Sit Down with CMD and the Voice Shop’s Own Mike Zirinsky

CMD and the Voice Shop’s own Mike Zirinsky has been the subject of quite a few articles online recently. Upon launching the new class schedule at the Voice Shop, along with CMD making its mark in voice over, Mike Z has been keeping pretty busy. Recently, we shared some interesting articles about CMD, the Voice Shop, and even an interview with Mike himself, discussing CMD and being an entrepreneur in general.

More recently, Mike made appearances on a couple podcasts where he discusses CMD’s beginnings, a little more about CMD’s Voice Shop, and more on how it all started. The interviews also touch upon what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, among other interesting topics. Take a look at the links below to sit down with Mike Z and hear what he has to say: 

Escape 9 to 5 Podcast - In his interview with podcaster Ali Salman, from Escape 9 to 5, Mike Z. talks about leaving his finance career behind, purchasing CMD, and how he changed and grew the company from there.

Entrepreneur Podcast Network -  Gain insight as to how CMD has grown and become a top audio house in NYC, how Mike got into the VO business, as well as some inside information on the Voice Shop.  

If you’d like to learn more about CMD, the Voice Shop, and what we do, be sure to check out some of the pages below:

In the News: Mike Z. and CMD’s Voice Shop

With the kickoff of the Voice Shop’s new class schedule recently, it’s been an exciting few months for CMD. For starters, CMD and the Voice Shop’s Mike Zirinsky sat down with Ideamensch to discuss how CMD came to be, what drives him as an entrepreneur, and even some secrets to success, among other interesting topics.

In addition to Mike Z’s interview with Ideamensch, online magazine/community SonicScoop also published a great features on the Voice Shop. The article briefly discusses head voice over coach Michael George with a great overview of what we do at the Voice Shop. If you’d like to learn more about Mike Z. and the Voice Shop, be sure to take a look at the articles below.

Interview with Mike Z.

SonicScoop’s words on the Voice Shop

Interested in VO Classes? Need Voice Over?

Whether you need voice over talent for an upcoming project, or you’re an aspiring voice talent trying to enter the industry, CMD and the Voice Shop can help. If you’re interested in improving your voice and working to become a voice actor, be sure to view our voice over classes. If you need voice over talent or any other service in audio post production, you can give CMD a call at 212-213-9420 to get started. You can also check out the links below:

How to Get Into Voice Acting: Key Tips

As with most niche industries, breaking into voice acting is a competitive and often difficult feat. Who-you-know talk aside, finding regular voice over work takes due diligence and a lot of hard work. Nevertheless, with the right voice, proper technique, and necessary knowledge, becoming a voice actor is definitely feasible. Getting into voice acting all starts with finding your voice and learning how to use it properly. While it may seem simple, it takes more skill than most might think.

Getting Started: Key Considerations

Whether you’ve been told you have a great voice or realized you can alter your voice, there are a few things you should consider before giving voice acting your all. These aren’t geared to dissuade anyone from trying, but they are key in determining if the voice over industry is actually right for you. Take a look:

  • The Expenses: From buying studio time to building your own at home, not to mention marketing yourself, getting into voice acting can require a good chunk of change. Of course, it could potentially pay off in the end. But since there’s no guarantee, closely consider the initial expenses.

  • The Time: As with money (you know what they say), you’ll also need to spend a great deal of time honing your skills, creating a demo, and looking for work, among other tasks. This should be expected, though, as mastering any trade doesn’t happen over night.

  • The Rejection: Of course, you have got to be prepared to face rejection. There’s strong competition in the voice over industry and, no matter the reason, you’ll be beat from time to time. In short, getting in will take persistence—so be prepared.

  • The Enjoyment: Though you will face expenses, time consumption, and rejection, becoming a voice actor and maintaining a career as one is a lot of fun. Considering the many uses for voice over, you’ll have a blast working on various projects and taking on different roles.

Be sure to take everything above into consideration before you work to get into voice acting. If you’re passionate about the industry and willing to give it your all, you could very well find work and become a voice over artist. Even then, however, you’ll need to do your research. And we’ve laid out some essential tips to help you get started.

Tips for Becoming a Voice Actor

As with most industries, there’s always the age-old question, “How do I get into voice acting?”. While the answer may not be so clear cut, there’s quite a bit you can and need to do as you get started. From there, you’ll need to create a demo and market yourself to find work. We’ll cover this all below.

Getting Started in Voice Acting

Even with a good natural voice, you’ll still need to find your voice for acting. Whether it be geared toward narration, animation, or another discipline within voice over, you’ll need to discover that on your own. This is crucial, and most aspiring actors will require voice over classes, acting classes, or some other sort of training.

Aside from finding your voice, you’ll also need to perfect your skills and technique in terms of projection. Voice acting isn’t simply speaking into a mic; you have to act. Not only that, but you need to pick up on common techniques, like breathing and taking pauses. Fortunately, you can learn all of this from taking classes or training with an established voice over artist.

Creating a Voice Over Demo

Before you can start looking for work, you’ll need a demo reel to showcase your voice. Much like a resume, your demo should include your best work and be geared toward a specific job. In other words, it’s best to have a demo for each specific genre/discipline you’d like to work in. That could be the aforementioned animation, narration, promo work, etc. Here are some things to consider in producing your demo reel:

  • Always start the demo with your very best stuff, rather than saving it for the end. Obviously, you’ll want all your recordings to be “your best work”, but those that truly show off your skills should be first to grab the producer or casting director’s attention.

  • Include jingles and background music to support your voice. A simple voice with no background isn’t as appealing, and you can use ambiance to your advantage.

  • Use well-written copy. For example, if you’re voicing a character, give them actual lines that fit their personality, rather than just reading random copy to showcase the voice. In short, the copy you read should fit the voice you’re projecting.

Promoting Yourself and Finding Work

Once you’ve finished your demo and ensured it’s of high quality, you’ll be ready to start looking for work. Note: if you’re truly committed to voice acting, having your own home studio is ideal. Initial expenses may be high, but home studios are quite necessary for becoming a voice actor. Regardless, there’s plenty of ways you can start reaching out to casting directors and submitting your demo reel to land gigs.

For some, hiring a talent agent to help you in the process can be worthwhile, but it’ll add to your costs and take away from any money you make. However, it could also be the best way you find work. That aside, you can look for job postings online, upload your demo to voice over directories, and attend open auditions you find in your search. Finally, you should also consider creating a professional website for yourself. This way, you’ll be searchable online and have a place to send prospective clients to see more of your work. However you go about finding voice over work, be persistent and don’t let rejection discourage you.

Get Started Today

As you can see, getting into voice acting is no easy feat. However, voice over is a growing industry and the opportunities within are seemingly endless. Once you’ve found your voice, dialed in on key techniques, and created your demo, you can always submit your work to CMD via our new talent form. Other than that, be sure to get your voice out there and start looking for work.

Producing a Quality Fashion or Fragrance Commercial

When it comes to marketing, guiding consumers to purchase your product is the goal of most commercials, projects and ads. However, when it comes to the fashion and perfume industry, there’s a unique opportunity to express something more than just the features and benefits of your product, more than a simple outline of your services and pricing. Fashion and fragrance demand creativity, innovation and originality. These products highlight qualities of the human experience which is what makes them so provocative and alluring to the average person. This expression of an identity is essentially what leads consumers to fall in love and connect with your brand.

So, you may be thinking this sounds nice in theory, but how do you actually put this idea into action? At Creative Media Design, we have over 15 years’ experience to help you bring your next project to life, including a wide array of voice over talent to capture the essence of your message. Read on to find out what will take your campaign from so-so to unforgettable.

How Audio Paints a Picture

Messaging in your commercial does a few things, but mostly it leads consumers to buy your product or service. However, in more artistic industries such as fashion and fragrance, a commercial or project should also speak to the emotions of a consumer. Fragrances and fashion don’t really “do” anything in the traditional sense of the word. Unpacking this further, we understand our need for things like vacuum cleaners and allergy pills. We get an immediate and tangible benefit from those items, but it’s not so easy to pin down what we receive from buying a particular perfume or piece of clothing. These items speak more to the emotional, subconscious part of our brains that tell us how we feel. Our brains literally light up (shown on an MRI scan) when we see, smell, hear or touch something pleasurable, and this is what sensory marketing is all about.

Deciding which emotions you want to elicit from your consumers will play a huge role in the direction of your project. Do you want them to feel beautiful? Free? Powerful? Romantic? Youthful? Edgy?

Finding the right voice for your project is absolutely essential in portraying the feelings, stories and emotions associated with your brand. Imagine this scene: A beautiful woman, wearing an elegant gown while walking in a field of flowers… to the voice of a WWE announcer. Kind of ruins the picture, right? That may be a little dramatic, but hopefully you get the idea. When advertising to your consumers, finding ways to speak to their senses should be the goal and is where we find the use of audio to be particularly convincing and necessary.

Need help Finding a Voice for your Commercial?

Creative Media Design provides quality audio and voice over talent to our clients with unmatched experience. If you’re interested in learning more about our voice and audio services, give us a call at 212-213-9420 or click here for more information.

What Goes Into Designing Virtual Reality Audio?

With the rising popularity and accessibility of virtual reality, the audio involved has become increasingly important. Since audio is a crucial layer to the overall immersion of virtual reality, many are working to evolve the current technologies to make audio more responsive to VR technology. For example, Google recently released a new audio technology called Omnitone, which changes the quality of sounds based on your relative three-dimensional positioning. With that, we wanted to spend some time exploring the inner workings of audio in virtual reality, and how it works!

What is Three-Dimensional Audio?

The most common method today for achieving three-dimensional sound comes by way of binaural audio. Binaural audio has existed for decades, but many wrote it off as an obscure novelty. However, with the advent of modern virtual reality systems, like the Oculus Rift, many have turned back to binaural audio as the best means to achieve 3D sound.

Binaural audio is not a very complex technology, but when used well, it can enhance the immersion of virtual reality in a big way. This system utilizes eight different speakers that form a full circumference of sound. For example, if you wanted a sound to come from your left side, it would play dominantly through the leftmost speaker. The same applies to the front and back, and the sounds can be blended between the eight speakers as well.

How Three-Dimensional Audio Hacks Our Brains

By utilizing eight speakers, the resulting sounds will manipulate your brain into thinking the audio is directional. It sounds a lot like surround sound in movie theaters, doesn’t it? But don’t be mistaken, acousticians often have fits when binaural audio and surround sound are used synonymously. In truth, binaural audio is a much simpler means of achieving three-dimensional sound, and that’s partly why it’s become the go-to in virtual reality audio technology. For an example of how binaural audio works, The Verge offers a demo of the technology that will work with any set of earbuds or headphones.  

To take binaural audio a step further, Google recently announced a new technology called Omnitone. This technology works much like binaural audio, except that the eight speakers actually rotate in accordance with your virtual movement. That’s to say, your whole field of sound changes relative to your positioning. This impressive technology might ultimately be the future of virtual reality!

Work with Us!

If you’d like to hear about our services, such as audio for virtual reality, give us a call today at 212-213-9420. You can also contact us here.

What Does Game Audio Entail?

While the goals of game audio production are the same as film audio production, there are some key differences that make game audio particularly challenging for sound designers. The best sound design in video games tends to go unnoticed, as it seamlessly adds to the overall immersion experience. That said, let’s look deeper into game audio to better understand what it entails.

Game Audio Production

Game audio producers work with the design and animation team to create rich audio that matches the quality and aesthetic of the overall production. In that sense, game audio production is all about teamwork. In fact, sound designers also collaborate with music composers, who are typically outsourced. It’s the sound design team’s responsibility to ensure the composer understands the overall vision for the game, and that the music blends well with the rest of the production.

The audio engineers behind games are also responsible for sourcing  any sound effects needed for the game. These could be real or invented sounds. For examples, some shooting games utilize the sounds of real guns that are recorded and optimized by the engineer. Once all the sounds effects are sourced, it’s the audio engineer’s role to edit, mix, and master all the sounds for the finished game.

Game audio differs from other types of audio simply because there is no fixed sound or music. Games are interactive and dynamic, so game audio needs to respond to the player’s movements and actions. As such, sound designers must create layers of audio that match the player’s movements and engagements within the game. This makes game audio particularly challenging for sound designers.

The Importance of Video Game Audio

Much like the visual design that goes into video game production, quality audio production can enhance the immersion of a game. That said, audio is quickly overlooked by those playing the game. That’s because at its best, game audio should be seamless and practically unnoticeable. But music and sound effects are an extremely powerful tool when it comes to evoking emotion from players, and well-produced game audio usually ends up being one of the more memorable aspects of a game.

Work with Creative Media Design

As you can see, game audio is a vital part of the overall production and execution of games. And it’s essential to the overall immersion and player experience.

If you’re interested in learning more about game audio, or working with Creative Media Design, feel free to contact us today. You can also call us at 212.213.9420.

Famous Video Game Voice Actors

In a sense, video game voice actors are unsung heroes. Despite their essential role in the development and immersion of a video game, they rarely get the credit for helping captivate gamers worldwide and drive the game’s narrative forward. It also might surprise you to learn that many of the most famous video game voice over artists are famous actors. Who, you might ask? We’ll set out to answer that question below!

Creative Media Design is proud to provide our services to clients anywhere. We recognize that audio is one of the most important aspects of any video game production, and as such, we work with nothing but quality in mind. Regardless of your project, our expertise in all things audio can take your production to the next level! Contact us today if you’re interested in working with Creative Media Design! Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about famous video game voice actors.  

Celebrity Video Game Voice Over Actors

When you’re playing video games, you might not pay much mind to the voice over acting taking place behind the scenes. But it might surprise you to learn that much of the voice over work you hear in video games is done by famous actors, many of whom you’d recognize from their work in films. As such, we decided to highlight some of the famous movie actors that have worked in video game voice over! Check out our list:

  • Gary Oldman: Oldman has voiced a number of popular video games. He played Ignitus in Spyro, and has been heavily involved in voice over work within the Call of Duty franchise. He donned a Russian accent in Call of Duty: World at War, where he played the charismatic Sergeant Reznov.
  • Dennis Hopper: Between classics like Waterworld and Apocalypse Now, Dennis Hopper has gotten his foot in the door of video game voice over acting. His most famous video game appearance was in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
  • George Takei: While you’d probably know George Takei from his role in Star Trek, he’s not foreign to voice over work for video games. His most famous video game voice over work was Red Alert 3.
  • Liam Neeson: Somewhat of a stranger to video game voice over acting, Neeson was intrigued by the story of Fallout 3. In fact, the script writers even designed the character with Neeson’s voice in mind. The final product was nothing short of impressive.
  • Sean Bean: Sean Bean has been working in video game voice overs since 2006, with Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bean had a great time with his role in the game, and expressed that he’d love to act in a sequel down the road.

Record With Creative Media Design!

Interested in video game voice over work? Creative Media Design can help jumpstart your career! Come and hang out in our studios, or connect with us from virtually anywhere—whether you’re in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, or any other location!

11 of the Best Microphones for Voice Over Talent

Within any form of media, whether that be video or strictly audio, the quality of sound always plays a major role in audience reception and much more. Needless to say, the same goes for voice over and narration. For those seeking a career in voice over, you need to ensure you’re achieving the best sound both in your demo and the work you do. However, without a good microphone, your demo may not get you very far, regardless of your talent in front of the mic. With this, every aspiring voice over talent should own a stellar microphone. Sure, you could make use of a quality recording studio, but costs will add up when you’ve moved passed the initial demo and on to any potential work.

Why Your Microphone Matters

Like we said, quality audio is a key aspect of any production. This holds truer when it comes to voice over, as that selected voice helps carry the message (in terms of narration) and can also define a character. Regardless of the use, voice over recordings obviously need quality sound, and as an aspiring voice over talent, you need to invest in a professional microphone so you can achieve such sound. In short, a good voice over talent needs a good mic. Let’s take a look at some of the best microphones for voice over.

The 11 Best Microphones for Voice Over Talent

As you search for your microphone, you should consider the two most common types for voice over work: dynamic and condenser. Dynamic mics provide warm recording, whereas condenser mics offer a more clear sound. Either way, our list of the top microphones below will help you in your search. Without further ado, here is a list of what are considered the best microphones for voice over talent:

  • Blue Yeti USB ($129): Another low-priced, yet quality mic is the Yeti by Blue microphones. With user-friendly features, like mute and mic gain, the mic can be easily controlled. Simple and quality, this is a great mic for starters.

  • Audio-Technica AT2020 ($150): A great starting mic, the AT2020 offers great recordings for the low price. The condenser mic’s cardioid pattern makes it ideal for recording voice over and even offers monitoring when recording.

  • Rode NT1-A ($230): This cardioid condenser mic costs about $230, making it a great beginner microphone. With great dynamic range, the mic provides quality recordings and is widely used within narration.

  • Blue Bluebird ($300): Another great mic by Blue, the Bluebird cardioid condenser mic provides bright recordings with crisp sound. With a retro look and great versatility, the Bluebird provides quality sound for the fairly low cost.

  • SE Electronics sE2200a II C ($300): As we’re working our way higher in price, the quality obviously gets better. The sE2200a cardioid microphone boasts both quality and clear recordings. Simply put, it’s quite the mic for its price.

  • Sennheiser MD 421 II ($380): Offering excellent sound and originally designed for voice recording, the MD 421 II is a great mic for aspiring talent, at just under $400. A dynamic mic, it features feedback rejection and serves a variety of purposes.

  • CAD Audio Equitek E100S ($500): Offering a vintage, yet smooth tone, the E100S is widely used within voice recording for its supercardioid condenser. Versatile and high-performing, it’s simply a great mic.

  • Rode NTK ($530): Offering ultra-low noise and wide dynamic range, the Rode NTK tube condenser mic boasts incredible recordings and is ideal for vocal recordings. Many deem it worth far more than the money, as it provides great tone for the price.

  • AKG C414 ($899): Considering the price, the AKG has been widely used within studios for years. With the option of cardioid, this mic provides excellent recordings and clear sound, making it a great microphone for voice over talent.

  • Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 ($1000): As its price may suggest, this mic means business. A shotgun tube microphone, it boasts excellent directivity and feedback rejection, clearly making it a perfect mic for recording voice over. Its compact design is just an added bonus to its quality.

  • Neumann U 87 Ai ($3200): We couldn’t make this list without at least one high-priced, professional mic. While all of the above are great mics, you’re stepping into a new world with this one. Offering three directional patterns, including omnidirectional and cardioid, the microphone is one of the most widely used within recording studios everywhere. Incredible sound and impeccable quality, this mic boasts it all.  

Don’t Forget the CMD Studio!

As you can see, you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a microphone for voice over. Though it’ll heavily depend on what you want to spend and your experience, any of these mics are great for the aspiring voice over talent. And, if you’re really serious, you can opt for one of the higher-end models at the end of the list.

Of course, if you ever need more help in your endeavors as a voice over talent, be sure to explore the CMD website, not to mention our studio! Whether you’d like some studio time, or need help mixing and recording, we can help. Give us a call at 212.213.9420 today or contact us here.