Voiceover Interview with Voice Artist Patty Mattson

My voice has been described as articulate, clear, educated and a good teacher while still being able to sound like a variety of middle Americans. I do a Great Minnesota accent, plus British, Cockney, Irish, Eastern European, Southern, Asian, light french, and Spanish accents. I am a professional singer/songwriter as well, with 3 original records as well as many jingles and sound alike parodies,(some parodies are in video’s at www.youtube/pattymattson). 





You can hear all my demo’s and see my full resume, blog, 3 original records, full bio and more at www.pattymattson.com. I have been quite blessed to work for many top level clients in commercials, film, television, animation, radio, Jingles, and records, over the last 25 years. Some recent highlights are: I’m in a new animated film coming out later this year playing a Jazz singing Cat – still hush hush for now on the title, I’m so excited! I’m the voice of Cheer Bear for the new Carebears (2012-2016), Sylvannas Windrunner (8 years now including Hero’s of the Storm), Zorbit for Zorbits app series, Beat Bo for Fisher Price, Stella the Olympic skater for Got Milk Radio 2015, the announcer for Walmart for the SE Region US among other commercials.



Female Voice Over US Canada   Patty Mattson  VERSITILE  Animated Voices  Articulate  Real Announcer   Canadian Professional Voice over



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Interview With Amazing Voice Artist Ruth Urquhart

What’s a typical day like for you and have you done anything interesting lately?

PicMonkey CollageMornings are usually taken up by life and then I head into my (proper) sound booth in the afternoon to record. At the moment I am doing an audiobook which is over 12 hrs long so I’m trying to get one chapter done in the afternoon and one in the evening. I have also just done a couple of radio ads for an insulation firm playing an Essex Girl and a sat nav! Oh, and an ad as a very proper 1930s BBC announcer for a band called the Black Sheiks.






Pick one style which you feel represents you best?

Despite the old VO mantra of ‘use your own voice, don’t try and do other accents’, I’d say that most of my work is not in my own voice but as different characters/accents. This is definitely my strength.
Female Voice Over UK   Ruth Urquhart  Scottish  characterful  versatile  convincing  empathic   British Professional Voice over




Do you have a favorite VO and what do you want the world to know about you?

There are many VOs I admire though it’s kind of the nature of the game that I often can’t recall their names! This isn’t really a ‘celebrity’ business. Having said that I was at drama school with Marcus Bentley, voice of Big Brother and he’s kind of a celeb!
What I want the world to know about me? That I am not just one voice.




How did your interest in voiceover work come about and what was your first project?

As an actor, it was always something I considered doing and eventually I took the plunge and got some equipment…(though my first ‘sound booth’ was a few mic stands with some duvets over it!) My first job was to record the entire script of the play ‘Iron’ by Rona Monro as the cast were all English and were petrified of doing a Scottish accent. The idea was that the recording of me doing all the parts in Scottish would be a guide for them to learn it. It was by all accounts a great success and I really enjoyed doing the job.




What has been your favorite voice over job to date and why?

This is hard to say! I’ve enjoyed most of my VO jobs. The ones I enjoy the most are character based projects. I have done an animation series with a New York studio which was great fun. And I do enjoy audiobooks when the characters are strong and varied!




Do you think having a regional accents is detrimental to your career? 

No! I think it’s an advantage especially nowadays when regional accents on TV and radio are the in thing. (Just look at Geordie Marcus!)
I am Scottish but am lucky as because my parents are English it was always easy for me to intermingle accents. As such, I never needed to train myself to do this. However if you have a regional accent and can’t change it I reckon there is enough work out there for you to use that accent!




What do you recommend, setting up a home studio or using a commercial recording facility?

I have done both. But I think it’s pretty imperative that you have the ability to record at home. As I said, beg or borrow some equipment, make yourself a makeshift booth in a quiet corner of a room and take advantage of some of the free trials that are out there for editing software such as Pro Tools. That’s what I did and then slowly managed to invest until I built up the proper high spec studio I have now. If you get called into a studio, great but the majority of your work is likely to be from home.




Any advice and recommendations for aspiring voice talents?

Just keep at it. It’s competitive but you will get work eventually as it’s very much about that one person liking your voice and giving you the job. Beg or borrow some equipment to record from home and if you can join pay to play sites such as Voices Pro and Voice123 then that will give you lots of experience through auditioning.




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Friday Voiceover Tips: Quick Tip for Voice Over Artists

Taking Care of Your Voice in a Voice Over Session


PicMonkey CollageIf you have done any reading about using your voice and you are a voice artist who loves to be prepared, then you have probably read about the importance of warming up your voice. Warming up your voice is important, whether you sing, do public speaking, or read copy in front of a microphone. Vocal warm-up involves more than your throat though, it includes mouth, jaw, tongue, neck and face.



So, you have everything loosened up and ready to go for that big session. How do you keep your voice from going during a long session because the voice seeker just isn’t hearing the smile in your voice? It starts with moisture. Your choice in fluids to keep your mouth and throat tissues hydrated is important. As with most things, drinking room temperature filtered or spring water is simply the best. Cold water tightens your throat muscles vocal cords. If you want to drink something warm, herbal tea is the way to go. Stay away from regular tea because it contains caffeine, which can tighten things up. Avoid coffee because it can dry you out and has even more caffeine than regular tea. If all your efforts at hydration are not enough, your throat is getting dry and a little hoarse, you can use  Entertainer’s Secret throat spray, which has a strong following with singers and voice artists. Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges are an old-fashioned remedy and have a loyal following. There are many other lozenges on the market that provide temporary relief, as well.



If you have your own home studio, be careful of humidifiers because they can be little mold factories, which is not healthy for anyone whether they have a mold allergy or not. Also be wary of what you eat before a recording session. Your diet can have an affect on your voice. Avoid eating or drinking dairy an hour or two before a session. It can create excess mucous. Fruit juices can cause mucous secretion. If you feel mucous building up on your vocal cords, do not clear your throat. Throat clearing causes irritation and it just moves the mucous to the side, ready to slide right back over your vocal cords. Drink some water and gently cough. If you have constant post-nasal drip, causing consistent mucous problems, consider nasal irrigation.



Most important of all, be sure to exercise your entire body on a regular basis. If you’re whole body is in shape, then your voice has a lot more support. Your lung capacity, blood flow, and mental attitude all improve with regular exercise.



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Interview with Amazing Voice Actor Mark Topping

Your interest in voice overs, how did it come about?

web-Mark-Topping-Michael-Wharley-2014-9_profileWorking for BBC Radio in the 1990s I really enjoyed voicing programme trailers.

At the same time I was recording a children’s story for my three young nephews, sending them regularly instalments. I loved the fact that when I did characters they didn’t know it was me.





Pick one style which you feel represents you best?

Documentary narratives show off the warmth and clarity of my voice and my ability to make a script come alive.

Female Voice Over UK   Mandy Gasson  Versatile  vibrant  multi accented  clear   efficient   British Professional Voice over



What has been your favorite voice over job to date and why?

My favourite job so far is the one I’m currently working on – being the English voice for a vocabulary app. Why? Because I love words! It’s a lot of fun making the most of a word like ‘Lozenge’!



What’s a typical day like for you and have you done anything interesting lately?

I get online to look for work, I fire up the home studio, I audition for new jobs, I record the jobs I already have, I edit. I make a coffee.



Do you think having a regional accents is detrimental to your career? 

I could talk forever about accents and voices; about the influences that people and places have on the way we speak. In England, and presumably everywhere to some degree, it’s tied up with a complicated cocktail of factors like parents, geography, snobbery, education, aspirations.

I have no regional accent. OK everyone’s accent is regional up to a point, but I was sent to English boarding schools from the age of 9 and I have ended up with what you could describe as broadly southern England establishment RP (hey, it’s not my fault, it’s just what happened!)

At the same time I take pride in my ability to produce a number of regional accents which are so good they fool the natives. e,g, Scottish, London, Irish, Yorkshire, Forest of Dean.



Which do you recommend, a home studio or a commercial recording facility?

More and more work needs a home studio now, so it has been essential for me to set one up. But I’ll go anywhere to record if my voice is wanted!



Any advice and recommendations for aspiring voice talents?

I read aloud every day. I record my voice and listen to it critically and work on improvements. Pay to get a good demo made.



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Demo of the Year Competition 2015 Winner

Below is the winner of the 2015 Demo of the Year Competition:


First Place Winner will receive Demo of The Year 2015 customized winner’s badge for their website PLUS 1 x year’s basic subscription to www.piehole.ca, www.piehole.co.uk and www.piehole.ie

First Place goes to

Voice actor Jay Britton

Demo link: http://www.piehole.co.uk/users/13712/recordings/9512





Second Place Winner will receive a 1 year’s basic subscription to www.piehole.ca
Second place does to

Voice actor Debbie Tarrier

Demo link: http://www.piehole.co.uk/users/8282/recordings/9266

"Voice actor Debbie Tarrier Demo link: http://www.piehole.co.uk/users/8282/recordings/9266  width=




Third Place Winner gets a Piehole t-shirt – Signed and pre-worn by each member of team Piehole!!! Kidding, it will be clean and new.
Third place goes to
"Voice actor Shash Demo link: http://www.piehole.co.uk/users/18488/recordings/9277 “To vote, click on the photo and then press like under the photo in the new window.”"



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Friday Voiceover Tip: How to ask for Voiceover Fees You Want

1Almost every professional voice artist thinks they are worth more money but many voice over artists are reluctant to ask for it. Asking doesn’t guarantee that you will get the voice over fee, of course but not asking may insure that you don’t. These conversations can often be uncomfortable and unproductive, so it pays to prepare. 


Know the worth of your job - Learn your value by networking with your VO peers and by checking out voice over rate cards on different websites. Be careful, not every voiceover job is exactly the same. So you need to compare responsibilities given to the voice artist by the voice seeker.



Prepare Your Argument - You really shouldn’t approach asking for a fee raise as an argument, but you may have to make your case. Think of it as selling yourself just as you would do if you were trying to land the voice job again. Make a list of all the additional work that have been to the job you originally quoted for. Also be ready to show the value of the voice extra work you have been asked to do.



Focus on selling, not begging - You will only be given a fee raise because of the value you bring to the voice over job through outstanding ability, attitude, or both. The fact that you have seven kids or are deeply in debt is completely irrelevant. So don’t beg for more money because you need it. Sell your voice seeker on the fact that your performance makes you worth it.



Choose your timing wisely - The best time to ask for a fee raise is when you have taken on new responsibilities, or done something else that was not included in the first quote. But be careful not to sound like you are holding your work for ransom. 



Be realistic - Just as you would not pay a Mercedes price for a Chevrolet, every job has a maximum worth, and once you have exceeded it, additional fee raises are only likely if the market value for the voice over job increases.



Decide what you will do - Before you ask for a fee raise think about what you will do if the voice seeker says “no” or agrees to give you a fee raise that is much smaller than the one you want. Your decision may depend on what the voice seeker says. For example, has she turned you down because of your performance? If so, ask yourself if her criticisms are valid. If they are, think about what changes you can make.



Be willing to take responsibility without money - Some voice artists refuse to take on additional VO duties because a fee raise is not attached. This is short-sighted. If their budget doesn’t allow for extra costs, this the best ways to get more pay is to be able to show that you are flexible and to get VO work exclusivity from the voice seeker. Negotiate! This gives you leverage to ask for an increase on next job you get through the same voice seeker.



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Friday Voiceover Tip: Ultimate Beginners Guide Part 3

How to be successful


PicMonkey CollageGet Training and Coaching - You will need training and coaching to learn how to use your voice. You need to learn how to use your voice and how to deliver wide a range of vocal styles as possible. The more versatile you are, the more jobs you will land. Your voice is your instrument and coaching will help you learn to play your instrument. The best way to get training is with voiceover and acting professionals by taking classes, workshops and private coaching sessions. Learning never stops for a true voiceover artist. Take specific workshops on character voices, audio book, narration and even acting classes. Attend various workshops whenever you can. The more you learn, the better you’ll be.



Practice - The next thing you absolutely need is to practice. Read out loud every day to strengthen your voice and sharpen your reading skills. Magazines and newspapers are a good start. You can even read road signs while you’re driving!



Be Highly Organized - Organizational skills are important. Have a space to use as your office in your home. Make sure you have a phone number where you can be reached (or at least respond to messages) quickly. A computer is a must for online marketing and job hunting, as well as for for tracking income and expenses.



Keep A Notebook - write the day, time and the copy that you practiced with. Make notes about how your voice sounded. For example; rough, dry, wet, lower pitch, higher pitch, etc. Make notes about areas you need to work on. If you are interested in character voice work, a notebook is an invaluable tool. When you come up with a new character voice (or new vocal attitude), give it a name and a back-story and put it in your notebook. By turning these voices into real characters it will help in your recall of them when you need them later on.



Build a Knowledge Base - Go online and search for voice actors, producers and casting companies. Study their web sites for content, features and demos. Bookmark the good ones and visit them often. Search for articles and news about voice-overs and read up on the industry. Try to spot trends. Keep your eyes open to the various ways people use their voice to make money.



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Friday Voiceover Tips: The Ultimate Beginners Guide Part 1

PicMonkey Collage2It used to be that the voice over industry was dominated by the big, booming “Voice of God” announcer style male voices but the industry has changed. More and more women are taking on roles that have traditionally been for a “guy’s voice”. There’s also a push away from those big announcer style voices. Producers today want a more natural, conversational delivery, like a trusted friend or the girl next door. What this means is, even if you don’t have a resonant “radio voice”, there’s a place for you in the industry.



The voiceover industry is a dynamic and flexible industry. You don’t need a license or anyone’s permission to do it. You can do it full time, or you can get started by auditioning and working in your spare time. Either way, you’ll need dedication, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit to succeed. You will also need to learn to handle rejection. You need a thick skin. Don’t take the No’s personally. Learn from it and move on to the next audition. With that said, there’s always room for new talent, no matter your age, sex or “voice type.”



In the voiceover industry, it is a who you know and who knows you and not a what you know situation. Many jobs go to the voice actor who knows the producer. Often, getting one job creates opportunities for more jobs. It may seem unfair, but producers and voice seekers like to work with people they know, people whom they already know will do a good job.



The voiceover industry is a very competitive business and there are more voice actors than there are jobs. Home recording studios and the internet have increased competition as well. On one hand, inexpensive recording equipment and online casting allow you to audition for jobs across the country or around the world. On the other hand, talent from across the country can audition for the same local jobs that you’d like to go for.



Speaking in broad terms, to get work as a voice actor you need three things…
1. An average sounding voice, with a wide range of styles.
2. Above average marketing.
3. A great demo reel.



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Friday Voiceover Tip: The Perfect Voice Over Demo Reels

PicMonkey CollageWe are two weeks into the Piehole Best Demo Competition and I thought to myself, this is a great time to give tips on recording the perfect voice over demos. Some are very simple, some are somewhat technical, but all will save you time and frustration.



Find your voice

The first and important step to recording a perfect voice over demo reel is to find your voice. Today’s average voice over is much more conversational and casual. This is good for the first-time narrator since you don’t have to supercharge your voice to get a recording that sounds current. However, you do need to speak clearly and decide where your voice character fits in the narration spectrum. Find the balance between your natural speech and enunciation. Record and listen to your voice and make notes for any slurred phrases or indistinct words. Push your vocal inflection and emotion some too. It feels funny at first, but listen to the playback as you practice and you’ll hear the change.



Know the material

It may seem obvious, but be sure to pre-read the material several times before you start recording. The time spent in preparation makes the final performance that much easier. Knowing how things fit together in the final product will help with pacing. Don’t be afraid to add some emotion and excitement to the reading when necessary and rehearse out loud. The script sounds different in your head. This will also identify any trouble words or phrases. Also choose your copy carefully. Avoid recording materials directly from other commercial spots you hear or shows you see. As big as you think this world is, people are paying attention! And people like casting directors and agents, it’s their job to pay attention.



Good recording equipment

Obviously, you want to use the best possible equipment to record your voice over, but the definition of “best” is subjective. In reality, it’s easy to get a great recording with nothing more than a pocket recorder, windscreen and a pair of headphones. A more traditional approach includes a separate microphone, audio interface, computer and software. Alternatively, there are several USB microphones on the market at very competitive prices. Whichever path you choose, consider how you will use this equipment in the future and make sure it plays nicely with you and your production style.



Record standing

Consider recording your voice over demo reel standing up. Standing opens your breathing and makes it easier to speak clearly and consistently. By removing the compression on your breathing muscles, you make it easier to take deeper breaths. In addition, a standing position allows you to be more animated. This is a good thing. In fact, get your whole body into the performance.



Mastering and mixing

Let’s say you have recorded your demo as professionally as you can. Now, you will want and need someone (an audio engineer) to spend time mixing, sweetening the audio with effects and music, so that it sounds as if the spots were pulled from actual shows or commercials. The engineer will work with each clip you have recorded as if it were a real spot and make it sound as good as possible. Then you’ll work together to pull your favorite section of each spot because your demo to be around sixty seconds total. You will have to pick only the best part from each spot. Another trick that engineers often use to help the demo reel sound more realistic is to change the recording levels and settings between the different spots. This way, even if you record them back-to-back in one session, the sound quality will be slightly different from spot to spot, just as if you had recorded each spot at a different time in a different studio with a different engineer. You can even help the engineer achieve this effect by changing your position slightly from script to script. It may seem funny, but sound is a finicky thing; and little things, even moving an inch back from the mic, or an inch left or right, can drastically affect how your voice is recorded. That’s why, if you record at a certain studio regularly, you may notice the mic setup is always the same in order to maintain consistency in recording.



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Friday Voiceover Tip: Beat Holiday Anxiety

PicMonkey CollageThis is the time of year that wishes are shared for a happy holiday season. Everyone reacts to stress differently and each body sends out its different set of red flags. Healthy stress management is important, here are steps you can take to reduce holiday stress and work anxiety toward a worry-free season.



1. Creativity is one of the greatest parts of the human experience, and a great tool for reducing anxiety. If your work constantly provides you with nightmare or humorous stories, make it your goal to create them. That way when something anxiety inducing happens, you will be able to come home and write something interesting about it, turning a negative into a positive.



2. Know your triggers. When you feel overwhelmed with your work, you lose confidence and may become irritable or withdrawn. This can make you less productive, affect your performance as a voice over and make the work seem less rewarding.



3. Prioritizing and organizing your voice over work load manageable. Analyze your schedule, responsibilities and daily tasks. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Don’t over-commit yourself. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. Plan regular breaks throughout the day to take a walk or sit back and clear your mind.  Stepping away from work to briefly relax and recharge will help you be more, not less, productive.



4. Reduce holiday anxiety and stress by breaking bad habits. Resist perfectionism, when you set unrealistic goals for yourself or try to do too much, you are setting yourself up to fall short. Aim to do your best, no one can ask for more than that and don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as having a healthy voice for your recording session.



5.  Reconfigure your morning to reduce the stress of having a frantic morning. Consider easing yourself into the day.



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