Our new website is live, and we hope you enjoy using it.
The tricky part was deciding what to leave out, rather than what to put in... our business really is so varied. We're not unique in that respect. Most voice-over people, voice artists, voice talent - whatever our job title is - have a wider range of activities than you might think. And it's not just about speaking into a mike - there's a depth of techie knowledge that might surprise you. It's a cottage industry, staffed almost entirely by geeks with nice voices...
In our case, we also appear in front of cameras and on stage quite frequently, so we needed the new site to showcase that important side of our business, too. Maybe that's why our original plan for an ultra-simple, minimalist website, with no more than four pages, grew to more than twice that size.
All credit to Elinor, who after much internet trawling, found our dream team of designers, Ahoy Creative. Many of the ideas were entirely theirs, but they incorporated Elinor's thinking, too. They understood that we wanted to go beyond the ordinary, and they developed a new "shop window" that we think delivers the right message - we're serious players in our market, but we're fun and friendly to work with, too.
Finally, we're very grateful to the producers and customers who have allowed us to use the recorded material you can see and hear on the site, notably Clive Goodall at Blue Sky Intermedia, who went the extra mile for us more than once... thank you!
We hope you enjoy our new site, and that you'll feel free to comment.
Posted By: Phil
29 November 2010
The SayerHamilton Summer Camp.
Ahh… the lovely sounds of summer. The crackle of the barbecue, the gentle breeze tickling the branches of the trees, birds flying free… and the cacophony of two six year olds knocking seven bells out of one another on the lawn during a closely-contested footy match.
Here at SayerHamilton, like most voice overs, we live “above the shop.” Several years ago, we looked into the idea of working from town centre premises, but since most of our voiceover work is done over ISDN or down the phone, it seemed pointless to be in a potentially noisy inner city environment when we live in a quiet suburb – a much better start when you need to be fully soundproof. When clients come, we reckon we make cuppas to die for, and there’s always a parking space right outside. So, as long as you don’t trip over the boys’ toys or the cat, a warm welcome always awaits.
Working from home certainly has its benefits, and being around in the summer time while the boys are off school is – in one way – a good thing. Now they’re a little older, our twins understand what we do and how we do it. Even better, they’re getting more and more voice work of their own, and proudly have a local authority license to perform as child voice overs (or CVOs). We don’t force them into it, but they’ve always been interested in our work, so it was a natural progression to become something of a “V.O.n Trapp” family (geddit?). Alex and Ben have recently appeared together on a commercial for the new Vauxhall Zafira, as well as for countless summer kids’ activities (so much so, they need a new showreel!) Having them at home this summer has been great – they deliver their lines brilliantly, and – even better – they know it’s important not to start playing musical instruments (or football) right outside the studio if one of us is recording.
At the end of one of Ben’s voice sessions last week, I decided I would take the opportunity to finish a quick voiceover I needed to get back to a client, while I was still in the studio anyway. I didn’t realise how funny it was for him to hear me speaking in my “normal” voice, and then switch quite naturally into my “voice over” voice. Of course both the boys have heard us all over the place: on the TV, on the car radio, and even at the inevitable train stations, and they always recognise our “work” voices. I suppose it’s just strange for them – as it is for most people – to suddenly hear us switch into a deeper, slower, more enunciated read, when they’re far more used to us either giggling with or bellowing at them in equal measure.
Fortunately (or perhaps UNfortunately) all this happened AFTER I’d pressed the “record” button, so the whole giggle-fest has been saved and uploaded online for all to hear… right here at http://soundcloud.com/sayerhamilton/the-sayer-hamilton-summer-camp. We may well dig it out again when we celebrate a double 18th in 12 years’ time… In the meantime, it may help to explain why our summer break (and our sanity) has been saved ever since the boys discovered the “awesome” Football Camp at Bury FC. We’ve had a wonderful summer with plenty of projects to keep us occupied – both work-related and family-related, and it’s been fun to juggle the two. When the boys go back to school this week, we’ll really miss them (though we admit we’ll get FAR more done without them. Sorry, boys.)
- Elinor Hamilton
Posted By: Ellie
15 November 2011
The End of the (Oxford) Road.
I worked for ten happy years at the BBC in Manchester, at the regional centre on Oxford Road. At various times, I was involved in regional television news, for Radio Manchester, (later GMR) and for BBC2’s Travel Show.
These days, I’m accustomed to being asked back only for social reasons, such as the retirement or landmark birthday of a former colleague. Last week, though, I was invited in to say a few words for a series of short pieces to be broadcast in North West Tonight, just before the building closes for good.
For many years, Oxford Road served five related inhabitants; network TV, network radio, regional TV, local radio, and the BBC Philharmonic. Regional TV has been the last to leave, rejoining its former neighbours in Media City in Salford. The site has been sold for £10m, and the building is likely to be demolished.
I doubt anyone will mind – it’s an ugly pig of a thing, with no redeeming architectural features. Legend has it that the BBC had massively over-spent on Pebble Mill, its regional centre in Birmingham, leaving a cash shortage for completing and fitting out its Manchester counterpart.
But I digress. My final visit was really quite saddening. The BBC’s North West flagship had become a rusting hulk, with a skeleton crew taking care of her before the inevitable trip to dry dock for scrapping. I encountered a few scavengers, too – a team of engineers from BBC Plymouth were looking around, listing items they thought they’d like to have. It was like a bring-and-buy sale of broadcast gear, except no-one was bringing, and few were buying. Apparently, a lot of serviceable equipment will go in a skip, because it isn’t valuable enough to bear the cost of PAT testing. Without a certificate, it can’t be sold. Health & Safety strikes again.
But what was saddening was the absence of people. The old joke went, “Oxford Road has closed, with the loss of 400 jobs, and 800 employees,” but it seems less funny now. There had been a buzz about the place, and it sometimes felt like a sort of cultural holiday, with occasional breaks to do some work, but in reality the place had a lot of dedicated, hard-working people, taking justifiable pride in their work. It really was a pleasure and a privilege to be part of that. I wish them all well in their new home.
Posted By: Phil
22 November 2011
A Life of Glamour.
Joining in with a "guess the voice" feature on ITV1's This Morning. L-R: Phil Sayer, Elinor Hamilton, Eamonn Holmes, Sara Mendes da Costa, Ruth Langsford, Jon Briggs, Posy Brewer, Jenni Falconer.
We really, really love this business we're in. It's varied, it's interesting, and we get to do some very silly things in front of a mic. Sometimes, it's not particularly glamorous (in fact, it rarely is,) unless talking about fungal nail infection, genital dryness or how to safely decommission a nuclear power plant is your thing. Those three subjects haven't yet cropped up in the same script, but I look forward to the day when they do.
Most of our work is done right here from our home studio, and it's always fun to sit in the office and hear one of our voices on the TV or radio in the other room when the boys are around, or blasting out from the big screen when we go to the cinema. Occasionally, we get to leave the comfort of our own home studio, and it's fun to have a few minutes of fame - other than the sort of infamy which we get on the days when we travel by train, stand on the platform, and run up to strangers while pointing at the tannoy, saying "that's me!" - because most people rather sensibly just run away and hide. (We don't really do that.)
Last year, we were thrilled to be invited onto ITV1's This Morning to appear in a "guess the voice feature" with some of our friends and colleagues within the industry, and only today my voice cropped up in a spoof ad on Peter Kay's new sitcom "Car Share." He reprimanded me for advertising sausages in a practically pornographic way. I've had better feedback, I must say.
We've seen the first two episodes on iPlayer, and they really are extremely funny. If you're a voice geek (as we both are,) you'll recognise several well-known voices from the industry, and if you're the rare sort of person who listens to the radio for the commercials (as we do) then you'll really enjoy the hilariously awful spoofs written for the show, voiced brilliantly by some of the industry's best voice over artists, and put together by the lovely Gav at Kalua. It was all very hush hush when we recorded the ads several months ago, and we didn't know exactly what we were voicing them for (many will have ended up on the cutting room floor,) but we trusted Gav to let us know when we could see them - which he did.
We think the series is brilliant, and as Bolton's favourite* voiceover couple, we're thrilled to have heard at least one of us on a local hero's show. Guess we'll have to wait for the next few episodes to see if Phil crops up, too. Even if he doesn't, "Car Share" is a highly recommended programme, the audio for Forever FM is buttock-clenchingly close to some of the radio output we all recognise, and the whole show is a true reflection of the fabulous comedy regularly produced by the BBC.
Posted By: Ellie
27 April 2015
Wishing our wonderful clients and friends a very Merry Christmas!
Thank you for all your love and support throughout the year, and for placing your valued business with us, as we continue the legacy left by the one and only Phil Sayer.
We're open as normal throughout the festive season, and look forward to working with you into 2017 and beyond.
With all best wishes,
Ellie, Alex & Ben xxx
Our Christmas and New Year opening hours are as follows:
19th - 23rd December: Open 9am-5.30pm
28th - 30th December: Open 9am-5.30pm
4th - 6th January: Open 9am-5.30pm
9th - 13th January: Closed
16th January onwards: Open 9am-5.30pm
Posted By: Ellie
19 December 2016