Reality Hits Hard

by | Dec 4, 2013 | VO Community | 8 comments

tdanielDid you hear the 4th annual VO holiday greeting compilation put together by my friend Terry Daniel?

You need to…it’s so fun!

Here’s the SoundCloud link.

This is an exquisite example of production, collaboration, and editing.  Terry judiciously included everybody who contributed, which makes the piece 26+ minutes, but who cares?… it’s delightful to listen to.

My reaction?  My piece sucked.  You’ll notice I did NOT mark my place on the timeline.

In my haste to get SOMETHING to Terry, I neither took the time to conceptualize cleverly, nor execute with excellence…and obviously most everyone else did.  I wanted to climb under a rock.

But beyond the quibbling about my lack of creativity, I noticed with probably 80% of the contributions, a sound that struck me.  The sound of winners.  Is that what you-all are sending out for your auditions?  No wonder I’m not booking!  How many of those cuts were compressed to the max?  What effects are you putting on those sound tracks to make my woofers rattle?  I know I don’t have the deepest voice on the planet, but it doesn’t matter…THAT’S the sound of a professional VO, and I fell far short.

There’s a depth, a presence, and a texture from most of the male contributors that makes me green with envy.  Time to call George Whittam.  Time to call in some consulting favors.  I’ve got oodles of expensive equipment… plenty of coaching and adequate pipes, but obviously I’m not using them like I should.

AND… I’m following the wisdom I’ve heard over and over…. “send only plain vanilla sound files to your auditions”.  No processing, no effects… just your voice.  Hmmph!

To heck with that!  If I’ve gotta compete with the likes of what I heard on that Christmas compilation, it’s time to bring out the big guns!

Humbly submitted.




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  1. Debbie Irwin

    I felt envy too…. What mic is she using? How does she get that tone?
    At least you were invited to the party!

    It was a great compilation– I felt like a fly on the wall,
    and ALL of the ‘bits and bobs’, including yours, were a delight to hear.

    So… Hear Hear! Hip Hip Hooray! Happy Holidays!
    Congrats to all and maybe I’ll be included one day!

  2. Terry Daniel

    You have one of the best mics out there, Courvo! Ask Whittam about proper compression settings on the preamp. I didn’t think your sound was bad. I liked your clip and I think you’re being a tad hard on yourself. Some had a little TOO much processing on their clips. 🙂

  3. Derek Chappell


    I have to agree with Terry on 2 counts. First, you’re being a little to hard on yourself. There was nothing wrong with your clip. Second, I agree that a quick session with George can result in wonderful things. Last year, after hearing the vo holiday greeting, I felt the same way…my sound wasn’t up to par with the ‘pro’s’, so I booked a session with George. He analyzed my DAW and had me send him a short, dry read, non-compressed. He tweaked with it on his end, sent me back a sample until I was happy with the sound, and then he sent me screen shots of exactly how to set my settings on AA3 for that sound. I’ve been VERY happy with the ‘professional’ sound ever since.


  4. Karyn O'Bryant


    Don’t measure yourself with someone else’s yardstick. It’s demmed tempting, ’cause that other yardstick is so impressive and shiny. But when we do that, it always makes us feel like we come up short.

    Your work is fantastic and it’s YOURS, and you progress in your craft at the speed that’s right for you. Remember your first gig? You’ve come so far since then!


    P.S.: Believe it or not, right this minute other people are measuring themselves by your shiny yardstick, and feeling like they fall far short of the mark.

    • CourVO


      Thank you so much for this reminder. Karen Commins is always preaching this mantra as well. It’s absolutely true, but oh so hard to remember. I’m of the mind that comparisons are always good catalysts. In this case, I’ve gotten a number of suggestions, encouragements (Lance Blair for one), and some impetus to see if there’s not something I can do to my audio-chain to make things better. All-in-all, some pretty good action items!

      You’re great for stopping by to comment and say such kind words.

      Best to you and yours,

      Dave Courvoisier

  5. Lance Blair

    Dave, your voice and mic are both great. I used to have a 416 that I used in a smaller space and it sounded muddy. I’d take it out of my small booth and into the bigger office and it sounded like I suddenly plugged it into a top-end preamp – rich lows and airy highs. No compression necessary.

    • CourVO


      Thanks for that! I had not heard that feedback about the 416. Good to know!
      Always appreciate it when you comment!

      Dave Courvoisier

  6. Justin S Barrett

    I concur with all the other concurrences here: relax! Your piece did NOT suck. As someone who frequently feels hampered by fits of perfectionism (even in trying to compose a simple reply on a friend’s blog), I can testify that self-criticism is the worst kind of crit. If not taken with a grain (or sometimes a block) of salt, it can quickly chip away at one’s confidence. If there truly is something in a given experience that needs to be learned, carefully identify it, note it for future reference, discard the remaining dreck, and (this is sometimes the hardest part) move on.


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