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Voice Coaches Radio #434 – Jordan, On Knowing your Stuff and Being Positive

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welcome in to another edition of voice coaches radio I am sam and josh is no longer here. No, he's not with us today. Josh is he is here He's here in spirit, but he's not gonna be joining us today as he is running a marathon but As I am doing this without Josh, I am not doing this episode alone.

So today I actually have a very special guest that I want to introduce everyone to, and his name is none other than Jordan McClendon. Now, Jordan is our visual media director here at Voice Coaches, and he's also a motion graphic designer, and he's been the creative lead for a bunch of different companies.

He's also an illustrator, a web designer, and for all intensive purposes, Jordan should be working... at Pixar, and we'll get into that in a little bit. But he is a very, very talented motion graphics designer, and he is somebody who has worked with voice actors. He is somebody outside of voice coaches who has employed voice actors.

So I really wanted to get his perspective on what that was like. So, first of all, Jordan, welcome to the show.

Oh, thanks for having me. I really appreciate that, uh, the introduction. And, um, you know, it's, uh, it's great to be here and on the podcast.

It's great to have you, man. It's great. Yeah, it's all true.

I'm not making any of this up. Am I? You told me if I'm wrong.

I am actually here in the studio and I am on the podcast.

Jordan is in the booth. I'm actually taking Josh's seat so I can feel what it's like to be so powerful and have the, have the control. It's nice. It's really, it's a nice feeling. I can see what Josh likes this.

So, but yeah, Jordan, absolutely. Thanks so much for joining us today. And I know, I know you are not a voice actor and that I don't need you to be, and we're not, But you've worked with voice actors, and you're also an incredibly accomplished creative. You have run a business as a creative as well, so I'd love to kind of dive into some things like that.

But before we get into that, what, what is it, what do you do here at Voice Coaches? Would you tell us a little bit about that? Sure.

Uh, so here at Voice Coaches, um, I... handle a lot of the creative development here. Um, a lot of the visual collateral, uh, be it print web, uh, digital. And, uh, for voice coaches, uh, specifically, we, I, we pretty much developed these online e learning courses that are intended to train people on, um, the fundamentals of voiceover acting pretty much.


And, uh, you're in charge of that.

Uh, yeah. Well, I, so I, I kind of developed the visuals for that, you know, Sam, you know, you, uh, you know, do the voiceover very, you know, very talented voice. Thank you.

Let me slip that 20 through there. Let's put that right through the crack.

Well, you know, it really makes.

You know, a good, and, you know, I'm sure we'll cover this eventually, but like a good, uh, voiceover actor, enthusiastic, and, you know, knowing the subject matter really, really helps on the visual side of it, so. Sure. You know, it's really a dance, so when you, you know, when you say I'm in charge of it, you know, I kind of contribute the visuals to it, but, you know, there's the script writing, and then, of course, there's, you know, the voiceover, uh, aspects to it, so.

That's awesome.

Yeah. That's awesome. That's awesome. So, and what I'm hearing you say. In that, is that you're saying the, for like your stance, and I know we'll kind of get into this a little bit more too, that what you look for, or what like really makes a voiceover pop when you, in your experience when you've worked with voice actors is them actually having a good handle on the subject matter, correct?

Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, you know. Studying, you know, what it is that they're going to be talking about, you know, you know, I mean, no, you know, you can, it's great to be an expert in it, but, you know, just knowing what you're talking about as a whole will really help, um, develop a, uh, an effective voice, which will help develop an effective, uh, uh, training course or whatever content we're, Trying to output.


I love that. Well, how did you get into motion graphics?

Uh, I guess out of necessity. So I started off as a fine artist and a lot of painting, drawing, that sort of thing. And uh, I want to get into illustration, but you know, I realized. You know, coming out of college, that's, that's what I trained in, in college.

And coming out of college, I wasn't going to make too much money right out of the gate. You know, I had to pay rent, you know, the whole deal, but people were hiring for motion graphic artists quite a bit. And, uh, I wanted to, you know, my, you know, my last year in college, I really wanted to focus on graphic design and motion design.

And, uh, you know, knowing that's, that would be the most marketable. Uh, you know, thing in the digital arts that I can pursue and, uh, you know, I picked it up and I ended up really, really liking it. And, uh, you know, that was about eight years ago and yeah, that's, that's where I got started.

That's awesome. Did you, and you didn't study that in college, you kind of did that on your own accord, right?

After college or in tandem, I would say most of it was done, uh, after college, you know, kind of, um, you know, just basically if there was a need. or like a demand out there for a certain type of animation or motion graphics. I made it my job to study it and try to figure out how to do it so I can kind of meet those demands and, uh, you know, be a useful tool, uh, you know, in that aspect.

That's super cool. So you were just studying it because you saw a demand, but what else, why else were you studying it just outside of that? It's a weird question. I don't know. Does it make sense?

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I really enjoyed it. I really, I really enjoy making things move. You know, I've been drawing since, you know, I was, you know, five years old, but, you know, I actually learning how to make things move and it really, really appealing to me.

And I want to learn as much as I can. Good about it. And I happened to be able to get paid for it. So it was great. It's a good deal. Total win right

there. Yeah. That's awesome. So, well, and what I'm hearing you say, so it starts out as illustration. It starts out like a flat art. And now what you're saying as well is that the movement was the attractive aspect, like bringing those images to life.

Yeah. Am I hearing that correctly?

Yeah. You know, the very definition of animation, just, you know, animating thing, like, you know, making things animate, um, you know, bringing them to life. And, you know, that's Where, you know, voice acting really, really plays a key role in that because there's nothing more complimentary to the visuals than what's coming out of, uh, you know, the visual graphics.

You know, whether it's an actual character or just a narration, um, it really, they really dance together to form an effective product.

Totally, totally. And now that I've got to work with you on that front, I can totally see how that dance, like, is, I feel like I have a better understanding of those two things running together.

And that's interesting. I know for me, like, part of the appeal of voice acting and part of the appeal of even acting in general is that you're, often, you're taking words on a page. Like, you're taking something that is two dimensional, that is flat, that is, It's, uh, it's, it's like, it's flat, I guess that's the best way of putting it, but the fun part is bringing that flat thing and bringing it to life, and that's essentially what you're doing as an animator.

It's, it's, that's, that's great that you put it that way because, I mean, that's really what it is. I mean, for a voice, for a voice actor, you know, you are looking at flat text, as you put it, on a piece of paper, but you're animating it, you're bringing it to life. Um, and, you know, it helps, you know, visual product, um, vis, visual producers to kind of see the, see the script in a more three dimensional way, in a more animated way, and it helps us be able to plot what's going to happen on screen.

So, you know, bringing the script to life with your voice is, you know, huge, huge part of, uh, output when it comes to, um, Visual creations, motion graphics, animations, that sort of thing.

When you're reading a script, do you look at it and like, do you start kind of animating it in your mind? Do you,

yeah? Yeah, yeah, for the most part, yeah.

Is it, is that like, and for you, like I know when we were working too, it was really helpful for me, because I was also, Jordan and I have been working together on creating a lot of content for voice coaches and also converting content that we teach here to be fully animated. And I've been writing the scripts, and he's been animating it, and then I've been voice acting it as well.

But what I found in the process is, like, there would be moments where it would be unclear to you what it's, kind of the feedback that I would receive is that you couldn't, almost like you couldn't see it. Oh, yeah. You couldn't see what was going on there, and that would tell me as a writer to go back and re write it so that it was more visual, and then the storytelling became more clear.

Yeah, yeah. It's very much a dance. Um, or, you know, just kind of, uh, um, just a, just a dish with different... Things added to it and to make it a full dish, you know, you know, I can't just it's very difficult to work with Just like a text on a piece of paper, you know having that voiceover and having that narrative flow Really really helps build a more Um, engaging product in the end.

That's awesome. And bringing in restaurants, too, of course. You had a history of working in kitchens, too, yes? Far past, yeah? Yeah, yeah. Yes, restaurants.

Absolutely. Fun stuff. Um, you know, restaurants definitely, uh, I recommend it for anyone, you know, anyone who wants to get faster with the, uh, What they're doing to, you know, work behind the line or work, uh, you know, doing weight staff because very, very fast paced, uh, type of work.

Oh, I love it. I feel like I was never in the army, but I feel like working in restaurants is the next closest thing, honestly, it is, uh, it is very militant in its own way. And you were, it's like a campaign and you don't know what's being thrown at you. You got to adjust. And I always worked front of house and I know you worked back a house, so it's, it's interesting to share that.

Absolutely. So what do you, if when you're When you've worked with voice actors in the past, like, what's the, is there something, I know you kind of talked about this a little bit, but is there like one thing that like makes a good voiceover and is there, or conversely, I'll give you two questions, is there one thing that makes like a really bad voiceover?

Uh, okay. So, so I'll answer the bad one first. Yes, love it. I guess it's, you know, enthusiasm and knowledge in what you're reading. Um, you know, if, if you don't have those when you're reading a script, um, it, it'll really come off as robotic or forced, uh, in a lot of ways. Um, and you know, some, some voice actors are better than others.

Some can look at a script and easily turn it on. They don't have to study and it's fine. More experienced voiceover actors, but, um, for the most part, I tend to notice if you are, uh, an expert. Or, you know, if you, if you're well versed in what you're reading, um, that'll lead to a better voiceover. So, I, I would say the negatives, having worked in the past, in my experience, are people that just kind of, you know, they read it off the cuff and they don't exactly know what they're talking about and you could totally tell in the, in the end product.

So that would be a negative. Uh, and, you know, the positive would be, obviously, the flip side of that, you know, just kind of being well versed. Um. Yeah, that's, that's, that's, in my experience, you know, on the visual, on the visual side, I'm sure there's more to it than that, but, um, that's what I tend to notice, the, you know, the pros and cons.

Be positive and also, uh, know, know the subject matter.

Oh yeah, be, yeah, be enthusiastic and, you know, definitely know what you're talking about.

Yeah, there's a, there's a tone and there's something we teach in the program too. And it's, it's a trick, it's a trick, but it works. So like I always tell people when in doubt and like the best bang for your buck trick as a voice actor is to smile on microphone because it just makes you sound better.

Even if you don't like what you're saying or know what you're talking about. Like if you smile when you're reading, it will make you sound better.

Yeah, it really does. It, it actually, it helps. And, you know, if you're frowning, you can almost hear it when you're frowning on, uh, in front of a mic. Which I am most of the time.

It's true. No, you're not. No, it's true. I know. It's all fake. It's all, it's the coffee. No, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

But it really helps. Just kind of differentiate what you're saying from word to word if you, um, enunciate it. Um, and that really takes having, you know, an open mouth, smiling a lot instead of, you know, keeping kind of like, um, you know, tight lips.

I, like, that's, that's what I tend to notice, uh, you know, listening to voiceover after the fact. You know, who's smiling, who's kind of frowning, um, you know. It's a, it's a small aesthetic, but it's very effective. And it's the clarity you're talking about too.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And that makes sense too.

As a motion graphic artist, I can imagine that you're a storyteller and what you're trying to do of course is bring a story to life. And when you're working with a voice actor who you can tell is like, Oh, this is the story is very clear. Even so it could be something as simple as just. Their pronunciation of the story or of the script.

That's right. Yeah, that's right. That's cool. So you, a lot of the content that we teach here, a lot of things that we teach our voice actors is marketing. And I know you and I have had some conversations outside of, outside of this podcast and just, uh, when working together about what you've learned as. as a freelance artist, which is not dissimilar to our freelance voice actors who come through the program or somebody who's working in any, any capacity as a freelancer as a small business.

What do you feel like you've gotten the most out of, out of what we teach here?

I would say, um, networking and just being personable. So, uh, it's a people game. And that can actually, this translates to, you know, whatever it is you're doing. Um, you gotta like, you gotta like socialize. And that, you know, for me, like, you know, I'm kind of, I'm not the biggest talker, Samuel.

It's not true. He can be, but it's, it's rare occasion.

This is the most words I've said in quite a few months. But, um, so yeah, you know, you gotta talk to people. You gotta like network, you gotta socialize, really. You gotta put yourself out there. Um, you know, whether it's in the visual arts or whether you're a voice actor, but especially if you're a voice actor, because your voice is you, like, that's who you are.

And. When it comes to marketing yourself and marketing somebody else. Your personality is what is, that's the demand. That's what people want. And that's what people want to hear. And that's what people want to use to sell their product.

Have you had any examples? Like I know you've had a number of events recently where you showcase some short films that you've made, which are super exciting.

And I would really highly recommend them to anybody. Look. listening. Again, Jordan should be working at Pixar. I don't know why he's working here, but have you had any experiences when you've gone to these events and you're showing a film or giving a talk? I know you've done some like craft talks of your own that this has worked to your advantage.

Yeah, it really has. Um, you know, just being open, uh, Presenting yourself as like an open person, someone that, you know, people can talk to, or people can ask questions about, it leads to a lot of good network opportunities. So, you know, the last speech I gave, um, it was half and half. So the first half, I kind of just sat in a corner, I didn't really talk to anyone, and I had to give the speech, right?

And, um, so, you know, I was a little nervous, but I actually remembered what I learned here at Voice Coaches about just kind of like, you know, flexing those... You know, personality traits, you know, just doing what you can to just kind of put yourself out there. And, you know, for better or for worse, it's, it, it really opens you up to further dialogue and more personal dialogue.

What did you do? What did you, what was the, what was you flexing? I'm curious.

I went into the bathroom. I put my cape on. Yes. Yes. Superhero. Yeah. I love it. I came back. I was, no, I, I just kind of opened up and I got, I got over being nervous and being, you know, kind of, uh, Reserved for the most part. I just, I talked, I kind of showed, showed people that, you know, I, I, I can, I'm approachable and I can talk to people and that, that, uh, that was hugely influential in people just kind of being able to walk up and like talk to me and ask questions.

And it really helped me give a better speech.

So, and after the, after the speech, did you find that people came up and approached you?

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

I'm just being open, you know, that's awesome because then you're just like, Hey, I'm here to help. Uh, you give a talk, you presented yourself and then people afterwards like, wow, I want to learn this or maybe you can help me with that.

Right. And did it lead to any, any gigs or,

uh, yeah, it, it led to a couple actually. Um, nice. So, you know, it's, you never know. And that's, you know, bringing it back home, you know, networking, you know, socializing, you know, whenever you can, it's really, it. It's, it applies to most of the things you're going to be doing when it involves some marketing yourself.

You know, be it, you know, visual arts or, you know, voiceover, you know, you gotta put yourself out there. You, you gotta get out there. You gotta meet people. You gotta be a person because that's what people are going to. People are going to respond to.

I love that. I love that. You know, this is something I don't know if I've ever told you this, but I've definitely told Josh and I might have even said it here on the podcast before when I, when I first started, when I went to college, I went to school for theater and I studied theater in college and my, like my freshman year I was in like some classes where we had to, we were acting and I was, You know, I'd, I'd acted as in high school, I'd been in school plays, I'd done things like that, but all of a sudden it was like a bigger league, it was a little bit harder, there were people who were much older than me, more experienced, and I was really nervous, and I actually felt like I was terrible at talking.

I felt like I was really bad with language and terrible at talking to the point where I was like, you know what? I should just give this all up and become a mime. I always want to do physical acting, never talk again because I was nervous. And like, I, I've had people in my life be like, Oh wow, you're, you, you're good at talking or you talk a lot.

A lot of people told me I talk a lot. This happens, but it's something that I've actually cultivated. Like, it's not, I am truthfully more of an introvert in my life. It is something that I too am nervous. Like I get that nervousness and like, honestly it never really goes away. It gets a little bit better, you know, it gets less, but it's still like, Oh gosh, I hope I don't mess this up.

Don't mess it up, Sam. So I commend you for putting yourself out there and that's super cool because anybody can do that. And it just, it doesn't even take that much.

Yeah. It's, it really leads to some open doors that, you know, you may not have, uh, have access to just by, just by talking, just by, you know,

Putting yourself out there being available and you are doing this in a lot of ways like you're getting invited for conversations You're giving speeches.

It's super exciting.

Yeah, and that's the antithesis of who I am But I gotta get better, you know, like I gotta I gotta just keep doing it and you know in a way It's forcing me to do it So, you know, it's good.

Yeah, we're forcing you to do it right now, too, on the podcast. Yeah, exactly. This isn't,

oh man, this isn't, I was tricked.

Yes, yes. Yeah, that's why I wanted to help you keep practicing this. That was my whole motive. It really is not for anyone listening whatsoever. That's that's awesome. So I'm curious. I have a couple questions more questions about motion graphics and Your art like how you've made these short films that are super cool this is one called the hill where it's literally a lady strapping on rollerblades and rollerblading down the Hill in Albany right downtown Albany State Street.

Yeah. Thank you. And When you it's like an action movie watching it. Yeah Thanks. It's it's super exciting when you think of like storytelling What is it that you think of, or like, how did you, I don't even know exactly what the best way to frame this question is. How did you come up with that story? I

guess it, it, it all came from, uh, so, I, I love going downtown Albany.

Um, There's a lot of traffic, there's a lot of people walking around, and there's almost like this, this dance between, you know, people walking, the cars, the traffic lights, everyone is on this, you know, path of, you know, destination. There are, you know, some way, everyone's going somewhere, and every, for the most part, there are no accidents, it's just, it's real fluid, and I wanted to kind of cut through that, you know what I mean, and just kind of like, you know, be in it and just, Have this, this girl, she puts on rollerblades and she...

Skates down this hill and you know, I ultimately I want to capture State Street in just the bustle the the the busy Side of that street, but I wanted to do something fun and just have someone just kind of cut through the hole Through that whole dance and it was it was really fun to make so what it started out is like you love that Street You can love the energy of that Street and you're trying to figure out how do I capture this in one fell swoop?

Pretty much. Yeah That's awesome. I mean, this is very similar to voice acting too. Like one thing for me when I'm working as a voice actor, I always try to put myself in a context, like talking, right? Talking can be a very nerve wracking thing. If you're standing on stage in front of a bunch of people giving a speech, it's very odd.

It's not really natural. It's against our human instincts in a lot of ways because there's all these, these people who can attack you essentially. But for me, what, the way I find it to work the best is like creating a context around what I'm doing. So it's in a way, like I, I'm not in a vocal booth. I am, I am in, if I was voice acting that, for instance, I might be on State Street and you as a motion graphics artist, it's like you're starting from being in something and then trying to tease out, how do I tell this?

That's right. It's almost like the opposite. Whereas like, then when, if I were to get a script from that, I look at this and be like, all right, how do I best tell this? By putting myself into a context. So change your context, change your mind. I'm a huge fan of it. Absolutely. That's awesome. Well, Jordan, thank you so much.

This is super informative because you do have so much experience in so many ways as a creative, as a business, as somebody who's worked with voice actors. Is there anything else you'd like to share? Anything else you want to tell us?

Uh, yeah, it just, um, You know, Sam, you know, really, really good voice actor.

I got to say, um, you know, I've worked with voice actors that were, you know, very, very dry just in delivery and tone. Um, you know, but Sam, you know, working on these courses, he convinces me before I make anything that what I'm reading is correct. So when we're doing these training courses on voiceover, uh, voiceover acting, you know, I'm convinced that what he's saying is correct.

So just by his. You know, his tone, his delivery. So, you know, that is, that is definitely, definitely a huge, huge quality when it comes to voiceover, you know, from production side, side of things. So I would say just, you know, be enthusiastic, know what you're talking about and, um, I guess, as Sam put it, you know, put yourself in the context, and I think it'll work out.

Well, thanks, Jordan, and let me slip in another 20 in there. Let's just keep that. That's 40 a day. That's doing well. No, thank you. Thank you very much. It's something that, it is, it's this weird skill, but also, like, I know you, too. Like, I've, I've studied this for a long time. Like, there's a lot of nuance that I think about, that I've been thinking about for years, that it's kind of now becoming second nature.

It wasn't always second nature. And I'm sure you can relate to that as a motion graphics artist. You're like, how do I, how do I do this thing? I like, I like this movement, but how do I make it move? Yeah. So, oh, thank you. I appreciate that. But all right, this was Jordan folks. Thank you so much for listening.

This is another great episode of voice coaches radio without Josh. Josh, we miss you, buddy. Hopefully you'll come back one day. One can only hope or not. Maybe I'll take over and have this little dominion to myself, which could be. Yeah. Fun too. Uh, but we miss Baby Bear. We do. Uh, Jordan, thank you so much again.

It was a pleasure having you. It was so much information, so helpful for our students who are going out there and just starting to be a, have a creative business and you are someone who's definitely living a creative business. Great. Well thank you so much for having, it's been great. My pleasure. So.

Alright folks. Until next, next time. So long,

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Voice Coaches producer Sam interviews motion graphics expert Jordan. The two discuss how understanding subject matter can give you a working advantage in both the graphics world and the voice over field.