Just about everyone will tell you that Joyce Castellanos is the gal to see if you want to break into promo work. And with Joyce comes her sidekick Gene. She does most of the coaching, and he handles the technical side (and chimes in when he has something to add).
Joyce worked for over 25 years as an audio director/producer for promo departments at NBC, Disney Channel, Warner Marketing, and The WB Television Network for starters. She knows her stuff, and most of all, knows how to teach it to others.
Joyce and Gene showed up in Vegas last weekend on a request from Vegas Voicers, an ad-hoc group of voice actors who have grown-up around a twice-a-month meet-up at the house of Melissa Moats. On those occasions, we read and record copy, offer feedback, talk, eat, and get to know each other better. In this case, we rallied around a day-long workshop at the studios of Matt Smith’s Voice Talent Warehouse (Adrenaline Sound).
Everybody got several turns at the mic, choosing from among the many Radio and TV promo scripts Joyce provided for us. Each session at the mic involved the first read, then some feedback, another read, more feedback, and sometimes a 3rd read. Comparing the 1st & 3rd reads was usually like comparing apples and oranges.
Matt had the room rigged with a video screen so talent could see and hear the images he/she was talking to.
With promo work, you’re telling a story in a specific style, interspersed between natural sound, soundbites, stingers, music, sound effects, and more. The timing tolerances are EXTREMELY tight. One has to find the rhythm and the tone of the program being promoted to bring the appropriate attitude to the read.
I’m grossly understating the basics of approaching this kind of specialized work. Joyce carefully and patiently led us through all of it, explaining along the way…. and coaxing us into new territory. Virtually everyone who came — many of whom had never done this before — showed some style and promise under her fine tutoring.
You can find Joyce on VU, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I’m embarrassed to say I never caught Gene’s last name. Anyone?
Joyce works out of Los Angeles, and the two of them schedule remote Skype sessions if you can’t make it to LA. Well worth the price of admission!