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.

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

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.