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Voice Coaches Radio #420 – Shirley, Voice Actor from “Restless Shores,” on Rethinking Rejection

Voice Coaches Radio. Everything voiceover. And welcome to this week's edition of Voice Coaches Radio. I am Josh, he is Sam. We are delighted to have you joining us here this week. Uh, and uh, we have another guest this week. A special guest this week. Um, and uh, I, I guess Well, we'll jump right in there, Sam.

We've had a couple of really, really quality guests and I think they've been really helpful, not just for us, but for those listening as well. So looking forward to welcoming in Ms. Shirley Savage. Tell us a little bit about our guest, Sam, if you would. I would love to. So Shirley is a voice actor from Bath, Maine, and while she is another one of our, how should I say this, more tenacious, Former students who went through the Voice Coaches program, she's someone who's been very active in putting herself out there, let's just say that, and finding work and making great connections.

She is most notably now a voice actor on a weekly soap opera podcast called Restless Shores. Which is the most soap opera name ever. It's awesome, it's totally awesome, especially for Maine. It's a perfect name for a soap opera in Maine. And Restless Shores is by New Media, New Meadows Media. And the show is currently, as of today, if I'm not mistaken, on its 11th episode.

And, uh, so Shirley plays a character named, uh, Regina Miranda. And this is the description on the website, which I really love. A tough as nails, and this is something I added in. Possibly criminal, question mark? I don't know, but I'm sure Shirley can tell us. Bar manager. So, Regina, I mean, Shirley, welcome to the show.

Thank you, it's great to be here. Thanks for having us. Thanks for joining us and thanks for being with us. So first of all, how did you get this crazy, wonderful, weird opportunity? And feel free to tell us more about the show. We'd, we'd love to learn. Oh, I'd love to tell you about Restless Shores. So let me just begin by saying that we have had over in, in 10, this is 10 weeks numbers, uh, over 1100 downloads.

We are in 149 cities. And. Dig this ten countries. Wow. Well, yeah, so we're very we're really thrilled and how I ended up getting the gig in Restless Shores is no New Meadows media is run by Marcia Hinton and Her husband Tom Hinton Marcia is sort of the mastermind behind Restless Shores so she's the one who thought of the concept and she worked with our writer Greg Toulouse to write the first two episodes, and then Marcia turned Greg loose.

So he's writing the subsequent episodes on his own. And he is doing an amazing job. He has got lots of twists and turns. Tom Hinton is our Director and he also does all the audio production and including all the Foley's all the sound effects so some of them he can pull off the web some of them he has to make and How I got into it was a friend of mine saw a poster in a local coffee house that said wanted for Soap opera podcast three men three women So I sent an email to Marcia and she called me back with in About 20 minutes and what I also do what I said the the email to her was I sent her a link to my voice acting website, Curtis, which is courtesy of voice coaches with my voice demo and also I did some PSAs for a local community TV station and those are up on my website as well.

So Marsha listened to that and she would, she called me right back because she said, you're a professional voice actor. You know how to breathe and I thought, I do? Okay. So we talked for about an hour. And she had me come in and audition, and hired me on the spot. Um, it is a paid gig for all of us, which is fabulous.

Super cool. And I was one of the first, I believe I'm one of the first people she hired. Um, and I didn't actually know what role I was going to get until Marsha and Tom had auditioned everybody, decided who they were going to hire, and then parceled out the role. Now, were you a fan of, or a viewer of soap operas, you know, did that help at all, having kind of a, maybe a little insight into, uh, what they are and kind of how they work?

Well, I haven't really been a fan of soap operas. Greg the writer is a huge fan of radio soap operas. So he really has it down as far as all the little hooks, um, and what to include in an episode and what not to include. But I, I did do a little bit of theater in high school and college, and I've been a freelance writer for a long, long time, and I ghostwrite a lot.

And when I ghostwrite, I basically take on the character of the person I'm ghostwriting for. So I think that helps, that transfers over to The soap opera. Super cool. So how do you, I'm curious, how do you maintain that consistency from week to week, if you like? Yeah. Well how do you do that? Well, I think what we did in the first place is the first recording session.

Greg was there and Greg actually is. At all the recording sessions now and I pestered him with questions like, you know, where did Regina come from? What's she like? And he's like, Oh, I mean, I had an idea in my head what she was like. I figured that she was not extremely tall, like about five, five. And Greg said she has to be skinny because she has to get into tight places.

And I said, well, how does she become a safe cracker? Because she is a safe cracker in addition to a thief. And Greg said, well, what happened is her father used to bring home safes and give it to her and say, crack it. And so I'm thinking, wow, that's pretty cool. And I also was saying, so she's a little bit You know, she's not the kind of person that you're going to invite over for a cup of tea, and he says, that's right.

She could actually be the bouncer at the bar, but she's too busy managing the bar. So that really helped me, and I've just gotten to know Regina, and she's become part of me, or I should say, I've become part of her. And it's easy to get into character each week, and I practice, needless to say, I practice before we do the recording.

Sure. That's, that's super interesting. I mean, you know, we do voice acting, and I think we put the emphasis on voice. But there's acting involved also, and, and A, having that experience, and B, trying to, you know, to really exploit that, right? We, you know, we, we talk a lot about audiobooks, and, you know, you want to understand the characters and the character development, and, and, uh, you know, finding out everything that you can, finding out all the minutiae about the characters that you're playing is, is so very important for, for any kind of actor, voice or otherwise.

Well, I remember During my voice coaches training, I was taught, Who are you talking to? Who are you talking to? What are you saying? Your character perspective. Very nice. And that works not only for doing commercial and narration, but also for the soap opera podcast. Do you mark up your script? I do. How do you do that?

Well, what I do is, let me just, let me I'll give you the best example. Episode 8, I had to do a Boston accent. Now, I have never done a Boston accent. You're talking to a Bostonian here, so I'm judging you right now, just so you know. You've got to listen to Episode 8. I will have to. You've got to. Anyway, so, uh, Regina is, I don't think this is too big of a spoiler, but Regina needs to impersonate somebody in Boston.

So Huh? Oh, no, keep going. I'm curious. That makes sense. Well, I don't, I don't want to give out a spoiler. Okay. Okay. We'll, we'll let our fans know. But I'll give you, I mean, one of the, the first line I have is, Boston Police Department. So, you know, she's impersonating a Boston cop. And for reasons which you'll have to listen to the episode to learn.

Um, and so what I did was I pestered everybody I know from Boston. I got on the web and found a couple of very good Boston accent videos. I started to watch some of the movies, but it didn't really help me enough. So, what I would do with my friends from Boston is, you know, corner them and say, How do you say this line?

I mean, one of the lines I have to say a lot is, Hands behind your back. So, I talked to a A Bostonian friend of mine had said, So how would you say that? Cause I said, well, I'm saying it, hands behind your back. He said, no, you need to say, not so much back as bark. So I practiced and practiced. I was driving my husband crazy because I'm like, okay, we have to practice this.

We would practice like two, three times a day. And one of my friends said, I was trying out some lines on her, and she said, a little less New Jersey. You know, more Boston, you got some New Jersey mixed in there. And I just practiced, what I did, this is to answer your marking up the script. So what I did was, I marked up the script as to how it should be pronounced.

And so, like, I needed to say California, and as you know, usually in Boston it's California. So I would put the R in there, and I would, I would make little markings, um, so I would remember. You know, what to, what to use, what to drop, what to add. Hmm. And, uh That, I mean, that helped me a lot, and that's the script I used when we recorded.

So that's super cool. So what I'm hearing you say is that you, you listen to a lot of different examples, you work with other people who actually speak that way, and you emulated them in practice. Again, you're just taking it, you're listening, and I always tell people, develop your ears as much as you're developing your voice.

And then also, a thought on the, the California front, I, I, being a West Coaster myself, one of the tells of somebody not from the West Coast is they call it Oregon. It's just like, anyone on the West Coast would be like, What, what are you doing? Why would you do that? But that's a common thing, cause it's, like, West Coast, Oregon, so I, I totally hear that.

But that's, that's awesome, Shirley. It's a great, the Oregon, it was the Oregon Trail. Oregon Trail. Oregon Trail, everybody knows that. That's the wrong trail. I love that game. You were on the wrong trail. You died of dysentery. Oh, not again. Not again. So that's super, that's super cool, Shirley, and that's something that I encourage everybody to do, too.

When you're working on a script, even if you're given a script super, with like no preparation time whatsoever, mark it up. It's a, it's a visual cue to help you navigate what you're doing, and then it takes the pressure off of you. And then, too. Practice. Annoy your spouses, annoy your significant others, and practice in front of them.

That's a great idea. And then tell them that Sam told you to do that. And send your emails to sam at voicecoaches. com. And then blame me. Terribly. Always bad advice here. That is my role. In this process. So Shirley, how did you, you talked about the PSA thing, I would love to learn how did that, those PSAs that you were writing, I know you have a writing background, but how did you get those jobs?

Talk a little bit about you as a voice actor, when you first started out. Okay, and let me just say one last thing about Restless Shores. Please, please. The cool thing is, is that everyone who's in the episode records at the same, we're all in the studio. Oh, that's super, that's so much fun. And that is so, so we build off of each other's energies.

And my colleagues are so talented, it is unbelievable. So I, I hope that people do tune in to Restless Shores. And if you, we're on all the major podcasts and it's Restless Shores. com. Go there, you'll get the podcast link. Yeah, what I'd love to do maybe in the future, I'd love to talk more with uh, Marsha and perhaps Tom with a, with an H and maybe we can have, put an episode on this feed or something.

I think there's something there. That would be great. So maybe our fans could even get a sample of what other people are doing. But correct me if I'm wrong, you are not the only voice coach's student on the show. No, I'm not. I am Former student. Former student, right. Um, Stan Allen, who is the narrator, is a voice coach's student, and there are two other people that had gone to the Getting Paid to Talk workshops.

So there's technically four of us there. Wow.

It's fun. It's a lot of fun. So, um, let me just talk a little bit about my relentless efforts trying to get work. I know there was a story that you told me when we talked in the past. Something about an audiovisual van at an event. Yes. Yes. Well, I'm, somehow I'm able to disassociate myself when I go out to promote myself.

Um, I don't know how this works, but it, I just get very Bold, I guess, is the right word. So, there was a audiovisual van at Bowdoin College. I'm up here in Maine, for all of you who don't know that. And, there was a man standing next to the van. And, I thought, well, why not? So, I went up and said, Hi, do you hire voice actors?

And, he said, well, no, we really don't, but You know, I used to work at a studio in Portland, here's the person's name, here's the studio, why don't you give them a call? And so we chatted for a little while. And I gave them my business card, obviously, because I never leave the house without business cards.

You need to take the dog for a walk. And, um, so, so I did end up, you know, contacting that studio, um, and. Nothing's really happened with that, but I just, I do a mix of cold calls, and doing the cold calls then gets me leads to other people. So there was one cold call I made to an advertising agency, and the person I spoke with put me on to another recording studio.

Portland, which I'm near, and I called that person, and, you know, we still correspond back and forth about it. I have gone to a lot of events of various kinds. I went to, uh, Portland Chamber of Commerce breakfast, and I specifically went there because Steve Smith, who's the CEO of LL Bean, was speaking, and I got up enough gumption afterwards to go up.

And talk to Steve and give him my business card. Um, I've been to a lot of local chamber meetings. Sometimes I've run into people in the ad agencies, sometimes I don't. I also have joined a couple of organizations. I belong to the Maine Film Association. And I also belong to the Maine Ad and Design Group, which used to be the Maine Ad Club.

So there's a, a huge, um, bi annual Awards dinner coming up in May for the main ad and design group and you can believe I've got my ticket to go there and I will go armed with business cards because it is awards for the local agencies and their advertising. So I know there will be a lot of creative directors there.

And how did you get that PSA? How did you get those? Oh, how did I get the PSA? Yeah. Thank you. I got off track. No, but all of that was great. I'm so, but I'm so curious like what, which avenue that came out of. All right, so here's, here's another thing. So I'm, I came out of the local grocery store in downtown Bath where I live, and I saw this truck that has R Steel on it and which is a TV program once a week about bikers.

It's working to counter bullying, and it's on a couple of local TV stations, including Bath Community TV here in town. And I thought, oh, I wonder if they use voice actors. And I saw a gentleman come out behind me out of the store, and I thought, if he walks over to that truck, I'm going to ask him if he needs a voice actor.

So that's exactly what I did. It turned out it was Steve Morris, who is the manager of Bath Community TV. And I said, do you use voice actors? He said, well if you're looking to get paid, you can forget it, but if you want to do something free. We could hire you. So I said, yes, I do. So I went in and talked to Steve and we decided what I would do is some PSAs for a local art center here in town, the Chocolate Church.

So Steve, Steve is a real one take kind of guy. And I would go over to the studio. I had, I got to write, voice, and co produce the spots. Um, so when I, what I did to co produce them is gather stills, and then Steve showed me how to use Adobe Premiere Pro to make a little 30 second video, um, with my voice, and then we would add some music, etc.

And I loved doing that. It was, it was a lot of fun. I learned an awful lot, and it was great working with, with Steve, who I still see around town, and he's, he's thrilled about Restless Shores. Now that kind of experience is, uh, is invaluable. And, I mean, you know, the fact that not only did you voice it, you wrote it, You co produced it.

Those are all great things to have, to be armed with, because you never know the expertise and the, uh, you know, what's going to be asked of you, and having any kind of experience like that is going to really potentially separate you from someone else. Right, and Yeah, you developed other skills. Yeah. Well, I also have, I've, for a while I was doing public relations and marketing, so I, I think really deep down inside, I am a voice actor, but that marketing background comes out.

You know, I'm just, I get fearless about it. Because let's face it, I need work. You know, and I, whatever, whatever it takes for me to meet people and greet people, I will do it. Um, one thing that I keep in mind when I am looking for work is, and I, I just love this, I say to myself, there's someone out there who wants to hire me for my voice.

We just haven't met yet. I like that. Yeah. I like that. Everybody's looking for something. Well, they are. They're looking for you. And I, I really think one of the things about voice acting from my perspective is it's got to be the right voice at the right time. So I don't feel like it's a personal slight if I call people and they haven't hired me because they're looking to fulfill a certain goal.

They have a, in advertising they've got a product that they need to produce. to promote and your voice has to be right to promote that product. Totally. If you're not the right voice for that audience, you're not the right voice for that job. Right. Absolutely. So, you know, I don't, I don't take rejection personally because it's just, you know, I'm just not the right voice.

Oh, I love that. There will be somebody who wants me. I mean, and that was the cool thing about Restless Shores is, you know, I didn't, I didn't know who I was going to, what character I was going to get. And I love Regina, so it, to me, it's like, it's, it's the perfect fit and, and Marsha and Tom heard me and they went, she's Regina.

So I couldn't be happier. You're the right voice for that part. Yeah, absolutely. I'll also love what you just said about rejection I think that is paramount to like being told no is not a slight it is not personal It is not a bad thing. It is par for the course and Developing a thicker skin around that or an ability to kind of disassociate yourself from like, oh, that's not about me I'm just not the right person for this job now doesn't mean there isn't a job out there that is for you.

It doesn't none like those are not connected dots. I think that's a really great skill that you have something that you've cultivated. That's a wonderful thing that I think anyone listening to this show could really take away from it. You know, when I used to work in sales for a for a hockey team I worked for, um, you know, they used to say, try to get 15 to 20 rejections a day.

Aim for that, because if you're doing that, then you're getting numbers. And that's what it comes down to. You have to just put yourself out there. You're going to get rejected. That's okay. Welcome it. It's fine. Next fish. Next fish. Move on. Right. And also the fact that you have business cards, that you've developed all this collateral, you never walk out the door to walk your dog without them, that is invaluable too.

You just never know, you never know. And like, also, I love the fact that you approach this guy in a parking lot, like, if this is the guy, he might be the guy, maybe he's not, maybe it's a no. but that didn't deter you and that turned out to help you develop other skills. Now you also have other samples of your work.

So not only do you have a demo, you could also start updating your demo. There's all of these things. And I think for our listeners in specific, that is so valuable to hear. That's something that any one of us could do. Josh and I were talking offline before, like we even struggle with this. Sometimes it's like, Hey, we've been doing this for a while, but we forget to put ourselves out there as much.

It's, it's so easily lost, but you, you surely managed to keep that in spades. Well, I'm also relentless about marketing Restless Shores, so I will, you know, the bank manager, you know, the bank teller, hi, you know, do you listen to podcasts, do you like soap operas? Our audience, believe it or not, the main Bulk of our audience happens to be Millennials.

Really? Well, podcasts, that makes sense. I think you better believe when I see a Millennial, I mean, I don't just accost people walking down the street, but I was walking my dog downtown and there were two women coming out of a restaurant and they were remarking about my dog and I said, Oh, and they were Millennials.

So of course I kind of promoted Restless Shores and they were like, oh, yes, we would love to listen to that. That's awesome. That's awesome. This is, that's so invaluable. Keep putting yourself out there, Shirley. That's, that's great. And yeah, I'd love to figure out something in the future. We can talk offline about that more.

But, so again, where can people find Restless Shores? It's restless shores. com, correct? That's the website? And then they can find it on all, what, all podcasting catchers? We're, we're on iTunes, Spotify, BuzzSpot, Buzzsprout, sorry. Um, we're on iHeartRadio. Oh, great. And there's a couple other ones that are just slipping my mind at the moment.

Great. YouTube maybe? I don't think we're on YouTube. Because we're audio, not video. Sure, sure. Oh, for those of you listening in right now, you already know how to find podcasts. So yeah, wherever you listen, when this one finishes up, let's, uh, let's look for another one. Shall we? And also, is there anywhere people should follow you?

Twitter, Facebook? Is there something they should look for? Well, on Twitter, I'm Savage Maine, so S A V A G E, Maine, like the state, um, and that's probably Yeah, I'm also on LinkedIn, I'm Shirley Savage on LinkedIn, and Can they follow the show? Excuse me? I'm sorry, can they follow the show on either of those platforms too, or is that Well, actually There's a little, when is this going to be airing?

Probably, probably a couple weeks from now. So we're, we talked about episode 11 today, so by the time this reaches our listeners, people are gonna be, it'll be even further along, probably a couple weeks, definitely. Okay, so I don't think that this is a spoiler exactly, but we are actually going to have a character who will start blogging shortly.

Oh, nice. On social media. Very nice. And I don't know the character's name. Uh huh. I know the person who's doing it, but I don't know the character's name. So, in, so the, uh, that will be, um, coming out, and I'll, I'll email you once I know what the character's name is going to be, but yeah, we're, we're going to kind of start doing a little bit of social media with a character from.

Restless Shores. Super cool. Great idea. Really great idea. That's awesome. Well, Shirley, it's been so much fun. Thank you. This is invaluable information for our listeners, because what we're trying to do is help people get better, develop their careers, and get out there, and that's exactly what you're doing.

You are a great example of this. So, thank you so much for spending the time with Josh and I this morning. And continued success, not just with, uh, uh, with Restless Shores, but, uh, but with your other voice acting endeavors. Thank you so much. Thank you for this great opportunity to be on the show. And just, you know, keep plugging, folks.

That's all I can say. Well, you heard it from Shirley. Good advice. It's good advice. Good advice. So, uh, so again, Shirley, thank you so much for, uh, for joining us. And you can take a listen to Restless Shores, uh, and should. Take a listen to Restless Shores, take a listen to Shirley, and, uh, and, uh, and see what you think.

Let us know what you think. You can send any messages to SamAtVoiceCoaches. com, and, uh, and let us know what you think of, of, uh, of Shirley's serial, uh, podcast, Restless Shores, I can say that correctly, Restless Shores, so definitely check that out. Again, Shirley, thank you so much, and, uh, and we look forward to talking and catching up with you in the future, alright?

Sounds great. Thanks, Sam. Thanks, Josh. Absolutely. Our pleasure. And thanks to all our listeners here today. Hope you enjoyed today's podcast as well as Shirley. And again, when this one is over, which it will be momentarily, take a look at Restless Shores. You can find it right where you are, wherever you Ingest your podcast, Sam.

Any, any last? Yeah, I jumped in what you're on, what you're about to say. Stay tuned for more on Restless Shores. We'll bring in more information about it in the future. Absolutely. Absolutely. So thanks again for listening and we will be back next week. Until then, for Sam, I'm Josh. So long, everyone.

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Josh and Sam from our team interview voice actor Shirley about the trajectory of a voice acting career and how to get beyond rejections and failures.