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Voice Coaches Radio #574 – Elizabeth Has the Hustle!

Voice coaches, radio, everything voiceover. Welcome to a brand new episode of voice coaches radio. My name is Marissa. We are kind of live here on zoom for the moment, at least for myself and for Elizabeth, uh, as we are jumping into a brand new episode, I wanted to make sure that anytime that we can get a former student on with some success behind them, or, you know, starting to jump into this field and getting some feelers and just, you know, talking about.

Your situations and, and, um, and how, how you're kind of navigating all this because everybody is similar, but different. And that's what I kind of love about all of these stories. So, uh, Elizabeth is joining us and you're not, you're on the road too. You're in Burlington, Vermont right now. Huh? I am. Yep. I'm on the, I'm actually on a school break.

And so I'm in Burlington visiting my son. I'm here with my sister. She has a kid in college here too. So. Yeah, we took a little road trip up to Burlington in the ice and snow yesterday. Oh yeah, oh god, dangerous. Um, yeah and I know that they have a lot of snow this weekend too and I was just looking at the temperatures there because I was uh, filling in for a radio station there the last couple days and it's like teens, so hope you packed a lot of clothes.

Yeah, it's cold up here. We just packed warm and comfortable. Yeah, yeah, it's uh, it's crazy, you know, because I mean I, I was just saying this last week, it's like we had some really warm temperatures around here and I was just like desperate to get the, the movie screen outside again and like have a little bonfire action and then Mother Nature's like, no, no, no, hold on.

Um, you know, it's like the groundhog was right, even though that little bugger's never right. Um, yeah, we are now six more weeks of winter. But, um, listen, I want to know about you and your history. I want to know what made you decide, let's go ahead and do voice. But you, you said you're on a break from teaching.

So tell me, what is it that you do? What is it that spawned all of this for you? So I'm a high school chemistry teacher and also teaching forensics this year. Um, Wow, so school's gotten a lot cooler since I was in it. You didn't do forensics? No. Your teacher didn't spatter blood all over the walls? Oh my god, how cool would that be?

I watch murder all the time. It's great fun, yeah. So I can't wait to do the arson unit. But yeah, that's, that's my, my day job. My quote unquote, real job. Yeah. Um, I've been doing that for, I'm into year 16. Wow. Um, so I'm, I'm looking at, you know, in the not too distant future, being able to retire from that, but I'm not going to be one of those people that just sits and does nothing in retirement.

So. Um, I have a lot of irons in the fire and I, the voiceover is just something that caught my eye last spring. Um, I mean, I listened to a lot of training we have to do, you know, annual training and all kinds of different things. And, you know, I've worked in companies before and I do safety training for people and I'm like, there's all these videos and, and I'm like, somebody is doing all this voicing.

And I was like, why not me? You know, when we do state testing at the end of the year, and kids who have tests read, well, they always assign to me. They said, well, the kids like the way that you read. They said, you make it understandable. You make it interesting. They can, they can understand you. Your diction is good.

Your pacing is good. And I have no idea what algorithm Facebook uses to, to pop up. He has spring, but clearly they know me. And it just, it caught my eye and I thought, well, that might be kind of cool, you know, I, I could, I could go and I could, you know, go to the one hour session and I could get some information and, and it just sort of took off from there.

Um, I think it was spring break last year. I don't know. It was a Sunday night. I remember I did the one hour session, um, and really enjoyed it. And just the, the thought of it just excited me. It was time for me to try something new. And I thought this would be a really, really cool option. Let me just dig into it and see what it's all about and see if it's something I would enjoy.

And sure enough, I did. I found myself looking really forward to my training sessions on Saturdays. I couldn't wait for summer to get into the studio. And record my demo. And it just, I don't know, it just brought new excitement. Yeah. Well, I mean, that's good. I mean, that's, that's the thing, right? Like we, we go through life and I've mentioned this before.

It's like a lot of us get stuck in that mode of like, we do what is comfortable. Um, we do. what people kind of push us towards. Um, you know, it's like outside voices kind of guide you and it's like, you know, a lot of that tends to be other people's fears. Um, you know, being put on you and it's like, it tends to push you away from what your dreams are or, or the.

The things that are going to make you happiest, honestly. Yeah. And I'm glad that I didn't really have that, you know, from, for myself, it's like, I was a really shy kid and so many people could have been like, are you sure maybe you should go this route. But it's like, even, even in my shyness, it's like my parents still, they didn't They try to detour me from, um, you know, doing a fine arts major in college at first.

And, you know, it's like, okay, you, you love art. You've been doing it since you were a kid. Go like, see what happens. And, and that may not have been the, the overall route that I took, but it led me to where I was meant to be. And. You know, they didn't try to stop me from going to a radio school and they didn't try to stop me from going from job to job and moving to Nebraska and like all they just let me write my thing.

And I think that's the best outcome or for any kind of parent, you know, trying to guide their kids. But, you know, we've got a lot of students that come through the program that You know, they did what was safe or what, you know, maybe, maybe it's something that you thought that you were going to love and you like it, but you know, it's like, you, you want to have more fun.

You want to have a little bit more freedom, flexibility. Yeah. All of a sudden you start diving into stuff like this and it's like, whoa, it's a whole new world. Um, so you start, I've never done, I've never done what was expected of me. I've, and my parents learned a long time ago to just kind of let me do my own thing.

Um, I majored in chemistry when I was in college and I worked before long before I got into teaching I worked and I was like the only female polyurethane foam chemist in the United States when I was 23 years old. Like I have always sort of done my own thing and done the unexpected. So, yeah, people have gotten to like they just say about me that like we never know what you're going to do next.

Which is kind of fun. I like being unpredictable and I reinvented myself so many times. With the teaching, I was in my 40s when I got into teaching. That's great. And like, that was a reinvention and that was a, okay, I need to do something. So someday I'll be able to retire. Yeah. Yeah. And you know what, that's scary for so many people.

Um, you know, and, and I will admit like the first time I was a budget cut in a radio, that was very scary because I thought that I had just like lost everything. You know, I thought like my world was. crumbling. And, and then, yeah, it is, uh, it's how you pick up the pieces and move forward and what you do next.

And that's been one of those things that I've had, like anybody that follows me on socials. I mean, and I know you're one of those people. It's like people have said to me over and over again, I love how nothing keeps you down. Like, I love how it goes back. Like you, you might have. a company that screws you over, but it's like you don't let that hold you back or hold you down.

You, you go ahead, you take the day and then you just like light a fire and you just go. Right. Then you're like, okay, what's next? This just gives me a new opportunity. You know, it's just like, once you start following the stuff that's coming at you and you start saying yes to things, it's like all of a sudden.

be a lot smoother and it's like you're following the path you're meant to be on. So tell me, this was clearly a path that you were meant to be on. You started navigating this industry. Once you recorded that demo and what has happened for you since? So nothing happened through the fall. Um, I, I hadn't, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do this year.

I had retired from my previous teaching post. last spring and I wasn't sure what was next and I ended up getting a new teaching position in a tiny little district close to me. So this fall was starting at a new district, learning the new culture, and so really nothing happened, um, with voiceover at that point because I was so busy with getting the new, you know, getting my feet on the ground at the new place.

And then January came and I just thought, you know what, like you did that demo, you've got this identity as a voiceover artist, but you haven't done anything with it. And so in January, I said, okay, this is going to be one of your goals for 2023. You're going to do something with voiceover, whatever it is, just something to get the ball rolling.

And I realized, like, I need to be able to do something from home. Like in order to have the flexibility and to do some things, I want to get set up at home. And, and my son is an audio engineer. So he gave me some advice. He's like, here, like get this microphone, get this set of headphones, and you can at least be set up.

And my home environment is not ideal. I live in an apartment. I'm in a downstairs apartment. So the people walk around upstairs. Yeah. You know, I don't, I don't have control over the noisy environment. But. I can set this up. There's going to be times I can record. I can, I can try this. And I thought I'm going to do some volunteer work.

I'm going to do, um, recording for the blind and visually impaired. And that'll give me some good practice. Yeah, I love that. So that was kind of my plan. And then I had gotten an account on ACX and I decided to audition for some audio books. And I thought that'll be good practice. Like I can do the blind and visually impaired and I'll do a bunch of auditions.

And I think I had heard on one of the podcasts, you need like 50 to 60 auditions and then maybe you'll get your first book. So I'm like, okay, let me crank up and just start doing auditions. And so I did seven auditions and got a book. Wow. And I was like, Oh, now I got to do something. I know. Right. It's like, okay, what have I done?

Right. All of a sudden it's real. Yeah. I'm like, Oh, you have to produce a book. Like this is an author that expects professional production. And I was like, this was my biggest fear when I got into it. I wasn't afraid of the voiceover. And I was like, I felt at home in the booth. I could do that. But the mechanics of the editing and the mastering, it's like, I don't know what I'm doing.

But you know what? It's kind of like when you're, you're a kid and you think, what, when I grow up, I'm just going to every, every adult knows everything. And I'm going to be so smart and whatever. And it's like, no, we are all just a mess trying to navigate things. We don't know anything. So it's like, Even, even myself, like, you know, it's like the first audio book I did.

Yeah, sure. I, I also did it through ACX and it was like, I don't mind the recording part of it. Like I understood, okay, I can do the voiceover, but then it was the editing. Right. The mastering of it, like making sure it's the quality that they recommend that they require. What's a noise floor. I know nothing.

It's all an educational process. You know, you, you know, as, as humans, you know, we, if, as long as you keep learning, you're going to keep growing, you're going to keep getting better. You want to keep, you want to always be educating yourself. Cause otherwise you just stay right. Where you always were, you know what I mean?

You kind of stagnate. And I'm like, no time to learn something new. Yeah. We had my son come over and I'm like, okay. This is what I got to record and this is like the quality of what it has to be for ACF. So how do I do that? And he goes, are you sending this out to somebody to like do the editing? And I go, no, I don't want to pay somebody to do that.

I got to do this myself. And he kind of looked at me and I finally said, am I getting over my head? And he goes, Maybe look, I can give you about 15 minutes and he gave me some pointers about what room I was recording in and stuff. And he's like, I got to go to band practice and he left. And I'm like, okay, um, where do I go from here?

So I found a, um, I found a blog post with a guy that's like recording audio books for ACX on Audacity. I'm like, Oh, this sounds promising. Right, right. And I found the, the workflow that he suggested to use. And I wrote a macro in Audacity to do the steps and downloaded the ACX plugin, the ACX check plugin, so I could check my work.

And just started plugging away at it. Yeah. Mike, it's a good thing. The first book was short. Like it ended up only being about a 30 minute book and it took me probably eight hours to do it. But I learned so much. That's the beauty of it. Right. I mean, you. It can feel like such a scary, daunting task.

However, I mean, the, the growth you get in one project, you know, just because of how educational it is. It's kind of like, you know, students will get into the demo session and they think, okay, the learning's done. I have to do this demo. I have to knock out. No, that demo session is a class and it's. self. Um, you know, and it's like, you learn so much about being in the studio and how to stand and how to, you know, um, why something so small can change an entire piece.

And like, you know, it's like, all of that is so important. So yeah, I mean, that, that first audio book, I mean, exactly 30 minutes when everything is said and done, but it took you eight hours because you wanted to do it well, you know, that too is like, and. As you go, as you grow, everything gets easier. I mean, that's the thing because you start to be less harsh on yourself.

Hopefully you start to be less nitpicky about things because you realize nobody's perfect. Um, you know, when it is that first project, it's like, you really, really, I know you want to knock it out of the park and I'm sure you did. Um, so it was cool. It turned out it was her first book as well. So she and I kind of navigated the whole ACX process together and it worked really, really well.

And once she approved everything, I'm like, okay, now it's time for the quality checks for them. Yeah. This is where it's going to come back. And I don't know what I'm doing and sailed through first time through, I'm like, yep, no rework needed. I'm like, okay, I think I have it figured out. It is. It feels like such a great accomplishment.

Right? It's like a weight off your shoulders, but it's like, man, yeah, I can do this. What a confidence booster. Right? And then a week later, a second book hit. Look at you. I'm like, what? I'm like, so now I've done 12 auditions and two books. Yeah. And then like the second one, I was like, well, now I feel like I know what I'm doing.

And this book is longer. This one turned out almost four hours. Um, and I just finished, well we came up here yesterday and Wednesday night I just finished it. Nice. Um, and the author approved it yesterday and sent me payment yesterday and Wow. So now it's all, it's all going through the quality checks now.

But I'm like, what happened to 50 or 60 auditions for a book? I'm like, 12 auditions, 2 books. I, you know, I say this all the time. Everybody's journey is different. It's, it's similar but different. Sometimes. You know, you get in front of the right person and projects quicker than somebody else. You know, it doesn't, it doesn't mean that somebody who has auditioned 60 times that they aren't meant to do this.

It just means maybe you haven't met the right project or person yet, or maybe you haven't found your, your niche. You know what I mean? Like you may have just picked the right things to audition for because. You were passionate about them or whatever. Um, I think you're right about that. Yeah, I was, I was like really pretty particular about what I auditioned for.

And I made, like, I use those filters and I get it. So I'm not doing 50 auditions of things that I don't care about. I really narrowed it down and I said, I'm going to. I'm going to audition for this because this has meaning to me. And then I wrote the author a note with it about why I wanted to do that book.

And in both cases, it seems to have made a difference. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's that personal connection and the personal touch, you know? So it's like those things do go a very long way. And that's why when we're picking audition or not audition pieces, but like a demo pieces, what do we tell you? It's like, we want you to pick out things that you like, that you are passionate about, that you have a, um, experience with, or maybe it's a place that you've been to or whatever, because right now you're new.

So it's like the, the faking till you make it kind of thing might not be what we want to do. We want to go ahead and allow you to have that passion for it because it's going to allow you to shine. And you already, you did that right from the jump with these auditions, which was the smartest way to go about it.

And look, it's already paying off. So that's two books, 12 auditions. And two months into the new year. Right. So what's next? What, what else is on the goal list here? Because clearly you're already knocking it out of the park for us. So, so what do you want to do now? I want to figure out how to get into e learning.

Okay. That's, that's something that I definitely think is in my wheelhouse. And so that's my next thing is to figure out like where do I find Those like ACX is like, okay, I figured out a good way to start to get into audiobook. So what is the platform? There may actually be some educational stuff within there that can help allow you, like you get one of those, it's like you get to showcase the e learning as well.

Um, but you know, always think outside that, that creative box a little bit, right? So there may be recording studios around you that that deal with that, you know, they, they get hired out to have, you know, voice actors record these things and, and whatever. And you're, you're just not going to necessarily know that by looking at their website, but that's why, you know, those, those emails that you send in building relationships are so important because you never know what it's going to lead to or who it's going to lead to.

Projects could be popping up. So, um, you know, just. think a little bit outside that, that box. Um, you know, and, and yeah, don't be scared to say, Hey, this is what I'm looking forward to doing. And this is what I've been doing. And I can't wait to, you know, potentially spread my wings and grow. Yeah. I think that's a good point.

I think I've identified a few recording studios, you know, within 10 miles of my house. And I think the reaching out and meeting those people. Yeah. And telling them, Hey, I'm here and this is what I want to do. I think that's a good, a good goal for the spring. Yeah. By summer, by summer break, you're going to be well on your way with e learning as well.

Uh, you know, always, always set that new goal for yourself and take those steps, even if they're just tiny steps to get to that goal, because everything that you do is, is, you know, getting you to that next, that next level, that next step. I think that was, yeah, that was the key in January. I was like, okay, this is what I'm going to do for 2023.

And I was like, oh, look, as soon as you start putting some effort and some focus on that, look what happens. But if I hadn't made that decision and okay, I'm going to take this step and set this goal, I wouldn't have done two audio works. It's true. It's true. So it was like, whatever we put our effort into and our focus on, you're going to make things happen.

And I found that at every point. in my life. Like I do some photography and one summer I decided, you know, you're going to put some effort into photography and see what you can do. And all of a sudden I had pictures in galleries and, you know, I won a third place and I was on the, the brochure for the promotional and I was like, well, it's because you put some focus and effort into it.

And there's, there's the big. Like nail on the head moment right there, right? A lot of people. I mean, I've seen this for years, even when I was teaching radio, it's like, I saw this where it's like, people just think things are going to come to them or be handed to them. No, that's not how it works. You've got to go ahead and you've got to, you know, put some focus into what you're doing and take some steps and then watch the growth and then watch it happen.

Um, and, and things start to kind of come together. You know, a lot of people have looked at what I've been doing and, you know, I mentioned this on the, on this voice coaches podcast before, it's like, they see all this radio work I'm doing and they think it's just coming to me with ease. Right now, but it's almost 20 years of relationship building.

Um, you know, 20 years of leg work, uh, for that to have happened, you know? So it's like, well, it can just feel like, man, I'm so lucky. I can't believe all this that's just popping up in my inbox. It's like, Oh no, it would not work for that. It would not have happened to 20 year old Marissa, you know, it wouldn't have happened to me when I was first starting.

It took this, this amount of growth. It took this amount of hard work and leg work and, and yeah, tripping and falling and getting back up and, and doing it all over again. And, you know, coming up with different plans of action and, uh, listening back so much and picking myself apart to grow. It's like all those little steps that we take are what allow.

the, the goals to be reached. So, and other people look at us and they go, Oh, you're so lucky or things just fall in your lap. No, no, no, they don't. No, they don't. I make things fall in my lap. Yeah. You know, it's, yeah, you know, we share the bright moments on social media. We don't share all the hard work all the time, you know, sorry.

People only see the, the, the positive and, and the blessings, but you know, there's, there's a lot of grease and elbow, elbow work or grease that has to go into it all. Um, so you're seeing that you're picture proof of it. And I'm glad that we could talk about it today. So listen, as you're reaching your goals, please do not be a stranger.

I want you to keep reaching out so we can update and, um, we'll do. Yeah. What is your website so people can go ahead and take a listen to that audition or, um, the demo that you put together. So my website for my demo is Elizabeth Reed dot I can And it's Elizabeth Reed, READ. All right, very good.

So, all right, uh, e learning is next. We'll see what happens as the months go on and we get into the summertime for you. But hey, enjoy your time in Burlington. Um, you know, stay warm and we'll talk soon. Okay. Thanks. I will. All right. Stay safe, everybody. A brand new episode of Voice Coaches Radio is coming at you next week.

Visit voicecoaches. com for more voiceover news and information.

This week on Voice Coaches Radio, Marissa chats with former VC student, Elizabeth! See how her journey has been going since finishing the program!