The Write Connection

TWC S02 E24: The Challenge & Adventure of Finding the Right Voice for Clients with Special Guest, Earl Thomas

May 24, 2022 Katherine Burrows Season 2 Episode 24
The Write Connection
TWC S02 E24: The Challenge & Adventure of Finding the Right Voice for Clients with Special Guest, Earl Thomas
Show Notes Transcript

Join me as I explore the challenge and adventure of finding the right voice for clients with my guest, Earl Thomas. Learn how the right voice for audio content is similar to the authentic voice I strive for in written content.

Earl Thomas is a Professional  "Voice-Over" artist specializing in Promotional Videos: Website videos, Master of Ceremonies, Business messages and Introductions for local entertainers, and Various Voice-over projects. My experience of completed voice-over projects includes 50 Promo videos including 5 Vimeo Videos, 1 Kickstarter Video, &  44 YouTube Videos with 275,431 views and counting. I have completed 94 projects with diversity including: Depression Recovery Speeches @ Coq. & Vancouver High Schools, & Rehumanity Foundation, My Grad & debut shows of Stand-up Comedy, Hartwell Therapy, Infomercial Video, Voicing of Tag Lines for business videos.

Earl Thomas is the Podcast Host of VOICE POWER, launched May 23, 2021.

Connect with Earl Thomas
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Katherine Burrows, Big Impact Ghostwriter
Katherine Burrows helps purpose-driven experts make a bigger difference by getting their big ideas into books and out into the world to multiply their impact and their profit. She is known internationally for her intuitive understanding, perceptive observations, and ability to write accurate descriptions. 

Katherine hosts The Write Connection podcast, which is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business book to create authentic connections with your prospects, clients, network, and communities.

Katherine’s personal alchemy of literary storytelling, human psychology, business marketing, and unwavering passion provides her with the unique and powerful insight to bring out the authentic character of the expert and their business in a voice - YOUR voice - that will improve lives, influence others, and even chang

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by Carl Richards

Podcast Music by Nathan Symen of NST Music:

Intro: This is The Write Connection. This podcast is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business content to create authentic connections with prospects, clients, partners and colleagues on today's episode of The Write Connection. Katherine Burrows joined by voiceover artist Earl Thomas, who calls himself the voice, he specializes in promotional videos, website videos, master of ceremonies, business messages and introductions for local entertainers and various voiceover projects. His experience of completed voiceover projects includes over 50 promo videos, including five [inaudible00:45] videos, Kickstarter videos, YouTube videos with over 275,000 views and counting. Now the host of The Write Connection, Katherine Burrows.

 Katherine Burrows: Hi, Earl. Welcome to The Write Connection today. How are you?

 Earl Thomas: Good. Thanks Katherine. I'm glad to be here. Nice to connect all the way across Canada.

 Katherine Burrows: Yes, it is. I love the miracle of zoom, how we can talk to people in different provinces, countries, time zones, continents. It's made us all a global community.

 Earl Thomas: Yeah, it feels good to be connected with people. That's for sure. I'm glad I met you through Carl Richards yeah.

 Katherine Burrows: Yes. Well, we love Carl. We could talk about how much we love Carl for the whole episode, but-

 Earl Thomas: I'm sure he'll be listening too.

 Katherine Burrows: Yes, but we, we do have so much other value that we wanna bring to the listeners. So why don't you give us a bit of background on how you got into doing voiceovers and what kind of training you've been through?

 Earl Thomas: Well, it goes a long way back when I was about nine years old and my mom had sent my brother and myself to the Victoria gospel chapel and they had a radio program on C H U A M 1570. I don't know why, but Bob Burns picked me to come in and read scripture and pre-record it, there was a program going on live a rock and roll program. Gene McCormick was a DJ and man was he having fun? I mean, his energy was all over the place. He was much faster, 10 million times faster than the Energizer bunny. So I was bitten with the interest in radio and I listened to CT LG and C fund. They were the competitors in the Vancouver area and I just love rock and roll. Imagine being on radio, how much fun would that be? So every once in a while, like if I made a doctor's appointment or somebody would comment on my voice, oh by the way, were you on radio at one time?

 And I said, no. And then I got off the call and I said, I wonder why they asked me that I didn't get it. And then when I was in Bible College, I needed a narrator for this musical. And I got a lot of good comments on it and I thought, I don't wanna come to retirement and not know if I could make it in radio. So I volunteered at Simon Fraser's radio station in the late eighties and I enjoyed that for a couple of years, did some news and then got into my own show, The Duke Of Earl. And then I got working in a group home and I thought, well, I'm gonna take a night school course, B C I T. And it was radio and TV announcing with Terry Chan and Doreen Copeland it was the most fun part of my whole week.

 Then I applied for the full day program at B C I T. And it was hard to get in. I had to pass this computer course that had never had anything to do with computers and this large interview, more than one person interviewing me. And it was tough to get in, but I'm glad I got in. And I went to Penticton after graduation was my first gig to be the overnight announcer at giant FM. And from there from giant FM, I came back to Vancouver and I took this voiceover course and Cathy Weseluck. She gave the opportunity to have voiceover consultations and that's where it started. She says, I'm gonna get you so you're really varied in your voice so you're not stuck in one genre. And if you listen to the LinkedIn profile and the different types there, you'll see, there's a lot of variety, I can even do a female voice. I'll send you a demo later, but I love voiceover, I love the challenge of being diverse because everything is different so I think that gives you a beginning and you've probably got more questions.

 Katherine Burrows: Yeah. Is that a real danger then being stuck in one genre?

 Earl Thomas: Well, I won't be because then there's so many other ones and you wouldn't get much work if it's just in one, unless you happen to be one of those guys in Scotland or Britain who does those narration for the national geographic? I mean he's got a great British or Scottish voice and I'm sure he makes loads of money.

 Katherine Burrows: Yes. So looking at your LinkedIn profile, I mean, you have over 90 projects listed there and just going through some of the highlights included Toastmasters, various radio projects as you've mentioned, telephone prompts, infomercials, audiobooks, business videos and even projects for churches. And the one that fascinated me the most was where your role was the breadth of heaven. I just have to know the story behind that.

 Earl Thomas: Well, I was the voice throughout the breadth of heaven and there was a lot of practices and Michelle Roge was a director and I had to come in at certain times and just have the right timing and everything. And I enjoyed it I mean, it wasn't just get up there and you do one segment, but it was throughout. And I love the narration it was a lot of fun yeah.

 Katherine Burrows: What are a couple of other highlights for you?

 Earl Thomas: There's so many, it's waiting for the finaled script and it's important to wait for it, make sure that they're ready for it. I had to wait for Theresa Velasquez for the Heartwell therapy, but it was worth the wait because eventually I interviewed her on my podcast and I liked the one question I asked her, somebody out there is sitting on the fence and they don't know whether they wanna have a professional voice for their video. What would you say Teresa? And her answer was like, so affirming like a professional like myself, who really knows what they're doing and she went for it and I like the Heartwell therapy. It's one style, that's the narration style, but there's many different styles. There's a hot sale where you really just turn it on. And I always thought I was more like the narration, the slower, but it's really the great pumping up that energy.

 Katherine Burrows: And what about Toastmasters? What did you do there?

 Earl Thomas: Oh, well, I've been there that's seven years and I got my competent communication and the CL and I'm on the pathways, the new system I'm currently taking the presentation mastery and I'm on my level four working to get it done. I just did a really interesting speech about the importance of friends, but it was a mandatory project, which doesn't happen very often, but I had to be interrupted throughout the speech. And I kept my focus and because of Toastmaster, it's an advanced club. So it led to doing something I never, ever expected I would do when I started there because it is an advanced club is getting up on stage at Yuks Yuks's comedy club. And I did it three times because I took a comedy course stand up for mental health. And part of the course is you do a debut. We did that at a coffee shop and then the graduation was at Yuks yucks and the lights are hot up there and you really can't see too well.

 It wasn't to the third time that I noticed I can look down a little bit. I can see the audience, but twice I'm in Toastmasters, a lot of them go up there with, they're not gonna forget anything, but because I'm in Toastmasters, I just went and just internalized it. And on the debut and on the grad, it happened twice. I got her in one joke and I said, its coming. Like, because the punchline didn't come right away. And it came both times, but I got a big laugh just from that. So it was really fun dealing with mental health issues with standup comedy and working with David Cornier, it was just awesome. He is a, a very funny comedian who deals with mental health issues.

 Katherine Burrows: Well, that's certainly a very broad range of experiences and all kinds of different audiences. I think one of the things that you and I have in common is that we're both looking for the authentic voice for our clients. And so can you tell me a little bit about how that process works for you?

 Earl Thomas: Well, you call it the authentic voice. I call it the right voice because the client wants to have the right voice because when somebody turns their video on, they don't want their customers listening for three seconds, have you ever opened up a YouTube video? And you say, oh, this is a long win. I'll just listen for five minutes, but the voice just draws you in and you look and see, oh, I've listened for 30 minutes already. So the right voice is taking care of it, warming it up before you start. Because sometimes when I voice something, all of a sudden it pitches up and then I have to go back and redo that because besides having the right voice, I have the right ears, I'm very critical. I've gotta make sure that it's absolutely perfect. And I listen and I listen and then I get it and then I can send it off. But there's so many voices out there it's very competitive. So I would say the authentic voice or the right voice, you're up against a lot. And I'm really grateful that I'm just below 100 projects. I'm looking forward to hitting 100, not 100 years old but a hundred projects.

 I suppose if I said that to somebody, I said, well, you got a long way to go to be a hundred, but that's not the thing.

 Katherine Burrows: Yes. So do you go through a process that's similar with each client to find that right voice?

 Earl Thomas: Well, the process is I wanna know that they know what they want. They have a goal in mind, they've looked at that script, they finalized it, they don't change it. And also the communication, the communication with Theresa was really great, was back and forth. We had to wait some, but some clients don't have good communication and they're not the ideal client. And it's important to just keep that communication going no matter, there's hints along the way. And of course when you have good communication, oh, you can tell right away, ah, this feels good. Like you and I, this feels good because I remember meeting you on Carl's podcast Alliance. And there was no pressure. I didn't feel that you were pressuring me for anything and we had a good chat and we did before when we talked a week or so ago. So communication is a lot, It means everything to me and that's why I'm in Toastmasters because the communication there is really good and there's a lot of friends there, It's not just about speaking i've got a lot of friends there.

 Katherine Burrows: Well, that's great. I mean, communication is a major part of building relationships. So I think you'd almost have to purposely try to not build relationships when you're working on communication. And really, why would you want to do that when there's so many amazing people out there in Toastmasters, I know many who are in Toastmasters, and I'm actually thinking about joining myself. So you mentioned your ideal client. Do you wanna talk a little bit more about who that is?

 Earl Thomas: Yes. They own a business or what they wanna do, they know what they wanna get, they work on that finalized script, they finalize it, they don't make any changes. They take their time with it and when they communicate with me, they communicate clearly I really understand what they want to accomplish. Part of that ideal client isn't Theresa was one of those is that they actually pay right away actually on the very day that it's done. Usually, you have a few days to get it done. And they refer people to me, it keeps coming, it keeps flowing. What I like about the business is it's about people and getting to know people, this pandemic, being isolated, not getting out for three or four days, when it was early in the pandemic, I was de-energized and I get around people, although you're way over there in Ontario, I feel energized. And I was energized on Saturday morning for almost three hours just being at Douglas College at Toastmasters. And I have got so many friends in this area, I make it part of my goals to hang out with friends at certain times and connect with family. I think that's really some important factors of that.

 Katherine Burrows: Yeah, for sure. Those connections are so important and they're how we really thrive in our lives and in our businesses, this is a great conversation. And I think there's so much importance to finding that authentic voice or the right voice for our business selves, whether that's in the written word or the audio word. Is there any advice that you have for someone getting into the voiceover business?

Earl Thomas: Yes. It's very competitive. So you've gotta be able to take rejection. Oh, it's not quite good enough.  Have your professional demo, go to a studio, take some voiceover lessons it's not as simple and easy like sometimes we say, oh, look at that person they got up on stage and they looked so good and they sounded so good, but it's not an overnight success. It takes time. Some of these voiceovers, there's a female and a male voice they want, and it's all in the same one and so you switch back and forth. Well, there's about 16 lines and I realize I better do eight of them in that section and then do the next eight and it took me one hour to get it where I wanted it and I submitted it. So there's a lot of things to learn and you'll learn as you go, there's always a lot more to learn. You learn from others by networking and finding out what other voiceover artists do. And on LinkedIn, there are different groups where you can put in a discussion and if you have questions, so you never know it all, you are always looking to learn more.

 Katherine Burrows: And what if someone is looking to hire someone for voiceovers, what kinds of questions should they ask?

 Earl Thomas: Well, they should ask what experience do you have? They should ask for some samples that they've already done, finished projects. They should ask about the price, you should get the price nailed down. There should be no surprises, they should have really good communication I mean, communication is the whole key to the voiceover industry when you're doing that voiceover that's communication, but there's all the pre communication. And after communication, because when I've done a voiceover, I always offer a LinkedIn post so that they can get more exposure it doesn't cost anymore cuz I can do it and it doesn't cost me anything and I've now I've got over a thousand connections on LinkedIn. And when I started out a few years ago, I couldn't imagine having a thousand, but there's a lot of momentum in just taking the step and moving into it.

 Katherine Burrows: Oh, it's been so great talking to you about different voices and finding the right voice. And here I am with the voice Earl Thomas, thank you so much, Earl.

 Earl Thomas: Well, you're welcome. I'd like to leave an offer for who got time?

 Katherine Burrows: Yes please.

 Earl Thomas: Anyone who sends me an email at DukeEarl@Shaw.CA I will offer 20% off my regular recording fee. And you would send your finalized script with all the directions. Like, do you want a narration? You high energy, low energy and any pauses word emphasis. There's lots of directions that you can give a voiceover artist and then I'll do the free LinkedIn post with over a thousand followers and a thousand connections. So I'd be glad to help any of your listeners, all you gotta title it is Voice Power in the email.

Katherine Burrows: Well, thank you so much. That's very generous. I'll definitely put your email and all that info in the show notes. And I look forward to seeing you again soon on your show.

 Earl Thomas: Thanks Katherine. I've enjoyed being with you today.

 Outro: Thanks for listening to The Write Connection. What did you think of the show today? Give us a rating and leave us a comment if you have a question for Katherine, reach out to her by sending her an email, The Write or visit her website, And don't forget to follow Katherine on social media thanks again for listening to The Write Connection.