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Mentioned in this episode:
Libsyn is my podcast host/distributor. libsyn.com
Dave Jackson taught me how to podcast. www.schoolofpodcasting.com
Keith Norton is a voice actor. https://wingmanvoice.com or linkedin.com/in/wingmanvoice
Jen Olaya is a voice actor. jenolaya.com or linkedin.com/in/jenolaya
Who’s Line is it Anyway? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0163507/
VOcation is a voiceover conference in NYC https://www.vocationconference.com
Sean Pratt is my audiobook narration coach. https://www.seanprattpresents.com
Level One Class at Glass City Improv (Toledo, OH) https://glasscityimprov.com.
Erin Kanary was my primary improv teacher. https://glasscityimprov.com/about-us
Jeremy Natter also taught my improve class. https://glasscityimprov.com/classes/level-1
The Attic is a bar in Toledo, OH. http://www.theatticonadams.com
To learn more about Mark and Level 2 Audio, visit www.level2audio.com.
Nancy Wolfson was my first voiceover coach. https://braintracksaudio.com
David Rosenthal is the CEO of the Global Voice Acting Academy (GVAA). He is my medical narration coach, and he is producing my demo. https://globalvoiceacademy.com, https://www.davidrosenthalonline.com
My ACX Profile https://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A10FSORRTANJ4Z
Westgate Toastmasters https://3159.toastmastersclubs.org/
Matthew Dicks http://www.matthewdicks.com
Storyworthy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Storyworthy-Engage-Persuade-through-Storytelling/dp/1608685489/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=storyworthy&qid=1584537503&sr=8-1
I’m celebrating some big wins! March 2020 has been a great month for me. I’m celebrating 10 episodes of this podcast. Level One Improv Class is done. I recorded my medical narration demo. My audiobook demos on ACX are halfway done, and I’m plugging along on my Toastmasters journey. Things are going well, and I’m excited about what lies ahead.
Since I started this podcast in December 2019, I have had hundreds of downloads and, according to my podcast stats, my listeners are in 22 states and 10 countries. Thank you for listening!
I also want to thank Dave Jackson for teaching me how to Podcast and my classmates at the School of Podcasting for their support and advice.
When I first realized I needed to take an improv class, I was on a lunch break from the VOcation Conference in New York City. It was a beautiful September afternoon in 2019. I was chowing on some BBQ and hanging out on a bench in Riverside Park with dozens of other voice actors.
Keith Norton and Jen Olaya, in particular, recommended I take an improv class. They told me it would help me become a better voice actor. My brain didn’t make the connection between improv and voiceover at first. I didn’t have my “aha” moment until this month (March 2020).
Everything I knew about Improv, I learned about 20 years ago from a TV show called Whose Line is it Anyway.
Throughout the VOcation NYC conference, other presenters and students mentioned improv. When I got back to Ohio and continued audiobook narration lessons at the end of September, my teacher, Sean Pratt, also suggested I get improv training. I found an Improv Class at Glass City Improv in Toledo, OH. I signed up for Level One Improv Class. That’s the “beginner” class.
Improv Class started Monday, January 25, and was taught by Erin Kanary and Jeremy Natter. Classes were 2 and a half hours long every Monday for 8 weeks. Our last class was Monday, March 9. We were supposed to have a show on Friday the 13th of March, but it was cancelled due Ohio’s new social-distancing requirements.
Improv class taught me to say, “Yes, and…” After all, that’s the mantra of improv! “Yes, and…”
In the process of learning, I had a ton of fun. I didn’t know what to expect, but I must say that each class was like a grown-up birthday party full of games. It was so fun, and I laughed so much, that my face hurt from laughing and smiling after every class. The class had great chemistry. Not only did we have fun in class, but we also bonded after class over drinks and conversation at a local bar called “The Attic.” It was great. We had a blast.
Apart from becoming a better improvisor in class, over the 8-week class, my narration skills, timing, and delivery all improved. I became more spontaneous, and I felt like I could make different choices with the material I was narrating. I think improv class helped me make the most out of my medical narration demo on March 11, too. Mission accomplished! Improv helped me become a better narrator. I had my “aha” moment after 8 weeks of improv class.
One of my improv classmates and I have special voices for our pets. Spoiler alert! I just watched Frozen II, and the character Christoff talks for his reindeer “Sven” too!
My theory is that more improv classes can help. There are at least three levels of improv classes at Glass City Improv. So, I plan to sign up for Level Two next time it is offered. I already miss laughing and playing games!
Favorite warm-ups: 10-second story, Zip-Zap-Zop, Da-Do-Da-Do, and object work exercises.
Favorite games: “Gone in 60 seconds,” “Google Translate,” “New Choice,” “Advice Panel,” and “Freeze.”
I had a blast in Level One Improv Class, and it has made me a better narrator.
Do you love a story with a happy ending? [Yes!] Then, you will like my medical narration demo story!
In October 2017, I visited Level 2 Audio, the nearest recording studio to my home. The owner, Mark, kindly offered to meet with me for about an hour to show me his studio and talk with me about my idea to narrate pharmacy continuing education journals into audiobook format.
Refer to Episode Two of this podcast. Mark is the one who got me started on my Voiceover Journey two and a half years ago. After we met, he gave me the name of a coach (Nancy Wolfson) and some information to consider. The rest is history.
Without Mark’s knowledge, I spent almost two and a half years figuring out what to do with my original idea and ultimately learning the business of voiceover and training to be a voice actor who specializes in medical narration and e-learning. Mark and I had not spoken since October 2017.
Between fall 2017 and March 2020, I worked with David Rosenthal, among other coaches. The first time David and I ever spoke, I didn’t know how much work I needed to become proficient at medical narration. After reading scripts with him in a private lesson, he knew what I needed to do. For starters, I needed to take a 3-part group medical narration class. During the group class, I improved dramatically. After a year of various voiceover training classes, including private coaching with David, I was finally ready to record my demo! Everything I did over the past two and a half years helped – from improv class, to audiobook narration class to support and input from my accountability buddies.
This is all going to seem very serendipitous, but in a round-about way, Mark kicked off my voiceover career, and I am very pleased to say that he recorded my medical narration demo in his studio on March 11, 2020. The demo is in post-production through David Rosenthal right now, and I hope to have it by the end of the March 2020.
As a surprise bonus, Mark offered to include my demo on the “samples” page of Level 2 Audio’s website, which features professional voice talents the studio recommends. I am flattered, and I’m looking forward to sharing the demo with Level 2 Audio soon.
Something in my life came full-circle on March 11, and it felt good!!
As I have been working my way through audiobook narration classes with Sean Pratt, I have been recording and uploading my demos to ACX.com, which is a matchmaking site that connects authors and narrators who want to record audiobooks to sell on Audible, which is Amazon’s audiobook seller. My goal is six demos on the site, and I have 3 now. Half way there!
The last milestone I want to share is that I joined a Toastmasters Club in January 2020. After 3 months of being a guest, I finally joined. I love my club! Toastmasters is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. My club is called Westgate Toastmasters Club 3159, and we meet in Toledo, OH.
Why would I want to join, and why is this a mile stone? I wanted to join to become a more confident speaker, communicator, and leader. It’s a milestone because I’m at the beginning of a journey to gaining even more skills that will help me in my voiceover career and in life. A journey begins with a single step!
October 18, 2019, was my first meeting. The Table Topics Master was Joe, and the theme was “celebrating grandparents.”
I didn’t know anything about Toastmasters meetings, and I got called to the front of the room to share a 1-2 minute story about my grandparents. I told a story about the small town where I was raised and the Grandma who wrote me many letters when I left for college, got married, and started a family. I saved her letters, and when she was on her deathbed, I read the letters to her. She had Alzheimer’s Disease. Her memory had faded, but on her last day, I sensed she knew who I was and enjoyed hearing me read those letters to her.
Little did I know that the “table topics” part of the meeting was a contest, and I won The Best Table Topics ribbon for my story. That meant more to me than I can say.
I need to give credit where credit is due though. I had just read the book Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks the week before my first Toastmasters meeting. I used what he taught me about storytelling to win the ribbon. (The secret is out!)
I was so excited about winning the ribbon at Toastmasters that I Tweeted about it. I’m not a big Twitter user, but I saw an opportunity to thank the author for the lessons I learned and give Mike, who invited me in the first place, a shout out. I’m glad I put the message out there. The author of Storyworthy – Matthew Dicks – congratulated me in return!
At each Toastmasters meeting, I learn even more lessons about storytelling and speech craft by hearing members speak. I’m excited to be a new member, learn, and grow.