I failed 😬

Instead of pretending it didn’t happen, we’re gonna talk about it because I think there’s a lesson to be learned here.

I recently shared a picture on my Instagram of my booth with my new mic. It got a lot of engagement and really hyped me up, and I was so excited to use it. Cool, right?

Well… as some of my eagle-eyed friends noticed, it wasn’t actually a 416. I didn’t even really notice as I was putting it together. I thought it looked a little funny, but since I’ve never used a shotgun mic before, how would I have known? Bingo.

It wasn’t until my friend and all-around rockstar VO genius Mike DeLay at Real Voice LA sent me a kind DM pointing out that it looked like a different mic – the ME 66 for those who are curious – and to make sure I didn’t get scammed. (Big thanks again, Mike! And if you’re not following him and Real Voice LA, you totally should).

Turns out we got scammed.

My husband, who does not work in our industry, knew I wanted a 416 for a long time, so he went on eBay to get one for me. Found a seller with great reviews and the picture in the listing was a legit 416. As soon as it arrived, it was wrapped up and ready for the holidays. It was at a significant price cut, great seller, what’s there to lose?

After Mike reached out to me and I confirmed that the mic we got was NOT the one in the listing, we opened up a case with eBay. The seller fought us on it and said we were wrong, so we had to escalate the situation. I’m sure it’s a good mic – but the price difference between a $150 mic and a $1200 mic is noticeable – and when you’re paying money for a mic, you want to make sure you’re getting the right one.

It’s been sent back, our refund is pending, and I’m on the hunt for a new one.

Moral of the story?

– Have a support team. I’m not in any way bashing my husband’s efforts in getting me this new mic and that isn’t my intent by sharing this. He’s a really good egg, and if I’m grateful to have someone who believes in me as much as he does. He did a good thing. I’d like to give the seller the benefit of the doubt as well, that maybe they made a mistake and didn’t try to scam us. Optimism, I guess.

– Piggybacking off the first point of having a good support team. Build relationships with people in your industry. If Mike hadn’t reached out to me, I’m sure it would have taken me a long time to figure it out, or it would have been pointed out to me in a way that would have been maybe more embarrassing, like with a client. Yikes. 

– Be someone that can take feedback with your career (and life). If I had told Mike he was wrong, being the expert that he is, and went along my merry way, that would make me look like a total ding-dong, right?

– Share your wins and your losses. Maybe they can show some reality to an otherwise perfectly curated feed and be a teachable moment. 


– You can still be a pro and make mistakes. It happens. Move on.

– Know your gear 😉

– Be careful about who you purchase your equipment from. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Whew! I already feel better just sharing that. Did I miss anything or did you feel better after reading that? Let me know in the comments.

With permission and reposted from my friend and colleague (and overall badass) Brigid Reale. The original Facebook post can be found here.

Something I (and many of my fellow Voice Actors) hear often is “How do I get into/break into voiceover? People always tell me I have a great voice (can be replaced with “I do all kinds of voices”)”. To be 100% honest and transparent, when I hear that last part, I fight the eye-roll, take a deep calming breath, and mindfully unclench my shoulders. It’s like when I was a yoga instructor and people would say, “You teach yoga? Oh I LOVE TO STRETCH!” 🙄🤦‍♀️🤯 Honestly, I can’t really be salty. Compared to other careers, you don’t run into voice actors everyday like you might IT people, unless you are a voice actor. And there are thousands of us! We are actually a pretty tight knit community. But to the rest of world, yeah, we’re kinda like rainbows. And you don’t know what you don’t know.
It seems like I am (or my non-vo hubby is) being approached by people more frequently right now, understandably, due to the pandemic hitting employment so hard. This is one of the reasons I am writing this now. And yes, I’d guesstimate that 90% or more of voiceover work is happening from home studios at the moment. It seems like a win-win! And let me be clear- I am not trying to dissuade anyone from having a dream. I simply want to be fair and honest. Voiceover is cool, and fun, full of variety, and potentially lucrative, but it is not something you wake up and decide to do on a whim.
Having a great voice is wonderful and certainly can serve you well in this industry. But it is one of the smallest parts of the big picture. I have been a voice actor for a short 7 years now, and the one thing I have learned– Voiceover is not a job. It is a small business; one that requires a pretty hefty initial investment of time, education, and money to get you up and running. Think of it like being a coffee lover, who thinks it would be great to own a coffee shop. That love of coffee is amazing, but you have a lot to buy, prep, and organize before you can start selling your signature lattes.
In your first 6 months to a year, you should expect to spend between $10k – $20k. Why? Because you will need to:

  1. Build a home studio (whether in a closet, out of PVC piping, converting a room, or buying a fancy professional isolation booth).
  2. Buy your equipment (XLR microphone, interface, audio-production level headphones, recording software, just to start).
  3. Get many many MANY sessions of training in genre-specific voiceover technique, vo business training, audio production and editing training. Training can be done 1-on-1 (around $175 per hour), or in workshops and conferences (prices vary from $25-$40 for group classes, up to several hundred dollars for weekend long conferences).
  4. Get professionally produced demos for EACH genre for which you are looking to book work. Demos run between $1800-$2500 each for the pro ones that you really DO want.
  5. Build a website.
  6. Acquire various other memberships, crm software, marketing, networking, engineering, bookkeeping tools, and business resources to help you organize your business, find opportunities, deliver work, and collect payment.
    And I’m just scratching the surface here. Once you have everything in place, you will need to know:
  7. Where to find opportunities (It’s not just one place or type of place).
  8. Industry standard rates for all the different areas of voiceover. TV Commercial work charges differently from radio commercial work or explainer video work or e-learning or audiobooks or IVR or podcasts or animation or video games or mobile apps or museum tours or or or. Usage is not one size fits all.
  9. How to generate a quote with all the necessary line items and terms & conditions.
  10. How to audition.
  11. How to record work, edit it, and deliver it to the client in their desired audio format quickly. Also how to do pick-ups quickly and efficiently.
  12. How to run and be directed in a live session.
  13. How to invoice and collect payment.
    It’s a lot! In no way, shape, or form is this a thing that you should think, “OH! I wanna do some voiceover work.” NOPE! This is a full-blown small business, and the minute you enter this arena, you are an entrepreneur. You should think, “OH! I want to open a voiceover business!” There are no shortcuts to this. And like I said, the industry is a very supportive and inclusive community. I LOVE MY TRIBE OF COLLEAGUES! They are some of the best people I have the privilege to include in my daily life.
    Can you make a fulltime living? The short, sing-songy answer- Yeees! When you are first starting, you should expect to be seeking opportunities 80% of the time, and working…maybe 20% of the time, more or less. And do not expect to recoup your investment right away. If you do, I suggest you also go buy a lottery ticket, because your luck is on fire! It takes time– not uncommonly, years. As you market, create connections, and develop strong business relationships, that 80:20 balance should change, but again takes time. My point is, yes, voiceover is really cool, interesting, diverse and well-paying work, when done right. Yes, it is as fun as it looks most of the time. But it’s not easy, nor is it for the faint of heart. It’s a long game, not a lightning round. Hope this helps!

For more information on Brigid check out realevoices.com

There are many “social media marketing gurus” out there, and just as many, if not more, influencers with massive followings selling you something every time you refresh your feed. How can you tell if they’re legit?

Enter: SocialBlade. This nifty site allows you to look at the analytics for users on social media platforms from Youtube to TikTok, and everything in between.

For most users, it allows you to look at a brief history of the user’s account over the last year or so. You can track followers, unfollows, media upload count, and more.

What are some things to look out for and investigate before you give any of these gurus/influencers your money or time?

It is quite unusual to go from 300+ new followers in a month to suddenly having over 4200 new followers in a month. That boost in followers accounted for about 1/4 of their current following. 

One thing to look for is a sudden increase in followers, an unusually high number, especially compared to their average follower count, surrounded by a gradual dropoff. A big increase isn’t the most unusual thing to happen – let’s say someone was cast in a show on Amazon Prime and their PR team announced it. There’s a big chance their social media following is going to grow. But the thing is – it’s more likely than not) going to keep growing.

Here are some statistics from a popular fitness Instagrammer who has been accused of buying followers. If you look at November 6th, they had a sudden increase of over 2,000 in one day. 

Another giveaway of a fake following: low engagement on posts. SocialBlade considers followings with 1-2% engagement rate to be “okay” while 5% is considered a success and much more likely to have an authentic following versus fake followers.

So why do people buy fake followers? Honestly, if I had to guess, it probably goes back to appearances. If you have over 10K, you can use the swipe up feature. It “looks” more legit. But it does more harm than good in the long run. Audiences are wising up. Instagram is getting smarter in catching it behind the scenes. Remember the purge of inactive followers from a few years ago that people freaked out about? A lot of users who bought fake followers basically wasted their money and their follower count dropped. At the end of the day, buying followers can get your account shut down if you’re not careful. It’s really not worth the risk. 

So, lets recap. The next time you see someone with an impressive social media following who is trying to sell you some sort of IG course or service, look them up first before you open your wallet. Scroll through their feed, look at their pictures and videos. Are they getting the kind of engagement that you think is successful? Or are they selling you the appearance of being successful? There is a big difference. 

I love using my voice on social media to spread happiness, meet new people in the industry, and have also had the pleasure of making some incredible friendships online through various platforms. To me, it’s more than image, it’s about the connection. Why have a large following if you’re not truly making an impact? I might not have as big of a following as some people who push social media marketing online, but the numbers speak for themselves. I’ve never claimed to be an expert, just someone who loves using social media to actually be social and meet new people. I’d rather have a smaller following if it means I’m being authentic and genuine versus selling a lie.

Be honest with your audience. Especially if these are people buying from you and trusting you with their business. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of the blog where we’ll talk about ways you can authentically connect with your followers, and some tools that have been really helpful for me in my business.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Bonnie has been acting on the stage, television, film, and a voice actor for over 20 years. Credits include Isabel in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Margaret in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, and Glory and Rhonda in ALMOST, MAINE. She also recently performed in COMING BACK FOR ME, the winner of Project Chrysalis 2.0 with Cary Playwrights. Voiceover clients include Amazon, Buick, NC State, Toyota, and K-Swiss. She has a Bachelors in Theatre Arts from CSU San Bernardino. When she’s not recording in the studio, she can be found hanging out with her dog Marcel, drinking too much coffee, and serving on the board at North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre. You should totally check out her website at vosuperhero.com   

When I was younger and talked about how people often told me I wasn’t good/smart/pretty/thin enough to be an actor, my dad would say that living well was the best revenge.

Now that I’m older, I think he was mostly right. But I’d say living well could also be: living truthfully, following your own path, being your authentic self. Whatever it means to you.

I’m not super into the idea of revenge in general (I’m too busy and am just trying to live a life with good vibes, you know?) but I will say… it feels GOOD when you accomplish the things others said you couldn’t. You’re not necessarily proving them wrong, but you’re really proving yourself right. 🦸🏼‍♀️💥

Last chance! If you missed “New Age Farewells” by Susan M. Steadman and the rest of these fantastic plays as part of the NC 10 by 10 Play Festival last weekend… tomorrow is your final chance to watch! Admission to the play festival is pay what you can, and it all goes to support the arts here in NC.

So much effort was put into making this happen and to keep the arts alive in 2020. I’m truly honored to have been such a small part of it, and to have been able to direct such a great play with phenomenal actors. Grab your ticket to admission here!