Archive for March, 2012

Pull The Udder One!*

Very amooosing .....

 

It’s arrived!  The ad that I affectionately dubbed The Cockney Cow dropped into my inbox today, complete with my version of a Cockney accent.

Made for Aimia Foods in Merseyside, it’s aimed at the catering trade and will be broadcast on the internet.

And it’s rather a giggle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUvvKRjlkx4&feature=youtu.be

Thanks to Voice123.com for sending me the audition – and cue the cow-related puns.  Yes, I know I’m milking it ……

 

*  With thanks to Gary Terzza!

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You’re ‘Avin’ A Larf!

No, not THAT Cockney .....

I fessed up earlier to being a Brummie and my feelings about my native whine.  But, perhaps by way of consolation, I was also born with the ability to mimic other, more pleasing, accents.

At school, I had a knack for languages and learnt both French and Spanish.  My French accent was always the better of the two but, of late, my Spanish accent appears to be catching up.  I’ve also picked up some Italian along the way although, according to a part-Italian friend, I have a distinctly Sicilian accent.  I’m not aware of any Mafia connections, though ….

When it comes to English accents, I can still pull a decent Brummie out of the hat and can also do a just-about-passable North East, although I suspect my friends from that part of the country wouldn’t be convinced.  But, while having lived in the South East for a number of years made me think that I could probably do a decent London/Cockney voice, I’d never actually tried.  Until last week.

The audition that came in was for a vending machine company.  They wanted a female voice over for an animation about the fresh milk products used in their hot drinks machines.  Inevitably, there was more to it than that.  Firstly, the voice was supposed to come from inside the machine and be that of a cow – yes, with the occasional moooo.  Secondly, the cow was to be a Cockney.  Let me re-phrase that. The caaa wuz to be a Cockney.

Undeterred by the risk of becoming the female equivalent of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, I gave it a try and felt it was good enough to send in.  More Mockney than Cockney, I must admit, but it had the character and humour I thought it needed.  That said, I didn’t really expect to get it.

Wrong!  All those years of wallowing in EastEnders must have paid off because, to my amazement, the booking came through.  So recording the final version saw me in front of the microphone, mooing, glottle stopping and dropping my h’s with reckless abandon.  And, as an extra test of my vocal dexterity, there were a few more sentences added to the end of the script to be read at ‘terms and conditions’ speed, but in my normal voice.

And now the recording’s done, the client’s happy and I’m just waiting to find out how and where the animation is going to be used.  Fingers crossed it’ll be on YouTube: if so, it’ll find its way onto my website so that I can show it off – and give you all a good laugh at the same time. Somehow, I don’t think I’m ever going to live this down ……

The Direct Approach

Ready to go .......

So, I’ve landed my first piece of paid-for work (more of that, hopefully, later in the month), but hunting down more never stops.  I’m registered with a number of websites, so potential auditions land in my in-box pretty much every day but, with so many other voice over artists going for the same gigs, I’m only likely to turn a small percentage of them into bookings.

Time to put the skills from my previous career in PR and marketing to good use and launch myself to the wider world.

The first and obvious step was to organise a mail-out of my voice reel.  But a CD on its own is pretty uninspiring and instantly destined for the bin if it doesn’t stand out from the crowd.  As my artistic skills are negligible at best, I decided to invest in a designer, who suggested presenting my CD in a card rather than the usual fiddly and manicure-wrecking jewel case.

Inside, the CD would be attached to the right hand side of the card with a self-adhesive plastic dot.  The left hand side would describe my voice and also give my contact details.  And the CD labels would list the tracks plus my email address.  While the cards were professionally printed, I would look after the labels myself, so that I could update them when my voice reel expanded or changed.

I’d already decided that I wanted the cards to be in my favourite shade of blue, best described as lapis, the colour of the sky and sea in the Greek Islands.  It’s become something of a signature colour for me.  My front door is much the same shade.  So is my car. The lettering would be white but Tamasin Cole, my designer, felt I needed a strapline in addition to my name.  Which was how Voiceovers Out Of The Blue came about.  Quite apart from being a neat little pun, I hoped it would be intriguing enough to up the chances of my CD being heard.

With the covers at the printers, there was one other essential I needed to get my voice heard – a website.  We decided on a holding page that would cover the essentials – my voice reel, The Coops Review podcasts, contact details and links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and this blog – until it could be expanded with examples of my work and testimonials from clients.  And, of course, the design would match the voice reel covers, which you can see above.

And here’s the finished article: www.fredacooper.co.uk.  If you’re interested to see more of Tamasin’s work, take a look at www.harperandcole.co.uk.

As I type, I am nigh-on ankle deep in CDs ready to be popped into jiffy bags so they can wing their way to TV and radio stations and production companies, among others.  The first phase will target those in London, plus ones in Surrey, where I live.  Companies and stations further afield will come next and, although I do aim to get myself an agent, they will come later as I will need to show them examples of actual work, rather than a voice reel, professionally produced though it is.

Direct mail can produce varied results and I don’t know for sure what mine will produce.  An average response to a similar mailing is about 6%, which doesn’t sound very high.  But if I generate six bookings out of the first 100 voice reels I send out, my costs should be covered by two of them.  Not a bad return on my investment.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  It’s time I went to the Post Office …………