is a kind of network brand and a stretch of brand which can protect the right of real brand and .co.uk owner from being infringed,meanwhile,it can dispute relevant domain names once register it successfully. Including .co.uk and other domain names.That's to say,if third party register the internet brand successfully,they have right to dispute your website. However,I think both of us wouldn't like to see this would happen.We know clearly it takes very long time and funds for successful brand established.So I want to finally confirm that you decide to give it up.Please confirm and let me know.I will have to complete their registration."

By now they really should have used my name and have known that we already have the .co.uk domain and I was suspicious. Their website looks convincing but I had already decided to do an internet search on how to register the keyword BigFish Media as this is not something that I had ever heard of. And then, thanks to other people's blogs, I realised that this was a scam.

Quite what the scam is I don't know. Maybe they are just harvesting active email addresses from voiceover businesses? Or are they trying to pressure us into buying several domain names that we will never need? Or the mysterious registration of keywords. Who knows?


Ricky
http://www.bigfishmedia.co.uk/

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Voiceover News for August 2010

Here is what we have been up to in August:

The translation of the scripts for three videos for the NHS into five languages (Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi) was completed. Then we began the recording and editing of the seven voiceover artists starting with the Bengali male voiceover artist, Hindi female voiceover artist, Urdu male voiceover artist and Gujarati female and  male voiceover artists.

Ricky Salmon recorded a second batch of voiceovers for videos for The Pen Warehouse website, another audio newsletter for Shopping Centre managers and on-hold voiceovers for Rover, Hastings Direct and Woolacotts Auto.

We have recorded the material for a voiceover showreel for aspiring cartoon voiceover woman Rachel Brooker.

Chris Hawkins recorded a final voiceover session for the finale of Channel Five's " Don't Stop Believing".

We also managed to get hold  of a copy of James Knight's voiceover for a TV advert being shown on ITV1 in the West Midlands.

And we are delighted to welcome Scottish Voiceover Artist James Sutherland and TV and Radio Presenter Lynsey Hooper to BigFish Media.



Ricky Salmon
http://www.bigfishmedia.co.uk/

Monday, 30 August 2010

An attempted scam on our voiceover business

Recently at BigFish Media Voiceovers we received this spam - or scam - in our email inbox. The fact that it actually got through the spam filter, wasn't of the type of spam email we have all seen before and that it was personalised, took me in for a while.

Here is what it said:
"Dear CEO,
We are a domain name registrar centre in HongKong which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally, we have an important issue to confirm with you.

1. On the August 09, we received a formal application from a company named "Brilliant International Holdings Ltd" who are applying to register "bigfishmedia" as domain names and Internet keyword.

2. During our preliminary investigation, we found that these Domain Names' keyword is identical with your Trade Mark, this is why we inform you.

3. I wonder whether did you consigned "Brilliant International Holdings Ltd" to register these Domain Names and Internet Keyword with us? Or is "Brilliant International Holdings Ltd" your business partner?

4. If you do not have any relationship with this applicant, we assume that they have other purposes to obtain these Domain Names and Internet Keyword.

Currently, we have already postponed this company's application temporarily. Pls let the relevant principal make a confirmation with me ASAP.



Best Regards,

Stars.liao
Sponsoring Registrar: Link net Service Company Limited
HongKong Office
Tel:+00852 95 660 489
Fax:+00852 30 696 940
E-mail:stars.liao@skhkdns.com.cnmailto:Stars.liao@skdmrc.org
Web:www.asia-gov.com"

After replying to state that we have no interest in registering a BigFish Media domain in other countries -seeing as we are a UK-based voiceover business, we received the following:

"Dear Sir/Madam,
According to your reply, we know your decision.So we will finish the registration of third party asap.If there are some conflicts on the internet with third party in future,we will not be involved with it.

But as a domain names registeration organization,I suggest you had better protect internet keyword. Maybe you don't need these domains, however I hope you are aware of importance of internet keyword which is a kind of network brand and a stretch of brand which can protect the right of real brand and .co.uk owner from being infringed,meanwhile,it can dispute relevant domain names once register it successfully.Including .co.uk and other domain names.That's to say,if third party register the internet brand successfully,they have right to dispute your website.

However,I think both of us wouldn't like to see this would happen.We know clearly it takes very long time and funds for successful brand established.So I want to finally confirm that you decide to give it up.Please confirm and let me know.I will have to complete their registration."

By now they really should have used my name and have known that we already have the .co.uk domain and I was suspicious. Their website looks convincing but I had already decided to do an internet search on how to register the keyword BigFish Media as this is not something that I had ever heard of. And then, thanks to other people's blogs, I realised that this was a scam.

Quite what the scam is I don't know. Maybe they are just harvesting active email addresses? Or are they trying to pressure us into buying several domain names that we will never need for our voiceover business? Or the mysterious registration of keywords. Who knows?

Ricky
www.bigfishmedia.co.uk

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Get a good Voiceover Showreel before a Voiceover Agent

As a Voiceover Agency we are often bombarded by Voiceover Artists and would-be Voiceover Artists seeking representation.

TV presenters, radio presenters, newsreaders, journalists, travel presenters, DJ's, actors and actresses send us their showreels. Some are good, some are bad. Most are average and the vast majority add nothing to the overall sound that we can offer our clients; they just sound similar to someone who we already represent. And then occasionally there's the great demo!

What has surprised us - though - is the number of appalling "voiceover showreels". Reading the news on the radio doesn't make you a voiceover artist, so why include it in your showreel? Reading the travel news doesn't count either. Or reading excerpts from a Shakespearean play.

Sometimes we will reply to an email from someone wanting to be represented, request a showreel, and then never hear back from them. Ever.

But often we hear voiceover showreels which aren't voiceover showreels at all: they're a couple of voice clips recorded on a bad microphone on a laptop or even - once - on the telephone! We hear from people with bad lisps, speech impediments or terrible diction.

Then there is the monologue showreel which sounds like it's recorded in the bathroom.

If you don’t have a great voice, or a great presence at the microphone, you will never make a great voiceover showreel. However if you have the first two we can make the great voiceover showreel for you.

But please, stay off the laptop. And out of the bathroom.


Ricky
www.bigfishmedia.co.uk

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Who is the voiceover on self-service tills?

Here is an interesting article from today's Mail on Sunday:

Unidentified voice in the bagging area: So who is the woman behind 'unexpected item' warnings driving shoppers mad at self-service tills?

They are words guaranteed to induce dread in any supermarket shopper: 'Unexpected item in the bagging area. Please remove item before continuing.' The voice is not quite Joanna Lumley, Penelope Keith or Valerie Singleton.

However, the tone is unmistakable. It is she who must be obeyed. The robotic command issued by self-service tills in supermarkets around the country has become the bane of modern life.

More often than not the supersensitive alarm is triggered by a carelessly placed handbag or ­rucksack. And so peremptory is the tone of the voice, people assume it is computer-generated.

The leading manufacturer of self-checkouts, National Cash Register Company, is coy about the woman whose authoritative manner won her the voiceover job

Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the message repeated endlessly at 10,000 automated tills at five of our biggest supermarket chains, including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer, is rather more human than it seems.

But while the satnav industry is proud to promote its invisible stars, who include half-a-dozen mature British actresses with beautifully modulated voices, along with a few jokey contributors such as Brian Blessed and John Cleese, the identity of the woman behind the checkout voice is a secret.

The leading manufacturer of self-checkouts, National Cash Register Company (NCR), is coy about the woman whose authoritative manner won her the voiceover job. 'Her identity is a closely-guarded secret.

'We wouldn't want our competitors to take on the same voice,' says Helen McInnes, spokeswoman for the multi-billion-dollar American company, which has supplied self-checkouts to 80 per cent of UK retailers since 2002.
She explains how NCR selected 'The Voice': 'The person has been chosen for having a calming voice and an approachable manner.' In laboratory and shop studies, customers 'overwhelmingly responded better to the female voice'.

The Voice, although irritating to some, has to issue instructions in a non-confrontational way. However tardy your response, she is above displaying her own irritation or reproaching you as you attempt to cram your buy-one-get-one-free and money-off specials into plastic bags that refuse to open without application of spit and ritual rubbing.

And The Mail on Sunday has discovered a potentially unnerving phenomenon that will be coming to a store near you: The Voice is about to get personal. Researchers at NCR's base in Atlanta, Georgia, are developing a programme to customise The Voice's prompts and commands for individual shoppers.

The first people to experince this service will be so-called 'super-users' who use self-checkouts most often. So the next time you swipe your loyalty card at the self-checkout, it might address you by name and say farewell with a cheery: 'Have a good day.'

It's another reason to agree with Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King when he admits: 'Self-checkouts are like Marmite: you either love them or loathe them.'

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Voiceover News July 2010

Here is what BigFish Media has been up to in July 2010:

Chris Hawkins has recorded the voiceovers for this summer's "Don't Stop Believing" on Five. It's a cross between the X Factor and Glee and stars Emma Bunton and Duncan James. You can see it on Sundays at 7pm.

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voiceovers for a commercial for Meridian FM, on-hold prompts for BTC Group and Supatool, two audio newsletters for Shopping Centre managers and a Corporate Video for Centrica's Peterborough Power Station.

We are pleased to welcome to BigFish Media, Spanish voiceover artists Mauricio Perez and Reynaldo Infante, Italian voiceover artist Tony Severo and silky smooth Voiceover Artist and Radio Presenter Mark Walker.

James Knight has recorded a voiceover for a TV Commercial for the National Space Centre to be shown on ITV1 in the Midlands.

We have made a voiceover showreel for BBC Radio Presenter Charlie Crocker.

The translation of the scripts for three videos for the NHS into five languages (Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi) has begun.

Sasha Twining has recorded voiceovers for on-hold prompts for Gwalia Housing in Swansea.

And the video for the LBRO which we filmed and edited at our TV studios in Surrey has finally been finished.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Voiceover News for June 2010

This is what we were up to last month:

Ricky Salmon has recorded voiceovers for three Centrica power stations at Peterborough, Glanford Brigg and South Humber Bank, a voiceover for a DVD called "Let's All Communicate" for the NHS and on-hold voiceovers for Woolliscrofts Solicitors, Ryder, Gentech Sensors and Just Fabrics.

Ricky has recorded and edited 60 voiceover scripts for The Pen Warehouse website and commercials being aired on Kiss FM in Northern Ireland and Tameside Radio in London.

He has also finally recorded and edited the second set of voiceover amendments - guided by the client via phone patch - for a huge biological project for Elsevier-Ross Wilson Archie. Oh those medical terms!

We are pleased to represent Brazilian Portuguese Voiceover Artist
Ilana Gorban and Broadcasters Steve Hyland, Dave Bradford and Elliott Webb.

Steph Bower has recorded voiceovers for two commercials for the Vogue Furniture sale being aired on radio stations across Scotland and the North West of England, a trail for the Open Golf Championships on BBC Radio Scotland and two trails for BBC TV in Scotland: "High Street Dreams" and "Glasgow Boys".

Hannah Scott-Joynt has recorded more voiceovers for another training DVD for British Gas engineers to learn how to install heat pumps.

Andrea Simmons has recorded a voiceover for a commercial being aired on Sunshine Radio.

And finaly we have secured a contract to translate the scripts for three NHS videos into five languages and then record and edit the voiceover recordings. That'll keep us busy until the end of July!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Do voiceover directories work?

In short: Mostly Not.

Many of the voiceover directories are over-subscribed and any producer who is trying to find a voice is not very likely to pick you. You are just one of hundreds or thousands of voiceover artists who are listed.

Then have a look at how many of these directories are on the first couple of pages when carrying out a search for voiceover. Apart from the widely-respected voiceovers.co.uk there were none. In fact, just searching today I got to page 5 before one voiceover directory was listed.

When I tentatively started pitching for voiceover work in 2002, I got listed on as many free voiceover sites as I could. Then plucked up the courage to spend some actual real money on voiceovers.co.uk; my first voiceover gig followed shortly afterwards.

There are dozens and dozens of directories: Voice123 (voiceover artists bid for the work - how low will you go?); Voices.com; Opuzz; BigTalent; thevoiceoverdirectory.com; the voiceworks; voicefinder.biz and Bodalgo. As far as I know I only secured one client (who spent thousand of pounds) from all of these websites combined. They are free for a reason.

And then there is another site which I discovered recently called voicejockeys.com with a 50 per cent commission rate and terms and conditions from the dark ages.You do wonder how many of these voiceover websites have your interests at heart. Or do they just treat you like a number as fodder for their own potential clients?

From my own experience, it's much better to spend your money on your own decent website and pay for Google Adwords. In the short term, this is the only way to get onto page 1 or 2 of Google.

However, the BigFish Media website is now near the top of page one of Google in the organic (free) listings - thanks to regular blogging, a good reputation (gained through hard work, repeat business and client satisfaction), using social media, (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In etc) and six months of dedicated work by the team behind our Search Engine Optimisation process.

And we don't have to pay for adwords anymore.

Now all we need to do is work on the SEO for podcast production...

Monday, 31 May 2010

Public Service Announcement - 2nd update

Coastguards turned to Jonathan Ross's Radio 2 show for help after a boat skipper blocked an international distress channel.

Dover coastguards said the crew left a microphone on while off the Kent coast, blocking radio channel 16, which is reserved for emergency calls.

Ross's radio show could be heard in the background so staff called the BBC, which made the appeal in a news item.

You can hear the appeal here

Thanks to BigFish Media voiceover artist James Knight for the quick work on getting the audio

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Public Service announcement - an update

The announcement then made BBC news website...

Coastguards turned to Jonathan Ross's Radio 2 show for help after a boat skipper blocked an international distress channel.

Dover coastguards said the crew left a microphone on while off the Kent coast, blocking radio channel 16, which is reserved for emergency calls.

Ross's radio show could be heard in the background so staff called the BBC, which made the appeal in a news item.

The coastguard said the vessel blocked the channel for about three hours.

It later moved out of range as it travelled north into the Thames coastguard area.

It is not known whether the crew heard the broadcast, but Dover coastguard said it had not heard of any further problems.

"Unfortunately this happens quite a lot and we normally track down the vessel using direction finding but in this case we could not, so we approached the BBC," said a coastguard spokesman.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "As the boat had Radio 2 playing in the background, the Radio 2 newsreader made the on-air appeal at the next opportunity, which was the midday news within Jonathan Ross's show.

"We were happy to be of service."

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Voiceover man makes public service announcement

It isn't often that as a Radio 2 Newsreader you have to make public service announcements. In fact, in my 12 years at the station, this was a first for me.

Radio's Ross helps out in sea drama
Source PA News
Updated on 29 May 2010


A boat skipper who blocked an international distress channel led to an appeal on Jonathan Ross's Radio 2 show.

Dover coastguard discovered the vessel's crew had left their microphone on, blocking channel 16 off the Kent coast, which is used for distress calls.

All coastguard staff could hear was Radio 2 on in the background so they called the BBC, who made the appeal on Mr Ross's show during a news bulletin.

You can hear it here

Ricky Salmon is also a voiceover artist and podcast producer.

A public service from voiceover man

It's not often that BBC Radio 2 Newsreader voiceover artist and podcaster Ricky Salmon makes the news wires but he did this weekend:

Radio's Ross helps out in sea drama
Source PA News
Updated on 29 May 2010


A boat skipper who blocked an international distress channel led to an appeal on Jonathan Ross's Radio 2 show.

Dover coastguard discovered the vessel's crew had left their microphone on, blocking channel 16 off the Kent coast, which is used for distress calls.

All coastguard staff could hear was Radio 2 on in the background so they called the BBC, who made the appeal on Mr Ross's show during a news bulletin.

You can hear the audio here
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2Fap1fDL&h=3ded1

Voiceover News May 2010

Here is what we have been up to this month:

Ricky Salmon has recorded on-hold voiceovers for Reliance Monitoring Services and BSG Property Services.

We are pleased to now represent an actress and voiceover artist with a thousand voices Charlotte Gittins.

We are shooting and editing a series of web videos (or podcasts) for the LBRO - a government quango - at our Television Studios in Surrey.

Hannah Scott-Joynt has recorded voiceovers for British Gas instruction manuals for gas-fired tumble driers and renewable energies.

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voice-over for a commercial for "MR Emmanuel" being shown on Channel TV. See it here.

Sandy Warr has recorded a voiceover for on-hold prompts for SEW Infrastructure in India, which BigFish Media are producing and mixing with the music.

We are pleased to now represent voice-over artist and broadcaster Nicola Walker.


We have completed a large voiceover job for Centrica: arranging the translation of an induction video into Italian and then arranging an Italian voice-over artist to record the audio.

Ricky Salmon was the "Voice of God" at the Purple Apple Award Ceremony in London alongside Claudia Winkleman. We were celebrating the best in Shopping Centres across the UK.

Ricky Salmon has recorded a corporate voiceover for SRC.

Ricky Salmon spent four days recording a voice-over for Elsevier-Ross Wilson Archie, then another day doing the amends. So many of those biological terms were mispronounced!

We are delighted to represent a very talented actor and Voice-over Artist Andrew Fallaize.

Ricky Salmon has recorded the first two voice-overs for videos for a large trade website. Hopefully there are many, many more to come in the next few months.

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voice-over for The Blind Co in Wadebridge.

Ricky Salmon has recorded another voice-over for Lloyds Banking Group; this time it's for their Election Roadshow.

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voice-over for what could be the next television commercial for Doritos. Click here to see it.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Do you trust the news on the radio?

I know this post isn't strictly voiceover news, but as I am also a BBC Radio 2 Newsreader I found this fascinating:

What source of information do you trust most for your news? The TV? the internet or the radio?

Well if you said the radio then you are in good company; most people trust the news they hear on the radio the most.

Two thirds - 66 per cent – believe what they hear, compared to 58 per cent trusting the internet and 54 per cent accepting what they see on the television.

I wonder how much of that is down to the me and how much to Charlotte Green?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Voiceover man - sounding older than I look

Although this blog isn't strictly - or in fact anyway related to our voiceover work, I thought it was worth sharing.

I was doing the weekly shop in Waitrose and, because I had bought two bottles of wine, the lady on the check-out asked if I was over 25. That's what they seem to do these days: need proof of ID if you are, or look, under 25 rather than 18.

I produced my driving licence which she looked at casually. Then she spotted my birthdate. Her reaction will live with me for many years to come. It reminded me of "that" look that Gillian Duffy gave a Sky News reporter when she was told that Gordon Brown had called her a "bigotted woman".

We then had quite a laugh and it made my day. I joked that it's a curse - a curse that I can live with. I went on to say how ten years' of night shifts and now working seven days a week obviously agreed with me. And, anyway it's in my genes and I am just lucky, before thinking later that actually my late father looked rather older than his years for most of his life.

Another year and my few grey hairs will be a lot of grey hairs and I won't get asked anymore.

I'm 43.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

How to find a voiceover artist

Are you looking for a voiceover artist for your project? If you are then there is certainly no shortage to choose from. And that in itself can be a huge problem; you could be completely overwhelmed by the choice of voice artists available on hundreds of websites. To say it's daunting is an understatement.

Because the voice you choose will reflect your company brand and the tone and style that your project with present, it is vital that you choose the right person.

Most websites will let you see and hear voiceover artists and their previous voiceover work. Just by looking at a website you will be able to tell instantly if you may want to do business with this person. If the website is too fussy, too garish or so hard to navigate, you will be very likely to just skip to the next one.

If the audio doesn’t play - or takes too long to load - you may give up at that stage too. And if what you hear is awful, whether it's a bad voice or not what you are looking for, you will move on quickly.

And if the voice artist you hear is not in good quality or sounds too "live" (like they are in a large open space) and not warm then you may question whether their home studio can really produce the quality that you are looking for.

Here are some other handy hints to help you during your search for a voiceover artist on the internet:

1. After you get in touch for the first time ask for some MP3 samples if you aren't able to download them from the voiceover artist's website. It's much quicker than asking for a CD in the post or an audition. How the voice artist responds - and how long it takes - will tell you as much about them as the audio

2. Ask for a voiceover demo. Any professional voiceover artist with their own home studio will be more than happy to supply you with a SMALL portion of your script to be recorded for you to check that their voice is right for your - or your client's project. But don't be surprised if they change the odd word or two or add tone or watermarks to it. There are just too many unscrupulous producers who expect a recording for a "demo" then use that as the real thing without paying.

3.Ask for the voiceover artists CV. Many will have a list of previous clients on their websites, but if they don't make sure you check them out with previous clients. Many voiceover artists will have testimonials from previous clients on their website; how about contacting two or three of them to check that they are real?

4. Talk money. Many voiceover artists will give you their fee for your project - based an their hourly rate. If you are trying to source a voiceover artist for a large project, many will give you a fee for the whole project. Some voice artists will invoice for payment after you have received the audio; others will require a fee upfront with the balance at the end; others will want the full fee upfront (especially if you are in a different country to the voice artist).

5. Call the voiceover artist. You will then be able to hear what they really sound like and if the audio samples on their website were twenty years ago or more recent.(We all sound different than we did five years ago, let alone twenty). You will also be able to tell if you can do business with this person by having a chat, see if they are friendly, brusque, stressed, more than willing to help you or arrogant

6. Ask the voice-over artist if they can provide all services digitally. Some voiceover artistss have the equipment and skills to record the at their home studio, convert it into an audio file of your choosing and allow you to download it directly from their website. Oh and ask the voiceover artist when they will finish the project and if they charge for amendments.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Looking for a Voice-over Agent?

Are you looking for voice-over representation? Are you looking for a voiceover agent? As well as being a recording studio in Woking, Surrey BigFish Media may be in a position to offer you voiceover representation.

However we are a small agency and do not take on inexperienced voice artists. What's the point? We couldn't guarantee you any work and it is our reputation that suffers if you can't cut it in the booth.

If you are seeking a voiceover agent. Do not send us:

videos of you on youtube;
your radio presenter/disc jockey showreel;
you commentating on a football match or similar
or, and this one we had quite recently, a recording of you talking on the telephone. No agent will take you seriously again. Ever.

Just because you can present a radio programme doesn't mean that you will be any good as a voice-over artist. They are different, if related, skills. However it will give us some idea of your level of experience and what your voice sounds like. You will, though need to get a proper voiceover showreel made. This is something we can do for you. Please ask for details. Once you have your voiceover showreel made, then and only then should you think about approaching a voice-over agent

We have mentioned in previous blogs about how having a theatre, acting, radio or TV presentation or broadcast journalism background helps enormously – but you do need more. Can you take direction without getting uppity? Can you use your voice in different ways – albeit slightly. Can you read out loud and bring a script to life? Are you any good at sight reading? Sometimes you just don't get the time or opportunity to read a voiceover script beforehand.

If you are used to writing and reading your own scripts, how will you cope reading someone else's, badly-written, over-written or technical scripts. Can you read a voiceover script to time? This is often necessary to fit the words to the pictures of a video if it has already been cut. And - finally if you suffer from claustrophobia, forget it. Voiceover booths are often very, very small places indeed.

There's more to this voiceover lark than you might think.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Voice-over news April 2010

Ricky Salmon has recorded voiceovers for on-hold prompts for 1staction.

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voice-over for a corporate video for Ocelot Systems.

Ricky Salmon is the voice-over on a new advert for "The Dog Hole". Hear it on Jack FM in Bristol. How many times can you say "dog" in 30 seconds?!

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voice-over for another corporate video for Lloyds Banking Group.

Bill Buckley has narrowly missed out on recording a voice-over for the BBC1 Programme "This Week". The producers were going to go with another "Come Dine With Me" spoof but then changed their mind and are going with a "Strictly Come Dancing" spoof instead.

Ricky Salmon has recorded more voice-overs for on-hold prompts for the Rustington Golf Centre. Only because I used to live there.

Ricky Salmon is the new voiceover for on-hold prompts for the travel company Superbreak.

Ricky Salmon has recorded voiceover on-hold prompts for the Belgravia Centre in London. Yes, the hair-loss people.

We can now offer a different way of getting audio to you. If you have an Audio TX codec, we can connect using VOIP.

We are delighted to now represent Welsh Voiceover Artist Robb Dee.

We made a voiceover showreel for TV reporter Leah Ferguson.

Andrea Simmons and Ricky Salmon have recorded voiceovers for adverts for Kiss FM in Northern Ireland.

Ricky Salmon is the new voiceover for on-hold prompts for Sharps Skips.

Bill Buckley has recorded a voiceover for an instruction manual for Rapid Post.

Michelle Horn has recorded voiceovers for on-hold prompts for Quicklet in Northern Ireland.

Ricky Salmon has recorded station voiceovers for Radio Lion in Surrey.

Steph Bower has recorded the voice-over for a trail for "The Man Who Cycled the Americas" showing now on BBC1 TV Scotland.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Funny vocal direction for a voiceover artist

Following a previous blog about bizarre vocal direction for voiceover artists, here are some more tales from voice artists, producers and engineers to, hopefully, make you smile.

'I know this is 60 seconds of copy and we need it to be a 30 but can you still sound relaxed and leisurely?'

'The funniest, most absurd, or ridiculous voice over direction I ever received was for a cold product. I had to sneeze and the end of the copy, I sneezed a few times and the direction I received was make it 'wetter'. Then the creative said make it more 'Living roomy and wetter.'

'the producer said to me 'No, the character you are playing is not British. She's English. You know, from England!'

'I was producing a session recently for a major New York agency where the 'creatives' felt that the Voice wasn't making the tagline we were recording sound 'purple' enough... it was for a well-known soft drink. They kept saying 'It just doesn't sound purple to us, and blackcurrants are purple, right?'

'It was taking hours to do a job that should have taken minutes. The Voiceover Artist was stressed, the Creatives were stressed. It was a bad atmosphere. As the Engineer, I told them all to take a break and go outside the control room. Then I found an early take that was fine, chopped it out and cleaned it up. I then called them all back in to the studio, told them I'd 'processed' it with some 'special plugins' and time expanded it here and there. They all loved it. Job done.

A director told the Voice-over Artist to 'imagine you are in a jungle... how would you speak there?' (The character was supposed to be... 'in a jungle') The voiceover artist replies 'Yeah! I know what you mean! Thanks' One take. Job done.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Voiceover news for April 2010

Here is what we have been up to in the last month...

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voice-over for a presentation for Nicotinell.

Ricky Salmon is delighted to have been asked to open the new student radio station at the University of Portsmouth.

Ricky Salmon has recorded voiceover on-hold prompts for Poole
Waite and Company.

Ricky Salmon has recorded the voice-over for Centrica Kings
Lynn Power Station.

Ricky Salmon has recorded a voiceover for Simply Hunting.

We are delighted to have taken on new voiceover talent:
BBC 6 music presenter Chris Hawkins, French voiceover artist Caroline Crier, Actor Mark Field and Radio Station Imaging voiceover artist James Knight.

Steph Bower and Ricky Salmon have recorded voiceovers for a
presentation for "Alcohol in Moderation".

You can now see a clip of the BBC2 TV documentary, "When Aly
met Nicola" for which Steph Bower recorded the voiceover.

Ricky Salmon has recorded the voice-over for on-hold prompts
for Tayna Batteries

Ricky Salmon is the new voiceover for the Centrica Power
Station at Barry

Ricky Salmon has recorded more continuity announcements for the
World Radio Network

Ricky Salmon is the on-hold voiceover for
www.londoncitymetals.com

Sasha Twining has recorded a voice-over for DJ Biacoe

Ricky Salmon is has recorded a voiceover for
www.meadowstone.co.uk

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Voiceover Representation

Here at BigFish Media we get lots of enquiries about representation: things like "my mates think I sound like Barry White" but that doesn’t make you a great singer with star quality let alone a voiceover artist.

Ask yourself are you really the next Leona Lewis? Or are you more like Michelle McManus - or one of those deluded people, who we love to laugh at because they can't sing a note?

You won't stand a chance of making it without some sort of entertainment, broadcasting or acting experience. We do not take on voiceover artists who have no experience. Why would we? We could never get you a paying job.

Do you also have the ability to run a business? Can you do the paperwork, the accounts, the VAT returns? Do you have the determination to get the business in the first place let along chasing late-payers ? Do you have the technical ability - not only with your computer, but also your website and your studio? Do you even have your own studio? Do you have the space to build for a studio? One which will meet the standards required? And are you prepared to stump up thousands of pounds on the equipment - upfront - before you have even earned a penny? It could be a huge gamble which doesn't pay off.

Having said that you could of course work without your own home studio but then you are reliant on using other peoples' studios or you have to be good enough (and famous enough) to get the really big voiceover jobs (which tend to use London studios). There is plenty of money to be made by doing more jobs which don’t pay as much (or have as much glamour associated with them) - the best chance you have of making some sort of living inthe voiceover business.

On a broader note, why should we give free advice to someone who may become our competitor for a job? Time is money. But if you want to pay us for advice, then we are open to offers...

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Voiceover Spam

We are all used to getting a certain amount of spam in our email inboxes, but this one was a new one for us. I am not quite sure how this scam would work but it's bound to be one. It sounds like those which eminate from Nigera offering you great rewards for allowing someone the use of your bank account. Enjoy.

Greetings
I am Mr George Maxwell from the UK I would like to book for 4 weeks voice-over training classes for 3 hours each day,as the case may be, Monday through Saturday (morning hours or evening hours) for a group of 8 adults,We would be coming over to your location, and as part of our plans we intend to visit your facility and have classes/private lessons in that space of time,can you send us your offers for the classes? Do you have guest rooms or is there any 3 star hotel close to your studio?
DATE: 5th July TO 2nd Aug 2010
. I would love to get the total cost or a quote/estimate. Do you accept credit cards?you are required to get back to me ASAP
Regards
George

I am "required" to get back to him? I don't think so - besides my voiceover studio is barely big enough for me let alone eight people!

Business News for 27 March 2010

Here is this week's financial news from BigFish Media Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining:

PRICE OF A PINT
Cider drinkers will be crying into their pints this weekend. The chancellor raised duty substantially on a pint in the budget. The Wurzels released a statement saying they’d have to tighten the string on their trousers.
At least first time buyers could celebrate with the money they can now save on stamp duty.

OUT FROM UNDER THE MATTRESS
Staying with the budget, and there was some rare good news for savers.
The ISA limit will now increase in line with inflation.
If you’re lucky enough to have the cash to hand, experts reckon the change equates to an extra 1000 pound allowance over the next five years.

FREE PRESS?
Big changes in the newspaper world this week. News International has announced plans to charge for online content from both The Times and The Sunday Times.
Meanwhile there are rumours circulating that the new owner of The Independent, might be considering distributing it for free.

EXTRA SALAMI
We’re loving our cheesy toppings. Figures released this week from Papa Johns show a 10 percent increase in pizza sales so far this year. They’re putting it down to families saving money and staying in. The January snow didn’t seem to dent deliveries either – the company say their drivers ‘went the extra mile’ to make sure we all got our spicy sausage.

EXPENSIVE TREND
A lesson this week in catching a wave at the right time, AND knowing when to jump off.
In 2005 we were all logging onto Friends Reunited to catch up on old classmates, and ITV bought the website for 175 million pounds.
Five years later, and we’ve all ‘cyber-stalking’ or rather ‘social-networking’ on Facebook instead, and ITV have finally off-loaded it at an eyewatering loss of 150 million pounds.

Sasha Twining is LBC 97.3's Business Correspondent. You can hear her Monday-Friday between 4 and 7pm on the James Whale Programme.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

How the BA strike affected our Voiceover business

Sometimes running your own voiceover business can be fun, even if it is hard work and long hours. Sometimes events just get the better of you and make planning your week ahead impossible.

In the autumn of last year I was booked to act as a Facilitator for a large City of London law firm. We were due to visit the beautiful city of Oxford for a three-day course in November. Ah nice, I thought, a change of scene, not being cooped up in either the office or a BBC radio studio would make a pleasant change.

On this particular November day, I was already working in London during the day when news came in of severe weather warnings for the south of England – in particular - yes you guessed it - Oxfordshire where they were expecting eight inches of snow. Despite the warnings, we set off that night towards Oxford, we had a little trouble getting there from Surrey and by the time we arrived it was a ghost town; two or three inches had fallen already.

By the time we awoke the next morning, we had our eight inches. And no one else could get to Oxford for the course. We seriously thought that we would be stuck there for the three days or longer – with nothing to do. I did manage to catch a train home – eventually.

And so we come to today – the day that the course had been re-scheduled for. No chance of snow in March we thought. But another curved ball gets thrown instead: British Airways cabin crew have decided to go on strike - and many of the delegates (who were due to fly in to London from Europe) couldn’t get here or the company was unprepared to pay inflated prices with another airline.

So, once again, my week is not quite what had been planned. Still, third time lucky eh?

I think that I will be stuck in the BigFish Media office all day or should I go and attend to the garden instead? I have a nice English Maple tree which needs planting.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

BigFish Media News March 2010

We are delighted to say that we have taken on new voiceover talent: BBC 6 music presenter Chris Hawkins, French voiceover artist Caroline Crier, Actor Mark Field and Radio Station Imaging voiceover artist James Knight.

Steph Bower and Ricky Salmon have recorded voiceovers for a presentation for "Alcohol in Moderation". If you click on www.bigfishmedia.co.uk you can see a clip of the BBC2 TV documentary, "When Aly met Nicola" for which Steph Bower recorded the voiceover. Sasha Twining has recorded some "in the mix" liners for a club DJ.

Ricky Salmon has recorded the voice-over for on-hold prompts for Tayna Batteries, he is the new voiceover for the Centrica Barry Power Station, he updated his continuity announcements for the World Radio Network and recorded on-hold voiceovers for www.londoncitymetals.com

Financial News for 18th March 2010

Here is this week's financial news from BigFish Media Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining:

A LOTTA ALLOTMENTS
Our thoughts this past week have been turning to getting our fingers dirty. At least that’s what gardening superstore B&Q reckons. They say sales of greenhouses, potting sheds and spades have soared by 40% so far this year compared to last. A couple of years ago, 70% of seed sold was for flowering plants, now the vast majority is to grow vegetables.


LEAVES UP MOTHER BROWN
Our High Street shops will be thanking Mothers this week as Mothering Sunday brought a welcome boost in trade. Sales of cut flowers rose by 40% and many boys and girls may have been influenced by the sunny weather too, as John Lewis said sales of gardening gifts for Mum were up.


KENSINGTON KING OF ID FRAUD
Make sure you check your credit record. ID fraud has risen by 20% in the past year. People most at risk include those who move house often, or whose post is delivered in communal hallways. London is the ID fraud hotspot, with Kensington residents most at risk.


SLAMMING THE PHONE DOWN
There was a new word for the business dictionary this week – ‘slamming’. This is the practice where a fraudenlent land-line provider cons a customer into changing their service. Normally for a far pricier deal. Watchdog Ofcom unveiled new regulations which they say should vastly reduce the near 800 victims a month.


TO OUR CREDIT?
When was the last time you compared your outgoings with your earnings? Figures out this week suggest one in ten of us are living beyond our means. This is not a new phenomenon, but the change is that in the past house owners could release equity from their homes – now we’re turning to high interest credit cards to plug the gap.

Sasha Twining is LBC 97.3's Business Correspondent. You can hear her Monday-Friday between 4 and 7pm on the James Whale Programme.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Bizarre Vocal Directions for a Voiceover Artist

Here at BigFish Media Voiceovers, most of our voice artists either self-record or record at our studios in Surrey (often directed by me) so I hope that I am not guilty of this...

If you do get to record voice-overs outside your own studio you can often get "interesting" direction.

Here are some wonderful, funny, absurd or ridiculous examples of direction for voice artists:

Every now and then as a voice over artist, you may be given seemingly abstract direction... here are just a handful of examples.

'can you make it sound a little more purple?'

'less snakey and more lizardy'

'Could you make it more orange?'

'Can you do it a little taller and with more hair?'

'Could you do a voice like a rusty old hinge'

'Can you give me a quiet shout'

'Could you spray a little chrome on it?'

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Financial News from Sasha Twining

Here is this week'financial news from BigFish Media Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining:


THORPE PERK
If there was ever a case of referring to the recession as a ‘rollercoaster ride’, this would be it. Owners of theme parks will be looping-the-loop in glee at visitor numbers. 1.2million people visited a UK theme park for the first time in 2009 - and a quarter of the entire population rolled up for a thrill.

AGA CAN’T
They may be the choice of traditional cooks and country kitchen magazines, but AGA’s profits have tumbled. In 2008, 15,500 of the cookers were sold, whereas last year, the figure was just over 12,000. Not only are we tightening our belts when it comes to re-designing our kitchens, we’re also not moving house so much.

DEAL UP IN THE AIR
We finally got to hear the dates for the British Airways cabin crew strike this week. The two sides had kept us on the edge of our pre-booked seat for days, as a deal seemed tantalizingly close. In the end though, it was a case of locating the emergency exit and inflating the life vest as passengers started consulting their travel insurance.

BUY BUY
I don’t think there will ever be a day without new figures on the housing market. Reports this week suggest that instead of a lack of supply in London, we now have more sellers than buyers entering the market. The property website Rightmove also suggests only a quarter of those looking are first time buyers, whereas a healthy market needs at least 40% of newbies pounding the streets.

BRAD-AFFORD
Staying with the housing market, If you’re trying to buy, the best advice may be to head for Bradford. New figures pinpointed the areas where homes were the most affordable. In the Yorkshire city, 82% of people who work there can afford to buy in the vicinity, whereas in the capital, only a third of us are on salaries that will even get us close to being homeowners.

Sasha Twining is LBC 97.3's Business Correspondent. You can hear her Monday-Friday between 4 and 7pm on the James Whale Programme.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

BigFish Media Voiceovers are back

After much-needed three-week break from the voicever work, we are back in business.

Steph Bower has recorded a voice-over for a corporate video for www.silverbay.co.uk. She has recorded another voiceover for a BBC2 TV documentary, "When Aly met Nicola" which was broadcast in Scotland last week.

Ricky Salmon has recorded more on-hold voiceovers for www.cms-store.com and he is the new voice-over for www.simmonskitchens.com.


Business Blogs

BigFish Media Business News

After a few weeks away, we can now resume our regular business news from BigFish Media Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining:

FILLING SPACE?
Dentist receptionists all over the UK may have cause to celebrate. That staple of the waiting room, Readers’ Digest may have been given a reprieve. The American company who owns the publication said last month that they couldn’t support the UK magazine any more. Since then, the administrators have received 100 enquiries about the sale, and 25 of them are said to be serious contenders.

EVERY LITTLE HOUSE
Next time you push your virtual trolley down the virtual supermarket aisle, make sure you stop to check out the properties on sale. Following the Office of Fair Trading’s promise to relax the rules on online estate agents, Tesco has wasted no time by sticking up their ‘For Sale’ sign. For £999 you can list your home with the supermarket chain, a possible saving of thousands of pounds. Sadly the pilot service is only available in Bristol.

COF-FEEL GOOD TREAT
Forget nipping out for a coffee at your local cafĂ©, it seems increasing numbers of us are brewing up at home. Sales of jars increased by 17% last year. The biggest rise though was in the more expensive beans and ground coffee which bubbled up by nearly 50%. Experts think we’re buying more because it’s a relatively cheap way to get a ‘feel good’ treat.

ITV HAS THE X FACTOR
Talk about a turnaround – last year ITV lost £3billion, but this week they revealed pre-tax profits of £25million. They’re putting it down to cost cutting, and an increase in advertising revenue. Record figures for Saturday evening programmes like The X Factor didn’t harm their cause either.

EXCHANGE RATE NOT EXCHANGE GREAT
Finally, acres of newsprint and radio time were allotted to discuss the strength of the pound this week. It dropped below the psychologically important level of 1.50 to the Dollar. Analysts were putting it down to political uncertainty triggered by a poll published last weekend. At least we can take some grain of comfort knowing that exporters might benefit from the level though – even if our trips to the states are making our eyes water.

Sasha Twining is LBC 97.3's Business Correspondent. You can hear her Monday-Friday between 4 and 7pm on the James Whale Programme.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Bad English for a Voiceover Business

I have previously posted about a bizarre phone call which I received regarding voiceover work and an odd email from an American guy seeking voiceover representation.

So, as I seem to be on a roll, I thought that I would share with you part of an email from a company which has been sub-contracted to deal with voiceover payments on behalf of a very large public sector organisation which really ought to know better. How many mistakes and examples of poor English can you spot?

“Please provide us a written communication form ******* ********stating that your company acts in behalf of him and also a copy of VAT registration certificate of BigFish Media Ltd. Kindly provide us the foresaid details so that we will amend our records which will avoid all confusions in future.”

I counted five. One confusion at a time is enough for me.

Business Blogs

An odd voiceover email

In a previous blog, I was chatting about a bizarre phone call. So I thought that I would share with you an odd email.

As well as emails from clients, and potential clients, we often get emails and calls from people wanting to be on the list of voiceover artists who we represent. This one has to be the oddest. It starts of rather formally (but I can forgive that) but in paragraph two….

“To whom it may concern,

I am an Instructional Designer with ***** and am well known for my voice-over work with my Instructional Design Material. I am looking to expand my reach beyond ***** and thought that it would be a great to reach out to agents who specialize in such representation.

Please review my extensive body of work and circle back to me if you feel that we can synergize our efforts to generate profitable work. To view, please provide me with your email address and I will send you a workspace share invitation so that you may view samples.“

I think this guy is American. Or Is it David Brent?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

A bizarre voiceover call

Sometimes life as a voiceover artist and agent is exciting: you never know how the day is going to turn out or what challenges and riches await.

Other days it is just bizarre.

So there I was in the garden, gardening (and saving money by not employing the services of the gardener) when I got a call from a guy who we will call Mark so claimed to be, let's say, Leeds. We have a chat: what's the voiceover price for a job and what's the project etc. We agree a fee and he will email me the script. He is surprised that I can deliver by tomorrow lunchtime, so I thought here's another potentially happy customer.

A few hours later there is still no email, so, after checking my spam inbox, I call him. Mark must have been on the phone because it was one of those annoying "I am busy, call back later" answerphone messages that don't allow you to leave a message. This is my first alarm bell.

A while passes and I call him back again and speak to the same guy (at least it sounds like the same guy) who denies being Mark. Bemused I hang up.

Is it me?

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining's latest Business News

Here is this weeks business news from BigFish Media Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining:

WITH WINGS?
For technical bods, this week was probably marked with a great big red ‘X’ on their calendars. Apple finally revealed their latest gizmo. It looks remarkably similar to the iPhone, but will appeal to those who prefer to read their books on screen rather than paper. Cyber chatter was mainly concerned with guessing its name. Steve Jobs rejected the popular ‘iTab’ going for ‘iPad’ instead. Unkind critics have likened the moniker to a female sanity product.

STORE
Storage companies have been doing well during the recession. We’ve been placing far more of our worldly possession into their care. It seems homeowners trapped in a stagnant property market have been freeing up space while they hunt around for a larger home to move into. Other top reasons include clearing out a spare room for a lodger, or sorting out a sitting room to use as a home office.

AMAZING AMAZON
We all know that we’re doing more shopping online, but I for one was very surprised at the sheer volume of online sales at Amazon this Christmas. The retailer revealed a huge 70% rise in profits. On one day alone in the festive period, they took two million orders – that’s the equivalent of 23 every second. I imagine many high street retailers are desperately trying to think of a way to get us off the mouse and through the door instead.

FLYBE OR NOT FLYBE
2009 is now on record as the toughest year for the airline industry. A fall-off in business travel, and the effect of the ‘stay-cation’ bit hard into the big airliners. FlyBe though have a reason to be feeling rather smug. Their figures showed an increase in passenger numbers. They also carried more UK domestic travelers than any other airline.

GOING FOR GOLDMAN
And finally, the UK officially exited recession this week, although if you’re struggling with jobs, mortgages and bills, it’s a technicality that may not give you much cause for celebration. The City was expecting a GDP increase of between 0.2 and 0.4%. In the end we all had to settle for 0.1%. Spare a thought for analysts at Goldman Sachs though – they’d forecast an eye-watering 0.7% growth figure. One prediction I’m sure they’d like to brush under the carpet.

Sasha Twining is LBC 97.3's Business Correspondent. You can hear her Monday-Friday between 4 and 7pm on the James Whale Programme.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Business news from Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining

Here is this weeks business news from BigFish Media Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining:

Five things to get you through the weekend dinner parties.

BARACK ATTACK
This was the week Obama took a stand against the banks and said he was in the mood for a fight. It seemed like the market took flight, with both the FTSE and DOW falling considerably. If he gets his way, the big banks will be split and won’t be able to use our money in their financial investment arms. Plus, we’ll all have another phrase to add to our recession phrase books – ‘The Glass Steagall Act’.

I SHOULD COCOA
We were all trying to come up with chocolate-themed puns this week, as the long running saga between Cadbury and Kraft appeared to come to a rather ‘sticky’ end. The best we could do was Kraft ‘sweetening the deal’ with Cadbury workers ‘left with a bitter taste’. In other words, the American company decided to up their offer at the 11th hour and the board at Cadbury agreed to the figures. Up to 6,000 people work for the British chocolate makers in the UK and, at the moment, there’s no guarantee for long-term job security.

KRAFTY MANOUEVRE
Staying with the Cadbury takeover, eyebrows were raised when it emerged the Royal Bank of Scotland would be part-financing the Kraft bid. Many were outraged at a British bank, with a majority taxpayer share, stumping up the cash for a deal that could possibly result in job losses. Others more sagely reckoned that if RBS are left to do their job, we’ll get our money back quicker.

WE'RE LOVING IT
It seems we were all partial to a burger or two in the recession. McDonalds said they had a record breaking year – with their UK outlets beating all other major markets. They’ve put it down to credit crunching budget menus, and a refresh of some of their restaurants. Not only are more of us deciding ‘we’re loving it’, but we’re also ‘loving it’ in greater quantities.

BUR BUR BUR, BUR BUR-BERRY
Luxury is back in fashion. At least it is for Burberry. Their latest figures showed a very strong Christmas in London, boosted by tourists taking advantage of the weak pound. Burberry bosses possibly have the 1980s fashion favourte ‘The Snood’ to thank as well. Figures suggest the re-invented cross between a hood and a scarf was a firm festive favorite.


Sasha Twining
is LBC 97.3's Business Correspondent. You can hear her Monday-Friday between 4 and 7pm on the James Whale Programme.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

How to find a Voiceover Artist

What do you normally do when your client comes to you and asks you to find them a Voiceover Artist?

Do you point them towards an agency and let them get on with it? Perhaps you suggest hiring the voice you hired last time, to save the trouble?

Or maybe you panic about the best way forward, perhaps even by trying to convince them that they don’t need one for their project, and that it’s strong enough to “speak for itself”?

If any of the above seems familiar then you’re not alone, but it doesn’t have to be quite like that. In the same way that technology has revolutionised the business of making video in the last decade, that same technology has seen a quiet revolution in the world of the Voiceover Artist.

The equipment to produce professional audio doesn’t cost what it once did, and this has meant that more “voices” than ever are working from home studios and marketing themselves either outside, or as well as, traditional artiste/agency relationships. I know because I’m one of them.

Voiceover Artists all over the world now use the internet to find, or attract, work, whether through their own websites like BigFish Media, or via one of the online casting directories like voiceovers.co.uk.

If your client is on a budget, then cutting out both the agency fees, and the time and cost of taking your talent into a production facility with an engineer, could make an attractive difference to the balance sheet. Not only that, but the quality of the finished audio might well surprise you.

Of course you need to do your homework. The lower the bar of entry, the more any profession becomes attractive to those who don’t necessarily possess the skills to do it justice.

But the beauty of the internet is that you and your client can check out what you’re likely to get back before you engage a voiceover talent. You can even ask for a sample as an audition.

Most voiceover artists will be happy to record a part of your script and deliver it in a format of your choice. If you get them to do that, then you’ll know exactly the quality of the end product, including the voiceover artist’s delivery, technical quality and editing skills.

What should you expect to pay? Well, the price range varies hugely. On some casting sites you might be lucky and pay well under the £200 or so that’s still perceived to be the ballpark hourly rate you’d pay for taking your talent into a studio.

But make sure you do that homework: if you don’t, then that £45 voiceover track that seemed like such a bargain at the time might not turn out to be all it promised.

It’s still true that in voiceovers – as in life – you generally get what you pay for. Buy cheap, buy twice. And if you’re paying £200 for your voiceover artist, but not paying the traditional associated costs on top, that is still a huge saving.

Check that your agreed rate includes things such as preparation time, session fees, studio costs, de-breathing editing and file transfer. BigFish Media will do all these for you.

Check the talent’s policy on re-takes or amendments in case there’s anything that you or your client aren’t happy with. Don’t be afraid to ask for a written quote. And make sure you have agreed any usage fees, if appropriate.

It’s true that not every project needs a voiceover, but the next time that one does, take heart: With a bit of care, and with the help of the internet, Voiceover Artists from all over the world are now well within your reach.

Purple Apple Awards Voiceover Man to return.

Ricky Salmon is delighted to have been booked for the fourth time as the voiceover man for this year's Purple Apple Awards Ceremony in London in May.

It will be the third time that Ricky has worked with his BBC Radio 2 colleague Claudia Winkleman; they previously hosted the event in 2007 and 2009.

In 2006 Ricky Salmon had an on-stage role with Toyah Wilcox and also had the pleasure of visiting her at her home in Warwickshire.

The Purple Apples celebrate the best marketing campaigns of the year from managers of Shopping Centres across the UK.

Other news this week...

You can now hear Richard Cartridge's voiceover for BBC1's Football Focus. Or you can watch the video by clicking on Richard's Videos

Ricky Salmon is the voiceover of three new health and safety videos for Wilkinson stores. Ricky Salmon is the voiceover of on-hold telephone messages for www.pastduecredit.co.uk.

Ricky Salmon is the voiceover for an Induction Video for Centrica's Langage Energy Centre in Plymouth.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining's Business News

Here is this weeks business news from BigFish Media Voiceover Artist Sasha Twining:

BITTEN BY A SHARK
Really shocking statistics came out this week about loan sharks. It seems that they are sadly profiting from the recession. A hundred thousand families turned to them just before Christmas, borrowing a total of £29million. The average loan was just under £300, which sounds almost manageable, until you realize that equates to £820 after the interest is added.

DRIVING UP THE PRICES
I think I’ll be taking a course in fuel-efficient driving after my last trip to fill up the car. Petrol prices reached an eye-watering high this week. On average, a litre of petrol will now cost you £1.12. That’s up 25p on this time last year. It’s worth noting that the further north you go, the lower the prices. However I’m not sure how cost-effective it is to make the weekly trip to Hull though.

OX-FAIL GROUP
Spare a thought for Oxfam in the recession. They’ve revealed that their sales are up, but donations are down by a whopping 15%. It seems that we’re turning to eBay to flog our goods and pocket the cash instead. The bad weather hasn’t helped either – it’s been easier to log on to auction sites than battle the snow and ice to donate at the high street shop.

PRIME POSITION
Whatever they’re doing, Primark is doing it well. They released their Christmas trading figures this week and unveiled a huge rise - sales up nearly 20% on last year. They’re not the only ones celebrating the festive season. The owner of Currys and PC World revealed that a TV or PC was sold every other second.

I DON'T FEEL LIKE DANCIN'
You can be forgiven for thinking that everyone was out having a festive boogie in December, but actually nightclubs are having a tough time of it. Luminar, the UK’s biggest club owner, had a poor Christmas. They’re suffering because their target age group, the 18-24 year olds, are facing high unemployment. Club bosses have revealed they are planning a tie-up with HMV, the record store, which may mean we see far more live music in nightclubs.

Sasha Twining is LBC 97.3's Business Correspondent. You can hear her Monday-Friday between 4 and 7pm on the James Whale Programme.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Writing a Voiceover Script

The success of your podcast or radio and TV commercials will largely depend on your voiceover script. Composing an effective voiceover script that gets results is not like writing print ads for publication or online advertisements.

You shoud be "writing for the ear, not the eye". Writing for the ear entails writing in a conversational manner. This technique requires short and concisely written messages. This technique may look unusual initially, but you'll produce very effective messages as you get used to it.

Here are some techniques you can immediately apply to improve things for your voiceover artist:

State everything in the active voice. Using the active voice in your script will make your ad seem to talk to its listeners in real time. This technique can create instantaneous credibility and rapport with your listeners.

Use a popshield to protect the microphone. If your voiceover script contains a lot of words that begin with the letters 'P', 'B' and 'T', the talent may have difficulty reading the sentence without distorting it. A popshield can help eliminate this problem and help them deliver a more smooth-sounding sentence.

Mark up the voiceover copy for inflection. Marking certain words in bold, highlighting parts of the copy or using something simple like underlining can really help your voiceover artist understand the gist of the message and deliver a quality piece. Read the copy out loud yourself to identify what parts of the sentence you want to emphasize, then mark up the copy so that the voiceover artist understands exactly what you need.

Write down phone numbers in word form. Numbers are also words that would need to be read. Spell each number so that you can detect if there are any blockages to your script's overall impact. Be prepare to edit your script if any part sounds inappropriate.

Instantly grab your listeners' attention. Headlines are what lure audiences to listen to any advertisement. Your headline will serve as an opening to your ad's body. A great headline would be composed of less than ten words and contain at least one compelling benefit or statement.

Since a voiceover artist will be delivering the copy, the writer of the script will need to account for breathing and their overall tone and personality. Once you have selected your voice over talent, you may need to tweak the script slightly so that it flows with the talent's strongest skills and abilities. Make sure you're developing a strong and persuasive script using these guidelines, and give the voiceover talent plenty of time to practice so that you can modify your script as needed.