Nathan Beatty Voice Over

This site is where you can find more information about Nathan Beatty, an experienced voice over actor based in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Nathan has been a stage actor for over a decade working both on and off stage in over 50 different productions.  Nathan's voice is the neighbor next door.  The friend you trust.  A casual guy.  His voice can also be the young boy hero ready for adventure.  The old jaded mentor.  The silly friend who's sole purpose is to make you laugh. Nathan has worked on various web videos on a number of topics and multiple sales oriented audiobooks. With a wide range of vocal talent Nathan is more than capable to help you with your project.

Update on the VO Actor Strike... *cricket**cricket*

A couple of months ago I wrote about the potential of a voice actor strike.  Specifically that voice actors and video game publishers were not seeing eye to eye in their negotiations at the time.  Recently I decided to do a little digging since those of us on the outside of SAG/AFTRA are getting no updates on the situation.  Essentially this is what I've found:

No strike has been called.  

That being said, we are actually pretty close to one.  I checked the SAG/AFTRA Updates page in regards to this issue and have found that there has been some movement on the part of the union.  You click that link and read about it in more detail but it seems negotiations have continued to stall so the SAG/AFTRA National Board delegated the responsibility to call a strike to the Executive Board.  Wait, wait, stick with me. I realize this is a bit boring but it basically comes down to the fact that the National Board only meets 4 times a year.  If they don't delegate the issue to the Executive Board, then they won't be able to declare a strike until April.  The Executive Board can call a meeting and call a strike at a moments notice.  This happened in January so it seems a strike could be called at any time.  So we are where we were.

It's also interesting to note an update where SAG/AFTRA is calling for members to report "vocally stressful" sessions they may have experienced.  This is because the union is investigating the possibility of petitioning California's Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board to include regulations to cover risks to the voice.  I would imagine that while it only would be applicable in California, it would force studios outside of California to meet the same regulations to continue to work with union members.    

I'm going to link to Wil Wheaton's blog post again because I think it sums up nicely what this is all about.  A lot of people look a this and think it's a bunch of people whining about how they don't get paid enough to talk and that they need more breaks and their hands held during pretend fighting scenes. (For motion capture)  That really isn't the case.  Here's my take on each of the issues on the table: 

Residuals would be nice, but really everyone knows at this point that this issue is a red herring.  It's will be the first thing to go.  The only reason it's still we are still talking about it, I would imagine, is because the publishers aren't willing to entertain any of it so the union is doubling down.  

Limiting vocally stressful sessions to two hours just makes sense.  If you have ever gone to a concert and screamed and sang your head off for over three hours remember what your voice was like the next day.  Yeah.  Now imagine you have to go to an interview to get a job based on how good your voice sounds.  This isn't because we're pansies.  To put it another way, think of delivery guy.  He has to lift 100 lbs packages all day long.  He gets a new manager that not only won't let him take a break for 8 hours and that he must bend with his back and not his knees the whole time.  Everyday he is risking his health and his ability to continue working because his boss isn't letting him do his job safely.  His back blows out and now he can't work.  That's what happens to us.  If our voice goes, so does our income.  

Stunt coordinators in motion capture sessions, again, just makes sense.  This issue and the vocal stressful issue are frankly the two I think are the most important to the union.  If you are doing any kind of acting that requires physical movement outside of "walking, sitting, standing, lying down" then you need a stunt coordinator.  Especially if there is any type of "fighting" involved.  I've been in a few productions where there were no stunt coordination or fight choreographer and ALWAYS someone got hurt.  Thankfully each time was a bump or a bruise but that doens't matter.  Because eventually it's going to be more than that.  Why risk it?  

Transparency is the other issue I believe is mostly there to be removed in negotiation.  While it would be nice to have the name of the title and whether it had objectionable content it isn't a neccessity.  If you have concerns a project may not align with your ideals, ask.  I'm sure a director you are auditioning for will be happy to give you a vague yes or no without compromising the confidentiality of the project.  And if they don't, and you are that worried about it there are other projects out there.  It's not like we don't audition for a 100 jobs to just get one.   What is another 100 jobs.  That IS our job.

So that is my break down.  Thanks for sticking with me on this update and I will post any news on this issue as it comes out.  

What do you think about the demands of SAG/AFTRA?  How about the stone cold silence of the publishers?  Leave a comment below or drop me a line at nate@nathanbeattyvo.com  Thanks again!

Puzzah!

I wanted to take a minute to let you guys know about a cool thing to do in the Denver Area.  You know those "puzzle room" places that are popping up all around the country?  Where you go in and you have a certain amount of time to figure out a puzzle with a group of your friends?  You do!  That's awesome Fake Person I Made Up for the Purposes of this Blog Entry!

If you live near Denver or are planning to visit there, check out Puzzah!  It's a great place that a bunch of cool puzzle rooms for you and your friends to try out.  I'm a bit partial to the "Mad Composer" room because he has a great voice.  But all the rooms are great.  Check it out!

Here is their website.

Leave a comment or drop me a line at nate@nathanbeattyvo.com .  Thanks again!

You Are The Jack of All Trades...Audio Editing

When you run your own business it is up to you to get everything done.  Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it every job rests upon your shoulders.  Marketing, client management and support, IT responsibilities, ALL of it.  This doesn't even take into account what your actual business does.  Each one of those items, along with the countless items I haven't mentioned, deserve time all on their own.   For now, let's focus on one thing that is particularly specific to voice actors....

Audio Editing

Many voice actors do not have to worry about this aspect of the job.  They walk into a studio, record what they need to record, then walk out.*  Any and all post production work on the audio is handled by sound engineers and editors.  Hours of work are put into these audio files before they are layered into the final project.  There are a number of voice actors whose job begins and ends with the actual recording.  That's awesome.  That is where I want to be in my career as a voice actor.  To be able to record the piece and walk away.

*I know many of these voice actors I am talking about still record their own auditions from time to time and they know how to edit and do what they need to do to make the audio sound "pretty."  My underlying point is that most of their paying jobs, be it a cartoon character, a narrator of an audio book, or a commercial spot does not require any more from them than their voice.  

I am not there yet.  Many other voice actors are not there yet either.   So along with wearing all the other hats that is required of us, we must also wear the hat of a sound engineer.  We have to figure out how to edit our own audio as well as do any post production work that may be required.  For example, ACX.com requires all files be in a specific format with certain specifications to be acceptable.  If you want to audition for audio books on ACX, you need to know how to get your files into that format and to meet those specifications if you want to be successful there.  

Yes, you could shop this out to a freelancer but you will need to take into account the amount you are making for the project and how much of that you are willing to spend on editing.  If you decide to do it yourself you have to be sure you factor the time required to edit into the overall project time. I use this rule of thumb:

If you have 1 hour of audio, it will take you at least 2 hours to edit that audio.    

Imagine you are working on a 700 page audio book.  The time adds up quickly.  And here it is why I wanted to talk about this today.  For a lot people thinking about becoming voice actors there is little regard given to this part of the job.  Either because they dismiss it as easy or not required, or because they think they will be landing gigs in LA or NY right out of the gate anyway and others will do it for them.  The most common I've seen is people just not realizing it's needed.  But as you can see it can rapidly become the most time consuming part of the job.  

So read up on it.  Find YouTube videos about it.  I will be putting some things I've learned along the way up here on the blog soon.  It is an integral part of the job and it's best to learn as much as you can as soon as you can.  Good luck!

Leave a comment or drop me a line at nate@nathanbeattyvo.com .  Thanks again!

So Many Conferences....

Today I wanted to briefly talk about conferences.  There are a lot over voice over conferences out there.  There are a bunch going on in my neck of the woods and I can only imagine how many are being put on in LA and NYC.  This brings up a lot of questions.  Are they worth it?  If so, which ones?  Am I welcome there?

Frankly the answer to all three of those questions come down to research.  Some conferences are worth it and some are not.  This falls into the same category as "VO Training" falls into.  Since there is a fairly low barrier for entry into this career there are a lot of people out there more than willing to take your money to "show you the ropes."  This leads to people peddling their training skills to anyone who wants to know how to get into voice acting.  At the same time you have folks putting together conferences for the same reason.  So if you are looking at a specific conference that is nearby, find some reviews on it.  Ask some folks who have gone.  Don't be shy.  I have yet to find someone in this business who isn't more than willing to help a fellow actor out.  You want to make sure if you go to a conference you are going to get your money's worth.

(Disclaimer: Personally I have not come across a conference that is a "scam."  But they are out there.)

But it is important to remember that conferences can't get speakers and trainers and sponsors unless that conference gives those speakers, trainers, and sponsors a chance to advertise their products and services.  The key is to make sure the products and services are of good quality.  If the only speaker at a conference you are looking at has a resume the ended in the late 90's and most notably role is the narrator in a Ben Gay commercial you may want to pass.  Like with most things do your research. Ask questions.

The conferences that do seem to have quality speakers and sponsors are probably one of the most important things you can do for your career.  I can't overstate this.  If you go to as many events as you are physically able to and you take a lot of notes you will have a treasure trove of information that would have taken weeks of research on your own.  And do you know what the really great part is?  All that information is a bonus.  The REAL benefit is the networking.  Voice acting becomes so much easier when you have a network of folks who are also voice actors.  We spend a good bit of our time either alone recording, editing, and practicing or marketing and interfacing with our clients for more work.  Conferences give us a chance to get out and meet with folks who are like us, can help us, and are just fun to be around.  

I also want to address the "Am I welcome?" question.  That depends on the conference so research will answer this as well.  VO Atlanta welcomes all skill levels while another conference may be a better fit for seasoned actors.  You need to find that out before you spend the money.  

Finally I want to suggest two conferences that I think are wonderful.  VO Atlanta, mentioned above, is the largest voice over conference in the southeast and may be the biggest east of the Mississippi as of this year.  It is an amazing experience.  Unfortunately I cannot attend this year due to unforeseen circumstances but there is still some time to register.  I encourage you to do so!  

Next is MAVO.  This is the Mid Atlantic Voice Over Conference.  This one is having their third year this November and I am really looking forward to it.  

Let me know if there are any conferences you have attended in the comments below or drop me a line at nate@nathanbeattyvo.com .  I would love to here your conference stories.  Thanks again!

PS: I just had to throw this in here.  On Saturday of VO Atlanta 2015  my wife, daughter, and I were eating dinner in the hotel restaurant near a main thoroughfare.  My daughter was 9 months old at the time and unbelievably adorable (in my biased opinion).  On three separate occasions our dinner was interrupted by various celebrities so they could coo over our baby.  These folks are giants of the industry, the voice of various awards shows, a voice of a favorite character of my youth, etc and they were interrupting OUR dinner.  I was a little floored by that.  In my visions I imagined I would be the stuttering fanboy interrupting their dinner blubbering like a fool.  My only regret was I did not get photos of them with my daughter.  O well....