Plug In With Mike Vaughn
What are you up to presently? I’m a full time Los Angeles based actor.
What radio VO work have you done in the past? I’ve voiced promo’s for ABC, E!, UFC, PBS, AZN TV, ESPN; voiced a few hundred commercials, a dozen video games, a handful of animated series, and partridge in a pear tree.
What do you love about working as a freelance VO talent? Work? Feels like playtime to me. I love it all… oh, unless I make the mistake of updating the ProTools software, then I’m in hell.
How did you get started as a VO actor? What was your first gig? — Long story alert —By accident. I was a writer/producer at JWT and was directing a voice talent. The engineer liked my gen-x read and suggested I cut a demo. I rolled my eyes, but read three of my own radio spots. Took that cassette (yeah, that’s how old I am) to a talent agent. They signed me that day. I auditioned for like a year before I got my first gig: a suicide hot-line ad that was to air in movie theaters before the film.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it? Yes, no, and depends. I just took theatrical and improv classes as acting was becoming more and more of my full time job. I adjusted those techniques to fit in the booth. My favorite voice coaches (like Maurice Tobias) essentially pull from good ‘ol fashion theatrical training. For more pretentious actor dribble see my twitter account. Uh, yeah, sorry about that.
Who are your VO idols/mentors? Who influenced your work as a voice-over artist? Phil Hartman, Gary Oldman, and Bill Hader
What is your dream job? Uh, this one. Duh. Oh, you mean specifically in the VO world? I really do like everything except super technical medical jargon. Animated series are at the top of my list however.
What did you do before becoming a voiceover professional? Prostitute. ….err, I mean I was a Copywriter & Broadcast Producer at JWT then eventually freelance.
What would be your 3 main tips for a youngster trying to start a VO career? 1. Don’t. 2. Try some high-quality acting and improv classes. 3. Find a great therapist.
How much time do you spend auditioning for new work? About 2-4 hours every day. Sometimes a lot more sometimes a little less.
How do you market your services to potential clients? I don’t. I know, I know, shame on me. But I’m so busy with auditions from all my reps and current gigs, I don’t have much time to self-market.
Which production system do you use and why? It’s a basic pro home studio. I’m on ProTools 11. Probably because I’ve been using PT since 2004 and I’ve gotten pretty quick and efficient with it. That or I just like getting kicked in the nuts by Avid when they botch another update. Ugh.
What are your favorite plugins (including screenshots)? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Wave Arts “TrackPlug” plugin. Everything is just right there ready to go. They have great customer service too.
What gear do you use (microphone, pre-amp, booth, …)? Sennheiser 416 and/or Rhode NT1000 mics → Focusrite ISA One PreAmp → Behringer Onyx in-booth mixer → Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP interface → 2.5 GHZ Core i5 iMac → ProTools 11
How has new technology changed the way you work? Turnarounds and demands have never been faster or higher. And I love it. I’m a bit of a tech geek so I like being able to do more in less time with stuff like Source-Connect, Offline File Bouncing, and processing that has made possible for clients to air my auditions without another session. And I’m blown away by the recording programs showing up on the iPad and iPhone. I’ve used them for auditions when I’m away from my home studio and so far so good.
What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique anybody should know? Good acting.
When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash? 1. Making my own demos when needed. 2. Going to a VO workout group with auditions that are due the next day (nearly free awesome directions from the fresh ears of other working pros). 3. Take traditional acting classes over ones with the words VO in front of them.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads? Every project is different regardless of medium. I look at each job to see what needs to be done and what I can bring to the table. Knowing what works for each medium is just part of that larger equation. Or I’ll just mock the line reading I just got (kidding, kidding).
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