Such A Voice student Andre Johnson completed his training with us last spring, and since then has been busy doing commercial spots and recording TWO audiobook projects. Let’s check in and see how his VO journey is going!
SAV: What projects have you been working on lately?
Johnson: Lately, my time has been dominated by two audiobooks that I was awarded through ACX. The first book narration, The Gift of Grace by Corinthus Alston, was completed and placed within the Amazon, iTunes and Audible retail space toward the end of 2018; and the 130,000-word fictional behemoth entitled Tumultuous Thursday by Melinda Michelle is currently being produced and should be completed sometime within the second quarter of 2019. Both are great projects and I’m thankful that Such A Voice helped put me in a position to ‘hit the ground running’!
SAV: Since you started your VO career, what has been your favorite project and why?
Johnson: I would have to say that the audiobook Tumultuous Thursday has been my favorite project because as a fictional undertaking it provides the challenge of voicing males, females, and many characters with varying accents. A second runner-up would be the commercial that I was contracted to produce for Matta Construction Services. I earned valuable experience in script creation, video production, incorporating music tracks, and of course, delivering the VO. I had a lot of fun with that one!
SAV: What would you say your niche is in voice-over?
Johnson: I would say at this point Audiobook narration, based on the projects that I’ve been awarded and am currently working on up to this point, and commercials based on several of the ‘liked’ auditions that I have received on Voices.com.
Johnson: I’ve always been told that I have a strong, distinctive voice, and after a transition out of the corporate world in 2017, I decided to look towards expanding a natural gift and ‘dipped my toes in the VO pool’. After a successful voice-over evaluation from Such A Voice’s Brian Thon and the subsequent completion of the Such A Voice training program, the rest, as they say, is history!
SAV: Do you have a background in art/performing of any kind before you started VO?
Johnson: I have to say that my service within my church’s Worship Arts Ministry (our men’s and church choirs) and my success as a leader during my corporate career have had a major impact in me launching into the voice-over industry. My service in ministry offers never-ending encouragement, and the preparation in serving within the Worship Arts Ministry does wonders, not only for building confidence in using your voice publicly, but also confidence in reaching for the higher heights in all that you do.
In regards to my professional career, all my experience in communicating across different corporate organizational groups, senior managers, associates, etc., forces you to express yourself in many different ways at varying times throughout the day. It is similar to doing ‘back to back’ VO auditions that require different tones, inflections, demeanors, etc.
SAV: What was the most beneficial part of your training with Such A Voice?
Johnson: Such A Voice provided an excellent foundation for launching into voice-over. Most beneficial for me was the excellent one-on-one voice-over instruction received from my voice coach Jessica Magers (read more about Jessica on the SAV Staff Page). One example out of the many valuable lessons was that she really pushed me to see the importance of script analysis and looking beyond the words on the page to find the true meaning of the script before acting it out.
SAV: What do you like to do outside of VO?
Johnson: For me, I really enjoy spending quality time with my family and this transition into the VO lifestyle has afforded me a flexible schedule to do just that. I also enjoy reading and cooking a meal or two.
SAV: What’s the most helpful advice you’ve received related to voice-over?
Johnson: The most helpful advice I received was when I was told to ‘relax and deliver’. I’m finding that when you relax you will increase your chances of delivering a read that is natural and ‘in the pocket’. While I was in the studio recording my audio demo reel, I was told by the sound engineer that my vocal delivery was ‘in the pocket’. I must admit that I had to confirm afterward if he meant that as a compliment. I’m happy to report that he did!
SAV: What advice would you give to folks just starting their VO journey?
Johnson: I would like to let them know that, “it’s all about the business, baby!” You need to ensure that you have a viable business plan that includes your corporation set-up, marketing plan, website development, invoicing infrastructure, etc. The marketing sessions with Joleene Derks are an invaluable resource to me on this front. This piece of the pie was a real challenge for me and I will admit it is still an evolving piece.
From a technical standpoint: while you are editing (in whatever software), remember to edit out the unwanted items that you hear, and not so much what you see on the sound wave. The goal is to provide the client with a clean, natural voice flow. Finally, I’ve found that this VO path gives nice healthy servings of audition rejection and isolation while recording and producing. At the same time, moments of elation and numerous opportunities will also knock at the door. Just keep working hard, keep learning, and keep your hand to the plow!
Eager to get your start in voice-over? Check out our introductory webinar to learn more about how to get started!