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Voice Coaches Radio #595 – Charlie Is On a Roll!

Voice coaches, radio, everything voiceover. Welcome to a brand new episode of voice coaches radio. As we get ready to, uh, to jump on into another interview, we've got, um, do you like to go by Charlie? I know you, like when I was looking up stuff, I mean, I think you changed your name to CL Berns. So like, I did cause I wanted to be pretentious.

Um, no, that is not true. So there's a comedian that his name is Charlie Barrons. And so, I tried to, because if you do a Google search for me, he comes up a ton. Oh, I gotcha. So, I, I had the thought that I would just try my initials and last name. And, uh, yeah. And you know what, this is why sometimes, you know, we, we say, like, if you want to do a stage name, go ahead.

Like, some people, you know, they come through and, um, You know, they want to get all fancy with it. And I don't think, you know, in most cases, it doesn't really matter until it's, until it does matter, right? Like you're trying to be a part of the agency or a union or something, and somebody else already has your name.

Well then now we've got maybe an issue, but, uh, for you, I'm glad that you kind of took that note and, uh, and, and did it for good purpose. Some people just like to be fancy, you know, but yeah, I'm not fancy. So, well, listen, I want to jump on into this because everybody. Everybody has similar but different reasons and backgrounds for, for getting into voiceover.

So I want to know a little bit more about you because you were not one of my students, but I think that you had Tom, uh, for, um, you know, you're part of the program here. Tell me about you, tell me about your background and what got you to the point where you're like, you know what, I want to dive into voiceover.

So I, I, For a long time in my life, I have worked for, um, in, in vehicle repair. I work for a dealership and the service department, and I'm the guy that calls people and tells them what's wrong with their car. So I've been using my voice to sell products. Calm people down? Yeah. Well, and that's one of the things that, that people do tell me is I do have a calming voice and I've, I've heard, I've had people come in and want to see the guy they talked to over the phone.

Because they just, and it's just, you know, and it's because I, I have a distinctive voice, but I've been at the same place for a long time. I've been here for, for over 20 years, so I'm trying not to give away too much of my age. Um, and, but it just, I've had people comment over the years, and I know that doesn't translate directly to doing voiceover, but I've had people comment on my voice and, and how, you know, they like talking to me.

And, and it just, it was one of those days that, that I was thinking of what I need to do to maybe earn a little extra money, uh, you know, plan for the future and I can't remember if I got an email or if it was on Facebook or, you know, some sort of AI was listening to me and, and an ad for you guys popped up.

And, and I'm like, what the heck? Why not? What do I have to lose? I even, um, you know, remember telling myself, it's like, well, if I get something out of it, it'll be worth it. It's not terribly expensive. And that was with John. And I'll let you pronounce his last name because I know that you even struggle with it.

I'm in google, google, google, google, google, google, google, google. I mean, he's gonna listen to this and be like, Marissa you're fired. And I'm just gonna be like, listen man. I might be a voice actor and a voice professional, but your name is hard. Yeah, no, absolutely. And, and, and that's where it all started off.

And, and I know I wrote this in an email and, and, and I am, I am not currently being paid by voice coaches, but that, uh, that program was so set in reality. Yeah that this is not an easy thing You're not going to take this class and email three people and make a hundred thousand dollars a year, right? It takes a lot of work and it's a part time job or a full time job and it's not anything to take lightly and and I told myself that if I'm going to do this, I it's not going to be You know that hobby that you start on a Saturday afternoon and by Monday you've given it up And it's it was it was fascinating and I had a great conversation with John the that night And then I can't remember who it was that called me the following day and and I decided to sign up for the program Yeah, it's great.

I know like um You know, you had a great, great time with the learning. What I liked what you said was that no matter what you wanted to be able to take something positive away, like, you know, at the very least and and I say that to students constantly, you know, they'll, they'll go to wrap up a demo and. I like to hammer home that everybody's journey is different, you know, like everybody, once you leave that demo session, it is in your hands, but everybody's journey is different.

So, when they're asking, like, time frame of, like, how long before I get my first gig, it's like, I don't know. It's what you're putting in, but even even that being said, somebody could be spending every day all day going and trying to get that gig. And it might take a minute and. But every, every email that sent every bit of research that you do, every conversation you have, every audition, you do every bit of feedback.

These are all learning and growth opportunities. If you absolutely be if you want it to be because listen, we're as a human species species. We are like Constantly gravitating to the negative, you know, it's just that's just it's it's ingrained in us for whatever reason So it's very easy to see that the glass half empty, but you know, it can be overflowing knowledge If you allow it to be and all those things can get you to be better for whatever is next.

Um, so like you saying that off the bat means that you already had a good mentality going in. So. You get done with the program, you pop the demo out of the park, and, and here we are, and I've heard that you've gotten a couple, a couple things already. So, um, tell, tell me a little bit about the process. Like, you got done with the demo, what did you do next?

So, I, uh, and I, I, I wish I could remember exactly podcasts. Um.

Uh, Josh, uh, oh my gosh, I lost his last name. Keller, Josh Keller. Yes. Um, one of the podcasts that, that I was listening to. So I, I started listening to the podcast, um, right away. I started it as early as I could go. I'm like, okay, they're still telling me to send out CDs. So I started backwards. And I started with the newest stuff and just kind of listened backwards.

I'm at like 380 right now, episode 380. But he, he said one time that the fear of failure will sometimes mask procrastination as planning. And I was, you know, I'm like, okay, I got to get business cards. I got to do this. I got to get thank you notes. I got to do all these things that they've told me I got to do.

But he, like I heard that podcast and I was like, yeah, he's right. I just got to start emailing people. Because what else do I have to do? And so I started, I have a busy work schedule. I work 50 plus hours a week at my daytime job. Um, have my kids throughout there mix and match. And, and so I have an afternoon off every week.

And so that afternoon I tell my kids, Hey, I'm going to spend an hour working. And then we're going to go do whatever things that we can get in trouble doing. And. The, so I, I generally have a list of three or four places I'm going to call and email, and that's what I do. And then when I have, I know I have the time there again somewhere else on the podcast, and it might even have been you that said it, that if you're going to audition for audiobooks, only look at them when you have time to record it, and when you have time to do it.

Because if you try to record an audition three days later, it's gone. And so, you know, when I don't have my boys and I have like a day off or whatever, I'll go through and record like six or eight auditions and send them in. And there again, I know during the program people said, you know, it might be, you might send out 50 or 100 auditions for books and you might not get one.

I sent out 18 and I got one. And again, it was different, right? Exactly. It's the crazy part about it. Like, I mean, I've, I've joked with people before. It's like, you know, the biggest difference between like this and a quote unquote normal job, you, you go on, you know, five interviews and you probably get, you know, somebody throwing a ballpark number your way, you know, but here.

Yeah, you can you could audition for a hundred things in a week. Guess what you might not get a damn one Um, it has nothing to do with you most of the time, you know, yes, absolutely But yeah, tell me more about that And so yeah, it was well and there again knowing my time frame and how little knowledge I had of How to do some of that stuff.

I was looking for very short books I was looking for non fiction because I don't know that i've got the uh The acting chops yet to try to do a fiction with coming up with different voices and all this stuff, because that seems tough. Um, and so I've done, you know, nonfiction, I've done very short books.

And the first book I got was like 24 minutes long and it's about the best mobile phone games of all time. And it's a, it's a quick listen and it's like four or five bucks on, on audible. And. But it got me the practice I needed. I needed that thing to, first of all, make it valid. Because at that point, I didn't feel like I was faking it to make it.

I, I felt a lot more... Just faking it, yeah. Yeah, exactly. It's, it's the imposter syndrome, you know? Cause it's like, okay cool, I did this program, okay cool, I have a demo. But, like, it's all fake. Like, it's all... Not real stuff that I've done and and I don't feel like I'm a voice actor no matter what anybody tells me right now But now it's like you get that first deed.

You're like, holy crap. I can do this And it was it was exciting and terrifying and so I got it all sent off and it went on sale It's it's been like a month and a half and it's sold all of four copies I, I have a audio book in my name, so it doesn't matter. And I can say, that's like the coolest thing.

Cause I, I mean, I remember getting my first one too. And like, I was just telling a student before I was on with you today. And I said to him, like, you know, audio books, like the longer form read like that was not something that I had ever done a whole ton of. I've done a lot of voice work. I've done a lot of like ad libbed kind of voice work as well, because of radio and podcasting and whatnot, but.

It was almost like I needed to prove to myself that not that I could do it, but that I could, that I could land the gig. You know what I mean? And that was important to me to be able to say that I did it. And I didn't care if I, I didn't care if it's sold. I didn't care if I got any money for it. I just wanted, I wanted it done.

I wanted the experience and I wanted it. So I had something to show for it because then it sets me up for like, Oh, look, she can do this, this, this, this, this, and this, and here's proof. And here's what it sounds like. And now hire me. Um, and that's, and that's what happened for you. It's like, you have this PCS.

Sure. I got this demo. I did, but here's the, here's legit work that I did. Yeah, exactly. And. No, and that's exactly what, what it was. I, I, once I had that one thing and I talk about it all the time with people that work, it's like once they knew they had that one thing, they were, everybody was super excited for me that most of the people that bought the book were coworkers, you know, it's just, it's, it's, uh, um, what were you going to say though?

Oh, well, I was just gonna say like you said, you said that one, but you, you said plural. So I, I'm interested to know what, what came next then, because obviously it's like, okay, I did it. I, I am a voice actor officially now. I can say it and comfortably. And did that, did that maybe give you a little extra confidence boost going into those next auditions?

Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and every audition that I've done and, and there again, I think that you, you said this, I try to remember who said what on the podcast, but, uh, and maybe it was Josh, but using, uh, some people are, you know, don't like using auditions on for audio books as practice. But every one that I do, I get faster at editing.

I get faster at the, the reading part of, I just, everything builds my, my skill. And I know that I've read a few things that probably weren't a hundred percent, but yeah, so I kept auditioning and then I got about a three hour book. About, uh, uh, live longer, live better. It's, it's, uh, about things to do in midlife to make your golden years better.

Whether that's through exercise or finances or eating better, you know. Um, and, and that took the very minimal knowledge I had about doing this. And amped it up, you know, turned it up to 11, because it was three hours of editing audio instead of 24 minutes, and it, yeah, it's, it's, it's a lot of work, and it's not terribly exciting.

It's an all and I think that. That's what scares some people going into this is they're like, Oh my God, I have to learn how to be a voice actor first, but then I have to learn how to do this on a computer with this different kind of technology that I'm not used to. And I'm never going to be able to do that.

But it's like the way I always preface this to people is like, well, listen, the job that you currently have, you felt uncomfortable with at some point, but now, you know, it like the back of your hand. This is the same thing. It's just an educating process, and the more you do it, the more hands on you are, the easier it gets.

Absolutely. Yeah, and so that book is currently in the, back in the author's hands, and he's going through and listening to it and seeing if there's any edits that need to be made. I'm kind of waiting for that. He had sent me a Bonus chapter because it wasn't quite as long as what he wanted. And, and then I, you know, I got done with that and I read some more auditions and I got a third book.

Well, look at you, well on your way to the end, cause listen, I looked at your student notes and I think all I saw was two. So look, you're, you're giving me more. I like this. Well, and that one was, was pretty recent from the time that I had sent the email and, and talked to you guys over the phone, but, um.

And so that one, I, I have to finish editing. And that's another really short book, um, by the same guy that did the mobile phone game book, uh, about treadmill workouts and. Different things to do. And that's a short book. And you know, there again, if it sells four copies again, at least like I have a third book in my name.

And right, exactly. Yeah. It leads you, it leads you to whatever is next in potentially bigger opportunities down the line. And, you know, this is just allowing you that opportunity right from the start here to get your feet wet and, and get more comfortable and more confident. It is. Like most challenging like you said that imposter syndrome can be lingering and that fear of failure.

Um, or like the fear of failure holding you back, but it also like, you know, making you I've got plenty of students who are like, Oh, I haven't told anybody that I'm doing this yet because I want to wait until I. I'm successful with something and it's like, well, you wait and you're letting so much opportunity potentially pass you by, you know, so it's like, you've got to make sure that you're telling people about this, but I know it's scary, you know, because it's like, well, I don't want to set myself up for failure, but sometimes it holds you accountable to, uh, you know what I mean, you start spreading the word.

It's like, well, crap, I don't want to be a failure. So I got to do something about this. Um, but so. Yeah. All right. Three books under your belt. What's next? What, what, what are you so hoping for? Like what do you, what do you like? Like what is the, the like near future goal for you, but what's like long term?

What do you think? So I am, audio books are one of those things that, that are, that's probably not the right way to put it, but more of a gateway drug. Um, you know, I, I want to do the, the, you know, the training videos, I want to do the phone systems, I want to do like quick commercials on TV, I would much rather walk into a place and, and say the things that they want me to say, and then go home and not have to edit it for too long.

Oh, right. Yeah, right. You know, and, and, and, Yeah, and, but I, I, you know, and I remember telling Tom, he's like, well, what do you want to do? I'm like, I want to do it all. I want to do, I want to do video games, I want to do commercials, I want to do books, I want to do all of it. Um, because I don't have any one thing that I feel like Is my area of expertise, because I'm new, I don't know what my thing is yet.

And so, if I, if I dab my toe in the pool of everything, then maybe I'll find that thing that, that really sets it off. But, you know, going back and talking about how, you know, I use that afternoon to, to call people and email people. Um, I called a media company in a small town near where I live. And, you know, go through the whole phone tree.

If you want to talk to this group or this group and phone rings and the guy picks up and I'm like, yeah, I just want to see who I would need to email to, to maybe see who would hire a voice actor. And he goes, well, that's me. What, what do you got? Uh, well, um, and so I went through and told him my thing and he goes, I'm going to send you a script of a project I'm working on right now.

And he sent me a script and nothing's come of it yet, but that's the thing. You never know when you're going to get that person. You never know who you're going to get. And, and it goes back to all the training that you guys provide. It's like, you're not just making this stuff up as you go along. It's, it's valid, useful information that if you follow it.

It might not happen that way. You're not always going to end up talking to the guy that's working on something right now. But you never know until you call or email or contact someone. Yeah, while you're sitting there waiting for your business cards to show up before you tell anybody, it's, you're, you're wasting away opportunity.

Valuable time for sure. And what you just said too, you know, it's like you, you did this like kind of pseudo audition for him based on that phone call. Um, those kind of opportunities, like, yeah, you haven't heard anything yet, but I remember it was January of 2021 and my old Boston boss had sent me a text.

Now, at that point he was working in Detroit. And he was like, Hey, um, you know, we have this opening. Can you, can you send me some stuff? You know, whatever. And I was like, all right. And I'm like, man, I think this guy hates me anyway. Uh, that was just the way I felt at the time, even, even though it turns out you feel like me.

Um, so I sent him over like this, you know, rather fresh radio demo. And I heard nothing for like two solid months. And I was like, see, yep, he hates me. Um, and sure enough, next thing you know, he's on the phone with me and he's offering me the job, but wanted me to move there. And I'm like, I can't do that.

And he's like, well, how about we have you record from there and have you fill in in the meantime. And, and, you know, we'll go ahead. And, uh, when we hire somebody in person, you know, then whatever, and. Turned out then the rating started going up and then they kept me. Um, now the station just got sold. So it's like that gig is going to be gone.

But I had it from April of 2021 until I still have it till at least the end of this month. Um, and awesome. I mean, that was a solid chunk of income for me over the last, you know, year and a half, two years that was completely on, out of the blue. Unexpected a situation like you where it's like in the moment it, what do we do?

We focus on the negative right over here going like, this guy hates me, um, , you know what I mean? . And then next thing you know, it's like, no, he doesn't hate you. He just wasn't quite sure what was going on in that station just yet. He was waiting, you know, and, and uh, it all was working out in my favor. So, um, we get nose.

Sometimes and we don't know what's going on, uh, on the other end. And sometimes what happens is, is something beautiful. A couple of months down the line, you get another email and that person's offering you something else. Uh, you know, it's like they already found what they were looking for for X, Y, Z gig, but now they've got this one and Hey, you know what, it's going to be Charlie.

Uh, And those relationships, you just going and cold calling like that is very important. I did that too. When I was, um, you know, in between some gigs and it, it made it, so there was a position that was open, but it wasn't posted anywhere. And they offered me, they flew me to Pittsburgh and offered me a job on the spot.

I didn't take it cause I didn't really like Pittsburgh. Um, but you know, it was, it was cool and it built a relationship. Um, you know, so like that's, that's the important part there. Um, absolutely. So what the, the, the big be all end all goal for you is what, just like figuring out where, where you fit, like what the big niche might be and kind of taking it from there, you think?

Yeah. And, you know, I'm working with Tom, you know, he, he going through the, the process of everything, he kind of gave me an idea of what my voice is, is more suited for, um, which is why, you know, where I came up with the description that's, that's on my, on the website. Um, about kind of how I feel my voice portrays me and that's, you know, the, the, the guy next door, the, you know, kind of hanging out and having a conversation and just kind of.

You know, the way I sound and, and so, you know, political ads and, and commercials for camping gear and whatnot, which is why we kind of picked the, the audition or the, uh, demos that we did, excuse me, over the, over the, on my demo, but, um, yeah, and that's the thing is there's actually a, in, in a little bit larger town near me, there's, There's a, oh my gosh, I've lost the name.

I apologize. Um, a company that does only, um, political ads. That's what their, that's what their thing is. And I've emailed them a couple of times, letting them know my information, just kind of following up with them. Cause, you know, you never know when they need, you know, whatever politician to, to voice for them.

And, and I, you know, it's, it can seem sometimes like you're bugging the crap out and you're probably being annoying, but sometimes that's what has to happen because who knows how, how, what the influx of emails is that they get yours could have totally gone on notice the first time, even the second time, or somebody has you on file and the, you know, they're in the process of doing something else and.

Oh crap, you know that, that guy, you know what? I'm glad he emailed me again. I was thinking about him before and then I totally forgot, you know, you just, it seems like you're being like a annoying little gnat, but sometimes that's what gets you the gig too. So yeah, you're doing the right things, man. And, and clearly, uh, it's paying off cause you've got some work under your belt already.

Um, now you mentioned the website and I know you've got it through us right now. So I know it's one of those, I can voice websites, but go ahead and tell us the, uh, the, the address so people can go ahead and check it out. So, if you type in C. L. Burns, B. E. R. N. S. dot com, it actually will flip over to the I Can Voice website.

Um, so it, it doesn't mask it. It kind of, you know, isn't very elegant and smooth because I don't know a ton about that. But I went ahead and got my own. Email or my own domain. So that way, at least once I get to a point, um, I can create my own. Um, and, and that way it's, it'd be at CLBurns, B E R N S dot com.

You can hear my, uh, awesome demo. Perfect. Well, I very much appreciate you taking a little time out of the work day to talk to little old me. I know, uh, you know, you're a first time interviewee, uh, but long time listener. So I appreciate, you know, tuning in every week to all the nonsense here. But, um, you know, keep, keep plugging away and keep making us proud.

We're so, uh, glad to, to see everything working out for you. Fantastic. Thank you very much.

Visit voicecoaches. com for more voiceover news and information.

This week on Voice Coaches Radio. Marissa sits down with Charlie (CL) Berns to chat about his new adventure into voice over and how he’s been getting some work under his belt!