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Mike Lenz Voice - A Journey Into Voice Acting

Join professional voice actor, audiobook narrator, and podcast host Mike Lenz as he shares stories from some of the most amazing and inspiring people from all areas of the voice-over industry - as well as other incredible entrepreneurs - to help inspire you to achieve your dream of becoming a professional voice actor.
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Mike Lenz Voice - A Journey Into Voice Acting
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Now displaying: Category: voice acting
Mar 13, 2017

My website gurus tell me this page needs to be “personal” and “not salesy,” but my personal life isn’t all that interesting. Well, since I’m paying them for their expertise, here we go… When people ask where I’m from, I hold up my left hand like anyone born and raised in the Great Lake State of Michigan. I kept the non-accent but left the cold to live in Georgia.

Since I have no coordination and therefore stunk at sports, I turned to singing and theater as a teen where I found it was much more fun to be other people than my bookish, nerdy self. Being on stage, I found my happy place and even made some money in high school entertaining at little girls’ birthday parties as Snow White complete with balloon animals and a Pin the Ears on Dopey game.

College kicked off with me earning a minor in Theater Performance at Auburn University, but then breaking my AU Tiger mother’s heart when I was accepted to the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, where I earned a degree in Public Relations. Like any student working her way through school, I probably annoyed you with telemarketing calls and may have even served you drinks and dinner if you ever dined in my college town.

My best college job was as a DJ at WDDK in little ol’ Greensboro, Georgia. General Manager Chip Lyness not only gave me a job but a ticket to my future. His love of the broadcast industry was contagious, and I never looked back. Luck brought me cowboy boots and Wrangler jeans when I got a job as a VJ at a local television music video station in Athens, Georgia, which then led me to my first professional post-college job with a country station in Tucson, Arizona. Since I didn’t know squat about country music at the time, I drew a lot on that acting background. These work experiences introduced me to the magic of broadcast advertising.

Spent most of my after-college life working in public relations and media including stints as a newspaper reporter, copywriter, on-air talent and non-profit communications director.

After doing VO on the side for years, it was time to pull the trigger. Brilliant coach Paul Armbruster helped me channel my theater background and marry it to my broadcast experience by teaching me how to be a voice actor.

When I’m not hanging out with my family or voicing at the mic, I’m exploring the outdoors in my red kayak, via my own two feet running, or behind the wheel of my black Jeep Wrangler. When being outside is impossible, I’m reading, playing board games with my family or geeking out on the web searching for more vintage mics to add to my collection.

For more information about this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Feb 27, 2017

Julie Williams brings almost four decades of voice-over excellence to the table.  From showing travelers how to change their tickets at Orbitz.com, to instructing employees how to make the perfect Pizza Hut Pizza, to feature stories on HGTV, to teaching virtual high school Biology and Geometry eLearning course, a Savvy Woman Homebuyers series for Women’s Entertainment Television and helping lawyers with a Bar Exam study course, I have voiced hundreds of eLearning projects.

I’ve also voiced hundreds of commercials over the past decades for such notable clients as Coca-Cola, Pampers, Imperial Sugar, Disney World, Foley*s, Dillards, and more. Most of her clients are repeat clients who return time after time. Why do I get hired so often? Because I communicate the story of the script by offering a transparency in which the focus is never on the me, but on the message. And that’s a skill I pass along to my students.

An audiobook narrator with many titles to my credit, I’m proud to say I earned the honor of being an Audie Finalist in 2010 for my performance of Lord of the Ringless, by Dee Aspin–my very first audiobook! I’ve taught at the top VO conferences in the world.

For more information on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.  

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Feb 13, 2017

Emmy-winning producer Rudy Gaskins is CEO and Executive Creative Director of Push Creative, Inc., a full-service branding agency providing strategic marketing, graphic design and video/film production. Clients include Lexus, FOX News Channel, BET, American Express, Spike TV, ABC Television, Actors Federal Credit Union, History Channel, MSNBC, and NBC Sports. Drawing on his former experience as a filmmaker and writer/producer/director for PBS, Gaskins has recently expanded Push Creative’s production scope to include program development and is actively developing TV and web series in several genres.

In an admirable gesture to elevate the quality and perception of the voiceover industry, Gaskins conceived and initiated the creation of two innovations that have had a very special impact on the TV marketing and promotions community: 1) In 2007, Gaskins created what has become Promax/BDA’s tri-annual event called “Speed Dating for Clients and Vendors.” The process, which is not unlike speed dating in the personal relationship world, has greased the rusted practices of how vendors and clients discern and create partnerships to achieve outsourcing objectives. 2) In 2009, Gaskins brought to Promax/BDA an idea to create and award category that, for the first time in TV history, would recognize the contribution of voiceover actors to the success of a multi-billion dollar advertising and marketing industries. With the passing of the legendary Don Lafontaine, Gaskins engaged Promax/BDA to inaugurate the annual Don LaFontaine Legacy Award which Gaskins presented to Don’s wife at the 2009 Promax/BDA conference. The Don LaFontaine Legacy Award is given annually to a voiceover actor who demonstrates humanitarianism in his or her life.

Gaskins began his professional career after graduating from NYU’s Film and Television program. He wrote, directed and produced several award-winning short films before signing on as an apprentice film editor on Francis Coppola’s The Cotton Club. From there Gaskins went on to work with some of the most influential filmmakers of our time, including Jonathan Demme, Brian DePalma, Milos Forman, Spike Lee, and Alan Pakula. Having never lost his original passion for creating and directing, Gaskins joined PBS where he produced over 12 hours of programming spanning dozens of countries and cultures around the world.

The PBS journalistic tradition was indeed fertile ground and a perfect complement to Gaskins’ next challenge as writer/producer/director with ABC News advertising and promotion. Here he oversaw the writing and production of on-air advertising for World News Tonight featuring the legendary Peter Jennings, 20/20 with Barbara Walters and Primetime Live with Diane Sawyer. Gaskins also produced and directed behind-the-scenes press package for ABC News and its national affiliates.

Seeking to broaden his challenges, Gaskins took advantage of an entirely new challenge when he was tapped by Court TV to develop an in-house department for creative services and on-air branding strategy. As vice president of Court TV’s creative services department Gaskins managed two successful re-launches of Court TV’s network identity as it moved from a news network to an entertainment venue — overseeing an award-winning re-branding campaign forged in partnership with Lee Hunt. Gaskins would go on to produce similar results as an executive producer for Food Network before launching Push Creative. Among many awards won before and since, Gaskins’ first Emmy Award was for Push Creative’s work on the Olympic Games.

Gaskins continues to look forward, focusing on the integration and proliferation of new media development across all platforms. Over the past 5 years he has guided Push Creative to the edge of the digital revolution, exploiting the social networking phenomenon, developing web sites, iPhone/Pad applications, widgets and web games for a variety of high profile companies like Spike TV, Lexus, JP Morgan and others. As a brand guru and creative director, Rudy has been able to grow Push Creative into a full service integrated creative agency with its greatest assets being new ideas and innovation.

Gaskins currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and business partner, Joan Baker.

For more info on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com

Jan 30, 2017

Joan Baker, author of Secrets of Voice-Over Success, has performed hundreds of promos and commercials for TV, film and radio throughout her highly regarded career. ABC News, American Express, Other clients include: King World, ESPN, BLOOMBERG TV and radio, SHOWTIME, HBO, NBA Entertainment, COURT TV, Imus in the Morning, Olay, Lens Express, Sony Music, JP Morgan Chase, American Express, Costco, and The New York Times Classified represents just a few of the numerous clients who regularly call upon her unique sound. You could even say that Joan’s talents reach the highest levels of American royalty and deep into the political power structure: She voiced a TV ad campaign for The Muhammad Ali Center and narrated a documentary about the founding of the William Jefferson Clinton Library, now a part of the library’s permanent display. And Joan also has it going on live! She provided the live voice announcements for the “Museum of the Moving Image Salutes Will Smith” which aired on Bravo TV.

Prior to authoring Secrets Of Voice-Over Success Joan built a lucrative following among people (actors & corporate executives) seeking training in the art of voice-over acting. Nancy Grace and the late Johnnie Cochran are counted among her high profile students. Today she travels the country as a lecturer and seminar leader through a variety of arts institutions. She’s the creator of the powerful “Make Millions With Your Voice” seminars through the Learning Annex.

She has been featured in numerous publications and TV segments: Interview Magazine, Adweek, Backstage, The NY Post, Media Week, Broadcasting & Cable, Cable World, NY Daily News, Radio World and Black Enterprise. Also on television’s Weekend Vibe, SHOWBIZ Today on CNN, Fox 5 NY, ABC News Now and E! News. She is represented exclusively by Innovative Artists.

In honor of her late father, James P. Baker, who past away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, Joan contributes all royalties from the sales of Secrets of Voice-Over Success to the Alzheimer’s Association of which she has become a steady patron and advocate for a cure.

For more information about this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com

Jan 16, 2017

What’s the deal with “Zippy,” anyway?

Long story short, the nickname “Zippy” comes from a character I played in a 2nd grade talent show. It was my first acting experience, and wouldn’t you know it- the name stuck!

With that being said, should I call you “Christopher?”  “Chris?”  “Zippy?”  I’m confused!

It doesn’t matter- I’ll answer to any of the three!

So acting’s been in your blood since you were a kid- pretty cool.  Did you do anything with that passion?

I was able to parlay my love of acting into a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the California Institute of the Arts, where I was privileged to get a mix of both classical and experimental theatre training from some of the top instructors in the country.  They also had great Halloween parties.

What happened after college?  

I got a job.

Then what?

I took standup comedy classes over at Mi’s Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, California.  I enjoyed being a part of Westside’s community, and it led me to go through their improv training.  I was lucky enough to be a regular performer, both as part of a house team (Ghost Party Orchestra), and as a member of their flagship improv show, Mission IMPROVable (as Agent Hammertime).

Oh goodness, another nickname?

Yup.  I guess it’s kind of my thing.

So, improv you say?  Like what they do on ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’

Well, Mission IMPROVable is sort of like that, but since a TV audience watching an 8pm show at home is a lot different than a live audience coming to watch a 10pm show at a comedy theater, the energy at Mission IMPROVable is unmatched.  Plus, I think our games are better.  But I’m biased.

Ghost party Orchestra’s form of improv is known as longform.  Basically, you put a group of performers on stage, someone in the audience yells out a word, and you do a full show of interconnected scenes based off of that one word.  It can get pretty crazy.

 

Wow- this Westside Comedy Theater sounds like a pretty cool place.  What else did you do over there?

Sketch comedy!  There wasn’t a lot of it going on when I first got there, so some friends & I decided, “Why not us?”  I co-created, co-wrote, co-produced, and co-performed in two regularly-running sketch shows while I was there: Kaufman & Kaufman Presents, and The Get Buck Variety Riot.

First of all, that’s a lot of “co’s.”  Second, this Westside Comedy Theater sounds like a pretty cool place.  Where can I go to learn more about it, and what nights are you there?

http://www.WestsideComedy.com

If you’re ever in Los Angeles, I highly recommend you give them a visit.  Sadly, you won’t find me there these days, as I moved to the East Coast.

Wait, what?!  But…but…you love WCT!  I don’t get it!  If you loved being there so much, why did you leave, mmm?

Well you know the phrase “When opportunity knocks, you…”  Wait.  What is the rest of that phrase?  I mean, I know it’s got something to do with answering a door…or is the whole phrase just, “When opportunity knocks?”  And what if you have a doorbell?

…But I digress.

I had been an L.A. kid all my life, but at some point, I knew that I had to see what the East Coast was all about.  Thankfully, a short stint as a creative writer over at WWE allowed me to move east and experience new things like weather (it snows here!), public transportation that doesn’t stink, and East Coast food (Oh, the food!).

Hold on just one second.  Did you say WWE?  Like, the professional wrestling company?

That’s the one.

You know it’s all fake, right?

Next question.

Okay okay.  I see that you’re a voice actor.  How is that going for you?

Quite well!  After  WWE, I took a chance and explored an avenue I’ve always been interested in: Voice acting. To date, some of the clients I’ve worked with have been MTV, and the University of Louisville.

One last question: What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy watching sports (especially the Lakers, Dodgers, UCLA, and Raiders), bowling, karaoke, and chocolate chip cookies (no nuts!).

For more information about this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Jan 2, 2017

Hi, I'm Mike Lenz.  

I'm a professional voice actor, the author of Paid To Talk - A Journey Into Voice Acting, and the host of a popular podcast, Mike Lenz Voice - A Journey Into Voice Acting.  I’m so excited you're here because that means you have an interest in the voice over industry. 

Maybe you’re just beginning and don’t have a clue where to start. 

That’s OK, because that's exactly where I was 9 years ago.  In fact 10 years ago my life looked a lot different than it does today.

10 years ago I was running my small brick and mortar business and serving as Mayor of my hometown.  I'd been involved in politics for about 10 years and really thought that politics was my future.  I’ve always been a creative person and I enjoyed the communicating part of serving as Mayor - speaking to groups, and doing radio and television interviews. 

But honestly, the pressure was draining every creative bone in my body. 

Fortunately for me, I lost my re-election bid, and although I was disappointed at the time, that event forever changed the course of my life and led me down the path to the world of professional voice acting where I am today - and I’m loving every minute of it!

After leaving politics, I had a lot of free time to explore other passions.  One of those passions - screenwriting - led me to a filmmakers group, and at one of our meetings, a marketing representative from a voice training company came and passed out flyers.  I decided to check out the company and as soon as I took my first lesson I was hooked.  

Getting trained was a lot of fun and it was an exciting day when my demo CD’s arrived in the mail.  But that excitement was quickly tempered by the fact that I was now faced with the prospect of trying to go out into the world and get a voice-over job…and I didn’t have a clue where to start.  

Well, I can tell you that having spent a good chunk of change on my training and wanting desperately to get my first paying voice-over gig, I spent countless hours scouring the internet and doing research on the industry, cold-calling radio stations and production studios, and handing my business cards and demo CD's to everyone.  Slowly but surely, the work started to come my way and I’m thrilled to now be able to record audio books, voice e-learning projects and explainer videos, work with clients, and interview amazing and inspiring people on my podcast, all from the comfort of my home recording studio. 

I’ve been able to create a life that I love, and I want you to know that my weekly podcast, along with my website, blog, e-book, and on-line course are all designed to help you to achieve your dream. 

So please take advantage of these resources, and learn from the amazing and inspiring people I’ve had the privilege to talk with and learn from.  They’ve helped me so much in my journey and I know they’ll help you as well.

Thank you again for visiting, and remember, whenever I come across something amazing that I think you should know about, my newsletter subscribers get the info and the inside scoop, so make sure you subscribe!

For more information about this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com

Dec 19, 2016

Welcome!  Did I mention that I love what I do?  (You probably read that on the first page.  ) I collaborate with clients all over the world from my broadcast quality studio, voicing national and international commercial campaigns for companies like Bissell, Kraft/Capri Sun and Visit Orlando, narrating documentaries & web/explainer videos along with shows on both Slice Network in Canada and HGTV in the US.  I’ve even played the role of a fairy queen in a children’s cartoon (and wow, was that fun!). 

My journey to voice overs actually started with a love of computers.  I used to sell computers when the 386-SX was new (remember those days?).  That graduated to a love of the Internet and all that it could do (quite a lot!).  I spent a number of years as an SEO specialist and media buyer for local companies, and along the way, incorporated my love of music and the Internet together when I created a songwriting resource website called The Muse’s Muse back in 1995.  That was my testing ground for a LOT of Internet marketing methods.

But back then, there was more than one search engine that mattered.  The minute that changed … well.  I knew I needed a change.

I’ve been a singer all my life (I even have a jazz/blues album out, if you’d like to hear some samples) and have always been comfortable behind a microphone. It naturally made for a fascination with what else I could do with my voice.  I researched, I got coaching (I still get coaching on a regular basis – there’s always more to learn!), I made a demo (more than one!), and I switched my entrepreneurial focus.   That was quite a few years ago now and I haven’t looked back.

But what few people know? I’m a geeky fangirl at heart.    I’ve been a member of a filk group called Urban Tapestry since 1994 and we’ve traveled all over the US, Canada & Europe performing our geeky fangirl songs for the folks that appreciate it.   Ask me about Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, or tabletop gaming and you’ll be in for a lengthy conversation (if you want one, that is).

Feel free to listen to my demos to see if you think I’d be right for your project.  I’d love to work with you. 

For more information about this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Dec 5, 2016
John Florian
Founder and Webmaster
 
 
If you've ever written a "personal mission" for yourself, you'll understand when John says that his mission is to "Help people succeed in life and business through creative ways of communications."
 
Indeed, that activates his two passions: voice-overs and publishing.
 
As a voice over actor, John is called back by producers who want that "warm and friendly guy" (but don't typecast yourself! warn the coaches).
 
And as a former editorial director/writer/marketer, John has created many business and consumer magazines and newsletters.
 
Now these two communication fields merge with his creation of VoiceOverXtra - the voice-over industry's online news, education and resource center.
 
John is also active in civic and self-improvement organizations, where he finds that "giving back" and networking continue to inspire.
 
Email: johnflorian@voiceoverxtra.com
Web: www.VoiceOverXtra.com
 
For more information on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.
Nov 21, 2016

 

Holly Franklin is a spunki-licious voiceover star who lost count how many times people have asked her, “is that your real voice?” ages ago.

She specializes in kid, teen and character voices and is best known for her work on My Little Pony, Barney, Owlegories & BOZ the Bear series. She also appears on-camera and in commercial print work.

Whether it was cheerleading, theater or acting out Oscar winning performances for the neighbors while mowing the lawn – all the world has been a stage for this born & raised Texan. Holly went on to attend Texas A&M University where she met her nerdy Civil Engineering husband. After her brief stint as a high school health teacher, she got tired of getting asked for her hall pass. So, she turned in her grade book for a microphone, honed her raw talent by training with the best in the biz, and the rest is Hollypoppin’ history. She has 3 freaking amazing kids who tolerate her quirky parenting style, and even stranger voice.

Holly has a soft spot for preschoolers and rodents, both of which she can imitate perfectly (not including the feet stomping and garden wrecking that you get with the real things). Ask any one of her many happy clients and they’ll tell you - she’s a funny, smart, speedy, flexible pro with an unbeatable squeak and a true claim to the “one-take wonder” fame. She can make your copy pop from her broadcast quality home studio or come to you…without the micromanaging mommy and with a voice that is guaranteed to bring your script to youthful life and make you look darn good.

Find your favorite Hollypop! flavor and experience what real sweet tooth satisfaction tastes like right now!

For more inforamtion about this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

 

Nov 7, 2016

Erik Sheppard – “Today’s Voice” has over 12 years of professional experience, voicing thousands of high profile projects across the globe ranging from corporate presentations to national radio and television campaigns. He is consistently the preferred male voice for many of the most widely recognized corporate, commercial and promotional production companies worldwide. Clients include Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Citibank, HSBC, American Express, Ebay, MTV and TV Land.
When not in the booth, Erik is an industry blogger, host of “The Erik and Ember Show”, and organizer of the Voiceover Mixer series of networking events. He is the owner and head talent agent of Voice Talent Productions, a New York based agency representing an elite roster of voice talent from around the world. His career and related projects have been profiled in such places as Voice-Over Xtra, Voices, Voice123.com, The Voice Over Insider and countless other blogs and podcasts. If it is happening in the voice over industry, chances are Erik is involved.
Erik coaches exclusively through the prestigious Edge Studio headquartered in Manhattan, NY.

For more information about this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Oct 24, 2016

Jay Preston VO.  You've come here in need of a Voice Over for your project. Be it E-Learning, How-To Videos, Commerical Voice Over for Radio or TV and one thing is clear. There is a certain sound and quality you are looking for, and chances are, I can deliver it. From Warm and Natural, to Edgy and Sarcastic,  I'm sure I can make your message ring Honest & True. As an added bonus, we are going to have a great time working together. 

For more info on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

 

Oct 10, 2016

America’s premiere female live voice announcer Randy Thomas made history as the first woman to announce The Academy Awards©, The Emmy Awards©, The SAG Awards©, The AFI Awards©, to name a few. As the seven-time announcer of The Oscars©, and fourteen-time Tony© announcer, Thomas has been winning accolades and opening doors for female voice artists for over 20 years. For the past nine years she’s been heard daily by millions of people as the iconic voice of CBS Television Distribution’s “Entertainment Tonight©,” one of the most watched entertainment programs in the world.

In addition to voice over, with more than 20 years of experience as a radio personality in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Miami, Thomas has gone on to achieve her dreams as one of the most recognizable voice-over artists in the world as well as co-author of “VOICE FOR HIRE: Launch and Maintain a Lucrative Career in Voice-Overs” (Watson-Guptill Publications, a division of Random House Inc.).

For more info on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

 

Sep 26, 2016

Nydia Monarrez was born and raised in Monterrey, N.L. Mexico. She has a degree in Communications and Public Relations. She studied Acting for 2 years using Eric Morris Method, the most organic and complete method in the Industry. Nydia is Bilingual (English/Spanish) and also has a background in, Training, Financial Services and Corporate Business.

Nydia is currently a Full time, Professional Spanish Voice Over Talent, Actress, Host and Life Style Model. She is also a Yoga lover, Audio Books Fan and Happy Foodie! She lives in Chicago, Ill. USA. with her husband and 2 kids.

For more information on this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Sep 12, 2016

Cristina Milizia is a professional, full time voice over talent in Los Angeles, California.  Her voice is youthful, sweet & upbeat! Conversational, millennial, approachable, fun, and hip are also accurate adjectives.

Cristina's wealth of experience allows her to perform voice over fluidly in commercial, narration, IVR & telephony, e-learning, on hold messaging, Spanish, video games, mobile game apps, toys, & audiobooks. She works full time as a talent & as a voice over coach, and can turn around any new project within 24-48 hours. Her professional home studio set up will give you the top notch sound quality you need, while saving your money on outside studio costs. Additional services for professional sound design, editing, music production & translation services available upon request.

Aug 29, 2016

Hi, I'm Mike Lenz.  

I'm a professional voice actor, the author of Paid To Talk - A Journey Into Voice Acting, and the host of a popular podcast, Mike Lenz Voice - A Journey Into Voice Acting.  I’m so excited you're here because that means you have an interest in the voice over industry. 

Maybe you’re just beginning and don’t have a clue where to start. 

That’s OK, because that's exactly where I was 9 years ago.  In fact 10 years ago my life looked a lot different than it does today.

10 years ago I was running my small brick and mortar business and serving as Mayor of my hometown.  I'd been involved in politics for about 10 years and really thought that politics was my future.  I’ve always been a creative person and I enjoyed the communicating part of serving as Mayor - speaking to groups, and doing radio and television interviews. 

But honestly, the pressure was draining every creative bone in my body. 

Fortunately for me, I lost my re-election bid, and although I was disappointed at the time, that event forever changed the course of my life and led me down the path to the world of professional voice acting where I am today - and I’m loving every minute of it!

After leaving politics, I had a lot of free time to explore other passions.  One of those passions - screenwriting - led me to a filmmakers group, and at one of our meetings, a marketing representative from a voice training company came and passed out flyers.  I decided to check out the company and as soon as I took my first lesson I was hooked.  

Getting trained was a lot of fun and it was an exciting day when my demo CD’s arrived in the mail.  But that excitement was quickly tempered by the fact that I was now faced with the prospect of trying to go out into the world and get a voice-over job…and I didn’t have a clue where to start.  

Well, I can tell you that having spent a good chunk of change on my training and wanting desperately to get my first paying voice-over gig, I spent countless hours scouring the internet and doing research on the industry, cold-calling radio stations and production studios, and handing my business cards and demo CD's to everyone.  Slowly but surely, the work started to come my way and I’m thrilled to now be able to record audio books, voice e-learning projects and explainer videos, work with clients, and interview amazing and inspiring people on my podcast, all from the comfort of my home recording studio. 

I’ve been able to create a life that I love, and I want you to know that my weekly podcast, along with my website, blog, e-book, and on-line course are all designed to help you to achieve your dream. 

So please take advantage of these resources, and learn from the amazing and inspiring people I’ve had the privilege to talk with and learn from.  They’ve helped me so much in my journey and I know they’ll help you as well.

For more information on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Aug 15, 2016

It’s a balmy morning in Burbank, California, the sort-of/almost entertainment mecca of the world. The curtains are blowing softly in the breeze, and there is a low-hanging layer of smog sitting over the Los Angeles horizon. An army of absurdly large crows argues about breakfast and futures trading. Nearby, on the pack patio of a house in the hills, a three-year old girl is ostensibly doing Zumba, critiquing her mother’s merengue.

Joe Zieja is, as usual, in a small room talking to himself. No, he’s not crazy; he’s a voice actor, part of the hidden pocket of showbiz. He spends hours a day reading scripts in his home studio, or traveling to local studios to do the same. Switching from commercial to promo to video game to public service announcement about the dangers of q-tips, Joe enters and exits the personalities of dozens of people hourly, but somehow maintains a two-fingered, tenuous grip on reality.

When he’s not standing in a small room talking to himself, he’s sitting in a slightly larger room or coffee shop telling lies. Or truths. It depends on what you think about the art of writing and storytelling. His first science fiction novel Mechanical Failure has just released, and he’s working on the third book in the trilogy as his editor dutifully combs through book two.

He does all this sitting in a room with no less than twelve musical instruments, all of which he uses in his various commercial and video game compositions. There is also a lightsaber.

Where did all of this raw, creative impulsiveness come from? According to Joe, it mostly stems from his allergy to office life, though it’s hard to tell from his enigmatic comment on the matter.

“I would rather choke on fragments of hot mufflers than spend any more time working for bureaucratic organizations behind a desk,” Joe says as he totally destroys that one level in Mega Man II, which is a super hard game.

You see, Joe wasn’t always an annoying Hollywood art-o-crat. Joe came from humble beginnings in New Jersey, the elder of two boys raised by a loving fireman/businesswoman duo. It all happened in a sleepy suburban town surrounded by dairy farms and bluegrass festivals. The scarcity of activity wasn’t all bad, however; the bowling alley in the center of the town being the only thing to do made for a lifetime high score of 255, which is pretty impressive.

But Joe wasn’t destined to stay in suburbia forever. At the age of 13, he declared to his parents that he would be attending the United States Air Force Academy. Nobody in the family had any idea why, including Joe, but he still did it anyway. In 2003, he left New Jersey to begin what he thought would be a long career in the air force. The first hauntings of what would become a career in using his voice manifested as he, almost randomly, became the official cadet emcee. Other than that tiny whisper, he mostly acted like he had a rod surgically installed in a place where one would not typically have a rod. Thankfully, in a large part due to the wonderful woman he married, it didn’t last.

Only after a few years’ exposure to the machinations of the US government did Joe really begin to understand that, although it had its moments, the military life wasn’t quite for him. Despite that, he stuck around until 2012, after which - in a stroke of brilliance designed to free himself from government bureaucracy - he became a contractor for three government organizations. Working together. At the same time.

“To get a sense of what that’s like,” Joe said, “try telling a group of toddlers that they have to decide amongst themselves who gets a small container of ice cream. Then give them all espresso. And cocaine.”

That life, however, is behind him. Although Joe always thought it would be his books that took him out of government service, it ended up being voice acting. Becoming a voiceover artist was never something he thought about until someone paid him for it, after which he earnestly began seeking other people who would pay him for it. Now he seeks people who will pay him for it on a daily basis, and so far it’s worked out quite well for him.

We asked him what he missed most about his Jersey boy roots, and Joe’s answer was quick and to the point.

“Pizza,” he said. “And bagels. And people who get the f*** out of the left lane when they’re going slower than the person to their right.”

Now a Los Angeles immigrant, Joe focuses on his creative exploits with reckless abandon. He’s of the opinion that the world is full of limitless opportunities and limitless excuses not to do them. An avid practitioner of parkour - which is really the art of constantly being on the verge of injury - Joe’s personal preference for exercise mostly involves jumping on/over/around things and doing flips. He also flies planes and scuba dives, because why the hell not?

Despite being quite comfortable in his current pace of work in both voice acting and writing, Joe’s not satisfied with the status quo. He’s already played Nintendo icon Fox McCloud in STAR FOX ZERO: THE BATTLE BEGINS, but there’s more on his bucket list. He’d like to play the voice of Link, from THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, Mario, and a main character from a Shin Megami Tensei game, all of whom have absolutely no dialog. He’d also like to write bigger books with more words that have more syllables.

Only the future will tell what’s in store for Joe Zieja. For now, we must bid farewell to this strange creature, and hope he stays mostly contained in his 3’x5’ box.

“Seriously,” Joe said by way of goodbye, “you’re driving a Prius. Get out of the left lane.”

 

Aug 1, 2016

A seasoned pro African-American voice-over specialist with over a decade of experience, providing the 3-dimensional sound that promotes companies, services, and entrepreneurs around the globe.

Mara has a naturally intuitive vocal ability that brings words to life with color and direct relatability. Her voice resonates with a warm, smooth, sensual or corporate tone for sophisticated projects, and a bright, vibrant, and upbeat delivery for standard narration.

Affiliations include SAG-AFTRA union with accreditation from the World-Voices Organization and the Society of Accredited Voice-Over Artists (SaVoa).

Mara's work has been featured by popular global brands including AT&T, Microsoft, Nintendo®, McDonald's®, Oreck, Public Storage, USPS.com®, Sygic mobile GPS, International Game Technology (IGT) and Walt Disney Company's® T180 Studios.

Mara currently divides her time voicing projects from recording studios in the Gulf, East & West coasts, in the Greater New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco Bay areas.

For more information about this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Jul 18, 2016

Steve French is a NYC based voice actor who's voice has been heard on national television commercials, and most recently as the announcer for Match Game hosted by Alec Baldwin on ABC.

For more info on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Jul 4, 2016

If you have been anywhere near a television screen at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida since 2005 then you have been captivated by a vivacious and adorable woman telling you about the fabulous rides and attractions you're going to experience during your stay. The hyper-energetic, totally mesmerizing personality, known to her fans as “the human exclamation point” is Stacey J. Aswad. She is the Resort TV host of Walt Disney World's TOP 7 MUST SEES and MUST DO DISNEY TV shows that loop 24/7 and are watched and memorized by millions of people!

How It All Started

Stacey’s humble beginnings are in Binghamton, New York where she started competitive artistic roller skating at the age of five and went on to become a five-time national champion in the sport. Stacey began studying ballet to help with her roller skating training, which turned into her joining a professional ballet company while still in high school. She went on to earn a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School in New York City and after graduation, she danced and choreographed professionally in New York and around the country. Seeking new and different challenges, and to see the range of artistic opportunities in other parts of the country, Stacey left New York and headed to the Midwest.

Stacey continued her professional performing career in ballet, modern and jazz throughout the Midwest and also joined the faculty at The Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville, Kentucky, teaching dance to middle and high school students. During this time, she developed an interest in acting and had a natural talent for it. After booking many regional commercials, industrials and voiceovers, she relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. There she scored some national commercials and voiceovers and the series regular role of Andi Ramsey, on the television series, 7TH STREET THEATER, now airing on multiple cable networks worldwide. 

 

Walt Disney World Meets LaLa Land

In May 2005, after an intense audition process, Stacey booked the hosting gig for Walt Disney World’s, TOP 7 MUST SEES, television show and that exposure was the turning point in her career. When Hollywood composer agent, Richard Kraft and his friends saw Stacey’s show while on vacation at Walt Disney World, he tracked her down through her talent agent to ask her  to be the host of his documentary, FINDING KRAFTLAND. She flew out to Los Angeles in September 2005 and spent a whirlwind five days shooting and becoming friends with the fabulous filmmakers.

This fortuitous trip to Los Angeles confirmed to Stacey what she already knew in her heart she needed to do.  She needed to make Los Angeles her new home.

Juilliard Dancer Joins the Theatre Scene

Upon returning to North Carolina, Stacey had the opportunity to do something for the first time in her life.  She had spent countless hours on stage in pointe shoes and tutus but she had never done any theatre. To critical and audience acclaim, she played nine different hilarious roles in the regional premiere of the new comedy, CARRIE ANN’S KISS and immediately went on to shine as the lead in the popular Alan Ball play, FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS. During all this stage work, Stacey shot the lead role in the feature length love story, ME & YOU, US FOREVER. After completing the film, she returned to Los Angeles for the extravagant premiere of FINDING KRAFTLAND at Paramount Studios.

Road Trip

Desiring new challenges and forever accompanied by the love and support of her family and circle of friends, Stacey rented an RV and set out with her super fun roller skating dance partner for points West.  The rig was filled to the brim with the necessities, like all of her kitchen gadgets and cookware, because she is an amazing chef and baker and her impressive shoe collection, of course.  The four-some was complete with Stacey's two beloved resuced cats, Rosebud and Lily who had a blast finding places in the RV to nap and play. With a lot of great conversation and rockin' tunes, they made it to LA, safe and sound, in just under fifty hours!

TV Host - Voice Actor - Spokesperson - Actress

Since moving to Los Angeles, in 2007, Stacey has been on a whirlwind ride as a host, voice actor, spokesperson and actress securing representation with powerhouse talent agencies, Commerical Talent and AVO Talent.  She has done on-camera commercials and voice over work for clients like McDonald’s, AT&T, Toyota, Clairol, Time Warner Cable, Alamo, Regions Bank, Safeco Insurance, Acura, Carl's Jr., Bud Light and more. Voice acting for the Adventures in Odyssey show and television roles for ABC and CW shows. She also starred in a TannLyne Productions world premiere play, TRACKS, after having only a few days to learn the entire play before opening night. Thank goodness Stacey is great at memorizing lines!

Stacey also spent many fun-filled weekends traveling to films festivals around the country with the FINDING KRAFTLAND film makers. This award-winning documentary has screened in more than 70 festivals worldwide to rave reviews and even better, created life-long friendships between Stacey, Adam and the Kraft Boys.

Roller Girl Meets the Basketball Court

Stacey got to wear her roller skates once again but in a more "sporty" venue, the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles.  She spent two seasons as the live-game host for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks basketball team. She had a blast warming up the crowd, and during the timeouts and half-time breaks she played on-court games, gave away awesome prizes and nterviewed players. Stacey and Sparky,  the team mascot, helped make the games even more fun and exciting by going into the stands and interacting with the fans. Go Sparks!

 

More Mickey Mouse Please

In early 2009, Stacey got the call asking her to stay on to host the new Resort TV campaign for Walt Disney World called, MUST DO DISNEY… she accepted without hesitation! She flew to Orlando to shoot the new show at Walt Disney World and as expected had the best time running around the Parks. When necessary, she updates the show from a Los Angeles recording studio or in Orlando depending on what new things they need her to talk about or experience. It's a tough job, but Stacey is so happy and so grateful to still be the Disney Girl!

VO Buzz Weekly Voice Over Web Show Premieres

On January 8, 2012, Stacey added Producer to her hosting talents when she and renowned voice over demo producer and director, Chuck Duran premiered the voice over show VO BUZZ WEEKLY. In a very short time it has become a global web sensation that's inspiring, educating and entertaining viewers in over 89 countries around the world. Aspiring voice actors, established VO pros and curious fans alike can finally put a "face to the voice" of the mega-talented voice actors from cartoons, animated films, movie trailers, video games, TV promos and commercials, to getting the inside scoop from the best voice over agents, directors and others, in a way that has never been done before. Every week, hosts Chuck and Stacey give great tips and information and get up close and personal with their special guest as they share fun and poignant personal stories, insights on how they became so successful, reveal tips, techniques, products and equipment they use to maintain their voice, create characters and continue to stay at the top of their craft. There's always time for a little BUZZ! 

 

Autographed Pictures Save Animals 

As an animal lover and advocate, Stacey is passionate about seeing   the end to animal homelessness and cruelty in her lifetime. Stacey encourages and hopes that people will choose to only adopt and rescue their furry family members and do their part to give them forever homes. Stacey donates the proceeds from her autographed pictures, available on the CHARITY page to many different animal charities who are doing amazing work to save animals around the world.

Rosebud and Lily

In May 2005, Stacey's beloved cat, Mommy, passed away in her arms at almost twenty years of age. Saddened by her loss, Stacey knew that the right time would come to rescue another beautiful animal.  Four months later, Stacey's family found a tiny kitten, on a farm in upstate New York.  She was barely two weeks old, all alone and weighing less than one pound.  Instantly they knew she needed to meet Stacey! It was love at first sight and after weeks of bottle-feeding and constant love and attention, Rosebud grew and grew and purr-ed and played. 

 

Now that Rosebud was strong and healthy living in North Carolina, Stacey knew she had to rescue a companion for her.  So, one fateful day she happened to walk by a Petsmart when the Humane Society was there.  Stacey saw a twelve week-old kitten, who she named Lily, and knew she would be coming home with her that day. Lily had been abused and almost died from a respiratory infection but thanks to a devoted Humane Society volunteer, she fully recovered and was ready to be adopted. Lily loves to cuddle, play with Rosebud and anything that moves and have her silky, long hair brushed. 

These two loving, loyal, gorgeous Hollywood felines enjoy meowing and purring when Stacey is recording voice overs in her Home Studio and love helping her learn lines for auditions and jobs by laying on the script pages.  They're such a big help!

Family Game Night Gets A New Girl

After a lengthy audition process, Stacey prevailed to become the new In-Show Announcer for Season 3 of Family Game Night airing on The Hub. She joined Host Todd Newton, the 2012 Daytime Emmy Winner for Outstanding Game Show Host, for an entirely new show format. The two-time Parent’s Choice Award winning family game show premiered on Sunday, September 23, 2012 to favorable reviews. Family Game Night is all about families being together, having fun and winning awesome prizes and cash. 

The entire 15-episode season was shot on a sound stage in just six days with a few hours of copy revisions in a recording studio afterwards. The previous Announcer for the show was Burton Richardson of The Arsenio Hall Show and Family Feud. Stacey was asked if she was intimidated to try and fill such experienced shoes. She said, “I have great respect for Mr. Richardson and his experienced shoes. I have my own size 5 shoes and they fit me perfectly.”

Stacey had the extra bonus of being the studio audience warm up artist for all fifteen tapings, now that was some serious fun, people! Having never done this before, Stacey called upon her experience as a versatile live host, dancer, teacher and finely tuned improv and people skills to make sure everyone had a great time. Judging by the people’s reactions and line for autographs afterwards, it is safe to say the crowd was onboard with all of her antics. Just give Stacey a microphone and a challenge and she will deliver in a big way! 

For more information about this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com

 

 

 

 

Jun 20, 2016

With smiling Irish eyes and a rich, warm voice to match, Richard Rieman (Ree’man) is an Audible Approved Audiobook narrator*, audiobook producer, professionally trained Voice Actor, and author of “The Author’s Guide to AudioBook Creation.”

*Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business. Most have narrated and/or produced 25 audiobooks that are available on Audible.com and have a verifiable record of achievement in the audiobook industry. These producers are identifiable on the ACX website by a special icon in their narrator profiles.

Richard trained with Emmy-Award winning Voice Actor and VO Coach Melissa Leebaert,  Award-winning Audiobook Narrator Sean Pratt, and took classes and workshops with David Goldberg at Edge Studio and Bill DeWees, one of the most respected VO Coaches.

Richard is a four-time winner of Edge Studio’s National Script Recording Contests.

For more info on this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

Jun 6, 2016

Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student.  Since then he has pursued acting both on the ameteur and professional circuits.  Most notably was his role as Tom Collins in Bare Cheek's production of RENT.  

Gary worked in Niigata, Japan for 5 years, during which time he took part in the Charity Musical.  

Over the course of these 5 years he was an actor, director and audio producer.  

It was during this time he discovered his interest in Audiobooks and Voice Over.  

Gary has lived in and traveled all over Japan, has lived in Texas, worked in Memphis, and has been all over Europe.  

He can perform in a General British, General American and Irish accent to a native level and can speak Japanese fluently.  

For more info on this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

 

 

May 23, 2016

Bennett's career began in 1974 when she was recorded as the voice of First National Bank of Atlanta's "Tillie the All-Time Teller."[4] She has recorded messages for the public address system in all Delta Air Lines terminals worldwide, as well as voicing e-learning software and GPS navigation software,[5] and telephone systems.[6] Bennett's voice has also been used in numerous local and national television advertisements for Ford, Coca-Cola, Fisher-Price, McDonald's, The Home Depot, Goodyear, VISA, Macy's, Hot Pockets, Club Med, and Cartoon Network, among others.

In June 2005, the software company ScanSoft was looking for someone to be the voice for a database project involving speech construction. ScanSoft inquired with GM Voices and selected Bennett, who happened to be present when the scheduled voice-over artist was absent.[7] She worked in a home recording booth for the entire month of July 2005, more than four hours each day, reading phrases and sentences. The recordings were then concatenated into the various words, sentences, and paragraphs used in the Siri voice.[6] Bennett only became aware she was the voice of Siri when a friend contacted her through email in October 2011.

Despite Apple not having acknowledged or confirmed its use of Bennett, audio-forensics experts hired by CNN expressed 100 percent certainty that Bennett is the voice of Siri.[6]

For more info on this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

 

 

May 9, 2016

From Fisher Price toy tape players and micro-cassette recorders in his early years to the latest technology, Christian Rosselli has been speaking and recording his entire life. A theatrically-trained college grad, he initially set his sights on New York City to pursue a career in casting for Film, TV and theater…not acting. A variety of entertainment industry jobs eventually led to his joining the voice over profession. And not just because people told him he had a ‘Great Voice.’

Christian is one of the most sought after male voiceover talents in the greater New York area and the country. His work is versatile and unique, encompassing a wide variety of projects and abilities. His gifted ear, passion for the creative process and skilled craftsmanship enable solid collaboration, bringing each message to a vivid and memorable life.

His credits include work with such companies as AT&T, Buffalo Wild Wings, Geico, Lord And Taylor, M&T Bank, Purina, Spotify, USA Today, Reebok, United Healthcare, Boeing and more!

For more info on this and other episodes, head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

 

Apr 25, 2016

Though I love to travel, there’s no place like my home in Missouri. I was born and raised just north of Kansas City, and being a Midwest girl, I believe in hard work and authenticity. I’ve always been fascinated with people and I’m the kind of person who strikes up a friendly conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, or the guy standing next to me in a long line.

When I got to college and discovered that you can actually get a degree in communicating effectively with other human beings (who knew?), I couldn’t get signed up fast enough! Heading into my senior year, I had the crazy idea of becoming a TV advertising executive, so I landed an internship at a nearby cable station. One day, a producer asked me to read the script for a commercial and I suddenly discovered my passion for voice over! That was 10 years ago, and now here I am, recording in my home studio or with real people in their Kansas City area studios. When I’m not behind a microphone, I still hone my skills regularly by reading to my four young children or watching HGTV with my husband; when you’re in voiceover, the commercials become a lot more interesting! I love meeting new people through social media, so feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

For more info on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com

Apr 11, 2016

Prior to co-founding ACM, Phil has been at the vanguard for the voice-over industry as both a talent manager and agent at International Creative Management. At ICM, he helmed one of the largest voice over departments in the country offering complete services in commercials, promos, trailers, narrations, animation and celebrity endorsements. Most recently, Phil founded Flatirons Creative Management; a specialized voice-over management firm emphasizing innovation, personal attention and collaborative relationships between voice clients and industry creatives. As a talent agent, Phil began his career at Don Buchwald Associates before founding the renowned on-air promotions department at Schiffman, Eckman, Morrison & Marx (SEM&M). He has BFA from Colorado and an MFA from Columbia University.

For more info on this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.

 

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