You Probably Won't Book It Anyway

I was listening to a 2020 episode of The Pro Audio Suite podcast with Marice Tobias (linked in the resources below) and something she said struck me:

"You probably won't book it anyway. Take a chance."

Paraphrasing there, but that's essentially the gist. Funny enough, I can immediately think of at least three spots I've booked where I took a big swing and landed them. Each time, I was actually told by the client it was because I took a chance.

First, and most recently, was a restaurant spot for the summer BBQ menu. I decided I was Joey Tribbani in the episode of Friends where he quit eating meat so Phoebe could eat it. Booked it nearly drooling on the mic, but we dialed it back quite a bit in the session.

Next was a spot where it was an internal video that was a spoof of a fragrance ad. My daughter had been watching Beauty and the Beast quite a bit, so I channeled my inner Lumiere and put on a terrible French accent. I even slated my audition with something like "This is Josh Risser and I don't know why, but I felt this needed to be in a horrible French accent".

Finally, I booked a toolbox ad because I said "the drawers are smooth as buttah" and really laid into the "buttah". They said they liked that I took that chance, but didn't want me to do it in the final spot. Sure. Whatevs.

So, maybe take that as a challenge for the week. When that audition comes in that begs you to take a big swing, do it. What can you do that still honors what the client wants, but helps you stand out from the dozens or even hundreds of other talents that are reading the same lines?

Oh, and Marice said you have about 3 seconds to stand out. So... Get to it.

Take a chance,

Josh Risser

You Probably Won't Book It Anyway!

When auditioning how often do you fall back into your comfort zone read? Guilty as charged. These days companies are looking for ways to stand out; On the Internet, on TV, and even radio. How can your audition show the client that you're the one to help them get potential customers to pay attention?

Maurce Tobias - The Voice Whisperer (The Pro Audio Suite Podcast)

I got a mic! So, uh... where do I find a job?

This is probably the second question people ask me, right after "Wow! How did you get into a job like that?" There are jobs everywhere. Supply and demand seems to work both ways, so more jobs, more people vying for jobs, and more places to find those jobs, some of which are better than others.

Insider Cheat Sheet for Where to Find Voice Acting Jobs

Getting My Shit Together

When it comes to client work, I pride myself on never dropping the ball. Yet, when it comes to working on things that will move my business forward or make the Future Me a bit happier, I have a rough time getting my shit together. Lately, I've been actively trying to build routines and systems around things like marketing to keep the ball rolling, even on the days when I only want to hide in the booth and read.

How Self-Employed Workers Can Stay Motivated and Organised.

Putting The Screws to Noise

When I built my booth, the walls and studs were screwed together with boring ol' sound transferring screws. Crazy talk! One helpful method of preventing sound transference into a room through the wall is decoupling the drywall from the studs (among a million other expensive things). Yet, these fancy screws with springs just may make that step a bit easier. Probably useful for converting a room to a sound proof studio.

Ingenious Drywall Screw Cuts Noise Transmission in Half

My Killer 2-Step Negotiation Process

Step 1: Read Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss to change your mindset on the negotiation process and get some perspective on how little your negotiation actually matters.

Step 2: Stop freaking out and just do it! Seriously, I've never lost a job because I asked for what I was worth, though I don't count jobs I happily turned down because the budget was too low. Also, clients in business are used to a little haggling over price. It's a give and take, if you give a little and they give a little, everyone walks away satisfied.

10 steps to more successful freelance negotiations

VOMM Ad of the Week!

Now that we're moving through summer and feeling a bit like our old selves again, ads are really dialing up the goofy. This suite of alcohol ads from Mike's definitely hit the center of the Venn diagram. Right between "Summer Fun", "Goofy", and "With Friends".

Mike's Hard Seltzer

Happy Mid-Year!

Typically, I'm not one to use arbitrary measures of time (like the New Year) to set goals and wait for them to institute major changes in my life. Yet, they are useful reminders to take some time to recalibrate ourselves personally and professionally.

As we round the corner on the half-waypoint of 2021, I'm taking some time to reflect on how the first half of the year has gone. What have I accomplished, what is half-finished (or less), where have I dropped the ball, and what is it time to let go of?

I also plan on looking more at what has worked for me when it's come to securing new clients in 2021 and what seems to be failing miserably.

For example, my pay-to-play book rate has felt staggeringly low lately... but is it really? My income is up year-over-year from 2020 (but I'd guess most of us are in that boat given the dumpster fire that was 2020), so the question becomes, are new bookings actually up or is it due to an uptick in return clients?

Maybe I'm seeing more success than I realize from other marketing efforts? How can I trace those back?

More importantly... how I can leverage other marketing channels more effectively? I had some early success this year from direct marketing via email. Why did I stop when I saw some success? That seems silly.

These are questions I plan on finding the answer to right after I hit send on this message to all of you.

So, I encourage you to also dig into your own questions to figure out how you can keep moving your business forward in the next half of the year. Feel free to start with the ideas in the rambling paragraphs above and jump into your own questions as you start uncovering them for yourself.

Happy Mid-Year,


Halfway Already

When it comes to evaluating where your business stands at the mid-year, its important to have some idea of what exactly you want to examine. Set some goals, scratch off the ones that aren't producing results, and remember to focus on what you can control – the daily process over the long-term results.

6 Essential Elements of a Midyear Business Review

Freelance Estimate Anxiety

This literally happened to me yesterday. Despite years of sending quotes I still get some anxiety when I get asked for a quote on a new project from a new potential client. I'm going to try to remember the advice in this article (paraphrasing): "The worst thing that can happen is not losing the job, but booking it at a bad rate."

A simple trick to get past freelance estimate anxiety

Do you have a "Plan B"?

Me? Not really? But one thing I've learned since taking the leap to full time VO is that everyone needs something different to feel comfortable in their self-employment. If you're have some unease around taking the leap and continuing to pay the bills, figure out what you need to get comfortable when the time comes.

Here's Courvo's take.

What's your Plan B?

More on Robots

This will probably become a semi-regular segment. If you haven't played Witcher 3... stop what you're doing and go do that first because the voice acting is stellar and the game is fantastic. That said, a game modder was able to use AI and the original performance to add an entirely new segment to the game that includes VO. I wouldn't say it's "scary good", but it's decent, if not a little stiff feeling.

Hear for yourself in the trailer at the top of this article:

Voice AI is scary good now. Video game actors hate it.

VOMM Ad of the Week

This week it's not just one VO-focused ad, but an entire campaign. Boston Pizza is fully leveraging the "back to normal" idea and re-training on patio usage. I actually laughed out loud at the tv spot, but the physical aspect of the campaign is equally hilarious.

Calling the helpline is also well worth the time (despite the robot voice): 1-855-BP-HOW-TO.

Boston Pizza How-To Patio

Welcome to Voiceover Mastermind

Welcome to the first ever edition of Voiceover Mastermind (VOMM). Thanks for tuning in.

First off, let's rewind to 2014/15. I was just starting to get rolling on my VO career after knocking out a few internal eLearning courses for my employer at the time (a call center for a major telecom). After a few years of working in a call center and now narrating eLearning projects as a trainer, I had people left and right telling me how great my voice was! How I should get into radio! And how "people make money doing that kind of stuff!"

It's good work when you can get it. But as you know it's more than just the voice.

Early 2015 I began digging deep into everything I could find on VO. Mostly made up of books, (a few) podcasts, blogs and Facebook Groups.

I was frustrated. It seemed everyone wanted my money, was offering seemingly conflicting advice, and often "coaches" had very little to show in the way of their own work.

Hopefully VOMM can help alleviate this a bit.

I have this crazy idea that you, like me, have a really difficult time keeping up with all the voiceover resources out there. The blogs, the Youtubes, podcasts, magazines, TikToks, Instas, etcs and more. And that's just the VO-specific world. Try keeping up with the advertising world to keep an ear on trends and you'll quickly find yourself doing more research than reading.

But, like you, I do my best to keep up with changes and news from the industry and fellow talents. Thing is, filtering the best stuff that is actually useful can be terribly difficult.

That's where Voiceover Mastermind comes in. Every week, I'm going to share with you a selection of my favorite articles and resources that I think will help move your career forward. Also, if you have a resource you found helpful and want to share it, send me an email.

Check out the first selection of articles below.

Keep Talkin,


Be Here Now

You're going to be seeing a lot of Kiff VH's podcast All Over Voiceover.

I'm a sucker for a good origin story and this two-part episode with Rama Vallury was easily one of my favorites. Despite him being in LA and me being a flyover-VO, I found a lot of parallels with the struggles and self doubt that he discussed.

Well worth the nearly 3 hours of listening time. Then go back and listen to the rest of the back catalog.

Be Here Now w/ Rama Vallury - Part 1

Be Here Now w/ Rama Vallury - Part 2

How Does It Align?

It's hard to say "no" when it comes to a a project that may not have the best budge or even a simple request for a conversation to "pick your brain". Having well defined values gives you a filter through which decision making becomes easy. Does it align? No? Then, no.

Know Your Values: 7 Ways to Discover and Clarify Your Personal Values

One For You, Nineteen For Me

June 15 is a weird day in the US when it comes to tax time. Second quarter estimated taxes are due and the IRS won't be happy if you don't consult your crystal ball to see how the rest of the year might go and pay them two weeks before the second quarter even ends.

To make sure I have enough to pay Uncle Sam and my state income tax, I've followed the Profit First system for about 5 years. Hasn't let me down yet. (affiliate link)

The Opposite of Goal Setting

People often forget subtraction when it comes to improving their life or business, so the idea of removing something from your life or routines goes overlooked. The concept of "Anti-Goals" really resonates with me as a new way to evaluate things I might want to improve.

My mornings have been a mess lately and when they're off, my productivity for the entire day typically follows. I'll be evaluating the rest of this week through the lens of the anti-goal.

The Power of Anti-Goals