SoCal Media Pros member, Joe Nagle, has been doing VO professionally for almost a decade. In that time, he's made a name for himself and his mellifluous baritone voice. Joe does a variety of projects but seems to be called a lot for the narration of animated white-board explainer videos, e-learning courses, non-fiction audiobooks and corporate-industrial-medical training modules. He's also noted for his creative marketing! As an avid home-brewer of craft beer, Joe named his VO business "Joe's Speak-Easy Voice Overs and Home Brew." Now everyone remembers the beer-brewing VO guy.
But once-upon-a-time he was a salesman with a 30-year career in the metals industry. Joe's telling of his career change reveals one of his endearing traits, a great sense of humor:
"After being laid off a second time in an economic downturn it finally dawned on me - I wasn't a very good salesman."
And when we asked Joe which title he liked the best (thinking he may prefer "VO Artist" to "Home Brewer" or maybe even "entrepreneur") his answer was "The Thrilla in Manilla," --Muhammed Ali's third title!
As you can tell, it was great fun talking with Joe and getting to know him. Here's more:
What do you like best about your job?
The sheer variety and abundance of work available and the fact that I learn something new each day.
What's changed over the years?
Not too long ago, you had to go to a studio to create your professional demo on audio tape, duplicate it (paying reproduction costs!) and distribute it either by driving all over town cold-calling on various studios (gas, auto maintenance costs) or mailing it to them (packaging and postage costs.) When you got work you had to travel to your client's studio to record (more $$$.) Today, you still go to a studio to record your demo, but you receive it electronically via email in the form of a .wav file. You then upload it to your website (www.joesjam.com) -- an essential tool for any business these days! You can contact your potential clients by phone or email and get your demos to them by directing them to your website or emailing the audio file to them, whichever they prefer. All this from the comfort of your home studio where you'll also be doing the bulk of your work!
So you were changing careers…but how did you get into VO?
One of my jobs was as an enumerator for the Federal Census. Part of that training included following along as the entire employee manual was read aloud. When the trainer tapped you on the shoulder, you had to start reading from that point. I guess I did okay because during a break, I was approached by a woman who asked, "Have you ever considered doing voice-overs?" I said, "I don't know —what are voice-overs?" About 6 months later I met Anne Ganguzza (founder of VO Peeps and a member of SoCal Media Pros) at a voice-over seminar and it changed my life!
What was the most rewarding project you've worked on?
Last year, I recorded my 3rd audio book, "Liberty Lost," by Michael Dahlen. It turns out the book was merely the introduction to the author's larger work, "Ending Big Government," each chapter of which is a self-contained topic he plans to release as a separate audiobook. He liked my work so much on the first one he wanted me to narrate all of them! In fact, the 2nd and 3rd installments are now available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. It validates that all of my efforts and continuing education & training in voice-over is starting to reap dividends, both financially and professionally.
What do you see as important skills/character traits for people starting out in your specialty?
VO is not an area where you can get rich overnight, but with the proper tools, training, patience, persistence, dedication to the craft and maybe a little luck, after a while you can certainly eke out a nice living.
Do you have a role model or mentor who has impacted your career choices?
Yes, I've had many:
Larry Hudson, who operates the weekly VO Heaven Workouts, which facilitiates the fine tuning of my commercial & Narrative reading and directing skills. I met Larry at an Introduction To Audacity webinar he held. He has also shown me, by his selfless example, the value of "paying it forward."
Scott Brick, (in photo on the left) who makes audiobook narration sound so easy I thought I might be able to do it.
David H. Lawrence XVII, who taught me step by step how to record audiobooks on ACX using Audacity!
Tom Jordan, who is the leader of the new Orange County Voice Acting Meet-up group which he began in January of this year (2017) and already boasts 125 members.
And last (but certainly NOT least,) the aforementioned Anne Ganguzza, creator of VO Peeps who turned a spark of interest into the VO Fire that burns within me today. Anne held an introductory seminar at the park across the street from my house. She also produced my commercial & narration demos.
And of course, the great, Marc Cashman (below right)
Joe, you were a member of MCAI and now serve on the board of SoCal Media Pros...What do you like about being a member?
Besides the monthly educational opportunities, it certainly couldn't hurt to network with people in the media industry who could potentially HIRE a voice-over artist
How about hobbies, passions, ways you spend your spare time?
My hobbies are my home brewing, barbershop harmony singing and playing my ukulele. My passion is my wife, Barbara to whom I've been happily married for over 15 years (…and 15 out of 21 ain't bad!) We spend a lot of time watching TV and we both like music so we have season seats to the 7-time National Champion Los Alamitos High School Choir performances.
How you unwind?
I enjoy drinking craft beer, red wine and the occasional martini (gin, of course - and stirred, NOT shaken, regardless of what James Bond says.)
Can you tell me something about yourself that readers may not know?
My rhubarb pie won a second place ribbon the California State Fairgrounds in Riverside!