Voiceover Coach Sarah Larson

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ISDN Available! Need VO? For Minnesota · Rates outside Minnesota

Some of Sarah's hundred of voice over clients include:

  1. See my most recent tips and hints
  2. How Do I Get Started?
  3. Five Hidden Voiceover Success Secrets
  4. Top Tips For Creating a Great Demo
  5. Getting The Best Out of Your Voice
  6. Becoming A Pro
  7. Famous Phrases to Build Your Skill
  8. Home Studio For Less
  9. How Much Can You Make In This Business?
  10. Just For Fun

How Do I Get Started?

Get Over Your Misconceptions
Many people who think they have some kind of "voice skills" don't realize the reality of getting voice over work is much simpler. What some people think of as their "skills" can actually be a hindrance!

For example, many radio DJs lack skill in speaking naturally and have to retrain to do voiceover. And a lot of what the average person thinks of as voiceover (animated movies, movie previews, radio DJs) has very little to do with the bulk of the work in this industry. Read this article about doing voices for animation and you'll see a lot of the general tips apply. So, what DO you need? You need to be able to:

  • Read fairly well;
  • Speak clearly and naturally with very little accent;
  • Have some acting ability;
  • Take direction.

    Learn Something About the Industry
    Visit the links on this page and do some reading to get familiarized. Take a look at some excellent online resources.

    Get a Consultation, Evaluation or Take a Class
    I'd be glad to help you learn more about getting started. Click to call (works with any phone) or email me and let me know what your schedule is like so we can set up a time to talk by phone.

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Getting The Best Out of Your Voice

#10 Problems Speaking Clearly?
     A client writes: "There are days where I struggle to speak and tend to stutter and lack the ability to articulate sentences. Other days things are fine and I can talk well. I have had brain scans and ... read more

#11 Dry Mouth or Drool?
     I think it's best to get to the root of this problem. Experts tell me that of all the secretions in the digestive system, saliva is the only one controlled exclusively by ... read more

#12 Can The State Of Your Spirit Affect The Sound Of Your Voice?
     The answer is YES! But we have forgotten that this is so. Ours is an age of specialization with each expert ... read more

#13 What To Do With Those Strange Little Voices
     The fact that you can make weird voices, imitations and sounds means you have good vocal control, a good ear and a creative mind. But being able to do a few funny voices is ... read more

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Becoming A Pro

One worthwhile activity: Study an industry glossary of terms (Beds, Drops, Liners, Sweepers etc.)
Example of how to interpret copy:
(Advertisement precedes video):

#14 Are There Possible Legal Ramifications
From Doing Impersonations Of Famous People?"
     You may
know the famous case where Woody Allen sued an impersonator and won. How risky is it? According to AdLaw, an on-line advertising and marketing law e-magazine: 'If the public ... read more

#15 The Ethics of Turning Down Work
     You may wonder what you would do if you were ever asked to voice a commercial for a candidate whose views you did not agree with? Or what if you were offered a voiceover job made for a product or service whose values you did not endorse? If these choices make you uncomfortable, you've got ... read more

#16 Tips for Smoother Q&As
     1. LISTEN BEFORE YOU SPEAK: Never assume you know what the question will be. Sometimes an over anxious speaker will jump in too soon. Make sure you listen to the entire question before you give your answer. If the question is rambling, feel free to ... read more

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Voice Exercises: Famous Phrases to Build Your Skill

Practice each phrase until you can repeat it rapidly, over and over again. For example, for #3, you would say ta-tucka-ta-tucka-ta-tucka-ta-tucka on and on indefinitely. Don't give up! You'll be amazed how each has a particular "trick" that you can get the hang of that will allow you to repeat the phrase very rapidly. So hang in there, and here's a baker's dozen of tough exercises:

    1. Red leather yellow leather
    2. Aluminum linoleum
    3. ta-tucka
    4. Knapsack straps
    5. Toy boat
    6. Greek grapes
    7. Three free throws
    8. Flash message
    9. Sixish tatucka
    10. Mrs. Smith's Fish Sauce Shop
    11. Moose noshing much mush
    12. Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?
    13. The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick

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Home Studio on The Cheap.

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How Much Can You Make in This Business?

It varies! But click here for some information about standard rates in the U.S. to give you an idea. Another pro in the business asked other pros who charges what for voiceover and compiled their survey of voiceover rates in a Microsoft Word document. (Thanks, Dave!)

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Five Hidden Voice over Success Secrets

There are lots of ways to succeed! Don't get caught in the trap of thinking there are just one or two ways to get started or expand your income.

#1 Bare Minimum Equipment Needed to Audition From Home.
    There's a big difference between an audition and a paid booking. If one of those auditions ... read part 1 ... read part 2

#2 Top 3 Ways to Go National
    Let's face it. There's nothing like hearing your voice on radio or television. I just booked a promo for PBS and knowing I'll be heard on public television stations nationwide gives me a thrill. Work of this caliber can be ... ... read more

#3 Audio Books: Great For Doing Voice-Over In Your Spare Time.
     To break into this or any other voice-over opportunity, you will need ... read more

#4 The Fortune in Hidden Voiceovers: Industrials
      Did you know that there is an entire world of "hidden" voiceovers that are never broadcast on television or radio? They're called industrials (or corporate voiceovers) and they can make you a fortune. These types of voiceovers are ... read more

#5 How Do I Expand My Clientele?
     Today's voice-over business is GLOBAL. There's no need to move anywhere. As long as you have some basic home recording equipment, you can work from anywhere you live. Agents will ... read more

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Top Tips For Creating a Great Demo

Typically, you want to work with feedback on making the best demo you can for a specific market. Listen to top talent in a specific market to get an idea of what you are shooting for. For the Twin Cities market, here are some samples from my agency: MEN · WOMEN · ALL

#6 The best and most cost effective way to do a voice-over demo
     "I hear so many demos from people who don't know what they are doing. Often they spend a fortune and the demo just isn't competitive. It's so sad when I see people wasting their time and throwing their money down the drain like that. The problem begins when ... read more

#7 Five Questions to Consider Before Sending Your Demo
     Voice talent Mike Shepherd writes that although he's quite successful he finds it tiresome to make all those follow up calls to hundreds and hundreds of prospects: producers, casting directors, ad agencies, recording studios. He asks if there is a way to be more streamlined in his efforts. Here's my answer: In anything we do our most important resource is ... read more

#8 Essentials For Creating An Eye-Catching Demo Package
     These days, producers, directors and agents say they rarely request voice-over demos on CD. They don't have the space to store them. They prefer to receive demos by ... read more

#9 “Stealing” National Radio Or TV Commercial Scripts For Your Demo?
     "The best place to find copy for your demo is ... read more


Just For Fun

You can practice the following voice exercise if you want, but I don't recommend saying it where anyone can hear you! Repeat rapidly, and watch out for spoonerisms:

I am a mother pheasant plucker:
I pluck mother pheasants.
I am the most pleasant mother pheasant plucker,
to ever pluck a mother pheasant.

Also check out the Giant list of Tongue Twisters in English

Play The "Can You Guess the Accent?" Game

Can you find the errors in this video?


Voiceovers Demos:
Commercial Set 1  
Commercial Set 2
·  Commercial Set 3


    "Great depth and ability both on-air and in voice-
  Aircheck  ·  Voiceover

    "Her warmth and professionalism makes everyone around her feel comfortable."

- Frank Childs
Market Director of Production,
Clear Channel Philadelphia


    "Beautiful voice, and a fantastic, dependable talent."
Hear KJZI aircheck

- Lauren MacLeash
· National Brand Manager, Triple
  A Format, Clear Channel
· Cities 97-KTCZ  PD in Mpls.
· Rock "Format Lab" Director


    "Terrific on-air and great to work with—I'd hire her again in a second!"  Aircheck

- John Michaels
Director of Operations,
Clear Channel Total Traffic Mpls.


    "An asset to any air staff, any format. She drove key demographics up quickly."
See book

    "She has professionalism and grace on the air and one-on-one with listeners." Hear WJJZ aircheck

- Michael Tozzi
Program Director, WJJZ





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