Every month, we like to feature one of our students who have found success in the voice-over industry after graduating from our program. This month, we would like to feature former SAV student and professional voice talent, Nila Hagood.
SAV: Hi Nila! We’re always curious about what inspired our students to get involved in VO. What inspired you to pursue this career?
Hagood: I have been filming, editing, and producing DVDs for a few years, and have had to do voice overs for the final production of these DVDs. People were repeatedly commenting on the voice, asking who it was, so I thought I would look into the industry. Now I am hooked!
SAV: What about Such A Voice stood out to you? What motivated you to enroll?
Hagood: It seemed to be a total one-stop shop, with in-depth assistance, training, and tutoring on every aspect of the business. I was impressed by some of the videos I watched and found myself eager to begin.
SAV: What was the most memorable piece of advice you received from your Such A Voice coach?
Hagood: Make decisions about who you are and who your audience is, then speak to them in the way that conveys all that entails. Risk it!
SAV: What would you tell someone who is wanting to pursue a career in VO, but doesn’t know where to start?
Hagood: Research. The more I look, the more I find and the more I realize I know almost nothing. First and foremost, I would suggest starting with Such a Voice. I have been encouraged, supported, and assisted every step of the way. They are a fabulous team!
SAV: Tell us how you went about finding and booking your first voice-over gig.
Hagood: My SAV coach was encouraging me, telling me I really could make it, especially in certain genres. I thought I would get my feet wet so I auditioned for a few audiobooks on ACX. Two of them responded immediately! I signed contracts for one book with one agency, and four books with the other agency. Talk about dancing on the ceiling!
SAV: What other voice-over projects have you done?
Hagood: In my small video production business, I have done VOs for golf tournaments, parties, even a doggy parade. I have also done 11 art instruction DVDs, all of which are selling commercially.
The book contracts are keeping me tethered to the studio to meet the agreed upon deadlines. I am loving it all, except recently, when my hard drive, operating system, AND external backup drive all failed! So, now I am having to re-do tons of work I had already finished.
SAV: Who is someone in this industry that you look up to? Why?
Hagood: Right now, the only people I personally know are my team at SAV, but when it comes to voices out there? There are some incredible people, but not just the prizewinners, regular people looking for jobs. There is a lot to learn from them as well.
There is an entire universe of learning opportunities out there, and I am overwhelmed with how much time I could spend learning, and never get to actually recording, so I am having to apportion my time between my life, learning, and working.
SAV: What kind of VO equipment do you find incredibly helpful for when it’s time to record your work?
Hagood: I opted for the Focusrite Scarlett Studios package offered by SAV. I am using all of that and getting better at auditing on Audacity. I started out, like many, half in and half out of a closet. For long sessions, that was painful, so I moved into half of the guest bedroom. I surrounded myself with blankets on the walls and table, and a little tabletop isolation sound booth. I am still working out some kinks (like my computer and external hard drive have a slight hum, so they cannot be on the same surface as my microphone setup). Equipment that I find incredibly helpful? Good, comfortable earphones, a laptop or tablet for the script, and an ergonomic chair for the editing sessions.
SAV: How did you go about creating your demo and personalizing it?
Hagood: My coach, Nancy Wilson, helped me every step of the way. We would approach dozens of different scripts, and explore many different personas speaking to many different audiences. It gives you a broad range of possible approaches to any read. I try to make mine unique, but natural. For the actual demos we tried to make each of the scripts sound unique, exhibiting an array of deliveries of which I am capable.
SAV: Any exciting projects coming up?
Hagood: I am thinking the best is yet to come! I’ll keep you all posted. These first contracts are going to keep me busy for a few weeks, but then after that? The sky’s the limit!
Nila is happy to share her demos with everyone as well! Check them out below: