Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview with Victoria Feinerman - professional voiceover talent in US English


Interview with Victoria Feinerman, professional voiceover talent in US English and owner of "Victoria's Voice".
I've heard the word "voiceover", but could you please tell me what it is exactly?
A voiceover is the recording of a person's voice, which is used in a commercial, promotional video, tutorial, TV show, telephone system, mobile app, etc.
What skills are needed for your profession?
Excellent diction, knowledge of when to use precise diction versus imprecise, acting skills, knowledge of how to address a mic, willingness to take direction, and ability to interpret a script.
In addition, voice talents who have a home studio need to have technical skills to record themselves properly, edit the audio, etc.
Do you have a professional home studio?
Yes, I do, and it is equipped with all the necessities to produce excellent audio. I record most of my work at my home studio, and I sometimes visit outside studios, as well.
What types of projects do you record?
I record promotional videos, tutorials, mobile apps, telephone systems, educational software, and I do dubbing.
Wow, that's a lot of different project types! Is there one project type that you like better than the rest?
I particularly enjoy recording technical and medical narrations, because it's fun to take complicated sentences and technical terms and make them sound really simple and comprehendible.
I actually have over a decade of experience as a technical writer, so I'm really comfortable with big words.
I hear that every other person is sticking egg cartons on the wall and calling themselves a voice talent. How do you reassure your clients that you're the real deal?
I started working in voiceover in 2001 and have garnered extensive experience in everything from promotional videos to technical and medical narrations to video games to online news, so clients know they are getting a pro. My client list is long and illustrious, and I think it speaks for itself.
What about audio quality at your home studio?
In general, people looking for a voiceover tend to worry about audio quality – and rightly so. There are a lot of amateurs with cheap equipment out there, just hoping that some poor soul will pay them a pile of money for a sub-standard product.
When I built my home studio in 2008 I invested in quality equipment, and I make sure to invest more in my studio each and every year. I have received compliments from professional audio engineers on the quality of audio coming out of my studio.
What would you say to people who order voiceovers only from recording studios, not home studios?
Well, these clients often worry that it will take a while to book a session at a studio, and the recording will not be ready on time.
When a client orders a voiceover from my home studio, there is no need to find a time that suits both the studio and the voice talent, because I perform both roles. The project is usually recorded within 1 business day or less.
However, I'd like to point out that my home studio is not set up for visitors, so if a client wants to present at a recording session, I suggest hiring a recording studio and meeting me there. I would be happy to recommend a number of quality studios in the Tel Aviv area.
I've heard a lot of Israeli-accented English voiceovers on telephone systems, on TV, and more – but nobody seems to be bothered by the accent. What do you make of that?
Having a native accent is not so crucial for TV voiceovers heard only by Israelis. As for telephone voiceovers, the caller knows that they are calling an Israeli company, so an accent is not the end of the world. However, if you're producing a promotional video or commercial with the aim of selling a product to an American customer base, or if you're creating a tutorial to be watched by people around the globe, you don't want to distract viewers with a foreign accent. You need a 100% pure, mother-tongue American accent.
I was born and raised in the American mid-west and am a native speaker of US English, with a pure American accent. In contrast, some local voice talents use the phrase "mother-tongue-level English" to describe their English skills, and this misleading phrase really just means that they can speak English as fluently as a native speaker, but does not guarantee that their accent is clean.
Sometimes, the foreign accent is not detectable by non-native speakers, but an American will hear it and immediately know that the voice talent is not a native speaker of the language.
What about prices? Isn't voiceover expensive?
If you consider voiceover to be "just talking", then you probably think it shouldn't cost very much. However, voiceover is a lot more than talking – it involves skill, ability, and financial investment – so, yes, voiceover can be pricey.
I make the price easier for clients to understand and pay, by taking the following approaches:
1.      Charging per word, instead of globally
This method is totally transparent, so that the client knows what they are paying for, and can even calculate exactly how much their project will cost them based on the script's word count.
2.      Charging separately for re-cuts
Recuts are when the voice talent re-records the all or part of the voiceover, usually due to a change in the script or a requested change in the delivery style. Many voice talents change a higher fee, so that they can then say that the fee includes the original recording plus a "free" recut or two – but the recuts aren't free, since the price was boosted to include them. I say, why should you have to pay for a recut or two, when you may not need them? To help lower costs for the client, I charge a lower fee for the original recording, and if recuts are needed I charge for them separately.
3.      Choice of studio
I make my services available at my home studio or at a local third-party. For short scripts, clients can save a lot of money when I record from my home studio, because they don’t have to pay a separate fee for the studio; however, with longer scripts, the total price may come out cheaper when I work at a third-party studio.
How can a client, fan, or aspiring voice talent connect with you?
Here's where you can visit, follow, or just drop me a line:

Tel: +972-3-9160305
Email: voiceovers@013net.netHours: 9:00-15:00

I'd love to hear from you!