Voice Talent Working on E-Learning

Hi Everybody,

My name is Matt Josdal, and I'm a theatre actor, audiobook narrator and voice over artist. I wanted to drop by here today because it seemed like a great place to learn more about... well, e-learning!

I have worked on some e-learning projects in the past, but it is an area of voice over I was very much hoping to break into further.

I was hoping that by coming here, I could maybe offer some insight in return for some of the same! If you're working on a short project and just need a little help or insight on anything audio-related, I'd be happy to help you out in the form of short recordings or just plain advice. I'm hoping that at the same time though, I can pick your collective brains!

I'm curious to know a few things, primarily:

1. What the primary characteristics are that you look for  when hiring voice talent for an e-learning project?

2. What resources you use to find, select and hire e-learning talent?

3. What prevents you (if anything) from hiring professional talent to voice projects?

I hope we can start a great dialogue about audio in this type of work! I look forward to chatting with you all.

Sincerely,

-Matt

2 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi Matt and welcome to the Heroes Forum.

1. What the primary characteristics are that you look for when hiring voice talent for an e-learning project?

I look for people who understand that v/o is about adding "colour" to the words I give them. Very often, (unlike TV, Video, games, radio etc.) the content is something that the consumer is negative about from the start, ("I was told by my boss to take this course...", "So what?" and so on.

2. What resources you use to find, select and hire e-learning talent?

Personal contacts, Voice123, and recommendations

3. What prevents you (if anything) from hiring professional talent to voice projects?

Complete lack of understanding about what online learning needs to be. I once put up a script for trials on Voice123, asking SPECIFICALLY for the auditions to represent one side of a conversation. So...the talent had to IMAGINE they were having a conversation with, and responding to, someone who was not there. I had 23 complete and utterly USELESS, (beautifully voiced but useless...) auditions, one-sided, flat, no "talking with my pretend friend" at all. One was great. She is a part-time professional (also has fulltime job of children...), and she was perfect. The contract was for a well-known brown fizzy drinks company, so the "professional talent" completely blew a good set of jobs by not READING THE BRIEF, and not realising that a voice, without an appropriate frame, is useless to me as an instructional designer.

How to get more experience and work?

Read, post, offer experience, and get to know the corporate and freelance players in the business.

Once again a warm welcome, and hope to see you around the various posts.

Matt  Josdal

Hey Bruce,

Thanks very much for the well thought out reply! It is much appreciated!

Getting a negative message across positively is a difficult proposition to be sure. This is one of the reasons that the constant advice given to VO artists is "TAKE ACTING LESSONS." The problem is that many come from broadcast backgrounds, or have simply been told they have a nice voice and jump right in with technical or vocal skills but without any sort of acting background (I have a B.F.A. in acting and a decade + work in professional theatre, and while that doesn't necessarily make someone any good, I have certainly served my time haha!). When you tell me about someone who was a pro who could "imagine" the other side of the conversation and make it come to life, I immediately see the difference between the "actors" and the "voices."

Thanks again for the welcome, and the insight! I really want to learn more about this side of the VO world, as I think there's a certain natural transition from audiobook narrating (where most of my VO work is) and e-learning narration.

Cheers,

-M