In part one this interview, Female Voice Over Talent Debbie Grattan and Joel Newport of Harvest Creative Services discuss ISDN voice over studios and why they are a key component for voice over talent working with Harvest.
Female Voice Talent – Debbie Grattan: What brought you into the business, and what are your day-to-day workings at Harvest Creative Services?
Joel Newport, Producer: I got my first engineering job in 1991 doing voice recordings for radio and TV. Over time, I worked my way up to where I now write and produce on a much larger scale. I do most of the talent directing for sessions, and I’m involved in voice over talent casting and selection.
I also work one-on-one with new talent that I feel have the ability to make it as a professional voice over talent. There are three or four people that I’ve helped get to the point where they have a usable demo and working knowledge of the business.
DebbieG: What is the range of projects you work on in your studio?
Joel Newport, Producer: Harvest clients range from local mom-and-pop stores, to regional accounts like Meijer, to national accounts like Ford and Chevy.
We work with agencies or directly with companies. Several of our clients don’t have an agency, so they rely on us to handle the complete campaign from concept to final broadcast.
DebbieG: What’s your process for finding professional voice over talent for a campaign?
Joel Newport, Producer: Before the Internet, we would hold studio voice over auditions for talent within a 70-mile radius. Now we work with voice talent from around the world. I have a few voiceover casting services that I trust, but I also do my own casting.
DebbieG: How do you discover new professional voice over talent?
Joel Newport, Producer: I use Google or will go through sites like Voice 123, listening to hundreds of voices to see if I can find somebody unique or a good fit for a job. I do custom voice auditions so that I am confident my client is getting the correct talent for the job.
DebbieG:What role do ISDN voice over studios play when you’re searching for new voiceover talent?
Joel Newport, Producer: ISDN is still king for us, so I’ll use it to narrow the field by searching for a quality ISDN voice over talent. We rarely do phone patches because I don’t know how good the recording is until I get the file after the session. ISDN lets us hear studio problems and make adjustments. It’s really hard to produce a good spot without it.
DebbieG: Even with personal ISDN voice over studios, can you correct sound problems from a distance?
Joel Newport, Producer: At least we can hear it and make the call as to whether we want to proceed. Usually, a voice talent’s home studio is over-processed and overdone. I’m looking for the cleanest ISDN voice over with minimal electronics in between.
It’s hard to troubleshoot a system that you’re not familiar with, especially when you’re working with talent that isn’t familiar with their studio. Today’s professional voice over talent needs to have a basic understanding of their ISDN voice over studio equipment and they need to know enough to get out of a problem.
DebbieG: How often do you find ISDN voice over home studio problems?
Joel Newport, Producer: More than I’d like to say. I used to be able to narrow down the talent list and simply send the voice demos to my client. Now before I send the demos, I first test each talent studio’s sound through an ISDN line. Only then am I confident sending a demo to my client.
Read part 2 of this interview, “The Relationship Between ISDN Voice Talent and Producer” to learn more of Joel Newport’s insights and tips for ISDN voice over talent.