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Secrets of Voice-Over Success: Top Voice-Over Actors Reveal How They Did It Paperback – July 16, 2009
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Anyone in the industry who wants an idea of what it takes to become a voice-over pro will find Secrets of Voice-Over Success: Top Voice-Over Actors Reveal How They Did It comes packed with tricks of the trade, insiders’ experiences, and stories which will teach novices how to develop talent and gain employment. Having a range of voice-over actor experiences makes for a powerful title indeed—and a 'must' for any aspiring voice-over novice.
(Midwest Book Review, December 27, 2005)
For years, stage actress Joan Baker has lent her deep, mellifluous voice to a wide range of projects. As a voice-over specialist, Baker has narrated everything from the Muhammad Ali Center 2004 Olympic TV campaign to a documentary about the founding of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library that is part of the institution's permanent exhibit. But now, Baker wants to raise her voice about something more personal: the plight of Alzheimer's disease sufferers. 'I was struck by the fact that Alzheimer's had left my father alone in a room without the ability to communicate or even understand speech, while my very livelihood required that I be alone in a small sound booth but with every ability to express a myrias of interpretations before the microphone,' says Baker, who is donating all proceeds from her book Secrets of Voice-Over Success to the Alzheimer's Assn. for research. She says the instructional tome, which contains a foreword by David Hyde Pierce, provided the opportunity to honor her father, who died from complications of Alzheimer's. 'My father's voice was in fact still very much present in my mind and for all those people he impacted during his life,' she says. (Tatiana Siegel The Hollywood Reporter, June 6, 2005)
Want your voice heard? Check out this how-to handbook featuring tips about getting into the specialized career from the top talents in the industry, including voice-over actors from 'Law & Order' and the 'Today' show. Veteran Joan Baker guides you through the basics. Proceeds go to the Alzheimer's Association for Research. (inside TV, June 6, 2005)
Lift Up Your Voices and Sing For charity, Joan Baker tells the secrets of voiceover success
Anyone who's watched a movie trailer knows Don LaFontaine. Who? Don LaFontaine, that's who—narrator of more than 4,000 coming attractions and the man considered the most successful voiceover artist ever. The story of how he and 18 other 'voices' got started in the business is told in Secrets of Voice-Over Success: Top Voice-Over Actors Reveal How They Did It, by Joan Baker, herself a voiceover artist and coach who counted the late Johnnie Cochran as a client.
Baker started out wanting to be an actress but found that voiceover work was less constraining. 'The one thing that had me plaguing me as an actress,' she writes, was 'being biracial. [Doing voiceovers, it] never came up.' The book has a foreword by David Hyde Pierce, and proceeds will go to the Alzheimer's Association. 'The motivation for writing this book was my father [James Baker], who had Alheimer's for 12 years before he died in September 2003,' Baker tells Shoptalk. 'I wanted to do something to honor my father, but I didn't know what that would be. When he was going through the disease, I was afraid to read anything about it, because I couldn't bear to know what he was going through.'
Two months after her father died, Baker took a course on self-expression and leadership at Landmark Education in New York. The assignment was to do a project that would impact communities in one's life. Baker naturally chose the voiceover book project. 'I got an A in the class,' she says.
(Tim Nudd Adweek, July 11, 2005)
You have to be a business person and be very persistent in getting yourself out there,” Ms.Baker said, “because the more your name is out there the more people start to know you, trust you and ultimately request you.
--Ryan Bornheimer, Television Week; May 9, 2005,
(Ryan Bornheimer May 9, 2005)
Joan Baker is a widely known and highly regarded voice-over talent and an award-winning stage actress who also teaches voice-over acting. Her upcoming book, Secrets of Voice-Over Success: Top Voice-Over Actors Reveal How They Did It (Sentinent Publications, 240 pages, softcover, 1-591810-33-7, June 2005) will have its proceeds from sale donated to the Alzheimer's Association for Research. In this installment of Fore Play, she talks about the famous actress she may have been reincarnated as, the value of her husband's love letters, and seeing independent publishing as a 'platform' in 2005.
Why you know the name: If you don't, you will most likely recognize her voice. Baker has done voice-overs for ESPN, MSNBC, ABC News, WABC, Bloomberg TV and radio, Showtime, HBO, Nickelodeon, MTV, NBA Entertainment, Court TV, Fox 5, Imus in the Morning, American Red Cross, Olay, Lens Express, Sony Music, JP Morgan Chase, Road Runner, American Express, and Costco. She is an Oobr award-winning stage actress with numerous film, television, and on-camera commercials to her credit, and a much sought after voice-over coach who has taught speech and voice-over technique for more than ten years at The Actors Institute (NYC), Acting Management (NYC), The Professional Performing Arts School (NYC), and Western Kentucky University. Among her list of clients are Johnnie Cochran and Court TV's Nancy Grace. Now a partner for the Manhattan-based advertising firm Push Creative, a company she co-founded in January 2000 with her husband, she has won three PROMAX/BDA awards for two TV campaigns she co-produced for SPIKE TV, and in 2004, won a Gold Promax/BDA award and two Excellence in Multi-Cultural Marketing awards for a series of spots she co-produced for Black History Month.
In her free time: She takes personal growth and ethnic dance classes, does Bikram yoga, visits book stores, go to movies, cocktail parties, restaurants and flea markets, and works on her projects.
In her former life: 'I was told by a psychic many years back that I was an actress by the name of Lily Langtry, who also wore many hats. I did some research on her, and the coincidences were too hard to ignore. Our birthdates are the same, the day Lily died was the day my mom was born, we both have only brothers, and she had a daughter named Jeanne (pronounced Joan) Marie, which is my name.'
What book are you reading, and where is your favorite place to read?
The "Pathwork Lecture" series on transformation (my favorite reading topic). My favorite place to read is alone in the park or around nature.
What qualities do you value most professionally?
I value integrity around one's word. I also value the qualities of being able to take risks, being vulnerable (and knowing this is a strength), and having a profound sense of humor and joy in life.
What are you still determined to learn to do?
Cook a decent meal.
If you were a member of a tribe, what would be your special role in it, and why?
Dancing and bring people together by creating excitement, because this is my heart in action.
What would you save from your home if it were burning?
My shell box collection and my husband's love letters to me. Believe me, I've thought about this.
If you could have any five people over for dinner, who would they be?
Jean Houston, Lucille Ball, Josephine Baker, Bill Clinton, and Colin Powell.
What is your prediction for independent publishing in 2005?
I think it's going to really come into focus as a platform.
(Foreword Magazine, May 18, 2005)
Additionally, a new book (due out in June, 2005) by Joan Baker looks really exciting to me, simply because it is the same premise as a book my partner and I have coming out in June, 2005, except this particular book is focused on the voiceover market! Joan interviewed working voiceover artists to learn how they 'made it' and get tips on the business of voiceover and removing obstacles from a voiceover career. (Bonnie Gillespie, The Actor’s Voice, Showfax)
The actors in this book truly represent the cream of the crop in the industry and what they have to say will inspire you. So buy it, read it, and learn it! Secrets of Voice-Over Success is THE textbook of record.
(Frank J. Radice, president and chief marketing officer, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences)
A truly amazing collection of how the best of the best voice-over talent made it happen for them. With this book as a starting point, you can make it happen too.
(Vince Manze, president and founder of InVinceable Media)
This incredible book gives you right now what would otherwise take more than 20 years of industry experience to learn.
(Sandy Grushow, chairman of Fox Television Entertainment Group)
"A must-read for anyone in the industry no matter what side of the recording booth you're on. The information these voice-over artists share is invaluable. And some of the stories they tell are truly unforgettable."
Top customer reviews
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The parts of the industry reviewed are commercials, promos, trailers, and animation -- most of which is union work.
There are other niches that include educational VO work, narrations, audio books, museum tour guide tracks, and phone messaging that are less commonly referred by agents that are not discussed.
The book includes includes interviews with successful working professionals. There are no exercises for building skills.