In this #ThisIsAVoice podcast episode we’re talking to Nic Redman and Leah Marks from the excellent podcast TheVOSocial. We find out how Leah and Nic got into voiceovers and we discuss why portfolio careers are now a thing for actors, voiceover genres and finding your niche, and dream jobs.

We discover why Gillyanne and Nic are passionate about vocal education, and how Leah and Jeremy found podcasts as a playground for their talents.

And of course, what’s in your mug?

FYI The disaster that you hope never happens, happened.

Yes, we lost all of Jeremy’s original sound files.

So the version that you are listening to is a cobble (technical term) of the Zoom audio recording, plus selected dropins from Nic’s and Leah’s emergency recordings. So if you hear the sound “stuttering” a little, forgive us just this once.

Don’t be like Jeremy, check while you’re recording!

Also in this episode:

Gillyanne’s the Queen’s Blend tea comes from https://cupoftea.co.uk

The Voiceover Social podcast with Nic Redman and Leah Marks https://www.thevosocial.com/

The voice coach podcast with Nic Redman https://www.podfollow.com/the-voice-coach-podcast

 

Nic

I will roll around the floor and wiggle things and breathe into stuff for the day as long, I will. But voiceovers don’t have the time for that. And my message is like lots there’s not a whole pile you have to do actually to make things easier. So that’s.. I feel the same Gillyanne I feel like I want people to know that voicing doesn’t have to be effortful, and that your voice doesn’t have to hurt after a whole day narrating an audio book because you fell into audiobook narration kind of by accident. And now you voice all day, but your voice sort of hurts like that doesn’t have to happen. So yeah, I feel very feel very strongly about that because a lot of the voice training information as in technique training in voiceover land, and vocal health information is a little bit out of date. A little bit anecdotal. A little bit. My singing teacher told me in the 70s a little bit I learned this at drama school in the 50s

Gillyanne Kayes
It was probably me…

Announcer
This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.

Jeremy
Hello and welcome to podcast series two Episode Two. I’m Jeremy Fisher.

Gillyanne Kayes
I’m Gillyanne Kayes

Jeremy
And we have two guests with us today Nicola Redman and Leah Marks from Voiceover Social. Hello.

Nic
I was having such a nice boogie there Jeremy to the intro

Gillyanne Kayes
You two can come again.

Jeremy
Okay, what’s in your mug?

Leah
In my mug

Jeremy
Show us your mugs

Leah
A very high quality espresso from my espresso machine downstairs because I as well as all the other things run a coffee business out of an Airstream caravan and have become the most appalling coffee snob so

Nic
She’s just a nightmare an absolute nightmare

Leah
In every situation

Nic
and we used to go to coffee shops

Leah
so antisocial.

Jeremy
can i describe your mug for a moment Leah? That is, it’s beautiful. It’s sort of bluey-green flowers and green greeny brown flowers

Leah
70s murky kitsch. I love it. We were looking for espresso cups for such a long time. It’s those middle-class thing I’ve ever ever said. But I didn’t have an espresso cup but just had like a cup with a short amount of espresso in it and now an espresso cup from like a fancy shop is my is my Christmas present.

Jeremy
Is that sole one or do you have the set?

Leah
The set, the set darling

Jeremy
Of course

Gillyanne Kayes
It’s very nice, actually. Really nice.

Leah
Thank you very much.

Gillyanne Kayes
Okay, so Nic what have you got

Jeremy
Nic, what’s in yours?

Nic
I’ve got my very very best China cup for you guys. Today. I have two that a friend gave me the rest of them are terrible mugs. Just mugs proper hardcore mugs. It’s proper China. It’s the only one my mum will drink it when she comes.

Jeremy
Nice

Nic
And it’s gin. No joking. Because it’s only eight minutes past ten and it’s it’s just builders brew guys. Just your classic builders bro with milk and everything.

Gillyanne Kayes
Nothing wrong with a builder’s brew

Jeremy
Oh no, absolutely not

Gillyanne Kayes
That takes me to where I am, which is, Leah. I’m a bit of a tea snob. This is a Villeroy and Bosch. In fact, it’s a French breakfast coffee cup. But for me because I like a decent brew. That’s the one that I use. And I use it without the saucer because you know, I’m just a bit down market.

Leah
So what do you do with the saucer? I don’t know what to do with it.

Nic
Smash it like a Greek

Leah
Smash it.

Gillyanne Kayes
I am officially a tea snob. I don’t know how much you can see this.

Jeremy
Just a minute. This is obviously the Queen’s tea.

Leah
That’s a sponsor opportunity waiting to happen.

Nic
I couldn’t feel any less inadequate now

Gillyanne Kayes
I have got to tell you what it says. Eine typische Teemischung für die Queen.

Jeremy
There you are

Gillyanne Kayes
A typical tea for THE queen.

Nic
The Queen

Gillyanne Kayes
It’s fabulous. I I do love. I do love a decent cup of tea.

Jeremy
Yeah, okay. I’m mixing my metaphors today. Normally, this is what I have. Which is tea with a lid on it.

Leah
But why is there a lid on it?

Nic
Hang on, hang on

Leah
Just don’t be carrying on. What’s the lid doing there?

Jeremy
The lid is keeping the tea warm obvs.

Leah
You’re not gonna drink it though?

Jeremy
Yeah. Yeah.

Nic
How do you dunk a biscuit in there when there’s a lid on it? How do you dunk?

Jeremy
Take the lid off

Nic
That’s a lot that’s too many hands. I don’t have that many hands Jeremy

Leah
Hold the mug, hold the lid, biscuit, how’s that going to work?

Nic
Hold it, lid, biscuit, hold the lid, biscuit.

Jeremy
Dunk the biscuit, eat the biscuit, drink the tea.

Nic
You’re fired. you’re fired from the podcast.

Leah
Get out!

Jeremy
Okay on the other one and this is why I’m hedging my bets today. This is bulletproof coffee. Is that also got a lid on it. This has not got a lid on it. Just got a rim on it and this is in one of these plastic beakers. That is part of a whizzer. What do they call them?

Unknown Speaker
A blender. We don’t have product placement for them

Jeremy
It’s part of a blender thing so I’m not going to demonstrate it because I would you know, you turn it upside down and you put a blade on it

Leah
Oh yes, yes. Yeah

Jeremy
Absolutely turn it upside down and throw the coffee all over my computer. So I’m not going to mime that

Nic
It’s why he’s got a lid

Jeremy
So yeah, that’s

Nic
What’s bulletproof coffee?

Jeremy
Bulletproof Coffee is, came from Mongolia, you know the Mongol tea that they serve people which is basically yak’s butter and coffee mixed together.

Leah
Yeah, no, I do know about it. So you have you have your butter in the coffee.

Nic
Oh no

Leah
My friend who lost a lot of weight very quickly, and was like, Oh yes, I just drink this special bulletproof coffee now it’s just black coffee with butter in it. And that’s all I drink every day all day and somehow I’m losing loads of weight. I don’t quite know how I feel about it to be honest.

Jeremy
I mean, it’s it’s bulletproof. It’s a black coffee, butter and there is MCT oil.

Leah
That’s the other thing. Yes,

Jeremy
and I don’t particularly like the flavour because I don’t like the flavour of butter.

Nic
What I’m sorry you don’t like I can’t you don’t like butter?

Leah
What’s happening, why are you doing it? How long have you been involved in this cult?

Nic
I thought we were gonna be friends but the lid on top and now the butter like

Gillyanne Kayes
how you know the whole toast scenario without butter?

Leah
Who eats toast without butter?

Jeremy
no, vegan margarine. Not that I’m vegan. This is very interesting.

Leah
I’m done. I’m done. Bye guys

Nic
We’re leaving, that’s it.

Jeremy
20 odd years ago, I was doing a job in Buxton in the north of England

Nic
That’s how all good stories start.

Jeremy
and sitting in the fish and chip shop. And somebody one of my one of my fellow musicians walked past and went “I thought you were macrobiotic”, and I thought what is it about me that gives that macrobiotic to somebody

Leah
I have a story I have a story to add to that is that every two or three weeks someone assumes I’m vegetarian. Yeah, it happens. Like even just on the phone sometimes. Oh, yeah. Because you’re a vegetarian aren’t you Leah. No, no, no. And once I asked somebody like directly, why is it? Why is it that you think I’m a vegetarian, and they look straight at me straight me within the same room directly in my face. And they said, I think it’s because you’ve got dreads, and I was I haven’t got dreads. What is this? And Nic said, Nic said on the podcast once and she said she thought she was because I come across as a bit lentilly

Jeremy
That’s nice. It’s a good description I think I might adopt that.

Nic
You don’t want to be in that booth with her that’s all I’m saying

Leah
Nic! That’s a joke. How never

Nic
I’m so sorry I’ve been spending too much time with my four year old who thinks trumps the funniest thing of the world. Sorry,

Gillyanne Kayes
It’s perfectly ok.

Nic
So, voice. Voice training.

Gillyanne Kayes
Now we’ve discussed the important thing. Why are we here?

Jeremy
Okay, first of all, I want to talk about podcasting. You Yeah, you run like it’s like the voice podcast. How did you start and why? And more to the point? Why are you carrying? Yeah.

Leah
Oh, that’s a good question.

Jeremy
Because I mean, I

Nic
know loads of play won’t let me leave. No.

Leah
I can’t do it without her

Jeremy
They make three podcasts. And then they go, Oh, this is too difficult. And they stop.

Gillyanne Kayes
People don’t realise how much work it is, do they?

Jeremy
You’re on to at least 57. You’re probably into 64. count all the bonuses.

Leah
Yeah, something it must be 138 main ones. And there’s lots of bonuses in between.

Nic
Yeah, it’s the voiceover social podcast. It was the first voiceover podcast, voiceover specific podcast in the UK. And I mean, we think it’s the best. We’ve been nominated for a couple of awards. Deal, but we really like it. And we started it unless you can say why we carry on probably. We started it basically both of us accidentally moved to Manchester from London at the same time. And we set up this social event called the vo social, which was basically our way of trying to get a networking like submits an invoice over in the north, because we’ve been part of a voiceover gang, sort of in London, we’re like, let’s see if anybody will hang out with us here. Turns out the dead like we budget people and we got together in a pub. And we decided we decided to do that every couple of months. And in order to advertise that and to get the message out instead of just using email. We thought she would do a we will we called it a blog podcast log or something. I can’t remember it

Leah
is ridiculous.

Nic
Yeah. So that was basically us in our phones with you know, I think I had a baby in my tummy and you had a baby in your arms at the time going, hello, it’s us. You want to come and hang out with us. You should come here and we just because we thought it’s a voiceover meetup. So we did that. And then we started developing that by doing it Few we Vox pops from people asking silly questions at the social and then it became five minutes and then 10 minutes. And then Leah was like, I’d like to talk to some interesting people in voiceover. So maybe I could interview someone, and we’ll put that in the plug as well. And it kind of spiralled out of control from there. And that was that was like four and a half years ago, must have been five because it was when I was pregnant, and my son’s four and a half. Now.

Gillyanne Kayes
I think that’s really interesting, because it’s the need to communicate with people that need to reach out with your colleagues. And because obviously, there’s something about doing voiceover here, you both are in your booths. But it’s it’s very solitary.

Nic
Hi

Leah
Hello

Gillyanne Kayes
And I imagine how competitive the industry is, you might want to talk about that. And getting people together, I think is such an important element of what we do. It’s something that we work on very hard with the singing voice community.

Leah
Well, the reason why it’s carried on, I think there’s probably four or five reasons. One of them is because it has now become something more than an interview podcast. So for a while it was me going off and recording an interview and playing clips a bit to Nic and we talk about it, and then we’d have a panic room segment where people would send in their voice problems. And that was it. But now it’s an every single episode is now based around a concept of some kind. So whether it’s an Audio Diary of our trip up to Scotland, or live in Manchester, or animation Festival, where we bring together animators and voiceovers and help them to understand each other better, or bad or good. And it’s been there’s been there’s been a bunch of different things, but we’re trying to find something and then like work it up into a 45/60 minute produced programme that is like really entertaining and lots of looks at whatever the topic is more different angles, or might be something like the impact of AI on our industry, which ended up being spread across two episodes, because we had a very, very worried hour and then a very upbeat 25 minutes after that when people started sending in like reasons why be cheerful after that, but and so. So conceptually, it’s become something that has a drive to it. And it can’t get boring, because everything is every time it’s a new thing that’s very interesting to voiceovers and developed to quite a significant extent. And it’s it, I keep doing it, because it I find it really like professionally fulfilling so I have all these different skills. So voiceover editing, producing, writing, communicating with sponsors, and communicating with people that I’m interviewing and all those sorts of things. And actually, the podcast brings together all that stuff that wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to do so consistently all the time. Nic has also moved to Cumbria, which is fine. It’s fine. Basically, is okay, basically fine.

Nic
She’s gonna be okay, you’re gonna be okay, babes, it’s fine.

Leah
But this means that we talk all the time, like we will talk anyway. But we talk like constantly about the podcast related things. And it means that I’m staying close to her and I love her so much. That’s

Nic
me into You followed me to Manchester.

Leah
With another reason,

Gillyanne Kayes
what you’ve got here, it’s almost like a holding place. This, you know, what’s the word, a portfolio career, all these things that are of interest for you. And you can develop them through that. And I think that’s really powerful. And you have been described as consistently not boring. Listen to absolutely the case. And I mean, you know, it’s not just the banter and everything. The banter is great fun, as well. But the content is strong. It’s really strong stuff. You know,

Jeremy
I want to talk portfolio career cuz it’s so clear that both of you have this. Yeah. Cuz I didn’t even know I was doing a portfolio career until about two years ago.

Gillyanne Kayes
just paying the bills. Yeah.

Jeremy
One of the things about but I mean, even the podcasting layer, as you said, it’s like bringing skills that you’ve got that really, you don’t use that much anywhere else. And suddenly you find an arena where you have to do a whole load of stuff. That is certainly a whole load of stuff behind the scenes. And it’s actually one of the reasons why we started is I’ve always wanted to do this. And we just had the time and space, the energy, the money, the equipment, you know, all of that, but the possibility lockdown time. Yeah. Talk to me about portfolio. I mean, what are the things that you do?

Leah
Well, I’ll just I’ll just quickly list my other things. I know Nic has things to say about this too. So I as well as being a voiceover and an actor, and the partner Podcast Producer, I read the news for BBC Radio, Manchester, and I work for an audio drama production company in production. So administrative stuff but also production management, directing and performing for their work as well. I think that’s probably That’s probably the main, the main list,

Nic
go Nic. And I, primarily I trained as an actor and worked in musical theatre a bit. And then I accidentally got into voiceover and then got obsessed with voice and went to Central School of Speech and Drama to do that, and my voice practice course, voice studies course. So I’m no just fully fledged voice geek. So it’s a portfolio career that is all based around voice. So I coach and I perform, which is amazing, because I think as a coach, it’s incredibly useful to still be performing and to still be usable voice every day. And you don’t get that a lot, you know, particularly in voiceover. You get voiceover coaches who still do voiceover, but you don’t get voice technique, quick voice technique coaches who, who still voice a lot of the time. And the other thing I’ve added to my portfolio, I suppose is we’ve The reason we moved to Korea is myself and my husband, who is also a portfolio, he’ll be pleased to be called up, have moved in and sort of taken over my mom and dad’s guesthouse in Cumbria, and we’re developing and creative retreats business. So at the moment, it’s half b&b, half our offices, half school, of course, for ourselves as well. And yeah, I’ve sold out my first two voice training retreats in March, May. And you know, we’re hopefully going to do writing retreats and just a creative sort of creative getaway space for people in the north. So that’s the final bit in the portfolio, which is really exciting. But I think portfolios are really interesting, because there’s a weird, sort of, if you do anything, if you’re an actor, and you admit you do something else, people automatically assume that are the must be good enough as an actor to act all the time. Like people assume in coaching and voiceover. There’s a huge kind of, oh, they’re a coach and I are the other one. I’ve been doing voiceover for flippin five minutes and either flippin coach, they’re not getting enough voiceover work. So I had to fight quite hard to, like, assert my place. As, by the way, I did a degree in coaching. Like, I’m not just somebody who’s decided that can tell somebody how to do something. And I had to work quite hard to sort of find my place and let people know that I’m not just doing this couple of not getting enough voiceover work, I could do both. And I liked doing both.

Leah
The thing about either they’re not probably not good enough as an actor to be able to just be an actor, then I that’s, that’s all I really wanted to be an actor in radio drama. And that’s like my end goal at all points. So everything else I’ve done along the way, making the podcast in fact, even has been sort of a just a step along the route to some point performing an audio drama all the time. Although I’d never be able to give everything

Jeremy
up. So interesting.

Gillyanne Kayes
I think if people don’t, you know, particularly now, if they’re not thinking creatively with the skills that they’ve got, and how they can be purposed in these sort of areas, that kind of almost tangents to what they’re doing. But they’re not off in a complete, you know, they’re not packing boxes for Amazon. Yeah. I think that, you know, we have to do that. And it’s part of our, you know, we are creative drivers, aren’t we we’re driven by creativity and invention,

Jeremy
I think there’s something really interesting in this, which is, it’s almost like everything that you do, whether people realise it from the outside or not, is geared towards something specific. So you’re not just sort of with a portfolio career, you’re not just casting around going, Oh, I’ll do a bit of this. And I’ll do a bit of that. There’s some theory behind it. And there’s a there’s a drive and a direction to it. And we’ve had this conversation. And my particular one, and this is a massive overview, is I want people to be clear. Now, I don’t really care what genre that saying, I don’t really care what the tool is. That’s why I’ve done DVDs and books. And I mean, I love writing but DVDs, books, videos, podcasts, you know, quizzes, I’ve done all sorts of things, because it’s all about are people clear about what they’re doing or not?

Leah
Yeah, it’s definitely helped me make decisions along the way, like, I’ve been offered work in areas that would have taken me away from a path and, and turned them down on several occasions because even though they sounded like a great opportunity, they they weren’t going to take me in the direction I wanted.

Nic
And you have to make those decisions even within your portfolio portfolio, though, as well, because I got to the stage where I was really enjoying the one to one stuff in my online community for voice trading, which is the voice and accent hub on Facebook and doing this podcast and doing voiceover and was all but it was also teaching at drama schools. And I suddenly realised, yes, that’s my little bit of sensible stable couple of days a week because I’m, you know, earning money and for my family, but actually, I need to, I need to step up, take the risk and step away from that and push everything else into this into the self employed side of it so that I can build that so there are the although your portfolio may contain all of these things, you’re right Jeremy, it’s about clarity. And I knew one of the pastor’s voice coaches you guys will know is you know, you get in there you do your visitor lecture, you get to the point contract and then you become head voice. Great. And then you’re a researcher. Great. And that’s just not where I saw myself. And that’s not where I saw me bringing all my other performance skills into my work as well. So that’s why, like, just before the pandemic, I’d said no to about seven jobs in the north of England input drama schools, because there’s not many voice people out there. And I was like, No, no, thank, you know, I got a stick on this path and push the podcast and my online community and my international drive for all my online courses and all that kind of stuff. So you got to make those tough decisions. Sometimes.

Gillyanne Kayes
It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because I did research. I mean, I did a PhD because I realised as a teacher, that there were things that I was doing, but I didn’t understand why I was doing them. And I didn’t understand why they worked. So for me during the PhD, was to find out those things, because I was curious. But I knew that I didn’t want to go in and become an academic, and run a department. I mean, I’ve had offers, but I just knew it wasn’t me, I need to be, you know, reaching out to other singers and other teachers. And I need that hands on with other teachers. Because my driving force now is I want singing teachers to teach better. Sorry, for any kid who says, you know, what’s so interesting about, you know, my history, which was that I, one of the biggest turning points in my life was going to teach at the East 15 acting school back in the 1980s, when it was extremely wacky, and had the voice teacher that it was Andrew Wade, and he and I became great pals. And I remember him saying to me one day, well, what do you do in your lessons? You know, it’s all voice, you know, shall I shall I come in? So he came into my lessons, and I went into his lessons. And he trained at rose Bruford college as a voice teacher. And I suddenly realised that the voice people in theatre, how to process. And you know, in those days, when we were learning our singing, you were in the room with a teacher, and you did what the teacher told you. And it could be completely different if you were with another teacher. So there was no process. And that totally changed my attitude, to how to work with singers. And that really set me off on that journey. And that culture has changed now a lot in the UK. But some, there’s a lot of natural, it’s a driving force. For me, my the driving forces, I don’t want singers to have voice problems. I had a voice problem in my late 20s, which caused me much much angst. And I didn’t want singers to go through that. It’s mostly ignorance that causes it. And yeah, so there’s I feel

Nic
about that site. Sorry. That’s how I feel about spreading. The Voice training message to the voiceover voice acting podcasting community is that nearly all a lot of my client base now voiceovers voice actors, that side of it podcasters as well notice brilliant because I’m into that, but a lot of them come with the problem already, because they had no idea that that voice training in in any way sort of existed or how easy and accessible It was, like a lot of the time voice training is something that’s done in drama school darling and cheese cloth on the floor with like, breathing in through your bottom and all this kind of stuff. And it’s been a just doing it. I love that. I love that. Right. I will roll around the floor and wiggle things and breathe into stuff for the day as long a well, but voiceovers don’t have the time for thought. And my message is like lots there’s not a whole pile you have to do to make things easier. So that’s I feel the same Giuliana feel like I want people to know that voicing doesn’t have to be effortful, and that your voice doesn’t have to hurt after a whole day no written an audiobook because you fell into audio book narration by accident. And now you voice all day, but your voice sort of hurts like that doesn’t have to happen. So yeah, I feel very feel very strongly about that. Because a lot of the voice training information as in technique, training in voiceover land and local health information is a little bit out of date. A little bit anecdotal. A little bit my singing teacher told me in the 70s a little bit I learned this at drama school in the 50s it’s all about

Jeremy
this a lot in I mean pretty much in every industry but I know certainly in the music industry and the singing and drama and stuff there’s there’s niches so you know you are this person and then if you want to go and do something else within that music and singing and drama thing, that then you have to start again because then you know your skills are not transferable. Is that the same invoice community? Or do you just have a voice and then you don’t use it everywhere?

Nic
What do you think Leah, do you want to take that one?

Leah
I forgot I didn’t say the question again. Like he’s talking about singing coaching directing a question to Nic. I’m just thinking, What am I thinking about? Oh, I was thinking about when I was I was thinking about was when I did a voiceover job in a studio the other day, and on the way there all the way there driving all the way there. I was doing Nic’s warmups, I was doing lip trills. And, and I was doing that all the way there. And at some point, I was stopped at a traffic light going. All the way. That’s what I was thinking about just then when you’re asking your questions. So I’m very sorry, please ask it again. I’m sure I would have something really insightful to add.

Jeremy
I’m sure you will. Okay. Which is what it’s almost like within an industry, there are little cogs that you’re on, you know, I’m a I’m an opera repetiteur or I’m a I’m a film actor. And now I want to go and do kids voiceover you know, audiobooks, is that the same niche? Do you just transform? Or is it like the UK is like the singing industry where you do this? And in order to do that, you have to you don’t belong there? There’s a lot you don’t belong there stuff still going on? Yeah,

Leah
I think when you first get into voiceover, it’s really important to work out which particular niche you want to direct yourself at. Because it’s it’s the scattergun approach doesn’t work. And you need to work out which which thing you’re passionate about which thing you think that your particular skills are really suited for. And then, like, drive yourself out of that, and work out who all the people are, that might be able to employ you in that and and listen to every part of that, that you possibly can and really embed yourself in it. But I think that once you’re there, I think that you then have to repeat that process. But I do think it becomes easier once you’re there in whatever niche you’re in. And you’ve established yourself in a certain way, because there is crossover. In some ways. That’s what I think.

Nic
Yeah, I think at the moment as well, one of the sorry, Gillyanne. And one of the important things when I’m working with new new voiceovers is to remind them that ultimately, regardless of the genre or the niche, so whether it’s narration, commercial, voice of God, automation, gaming, elearning, medical stuff, whatever, it’s about your voice, it’s not about you signed in, like the person that you think is a really nice voiceover. It’s not about you trying to be during flicker when or you know, trying to be petted, or tone, or like, whatever, you have to bring a goddess, I’m really not, you have to bring you to it. And you have to start from, you have to start from work what you have. And then when you’ve established yourself with that, then you can start going, I teach you how to do all these accents as well, by the way, like I do accents very well, I coach accents, but I still work 90% of the time, in my own this voice like this is the voice people want from me, even if it’s gaming, even if it’s animation, they still want the animation version of me or the giving version of me, you know, like, it’s just me in different guises. So I think, start knowing where you want to be, bring you to that, get confident and established like that, and then start to explore

Leah
something that we’ve heard that Sam, we interviewed a gaming producer for one of the episodes and one of the live episodes. And what we learned from that is that people moving from animation to gaming, and have to really reassess what they’re doing because gaming, voiceover is about acting and truth and drama and all that sort of thing. Whereas animation is about big and fast and loud and excitement and all that sort of thing. So an animation reel sent to a gaming producer will be put it in the bin.

Nic
At the moment like that’s the trend at the moment. Yeah, that’s another thing isn’t it?

Jeremy
This is genre it’s different targets. Yeah. I love this I love looking at a genre and going what are the targets that you actually need to hit here? And can you can you move what you’re doing already to hit those targets? And if you can’t don’t bother

Nic
what do you need to help you maybe? Have you got the time and the money and the resources and the desire. But Jeremy’s like “get in the sea. Jog on”

Jeremy
Yeah, there are 50 people better than you I wouldn’t bother

Nic
it right though you’re right. Sometimes it is a fool’s errand sometimes people come in you’re like you work really well in animation and you work really well in in like narration and elearning and stuff. You’re not going to get the in-store commercial rates that’s just not for you. Like I get loads of certain stuff. I don’t get like really cool DJ drops or like radio One. Like that’s just not where my voice sits. So I’m wasting my time. Unless they want coming up next on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s Radio One.

Jeremy
sound like I’m really callous. And I’m not because what you’re doing and Nic, Nic, you’ve already said this is that you are finding where people’s skills lie. You’re finding the centre of what they do. And when you found the centre of what you do you do that and then you can move out from it.

Gillyanne Kayes
And this is all of your coaching is about this is finding out what almost that and it sounds very kind of woowoo and esoteric but finding out what that person’s voice what that person’s performance persona is and What it is that they bring? Because so much, particularly our side of the industry, if you’re talking about musical theatre is people put themselves in boxes. I mean, Nic, I’m sure you experienced this when you were doing your training, which is, this is my this voice. And I have to do this with, you know, for this kind of musical, and then I have to produce this kind of sound here. And then you actually don’t get the essence of the performer themselves and the uniqueness of their voice. I thought, exactly a real priori musical theatre. And

Nic
that’s how I felt. And I had this weird situation where I was in tube I was in boxes that didn’t stack is that a metaphor? Right? Like, my physicality, my character was like a character actor, you know, looks and went or whatever. But my voice at the time, like wasn’t suiting that. And it turns out, that probably wasn’t actually my true voice. It was too young, I had no idea what I was trying to sing like somebody else wasn’t trying to sing like me. And it just didn’t gel and I got to musical theatre. And I ended up in all the shows, and the French making me better money playing all the instruments, because I’m a musician as well like and plan the character that was like seven parts that they couldn’t afford to get people for, like, I was filling all the holes, because I’m a character actress, and I’m reasonably adoptable. But I didn’t want that I wanted to be upfront singing the lead, and it was never going to get that. And I just decided this isn’t working for me. And it’s hard. But you know

Jeremy
Get in the sea, Nic

Nic
Get in the sea. Jog on, what are you doing?

Gillyanne Kayes
too, I want to ask Nic, about, obviously, without revealing any client sort of information about your mental health, about vocal health? I mean, what kind of vocal health problems? Do you come across with your clients that you need to help them with, you know, what might they bring to the table aside from? Actually, I get vocally tired after doing voicing for eight hours to read a book?

Nic
Yeah, a lot of the time, it’s fatigue based. And that can come from various different things. So a lot of the time, it’s fatigue, that is the root of which is alignment issues. So I mean, you guys all know the importance of alignment. But like people who learn to speak on the microphone like this, and they just, they just think that’s why they need to do it, because that’s where their mic is. I’m jotting my chin forward for the listeners benefit. And the other thing is like breath related, vocal health stuff, again, relink to fatigue. So there’s lots of taking and loads of breath, because one must use one’s diaphragm. You must use one’s diaphragm, right?

Jeremy
Don’t let’s have the diaphragm conversation, we have it all the time

Nic
I’m so sorry.

Jeremy
it’s alright, you can’t feel your diaphragm

Gillyanne Kayes
Put it out there. Yeah,

Nic
yeah, using using too much breath, running out of breath, all that kind of stuff. And the other vocal health stuff actually, that tends to come is I can be more mental health anxiety related, and then having those effects and that can come from. And this is why I get annoyed with the stories that I hear when my clients find me and come to me, because they have other voiceover coaches voiceover as opposed to voice coaches, and they say, Oh, my coach says, I’m too sibilant. My coach says this, my coach says that my coach says the other and they come with a real hang up that their assets to hesi. Or they have a they have their accent has a particular feature that that voiceover coach doesn’t understand is completely workable in that feature. And then they’re, they’re so tense when they’re voicing because they’re trying really hard to get over that articulation issue, or that element of nationality, or whatever that happens to be that their voice is just like, I don’t like that sound silly. I don’t want to work like he want me to work. And that’s a really interesting thing to deal with. So I do a lot of ego management in terms of not pissing off any of the code, sorry, I swear, annoying, any of the coaches out there who aren’t privileged enough to have heard the voice coach, the voice technique training that I have, and also, and working with those clients who will still work with that coach, because they’re brilliant, audio book coaching, or whatever it is, and say, Look, you don’t sibilance is fine. Like, it’s just your voice. It might be your microphone, actually. So so let’s not think about that. Let’s think about finding what your voice is finding comfort in that and freeing it up from that sort of situation. So a lot of it is psychological as well.

Gillyanne Kayes
And I guess it must also be I’m thinking about how I feel, you know, if if I do something and maybe I’ll demonstrate it, and then we’re going to put that out, then I’m nitpicking everything that I hear. You know, is that okay? Dare I put that out. And in the voiceover community, it’s, you know, it is all about the audio. So you’re going to be quite obsessive about that.

Nic
And the interesting thing about audio, I always say this thing when it comes to accents, his opinion on what you hear is, is in the ear of the listener, it’s nothing to do with You What is sibilant to me will not be sibling to somebody else what is to Northern? What can I say that is not to Northern to somebody else, you know. And I think it’s always important to remember that you can only do the best that you have and hope that the listener receives it with, you know, generosity and curiosity and inclusivity and all that kind of buzzword stuff.

Jeremy
You said something lovely, is too old. And you said something really nice, which really resonated with me in the episode which was, it’s like behind the scenes, the thoughts of a vocal coach, and you said, I don’t get annoyed with the clients, I get annoyed with the bad information being passed on. And I went that resonates so much with there is so much bad information being passed on as folklore. And I don’t get annoyed with the people I get annoyed with the information.

Nic
It’s like is that the information is given in all goodwill? Yes. Like, you’ll have seen it as well, because people often tagged me in NY which is nice. Like, just ask Nic this. Yeah, cuz I am like, you know what it’s like, I’m like still doing every course I possibly can. Like it annoys everybody in my life that I’m like, sorry, I’m doing a course today. I’ll do that Leah’s like, Can we record like, No, I’m doing for God’s sake? Because he wanted me to stay up to date. Oh, yeah. Because you do you get that kind of, like folklore passed from teacher to teacher to teacher to teacher to a student to student, the student. And someone will say, Ah, my voice gets by the end of the day, my voice gets croaky help on you just

Leah
10 comments underneath going, Oh, what you need is

Nic
give up coffee,don’t drink alcohol, it must be this It must be that. you’ve got reflux, it’s your diaphragm, you need to use your diaphragm, take this medication for reflux, take this, stop taking this, do that I’m like, yeah, so like, I’ve just in because I’m, I’m doing it. I’m just gonna say it Leah I’m doing another podcast,

Leah
I fully support you. These are the jokes.

Like, I’m doing my own podcast, the voice coach podcast. And it’s about like getting the right information to my audience, basically. And I’ve just done like, three on vocal health, trying to just make sure all of the right information is out there. Cuz, you know, but then any internet, who am I like an a stream of 40 people, I’m just another those people. And yeah, my response might not be a cut and paste, like, monologue that I keep having to put out there. But like, they don’t know me from the person there who may have a more interesting profile picture than me. Or it may look like they have better political allegiances than me. And they may agree with that person instead. And we can’t discount confirmation bias, which is, you know, believing the thing that you want to believe to fix your problem.

Jeremy
So, confirmation bias is really hard to deal with, because essentially, whatever you say, is not really going to be taken in until that person decides that they’re open to new information. Yeah,

Gillyanne Kayes
I’ve definitely suffered from that one.

Nic
Oh, we all do.

Jeremy
We all have. Yeah.

Gillyanne Kayes
Do you know what this feels like? I can see you’ve got some text.

Jeremy
No, no, no, no, what I want to know, I want to ask both of you because I got an idea. Um, how do you know when you’ve nailed a character? Ah, yeah.

Leah
Yeah, like, um, so as an example, for one of our sponsors, we developed a which character, and it took quite a lot of time, just that trying out different kinds of witchy voices until I got to the point where I was definitely happy with how much energy I was putting into it, and all of all of that, all the tone. And it was just a matter of listening, listening back until I felt like I had something that I could do consistently. And like I had the physicality right around it, and it was all sort of set even although Having said that, it will be played to the mall, one after the other, sort of in the how to get a sponsor for your podcast that’s sending us all episodes. And when I was listening back, I realised and this is the most famous Lear thing it’s possible to say, by the way, Nic and I realised that in the second episode, about the first six or seven words, the tone of the witch character was a little too deep and it was notably different to the rest

Nic
Which syllable was that Leah, which syllable was that?

Leah
I couldn’t I couldn’t do anything about it and I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. And I had to just because I didn’t have the the bed underneath it to recreate it, so I couldn’t but but yeah, even even when I think about it, right, so sometimes I get it wrong. These things get things sort of slipped past but that’s that’s how I think.

Nic
Yeah. Also with voiceover, you have also sort of got to remember that the client has an opinion on whether you’ve got the character right to which, in a way it can take the responsibility off your shoulders, like if you’re doing an audition for something that’s more character lead than narration or commercial, which character that in a different way, then you send off a couple of options. And they either get in touch with you or they don’t. Or they get in touch and say, That’s really interesting. Can we work on that? But can you bring a bit more of this I or whatever. So you’re not just in it on your own, even if it’s remote recorded, and you know, you’re not in a studio with people. Usually, there’s some elements of collaboration, like, I’m sure when you were working on that with the sponsor, it was like, they will have said, Yeah, that’s great. Like we love that. And you go Okay, that’s fine

Leah
Yes, yeah.

Jeremy
So, in a way, this is all about what’s appropriate, or what works, or what has the right energy or anything like that, because it is the same in a song or in a role, which is does what you’re doing, do the job. And that requires you to analyse what the job is. It’s like, I mean, it was such an interesting conversation in that particular podcast that you did, where you were talking about the process of finding that character. And it was the idea that she was going to hate everything about your particular sponsors, trick your particular sponsors thing. And that was it was turning everything on its head. And then obviously, I won’t spoil it. But there’s a whole through story.

Leah
I was so pleased myself, Oh, my goodness. And there was there was a whole issue where we didn’t know where the sponsor one of the one of the sponsor team wanted to change the line. And they were like “you can’t change the line, you can’t change it because we’ve got like this whole like, arc coming, it’s all gonna finish in this great big amazing finale”. But anyway, yeah.

Jeremy
You just reminded me of Harry Potter story with sorry, who was the baddie. It’s just literally disappeared.

Nic
Voldemort

Jeremy
The other one. Alan Rickman is the Alan Rickman character, because he was told very early on in the filming process, what his story arc or some story arc was going to be. And no one else knew it.

Leah
Yeah, cuz he was gonna leave, he was gonna walk out. He was like, I’m bored, or I can’t do now. I’m bored. And then, and thank you. And then they said, No, no stay. Because, yeah, there’s a thing.

Jeremy
That’s really interesting, because then when the director said, I want you to play this line in this particular way, he said, I can’t write, I know what the story is. I can’t play it like that, because it will go against what’s going to happen in film five,

Leah
and then the viewers will be like that, they will realise it didn’t make any sense when they when they watch back.

Jeremy
And I think this is so good is that when your listener or when your viewer, if what you’re doing makes sense to them, then they accept it, whatever it is, they accepted is why I love it when people really, if you like, go off the rails and they do a performance that is absolutely not what you’re expecting from that particular character. But because they do it with such conviction, and it works in their world. It really makes it work and you go Okay, I’ll accept that

Nic
the thing that I always say, like to people and try to get people to focus on is like, it’s not about how your voice sounds, it’s not about what you’re doing. It’s about the listener. And as long as what you are doing communicates as a voiceover, that might be the message of that commercial, it might be the elearning, step by step guide, you have to get as long as you’re focusing on communicating that message. You can be as sibilant or as northern or as vocal fry-y, or as nasal as you like, because people won’t care because they’re, they’re hearing the message. Your job is to communicate doesn’t matter what you’re sound like

Jeremy
totally agree. Yeah. Unless you have some weird habits. In which case change them

Unknown Speaker
What do you mean weird habits?

Jeremy
I want to get a legacy. We had a conversation in the previous This is quite a big one. We had a conversation in the previous podcast, which as the point of recording this hasn’t gone out yet. So you don’t know what we said. We were talking about mugs. And Gillyanne said she wanted her particular mug to go into her coffin with her. Which was quite a facer for me, because I didn’t know that

Unknown Speaker
The mug is already

Leah
It’s important to make these arrangements

Gillyanne Kayes
It’s already 36 years old. Um,

Nic
It’s not long for this world

Gillyanne Kayes
You know, it’s gonna outlive me easily

Jeremy
And that sort of led us to legacy. What do you want people to remember? And we were talking about often it’s not what you’ve done, it’s how you’ve made people feel.

Leah
I was just gonna say that. Where does that come from? I don’t know what I said it, but it really I was like yeah, cuz I just absolutely think that I think about it quite a lot actually, that people will never remember what you said to them or what you did or anything. They’ll just remember how you made them feel. And so I want people to come away from an experience with me or like a lifetime with me feeling like that they they’ve been they’ve been lifted up. And they’ve had a nice time and they felt good about themselves. And they’ve just generally enjoyed the feeling of being near me. That’s what I want.

Gillyanne Kayes
What about you, Nic?

Nic
I can’t say Wotsits? that my legacy is probably Wotsits.

Gillyanne Kayes
I don’t know, we understand

Nic
I think, Well, I think probably, I’m trying to think if like professional legacy versus personal legacy, or whether there’s like a crossover there. I think professional legacy, I want people to feel like empowered and informed, you know, want them to know that, if they’ve come into contact with me in a professional way of offered something that makes them feel that they can do their job a little bit better or a little bit more easily. And I think my main legacies probably got to be laughter like, it just won’t be holidays time had a nice bit of craic. Yeah. Yeah, comedy comes into my world, a huge amount of married to comedian. I used to be one. And I find it very, very difficult to not crack jokes, even when it’s really inappropriate.

Leah
Is it one of the reasons why the podcast has been so successful is because of that, because I’ll do we talked about this quite a bit. I mean, but like, I’ll do the sort of the building and the bringing things together in the editing and the structure and the blah, blah, blah, all this sort of little donkey work

Nic
Hard stuff

Leah
All the very, very important difficult things. But then Nic comes in with her like, funny and her sparkle, and she just makes it worth listening to, like I’d have I’d have the bulk there. But then she just makes it great. She makes it great and fun and wonderful. And also she has the knowledge which the whole thing is kind of built around as a core of Nic’s knowledge.

Jeremy
Course. Yeah. I love that. And I actually think we should probably stop there. This sounds like a conversation we could go on forever

Gillyanne Kayes
I think, what what would you like anyone who’s listening to this podcast to know about you stuff that’s coming up in the future, any merch that you’ve got

Nic
Let me just have a drink from my VOSocial water bottle, available now

Leah
We were saying earlier weren’t me that these are such good quality water bottles. When we sell them online shop on the VOSocial.com website shop we don’t make any money out of it. We literally just trying to make the money back. That’s all we’re doing.

Gillyanne Kayes
What’s special about them, what are they made off?

Leah
They’re double walled, steel insulated water bottles, so you can put them hot drinks, cold drinks,

Nic
and they do come with a leaflet on the inside. So don’t do what both of us did

Leah
drink the leaflet

Nic
which was not realise and drink for about a week with a leaflet in

Leah
I put it through the dishwasher with the leaflet in it. didn’t even know I was drinking papier mache at one point.

Nic
Let’s listen to

Jeremy
Hang on. Hang on. Stop, stop. I’ll

Gillyanne Kayes
go. You go Nic.

Nic
I was just gonna say you can obviously listen to the voice over social if you’re interested in voiceover. And if you’re interested in spoken voice technique training, little short and sweet nuggets with me then the voice coach podcast is out first week of February.

Jeremy
Excellent. It’s been a joy. Let’s do it again.

Leah
Wait, wait,

Jeremy
Oh, go on

Leah
Someone told me that you did a voiceover job recently, Jeremy. And I think it’s about time we heard about it.

Jeremy
I’ve done several. We were talking about niches? I discovered myself into a niche which I had no idea about?

Nic
Well done

Jeremy
I’m doing really technical finance voiceovers

Leah
Oh, yeah. I love them. No, no debt finance. I’ve done medical and construction. And the longer the word the more fun I’m having with it.

Jeremy
Yeah. And I’ve also been coaching people to do them as well. There’s a bank in Switzerland that I’m coaching the podcast people for that. And then I started doing in investing, finance, voiceovers, it was really fascinating.

Gillyanne Kayes
This came randomly during the first lockdown. People started contacting and maybe because of our This is a voice book, maybe because of the app, we didn’t we don’t know why. And they were all from this sort of finance world. And they were having to deliver in English and some of them weren’t native English speakers. And

Jeremy
some of them just couldn’t, couldn’t get the right feel for what what the clients required. Yes. And that was really fascinating. So yeah, I’ve been doing and I love it

Gillyanne Kayes
You’ve got such a great ear

Jeremy
and really complicated sentences, like 15 sub clauses to get. And we’re going “and we can’t rewrite the script”. Because the script is basically a it’s like a it’s the, the version. It’s the spoken version of the written magazine. They really want it word for word.

Nic
Speaking stuff that’s been written to be read is really hard. It rather than speaking something that’s been written to be spoken,

Leah
yes, yeah, this exercise

Gillyanne Kayes
You ended up changing the script quite often asking if the script could be changed because it didn’t read.

Jeremy
Well, that was the finance guy. The bank guy, you know, nothing really couldn’t change anything.

Leah
Well, that’s a challenge as a voiceover. Yeah, well done. You found your niche. Great

Jeremy
And the thing that I absolutely won’t be doing is is Oh, and of course, I read my ownaudiobook. Why Do You Need A Vocal Coach? Oh, great love. It was like, Well, if I’m gonna write it, I might as well read it. Yeah. So which is why I built the booth behind me. That was fun. And there’s a lot of swearing

Gillyanne Kayes
There’s a whole learning curve about the production side of things, which I’m sure you are, you know, far more on top off than we are. But

Leah
do you mean sort of the editing of an audiobook? Yes, it’s a drag isn’t it?

Jeremy
Yeah, I mean, the other thing I sort of enjoy, because I quite like visual, I actually visually edit. You know, I’ll just check the sound. But I’ll just look for sound waves, because that’s the way I work. And but the whole business of the once you’ve done all the cutting, it’s everything else after that.

Leah
The filenames. Yes, yeah. So the file names, completely

Jeremy
Yeah. And also the whole business of rendering and quality and filters and all of that

Gillyanne Kayes
Plus I can’t run water in the house when

Leah
there’s no going to the toilet

Gillyanne Kayes
I can’t flush the loo.

Jeremy
No. Because the pipe is next door to my booth, and you can hear the water going. I’ve been screaming down the house “Do Not flush the toilet”.

Leah
Stop putting the toast in a toaster. And breathing.

Jeremy
Gillyanne goes “I’ve been now you can do your voiceover”.

Gillyanne Kayes
I’m sure you have this with your other halves. So if if you have this problem in your house, but you forget! Well I was just washing my hands”.

Leah
Yeah, well, I told Toby to stop my kid and my five year old I told him to stop jumping off the sofa onto the floor. And so he stopped and then instead, I was like what annoys me? I was like, what’s going on? He was running up and down the stairs instead “I’m not jumping Mum” Running up. and down, up and down.

Jeremy
Yeah. Good. We are done. Thank you so much for being here.

Gillyanne Kayes
And thank you for being our first guests of 2021.

Leah
Very exciting indeed. Yes.

Jeremy
So everything that you’ve mentioned will be in the show notes. So all the links will be there, your podcast will be there, your podcasts will be there. So anything else that you want, just drop me an email, we will put it in the show notes and just thank you very much and we’ll see you soon.

Gillyanne Kayes
Here comes the jingle

Leah
Bye

Nic
Bye guys.

Announcer
This is a voice a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.