This week saw the return of Joe Mcfadden and Gyles Brandreth to A1 VOX.

Gyles was his usual cheery self and Joe cut quite a dashing figure – probably due to his recent on stage role as eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Chris has been recording some bits and pieces for a highly confidential project that I would love to tell you about but would have to cull all your vocal chords, so my lips are sealed!

As for Charles – any early birds out there might have caught him chewing the cud with Vanessa Feltz as he took to the Radio 2 airwaves last week. He was also driving the desk for Moira Stewart, so a long old shift, and blooming early starts for our man in the field, Mr Nove.

I simply don’t know how he does it?! Up with the lark and then speaking to the country with precise diction and free wheeling chat with Vanessa…….the mere thought sends shivers down my spine, but it is certainly a job that Charles loves and there is no doubt about it, Charles is one of the best in the business.

It was for this very reason that Charles found himself being interviewed by friend and esteemed showbiz colleague - Mr Lewis Mcleod, on ‘Speak Up’ for BBC Radio Scotland.

(Unfortunately at the time of this Blog going to press the interview had been up for its 7 day period and may therefore only be found in the BBC archives at a later date)

The topic of the show was all things voice over and the interview entertained anyone with fingers in audio pies and quenched the thirst of newbie audio goons thinking of becoming a V/O themselves.

So it was a case of audio geeks unite as Lewis interviewed our own legendary Mr Charles, then Simon Grenall, (aka, the very famous meerkat), and last but by no means least, Peter Dickson - the right hand human boom-box to Simon Cowell’s X Factor.

Lewis himself has a huge repertoire when it comes to voicing. He can pretty much turn his vocals to any character and accent going.

He quizzes Charles on how you go about becoming a ‘voice’, the pitfalls and dangers of joining the industry, and how we here at A1 VOX train people through our sister company Voxtraining.

If I had a pound for every time somebody calls A1 and says that their aunt Maude suggested they get into the biz as they have an exceptional voice, I would be one rich lady.

“The industry is very competitive so clear off and forget all about it”

That is definitely not what I say to people enquiring about our courses but this is what Charles says in much jest during the interview.

What he goes on to explain is that to make a real commitment to the world of voice over any prospective punter needs to be armed with all the information in order to fully understand the nature of the business.

As Charles points out having a good voice is only one part of what constitutes being a professional voice artist, and in actual fact…. not really the biggest part.

Charles’ Checklist

Before taking the plunge and jacking in your 9-5 to take up the vocal mantel here is a quick fire list of things to consider:

Can you amend your delivery?

Can you finely tune and add or shave seconds as requested?

Can you take direction?

Can you maintain a character/accent over a two hour session?

Can you maintain enthusiasm even after 100 takes of saying the same thing?

Can you ensure that the client has full confidence in you?

Do you know how to behave in a session?

Can you decipher what the client really wants even if they don’t seem able to communicate it to you in words?

Being a voice over takes a lot of patience.

Over the years I myself have been privy to many a session.

There will often be one voice artist in the booth, three clients in the studio, and another couple calling in on the phone. The voice artist has to keep their cool when they are getting conflicting direction from all angles. They have to use their voice, and more importantly – their brain, to take everything that is thrown at them and deliver the goods.

It is a myth that anyone can go into the booth and read from a script – well anybody can do that of course, but the end result won’t be a patch on what a pro can produce.

We have had some clients that bring people in from their office as they say…yes you’ve guessed it…..’he/she has got a really good voice’. They get in the booth, they clam up, they can only read the piece in one particular way, and good voice or not, the outcome has as much life as a piece of wood.

The client then admits defeat and usually ends up paying for another studio session with a professional voice artist.

But it is not all caution, doom, and gloom as there is a pretty penny to be made if you persevere. Established voices do very well out of the industry especially if they carve a particular niche for themselves. Brian Blessed, who often visits us at A1 VOX, has an instantly recognisable voice – you think ruddy loud and proud – you think Blessed!

Here at A1 VOX we run a one day Introduction to Voice Over course each month. We also create demo show reels for experienced and established voice artists that want to freshen up their reel, or for people that are attempting to break into the business and need a demo to get themselves a voice agent.

We will be discussing both of these courses in blog detail over the weeks to come.

So for now look over the checklist. If you are still saying ‘hell yeah – I wanna get me some of that vocal pie’ then read all A1 VOX has to offer to get you started on your path to talking for money in a blog coming to you soon.

LONDON NEWS

‘THE HUNT IS ON’

Faberge present The Big Egg Hunt.

For forty days and forty nights London will be transfixed by the most astounding and exhilarating egg hunt it has ever seen.

Each corner will hold a secret treasure for you to discover and it is all in the name of charidee!!!!!

Elephant Family and Action for Children are the two charities behind the exciting event. You may remember the painted elephants that made an appearance in London and in this blog last year…well this is the second brainwave from the charities whose boundless passion and vision has brought them together to raise money that they both so urgently need.

Many a special egg lays hidden and with online competitions bringing hunters together – are you up to the challenge?

I was – so I hit the pavement and managed to snap these groovy little pieces on my jaunt around Carnaby Street.

It certainly is a jolly idea and has even made headlines when the egg-cellent Post Box design below was stolen and subsequently retrieved – the egg of some people eh!