Mark AlbrechtSnackboy's Words of Wisdom
september 1998 guests
Cain Devore and Mari Weiss
Cain's background includes regional theatre work in Kansas City, Missouri, a part on a soap opera filmed in New York and independent film production. On the soap opera Cain felt "stuck" and after moving to Los Angeles, broke into voice-over work during a writers' strike. His break came when he was offered a Toyota truck spot the day after he read for it. Since then, his steady voice-over work has earned him a Hollywood Hills home and time to focus on his other large area of interest, independent film production.
Mari, whose background includes both theatre work in Chicago and on-camera work in shows such as NYPD Blue came to Los Angeles to play Alice in the Brady Bunch theatre production. After traveling around the country with this successful production, Mari returned to Los Angeles. Because of her strong voice and good diction, Mari's agent and friends suggested she try voice-over work. She soon booked jobs and built a name for herself with long running campaigns such as the Yoplait yogurt and Ameritech spots. Voice-over work has also enabled Mari to pursue another interest, on-camera work without the pressure that normally revolves around auditioning and booking jobs.
Cain and Mari provided the group with much valuable advise for pursuing voice-over work. To begin with, they emphasized the importance of creating a tape of your work and securing an agent. The tape should include spots you have actually done or simply spots done by others that you have copied and improved upon. These days, tapes can be done much less expensively and, for this reason, Mari and Cain recommend them over compact discs. In regard to your agent, keep the pressure on, even if it means calling them everyday! Agents tend to stick with the same, small group of people that they send out for job after job, so they need to be constantly reminded of you. Cain is currently represented by Sutton, Barth & Vennari and Mari by TGI - Talent Group, Inc. Cain and Mari also recommended workshops to improve voice-over skills. Two companies that offer such workshops are the Learning Annex and Voice Tracks West.
Of course, it is important to practice, practice, practice!!! Cain and Mari could not have stressed this enough. Great improvement comes from repeating the lines over and over and gaining the experience of using a microphone. Also, find your niche - whether it's drama, comedy or animation or a little of everything and bring your own personality into your work.
Once a job is booked, Cain and Mari stressed the importance of making a good reputation for yourself by being professional. This entails being on time and being prepared. Further, it's important to be flexible with making changes requested by the director or client and be able to handle criticism. Remember, everybody has a different opinion as to what sounds best and it is ultimately up to the client who is paying for the spot.
Finally, marketing your work is a consideration to make. Agents often recommend against it, but soliciting small markets can be profitable. Mari spent approximately $1,000 sending tapes out to small markets and ended up booking a job for a mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. This job turned into spots for many malls and more than paid for her marketing costs.
Voice-over work has become very competitive since Cain and Mari began many years ago, especially with so many celebrities now doing more voice-over work. However, what's great about voice-over work is that it's not what you look like, but what you sound like and that is a nice change of pace. Moreover, it enables you to stay involved in the industry, develop contacts and explore other areas of interest with much less pressure.
Mari and Cain made their presentation at the Nebraska Coast Connection Hollywood Salon, September 14, 1998 at Raleigh Studios, Hollywood California.
So, you're tired of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Let's face it, it's not what you know, it's WHO you know, so why don't you come get to know us? The Hollywood Salon is movers and shakers, celebs and wanna-be celebs getting together over a beer and a memory of a faraway place.
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