In this second installment of my panelist profiles series, I talk to Bev Standing, prolific talent and advocate for industry standards.
JMC: Tell us how you got into voiceover.
BEV: I started out by taking a weekend voiceover workshop at VoiceWorx in Toronto. I took the course to simply keep busy at a very sad time in my life. From there, a few of us in the class decided we would look into Improv at Second City (Toronto) as recommended during the course. Five levels there led to taking acting classes and more VO workshops. Through the people I had met, I received a phone call asking me to audition for a radio imaging spot. I immediately went to a store and purchased equipment to create a home (closet) studio and the path was laid.
JMC: Your career has grown very quickly. What worked for you in growing your business?
BEV: A number of things that I’ve done seemed to have been successful, such as constant training and networking. The P2P sites I have done well on, but I have to say more importantly, my dedication to the craft and work ethic. I would work my full time job and then spend 3-4 hours every week night (and usually Sunday afternoons) auditioning and reading articles. Now that I am a full time voice talent, I still spend hours every week learning from my peers, blogs and other webinars etc. I have established a large client base and I do my best to stay in touch every so often, just checking in so to speak.
JMC: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in voiceover?
BEV: Research, research, research. Make sure you know who you are training with. Don’t hesitate to get testimonials other than on the coach’s site. Same with demo production. Look on the internet to learn about the equipment needed. When you’re starting out you don’t need a $1000 mic but in the same breath you do need a quality mic, among other items. So, home-school yourself. Google and YouTube provide tons of information. Listen to what everyone says, and then find what works for you. Research the P2P (pay-to-play) sites that are out there and understand their terms before signing up. If you do decide to use the P2P sites, make time to do the auditions. That’s a great opportunity to practice all kinds of different reads, characters etc. It doesn’t mean you have to submit the audition if you don’t like it. It also allows you to get an idea of what your niche is. Most importantly, read aloud every day. The newspaper, a book, a magazine; anything.
JMC: Tell us about a job that has meant a lot to you.
BEV: Mostly recently I voiced for a small company that was nominated for a Voice Arts Award which was truly special, but honestly, the job that has meant the most to be was a TV commercial I voiced for Kraft. My Dad was an ad exec, and he had the Kraft account for years. If he was alive today, he would have been thrilled. My childhood bear was the Kraft Crunchy bear that my Dad got for me. Yes I still have it.
JMC: You are a panelist on the Ethics in Voiceover panel at VO Atlanta. What does Ethics in Voiceover mean to you?
BEV: Honesty to yourself and others. Respect for the industry and your peers. Quality not quantity. Knowledge – learn what you need to know
Add all these things together.