Succeeding in Voiceover-Actorfest in Los Angeles November 5thOctober 27, 2011 by: Colleen
10:00-11:30 am — 9th Floor, Room #C998
Voicebank’s CEO Jeff Hixon leads this panel of top voiceover artists to share best tips on breaking into this lucrative field and how to one builds a career in voiceover.
— Jeff Hixon, CEO, Voicebank
— David Stieve, Voiceover Agent, AKA Talent Agency
— Terry Berland, Casting Director, Terry Berland Casting
— Rick Zieff, Producer, Director, Casting Director, Voiceover Talent and Coach
— Bill Ratner, Actor
— Ashley Russo, Actor
Jeff Hixon founded Voicebank.net in 1998. Voicebank quickly established itself as the leading voiceover delivery network in the world, connecting more than 165 talent agencies with more than 6,000 ad agencies and studio users worldwide.
With millions of auditions successfully delivered and tens of thousands of projects cast, voicebank.net is the standard in voiceover delivery. Recently voicebank.net introduced voiceregistry. This site enables actors seeking representation to be searched and heard by talent agencies and to find educational and training opportunities to further enhance their careers.
Originally from West Bend, Wis., David Stieve earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and moved to Los Angeles in 1999 to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
After a brief stint at USA Networks and the Sci-Fi Channel, Stieve began working at AKA Talent Agency and has been with the agency ever since. In those 12 years (and counting), he has amassed experience in nearly every area of representation: commercial, theatrical, youth, hosting, and now voiceover.
Supplementing his Hollywood résumé, Stieve has also written a number of original screenplays, including the critically acclaimed cult-favorite horror-satire “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.” He is also one of three subjects in the Mercury Productions documentary “Dreams on Spec,” which showcases the trials and tribulations of pursuing a screenwriting career in Hollywood.
Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera television, voiceover, radio commercials, animation, and hosting. Berland’s casting career extends more than 25 years and has earned her Clio and Addy awards as well as accolades from the Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, and the International Film and Television Festival.
She is known for casting legions of commercials throughout the years that have given many actors work. Voices include Apple, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Gillette, Discover, Pepsi, Bud.TV, Comcast, HP, Nissan, Burger King, Taco Bell (voice of the Chihuahua), AXA (the Gorilla), Lexus, Alamo (Beaver & Buffalo), “Invader Zim” (original cast), Nextel, Red Bull (all characters), “Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood” (PBS), T-Mobile, VW, Orville Redenbacher, Comcast, Old Navy, Sprint, Miracle Whip, and more.
Berland’s background as head of casting for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is the co-author of the how-to industry book “Breaking Into Commercials.” www.berlandcasting.com.
Rick Zieff has been immersed in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years. He has produced, directed, cast, written, and acted. Zieff’s experience spans many media—film, television, radio, CD-ROM, and the Internet.
Zieff has received critical acclaim for his voice direction of Katsuhiro Otomo’s anime masterpiece “Steamboy.” The months he spent on that project brought him to London to direct Patrick Stewart, to New York to direct Alfred Molina and Anna Paquin, and back to Los Angeles to lead a veteran cast of voice actors in a movie (and companion video game) that has already been called a classic.
On the small screen, Cartoon Network was the home of the “Gundam” series he directed (and starred in) for two seasons. Zieff also wrote and produced TV promos for full seasons of WB shows such as “One Tree Hill,” “Third Watch,” and “Gilmore Girls.” Currently, Zieff is a lead in Nickelodeon’s “Olivia” as Olivia’s dad.
Zieff has become the go-to man for alternate reality game casting and directing. Among his numerous credits are the online games from “The Dark Knight” with the late Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman, “The International” with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He is currently working on “Tron: Legacy.”
Zieff also helped cast the pioneering web series “The Soul Patrol.” In a world of new media and viral marketing, Zieff’s clients, such as Sony, Disney, DreamWorks, G4, Activision, Sunrise, Bandai, Pioneer, Nitto, Jell-O, Hasbro, Microsoft, and Leap Frog, keep him busy with a variety of marketing and promotional projects. Of particular note is his casting of “The Chubbchubbs!,” winner of an Oscar for best animated short film.
Bill Ratner is one of Hollywood’s premier voiceover talents, narrating movie trailers for “The Rum Diary,” “Megamind,” “Talladega Nights,” and others; Investigation Discovery documentaries “Behind Mansion Walls” and “I (Almost) Got Away With It” “Air Disasters” (Smithsonian Channel); “Full Force Nature” (The Weather Channel); video games “Mass Effect I–III” (as Donnel Udina), “Grand Theft Auto,” and “King’s Quest” current commercial campaigns for V8, Hyundai, Taco Bell, and DieHard; and the cartoons “G.I. Joe” (as Flint); “Robot Chicken,” and “Family Guy.”
As a storyteller Ratner is an eight-time winner of The Moth StorySLAM. He is a contributing author to “Secrets of Voiceover Success” (Sentient Press), a published essayist and short-story writer, and a creative writing graduate of Vermont College.
Ashley Russo was born and raised in Southern California. Growing up she loved to act onstage and on-camera. Eventually she found her calling in the voiceover world and now works on prime-time television shows and radio spots.
Through the guidance of voiceover veterans she honed her skills, learning to develop characters that can range from a 3-year-old to a wicked queen. Russo is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.