Interview with a Voice Pro – Nicola Redman
I’d like to introduce you to Nicola Redman, a Northern Irish voice over artist.
Now while I haven’t met Nicola “in real life” (yet!) I chat with her on social media regularly.
I love how the voice over industry is developing globally and how we can all support and learn from each other – regardless of where we live!
Where are you based?
I’m a Northern Irish voice over artist currently based in London, UK.
How did you get your started in the voice over industry?
I trained as an actor and was advised to get a demo made and get out there as the whole Northern Irish thing would be a good selling point.
So I did and it all snowballed from there. I did voice over jobs when they came up while working as an actor then started to do a bit of research and saw there was more out there to be had!
Then I invested in equipment, started to ‘talk the talk’ and learn more as I went. I now do purely voice work and comedy -sketch and stand up.
What kind of work do you do?
I work in commercial and corporate primarily but also do radio acting and character work, and live character voicing for comedy.
How does voice over work in your country?
Many of us ‘over here’ have agents but it’s by no means a requirement, and for most a luxury as competition is fierce!
We’re self employed so if you can have an agent working for you too then that’s great. Otherwise it’s a case of getting yourself out there.
We don’t have a specific voice over union, but you can join Equity, which is the UK trade union for performing arts and creative professionals.
I spend a lot of my day talking to myself in a box (home studio set up!) but do often get to go on field trips to other studios around London with real people in them, which is nice.
Can you tell us one of your worst or funniest moments in voice over?
Hmmm…I voiced an add for constipated kids once, that was glamorous!
As an actor, I also accidentally auditioned for a porn film, but that story is probably for another time…I promise it was an accident!
What is the whackiest piece of direction you were ever given?
I’ve been lucky so far, but you get the odd:
…‘Can we get a bit more on that word…no still a bit more…and just a bit more…nope, a bit more if you can…WHOA NOT THAT MUCH! God calm down there voice lady! Let’s go with the first take’ .
…‘We’d like it relaxed, but energetic, with enthusiasm but gently contradicting. Often producers don’t really know what they want until you get in the booth, then it’s a case of finding out through trial and error (or luck) what they need and getting it done.
Can you tell us about one of the best jobs you ever did?
I played an Eastern European girl for a radio comedy, that was fun.
I love the chance to use accents and character voices, that’s where the passion really kicks in. And when I can combine voice and comedy, my two loves, I’m yours.
And I will also perform for payment in crisps or gin!
Do you think social media is important for voice actors? If so how do do you feel it helps?
Abso-bloody-lutely! I’m sure there are some seasoned pros out there who don’t need it but for anyone active in the industry at the moment or starting out, there is a whole world of opportunities and exciting technologies to harness, often for free, in order to market yourself and find jobs.
Social media gives you so many areas to play in, in all kinds of formats – writing, audio, video etc… And as a creative that’s wonderful.
I’ve had work through all the usual channels – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and I even had a client join Twitter just to find me. It seemed a bit odd, but was perhaps a clue I needed to work on my website SEO!
Although I’d like to put an embargo on the creation of anymore social media developments for a while – until I get my head around what is already there #nomoresocmedforatleast5yearsplease
What do you notice has changed in voiceover in the past 5 years?
There are a lot of changes happening at the moment, the most notable perhaps the decline of our dear friend ISDN.
With developments of technology and quality of the internet it’s on the way out, so I’m intrigued to see what happens there.
Do you have one piece of advice you’d give to budding voice over actors?
Get out there and talk to your peers. It’s an incredibly supportive industry from my experience and you will learn so much more as part of a community.
It can be lonely at times, so form a support network around yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions – we all started somewhere.
I’m part of a networking group in London and we meed once a month to share info, bemoan the industry and all the usual “water cooler-esque chit chat” you miss out on being a solo-preneur.
But I’m also connected to professionals all over the world via the internet so there’s no excuse really.
Where do you see it headed in the next 5 years?
I think technology is both our friend and our enemy which will be interesting to follow.
There are a lot more things needing voices now due to technology; websites, apps, IVR, e-learning, extra radio/TV channels, which is great, but at the same time the accessibility of technology nowadays allows a lot more people to buy a few bits of equipment and just ‘give it a go’.
Everyone is entitled to that of course, but inevitability this will raise issues when it comes to quoting, accepted performance standards and the sheer mass of voices.
So I think it’s a case of knowing your worth, honing your craft and maintaining your integrity as a voice over artist.
And really, remembering you are an individual and the jobs you choose are up to you. So they are now.
Did I mention I’m Irish?