Monday, January 28, 2013

"Voice Over Garden" #Review - #VoiceOver Talent eBook (Includes: Workbook & Warm-Up CD)

Disclaimer: The following review is 100% my own. The eBook excerpt was provided by the author's representative to share with my readers. I was given a copy of the eBook workbook and MP3s to work on in order to give a hands-on, detailed, review of my accounts. 

Selena Thinking Out Loud With Purpose was invited to review an eBook by Jonathan Tilley called Voice Over Garden. If you've ever wondered who was doing all of the talking for your favorite cartoon programs, animated films, or radio shows, then these invisible people would have been your voice actors. Many times, commercials will present a product or service, on-screen, without a physical actor. Instead, they hire a voice talent (voice actor) for the product they would like to advertise. These voice actors make their living this way, while bringing fun and excitement to film and television for all of us to see.

People of all ages, with different voice qualities have a career as a voice actor. Have you ever wondered about this business? Is this something you have been curious about? Have you wanted to get started but didn't know how? Do you currently work in the business but feel like you need a little help from an experienced coach? If so, this all-in-one, Voice Over Garden eBook, with Workbook and MP3 CD, may be right for you. 

Read my review.    Learn about the author.    Become a student of voice-over.

Selena Thinking Out Loud With Purpose eBook Review

Voice Over Garden
My Questions
When I first received the Voice Over Garden, I had three questions come to mind:

* Will it have a step-by-step, by the numbers, format? 
* Is the information priceless enough that I would want to buy this book or recommend it to a complete beginner?
* Will it keep me engaged on the material so that I can follow-through to the end?

As I asked myself those questions, I then started in on the material. The actual eBook is divided into 4 parts, all based around this concept of gardening, nurturing, and growth, as metaphors of the voice-over industry. In the Preface, Jonathan Tilley explains how he came up with the idea to write the book. Instantly, you know that he is a pretty nice guy and enjoys teaching what he loves to do in voice-over. He is very good at explaining what's going on. You can almost follow him in your imagination as you read. He really breaks down this idea or concept of the "Voice Over Garden", which I was a little confused about, but after seeing a diagram and reading how I would fit in with all of the parts of the process, it made sense. In a way, I began to feel lucky that I was given this opportunity to re-enter the voice-over industry again. Yes, again. I had taken coaching classes, did an expensive demo reel, bought equipment for my home, but never really understood how everything fit together. So, if there was a person who would be seriously interested in knowing if this eBook would deliver, it was me!

Credibility of Author
The credibility of anyone who is trying to teach me anything is very important. This business can be expensive and time-consuming if not careful. I was glad to see that Jonathan provided a rundown of his experience in the arts and in voice-over with a link to his demo. It was professional and he represented himself with authority. He also had a great support system from his previous students who recommended that he write a book from actually completing the lesson plans he laid out for them to do. 

Table of Contents
Immediately as you look over the topics of discussion for the eBook, you see that he keeps with a teaching model. You now become the student, with the class syllabus, and he is the teacher to take you through it. Within this section, I was able to see how the course would evolve, for me, if I stayed on course. The book is laid out in a chronological order and indeed, step-by-step.

eBook Material Highlights
  • Jonathan provides sections with tips on Do's and Don'ts, Mic Technique, Breaking down Voice Copy, Knowing your Worth, just to name a few. I printed all of these sections so that I could put them into a binder as a reminder to myself as I continued to read further in the eBook because he would reference them.
  • There is Homework throughout the course inside the Workbook! If you are like me, a student of life, then the homework throughout this eBook and also inside the workbook will be just what you need to keep you on track. It really does feel like you're taking an online voice-over class in college. If you learn better when given assignments or tasks then this may be the voice-over eBook for you to get started right or to begin again, like me. 
  • You're also told, by Jonathan to set aside N.N.T (Non-Negotiable Time), which is when you will do your homework, voice exercises and drills. I was able to set up time each week where I could focus on my voice-over career.
  • MP3 tracks are included with the eBook and Jonathan instructs you when to listen to them once you've reached that point in your reading. the MP3 tracks take you through the warm-up exercises he loves to do before he enters the booth. He describes each exercise on the MP3 tracks and then actually performs the exercise so that you can hear how they should sound when you do them. You are then asked to implement them into your N.N.T time to begin the process of using them regularly. My favorite, that I've never heard of before, was the Yoga Breath exercise. It really did relax me and refreshed my mind. Wow! 
  • Tongue Twisters anyone? He provides you a lay out of tongue twisters to say everyday during your N.N.T time inside the workbook and on MP3 tracks. He again, says each tongue twister, then adds a character element the second time so you see how to make them your own. I printed them out as well and after saying all of them, I really felt a workout in my mouth and with the clarity of my voice. They really do work. As I was saying the tongue twisters, I was laughing so hard. They were difficult in the beginning to say but as I said them daily, they started to get a little easier but I'm still working on them for sure.
  • Recognize your Competition. Since voice-over is the business you're learning and applying in this eBook, Jonathan gives you homework to find the best and worst voice over artists. It's important for you to know who is your competition and where you fit in all of it.
  • Create Character. In the workbook he provides sheets for you to print and fill in the characters you develop. He also provides a sample voice copy for you to use to develop your characters around. He teaches you how to be as detailed as possible and shows you his own examples as well. 
  • Time-Outs. Jonathan even insists on Break Time, where you are to do something you enjoy to get away from the material for a while. This book is not meant to be read straight through but also applied into your life. In order to create new characters, he insisted that you must interact with other people and experiences in your life to have more freedom to create. This was a surprise to me because I was not expecting there to be an N.N.T for a break. I really felt like I was on a class break and had to take a breather. I liked that about the eBook because sometimes I forget to take a break when I'm really focusing.
  • Personal Life Experiences. Jonathan teaches you how difficult the business can be if you're not prepared and developed as a voice actor. He shares his initial moments as a newbie voice actor and his mistakes in creating a demo for his career. He does stress how important it is to have a coach you feel comfortable with who can help you break down your characters and get you seriously ready for creating your demo. He recommends himself as a good coach to work with, but also speaks about other people he knows as well. 
  • How to Make Money. Once you've reached the point in the eBook where you have developed your characters with a coach and created your amazing demo reel (Commercial or Narration), he teaches you how to price yourself for work. He provides documents and letters you can use to inquire about work. He also shares a great system for keeping a database of contacts for future opportunities. Everything is laid out for you. There is no need to guess. 
  • Home Studio. He explains how to establish your own home studio for voice-over jobs and what components are necessary to be successful with this. 
  • How to Handle Difficult Clients. We all have had to deal with someone who was difficult. In the voice-over industry, it's no different. Jonathan shares with you how to overcome this obstacle and provides a nice letter you can use to help you work with your clients more effectively without pulling your hair out and stressing so much.
  • Other Demos. There are so many different demos you can do. He discusses the other demo types (Audio books, Animation, Dialects, etc.) out there that you can work on after you've created your best one with your character worksheets and your voice-over coach.
  • Money Management. Now, with some money coming in, Jonathan explains how to manage your money for the future. The final section of his eBook explains this in charts and hypothetical scenarios on how to achieve your financial goals.
  • Resources. If after all you've learned, you need to reach out to the contacts he provides or get some equipment he suggested, he provides his affiliate links to those products in this section.
In conclusion
For the value that Johnathan provides in his eBook, Voice Over Garden, I am surprised that it only costs $25. It is simply amazing how thought-out every part of this journey was for me. I feel a renewed energy inside to begin again with voice-over. I feel much more educated and up-to-date on what is going on in the  industry and all it takes to make this a full-time career. It will indeed take Patience. Commitment. Courage. Taking Action., as Jonathan mentions in his 4 Creative Process Pillars, throughout his eBook. If you are up for the challenge and seriously want to get started on the ground floor of voice-over and grow into a professional voice-over talent, this eBook, Voice Over Garden with workbook and MP3, is for you.

I began this process skeptical because of all I have done in the past in this industry, but now I feel much better and happy to announce my recommendation for this eBook because it delivers with it's value and the hands-on experience each user will discover.

Watch the eBook Trailer and Buy $25 eBook HERE to Get Started Now!

About the Author

Jonathan Tilley | Voice Over Artist and Coach
Jonathan Tilley

Learn about his voice work:


Author Excerpt from Voice Over Garden - Chapter 8


The Merriam-Websiter Dictionary has a wonderful breakdown of one of my favorite words. Just for fun, check in with how you feel when you read the definition of worth and its synonyms and related words. Then see how that feeling shifts within you when reading the antonyms.

1 a: monetary value
b: the equivalent of a specified amount or figure
2: the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is
3 a: moral or personal value
b: merit, excellence
4: wealth, riches

Examples of WORTH

-A diamond's worth is determined partly by its cut and clarity.
-The worth of the stocks has increased.
-The furniture was of little worth since it was in such bad condition.
-He has proved his worth to the team.
-The book has proved its worth by saving me hundreds of dollars.

First knowing Use of WORTH
before 12th century
Synonyms: account, merit, valuation, value,

Related words: excellence, greatness, perfection; consequence, importance,
significance, weight; desirability

Antonyms: emptiness, valuelessness, worthlessness; baseness, cheapness,
crumminess, inferiority, lousiness, meanness, paltriness, pettiness, poorness;
deficiency, inadequacy, inadequateness, insufficiency, unacceptability

Hmmmm. Something to think about.

Now being the cheeky guy that I am, I took it a bit further and asked a lot of people the following question; What is your Worth? The answers that came back were remarkable. Some have told me about their complicated stock market portfolio, some have complained about their mounting credit card bills, and some have even got angry with me saying “how very dare you ask me such a thing?”. But most people when I ask them this question stare at me like my French Bulldog ‘Dexter’ does when I practice a new animation voice. He tilts his head to one side trying to translate my vocal styling into something more bark-like. It just doesn’t
get through to most people (and dogs) what I’m asking.

So I have created a concept to help you understand what your true Worth is.

Time = Money = Water = Time

Shhh...I’m going to let you in on a secret. Are you ready for it? Here it comes: Your Worth is priceless. You can’t put a number on it. You simply can’t. Try to imagine the number one million. Go on. Try it. Guess what? You are more than the number one million. Now try to imagine the number 839 trillion. You’re worth more than that too! You’re Worth is larger than the ocean and it can’t be taken away from you.

As an exercise, walk around your apartment, condo, mansion, or cardboard box. Look at all the items of furniture you have there. Add up how much it all costs.; the sofa, the dining room table, the kitchen sink. Add all of it up. The sentimental things too. Your favorite snapshot of you and your sister. The crayon drawings your child brought home from kindergarten. Your collection of journals from high school. Add up the prices of all those things. That final number you come up with is the cash amount of what you own. But it still doesn’t define the true essence of who you are. Conclusion - you can’t put a price on your own identity. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?!

You are enough. You were born enough. You will die enough. You are Worthy. Worthy of
all life has to offer you. Take it in. Own it.

You. Are. Enough. And. Worthy.

How does that make you feel?

Time = Money
Now let’s take the monumental You Are Enough And Worthy Feeling and relate it to your VO business. Say a client wants to book you. They ask you what your price is for a job. Most VO newcomers freak out and instantly price dump. Please don’t underestimate your Worth! Remember the You Are Enough and Worthy Feeling (let’s call it YAEAWF just for fun). The client wants a piece of your YAEAWF channeled through your mad VO skillz. So you gotta offer up that time to the client for that specific project. Here’s where Time = Money comes into play. That time costs. The number that you come up with is a numerical representation of the time you will spend doing that service while radiating your high-frequency YAEAWF.
In Part II, I will help you create an awesome price list that will make you feel proud of your Worth and guide you away from underbidding yourself (and ruining the market price for everyone else).

Money = Water

You’ve heard these phrases a thousand time before: liquid assets, going through a dry spell, when it rains it pours, a tsunami of incoming work, pooling your finances, sea of tranquillity, underwater mortgage, sink or swim, drowning in debt, cash flow, ebb and flow, smooth financial sailing. The list goes on and on. Huston Smith said "water is patient; it can stagnate and let itself be coated with scum if need be. It is as gentle as
the morning's dew. It is nonconfrontational, even respectful, in circumventing the rocks in a stream. It makes room for everything that enters its pools. It accommodates by assuming the shape of any vessel it is poured
into. And it is humble, seeking always the lowest level. Yet along with - or rather because of these adaptive,
yielding properties, it is ultimately irresistible; it carves canyons out of stone."

Money can pool into something huge and then evaporate just as quickly. Look at lottery winners and how they win millions of dollars only to wind up broke a few years later. Water is money. Period.

You, as the gardener of your Voice Over Garden, have complete control over the water supply to your garden. If you overwater your plants they will turn brown and mushy. If you deprive your plants of water they will dry out. But if you keep a constant supply of steady water regularly to your plants, then the roots and soil will stay moist and give the plants energy to grow naturally without getting mushy or drying out. That could be interpreted as keeping up to date on your VO business, taking care of your taxes, regularly working with a coach, working on a new demo every year, whatever is needed.

I’m going to show you how to pool together just the right amount of water (money) for your plants (business) to continue to grow naturally. I’ll also show you how to create different rain barrels that can collect gallons of rain water (money) to create further abundance, peace of mind, and value, not only in your bank account, but also in your life.

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