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Voice Coaches Radio #549 – Judith Spengler Goes From Educator To Voice Over Educational Videos!

 Voice coaches, radio, everything voiceover. All right. Welcome to another edition of voice coaches radio. My name is Marissa. And here we are yet again with another guest, a former student, Judith, is it Spengler? Yes. Pronounced it right. Didn't even have you as a student. How crazy is that? Um, but I'm usually real bad with names.

I'll admit that. But, uh, I know that, that you, you've wrapped up the program. Um, how long ago did you wrap it up? Um, well, I made my, uh, demo in October of 2021. I actually started the class in June of 2021 and then, uh, finished up in October. Wow. Okay. So it has been a minute. Um, it's in fact, it's been almost a year.

Um, so before we get into maybe what's happening for you in this moment, I want to know a little bit about you, like, tell me. Tell me whatever you think makes sense. I mean, from, from like your background to what led to voiceover, like give, give us a little bit about you and your history here. Sure. Well, um, I live in Pennsylvania with my husband and my son and, um, I've been a teacher my whole life.

And, um, I retired, um, last year in June of 2021 after 38 years. Thank you. Get the heck out of the school with this pandemic stuff going on, you know, it's like kids are petri dishes. You got to get the heck out of there. It's true. The last. The last couple of years were tough. They really were, but I was ready because, um, you know, I, I, I was 60 years old and I, I knew I wanted to retire.

Um, and you know, it was a very rewarding experience for me. I, I look back on it fondly and, you know, I have no regrets. Um, but prior to my retirement. Um, I knew I wanted to do something I knew I needed to have a plan because that's what all my former teacher friends told me, you've got to have something to transition into.

And so in the spring of 2021. This email came across my, my screen, and it was for a free webinar from voice coaches. About how to use your voice, um, as a career. And it intrigued me because that's what I was doing. I was using my voice every day, all day, with my students. Yeah, you know what's interesting is, so, uh, we have an episode that, that has come out, uh, with, uh, Christina Zawacki, who also, former student, just did her demo.

Also former teacher, um, you know, and, and she's somebody who kind of looked at it every day, like I'm going in and I'm entertaining, you know, I'm, I'm putting on a show if you will. And that is, that is if you're, I feel like if you're engaging as a teacher, that is what you're doing. Um, and that's a lot of energy that you've got to use day in and day out.

And you've done it, you said 38 years. Yes. Yes. Didn't you want to just roll over and go to sleep for a long time after all that? Like, I mean, you're like, yeah, let me set, let's set up another career, right? Like my mom has worked in school, like the school system, the moment she retired, people were like, aren't you bored?

She's like, nah, no, no, it's true. You, you, um, you become very regimented with your routine and you know, you kind of, yeah. It takes a while to kind of decompress from that. Um, and it took me probably a good year to kind of, you know, stop looking at the clock constantly and seeing what I had to do next or where I had to go next.

Did you have this problem too? Cause my mom, the moment she retired, like the first day that she technically didn't have to go in, she felt like she was doing something wrong. Yes, yes, yes.

And then vice versa, when you're at home and you don't do anything all day, you feel like. Like a loser because like, wow, I didn't get anything accomplished today, you know, right, right. So, but, um, yeah, so it was something that I thought, and you know, I'm a, I'm a former, um, language teacher. I taught middle school Spanish.

So I was, I was talking all the time and I love language and I love, you know, I love speaking with people. And so this really intrigued me. And so I signed up for the free webinar and, um. They had me, they hooked me right there and then and um, I told my husband I wanted to sign up for the class and he supported me and um, I just went from there.

Alright, very good. So, I mean, was there any part of you before, you know, maybe seeing that email and taking the webinar where, did you ever want to do anything kind of entertainment? Did you ever do anything entertainment growing up? Like, was there anything, you know, theater or anything like that in your background?

No, Uh, not really. I mean, I was in a high school play my senior year in high school. But, um, other than that, I can't say no, there really wasn't anything. I kind of just dedicated my life to, uh, to teaching and, you know, supporting my students. But, um, you know, again, I think what attracted me to the to the voiceover was It was something that I could do from home, um, and I could sort of, you know, regulate my own schedule.

And it, it seemed like something that I might be good at, you know, I, I have done, you know, some speaking in my church and, and things like that. And people have from time to time have remarked about my voice, how it's a good speaking voice. So I thought, you know what, this might not be too far of a stretch.

for me to jump into this, this field. So, yeah. And I think, you know, the public speaking aspect of, of what you've done, it does lend itself, uh, to, to this in a lot of ways, because it's like, you already know, hopefully after 38 years, you know, how to keep somebody's attention, you know, how to, you know, do those.

Maybe a lot of similar things that you learned throughout the program that you didn't even realize you were doing, you know, because it's like we do so many things when we speak that we don't pay attention to them. Um, so you jumped into the program in June. What would you say was like your, your best takeaway from that experience?

Well, I think what what Tom really helped me with was really paying attention to my voice. And, um, what exactly it is I'm trying to convey, you know, just because I was a teacher and I've always kind of spoken teacher mode, um, doesn't mean it didn't mean that that was the voice I needed to use for my voiceover.

Right. And that's what, that's what Tom really helped me with. He helped me with my pronunciation. Um, you know, my tonality, um, just the message that I'm trying to convey because he kept telling me, you know, they can't see you. All they get from you is your voice, you know, and so you've got, that's the message you're, you're, you're using, that's the instrument you're using to get your message across.

And so, um, I really focused on that and I listened, I recorded myself and I listened to myself, um, and just tried to get better each and every time. Well, and that's, that's the most important thing, you know, because it's like, Building that ear can be, can very much be a challenge, you know, so it's like you want to make sure that you are almost like hyper aware, um, at first, at least, because, you know, I've talked about this on the podcast.

I've talked about this with students. It's like, you know, you being you, you making sure that you're listening clear to yourself, maybe recording yourself on a phone or whatever and playing it back. So you can hear it like, Or, or now maybe like on whatever equipment you have at home and playing it back like what you're doing in that playback is you are truly building your ear for for how you sound, you know, and what that does over the course of time, you may have already noticed this, it makes your world a whole heck of a lot easier.

The first time I went to sit down and do an audio book I felt a little challenged because, you know, I had done radio for so many years because of radio I've done a lot of commercial work I've done a little bit of like. At that point, I had done a little bit of other stuff like a training video and like whatever, but, you know, it wasn't a lot of longer form reads.

So I'll admit I sat down to do that first audio book. I was a little intimidated, even though I was, you know, 17 years into my career. And I, the moment that I started. I realized as I was going, it's like, I would stumble over something or, and correct it immediately, or I would have something come out and be like, in my head going, no, that's not it.

I do it again. So when I went to edit, I was taking the second take of everything. And I like, I almost impressed myself. I was like, Oh, well, look at that. I built a very good ear over the course of, you know, almost 20 years. So, so cool. Well, now, now that. This time has passed, right? You, you've, you've gone, you've gone through the program, you did the demo months, months, almost a year has passed since that time.

What were your first steps afterwards? Like what, what were your first steps just to kind of start to dip your toe in the voiceover world? Well, I actively started searching for work at the beginning of this year in January. And I started, um, and I, I used my advice, uh, the advice that was given to me from my class, you know, reach out to local businesses, local venues, um, TV stations, radio stations, things like that, um, and, uh, colleges, universities, you name it, um, I reached out to everyone and anyone I could think of, you know, that, that did that, um, yeah.

That, that platform that I wanted to try to get into. Um, initially not a lot of response. Um, I have to say, you know, a few little bites here and there I was asked to audition for, um, some audio books and that didn't pan out. But so then I reached out again to voice coaches, um, just a couple of months ago, you know, asking for some more guidance because I wasn't getting, you know, any feedback, any, any, and I know that can, that can feel very discouraging, you know?

And that's the thing is like, I. We've talked about this before. It's like you don't. Yes. I mean, getting getting the no can feel discouraging. Um, you know, just not getting replies can be discouraging and it's always trying to keep in mind of what might be happening on the other end of that email, you know, well, maybe it got flagged and went to their spam.

Maybe they never even saw it. Maybe they did see it. They meant to reply and everybody's wearing a million hats these days and it just didn't happen. Um, you know, or, or maybe they got, they got your email and they're like, well, I don't have any use for her right now. I'm going to hold on to this. Like, I mean, you never know what's happening on the other end, but when you're just starting or you are somebody who's established and you're not getting any kind of feedback, it's like, Oh, like, what am I doing wrong?

What can I change? What should I do? So, so what happened from there? Well, I got some good advice again from voice coaches. They told me to reach out to local production companies and, um, recording studios and things like that. And that seemed to be the key. I did get more feedback. I got some positive emails.

Um, I, I created a LinkedIn profile, which I hadn't done prior to that. And, um, Things started happening. Um, my, my first look was, um, from a production company in, uh, Enid, Oklahoma called Privy Productions. Um, the casting director there, Tracy Babian, she and her husband, Jerry, uh, create, um, a podcast, um, called the Kyleson Chronicles and, and they tapped me to be a narrator.

Um, and I'm so grateful for that. You know, it was, um, my first exposure and my first, um, experience, you know, working, you know, on a podcast. And then from there, um, I got noticed by, um, um, an educate educational software company called, um, Saris Ed based in Austin, Texas. And that's what I'm currently doing now.

I'm recording, um, educational videos for them. So, and I love it. Look at you, you're a rock star, Judith. Oh my goodness. You know, it's like, again, I didn't, I didn't have you as a student, you know, so it's like, and I like, this is our first time meeting. I had no idea what you had going on. That's, that's awesome.

Uh, and see, sometimes it is, it's just like a matter of perspective change, or it's a matter of. You know, going, going a different avenue that maybe crossed your mind at some point, but you were like, well, I'm going to do this first. And it's like, all right, we're going to shift gears. We're going to take a, we're going to take a right here when we want, maybe wanted to take a left, uh, you know, and, and all of a sudden, boom, look at that.

So now while, while you're doing these things, are you doing these from home? I am. I am working from home. Yep. I have my little mini recording studio at home and uh, you know, it's great because I, I can kind of work, um, you know, when I need to work and um, I really enjoy it. It's um, you know, it's, I find the work enjoyable because I know the videos that I'm creating are going for students, you know, that are, are working towards a degree and you know, it may not be the most exciting content for a lot of people, but um, as a former teacher, you know, I, I find it rewarding because I know that.

This video is going to help someone, you know, on their educational journey. So I do enjoy that. So, so look at you, you didn't actually retire from being a teacher. Uh, you just transitioned to a different form of teaching, right? You're, you know, you've allowed yourself a little bit more flexibility in your, in your schedule.

That's all. Um, but no, that's, that's, that's a beautiful thing. And, you know, I think you are, you are the, the good example of, of why you don't just stop, you know, because you could have easily just been like. You know what? I tried, you know, and take it personally and take it to heart and feel like, okay, maybe I just wasn't good enough.

But in reality, you're clearly you're good enough. Just like so many of our students that they, they, they get through the program, they get done and, you know, maybe get some traction, but they decide, you know, I'm just going to, I haven't had any traction in months. Like, I don't. Know what I'm doing wrong.

I'm just going to clearly it's me. Like, no, don't take it personally. You got to keep going. It's it's two big words that I've always, always let like leaned on and keep going. And just, you know, again, it comes back to maybe changing perspective or, or ideas, um, different avenues to go, go through. And I'm glad that we could help you with that.

You know, look what's happened now. It's true. It's so true. It would have been easy to just quit and I, I didn't want to like that. That wasn't an option for me. Like I wanted to keep going and it like you, you're so true. It's so true in what you say that I just had to change directions. You know, I sort of had my mind set on well maybe I'm just going to do audio books or that sort of thing.

But I don't think you can have just one mindset that this is what I want to do. Um, there are a lot of opportunities out there and you have to be open to all of them, whether it's a podcast or whether it's a, you know, a learning video or whatever, um, the other stuff will come the more experience you get, I think.

So, yeah, the better that you develop your skill, the more opportunity there is, and it does take time. I mean, I always end up in class utilizing the guitar as a good example, because like, you know, when I first picked that up, my hand cramped. My fingers felt like they were going to fall off. Like they were bleeding.

Uh, you know, and, and like. Yeah, it sucked at first. And now listen, I'm not going to say I'm Jimi Hendrix. If I put a lot more effort into it, maybe I could have gotten there. Uh, but I'm able to play chords and I can't read sheet music. I never have really been able to, I'm slightly dyslexic. I think that's part of the problem.

Uh, but like. I know how to utilize that guitar and I've taught myself so much on it that I can go ahead and write a song. Uh, you know, and it's like, it's like another appendage of my body, but that took time for that to feel that way. And this, while it's not like a physical, like a handheld instrument, it's attached to your body.

That, that is an instrument attached to your body. And as you keep practicing, you keep getting better and better and better every single, uh, audition, every single bit of practice, every, every step of the way. Right. That was something that Tom really stressed to me too is that, you know, I, I don't have to sound like Kim or I don't have to sound like anybody else.

I just have to sound like me, you know, I just, my voice is my voice and it may not be right for this job, but maybe it's right for some other job, you know, and, um, that seems to be what the industry is all about now is, you know, different voices for different things. And, um, like I say, I, I I'm not really, um, a character voiceover actor.

I don't really do voices. Yeah. Never say never. Yeah. I haven't gotten into that yet, but, um, you know, I'm kind of just more of a straightforward narrator right now and that's fine, but all I have to do is just, you know, put my best voice out there. I don't have to try to sound like anybody else. Yeah, exactly.

Well. Judith, I, I wish you continued success. Keep, keep reaching, uh, not to sound like Casey Kasem, but keep reaching for the stars. Uh, you know, because I, I think, you know, this is only the beginning. It's only the beginning and there's definitely more of Judith Spengler that we are going to hear from here on out.

Um, do you have your website up? Is there anywhere people may be able to hear some of this work that you're doing or maybe your demo that you did? Uh, yeah, I do have a website. Yeah, go ahead, tell us. Okay, it's judithspangler. ikenvoice. com. All right, beautiful, beautiful. Judith, thank you for spending some time with me this morning, um, and, uh, and kind of, you know, opening some eyes.

for those that maybe are doing the program right now or just some people that might be listening in that are doing it all on their own. Um, you know, this is the great example of why, why you don't give up. So I'm, I'm, I'm proud even though I was not your coach. Thank you, Marissa. It was so nice meeting you and talking with you.

Yes, of course. Anybody that has anything they want discussed here on the podcast, info at voicecoaches. com. We will have a brand new episode coming your way next week. Stay safe. Visit voicecoaches. com for more voiceover news and information.

This week on Voice Coaches Radio, Marissa chats with Judith Spengler who recently retired from a long career in the school system to voice educational videos and continue her educational career in a much different way!