By Stephanie Ciccarelli
July 14, 2010
For those of you who love to hear about what goes on behind the casting process, I think you'll get a lot out of this interview with one of our clients.
After losing his job as a pilot when Aloha Airlines shutdown in 2008, Captain Michael Anthony Stiber, pictured at right, turned to his second passion, writing, and started afresh using all of the tools and technologies at his disposal to make a living while following his heart, giving him another way to spread his wings and fly.
I asked Michael some general questions about why he chose to work online to get the job done, what mattered most to him and also what turned the tides in the favor of the awarded talent.
Find out the answers in today's VOX Daily!
VOX: How did you come to find Voices.com?
MICHAEL ANTHONY STIBER: I was introduced to Voices.com through a tech savvy writing friend. My background and life experiences were completely outside the entertainment arena, and so I followed their suggestion and have been completely satisfied with the process.
VOX: Why did you decide to hire a professional narrator?
MAS: I wanted to fully utilize the wonderful technology available with the iPhone, to include narration so younger readers, who may still be learning to read, could follow along with the story. I also had in mind a particular voice style that would be soothing to the reader, and also a voice talented enough to relay the emotions of the story, even without the aid of the pictures and animation. I wanted to produce a professional project, and therefore required a professional narrator.
VOX: What was it in particular that drew your attention to Sonny Warner and her voice over talent?
MAS: First off, let me say that this was the first time I had ever used a voice talent site (I wasn't even aware they existed before my friend told me!). But the Voices.com website was so simple and user-friendly from the moment I logged on and posted my project, selected the gender and style of voice I was seeking, and my voice talent budget range. And what happened next was beyond my wildest expectations and just completely wonderful - within 24 hours I must have had 50 "audition tapes" waiting for me, with more coming in each day!
Since I had included my story script when I posted my story, I was able to listen to each voice performing my exact story. Instead of imagining what a voice from a commercial or other character piece might sound like in my story, I was able to hear each of them performing a portion of my story, removing all of the guesswork and uncertainty from the equation. And I was able to listen to each one over and over, at my own pace and convenience in the privacy of my own work space. I was also able to get instant input from colleagues and friends around the country by having them access and listen to the voices as well.
By the end of the week I had narrowed it down to 3-5 finalists. As I had mentioned, I knew the type of voice I was looking for, and would have been pleased with any of the final choices, but in the end what really drew me to Sonny was just a gut instinct. It turns out my instincts were right on - Sonny has a wonderful attention to detail in reading and interpreting my story, she had an impassioned interest in the story and its message that goes way beyond "just another job," she had a desire to be apart of this unique project, and despite her sometimes grueling schedule, she had the discipline and respect to provide her clients with an amazingly quick turn-around time.
VOX: What was the most important factor to you when getting the voice over recorded? Was it the voice talent performance, cost or something else?
MAS: As I had mentioned, since this was my first experience creating an app and using voice talent, I wasn't totally aware as to what was most important to me until we started recording. Cost is a consideration on any project, but with Sonny recording in her own studio, and her committing to do as many takes as we needed until I was completely satisfied, the additional cost factor was removed as a pressure or constraint at the onset and we completed the project at the contract price. Along the way I realized creating a quality sounding project was the top priority. But not just getting a technically clean, professional sound, but getting the tones, inflections, rhythms, pauses and emotions exactly right.
Something that just came to mind right now that I hadn't even thought about was how easy it was to access, send, and receive the sound files on a standard computer with minimal computer experience, rather than needing some fancy equipment and an audio engineering degree. Like I said - very user friendly!
VOX: Have you read any reviews pertaining to "The Icicle Story" as of yet? If so, what are people saying? Have any remarks focused specifically on the narration?
MAS: The app launched just over a week ago, and so the reviews are still coming in. If you go to my app on the iTunes store, and click "Customer Ratings" you can read them (be sure to click "All Versions", instead of just "Current Version"). When Apple sent me the email letting me know they had reviewed and approved my app, I immediately went to the store to download a copy, and was very surprised to see that someone had already been there and left a review! Here it is: Great kids book for the iPhone (5 Stars) "Nice story with a lesson and artwork, excellent page turning, lady who does the narration has a nice voice for this story, and the book app even has little animation bits on each page." There are a few more that mention the narration. Please feel free to leave your own stunning review. (c;
The Icicle Story was also featured in a web review this weekend:
I have had nothing but outstanding experiences working with Sonny and with Voices.com, and I continue to recommended both to everyone I come in contact with who might be considering their own project.
The Icicle Story App can be bought for less than $1. To learn more about The Icicle Story via iTunes, click on this link:
I'd love to hear from you and I'm sure Michael and Sonny would too! If you have anything you'd like to add to this conversation or would like to share similar experiences, you're welcome to comment below.
StephanieRelated Topics: animation, App, Apple, child, iPhone, iTunes, Michael Anthony Stiber, Narrator, SAG, Sonny Warner, The Icicle Story, Voices.com