Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

When Preparation Meets Opportunity, You Get Luck

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

May 8, 2008

Comments (14)

Rodney Saulsberry speaking at the Voice Coaches Expo

Rodney Saulsberry taught people more than a thing or two about how you can bank on your voice at the Voice Coaches Advanced Marketing Expo and Conference.

Discover some tips that will more than get you on your way and light a lively fire beneath you in your voice over career.

Need A Moment?

What do the movie trailers "Waiting to Exhale", "How Stella Got Her Groove Back", "IronMan", Twix chocolate bars, the Zatarain's Jazz Man commercials and Dominos Pizza all have in common?

They are all voiced by Rodney Saulsberry, celebrated voice over artist, author and voice acting instructor.

You might recognize the following:

"Need a moment? When you need a moment, chew it over with Twix"

"Jazz it up with Zatarain's"

That's Rodney Saulsberry!

Rodney Saulsberry

One of the reasons why I love hearing Rodney Saulsberry speak (and reading his voice acting books) is because he is so down to earth and is genuinely interested in helping others succeed and meet their potential.

Rodney firmly believes that we all have a path in life and that hard work and determination pay off when the right opportunities present themselves.

Isn't it nice to know that you've arrived at this stage in your career for a reason?

Voice Over is Voice Acting

Voice over isn't just talking, it's acting. Rodney advises that all aspiring voice actors take an acting class. Also, consider improvisation (improv) classes and singing classes as voiceover is analogous to music.

It's not how you sound, it's how you interpret the copy. That's the way you get the work.

Remember that beauty is in the ear of the beholder. Upon making that critical realization, you'll learn not to take rejection personally and be better for it.

Take Action and Make Your Own Opportunities

Many years ago, Rodney got an audition for a show called "Happy Days". Although he wasn't cast for the show, this ambitious talent from Detroit, Michigan wasn't going to pack up and go home without dropping some resumes!

While making the rounds, Rodney stumbled upon a rehearsal for the show "Taxi" starring Tony Danza.

Tony saw Rodney and purposefully pushed him. Rodney, always being the actor, decided to reciprocate and a light boxing match took shape right there and then. As soon as Tony had seen enough, he motioned to James L. Brooks and told him to hire Rodney on the spot to play the role of Carl the Boxer.

See what creating opportunities and taking risks can do for your career?

Trends in Voice Acting

The trend today is to sound like a "real person".

While that may sound easy enough, you'd be surprised at how much work goes into sounding real without sounding contrived or fake.

During his presentation, Rodney graciously shared the floor with a handful of participants who were asked to read for him using some advertising copy he had prepared. The energy in the room was fabulous, being a theatre and all, and the voice actors really gave it everything they had.

The performances were noteworthy but what the genius of it all came out through some very carefully worded direction that turned a voice over read into a believable voice over performance. Big distinction.

Rodney asked his volunteers to perform and insert his name at key points in the script so as to create an atmosphere where it wasn't just a voice actor talking to the wall but to a real person who they could converse with and relate to.

I Am Always a Student

Even people at Rodney's level in the voice over biz are students.

With the industry changing fast and furiously, it's hard not to be a student, and if you aren't still learning you'd be surprised by how much things have changed!

In the past, people like Rodney in sunny California used to hop in their car and drive all over Los Angeles -- just to audition. Of course, the majority of the work was also done on-site at recording studios, but with today's technologies (Internet / ISDN), there's significantly less commuting which happily makes for cleaner air and less money spent on gasoline.

It also used to be more common that talent would get bookings based upon their demo. Not so in recent years. Top talent also need to audition nowadays according to the new realities of the voice over marketplace.

Takeaways

• Say your name before you read audition copy and state it nice and clearly.
• Don't enhance your voice in auditions at home. You need to live up to your demo in person.
• Send MP3 files instead of WAV files when auditioning.
• Celebrity sound alike work is big business. Match the key they speak in, their timing and breathing.
• Once you find your signature voice, stick with it. Your signature voice makes you the most money.
• It all starts first with hard work. If you work hard, how can you not be successful?

Ask yourself:

Which voice gets you the jobs?
Which voice makes you happy?
Which voice are you most comfortable with?

If you work hard and you also have talent, the sky's the limit.

Ideas for Practice to Gain a Competitive Advantage:

• Read copy.
• Cereal boxes, sides of buses, and so on.
• Turn on the radio. Repeat right after the announcers.
• Listen to other voice talent.
• Notice their phrasing and voice over style.
• Listen to timing.

Any comments? I'd love to hear your thoughts and I'm sure Rodney does too.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

Related Topics: Celebrity, Detroit, Expo, industry, ISDN, Los Angeles, radio, recording studios, Rodney Saulsberry, Voice Acting, Voice Coaches, Voice Overs, You Can Bank on Your Voice


Comments


    Rodney was both informative and entertaining. He "tells not sells" which is why so many people feel connected with him.

    Thanks Rodney!

    Posted by:
    • David
    • May 8, 2008 12:31 PM

      Rodney Saulsberry is a dynamic speaker whose presence commands your attention. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for Rodney's presentation, and I was so inspired by his words. Not only did he provide valuable insight into the industry, but he also impressed the fact that being a professional voice actor is an attainable goal if you work hard enough. His words were just what I needed as I am just entering into the voice over field, which can be magical and intimidating at the same time.

      Posted by:
      • Maria
      • May 8, 2008 1:58 PM

        Great post. Rodney is absolutely a prince among men - so kind and generous with his knowledge and expertise. His books are must haves for your library and his consistent kindness and energy keep me inspired. He is the mentor's mentor and the VO pro's friend. As you can probably tell, I admire and respect him and look forward to any opportunity to learn.

        I'm a Saulsberry-ian :)

        Posted by:

          Hi!

          I have been practicing my natural read and just when I was getting to the point to say, "the heck with it", I open my Vox Daily and read about natural reading from one of the best in the biz. THANK YOU!

          I am a newbie and I've been working hard on my marketing plan, and my vocals, and my Vox Daily is not only informative, but inspirational. I know I'm going to be a success at this, just how much of a success most definately can be attributed to great stuff like this.

          Voice On y'all.

          Always,

          Kimberly W. Berg

          Posted by:

            To echo previous comments, Rodney Saulsberry is a genuinely great guy! I have studied with him via his teleclasses. I hadn't taken a voice over workshop in years, but last fall, I just knew his Promo and Trailer class would be great, and it was! I also took his Commercial Intensive Teleclass which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. His generosity and warmth are tremendous. I check in with him from time to time with news or questions and he's always so responsive. I'm proud and honored to count him as one of my treasured voice over friends.

            Posted by:

              Hi Steph,

              I met Rodney Saulsberry in Las Vegas at VOICE 2007. He was one of my favorite teachers at that conference. Rod was an easy teacher to listen to and had some great tips to help us newbie’s in the industry. Since then he has always made himself available to me when I had a question despite having a very busy schedule. I would love to have been there in NY at your recent conference to learn from him and all the others. Maybe next time.

              All the best,
              Greg Hamilton

              Posted by:
              • Greg Hamilton
              • May 9, 2008 11:18 AM

                Stephanie,

                Thanks for the thorough synopsis of Rodney's presentation. While I wasn't able to attend, you made it feel like I WAS THERE!

                Some great take-aways from Rodney... and I hope to someday learn more from him.

                Again, thanks to Stephanie and everyone at voices.com for these insightful recaps!

                -JC Haze

                Posted by:
                • JC Haze
                • May 9, 2008 12:55 PM

                  Dear Rod,

                  It was such a pleasure to be in your class in April. It was well worth the trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

                  You are not only a force to be reckoned with in the voice acting world, you also demonstrated that you are an outstanding teacher & a very personable human being who gives great guidance and respectful feedback while allowing students to maintain their dignity and hope.

                  Thank you. Thank You.

                  Arnetta

                  Posted by:
                  • Arnetta Williams
                  • May 9, 2008 2:16 PM

                    Stephanie,

                    This is a terrific Vox Daily!

                    Big hand for Rodney Saulsberry! EXCELLENT advice and reminders for both beginners and working professionals.

                    My best,

                    Scott DeGrave

                    Posted by:
                    • Scott DeGrave
                    • May 9, 2008 2:31 PM

                      Thanks for posting such informative blogs this week, Stephanie. Makes me wish I were at the Voice Coaches event with you!

                      I love Rodney's quote "Beauty is in the ear of the beholder!" :) I am going to put that in the next issue of the VoiceOver Insider Magazine! (free magazine for talent. you can sign up at www.voice-overs.com)

                      You're tops!
                      Julie

                      Posted by:

                        Hi Stephanie,

                        I didn't realize Rodney was "Carl" the boxer. I used to watch "Taxi" all the time. Anyway, I like hearing him on the Voiceover Experts segments. He does seem to genuinely care about helping others out. He has a lot of great tips too. Rodney, if you see this by any chance... we appreciate you very much!

                        Tom Conklin

                        Posted by:

                          Nice to see the world realizing what I've known for a long time. That Rodney is a master of his craft and a prince among men. Bravo!

                          -John Semper

                          Posted by:
                          • John Semper
                          • May 12, 2008 1:01 PM

                            Yayyy Rodney! Still reading his book, 'Step Up to the Mic' everyday for inspiration and motivation.
                            :)

                            Posted by:

                              Rodney-

                              Keep up the great work!

                              Skip Pruitt

                              Posted by:
                              • Skip Pruitt
                              • May 21, 2008 10:22 AM

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