Nothings better then getting connected and David Tyler made it happen for all of us: nearly 1.300 imaging directors, producers and VO talents joined the “radio imaging and production” facebook group since he started it a few months ago. He created an additional place where we all can learn from each other, share tips and give and get feedback. We can’t thank him enough for that and it’s time to take a look at the man behind this group.
David calls himself “Canada’s hardest working voice actor” and no one can deny it. Starting from radio (FM96, MIX 96, Q92) and TV (The Weather Network) he went on and on. For 20 years he is doing radio imaging and TV promos, commercials, corporate teaching, e-learning, content marketing and even video games. He lives with his wife and two sons in Montreal, the city he really fell in love to and work’s out of his home studio.
So let’s check out David’s work, tips, ideas and inspiration…
1. Which production system do you use and why?
I use Pro-Tools because I almost never know what my day will have me doing. I could be doing a straight voice over for a commercial or dubbing VO to a Quicktime Movie…or maybe even doing full sound design for a TV spot. For me Pro Tools is the best all round audio tool.
2. What are your favourite plugIns? What is the perfect VO chain?
For a while I loved using MaxxBass to bring out that subharmonic part of my voice without muddying the sound. These days I’ll only use it when I’m mastering. Right now my go-to plug-in is another WAVES product called Vocal Rider. I use it for my TV Promo work as well as for radio imaging. “Vocal riding” is a skill that few engineers can do well… the automatic dynamic compensation I feel gives me a great sound without the extra colouring that a compressor might give. And the plug-in that I continue to use since the mid 90s is T-RackS. I used to use an outboard Aphex Compellor but as soon as my VO business picked up I needed something that was portable to bring with me on the road…and I found T-RackS.
3. How do you schedule your work (priorities…..)?
I just became the national voice of CTV News (Canada) and we have 3 standing bookings a week so I build my schedule around that but essentially my retainer clients come first: radio stations and TV stations. Then I work my ad agency and narration clients in around that. I tend to start my day early, as soon as the kids go to school, so usually by 9am I’m done and ready to receive any emergency scripts that come in.
4. What do you love about working on your own compare being the head of imaging for Q 92.5 ?
Keep in mind that while I was the imaging director at Q92 in Montreal I was also doing a full time on-air shift, which meant that I was essentially locked up in a padded room alone for hours at a time …sounds crazy… but I’m pretty used to working on my own. Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever been able to work in a “regular” office.
5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?
Dave Foxx put out a series of YouTube videos last year, and I hope he puts out some new ones, but in one he covers “Automating Plugins” in Pro Tools, that I never knew you could do! There’s always something new to discover in Pro-Tools! I give a radio lecture at Vanier College here in Montreal 3 times a year and I love showing these young audio engineers this trick now. You should see their faces as they start thinking about the cool ways they can start using it. See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drXrbhJHtTU
6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as scource of creativity? What means the term “creative Imaging” to you?
I have always said and will continue to say: “Good radio comes from good writing”. When I’m called on to build a radio imaging package from the ground up, from concept, to writing, to voicing and then bringing in one of my production guys to design what I call the “imaging architecture”, I know that if the initial concept was weak, it doesn’t matter what SFX or music bed or plugin you’ve used… you can’t fix it. “Creative Imaging” is about the writing, not about the production. The production should enhance the writing. My source of creativity is listeners. You need to listen to what the listeners say about your station, the kind of words and phrases they use and reflect that in your imaging. How do you compliment their life? Build on that. You can tell the listener whatever you want about your station but if something doesn’t ring true their BS alarm goes off and you’ve lost ground. Do you have a Facebook page? Look at the comments that they leave you. Sometimes just sitting in the lobby of your station as listeners come to pick up prizes can be quite rewarding creatively.
7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?
My main job in radio has been as a voice talent and creative writer so I never worked as a producer. However, my all time favourite producer hands down has to go to Jeff Thomas simply for the work he did on the Virgin Test Transmission. As Virgin Radio London was getting ready to switch from AM to FM, Jeff was tasked with creating a 4 hour loop that would run on the FM dial as a teaser to what was coming. It blew my mind that he was able to finish a days work and then start in on this masterpiece. If I remember correctly it took him a few weeks to finish it off. You can listen to a small clip of it here: https://soundcloud.com/mightymouth/virgin-test-transmission To add to the amazingness of what he created, he did it all on a multi-track reel-to-reel tape recorder…there was no computer involved! Of course Jeff went on to do many more amazing things including creating the Killerhertz production library: http://killerhertz.com
8. What would be your 3 key advices for a youngster?
My 3 key pieces of advice for someone just starting in radio would be to 1) read, 2) write and 3) listen. There is no better way to get your mind working and generating ideas than by reading a book. Fiction or non-fiction the brain doesn’t care. Like I said above, good radio comes from good writing so you need to practice your writing skills. It doesn’t matter what you write, a journal, a short story, whatever. You need to practice your writing skills in the same way that you need to practice a guitar, the more you practice the better you’ll get. And finally my last piece of advice would be to listen. In this day and age it seems that everybody is talking but nobody is listening, ironically most radio broadcasters are the worst listeners. Looking for inspiration? Eavesdrop on conversations at the local coffee shop…hear what’s on people’s mind…decide how you can relate that to your station through your imaging and promos. The core truth about radio is that it’s all about storytelling. If you read, write and listen ravenously you will become an amazing storyteller!
Thanks to David for sharing his knowledge us!