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.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

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

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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.”"

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

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.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

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.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

 

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.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

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.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

 

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.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

Friday Voiceover Tip: Giving Thanks!!

PicMonkey CollageBeing thankful is not just part of a holiday because feeling grateful can have a powerfully positive effect on our lives. Today it is the last Friday of November which means this is a great time to start thinking of ways to say thank you to your voice seeker clients. Thanking your voice seeker clients can go a long way to help keep your customers happy and wanting to do business with you. Thank you emails are good but they don’t carry the same power as a thank you note received in the post. We hardly ever get personal post any more. If a voice seeker receives a personalized thank you note from you after a project then they will think of you as a great professional to work with and they will be far more inclined to give future jobs to you. This is the perfect time and season to send out thank you notes or presents(if the occasion calls for it) especially if you haven’t been keeping up with this business etiquette.

 

 

Gifts are good marketing. They keep your company name in front of your clients. People can’t help but like you when you give them gifts. Receiving a present appeals to the child in all of us. When you give gifts, it strengthens your relationship with clients and often prompts them to reciprocate by giving you more business. Sometimes just a few sentences thanking them for the business, stating how much you enjoyed the project and wishing them well for the future will more than suffice. Many home-based businesses like voice artists don’t have the budget to send all their clients candy-filled mugs during the holidays. Fortunately, there are other innovative gift ideas you can send to your voice seeker clients that won’t drain your bank accounts.

 

 

Buy bulk items: Thousands of specialty-merchandise manufacturers have high-quality gifts for sale, such as pens, coffee mugs, drinking glasses, letter openers, calendars and clocks. Such merchandise can often be found at very reasonable prices, because manufacturers may have great quantities they need to sell. Call the manufacturer and ask what they have available that would work as Christmas gifts. Some specialty-merchandise manufacturers have outlets or distribution centers you can visit to see their products. 

 

 

Tap into your creativity: Once you have a number of inexpensive gift items to work with, use some imagination to spruce them up. This can be as simple as inserting a packet of hot chocolate into a company mug and tying a ribbon on the handle, to something as elaborate as employing a clever theme.

 

 

PS. if you are looking for special gift for aspiring voice artist, here are some ideas for you Perfect Gift Cards For Voice Artists. You can also get in touch and set an appointment to chat to Nate, our resident voice over manager guru!!  

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

Piehole: Perfect Gift Cards For Voice Artists

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It is that time of the year, when we are all filled with the spirit of giving. Truthfully, no matter the occasion; finding and giving loved ones the perfect gift that won’t end up at the back of closet can be tough. So if you know a budding voice artist or you would like to surprise any of your family and friends who are voice artist, I have the perfect offer for you. We are offering holiday voice over gift cards at a discounted prices. Buy your gift card now, Chat to Nate.

 

 

Types of gifts cards available:

1. Test My Voice gift cards

2. Piehole Membership gift cards

3. Voice Over Training gift cards

4. Home Studio Set Up gift cards

 

 

Learn more about our special voice over gift card by Chatting to Nate, our resident voice over manager guru!!  PS. Don’t forget to send this post to family and friends.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.

Amazing Voice Over Artists on Piehole Voiceovers

 

Actor Angela Carr

Ac_profile

I’m an experienced radio broadcaster with a voice which offers a clear, warm, and engaging sound, but it’s time to do something different with it. I’d love to try out different projects, although I’m probably best suited to corporate and announcer work. I usually read the news for a range of radio stations – some with a young, upbeat, showbiz sound, some with a smooth sound, and some which tell you simply to be cool so I reckon I can take on pretty much anything. 

 

 

Actor David Kane

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Versatile, Impressionist, New Talent, and NarratorTacit, clean, and mellifluous. Distinct.

 

 

Actor Lucy Moon

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Professional jazz singer and voice over combined; I have forged a career out of pleasing the ear… 
Fiercely passionate about making projects sound classy and engaging; I can deliver dry, edited recordings from my home studio in Bristol, or travel to studios in South England/Wales. A natural behind the mic, be it narrating or session singing, my natural voice guides the majority of my work, but I also turn my hand to a healthy handful of character voices. These range from a warm and excitable Mary Poppins to my personal favourite: modern London street talk. (I live in hope of that one getting booked!) 

 

 

Actor Cormac McLoughlin

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Friends tell me I am the Voice of Ireland. Obviously I’d let you be the judge of that. Of course, over the years strangers have also commented on my dulcet tones, so perhaps it is not all bias. Listeners of the regional radio station whence I came (correct grammar) often told me that my BBC approach to news reading was second to none. Currently, I use the commanding tones of my voice to keep students in line as I attempt to lecture around the murky world of the English language. Why don’t you sit back, relax and enjoy the modesty.

 

 

Actor Pete Larkin

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I consider myself a voice actor, rather than a VO performer. I’ve done radio and TV (VO and on-camera) for many years. All styles of voiceover from rock radio (which I’ve done), to financial narrations. Theatre experience as well. When I’m doing a voiceover, I try to make it sound conversational, no matter how complex the material. My first question is, “Who is my audience here, and what do THEY want to hear?” One of my main attributes is that I always find the “music” of the production being done. And there always is one. Please check out my website: www.petelarkin.com 
And, finally, for all you sports fans, I was the Public Address Announcer for the NY Mets baseball team for 6 years. Oh, what stories…

 

 

Actor Scott Curtin

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I am a new voice actor on the scene and I am eager to start working with some great companies. For years I wanted to voice act, watching American cartoons and listening to all of the amazing different voices. I made it my goal to practice as much as I could to be able to do every cartoon voice on television and I think I’ve done a great job of it so far. I studied drama for four years and my voice is one of my strongest factors. 


I specialise in doing character voices and scripts, and can impersonate any character voices. My own voice has a slight Cork accent. It isn’t very strong but it is noticeable, and I can alter it if asked. I am 22 years old so I have a young and energetic voice. My voice is extremely versatile and I am very suited to comedy scripts as they go well with my personality and natural voice. 


With all my years of watching television shows and studying the voices, from Family Guy to children’s cartoon on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon I believe I have mastered not only the voice but the personality of each character. I can even make my own impressions if you would like. 


Although I do not have a lot of experience on the job, I put 100% in to everything I voice, and I make each voiceover unique. I do enjoy doing voice overs in my own voice, and I put a lot of energy and drive in to the scripts, but if you want a voice over with a kick and a lot of personality, I’m your man for the job.

 

 

Actor Colin Holt

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Whether it’s home alone or in the booth with your direction, you can depend on me for a quality performance. With plenty of experience in acting and broadcasting I know what you need and how to deliver it with the minimum of fuss. I’m an amiable being with the ability to work across different genres. I’m flexible, fast and can be funny if you feel like it! I love using my voice and want to make it work for you.

 

 

Have questions for us? Simply set an appointment and we will get in touch for a little chat.

Click on these links to Become a voice over or hire voice over artist.