Voice Registry Podcast-Tracy Pattin Talks with Voice Talent/Marketing Expert Tori HartmanApril 14, 2010 by: Tracy Pattin
Tori Hartman began her voiceover work at the suggestion of her publisher, who wanted her to record one of her books on tape. Two weeks later, she was in a studio launching her new career. In 2005, Tori opened what has become The Garage 247, a full service voiceover recording studio. The Garage specializes in low-cost ISDN and has become a vital gathering place for new and established voice talent. She’s just launched her VO marketing teams where actors help each other with networking and marketing strategies.
Right+Click to download podcast (11.8 MB)
This Voice Registry podcast is brought to you by Voicebank.net
Tracy: Hi everyone I am Tracy Pattin and I am here at the Garage 247 with Tori Hartman. Hi Tori!
Tori: Hi Trace
Tracy: This is Tori’s studio, Tori is a voice over artist and many many other things. Let’s talk about that, let’s talk about your background and how you got started in voice over.
Tori: Well actually I didn’t step out and go “I want to do voice over” what happened was I wasn’t paying attention in a meeting and I’m an author I have written books and they said “So great, what do you think” and I said “Terrific, idea” and they said “Good” and the next thing I knew I was in a studio recording.
Tracy: And you had never done it before
Tori: No and you know what (Laughs) I had some experience as a kid, I mean you know I had done some commercial stuff as a kid. I got my SAG card when I was fifteen.
Tracy: Uh Huh
Tori: And my father was in the business so I grew up in the industry. But I really had moved away from that into writing books. Something happened Tracy in the thirty hours it took me in the studio.
Tracy: Yes, Right
Tori: And I didn’t know what I was doing I think most people don’t and you think “Oh! I am going to do voice over” and you jump into the studio and you have no idea the amount of work, the amount of intimacy, how the acting changes.
Tori: How the conversation changes and because what happens like right now were doing a conversation that is inclusive of our listener. So I am very much aware of the person listening even as we are having this conversation.
Tori: So it breaks that third wall, you know that fourth wall or whatever that wall is in acting.
Tori: But it’s that you know I am very much aware of the audience, not so much that I can show off to them but so that the person listening is getting benefit and that’s what voice over is, you are including them.
Tracy: Exactly, so it is interesting you have this hands on experience right of the bat.
Tracy: And learned about these insights as you were doing your narrating your book.
Tori: Yeah and it was really like hitting the ground running. My background was, I have much more of a background in spirituality I have been a psychic for years so a lot of my work was in that area. So this was like what? But something I want to say, even as I am saying that to you is that I really respected this business as I respected all businesses but really I respected the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing. And so I took five years and studied, I studied with amazing people like Calmenson and Huck. And there is just a bevy of people.
Tracy: And Huck, what’s Huck’s last name
Tori: Huck Liggett at Voice Caster
Tracy: Okay, great
Tori: And you know I studied with people that really taught how to do voice over so that I wasn’t just you know another person coming in because you know there is a lot I want to say about that and you are really only going to get one big shot at LA.
Tori: And so you know I have so many stories about that stuff.
Tracy: Well Tori, let’s jump right into marketing because what I find is so fascinating is you are really focusing on the marketing aspect of voice over and my listeners, all want to know about that especially with the economic issues. Although I wonder if we are really struggling that much as voice over actors because it seems like we are already having to reinvent ourselves all the time.
Tori: I mean I think the thing is and I will say this and then get right into the marketing aspect, which is that you know I think what’s going on in the world is a virus. So what I tell people is don’t catch it because I think it is one of those things that its convenient to be frightened.
Tori: I think it’s an, let me put it this way, anytime we don’t know what we’re doing we get frightened, the reason voice actors and actors in general are doing better is that when we don’t know what we’re doing we study it. So it’s a different conversation, the world at large wants security, comfort, knowing, if you’re in this business and you want that you need to leave.
Tori: (Laughs) Cause it’s not going to be that way
Tracy: It’s true we were talking last night with your group, which we will get into that later with the actors and everybody is upbeat because this is what we already do. This is what we have to always deal with, curve balls.
Tori: Well and let me get to the marketing thing cause Tracy I think what we are really talking about, when I talk about marketing and when I teach marketing to people. We have a marketing team here that I started and it’s really kind of it started out as a class I was teaching but it has evolved. So it was back in October in 08 that we started it and now these people have been together for five months and you have to remember that we are missing in general in the world is a sense of community.
Tori: Because know we are in a community where we don’t even have to talk to people, we can say one line on facebook and think we have connected.
Tracy: (Laughs) Exactly
Tori: So the thing is, is that especially with voice over it is so lonely.
Tori: That the first thing that we established in our team is that we are all in a community, its like being in community theatre. And everybody is very supportive, so you will get in our team someone saying “so and so is hiring” or you know “don’t forget here is another thing I say on craigslist.” or “Voice 123” or there is different, um you know people talk about Voice 123 and how it’s affecting the business and all that, at the end of the day clients will work with you if your talented, your good at what you do and your very professional. You know what the solutions don’t change but when I am teaching people to market I am teaching them what I learned the hard people and most people in this town don’t do that because they don’t want you in it.
Tracy: (Laughs) And explain a little more about your team and what this group does? Does this group together on a weekly basis? Do you practice VO copy, as well as the marketing? What is the structure?
Tori: There’s a bunch of different things, initially it was going to “be here is some information on how to market yourself” that is how it started and so what I do is I teach them how to take stock of everyone they know. How to really create true relationships and what an authentic relationship is and authentic relationships in this business by the way and in this town are really, excuse me, they’re crap. Because here is what is going on, I had a client, I was working with and she came in very mad, she wasn’t on this team I was working with her privately and she said “I can’t believe this, this man just hit on me, he said he would have lunch with me and he would help me with my career and then he was like you know telling me he wants to have sex with me and I’m married.” So I backed up the story and I said “wait a minute, how did you meet him” “oh we were at a party and I started talking to him and we were talking about God and spirituality” and you know she said it was very interesting she said in the conversation she said “I wanted him to help me with my script”
Tracy: Uh Huh
Tori: Or whatever, you know it’s usually that or something my voice over career you know, different conversations. And I said “well, so let me ask you this, you went in with an agenda and now you are mad that he came in with an agenda”
Tracy: Good Point
Tori: Right so what a lot of our marketing does, a lot of what our work is, is getting rid of the agenda and remembering that we are here to be a service to people. And when we get into that vein we get more work because what happens is, it’s like what has happened in our economy, the hoarders, those who are greedy and are “I got to have that, I got to have that, I got to have that” are losing in the end run. Those we are in share mode are winning and we have to come together in communities, so the marketing team to answer your question does have a structure. First of all I had to strip away what was in their way of voice over, I also work them, I bring in one of my agents and in fact you met him last night but he does every once a month we do signature voice night and I teach people what signature voice is and I show them how to find theirs. And so a lot of the work were doing, we do a lot of, it can almost feel like in some ways like group therapy but a lot of this is like for a lack of a better way “peeling the onion back and finding what is the authentic you” because that is voice over, it is authentic. So if you are coming to the table with a “Hi, my name is Tori and can you listen to my demo?” It’s a very different conversation then “Tracy, tell me about what you do and who you are?”
Tracy: So you’re saying as the voice over actor ask that producer or that director about them?
Tori: Yeah and I don’t do it, even as I say that it’s much more than that. It is making sure that your agenda is clean, if you have an agenda people see it, I mean it’s like everybody knows like even the people listening, you know you have that one person that you roll your eyes every time that person walks in the room because it’s like “Hi! Let me tell you more about me and then you talk about me for awhile”
Tracy: Yeah, exactly
Tori: You know and you feel like, whoa. And here is the thing everyone talks about themselves but you have to at the end of the day realize that you are in a relationship with other people and you have to be willing to help them.
Tracy: I mean it is true Tori, in any business, I mean voice over I was saying again this to someone last night who is just getting into the business, saying that “you know what it is a business” and this guy has a business background and I said “great, you have a business background that is going to help you understand about this marketing component” which a lot of voice actors I think, I think we depend on our agents and we all understand we have to do some of the work but we don’t know how to do that.
Tori: Well then I think,
Tracy: I mean what do we need to do?
Tori: You know what constitutes getting to the next level is knowing where you are right now and they get into it thinking “Okay, I got to get an agent”
Tori: And it’s like “no, you have to really assess what you are bringing to the table” you know like people on my marketing team, I have got people, I have one man in his sixties and he’s starting out but he’s a great read, he’s good but I have said to him a hundred times and I continue “Your not ready for LA, I am not going to bring you into the LA market yet because you need more mic time”. And what happens is people get so impatient about making these demos and I have a whole conversation about demos that get me infuriated because people just throw copy at you and go okay read this and your demo sounds like you read it, it’s stilted and what I do with people is we pull tears out of magazines and I say “Okay, just read this” and they go “o’kay, Bayer aspirin feel better” and I go okay hand it to so and so and we pass that same copy around and we go “okay, who booked it?” and everybody goes “oh, so and so did”
Tracy: Oh, that’s good
Tori: Because what we learn is that it doesn’t, when we start hearing other people reading it in a group like that were not competitive because we love each other. Everybody has a great read, it is a question of “oh, I have to bring me to the mic” because the minute you start bringing to the copy what you think should be read.
Tori: You won’t book it, you will not book
Tracy: What is so funny in the improve roundtable we had this exact conversation, it keeps coming up about being truthful like Don Lafontaine would say “it is all about honesty”
Tori: And he was himself, the thing is that what’s interesting in doing the marketing team is that we have been together for five months now and I have just brought in a new team because I had just had five new team members and I had done a weekend with them and intensive and brought them in. And so every couple months I will bring in a few people and it is a very closed group in that sense but you know what’s great about it, is we are so tight that when everybody hears everybody in the team read the same line they all go “Oh, wow, everybody is good” and it was very interesting because one guys is a very good mimic so he read right after somebody else and he mimicked the other person and it was a good read but when it came back around, I was able to say to that person you just mimicked him but you’re a good mimicked. So now we know you shouldn’t listen to anybody else before you go in and he was like “oh” because you won’t be bringing you to the mic, you will be bringing what you think sounded good and everybody is like “yeah”.
Tori: And what was interesting is we did this I think twice and each time different people booked it and it wasn’t that person was better than anybody else but really it reminds us to be authentic in our dealings, really ourselves because that’s what people will buy.
This has been Part One of my interview with Tori Hartman join me next time for Part Two.
This Voice Registry podcast was brought to you by Voicebank.net, join us next time.