[00:00:27] mike: [00:00:27] hey, welcome back everybody. It’s coffee with mike here at java chat and I get the distinct and excited pleasure to speak to somebody who is in an industry that I actually was a part of years ago.
he’s built a super successful platform around voiceover work. This is david ciccarelli of voices.Com.
david, thanks for coming to hanging out with us on java chat.
david ciccarelli: absolutely. Thanks for having me, mike. And I’ve got my, my java, my coffee here. Cheers to you.
mike: cheers. Absolutely. To your health, even though I’m drinking it. Right. Let me, let me read you guys a little bit about dave, and then I’m gonna have him talk a little bit more about his story.
he’s an entrepreneur at heart and for the last decade he’s been with the help of his team. He’s been growing voices.Com. If you guys haven’t seen it. Go take a look. It’s pretty cool. From the ground up. So this was a fresh start kind of deal, became the leader in the voice industry that I that’s a story we’re going to get into.
he has a ceo he’s responsible for setting the vision, executing the growth strategy, creating a vibrant culture and managing the company on a day to day. He’s frequently published in outlets like the globe and mail, forbes and the wall street journal. Awesome. So. Are you formally
or presently a voiceover talent, or are you an entrepreneur that saw an opportunity? How did that come about?
david ciccarelli: well, my background is actually in audio engineering, mike. Quick founding story, I grew up always being fascinated with sound and music. I played piano and drums. So when it came time, are you a musician yourself?
mike: anything string that’s from the plucked. I can’t do the stripes though, with a piano. I wish I could.
david ciccarelli: so, so like you, maybe that’s a, there’s a lot of similarities in our background. And, in playing the music, obviously wanted to be a part of bands.
and when it came time to, pursuing a career path after high school. I try to find, an industry or a, an opportunity that was the confluence, the, the venn diagram of like art, science and technology. And yeah, and what I found was, actually audio engineering.
[so I went to school to become a audio engineer. The, the guy or gal on the other side of the glass that is often running a big mixing console.
mike: that big old board with sliders and buttons and nobody knows how to work.
david ciccarelli:exactly. It’s, I sometimes joke it’s like, being on the bridge of the starship enterprise, all of these initials don’t disappear.
oh, I remember, when, when I graduated from that program, I had the opportunity again to, either, what, would, what are the options; like, go work and do live sound on a cruise ship, working in another recording studio. I actually wanted to start my own.
[and, I wrote out a business plan, took out a small loan. I think of $15,000 got enough equipment to, have a small project studio, actually got my name in the local newspaper on my birthday.
mike: what? That’s cool.
david ciccarelli: which is cool. Yeah, I was, I was thrilled about that and it’s actually how I met.
stephanie. So stephanie is now my wife and she’s the co founder of voices.Com. Back then she was, she’s a classically trained singer. She sang at weddings and funerals and special events. And she actually, came into the studio to record her singing repertoire. And because of that same, we ended up doing that work, but because of that same article, there were other small businesses in town. They wanted a female voice. So I knew,
mike: so let me, let me ask a question. Was it the first, was it love at first sound?
david ciccarelli: love at first sound. Yeah, it was, I actually sometimes jokingly say I married my first customer, which is not marital advice whatsoever. Hard enough, being,
mike: and especially if you’re in the funeral industry, you don’t want to be married.
david ciccarelli: oh, or even, I’m hard enough also, running a company and doing both at the same time. It’s pretty challenging, but we really do love it. But we, we ended up doing recording, voiceovers with stephanie as the voice talent myself as the engineer. So that’s kind of how it all began.
we put up a really brutal website. It was like a brochure style website enough, just to
mike: kind of just to get the word out there. Yeah, yeah, sure.
david ciccarelli: yeah. You gotta get, you gotta get something. Cause we actually took a web design for dummies from a local library and put together our own website. This is, again, as you said, going back 10 years.
before there was before
mike: there was things like elementor and wordpress. Yeah, it was, it was pretty rough.
david ciccarelli: yeah. It’s awesome. Nowadays, a lot of plug and play tools for aspiring marketers or entrepreneurs, and, and, that site actually, mike attracted other freelance talent from all around north america.
they discovered it through google and said, “hey, can I see you have one female voice. I speak french. I speak german. I do character voices. I’m, I’m really good at audio books, can I be on your website?” And so we always just said yes, and it was really just a directory at the beginning.
[00:05:39] but at the same time, clients from ad agencies and video producers actually started. Asking, how do we get in touch with these people? And so that was the,
mike: there was no real reason sources back then 10 years ago, there wasn’t anything like a voices.Com or stuff that I don’t, I don’t remember. Even if I was to look to do something, I had to set up my own website and I had to go make phone calls, which is one of the reasons why I didn’t do it because I just didn’t have the time.
but I mean, there was nothing. And by the way, I signed up.
[00:06:06] david ciccarelli: oh, yeah. Awesome. Yeah.
for voiceover talents, they don’t want to have to have all of the responsibility of what you built.
[00:06:25] not that I’ve seen. I mean, there’s very few guys, unless they’re like super, like they have their own thing. There’s a lot of talent out there that just, they have nowhere to go. This is really cool, what you guys have built. So you had that, you got that success. What started the voices over to accommodate it?
just evolve into this.
david ciccarelli: yeah, it’s I think there’s a few, inflection points. One, we actually started under a different name. It was interactive voices, so not the best name., But it was the best we could get. At the time we acquired the name voices.Com, which was a huge catalyst. We had about 10,000 registered users on the platform at the time.
[00:07:04] and, in doing so it just, it, it really catapulted. I think the company is turning into a brand that someone’s like, people were like, oh, that sounds like it’s the place to go to find great talent and likewise talent wanting to be, create a profile and kind of market themselves on the platform.
[00:07:21] I think that was, that was a really big turning point as well. But, mike, with these, there’s a number of what I would call platform businesses, right? Sided marketplace, where you have on one hand, the suppliers or service providers, like the voice talent, it could be, there’s other ones out there that are either for freelance services or what we’ve referred to as like the gig economy.
maybe it’s a driver or a host at airbnb. So that’s your supplier service and then you have the buy side or the demand people who want those services. And, when you get these things going, it’s, it spurs on what are referred to as network effects. Basically every additional person that joins. How to add incremental value to all the other people.
[00:08:11]while it started small, I would say in the last really couple of years, it’s really accelerated the growth because it’s, this just kind of becomes this flywheel that, in some ways is somewhat unstoppable. So we’re just trying to keep up that momentum.
[00:08:27] mike: [00:08:27] did you ever think you were going to be an entrepreneur in all of this.
david ciccarelli: I did actually, it’s kind of a, I mean, growing up, I traded sports cards, I was
[00:08:42] mike:you’ve got that familiar story. Yeah.
mike: [00:08:50] oh, we know that one.
[00:08:55] david ciccarelli: yea, and then finally, and I guess another, always prompting mom and dad to have garage sales or, I sold pop out of my locker in high school. Like it just ways to be creative on how to, be, be entrepreneurial, I suppose.
Mike: right. How did voice over become like what it is?
[00:09:18] I mean, it. It just seems kind of obscure to some people. And cause I know people I’ve, I’ve actually encouraged numerous friends of mine. I said, you should go into voiceover work. Their voices are killer and they don’t even understand what it is. They don’t get the lifestyle. They don’t understand what is involved.
can you kind of talk a little bit about that?
[00:09:39] david ciccarelli: [00:09:39] yeah. Well, a voice actor is acting, but without the benefit of being on camera, right? So you’re an actor or, or can do improv or these kind of, get into character. It’s, that’s the first thing. And as you said, because it’s voice acting, you do need, the god given gift of a great voice.
so that’s kind of like number one. And it doesn’t come with all the fame and glamour though, because. You’re not seeing right. Your, your voice. There’s not really that association you’re often working from home or remotely. And you actually need these other skills that are often underestimated. I’m going to say next up would be the technology.
[00:10:22] just like we’re recording here today. Voice actors who work from home, have a small home studio. That’s set up that, often in a spare bedroom or a closet in an isolation booth, sometimes they’re called whisper rooms, I think is another one of these kind of small isolation booths. And, but you, you need to know how to edit yourself.
[00:10:43] yeah. Cause you’re doing auditions trying to, again, getting that next gig, you’re doing a lot of auditions to ultimately land the job. And then again, got to record that. So I think the technical skills are important. And then the third leg of the school stool mike is actually the marketing skills.
how do i. How do I go out and get jobs? Do i, even if I participate on a platform like voices.Com and there’s a number of them out there, there, how do I communicate with clients? What do I charge? How, how do I handle contracts?
[00:11:14] mike: [00:11:14] do you guys have that in your, you guys have that in your, your help files, right?
[00:11:17] I mean, your, your tech support. I think I saw something about that.
[00:11:20] david ciccarelli: [00:11:20] yep. Yep. So we’ve, we’ve tried to take, I think what I would, as a very, opaque and, unnecessarily complicated industry, frankly, which is really, reading a script, breathing into life, delivering a great performance.
and the actual deliverable is really often a wav file or an mp3. It’s an audio file. But the, the payment. The negotiation. That’s often where classically a talent agent would provide a lot of support there. But getting a talent agent nowadays. I mean, unless you live in new york or chicago or la, and you’re coming with a book of clients that are already actively working with you, agents are, probably pretty difficult to just kind of go from zero all the way to landing a national, a talent agent.
[00:12:15] so in which case, a lot of people start out marketing themselves. And that might mean building your own website, blogging, speaking at events, engaging with other video producers, maybe on linkedin groups or facebook groups. So, there’s, there’s absolutely, there’s this element of, dare I say, self promotion. That’ll work to build your own client base.
Mike: yeah. If you’re not going to get, if you’re not going to get out there and actually put your talent out for people to see and like, I know a couple guys that are out on social that do real well, that are voice actors. There’s a guy, even on tik tok.
[his name is epic voice guy. I don’t know if who he is. He’s the guy that does ” in a world.” He does that. He does a lot and he literally does for fun. He goes out with a little mini set up and he goes, he walks behind people in public places and he does that as a, as a joke. He just kind of plays it out.
[00:13:10] it’s awesome though. And he does. Oh, a ton of voices. You can do optimist prime, you can do all that kind of stuff, which is cool to me. I’m like, I admire that one. Yeah. It’s his life and his and his profession. And you can see his passion in that profession, which brings another question when it comes to passion and you’re looking at what you’re doing now, how deep for you has this run?
I mean, as an entrepreneur, we have a tendency to solve a problem and look for an exit strategy and leave, you haven’t done that. You’re still there. So, how does that work?
[00:13:45] david ciccarelli: [00:13:45] I think, I think it comes, and it all begins with passion and passion is actually, I’m going to say the manifestation of probably your entire life story, right?
[00:13:58] there’s usually some thread that weaves all through it that, music, musical, family, musical background, I like technology. My dad had the first computer. Like laptop that anybody had seen first mobile phone, anybody, any of my friends had seen, so kind of this early exposure to technology, so you start to kind of realize, wow, I’m on a path.
[00:14:24] and, I was given some great advice once, which was to follow the flags. You look at these like milestones or markers in your life. There’s usually, you plant a flag and you. Graduate, or maybe you won an award or you achieve something or you go to a certain event or conference and it, and it kind of marks your life.
and if you actually kind of were to look back and then look forward and extrapolate out, just follow the same path that all that’s been on. And it’s probably where you’re excited, where you, lose all track of time, run yourself into something. That’s what I think, kind of passions and that’s that’s voices for me.
[00:15:04] I enjoy the building of the platform, the engaging with, with all of the customers, our staff. And so the vision really would be, to actually not only just transforming this industry, but I think. Growing up and even, even now I think there’s something special about the human voice in it’s a power and ability to inform and entertain and inspire audiences.
I listened to a lot of books on tape and audio books, at voices, we, really exist to make, the world a better place, more accessible place through the power of the human voice. And that’s like one of those. Never quite achieved. Right. And so, as you kind of you’re on that path, almost like walking towards the sunset, the rotation of the earth kind of make sure that you’d never quite reached the sunset, but you see it there and you’re, you’re going to keep going in that direction.
Mike: so there’s always sunrise tomorrow too.
[00:16:00]david ciccarelli: [00:16:00] so you can always, that’s true as well too. So I truthfully, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I think there’s a lot to be accomplished. I think we have a bigger expanded vision of, of kind of what’s next and that, that next chapter for her, for voices.
and so I want to see it come to fruition.
[00:16:21] mike: [00:16:21] so when you’re looking at developing like your product development, I mean, you are in a unique platform that the two sided marketplace is definitely something that’s not, too common. The only other places I can think of that are like that personally are upwork and fiber.
[00:16:36] and there’s a bunch of guys on there too, to do voiceover work on fire. In fact, i, before I heard voices, I actually hired a young lady out of tennessee through fiber. And I’m not trying to promote them guys. I’m trying to, I’m just letting what this is.
[00:16:49] david ciccarelli: [00:16:49] and that’s what I was referring to. there’s a number of platforms that are,
[00:16:54] mike: [00:16:54] I just didn’t want anybody thinking I was promoting them on.
[00:16:57] david ciccarelli: [00:16:57] oh yeah, no, no, no worries. I mean, listen, there. They’re freelancer platforms, right. And voice acting is kind of one category of that. And we’ve, we’ve just, we’ve chosen to go really deep in this one area.
Mike: yeah, no, and it’s, it’s, I’m liking what I’m seeing. But I was able to hire a young lady and we had a conversation before we did anything. I talked to her about what our brand was, what we were doing with java chat, et cetera, et cetera, which you’ll see when you are. You can see on youtube, we’re here on, on java, java chat podcast.
how she how’s, she voiced it out and she did an amazing job. She’s a musician up in, I want to say Memphis, and she’s the one that’s on the side. So it’s interesting that the vision that you have has been moving voices into a much, how do I say this? A broader coverage of the actual voice acting industry from what I’m seeing.
[00:17:50] and curious about how, when it comes to product development, how that’s been driving that, where it’s been taking you guys and what do you foresee. Coming up both with your efforts and what’s naturally happening in the
[00:18:03] david ciccarelli: [00:18:03] marketplace. Yeah. The, the best place to, to start when it comes to product development is on this kind of discovery.
right? I mean, yeah. And by discovering that could mean conducting interviews, being, I mean, generally speaking, being very observant, eyes and ears open all the time, whether you’re reading the news, scanning through a feed. Seeing how other companies, what are they building? How does that have a voice element?
and so there’s like these mega trends, then you kind of try to validate that by. Conversations. And that’s a great way to start a business. If you don’t have one already up and running, right. But it’s also a great way to build off of, the, the foundation that you have. So there’s, there’s the, let’s call it the, the qualitative aspects of it.
[00:18:56] these anecdotes that you hear, and then there’s the quantitative, which is if you have any data at all, of maybe, activity on a website, search queries, whatever people searching for. It is all very helpful that kind of starts to, set in motion. So we’ve seen some really interesting trends.
first one is, if you remember a couple of years ago, amazon launched the. Alexa kind of smart home. They did this over black friday, cyber monday. These practically gave these things away for like $19 or so it was a hundred million of these devices installed in people’s homes. So, dare I ask mike, do you have one of these, maybe a google home?
Mike: I have a google home hub, yeah.
[00:19:40] david ciccarelli: [00:19:40] yeah. Okay. So, there’s over a hundred million of these devices, so now the question becomes, what’s what’s actually happening there. Right? I mean, there’s content that could be put on there. Sometimes there’s these, what are called voice apps, just like we have a mobile app.
there’s these voice apps. So that’s all being built out. So that’s, definitely a trend. So what we did at, at, at voices.com was we realized there’s a category of work here called voice assistant. And, it’s, it might be on a phone, a voice assistant there might be for a kiosk or might be for one of these, smart home speakers.
[00:20:20] so those are the kinds of things like we try to see what are, what are other companies doing in launching, but also. We actually found that there was requests coming in for this kind of work. It was just a little bit uncategorized, but we wanted to build out some guides, some landing pages, some tutorials, and, send some email to, to customers that we thought might be working on these type of, type of projects.
[00:20:46] so, following that kind of sense of like, I smell something here, like, and then kind of, I think you used the term, like the rabbit hole a little bit earlier, right? It’s like, it’s definitely a
rabbit hole. You follow that instill, to the point that you’re like, okay, as I say, you need to, after the discovery, you’re designing something and maybe validating that, then you actually develop it.
[00:21:10] and then finally you’re deploying it, that we refer to that as the d process, the four d process of which can be very applicable to any product or service. That, you, as an entrepreneur might want to, to build an offer to potential customers.
Mike: cool. We’re going to take a short break, do a quick message.
we’re going to come back. I’m going to talk some more with david ciccarelli. We’ll talk a little bit more about the voice acting side and people that might be considering getting into it. And some of the things that they’re going to face, you obviously know me more than I do, but I’ve run into myself as well.
[00:21:45] so take a short break. We’ll be right.
Mike: [00:21:45] all right. We’re back here with java chat and David Ciccarelli of voices.Com. We were kind of chatting a little bit about, product development and how, how an entrepreneur and what actually that strategy will apply to just about anything that you do.
he’s right. Serving first, figuring out what the market is doing. Staying ahead of the trend, if possible, if not going and digging quick. So you can figure out how to be a part of the trend and expand it under your own platform or under your brand. What I wanted to talk about here in this, in this little bit is this two-sided platform.
we have clients, we have talent, and I know there’s a lot of people, we were just kind of talking about it earlier. There’s a lot of people that are thinking about doing something like this, but they’re really not clear as to. How or what to do to be begin. And so I kind of wanted to, from your experience, if somebody is thinking about becoming a voice talent, and I would think this would apply to podcasts or whatever, because it’s all audio, no matter how you look at it, if somebody is looking to get into this particular realm, what are the, some of the things they should consider?
what are some of the challenges they could most likely face and. What’s it cost to set something up.
david ciccarelli:yeah, sure. So the considerations, I mean, I would, I would really advocate to viewing it, not as a passive side hustle. And maybe this for me, just kind of projecting, like throw yourself into it. If you’re going to do it, then really go all the way.
cause there’s so many other people who are taking it very seriously and making a career and a living out of a good living, doing voiceovers.
mike: yeah, they’re making, they’re making a good living on that
david ciccarelli: Absolutely. And so, that would be. My first kind of recommendation is probably more of like a month instead of like, okay, come make the commitment.
right. And then, that’s gonna, start to like, okay, well then, like tactically, what do I need to do often working with a voice coach? There’s lots of coaches out there there. I mean, if it’s, if, if anyone’s kind of like me or a lot of people, I know it’s like, yeah, when you throw something yourself into a topic, you just absorb all the information you look for a coach or a mentor.
you read every book imaginable. You listen to all the podcasts, watch all the videos, just soak it all up. There’s a number of great coaches that, I mean, we feature on voices.Com. They’re all independent voices.Com/coaches is like a directory and there’s coaches who specialize in certain areas.
maybe it’s just character voices. Sometimes it’s accent reduction. Sometimes it’s. Kind of bringing out what’s sometimes referred to as your like money voice, your ex wives, like kind of what you’re known for, the most
mike: I’ve heard those terms before.
david ciccarelli: yeah. That’s what means to me, it’s usually a reason, one style of voice that you get hired for all the time, but you might not realize that.
I mean, even acting classes, there’s a lot of transferable skills there as well. In the meantime. Reading aloud. This is a great opportunity to, I mean, that’s really, when it comes to voice over, you’re gonna be reading scripts aloud and doing what’s called a cold read.
you’ve never seen the copy before you just gotta pick it up and read it without mistakes. Wow. That is all you can kind of practice at any anytime.
mike: oh my gosh. That’s it. Well, I’m going to take that because that just sounds phenomenal. I’ve never done that. Yeah. That’s like reading and music, but I’ve never done. I’ve never done sight reading and just voiceover
david ciccarelli: that’s. Exactly. So that’s the term, right? So, so sight reading. And then, I think once you, this is all leading to a culminating event, which is your, the recording of your voiceover demo. So think of this as like a graphic designer has a portfolio, maybe a, an accounting professional maybe has a, a resume and an, a degree in a certification.
here for voiceover, the proof is in the pudding. It’s, actually your voice being recorded into a demo. And you can think of a demo as like your highlight. Yeah, probably 30 to 60 seconds. It’s a montage. So let’s say you’re going to do a commercial demo that should be suitable for radio commercials, tv commercials, and these internet videos.
so in this 60 second commercial demo, you’re going to have american airlines, hilton, hotels, pepsi, seven up and like, probably some more truck rally or something like that. It’s like, boom, boom, boom, move. Very fast paced, upbeat. And you’re trying to give the potential client often as this at an ad agency or a creative producer at a marketing department, a flavor for what you can do for that kind of genre of voiceover.
but that demo, I have a script that’s written, so that’s again, why you’re either working with a coach or a demo producer. And you usually want to have at least three, three demos, you’ll have a commercial demo, an animation or character demo. If that’s the kind of work you want to get into, which is like video games and animated cartoons, that kind of thing.
and the third one would be narration. So if, if the commercials are like the sprint. The narration is like the marathon, right? It’s like audio books and these documentaries, we’ve all, we’ve all seen these national geographic, right? It’s, it’s a different style. So its at least having those, are going to cover the main three genres of work.
and then that’s actually what your marketing, your, your website or your profile is just a it’s. It’s a means to be able to showcase that work. And it’s. That that would be probably the biggest places to get set up. And then you, you did ask about kind of the cost to kind of getting, getting set up.
it’s really amazing. When I was with that first studio I described, that I set up back in the days when boards were fortunately 15, $20,000,
mike: it was, it was insane
david ciccarelli: now. We’re, we’re recording. Completely digital. There’s often there’s kind of a couple parts to it.
and it sounds kind of crazy, but the best investment is actually not technology. It’s your room, I’m in a home office, but it’s a quiet room because that’s kind of the, frankly, the dead giveaway. Of whether you’re you have a professional sound or not. If you can hear kids in the background and barking and vacuums and there, and the rest of it, like if, if you have a quiet room where there’s no kind of echo or slap back, and one of the ways you can test it out is literally to clap and you’ll hear the reflections.
you can get a quiet room where there’s no reflections, that’s a worthwhile investment. Most computers, like all the macs come with, garage band is recording software. Adobe audition is like, I think it’s like 30 or 50 bucks. There’s a subscription, there’s a audacity is a free software. So there you go.
so that’s, I mean, once it’s recorded into the system, it’s just digital. It really isn’t gonna make any difference. And then finally a microphone sometimes there’s, what’s called a youth like an inner face, a digital audio interface between what you plug your microphone in and your computer. I’m just using a usb microphone that goes straight into the computer.
you as well. So there’s ways to start. I would say all in probably a couple thousand dollars, maybe 2,500. Yeah. Right. That you can get going with. And a lot of people start there and then upgrade as they get more gigs and just kind of reinvest. You’re like, wow, I’ve always wanted to have a noise and microphone.
okay. Well, that’s a thousand dollars, but probably don’t need to start there.
mike: that’s the cheaper one. Right.
david ciccarelli: but, so I think that’s probably like the order of operations I’d invest in the room. And then, and then probably the microphone and then the software
mike: guys, when he says the room, and I’m gonna kind of add onto that because, some people are like, well, just, my, by the way, I’ve done recordings in the closet.
there’s a lot of d sound deadening in there with all the clothing and carpeting and everything. There’s no echo. So I’ve done that before. But if you’re going to set up a room like an actual room, soundproofing panels, do them right?
david ciccarelli: For one you’re not on camera. So you really don’t have to worry about, the placement, whisper rooms are nothing but soundproofing and you get that clear, crisp sound that the microphone will only be getting for you,
it’s just smarter.
mike: and it’s definitely going to make it easier for a client to tell whether or not you’re really the voice they want. Cause you can’t, you can’t fake in a quiet room.
david ciccarelli: your voice, your voice is going to be blandly apparent. no. There’s no processing.
there’s no special light. Yeah. There’s the photography on instagram looks incredible because people are putting
mike: filters and all that
david ciccarelli: skin tones and all that. What we’re talking about here with voiceover is what’s referred to as a quote unquote, dry voice, it means it’s just you. And one of the.
best secrets to actually creating a more intimate sound is actually just to get a few inches closer to the microphone. So I’m going to demonstrate this now, and I’ve heard you might do this earlier as you almost like lean in and you’re speaking closer. It means that there’s, it’s picking up your voice directly as opposed to picking up more than one.
mike: it’s when I want to make a real point. That’s when I do this.
david ciccarelli: exactly. So even, even this. Notion of this like proximity effect of like the closer you are that can create and kind of capture more of the voice and less of the room. But it was interesting things that you’ll learn in podcasts and.
mike: oh yeah. working with coaches, I’ve learned about proximity years ago on a, on a shore mic from the workhorse 58 to a phantom powered. Because of the way my voice sounds when I sing. I got a lot of high mids in my voice, as you can probably hear. So it’s, it doesn’t come across as the guy who does the epic voice or, I can have some bass, but I really have to like work to get the bass on.
cause my voice is actually fairly high. I’m a, I’m like a, in music it’s called tenor. I’m a tenor too, even though it’s kind of sounds like a baritone, I’m really a tenor to wake up. I wake up in the morning some days I sound like a kid. I mean, literally, I mean, when it was time to go to work as a, as a musician, boy, you want to talk about warmups?
holy crap. The whole way. And I had a 20 minute drive. It was all warmups. I was singing with everybody on the radio, just so when I got on stage, I wasn’t sitting there wondering whether or not I was going to get it right.
david ciccarelli:I love it. If I may, I love that you brought up the warmups idea.
mike: that’s what I wanted to get into.
david ciccarelli: yeah, that’s fun. No, we, we, we talked about, reading aloud, that’s one, tongue twisters. I’ve heard of people reading the script with a pen in their
mouth and it’s like, if you can do that and all the words are coming out clearly, then like as soon as you take the pen or pencil out, I mean, it’s just gonna be so much easier to speak.
there are these, I mean, and so it might sound a little gimmicky, but I think the key is. You’re speaking aloud, whether it’s a tongue twister, you’re literally doing oohs and ahs and different sounds like vocal, literally vocal exercises to loosen the jaw and. And just relax the muscles. So all, all of that is helpful.
No one would go run a marathon or do a sprint without stretching. And it’s the same principle that your voice is your instrument. And that’s the tool that you’re going to be working with. So hydrate well, a rest up the night before and no screaming, these kinds of things are just, it is a little common sense, but, certainly important if you have a big recording to do so,
Mike: I’m going to bring up a title of a movie and we’re, all the same, gen
so I’m fairly sure you’ll remember it. My fair lady. Do you remember what she had to go through?
david ciccarelli: yeah.
Mike: yeah. She had to practice a ton. I remember one of the, one of the more memorable scenes was when somebody accidentally bumped the phonograph. Right. And it was a record of sound, vocal sounds, inflections, and, and vocal style for the wording to get her off the cockney into an actual, proper english, I don’t know why that triggered, but it’s like, yeah, if you’re not practicing before. And even when I sing. I’ve had it where I’ll sit there for a good five, 10 minutes going through what seems to be less malarkey for, for anybody his purposes. But then when I actually sing holy crap, it’s like all of a sudden, there it is.
so the suggestion to practice, to warm up, to get sleep, to get nutrition, you gotta be healthy. You can’t be walking into your little studio and saying, oh, I’ll get through this. It doesn’t work like that.
david ciccarelli: Yeah, so well, and you end up taking more time when it comes to doing auditions. Cause you’re having to do multiple, what are called takes, right?
if you’re there and you have a client that’s actually giving you some direction, that’s actually, so let’s, let’s, let’s fast forward. Mike you’ve won the job. Now the client can either do one of two things. They, they just book you and say, yep, we’ve here’s, here’s the job. It’s 500 bucks.
you’ve agreed to it. You’re reading a pager to a copy and you just send off the wav file or mp3 file. Those are just file formats. Or sometimes, especially with those in the kind of creative industry they want, they they’ve, they’ve poured their heart into writing this script and they have a certain creative vision for it.
they actually want to provide some artistic direction in real time. And so one of the things that’s very popular nowadays are what I call these live directed sessions. In short, that’s a fancy way of saying a zoom, a google meet facetime. A hangout with, they’re just doing, what we’re doing here today, right?
can you hit that particular? It’s just some interaction, but it’s happening live, you’re recording on their end, but there coaching and guiding you providing direction. In which case, going back to being healthy, you don’t want to be warming up in front of somebody else or wasting their time. It’s just not
very professional. So, get all those warm ups done. So when you log on to the session, and you’ve got your audacity or adobe, recording
david ciccarelli: that hopefully you can nail that in a few takes.
Mike: So there’s this, there’s this thing in voiceovers, humans versus synthetics, and this, this kind of goes into branding, personal branding, as far as voice actors concerned.
explain that and what the difference is and which one would, how do you figure out which one’s best for you?
david ciccarelli: hmm. Well, so as soon as a human voice actor that the people like, right, it’s, it’s a person. I think I used the term kind of like breathing this script to life. They’re literally recording it out every line it’s emotional.
they’re being that character or communicating that message with a lot of authenticity. Where the synthetic voices are these computerized voices that are often generated by an algorithm where someone types out the text and inputs it into the software and the software turns it from text to speech.
so the acronym is tts. If you just want to look it up, right. There’s text to speech systems. They sound a lot better than five years ago. I think they’ve got a long way to go. There’s a time and a place for them. And I think it’s a pretty frankly limited use case, which is if a, if you’re a, a brand advertiser, you probably want to.
I have an actor there, but if you are, let’s say an airline and you’re giving directions to the airline about which gate to be at, which flight numbers are changing. The information is changing all the time. Right. Okay. Yeah, that’s probably a situation where. A synthetic kind of voice engine is more appropriate.
So, I think it kind of comes down to, is the content changing? Is it, is it very, just really information, like kind of navigational informational like a gps system. There’s not really a storyline there, there’s no characters. That’s probably why you would want to use a
synthetic voice. Anything else, nothing’s going to be kind of somebody’s, putting their heart and soul into being that character and communicating with, with authenticity,
Mike: that, and that leads back to just the simple fact that when you’re in marketing and sales, no one buys because of logic people buy because of emotion and that’s marketing’s job is to draw out the emotion.
david ciccarelli: Well, as a voice actor, I would, I would
add, it’s your job. To draw that emotion so that somebody takes an action, whatever that is, come to our website, buy this, do that. What have you, you’re right. AI has gotten really good. We actually, we actually use it for certain things for the marketing agency, but when it comes to, when it comes to something that’s an actual marketing to a sales process, we would rather use a human.
we haven’t gotten to that part yet. And in a lot of cases, I’ve been, it’s, it’s been thrown to me. Why don’t you do it? And I’m like, like I’m not gonna do that. We’ll find somebody else to do it. Cause I’m sure that there’s a better voice than mine. Now that’s not to say that I’m not confident in doing certain things.
it’s the industry that we’re in, my voice and my opinion does not fit. We’ll find out here on voices.com. I think the intent is you have to be clear as to who it is that you can serve. Who do you match? Who do you match the best? Now that brings up another question. The four most popular vocal archives and their celebrity sound alikes.
Mike: explain that one. Well, it’s, it’s actually really interesting segue because I’m a marketer, really in not to be too declarative about this, but I’m not like really ought to be working with a voice talent who sounds like their target audience.
david ciccarelli: No we like that we trust. And what we’ve determined through a lot of analysis as well as surveys is that these are voices that we bought from people who sound like us. Yeah. Okay. And, and it could be a certain demographic. It could be that’s, and that’s why there are these archetypes.
that someone can kind of identify with. Right. And so, classically, it was like a deep authoritative voice. So Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones. Oh yeah. Or beyond sailing, in terms of like a female, authoritative strong personality that we, when we hear them, that we, that we identify that we should be doing listening to them.
We aspire to be that person. So. That’s kind of, audiences really respond to that now. It often is a bit of a lower tone, cause there’s just some kind of more gravitas to it, but that would be, one of the vocal arc archetypes. The other thing, what we found is actually the most popular, over the last years.
and again, we looked at a hundred thousand jobs on voices.com. I tried to categorize them as best as we could. Against, like, who did they, who were they looking for and what do they ultimately hire? So we got the deep authoritative, we have the approachable expert, and this is interesting. I kind of refer to this, this, this character, it’s the george clooney, matthew mcconaughey.
maybe an Emma Stone or somebody who’s like, I can see them being my friend. They often know that they’re sharing this information, kind of like the friendly guy, guy or gal next door who always has the latest technology and device. They seem to be in the know for current events or.
pop culture. And they’re sharing this information with you almost as it almost seems like a favor. And so they’re approachable because even if you ask questions and you’re in dialogue, that it doesn’t seem like, there’s, there’s kind of no dumb questions, but that is, that is definitely one.
and sometimes again, in the. Three, we just refer to us as like the real person, it’s like just pretty, pretty straight. You are being yourself. And then, the last one that we put together was a, we, we just called it fun, foreign and intrigue, it’s the Nicole Kidman’s, Hugh Jackman story.
kate winslet, maybe it’s like, there’s, there’s this, luxury brand that wants, eastern european accent or something or british accent. And,
Mike: was that guy’s name that did the jaguar, the villain’s car?
david ciccarelli: yeah. Daniel craig, I think like he’s like, the mission impossible, like there’s things there’s a lot, or sorry.
James Bond, Daniel Craig was their James Bond, but there’s a lot of these. These characters that, which is actually kind of sometimes how I describe it as like, imagine you’re in like the scene of like a spy movie and who are they? Who are these people that are talking then? And it’s, it draws you in because you, I feel like you’re part of the mystery and you’re there to kinda solve it.
and, and there’s, there’s a certain kind of cache. So, that is, those will be, we kind of actually merged a few together. And with that, we call it, we got it down to these. Three, and, there’s actually samples, of them on, on voices.com and our reports section. You can actually kind of go through and listen and hear, hear talent, performing neat.
Mike: I’m practicing. So all I’m hearing is time to go practice,
david ciccarelli: but yeah, I mean, there’s, I think those are, those are the big ones that, but especially, and I think it’s actually good news. The one that’s the most popular is this approachable expert. People just want authenticity, especially now why you don’t want to synthetic you don’t want somebody trying to be somebody they’re not what marketers want are people who kind of sound like their audience who are just real and approachable.
and, I think it’s a, it’s a. It seems kind of obvious, but at the scene you would think to kind of do it in a relaxed ways as a certain kind of performance style is harder than it sounds you, you would think that,
Mike:I mean, well, we both know that the obvious isn’t always such, and it, and it’s take, it takes somebody like you to be able to actually take a look at that data and go, hey, guess what guys here’s where it’s at.
it’s when an entrepreneur takes a look at something and really wants to go digging. And they’re living a passion, which is what, you’re, what you’re doing. They have a tendency to find out stuff that nobody else pays attention to because they’re too busy. And I think that’s for entrepreneurs, that’s a kind of a huge advantage in my mind because you’re able to come out as that trusted expert.
I mean, you actually have that voice. I remember too, when you were talking about the, the approachable and you said Matthew Mcconaughey, first thing comes to mind lincoln. That whole thing that he did for them. And it was, and it was very relaxed. It was just like, yeah, it is what it is. This is luxury.
This is what life is about. And I’m like, dude, sounds like the dude next door, as much as he’s a celebrity. But if somebody has got a voice that can play like that, hey, hey, hey, and all of a sudden you’ve got, you’ve got a market that you can go and appeal to. We’re gonna take one more break and we’re gonna wrap this up.
cause we’re getting real close to that time. And when we do come back, we’ll talk about the other side. The clients, cause I’m sure there’s the, you’ve got that side of it too. We want to make sure that they know what they’re looking for and how to look for it and how to process it. So we’ll take one more quick break and we’ll be right back.
Mike: [00:47:42] and we’re back.
We’re going to wrap this thing up here. I wanted to talk a little bit about the other side of things with David’s Ciccarelli here on voices.com. We were just talking about voice talents and things they need to consider and the different voice archetypes and things of that nature. And that’s where the talent there are clients out there and.
As a marketing agency, I have a tendency to find that a lot of them have no idea what they want, and this will go into entrepreneurship talk too. I’m sure. But when you’re, when you’re a potential client looking for a voice talent, what are some of the suggestions you would make to them to be able to zoom in and not get lost?
Because 10,000 talent plus. That’s a lot of samples to go through. How do you Wade through that?
david ciccarelli: Well, the best place to start, actually is first imagining what it might sound like in your head. And that’s actually probably the hardest part. Voiceover is the buyer, it could be a small business just looking to update their phone system.
Maybe you’re launching an intro to your own podcast or kickstarter video, what, you hear it in your head, but you got to put it into words, right? Because if you can’t put it into words, then you don’t know how to put it to work. You don’t know what it’s like, you’re not really making again, this term commitment
Who is it that I’m actually looking for? And so one way to do that is to, really for what is my, what is my brand, right? What do I, what do I look like? Like visually, and you can probably translate a lot of that too. We’ll then if this is, if my. If my brand were a person and walked into a room, what’s the, what’s the room.
Yeah. Is it a restaurant? Is it an office? Right. maybe it’s a, maybe it’s a, actually like a soccer field or baseball diamond, where are they walking into? What are they, what are they wearing? What, and you kind of like develop this, going back to this, like persona, like you almost personify that sound and then you, so that gives you a bit of, A visual.
So then once you kind of have that, it really comes down to actually deciding, okay, well, what language do I, am I looking for? Cause we’re talking about, we’ve got to narrow it down to hopefully find one. So the language, the accent. So am I trying to reach people, and the U S Midwest.
So I kind of want this, it’s actually a pretty neutral accent cause it’s neither. So they’re East coast,
Mike: probably the most neutral out of all of that we have here in the country.
david ciccarelli: Absolutely Chicago, Minneapolis kind of area. So this is kind of great. We actually call it a great lake, like the U S Midwest.
So, then, gender, am I looking for male or female or my, really indifferent. Most people probably have an audience they’re trying to reach.
david ciccarelli:So. if, if you, if that, then you should probably pick the voice of the person who sells. Like you’re trying to reach the age range, instead a young adult, 18 to 35.
And then here’s where it gets interesting : What is the role this person is being, are they a coach, right? Or are they a professor? Are they, a, a teacher or is it that guy or gal next door, this approachable expert kind of idea. So that’s the one. Well, and then finally the style, the performance, I’ve got a short, funny story on this.
There was a theme park in Florida that was a water park that they wanted, their mascot was a pirate. And so they said, Oh, well, we’re looking for a pirate move here. The pirate voice, here’s the script. Right. You would, I mean, and that’s all he described, but you would believe with, with, and there was no artistic direction.
They didn’t say we want you to sound funny or whimsical or imaginative. The spectrum of pirates was shocking, like 50 different pirates, but that’s because they didn’t provide any artistic direction on the style. Is this, witty, is this sarcastic? Is it kind of like that deadpan, like, it’s very dry, blood, these are all voice actors.
are kind of like chameleons. They can take this, they can interpret and they’re going to deliver the best performance. So as a buyer, that client who’s looking, hire somebody, having all of this in your mind, putting it down, down on paper and it’s, and then that’s in effect what the job posting is on voices.com.
You’d fill out your job posting. We would match that up with talent that have profiles. That, say that of like people that are in Chicago, they have this Midwest accent, that, that kind of match all those criteria and we would invite them to audition. So the hope is I actually call that software is an algorithm we’ve developed what we call voice match, basically.
What are the needs of the client and who are the talent that can fulfill that request? We match them up and. Most times that gives this really, this aha. That’s like, wow, these people sound exactly who I was imagining in my head. It’s one of those things like, you hear it
david ciccarelli:I actually listened because it’s so subjective.
I might think somebody is great for a particular brand of someone who goes, I wasn’t hearing that at all. I wasn’t imagining that at all. So that’s why the audition is such a critical part. Talent actually reply, not only with the sample of your recording, sorry for your script. So you can actually hear that recording, but they’ll provide a quote for how much they’re willing to do the work for.
And it might, there’s budget ranges of like 250 to 500 they’ll quote or bid somewhere within that range. and you can go, go through and hire them right through the platform. So that’s bit of the process, but also kind of what the, I look for, the more information you can detail upfront, just like any job posting, whether you’re looking for a.
a marketing assistant or an intern or a financial bookkeeper, the better you can describe what your needs are, the better the result will be in actually finding a great person to, ultimately to, to, to pre record that project.
Mike: Cool. That makes a lot of sense. And thanks for mentioning the idea of what budgeting might need.
This might need to sound like when they’re going into this. Cause I think a lot of people that the, the challenge on, on like fiber. is that a lot of people are doing that kind of as a supplemental gig. It’s not necessarily they’re living like the young lady that I hired, while wonderful. She’s a musician, her living’s made on music.
That’s a side thing for her. If you want somebody who’s really dedicated to their craft in voiceover, you need to expect to you, you’re going to get what you pay for,
david ciccarelli: for sure. I actually think it’s pretty approachable, which is our reasonable story, which is like a, the starting range is a hundred, a hundred dollars to 250 days.
That sounds probably going to be a couple pages of copy, most videos, most, a podcast intro and outro probably within that range, the benefit as well as working, I would say with a. Full time, dedicated talent is that, you can probably go back and rehire them. Maybe three months later, you need them to become your brand voice.
Maybe I want my phone system recording. Oh, I got another video I want done. Yeah. So you can kind of work with them and you get changes to the script. You can always go back and we hire them and, and, and know that
Mike: your, your whole talk about the expansion of networking using voices.com. I just caught it just with what you said, dude.
That’s huge. I mean the amount of, that’s going to be really interesting to watch. in fact, that’d be real interesting to see when, if you guys ever published trends. And like how some of the market research companies do, if you guys ever do something like that, let me know. I’d love to download that.
david ciccarelli: Oh, sure. Yeah. So there’s, there’s a few of them that we’ve, that we have, as I say, it’s if you go to the footer or the bottom of every page on the website, you’ll see a link called report. And there’s a, we actually, we have an annual trend survey. I wish we could do it more often.
It’s, it’s a pretty heavy lift though, for us on top of everything else. Which categories are work, are rising and falling. what’s the average pay per category, those are two strikes or personas we were describing, that was kind of another output from those sides, those trends.
Yeah. But, they’re, they’re just go to reports and you’ll find those trends that are right there for you.
Mike: Alright sweet. We’ve come to that moment in time. I hate to say it, but we’ve hit it. Cause I want it to get into stories. I wanted to get into business strategy. I’m studying Michael Porter right now.
I I’d love to have you back to come talk more about entrepreneurship and some of the things that you have as far as views on those things.
david ciccarelli: For sure. It’s that I love that whole world as well, too. Michael. Porter’s great. Been participating in an executive education program at Harvard business school. So all of those,
Mike: I want to hear about that too.
david ciccarelli: Yeah. Frameworks or would just be, we’ll, we’ll have to do another, we’ll have to do another, another coffee chat.
Mike: Absolutely. So we’ll definitely have you back. That’s awesome. Thanks so much for coming and hanging out, brother. I really appreciate your time.
This has been revealing, educating, and like, this is cool. Shit. I mean, it really is. where can people find you besides voices.com? Where else can they find you?
david ciccarelli: probably the best places on LinkedIn. just walk into search for me and make the connection. And, David typing into LinkedIn and, and, yeah, we’ll stay connected there and, and, I mean, Twitter as well, but probably more LinkedIn.
And then, get to know a little bit. Absolutely. I can be a resource to you or anybody listening. Just let me know.
Mike: You’ve already been a huge resource today, brother. I’m sure there’s plenty more to learn. So guys, those links will be down in the bottom in the comments. And if you haven’t already, if you’re watching on YouTube, hit the subscribe, the bell hit the bell.
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And that’s how we always love the sign off. So stay up, stay healthy, stay safe and live from both of us to all of you. Just for now
Interview with David Ciccarelli: more information on Java chat, visit www.java chat, podcast.com. You’ve been listening to coffee with Mike on Java chat tune in weekly to this podcast. For the next episode, you can also download or subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform. A production of Oasis media group, LLC. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada.