A Voice Actor Prepares

Jimmy Slonina Screen, Voice 1 Comment

Proper Mic Technique

Proper mic technique.

There’s been so much going on in the past few months, since I last posted here. It’s been almost too daunting to get it all down. I’m going to try to set some Mid Year Resolutions. First, blog more. Second, blog better.

In March, I shot a super-fun Doritos/Avengers commercial here in Vegas, playing a fake contestant in a quasi-reality obstacle course. Hard to explain, let the video speak for itself.

The short film, A Man Wakes Up–starring buddy Amos Glick, directed by the incomparable Voki Kalfayan, and shot by the great Light Forge Studios–has been making the festival rounds. As of this writing, it’s been selected to 5 different festivals, both here and Europe.

A Man Wakes Up

Say, who designed that spiffy poster? Oh yeah, I did!

But what’s really been taking up most of my Spring season is the beginnings of a voice acting career. I’ve been bitten by the bug for over a year now, since longtime friend Michelle Lynette Bush announced that she’d started her own path in voice over work. Then another friend Michael Rahhal revealed that he’d been recording audiobooks and other works for the past five years. And he does it from the comfort of his own personal studio, a 4’x4’x7′, sound-treated, free-standing booth. I had to figure out if this was also for me.

I researched voice over Meetups in Vegas and fortuitously stumbled upon the best in town, perhaps the best in the southwest region, Vegas Voicers. This group is led by one of the voice over world’s most prolific (and generous) voice talents, Melissa Moats. When I discovered her, she had just moved her Meetups out of her house and into a brand-panking-new commercial storefront space in Henderson, NV. The space, called The Voice Actors Studio, is roughly an 1800 square foot space and includes two different recording areas, one for a classroom environment, and one for talents and clients to work on auditions and finished work. It is equipped with ipDTL, Source Connect, and ISDN, and Vegas Voicers has grown to include multiple teachers and hold multiple workshops simultaneously. I was lucky enough to attend one of their first workshops in their new space, and I’ve been going back as many times as I possibly can.


Booth rats at The Voice Actors Studio. Melissa Moats: bottom left.

Moats is an inspiration, not only as a voice over talent, but also as a business person, entrepreneur, teacher, and mentor. She is a total one-person band, wearing multiple hats in this many-faceted business, and she does it with uncompromising grace. I am super lucky to launch into this new venture with her nearby.

Since it’s best to diversify my education in this field, I’ve also reached out to another group, the Global Voice Acting Academy. This group is based in LA and is led by another inspiring voice talent, Cristina Milizia. She came recommended by Vegas news anchor, voicer, and author Dave Courvoisier, when I asked for recommendations on additional coaching. Milizia is an amazing character voice talent and a maven of voice career strategy. I’m just starting coaching with the teachers on her roster, but it’s been a blast so far.

For years I had perceived that voice over was a tightly-knit field with very few voice actors, and they liked it that way, so they can have all the work for themselves. But now with the internet’s influence, as well as more affordable and user-friendly technology, the number of voice over talent is skyrocketing. Luckily, so too is the volume of voice over work. With commercials, video games, e-learning, audiobooks, and more, as well as pay-to-play websites to find work, utilizing home studios for auditions, the landscape seems to be changing for the better for everyone! And so far, I’ve been met with nothing but warmth and generosity from the voice over community, especially here in Las Vegas.

All this is from my limited point of view, since I’ve only really started to dive into this in the past 6 months or so. But I have indeed been diving. Milizia recommends getting “obsessed” when getting into the business. For me, it’s been fascinating, a lot of work, and a lot of fun!

I’ve even built my own 4’x4’x7′ personal studio, based on plans from Justin Lynch at dawbox.com. It was great to break out the tools and create something from the ground up. It’s an added sense of accomplishment, even though I haven’t even started auditioning or recorded a demo yet! And it’s Moats (as well as a lot in the community) that reminds me not to rush in this business. Work on the craft first, and then start the hunt for work.

Personal Voice Over Studio

Fisheye of the Fish Bowl.

I’d like to begin documenting my journey here for you all to see/ignore. I’m sure it’ll help me focus my thoughts, and perhaps it’ll help you if you’re on a similar path.

To new journeys!!

Comments 1

  1. So excited to hear you as a character in something so I can say, “Hey! I know that guy! He’s a bundle of joy!” and the person next To me would say”Hey! I don’t know you lady”. <3

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