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Voice Coaches Radio #527 – Hangin’ With Phil Ewert

 Voice coaches, radio, everything voiceover. Welcome to a brand new special episode of voice coaches radio. My name is Marisa and it's not every day that we have a guest here and you might actually, there's probably a sound quality difference and I apologize, but I'm, I'm at home right now. I'm on zoom and I am joined by one of our former students, Phil, how do I pronounce your last name?

Ewert, Ewert, Phil Ewert. Welcome to voice coaches radio. This is, this is as good of an applause as you get. Thank you, Marissa. Um, listen, you know, I was alerted from John who is, you know, one of the big guys here at voice coaches that there was a guy that I absolutely needed to speak to, and that is you and you know, I feel.

Yeah, I feel I feel honored for you wanting to be a part of this today and that we can just kind of hang out and have some fun. I know that you hit me up earlier and you're having some of the seasonal allergies pop up, but have no fear. It is okay. You're normal. That's that's all it means. I don't know if anybody's a little post winter nasally today, but yes, where are you located?

So I live in Minnesota, which, uh, just this morning, we got another three inches of snow cause it can't decide if it's winter or spring yet. So we're still fully entrenched in winter. Yeah. Believe me, it's supposed to be 50 tomorrow. So, right. Right. Isn't that crazy, you know, um, because when we're recording this, it's, it's about mid March still.

And you know, what I'll tell you is here in New York, like we, I don't know, we have like a 60 degree day and then everything melted and then this past weekend. It was like five to 10 inches. Like it was stupid. And today, I mean, it's, it was only like maybe 50, but, uh, all of it's starting to melt by, by later this week, it's going to be like 70, so it should all be gone and I will be a happier individual.

Uh, but I will also be experiencing the same allergies that you are, because that's the problem, right? Like this time of the year, it's like. Like everything starts to grow and then it starts to die again because the snow falls and then it starts to grow again and like nothing can figure it out. And we're just over here going, I don't know if this is a cold, if this is allergies, if this is COVID, mama save me.

Uh, so. When all else fails, I see your, your cute little puppy running around in the background. I know I, I have a house full, um, you know, and that's. The thing when I'm, when I'm working from home, it's like, they've gotten very accustomed to that too, by the way. So it's like, you know, I'll be teaching Penny, the dog that you see in the background there.

She, um, she's been the, she's the one that frequents the sound booth. Correct. Yeah. Yeah. She, well, she's a mama's girl, so she's gotta be with me a lot, but she's like the unofficial mascot is what I always say. Um, you know, so yeah, it's, it's a little house, a house full over here, but, well, listen, I wanted to have you on because.

When we have students that, that finish the program and they get out into the world, you know, sometimes we don't hear how everybody's been doing, but I know that you've had some success. So I want to get to that, but please like, tell me before we even jump into anything, like when it came to you coming to voice coaches and wanting to be a part of the program, what were you doing prior and what sparked your interest to get you to sign up in the first place?

Sure. Well, um, I'll go back to the, you know, for my stone ages back when I was even in high school, I had, uh, my English teacher told me that, uh, she thought I had a very good speaking voice when I would give up and give the speeches and things and said, you should go to school. For broadcasting. And she happened to know the, uh, manager of a local radio station.

And I actually was going to high school with one of his sons. And so I had got a friendship with his son and got a tour of the radio station, uh, where he worked and then, uh, ended up going to college, uh, for broadcasting and spent four years on air, uh, and quickly discovered I liked being on the producer side, I guess, then.

On air talent. I did on air for four years on the student radio station and enjoyed it, but I made commercials. I, I did other voiceover stuff and enjoyed that more. I gotcha. Fast forward 30 years, almost. That can't even be a thing. You don't look anything over like 40. Come on. Well, that's very kind, but you're 10 years off.

Um, Uh, so I, uh, started places I worked, um, I would just record voice, their voicemail systems. Uh, just because the ones that they had were either really bad or I would convince them they needed something better. And so I was doing that and everybody was like, Oh, I know you, you're that voicemail guy. Um, and it had nothing to do with my job.

I just did it and I enjoyed doing that. Well, I had a friend, uh, this is now about two years ago that kind of really sparked. Uh, the whole voiceover thing. And he came to me and he said, Hey, you know what? Um, he's a videographer. He goes, I'm working on this TV show and I need a voice. He goes, and he goes, I don't want to use my voice, but I just need someone to read some stuff for me.

He goes, I know you've dabbled in that. Would you be willing to just read it on my iPhone for me? Yeah, I don't care. So we scratched it out on, not on a napkin, but on a piece of paper real quick, what the script was. I read it and he goes, yeah, that's cool. I'll, I'll, uh, I'll send it to him and we'll see if we like it.

All of a sudden, about six weeks later, I hear myself on a TV show. They literally use the audio from the iPhone from the audition and he never told me. Wow. And so I sent him a text. I'm like, what's, what, what's this? He goes, yeah, they decided to use it. And since it's, uh, you know, it was just the billboard.

And for, you know, maybe not everybody knows what a billboard is. That's your list of all the sponsors for a TV show. Right. And so I'm, I'm a huge outdoorsman. I watch a lot of hunting, fishing, uh, outdoors, camping type shows. And I always say, you know, brought to you by this store and that store and this manufacturer, et cetera.

And so I read that billboard for them. And they used it. Well, I have since recorded it with good proper things and got to read the show open and a number of other things. So, so now every time that show is on TV, it's called American heroes outdoors. Um, it's all about veterans, which I love. And. It's me.

I'm on the show. Uh, and so that's what lit a fire under me because I did that before I even did the class. Right. Right. Uh, and so I thought, you know, I'm going to make a go of this COVID hit and I wanted to, it's like now or never, let's, I'm just going to do this. You can also say that you were extremely bored and that's fine too.

Weren't we all? And so I'm like, I want to do something productive. I want to do something I enjoy that I'm passionate about. How can I do this? And I'd been dabbling with different. Podcasts I was listening to, and there's a handful of them out there, but the one that voice coaches caught my ear at the time, it was Josh that was doing them a full time.

And I was listening to those and I thought, you know, I'm going to check these guys out. So I went on the website and, you know, made some phone calls, ended up, uh, doing the, uh, initial class that John does. And one thing leads to another, go through the class, record an amazing demo, uh, here at a awesome studio, uh, in Minneapolis and here we are now.

I'm trying to. Trying to get business. That's awesome. And I love that, you know, you've got this like various background. And that's the thing is like when we hang out with these students and stuff throughout the time, it's like, you know, everybody's coming in with, with a different background, different passions.

And it's so cool to be able to see like where somebody has been and where they want to go. While you were doing that, the program itself, like what was your biggest takeaway? What, like, what's been the thing that is like really helped you improve the most to be like the voice actor that you are now? Uh, I would say the in person portion with Josh, um, he helped me kind of craft my delivery better.

You know, you got to remember, I went to broadcast school 30 years ago. Right. So I was doing the voice. I was the guy, you know, you're, you've, you've done it, you know, you've, you've, uh, you know, I literally was still spinning vinyl. You know, doing the whole, Hey, and that was, and this is, and the time is, and the temp is, whoo, you know, and it was that thing, which is, and now it's, it's cringeworthy.

Uh, so he helped me a lot with my delivery to make it much more conversational and, uh, empathetic, I guess, for some of the reads that I, uh, that I was doing and working with him on, um, you know, that, and, uh, seriously, a lot of the archives in the podcast, I went. back machine. And I, you know, there's a lot on the website, so I went way back.

I was listening to a lot of different things, a lot of things about the marketing, et cetera. And, uh, but the biggest thing, like I said, was, was, uh, talking with Josh and then having him as well as John, both telling me how to use my voice based on. Because everyone's voice is different, right? You have, you have people who are very good at the commercial or the, so that I don't have a, uh, a young sounding energetic voice.

So I'm not going to do, you know, something for high speed internet, probably a commercial like that. I have, I've been told I have a calming dad, like voice. And so, uh, I'm going to try to utilize that strength. And you know, that's one of the things I'm going to do instead of trying to do something that I'm not, that I would have to struggle to do.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah, we always suggest that it's like, you want to go for where your strengths are and where you feel most comfortable to start. And you know, if you want to expand from there, I mean, then you do the things that you need to do to grow. So I'm like, I'm glad that those, you know, those things definitely, um, you know, are helped you throughout, throughout the program.

So, you know, since Since like, we'll say graduating. I don't know. We don't, sure. Uh, since doing your demo, like what has it been like, like getting out there and getting work? Like what have you, what's the process been like for you? And like, what's your favorite thing that you've done so far? Well, my favorite would still have to be the outdoors TV show.

Uh, like I said, it's called American Heroes Outdoors. It's all about taking veterans out into the outdoors and just being a part of that is very amusing to me. I am not a veteran, uh, but I have a lot of friends that are, and I'm very supportive of that community. And so to have a small part in that is, is very special to me.

I would say recording the audio book that I did, which was again, way cool. Um, so yes, I have already done an audio book. Uh, literally like as soon as I, I had not done the demo yet, but I had completed. All of the class stuff and thought, you know, I'm going to just start putting in for some of these books and bam, one of them hit.

That was an amazing experience. Uh, not all positive, but an amazing experience because, um, you know, for anyone listening who has not done an audio book, as I believe you have, it's a lot of work. It's a lot more work than you think. You think you can just read it. And send it off. Oh, no, I will never think that I can just read it because I'm slightly dyslexic.

So, you know, I, I do pride myself on the fact that I have done so much reading out loud that I can pick up something and it will flow rather naturally. But I'm telling you right now, man, if it is poorly written, my dyslexia knows, you know, and it's awful. So like, yeah, I mean, like, that's what people don't understand.

You're right. Because How many people just go and they binge watch an entire season of TV or they'll binge, you know how many books in a week and it's like you just Went through that so quickly and I spent 48 hours doing that like and so yeah exactly like you say So the book that I read, which I was honored to do for a guy who he did the Iditarod 1000 on foot, which is in crazy, his name's Pete Ripmester.

Um, and so I read his story and you know, it's a, it's, it's a, it's a autobiography. And you're reading through it. And I, I tried to read it before I read it out loud. So I kind of knew what was coming, but I literally had over 40 hours of time. Yeah. In reading it out loud and then editing and then realizing when you're editing that you skipped a word.

A word like was or it or this or and you don't realize it because your, your eyes and your brain sees it, but your mouth doesn't say it. Right, right. And, and you go back and you reread it. Or I even had one chapter that I hit record. But it didn't record and so I reread the entire chapter and then, you know, and then obviously you have the, the production side of it and making sure you're meeting all the standards and you send it in and then they proof it.

So I had 40 hours into a book that was six and a half hours long. Yeah. It's such a great learning process. You know, that's what I realized too. Cause like my first one wasn't even paid, you know, and because I went and searched for the wrong stuff, that was my fault. But still at the same time, like I just wanted to get the And like mine was a book about super networking and I'll tell you, I mean, it turned out the person that claimed they had the rights didn't even have the right.

So even after I did it all, it got taken down. I was so I'm like, but again, great learning experience. And it was a 13 hour. audio project when everything was said and done. So I don't even know how much time I took it and put into it. It was over the course of, I think a month. And it was like, whenever I had some time, you know, I would just go and record.

I can't, I don't have any time now. Like this was before I was doing like a bunch of the radio work that I'm doing right now. It still like, you're right. Like doing the, all the behind the scenes and, you know, the editing process and learning how to make the audio the right quality and like all those kinds of things, you know, that is.

That is the additional skills that you start to build as a voice actor, you know, you got to build your actual skill first so you can get the work and then you start learning more stuff on top of it. YouTube was my friend in so many ways. Oh, absolutely. So yeah, I use audacity. That's what I, that's what I edit with.

And so I did the same thing. I did YouTube videos, I did tutorials, how to set it up, what's your best audio quality, try to match things up with my voice and my microphone. And, and there's so many different variants, uh, and you try to make it sound as good as possible. And, you know, and some of the other projects that I've, uh, been lucky to land and do.

I've even gotten, uh, positive feedback, uh, your microphone sounds great. And I'm like, if you only knew I was standing in my walk in closet, you know, and that's the funny thing I have now recorded. I don't know how many hours and hours of different things. Standing in my walk in closet, you know, holding my copy or, or my iPad or whatever, you know, you do what works.

Never thought that was going to happen. I'm sure. So, so tell me for you as time goes on, you know, as the coming weeks and months and, and, you know, rest of the year, like what, what are some goals? What do you hope to achieve? With, by the end of 22, what do you hope to achieve as a voice actor? Well, I kind of have three levels of goals.

I have my small goals, medium, and then I call it my big audacious goal, right? My regular goals is I auditioned for at least one. It has to average, but I try to audition for at least one audio book a week. Okay. Um, or the flip side, make a contact. And so either I auditioned for an audio book or I send out my demo or make contact with someone to let them know what I'm doing.

Uh, and I, and I kind of rotate that right. And so I don't. I don't have any, uh, misconceptions that I'm the next Mike Rowe or Morgan Freeman. You know, I'm not out there thinking I'm going to land the next big one tomorrow. And so I'm, I'm kind of, and I have a full time job, you know, this isn't, you know, I I'm working into this.

And so I'm, I'm slow, steady progress, right? That's the first goal, second goal. And I would like to be able to say, I can do this by the end of the years. I would love to make 500 a month. Only on a voice that's that's that's my goal if I can if I can accomplish that whether it's by reading a book or you know by doing other work and My big audacious goal is to someday.

I want to voice a documentary Documentary or narrated TV show kind of like how it's made on the science channel or aerial America on the Smithsonian That's the big dream. Yeah Yeah. Well, those are good goals to have, you know, it's like you've got your slow builds and, and you've got your monstrous gold to attest, like get, get yourself to as time goes on.

And, you know, as you're, as you're doing all these projects too, it's like, you're constantly growing every single step, you know? So it's like, you're going to get there. It's just a matter of. Like I always tell people like the words that ring in my head always keep going, you know, because you just never know where that contact is going to lead or where that job is going to lead or who's going to hear what.

So, you know, it's always good to keep yourself going and keep yourself motivated, but listen, uh, you know, people want to check out anything that you've done, what's your website so people can reach out and take a listen. Sure. Thank you. Phil Ewert productions. com. I have my demo on there that was produced, you know, by voice coaches staff, uh, as well as some of my most recent work, not all of my stuff's on there, but some of my most recent stuff, I was able to do a commercial recently.

Uh, that is on there as well as a snippet of the audio book I have on there. I've been fortunate to do some voiceover for some short video projects for some other veterans groups that's on there. Uh, and I have some other examples of like voicemail systems and some things. And, uh, my, my emails on there as well.

Well, very cool. Well, Phil, thank you for taking some time here, uh, on a random weekday to, to go ahead and hang out with me for a bit that any former students that happen to be listening, you can always send in an email. If you'd like to be a part of the podcast at info at voice coaches. com, but more episodes coming at you again, next Friday, stay safe.

Everybody. Visit voice coaches. com for more voiceover news and information.

This week on Voice Coaches Radio, Marissa connects with former Voice Coaches student, Phil Ewert who has been enjoying life as a Voice Actor! What’s he done? What’s helped him most? and MORE!