David Seys | Award Winning British Voice Over Award Winning British Voice Over 2016-07-22T16:38:47Z http://britishvoice.tv/index.php/feed/atom/ WordPress David Seys <![CDATA[Imagine a lobster!]]> http://britishvoice.tv/index.php/?p=787 2013-09-06T16:46:36Z 2013-08-22T18:44:38Z Usually when asked to produce a radio commercial that is not just an announcer extolling the virtues of a product, I am sent a script that gives some indication of where the action takes place. This needs SFX to paint the picture. For instance, at the races (horses hooves, crowds etc), in a park (rustling leaves, ducks splashing in the pond and quacking, birds chirping, ambient outside noise). The sounds in the background will place the listeners subconsciously wherever you want them to be. Occasionally one has to stretch the imagination. One client asked me to place the idea of his radio commercial as a silent movie with Charlie Chaplin. A use of some old fashioned piano music and a whirring projector was the best I could come up with. Another asked me to ‘start commercial with couple sleeping peacefully on their comfy new mattress’ (I suggested a light snoring noise but this was rejected!). But last week I was completely beat. A client in Russia asked me if I would produce a commercial for him. I asked him to send me the script which he said was for a new seafood restaurant. When it arrived it appeared that a...

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Usually when asked to produce a radio commercial that is not just an announcer extolling the virtues of a product, I am sent a script that gives some indication of where the action takes place. This needs SFX to paint the picture. For instance, at the races (horses hooves, crowds etc), in a park (rustling leaves, ducks splashing in the pond and quacking, birds chirping, ambient outside noise). The sounds in the background will place the listeners subconsciously wherever you want them to be.

Occasionally one has to stretch the imagination. One client asked me to place the idea of his radio commercial as a silent movie with Charlie Chaplin. A use of some old fashioned piano music and a whirring projector was the best I could come up with. Another asked me to ‘start commercial with couple sleeping peacefully on their comfy new mattress’ (I suggested a light snoring noise but this was rejected!).

But last week I was completely beat. A client in Russia asked me if I would produce a commercial for him. I asked him to send me the script which he said was for a new seafood restaurant. When it arrived it appeared that a woman was to have a conversation with a lobster. There was no dialogue for the lobster (actually I have performed as a lobster for a computer game using some very odd clicking noises) and the woman did not mention lobster other than by a name when she spoke. I tried to explain that this was a tableau that I was not able to construct, but he was having none of it and didn’t appear to have any ideas of his own. We parted amicably with him saying he would get someone local to produce his commercial! Oh well….onwards and upwards.

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David Seys <![CDATA[Accents]]> http://britishvoice.tv/index.php/?p=644 2013-09-06T16:48:01Z 2013-07-15T14:16:16Z The use of accents in Voice Over work

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Here is a short story to start. Long, long ago I had a recording contract with the great EMI Record company. Me and a friend doing folky kind of music with an orchestra something like Simon and Garfunkel. We had Elton John’s record producer (Gus Dudgeon) and his arranger (Paul Buckmaster). The day came for our debut at the famous Abbey Road studios and we were were ushered quaking in our boots into a small box on the side of studio 1 that looked down on a massive 50-piece orchestra. We sang our little hearts out….and then there was silence for 2 days before I was called into EMI. They didn’t like my accent which was deemed too ‘posh’ and I was sent for singing lessons for 5 weeks to an expensive vocal coach to divest myself of it before going back for a second attempt. My parents were not amused!

My general accent is Received Pronounciation..or BBC English, Queens English, Estuary English, Home Counties English. Like most accents, it came from my parents who brought me up in Africa, and from the very expensive school they sent me to (Harrow where Winston Churchill was educated).

As in the US, there are a huge number of accents from every corner of the UK including a specific London one, but the one the world outside the UK knows as a British accent is that of RP. So, things have gone full circle and I can make use of the natural accent I have to earn my living. I am not talented enough to mimic other accents other than London and cockney and seem to have more than enough work coming in to just be myself.

So….what is the point of this essay? Well, I consider that unless you are a specialist in dialects and mimic, then it is probably best to just stick with the accent you were given as there is usually someone out there who will want it. I am quite often asked to sound American…..and my answer is ‘go find an American talent who will give you an authentic read’ (of course I will always suggest someone).

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David Seys <![CDATA[Pay to Play Sites]]> http://britishvoice.tv/index.php/?p=592 2013-09-06T16:48:43Z 2013-05-01T19:22:43Z There are always discussions of whether the Pay to Play sites are worth being on, whether they are working for the voice seeker or the talent, and if they are a useful tool. Here is my perspective. Having been on a number of sites in my early days, I have settled with just the main two, Voice123 and voices. When I started out, I auditioned like crazy…everything that came my way. I used these auditions to gain experience in recording myself and learning new voice delivery skills. I soon started to win auditions and build relations with a number of clients from all over the world. Now I am busy all the time and hardly ever audition. When I do, I choose only auditions which I know would suit my voice and which are of higher value than the $50 to $100 postings, leaving them to the other people who are starting out on their voice over career. But the other benefit of remaining on these sites is that it gives me another exposure for seekers to hear my voice other than just my own website, and I get direct messages or invitations to audition. These I nearly always do....

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There are always discussions of whether the Pay to Play sites are worth being on, whether they are working for the voice seeker or the talent, and if they are a useful tool. Here is my perspective.

Having been on a number of sites in my early days, I have settled with just the main two, Voice123 and voices. When I started out, I auditioned like crazy…everything that came my way. I used these auditions to gain experience in recording myself and learning new voice delivery skills. I soon started to win auditions and build relations with a number of clients from all over the world. Now I am busy all the time and hardly ever audition. When I do, I choose only auditions which I know would suit my voice and which are of higher value than the $50 to $100 postings, leaving them to the other people who are starting out on their voice over career.

But the other benefit of remaining on these sites is that it gives me another exposure for seekers to hear my voice other than just my own website, and I get direct messages or invitations to audition. These I nearly always do.

There are many complaints about the manner in which these sites are managed – too mechanical, difficult to approach, not working for the people who pay their wages with their subscriptions (the talents). I used to raise my blood pressure – now I just use the system and ignore any niggling annoyances I come across along the way.

To summarise, I feel that there is a place for the Pay to Play sites. For the non serious seekers with low budgets there are the inexperienced voices – and the seeker may just get lucky with a talented new one. And for the experienced producer with a sensible budget, then the busier voices will be included in the auditioning process.

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David Seys <![CDATA[Microphones]]> http://britishvoice.tv/index.php/?p=444 2013-09-06T16:49:21Z 2013-03-22T13:22:51Z There are endless blogs about microphones. Each one suits one person and not another. It depends what the mic is being used for and the tone of the voice being recorded. I seem to have built up a selection of mics, some expensive (a Neumann and a tube Rode) and some cheap. But I always seem to come back to the same mic which seems to suit any job I do. It’s a Rode NT1A. This is an inexpensive mic that I bought when I was starting out for £150. I have a deep voice and with close mic work it can make the voice shake the speakers. Back off and it picks me up. Shouty shouty and it copes brilliantly. Maybe I should just buy another one as a backup and forget about constantly wasting money on trying out new mics that I rarely use!

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There are endless blogs about microphones. Each one suits one person and not another. It depends what the mic is being used for and the tone of the voice being recorded.

I seem to have built up a selection of mics, some expensive (a Neumann and a tube Rode) and some cheap. But I always seem to come back to the same mic which seems to suit any job I do. It’s a Rode NT1A. This is an inexpensive mic that I bought when I was starting out for £150. I have a deep voice and with close mic work it can make the voice shake the speakers. Back off and it picks me up. Shouty shouty and it copes brilliantly.

Maybe I should just buy another one as a backup and forget about constantly wasting money on trying out new mics that I rarely use!

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David Seys <![CDATA[Preparing for a session]]> http://britishvoice.tv/index.php/?p=133 2013-09-06T16:49:54Z 2013-01-20T12:32:18Z I often read blogs from other voice overs about preparing for a session. Much talk of eating an apple, taking in a glass of water, ritually conducting a series of breathing exercises, vocal warm ups, changing the lighting to suit the mood of the recording in hand, mark the script etc etc. Then I think about what I do for a session. Firstly I never seem to have the time to do any of these and find myself thrown into sessions with more often than not no chance to even study the script. I glance at the script as I rush from the printer to the studio and think on the run about the direction I am given and the style of vocal delivery I am going to use. Then I am in front of the microphone, a few knob twiddles….and I am up and away. Any vocal coach will tell you that this is completely wrong, but I find that the initial instinct is 99% of the time correct. One thing I always do is go and get myself a large steaming mug of tea (or take the risk of asking my wife to make one for me!) –...

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I often read blogs from other voice overs about preparing for a session. Much talk of eating an apple, taking in a glass of water, ritually conducting a series of breathing exercises, vocal warm ups, changing the lighting to suit the mood of the recording in hand, mark the script etc etc.

Then I think about what I do for a session. Firstly I never seem to have the time to do any of these and find myself thrown into sessions with more often than not no chance to even study the script. I glance at the script as I rush from the printer to the studio and think on the run about the direction I am given and the style of vocal delivery I am going to use. Then I am in front of the microphone, a few knob twiddles….and I am up and away.

Any vocal coach will tell you that this is completely wrong, but I find that the initial instinct is 99% of the time correct. One thing I always do is go and get myself a large steaming mug of tea (or take the risk of asking my wife to make one for me!) – again, this is a brew which is frowned on as the milk will encourage your mouth to make odd clicking noises. But again, I seem to get away with it.

In the end, it is whatever makes you feel good when in front of the mic. Everyone to their own. But there is no vocal coach who will persuade me to change my appalling habits. Why change a pattern that seems to work?

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