AN INTERVIEW WITH ELENA REY
Elena started her VO journey with Voiceover Workshop NYC and found success pretty immediately. In this interview, we discuss how she started out, what has worked for her- and get her advice for anyone beginning a career in VO!
How did your voiceover journey begin?
Elena: Well, it all started in my senior year at Vassar and the lovely VO Workshop did a workshop with us. I knew for awhile that I wanted to do voice work, but had no idea how to get started - anything about the industry at all - and these lovely people taught me everything I know. It was at the very end of that workshop that they were like, if you want to internship with us at the end of the summer we’d love to have you! And that really solidified my involvement in this work and then from there, having them produce my demo and continually coaching me and being able to take more classes about setting up my home studio and doing audiobook… I think having you both as mentors, made so much possible for me. You sent me the information about the Penguin Random House Mentorship Program that allowed me to get into audiobook!
Tell us a little about the Penguin Random House Mentorship Program?
Elena: So, you dm’ed me about the program - I applied. It was just like tell us about yourself, and send us a demo - you can record it on anything you have - there were no requirements. I got into that program, which I learned like there was 15 of us who got in, I think like 600 people applied. Which is crazy, I was like "oh, I didn’t realize it was that selective!"
Sara: I mean that’s kinda like real world numbers too - when you audition for something, sometimes it’s hundreds of people.
Elena: Yeah! And so, they pair you with one of their 15 - 18 audiobook producers that they have. In addition to monthly - me and my mentor did bi-monthly meetings, just to figure out what samples I wanted to have on my profile, how I wanted to market myself - in addition to that they had monthly panels, with established audiobook narrators, with people who had done the program before their opinions and experiences, a panel on home studio. And so, kind of like all of that that is specific to audiobook that was really, really great. And through Penguin Random House I got a couple of jobs! A great part about Penguin is AHAB (ahabtalent.com) - the platform is amazing. That’s how I got - not even though Penguin - but I got other jobs through AHAB as well - people will find my profile, which has all of my information about who I am, my vocal qualities, what stuff I’m interested in - even like my hobbies. So yeah, I got a job for Harper Audio through AHAB, and a romance podcast, and learning ally books. It’s been great having that as a home base for my audiobook stuff in addition to my website
What’s next for you with voiceover? Is there more you want to do in addition to audiobook?
Elena: You know, it’s funny because, I think before you (Voiceover Workshop NYC) came to Vassar, to do that workshop, I don’t think I envisioned the first year post-grad to be like this. To have a career that I can see actually starting, and can see it go places.
Sara/Emilea: That’s so beautiful! I love that!
Elena: I mean, it’s exciting. I am so young, and I am so new to this, but I feel really… it’s something that I want to continue working on and I want to invest my time and energy into because I do feel like this is my career now. I wasn’t expecting to get into audiobook so quickly, I was like - I’m just going to try to focus on commercial stuff for awhile, but I definitely want to keep doing audiobook because I love it so much. So, I think my next steps are trying to get some real commercial jobs and animation is something I’d be interested in. Within audiobook, my career goals/next steps … you’re a beginning narrator if you’ve recorded 1-10 books, so by the end of this year I’m hoping to have 11 titles. And then long term, I just want to be able to do this full time.
What is your advice to someone starting out in this business?
Elena: I do not think I could have done this without mentors. Genuinely, having coaches like you guys who I trust, who I know are there for me who will give me honest advice is everything. And having Lauren with audiobook! Having her perspective, advice and expertise was incredible. I couldn’t have done it without her. I remember my senior year my professor said “yeah you gotta find mentors” and I was like “okay, how do I do that?” And it was just kind of amazing how this worked out. Other advice I would say- one thing that you guys said to me that I really appreciated a while ago was “take classes with other people”. I appreciated you saying that because I trust you guys with my whole life, but it was also like- okay yeah, it is good to get other opinions and hear from different voices in the industry. So taking classes with agents who have a whole different perspective on the industry and what they’re looking for. Granted, they do say a lot of the same things, but it’s still helpful to hear that.
What’s the craziest/weirdest/funniest audition you’ve had?
Elena: So, I got sent an animation audition for an upcoming project. It was for a …nonbinary goo monster. I was just laughing SO hard at this character- like, a goo monster! There was another one that was a helicopter who was ALSO Dracula, who was also nonbinary. It was for a children’s show and I was like “HUH?!” Okay!!!
CHECK OUT ELENA'S WEBSITE: https://www.elena-rey.com