Here's a list of resources just for my students and attendees of my seminars of people and things I that I happily recommend to anyone who needs any of the following services. Bolded names indicate LTM alumni! Keep checking back as this list expands!
Fitness and fun!
Music production and composition
Online marketplaces (to find VO work)
Voiceover instruction and demo production
Due to the overwhelming volume of requests I get from aspiring voice actors, I cannot respond to most inquiries I get for VO tips, demo evaluations, meetings over coffee/lunch, etc. and my availability for coaching is extremely limited. However, I’ve put together a collection of resources, and a beginner’s guide that may help you on your way (even if you’re not a beginner).
First of all: Please do take advantage of what I can provide! Join my mailing list for Melanie updates, and please feel free to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and my website, as well as the LTM Voiceover Classes website.
If you’re just starting out (and even if you’re not): Read through EVERYTHING on the website IWantToBeAVoiceActor.com. Everything. All of it. Renown voice actor Dee Bradley Baker created this site specifically for this purpose, and it is a great, comprehensive wealth of information for anyone interested in pursuing voiceover work. Read everything on that site all the way through. Then read it again.
Here's the stuff you probably think is more important than it actually is and will potentially save you thousands of dollars in just three paragraphs:
-EQUIPMENT/HOME STUDIO: Once you’ve read EVERYTHING on IWantToBeAVoiceActor.com (and/or before then), you may want to get a microphone/recording setup. Don’t. Get some solid training under your belt first. I’ve watched way too many people who *think* they want to be voice actors invest way too much money in an expensive microphone without knowing how to use it—both technically and artistically. It’s like saying, “I want to be a writer—I better invest in an expensive pen, right away!”
When you're first starting out, an iPhone (or most mobile devices) is more than sufficient for audition-quality recordings and for practice purposes. (In fact, I am perfectly happy to admit that I have auditioned for--and booked--work within the past year off auditions I recorded from my iPhone when I didn't feel like walking the ten feet or so to my closet-studio setup.) Wait to buy a microphone until you need one—and when you need one, you’ll know. When that happens, read this: https://iwanttobeavoiceactor.com/your-studio/. I’d second everything on here except the mic (you need to test a bunch out to see what’s best for YOUR voice) and soundproofing specifics. Soundproofing is paramount—perhaps the single most important component of all of this—and a “portabooth” or any partial substitution for thorough sound dampening/absorption is a waste of money.
If you find yourself needing access to a higher-quality studio in the meantime, for a booking or higher-caliber audition, you may find it a worthwhile investment to pay for an hour or so rental of a local recording studio. Even small towns will usually have at least one (Google/Google Maps is your friend here), and it will allow you to not only record high-quality audio without investing a significant sum of money before you're ready, but it'll allow you to begin making valuable connections with local professionals that may pay off when you are ready to do professional VO work!
-DEMOS: You might also want to have a demo made. Don’t. Read this: https://iwanttobeavoiceactor.com/your-demo/
Do not make a demo until you know exactly what is expected as industry standard for demos, are consistently providing that behind the mic and are prepared to provide exactly that NOT ONLY in the booth recording your demo but ALSO in auditions and meetings with agents, and when you do, have it produced by/work with someone who has both a solid background in the industry and a solid knowledge of current trends in VO. Do a ton of research until you find someone in whom you feel comfortable investing a few thousand dollars of your hard-earned money, because between training and a GOOD demo, you will be spending at least that much with them. (You can find cheaper demos, and I assure you, you will get your money’s worth.) This is also why you want to wait on making a demo—when done right, it is a significant investment of time, money and effort, and you want to be sure you are at the very best of your abilities for it. When you're ready, LTM does offer demo production--but if you're reading this to figure out if you're ready for a demo or not, you're not, and as you'll see on that page, we produce demos by approval only--I will not let you waste your money or anyone's time. And that's okay. Wait until you ARE to invest in it. You'll be SO glad you did.
THE REAL IMPORTANT STUFF:
-TRAINING: In the meantime, figure out the areas of VO work on which you’d like to focus, and then find someone who can train you in those areas. I generally recommend starting with a good class rather than private lessons, while you’re just starting to identify what you need to work on. Take some classes, but don’t fall into a “passive learning trap”—recognize that having someone teach you something is only a fraction of how you will actually learn it. You need to immerse yourself in the world of which you want to be a part. Do that by:
-PRACTICING: Practice delivering copy out loud, record it (your iPhone/mobile device/tablet is more than sufficient for this purpose—and most audition purposes—until you have your own setup), listen to it *critically*, and make adjustments. Supplement this with solid group/private VO training with an instructor you trust so you don’t unknowingly develop bad habits. LTM does offer group and private coaching of course, but really, it's important that you find a coach you like and trust, whether with LTM or otherwise.
-NETWORKING: Attend events in your area. Wherever you are, I guarantee you that you can find events in your area that can help you build your career, whether directly related to the entertainment industry or not. Find them, attend them, and build your own network that will serve as the foundation of your career.
Once you have read all of this and done your own research, if you're serious about pursuing this further and would like to train with us, read on:
-Private instruction: I’m thankful to be recognized as an in-demand instructor, but due to my need to focus primarily on my own career, my availability for private coaching is limited. However, I do occasionally teach group sessions, and I have an amazing network of awesome instructors who can help you if I can't! Check out our awesome instructors to find the right instructor for you!
Speak With Distinction by Edith Skinner is my recommended go-to guide for learning the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), a valuable tool for understanding what proper, accent-free speech entails.
I've also had friends, students, industry guests and fellow actors recommend Voice-Over Voice Actor by Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt, The Art of Voice Acting by James Alburger, Word of Mouth by Susan Blu, and Talking Funny for Money by Pamela Lewis.
That being said, books are a great supplement to on-mic practice, but not an adequate substitute! Voice acting (and acting in general) is a very active skill that requires regular, guided practice to properly develop, and nothing beats a good class for proper voiceover training.
I have also really enjoyed and derived inspiration from The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), and The Playlist for Life: If You Wake Up to the Right Song, How Can You Not Succeed? (where I first learned about The Miracle Morning).
Cups: Coffee is love. Coffee is life. And as a freelance creative professional, coffee shops tend to be my "offices" between appointments. I am intimately acquainted with all of the coffee shops near my home and most-frequented studios as a result. The Cups app has been a wonderful aide in this, not only helping me discover new coffee shops in new areas, but offering discounted plans for coffee, tea, and other beverages at participating locations. And you get a free cup just for signing up! Use the code dtwy8 when you sign up and get $5 off your first purchase! :)
Boomerang: You can schedule emails with Boomerang for Gmail to send at a later date and/or time. This has been sooooooooooo good to use when I remember to get in touch with people outside of business hours (and/or when inspiration strikes at, like, three in the morning).
I've been using Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) for years now, which I've found to offer the best intersection of decent interest rates, no account minimums, and widespread free ATM availability. Also offers mobile check cashing, P2P payments, and mailing checks for free! Those things have all saved me a few times when I've forgotten to bring studio rental payments with me! :)
Enthusiastic about inspiring others to develop a balance of mind, body AND soul as the foundation for happy, successful lives (both personal AND professional), I've recently started teaching Zumba dance fitness classes! If I'm teaching a class near you, please come join the fun! You'll have a blast! =D
B&H Photo will often have prices on pro audio equipment that beat those of just about any other store or site out there, including Amazon, Guitar Center and Newegg. You can get stuff from bhphotovideo.com, but if you can, try to get to their brick and mortar store in Manhattan, just a block from Penn Station, and be sure to check out their mic room, where you can try out over 50 different microphones! It certainly is something to behold.
This is here because I discovered the magic of Uber when I was running late the day of our group photo shoot for the LTM Audio Players Summer 2014 Showcase. I had originally planned to pick up our makeup artist and drive him to our shoot, but I needed longer than I'd anticipated to get ready. Oh no! But then UBER CAME TO THE RESCUE: I opened the app, entered the pickup and dropoff locations, and within minutes a car was there to same the day. In the end, we both arrived perfectly on time! The best part: The ride was COMPLETELY FREE, thanks to Uber's referral program! If you want a free ride too, just sign up with my referral link; if you do, we BOTH get a free Uber ride (up to $15)! Yay!!! =D
I love the website IWantToBeAVoiceActor.com! It is a very comprehensive collection of information for those getting started, including all of the basic questions that everybody starting out has. :)
These two awesome guys have partnered up to offer LTM folks a 10% discount on their services when you mention my name! Check them out:
Mike Dote, http://www.mikedote.com
I use Eventbrite.com to advertise my classes and events, but I also love using it to find interesting events happening in the area. I have discovered film festivals, video game industry events, and special group networking events through Eventbrite that I never would have known about otherwise, and met people with whom I have made valuable professional connections!
Meetup.com is also a good resource for finding groups that meet regularly in your area that focus on a specific purpose or interest. There's a lot of potential for meeting people with whom you can develop valuable professional relationships here, too!
I regularly offer classes, workshops and other events with casting directors and agents who work with voiceover talent! Keep an eye out on my "Classes" page to see what I have planned next!
I have never advocated "pay to play" sites like Voices.com and Voice123.com, as I encourage developing genuine relationships (rather than haphazardly, constantly searching the internet for gigs) as the foundation of a long-lasting career; that being said, it is certainly worth having a (free) profile on each of them, if only as a space on the internet for your voice to call its own.
ACX is Amazon's audiobook exchange platform, through which authors can cast narrators for their audiobooks. This is a fantastic resource for those interested in audiobooks and narration!
Craigslist also has voiceover jobs pop up on occasion, in the "tv/film/video", "talent" and "creative" sections. Use your judgement, though--if a listing gives you a bad vibe, stay away!!
Got Print, http://www.gotprint.net -- I've been using Got Print since I found out about them a few years ago and never looked back. As of the day on which this was written, you can get 1000 postcards--completely customizable, with color on BOTH sides--for about $70 including shipping. Business cards? 1000 for under $20. Regardless of the industry you're in, it is my firm belief that everybody should know about and use gotprint.net.
PensXpress, http://www.pensxpress.com -- If you've ever met me in person, you more than likely also have one of my extremely high-quality promotional pens that have my contact info and logo on them. Those pens are the work of pensxpress.com, whom I chose after painstakingly researching many promotional pen companies. Their customer service reps are extremely communicative and I have been happy with all of my orders from them! You can use discount code "SHIP4FREE" for free shipping for orders of $125+, OR code "mc1028" for 5% off. Please mention my name at checkout!
Me! http://www.ltmvoiceoverclasses.com + LTMVoiceoverClasses@gmail.com, (NY/online) -- I and my awesome instructors teach group voiceover classes and private voiceover lessons in NYC, across the country, and online all over the world! I use my unique background and voiceover experience to get you demo-ready and working as soon as you're ready. Availability pending, I'm also available for general acting, monologue and audition coaching, as well as demo production. I love teaching people what I know! Please visit my classes page for more info!
CityVox, http://www.cityvoxny.com/, NYC -- CityVox is a state-of-the-art recording studio in the heart of midtown Manhattan, located in the historic Film Center Building (630 9th Avenue). In addition to two beautifully-equipped recording studios in its main facility, CityVox also has a small auxilary studio equipped with a Whisper Room built for one and computer running ProTools 10--perfect for recording audiobooks, auditions, and holding voiceover lessons and small VO casting sessions. This studio is also equipped with an ISDN setup to allow you to work in realtime with clients who may request ISDN capabilities! Mention my name to get a REALLY great rate on all CityVox studio rentals. :)
Jewish Braille Institute (JBI), http://www.jbilibrary.org -- The Jewish Braille Institute office in NYC has an in-house recording studio in which volunteers record, direct, and edit audiobooks. This is a WONDERFUL opportunity for you to improve your skills both in front of AND behind the mic--both extremely important for working voiceover talent to master! I've been volunteering at JBI for the past few years and my experience there has been incredibly enjoyable, as well as beneficial to my professional development. Give JBI a call and ask for the recording studio. Be sure to mention my name in regards to how you found out about them!
JustHost, http://www.justhost.com -- JustHost offers hosting at around $3/month for unlimited* (with the usual provisions as to what that actually means) bandwidth, storage, email addresses and more. I use JustHost myself to host listentomelanie.com. Click here to make all of your wildest web hosting dreams come true!
Lithium Hosting, http://www.lithiumhosting.com -- Lithium Hosting offers hosting at $15 per YEAR, though with fewer features than JustHost.
These folks are all available to create websites for actors--and some are actors themselves!
Malika Butler, http://malikabutler.com/ (NY/online)
Devon Talbott, http://devontalbott.com/ (NY/online)
Valerie Galluzzo, http://www.vgal.net (MA/online) -- She implemented the responsive design--that is, adjusting to different-sized devices and mobile browsers--on my website, completely changed the design, and made it 1000x better than it was!
Yossi Hoffman, http://www.yossihoffman.com/ (NY/online--This guy is a renaissance man. I think he can do anything.)
Melanie's Playlist Of Awesome!: This is one of my (now not-so-) secret weapons for personal and professional fulfillment--awesome, happy, positive music to start my day, join me for a jog in the morning, and pick me up when I might need or want it! I highly recommend that you make your own--though you're absolutely welcome to take ideas and inspiration from mine! :)
*This page contains affiliate links, and I may receive a portion of sales of products purchased via said links. For example, I [Melanie Ehrlich] am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. HOWEVER, I don't include anything on this page which I do not personally find valuable, useful, or helpful to me and/or my students and others. Ever!! :)