Karen Commins is a professional female voice-over talent with her own soundproof studio in Atlanta, GA. Whether you need a 15-second radio or TV ad, a 15-minute e-learning module, or a 15-hour audiobook, Karen creates pristine recordings that are A Vacation For Your Ears!
Newcomers who are getting started in voiceover and experienced voice talent alike enjoy Karen's insight and commentary about working in the industry, as well as the marketing ideas in her blog.
Many of the stories written in the 19th century contain language that sounds jarring to our 21st century ears. I enjoyed narrating this sweet and humorous story written by Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855-1896) in part because his words sound more contemporary. In this age where people meet on-line and break up by text message, The Love-Letters of Smith is a refreshing look at relationships in past times.
Mr. Smith’s letters gave me the key to his character’s voice. For instance, here’s one sample of his writing style:
Before becoming a professional voice talent, I volunteered as a reader for 5 years at the Georgia Radio Reading Service. I read newspapers, Sunday sale pages, magazine articles and books for visually-impaired listeners who heard the broadcast over a special radio. I loved using my voice to help other people.
It is still important to me to be of service to other people. While Drew and I give money to charitable organizations, nothing can match the satisfaction of volunteering one’s time. I have been looking for a service project where I could once again give the gift of my time and voice-over experience to benefit others.
I am pleased to announce that I have decided to volunteer as a narrator for LibriVox, which is an Internet organization that creates audio recordings of works in the public domain. While working in my stunning soundproof studio, I can continue to serve a larger audience of visually-impaired and other people who need and enjoy audiobooks.
Most of my articles in this blog pertain to working and marketing oneself as a voice talent. Today, though, I want to write to my potential clients. Sometimes you may need to persuade others in your organization to hire a professional voice talent instead of creating a recording using internal personnel. Here’s a way for you to spell it out for them!
is my life’s passion! I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to go into
voice-over because I thought I could earn some easy money. I can remember
being in 5th grade and knowing that voice-over is what I was meant
to do. I have been in voice-over since 1999, and I intend to be working in
voice-over for decades to come.
ability to take and perform to your direction. If you want a word or line
with different emphasis or characterization, I attentively listen to your
instructions and carry them out on the next take.
ntegrity. I don’t agree to voice every project that is offered me. I believe in the
power of the word, especially the spoken word. If I don’t like the words that
would be coming out of my mouth, I won’t say them. You can feel assured my
voice would not tarnish the image of your business by being associated with
some other project that you might consider questionable.
reads are a specialty. Two of my audiobooks required me to give a
distinct and unique voice to over 50 characters! I also have provided the voice for several characters in 2 videogames.
I continuously invest in my education to maintain and improve my skills in
copy interpretation, script analysis, microphone technique, character
development and audio editing. I have studied voice-over with Nancy Wolfson, Jeff Freeman, Susan Berkley, Pat Fraley, Rich Jones, Judith Sullivan and Paul Armbruster. I also have taken a class on Pro Tools audio editing at the Art Institute of Atlanta. I’m currently studying Spanish at Berlitz so that I can perform your copy in another language.
for assistance with script revision. I have superior writing skills, as
evidenced by my BA in broadcast journalism and the publication of several
articles in national magazines.
and pleasing vocal range and pitch. My normal voice is a lower, resonant
pitch that is perfect for narrations in corporate America, but I can go up and down the scale and add characteristics to create
believable character voices.
veryone can talk, but not everyone can read aloud well, much less make themselves transparent in the process. As a professional voice actor, I can perform your script so that your audience concentrates on your content, not the manner in which it is performed.
are attractive. Many voice talent belong to a union, which sets rates based
on the type of work performed and its usage. The rates shown are for the
voice talent only and do not include studio time. I have flexibility in
setting rates, which always include my voice talent and production time.
tunning SOUNDPROOF studio. My studio is custom-built for recording, incorporating special soundproofing construction techniques. The room has no windows, 2 layers of ceilings with added
insulation, 2 sets of doors at each entrance with barrier space and 2 layers
of 5/8″ drywall covering the 2×6 walls. I record in a WhisperRoom for enhanced sound quality. In my pristine recordings, you won’t hear kids, dogs,
lawnmowers, computer fans, airplanes, thunder, cars or even paperclips as
usy people don’t have time to read. I convert your copy into communication.
ou won’t need to go through the process again of finding competent, reliable voice talent.
eeps your audience listening and interested. Need I say more?
on time. You won’t miss a deadline because you were waiting for me to finish your
is done prior to recording session. For audiobooks, I read the book at least
once prior to recording it. I spend time to look up and learn correct
pronunciations of proper names.
is industry standard. Instead of recording straight from a low-end microphone into the computer, I record on a Neumann TLM 103 mic connected to a
Voicemaster Platinum processor. I use Pro Tools LE with a Mbox on my Macbook
Pro computer. If necessary, I could exchange session files with any other
recording studio in the world.
umerous clients and credits, including: Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits, Pepsi Cola, ADP,
Verizon Wireless, Georgia Department of Transportation, Delta Airlines,
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, BlueCielo ECM, Georgia Institute
of Technology, and Orkin.
and creative actress who delivers sensitive and well-timed copy even during
ffers custom auditions of your script for FREE.
of Audio Publishers Association. I maintain contact with audiobook publishers
and can direct you to resources that may assist you.
expertise is FREE. I minored in marketing in college and am a perpetual
student of marketing books. I love marketing and am always happy to discuss
technology narrations are a specialty. I earned a MS degree in computer
information systems and worked over 20 years in IT positions including
programmer and LAN/WAN/e-mail administrator. I can perform scripts geared to
a technical audience with complete authenticity and believability since I
actually understand the words that are coming out of my mouth!
all things to all people. Would you hire a plumber to fix your air conditioner? Companies value those with expertise in an area, so why should the voice of your important presentation be left to someone who is not skilled in voice-over delivery? Even among voice-over projects, I am selective about those I will perform. For instance, if you want someone to record a movie trailer, I can refer you
to other talent. I specialize in audiobooks and narrations, including
podcasts, documentaries and corporate presentations. I also enjoy performing scripts
used in radio and TV commercials, as well as video games. I often voice the initial greetings and on-hold messages for phone systems, but I will not undertake telephony projects requiring hundreds of menu prompts or file conversions.
guaranteed! I require 50% payment up front when beginning a project. If you
are not delighted with your recording, I will not invoice you for the
remainder. I don’t know of another voice talent who dares to make this
You may have noticed that I only listed 24 reasons that I should be your voice talent. The last is that I’m FUN! I see the use of humor as a mission-critical element in my voice-over business. Everyone is under enough stress, so I want to use humor to help people feel at ease. Contact me now so we can get started on your next project!
If you don’t like to read, voice-over is not the field for you.
In addition to reading, interpreting and performing others’ scripts for pay, I am convinced that the most passionate and successful voice talent seem to have an inherent love of reading. For instance, my friend Bob Souer finds and reads all sorts of interesting things on-line, which he shares with us on his blog. I recently had a discussion with another friend Dave Courvoisier about the merits and pleasures of the Amazon Kindle wireless reading device.
I plan to buy a Kindle for pleasure reading, but I may also use it in the recording booth to perform some auditions and possibly longer material. Since I have remote control of Pro Tools through my handy TranzPort, I’m really thinking of setting up a second computer monitor in the booth…..but I digress.
Any reader of my blog would know that I love words and language. I frequently refer to books that I am reading or have read since they help shape my perspective as a person and voice talent.
“Whatever you want to do or be in life, you will find the blueprint for success by carefully reading…”
I have loved books since childhood. I can remember my mother taking me to the library so I could check out armfuls of books. At that time, I could read 50 books in the summer. I still frequently utilize my library card although my time for reading is more limited. These days, I might read 50 books in a year, and I am in the midst of several books at any given time.
I can tend to read a lot by one author at a time and/or in a certain category of book. I constantly find myself reading books about marketing, success principles, the Law of Attraction, biographies, spiritual fiction like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and other fiction and non-fiction.
I also avidly listen to audiobooks, especially for biographies and fiction requiring numerous characterizations. I think everyone who is or wants to be an audiobook narrator should spend time listening to and learning from others. In fact, whatever you want to do or be in life, you will find the blueprint for success by carefully reading, observing, and applying the success stories of those who have achieved your desired status.
I have often sprinkled quotations in these blog essays. Reading quotes from Emerson, Thoreau, and other great thinkers inspires me as I move foward in the life of my dreams. No matter what challenge I face in my voice-over career and life in general, I find encouragement and advice by reading the words of others:
Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind. – Leonardo da Vinci
Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. – Francis Bacon
The world belongs to the energetic. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Godin maintains that business books are 95% motivation and 5% recipes for achieving success. He advises us to read business books with an objective in mind. Actively highlight and write down passages and ideas that inspire you to action toward the changes you wish to make. He states:
If three weeks go by and you haven’t taken action on what you’ve written down, you wasted your time.
In your voice-over career, you will spend time every day reading from scripts. I encourage you to read just as much, if not more, for your own improvement and enjoyment, as well as for the improvement of your voice-over business. When you read something that inspires you, write it down and take action toward the life of your dreams!