Jessica Binstock - Voice Artistry

Non-union voice artist for radio, TV, on-hold messaging, video games, and independent corporations

Getting Your Voice Heard

Immediately, I began sending out my brand spanking new demo, via MP3, to production houses, radio stations, television stations, advertising agencies, post-production studios. I drew the attention of Vox Talent, Canada’s top non-union voice over talent agency, and they took me on as my agent. They started sending me auditions. Cool! I even started answering ads on Craigslist. I actually got quite a few jobs that way, and continue to do a quick search every morning. I also joined, Canada’s number one marketplace for voice overs. Then, to my amazement I started hearing back from some of those people I had sent my demo too. All good news – all great feedback. People liked my demo and told me they’d add me to their talent roster. I think today I am on at least 20 rosters all over the world.

I contacted CTV, our local television station and asked if I could come in to meet the program director and get a tour. I figured, I may have a better shot of getting work if people meet me and see how charming I am, hehe. But truly, I knew I’d have a better shot if these people met with me face to face. I met with the program director who has since retired, and through my meeting with him, got hired to read the tag for Dagwoods, a local sandwich shop. One day I was in the CTV studio reading the tag, freaked out and nervous as hell, but desperately acting confident and experienced. And the next day, I was hearing myself on TV! I swear, the thrill is beyond words.

I’ve made really decent money since I’ve started. All from my own blood, sweat and tears. I’ve had to be super aggressive. It’s a roller coaster, some weeks I get one or two projects, and then 2 weeks could go by without booking anything. But I get to be a mother to my children. I’ve wanted to be a mommy from a very early age. And I now have the freedom and time to pursue a career that I love.

Being a voice artist is tough. It’s highly competitive. Like, really insanely, ridiculously competitive. BUT…

…that’s the beauty of this career! I can work for companies all over the world, and from the comfort of my home! In my PJ’s! No makeup! Bad hair! They have no freakin’ clue!

Becoming a Voicepreneur

I left my copywriting job at the then Mix96 radio station after 6 years when I got pregnant with my first son, Ethan. Before I left, I asked that kind producer who led me to my first on-air commercial announcement if he could put together a demo for me, on a CD, to take with me. He did.

Now, as any new mom knows, I became completely focused on my child. I got a part-time gig singing for mom and their children, and before I knew it, I was pregnant with my second son, Micah, 4 years later in 2010.

My focus once again turned to motherhood, until a year ago. I suddenly felt this strong drive to work again. Both my kids were in school during the day and I wanted to do something productive, and not just shop at the mall. I came into contact with an old colleague of mine, who used to be announcer at Mix96, but was now working from his home, making tons of money as a full time voice artist. He quickly became my source of inspiration, and gave me tons of great advice on how to get started in my new career.

First, I needed a new demo. The one that lovely producer had out together for me was dated. My mentor, David, suggested that I contact Syllabes Studio Lounge, a local studio that could produce a new demo for me, as well as provide me with a voice coach to guide me though the session. I took his advice and had this dynamic, well produced voice demo with which to sell my skills. I was pumped.

Next I did some research on how to set up a home recording studio. A fellow voice friend accompanied me to Steve’s music store in downtown Montreal where I bought everything I needed to get started. I couldn’t wait to get home and set it up so I could start playing around. I put up some sound filtration foam on my walls, and built a privacy wall behind me, which I covered in a quilted moving blanket, to help make my studio sound as quiet as possible, as I was working in an open space in my basement.

I was set up and ready to go! Yippee! Then the hard part kicked in – actually finding and booking jobs.

Voice Moms

My name is Jessica Binstock, and this is my very first blog. I hope you find it interesting. Perhaps helpful, maybe even a little entertaining.

Let me start 8 years ago. I was 30 years old, and working at a local radio station, which at the time was called Mix 96. I was their full time Copywriter, which meant that I wrote all the local commercials, or spots, that ran on the station. Not the big companies like The Bay or Target, but the small, local retailers, restaurants, night clubs, etc.  When I first got the job I was beyond elated. I had just received my certificate in Media Copywriting from Humber College in Etobicoke Ontario, and suddenly I had my dream job. After several years, however, I began to dislike what I was doing more and more.

My job became more clerical, and less creative. I had to deal with sales people and clients who treated me like crap. One day, the producer over at our sister station asked me if I wanted to voice a commercial that was going on air the following day. All the on-air announcers were busy, so he asked me. I said sure, and before I knew it was sitting in the recording booth. Microphone was being adjusted for me, earphones over my ears.

I felt like a rock star. It took me several takes to get it done (had to get over the shaky voice and word flubs), but once I got into the groove, I nailed it! It was in that very moment that I knew what I was meant to do. Why had I not thought of this earlier? I’m a trained singer and performer, and so I had the acting and breathing techniques down.

I guess I impressed him enough because I was called into the studio on a weekly, sometimes daily basis to record spots. I wasn’t paid for it, but it was so cool hearing myself on the radio, that the thrill was enough.