Careful What You Ask For

WoVo logo WoVo is an association of voiceover professionals (both union and non-union) seeking to inform and educate about best practices, standards for ethical conduct and professional expertise. It has an online casting engine that features ONLY vetted professional voices, unlike the company being discussed in this blog post.

Remember the commercial actors strike in 2000? Pay-per-Play was one of the big things the union was asking for. The business has never really been the same.

According to a white paper published by Villanova University the convergence of TV and the Internet was the “core” issue. The unions were aware of the technical tsunami approaching, that the distribution of the content was forever changing. Not the actual work, but the delivery of the product.

It is hard to predict the future, but being responsive to changes so that you don’t get so far […]

2017-04-20T20:45:40+00:00 November 6th, 2015|Categories: Announcements, Auditioning, Business, Marketing, Technology|

The quest to get better without losing who you used to be…

Connie and Liz de Nesnera Connie and Liz de Nesnera on the way to the workshop – Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner.

I just got home from a weekend workshop in Henderson (just outside Las Vegas) with Marice Tobias. It was an all-woman workshop with 10 working pros held at Melissa Moats new voiceover studio The Voice Actors Studio. Marice does this same thing with all men and also co-ed. The women’s workshop is usually – OK, pretty much always – a lot more emotional therapy along with the voiceover component. It was a wonderful weekend for many reasons and I think it has shown in the auditions and the projects I have done since getting back to my studio on Monday.

Getting coaching is something that a lot of working voice talent does during the course […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 June 3rd, 2015|Categories: Acting, Auditioning|Tags: , , |

Curiosity Creates Opportunity

Ding Tut sleeping on pile of papersI was thinking about the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” today as one of my cats climbed up on a pile of empty cardboard boxes that were piled high on a work table to see what was going on and everything came down in a huge, yet rather quiet crash – except for the startled yelp of the cat as he was propelled into the air.

Most of us know what curiosity killed the cat “means.” Poking around can have dire consequences. But I was curious as to it’s origin, so I did some Googling and found this info on Wikipedia. It started out as “care killed the cat.”

Ben Johnson, an English playwright in 1598 used something like it one of his plays – followed by Shakespeare in 1599. It evolved into the […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 May 23rd, 2015|Categories: Auditioning, Business, Musings|Tags: , |

Time for a Kick Start

I am a working voice talent. I make my living doing this. And as with most voice talent outside the major markets I find that I rely more and more on my own abilities to self-direct. Especially at the audition phase.

As someone who has been doing this a long time, I have lots of repeat clients, referrals and direct leads from my website – most of which don’t ask for an audition because they know me, or they simply like what they hear on my demos and don’t ask for an audition.

But, oh those auditions…

It is true that the booking to audition ratio is getting worse. More agents receive the same copy – which means many more people end up auditioning for the same spot – where in the past one or two agents would submit just a few of their talent.  This is ancient history. And if you are […]

2017-04-20T20:45:42+00:00 July 9th, 2014|Categories: Auditioning, Musings|Tags: , , |

Anonymity Means Never Having to Say You are Sorry for NOT Auditioning

There are lots of opinions on the Pay-2-Play websites. P2P sites are automated sites that, for a fee, send you audition opportunities. These sites are one of today’s auditioning paradigms – along with agents who send us auditions, potential clients finding our websites and sending us an audition and repeat clients asking for an audition for new projects.

Many people hate the P2P’s. Many people like them. A few people love them. I am somewhat ambivalent, because most of my work comes from other sources, yet I get enough projects through them to justify the money and time spent. And of those two elements, the time element is the greater of the two. The less time it takes the better.

The Voice123 mantra of being picky picky picky is pretty much my only option given the time I have available to scan and determine which auditions might be right up my alley.

Most […]

2017-04-20T20:45:46+00:00 June 10th, 2013|Categories: Auditioning|

Pro Bono or No Pro Bono or “Huh? What are you thinking?”

“Pro bono: done for free, done without compensation, for the public good”

I occasionally am asked by companies if I can provide voice tracks for little or no money. In most of these cases, the company is a not-for-profit and I can weigh the value of the public good against the value of my current bank account. OK, that’s a little flippant. At this point in my career I can afford to donate some of my time to a good cause. But even when I was just starting out, if the right cause came along, I would make the time for it.

However, it is important to remember that not-for-profit does not translate directly to not-for-money. Every group has a budget of some sort, or it will cease to be a group at some point.

I walk a tightrope on this issue, because in addition to my definitely for-profit voiceover business, I am the Executive Director of a not-for-profit 501c3 group that […]

2017-04-20T20:45:47+00:00 February 4th, 2013|Categories: Auditioning, Business, Musings|Tags: , , |

Advice for Producers is Also Good Advice for Talent

Just ran across this blog post by Marc Scott cross-posted on Voice123. It is aimed at the people seeking voice talent, however it is good advice for both the seeker and the seekee! In fact, as a user of the online casting sites myself, I have a similar set of guidelines as I decide which projects to audition for.

One of the biggies for me is a poorly written script. As a long time award-winning scriptwriter and corporate producer before jumping into voiceover full-time, I wrote many many scripts for other talent to read. A well-written script is ALWAYS easier for the talent to deliver. If you are new to the art of writing a script for someone to verbalize, put your words to the test. Record yourself reading the material aloud before you send it off for auditions. If you have a hard […]

2017-04-20T20:45:47+00:00 December 15th, 2012|Categories: Auditioning|Tags: , , , |

Why Can’t People “Hear” Themselves?

Today it is easier and easier to get feedback on what you are doing. Why don’t people listen? Or perhaps, why – when given good feedback – why don’t people take action to improve what they are doing? Do they simply not hear themselves?

So many people these days have been told by endless “voiceover” coaches that they can make it – all they need is determination – and their signature on the bottom of that check paying for more classes. They stop listening to themselves and never develop their self-evaluation skills.

Most of the forums for voiceover people include critique areas where people can post demos for comments. I’m referring to demos from newbies, not updated demos from people who are making actual money doing voiceovers. You can get honest, yet sometimes highly conflicting advice. And if you follow the subsequent comments to a thread, this advice is often rejected by […]

The P2P Balancing Act – Do they pay off?

Some questions were raised recently on one of the social networking sites in my chain about the Pay to Play sites and if they are worth it. I think Online Voiceover Casting Sites are still evolving and will be part of our permanent way of doing things, so figuring out how to make them work is probably a good idea.

Do these sites really produce money for the talent? Well, your mileage may vary, but yes, there is money in them thar electrons. I get work.

I pay for a few of them at this point. Voice123 and eLearning Voices would be the ones that seem to work best for me. Voice 123 is the broad brush and eLearning Voices is the precision instrument.

I have more than several repeat clients now from P2P sites. But, I will say that I am very very picky about what I will audition for. It is […]

2017-04-20T20:45:51+00:00 February 2nd, 2012|Categories: Auditioning, Business, Marketing|Tags: , , , |

Get a Kick in the Pants! Get the New Edition of “There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is”

I just sort of fell into the voiceover business. I really didn’t have any training. No school of broadcasting. No acting classes (well, none since the 2nd grade). But I had done a bit of radio in college and that led to some staff announcing while I was in grad school. Grad school led to a job in a TV station, first as a director, then, after deciding that was something that I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life, as a staff announcer. A live staff announcer.

A live staff announcer who didn’t sound like a typical announcer – so the door to my little closet-sized booth would open on a regular basis with people  handing me commercial copy. After a period of time, I decided that I might need to learn a bit more about this voiceover stuff – and bought my first book –