I LOVE a good podcast. And I do enjoy losing myself in a good book. The chance to learn and experience new things should never be underestimated.
Like many people I used to commute to work. I had quite a few different jobs before going self-employed and I freelanced for a few years too. I always hated the commute. Manchester trams pre-covid were rammed. Many mornings I’d have to wait for 2 or 3 to pass while I shuffled to the front of the platform to get on one. And the crush on the tram was at times unbearable. One year, the job I had required me to drive 1 or 2 times per week Birmingham down the M6 which would take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours each way. It was – quite frankly – grim. However, it did allow me a lot of time to listen to podcasts and read books (obviously I wasn’t reading when I was driving!). When I was freelancing, lunch breaks were almost always spent reading.
As much as I completely adore working from home (I often feel smug when wind and rain are lashing at the house and I no longer have to drag myself through the streets) I do miss the time it gave me to consume books and podcasts. These days I listen to podcasts in the gym or on a walk. I’m getting back into the habit of reading a little bit in the morning before I start work and just before I go to sleep too.
So in an effort to inspire me to read and listen to more – and to give you the opportunity to benefit from that too – I asked our wonderful newsletter subscribers for their recommendations. I’ve added a few of mine too. And I want this list to GROW so if there is something you think absolutely should be on this list that isn’t yet, pop me a quick email telling me what we should all be reading or listening to and why.
This post does contain affiliate links. I might get a small commission if you click on the link and buy something. Personally, I try to avoid Amazon (I like HIVE) when I can, but sometimes it’s cheaper and not everything is available elsewhere.
So here goes…
The ultimate reading and listening guide
Recommendations from me and other voice over artists.
Helen Bee (that’s me!) recommends:
Brand Yourself: A no-nonsense brand toolkit for small businesses
by Lucy Werner & Hadrien Chatelet
Working with a good brand designer isn’t (and shouldn’t be) cheap. But it’s a cost that can feel very out of reach for a lot of voiceovers. But starting your business with branding in mind can help with consistent & confident marketing. It will also help get you more and better-paid work. There is A LOT of shit advice out there – so much of it is aggressive and heavily corporate. Or just full of fluff and nonsense,= giving little or no advice. This book isn’t like that. It’s packed with practical things you can do yourself to start working out what your brand is.
Brand Yourself – available from Amazon
The Little Book of Colour – how to use the psychology of colour
by Karen Haller
My copy of this book is marked with scribbles, underlines, highlights and sticky notes. It’s a great guide for anyone wanting to know more about colour psychology and how that impacts our lives. It’s not specifically about branding, but the principals of colour psychology cross into branding time and time again. If you want to know more about how colour influences our motivation and feelings, this book is for you.
The Little Book of Colour – available from Amazon
The Voiceover Social Podcast
Hosts: Leah Marks and Nic Redman
It’s hard to put into words just how much I love this podcast. It’s funny, informative, jam-packed with useful information and utterly joyful to listen to.
I was honoured to guest on the ‘Shine Online! Part 2: SEO’ episode.
And you can listen to Rob talking about editing on episode 54.
Find the Voiceover Social Podcast here.
A Voiceover’s Adventure Podcast
Host: Jo Troy
Multi-award winning Jo talks about all things voiceover career including episodes on getting started as a voiceover, rates and usage, coaching, P2P sites, agents and more. I had the joy of appearing in season 1 chatting all things branding for voiceovers. Season 2 started a few weeks ago, and he’s had some great guests with loads of advice to share.
Listen to A voiceover’s Adventure Podcast
Real You, Real Money podcast
Host: Ray Dodd
I know what you’re thinking – a podcast about money… BORING! Well, you’re wrong. This podcast is a mix of pep talks and interviews and Ray has transformed my approach to making money. Do NOT listen to this podcast if you think making money isn’t impacted by the white-male dominated capitalist system. DO listen if you think that system is broken and stops many people from being able to make money.
Listen to the Real You Real Money podcase here.
How Do You Say That?!
Hosts: Mark Ryes and Samantha Boffin
This wonderful podcast has quite literally made me fall off a rowing machine laughing. I kid you not (I did try to style it out. I failed majestically). The title says it all HOW do you say that? How DO YOU say that? How DO you SAY that?! So many variations of such a small number of words. This podcast explores all the many ways scripts can be interpreted as Mark & Sam chat with their guest.
Listen to How Do You Say That?!
by Harry Baker
Harry is a maths obsessed poetry world slam champion and half of a comedy rap jazz duo ‘Harry & Chris’. I’ve seen him perform live many, many times. Usually in a festival field, but not always. To say Unashamed is a poetry book is a massive understatement. It is wordplay, number play and a celebration of things that make us different and beautiful. I laughed & cried and occasionally thought maths wasn’t completely awful. It is inspiring and uplifting.
To give you a taster of the magic it holds…
“All the best bits of your story are still yet to be unfurled.
You are the caterpillar that becomes the butterfly
that flaps its wings to cause an earthquake halfway around the world.
You are amazing.
And if they try to rain on your parade, let it remind you how much fun it is to party while it’s raining.
May you take up space and stay there
Unashamed is available from Amazon.
On The Mic
by Nic Redman
This one is hot off the press – and I got to go to the launch event too! Whoop! It’s so new to my collection I’ve not had time to read it all yet (I’ll update this when I have) but it’s already proved useful when I lost my voice and still needed to have a client call. I’m also very grateful for Nic showing me some neck stretches and spine rolls – those are great when I’ve been sitting at a desk all day!
Karen Webber from Goodness Marketing recommends…
Hype Yourself: A no-nonsense PR toolkit for small businesses
by Lucy Werner
A brilliant DIY guide to getting your name known.
[note: this is on my shelf too]
Hype Yourself is available from Amazon.
André Refig recommends…
by James Clear
‘I’ve no doubt many people will be recommending this one but it truly is brilliant at helping develop or get rid of habits – dare I say life-changing?’
[note: this is on my shelf too and his newsletter is brilliant!]
Atomic Habits available from Amazon
Performing for Motion Capture
by John Dower & Pascal Langdale
‘A deep-dive into the world of motion capture, explaining how it works but also listing all of the ways in which actors and voice actors can improve their skills to be ready to work in that medium
Performing for Motion Capture available from Amazon
The Voice Coach Podcast
Host: Nic Redman
‘Again, I’m sure this will come up a lot, but great, bite-sized tips on all things voice-related.’
Stephanie Matard recommends…
Here are a few of my faves:
- The Mel Robbins show
- VO BOSS with Anne Ganguzza
- Everyday VOpreneur with Marc Scott
- The Rachel Hollis Podcast
- V-Oh! by Marc Cashman
- Voice Over Narration by Dian Perry [see below too!]
- The art of voice acting by James R. Alburger
Liz Drury recommends…
Small Business Big Network podcast
I would love you to include my podcast in your list of things to read and listen to! It’s for small business owners who want to get more from their networking. The podcast can be found on all the usual podcast platforms and via my website.
Books Liz recommends are…
- Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Tony Collins Foggarty recommends…
by Dian Perry
I recently read “Voiceover Narration” by Dian Perry and loved it. I think the title understates what the book is about. I’ve spent years asking different voice coaches and other voiceovers about “what is going on in their head” whilst performing a voiceover. It’s the invisible bit you can’t necessarily see when observing others’ work.
Dian talks about “mental chatter” and the “psychology of narration”. This is the first book I’ve read that I felt spoke about these topics in the context of voice-over work. I felt previously, that others kicked my questions on this topic into the long grass, in pursuit of technique. Finally, here was someone who spoke to me about it.
To quote Dian, “Language is just the transport vehicle, while energy, intention and emotion are the precious cargo”. I would add that it’s also the difference between humans and robots.
Voiceover Narration available from Amazon
Sara Starling recommends…
Voice Over Secrets 2
by Elroy Spoonface Powell (and 21 others!)
Having written a chapter for this book, along with 20 other voice over artists & read all the stories & tips it contains, how can I not recommend it? There’s a lot of noise & cut & thrust out there, but this offers real-life, nitty gritty experience. And a percentage of the proceeds goes to Children with Cancer UK, so what’s not to love?!
[note: me and Rob have written a chapter each for this book too – how exciting it that?!]
Life’s a Gas Podcast
Hosts: Ben Ellis and Sara Starling
Conceived under lockdown, TV comedy writer Ben Ellis & Sara Starling got together (virtually) to produce a daft podcast with bitesize 10 min episodes. They just wanted to make people laugh during those dark days and it went down a storm! There’ll be more episodes coming just as soon as Ben finishes writing them.
Want a taster? Ep 8 features barmy divorcee Bev, who’s had her eye on dishy neighbour Ron for months…
Dive into ep 1 & meet Debs: If you had to attend virtual parents’ evenings, perhaps you too would have preferred a colonoscopy to that experience?!
You’ll find all episodes at sarastarling.co.uk/podcast and wherever you get your podcasts.