Common Sense Communication…What Not to Say…

Dan Leonard Dan Lenard saying something socially acceptable at a VO Peeps gathering last year.

I was thinking about something someone said to me last night at a networking meeting. The person thought they were being complimentary, and I knew that, but it just felt awkward. I’ve been working out a bit more in the past 6 months or so, but no drastic changes really. Anyway, the intended compliment came out as a comparison to some impression of me in the distant past (many many months earlier) and forced me to find some kind of a response, rather than just a thank you.

We have all been guilty of saying things to friends, acquaintances and strangers that should have been better left unsaid – or phrased differently. I would have been very happy with a “You look great!” rather than a “Your face looks […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 July 15th, 2015|Categories: Business, Communication, Musings|Tags: , , |

Wait, I left my phone in the house…

Modern telephone communication is a wonder – a boon – a time-waster and at times – a nightmare. It can also be an addiction, especially when it comes to our smart phones. In fact, it is a named anxiety disorder – Nomophobia (“no mobile phone phobia”).

From Psychology Today – July 25, 2013

Two years ago Psychology Today said that “Nomophobia- fear of being without your smartphone- affects 40% of the population.” Today, the figure is 64%, according to Pew Research Center.

I know that I feel panicked when I can’t find my phone. But it allows me to leave my office during traditional business hours and still stay connected to my clients. This is a good thing.

Years ago, before cell phones and their predecessor car phones, we all had pagers. Before that, we had no stress. OK, so we still had stress. […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 July 1st, 2015|Categories: Business, Communication, Musings, Technology|

Usage has Value

One of the lessons free lancers – independent contractors – need to learn in this Internet age is to negotiate a fair price for their work. We see it day after day – people wanting the free lancer to work – well, to work not necessarily for free, but close to it. And in fact, in some cases – people DO expect it for free. It is happening in all creative areas.

Connie_40s_Party_2014 Oh, for the good old days…

You wouldn’t ask the plumber to cut rates by half or more. The dry cleaner. The tailor. The electrician. But on the creative side of things – the graphic artist, the writer, or the voice talent – it seems like a “name that tune” experience nearly every day.

Part of it is educating the people doing the hiring. But the people […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 June 22nd, 2015|Categories: Business, Communication, Musings, Negotiating|

A Change of S-pace

Coming up on about a dozen years ago, I did a major remodel of my kitchen, complete window replacement and interior repainting. What I learned was that I am actually quite comfortable in a much smaller footprint. I lived out of my back bedroom with one of the bathrooms doubling as the kitchen sink and found it actually soothing. Perhaps because I didn’t have so many choices at every turn.

I had a chance to experience this change of space again recently. After attempting to rid my deck cover of termites using a heat treatment, I opted for the more drastic, but more conventional tent and gas method. The last time I tented a house was probably 20 years ago. It ended badly, with the house robbed as soon as the gas dissipated enough not to kill the perps. I am fairly certain it was an inside job, but it wasn’t […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 June 19th, 2015|Categories: Communication, Musings|

Alphabet Soup

When a normal person hears the words “alphabet soup” they probably think of the kind you eat with the little noodles shaped like letters. When a voiceover person hear the words “alphabet soup” it means that their mouth is going to be filled with lots of acronyms.

soupOne of the things that endears a voice talent to clients is a talent’s ability to see past the noodles in this word soup and find the broth. This doesn’t necessarily mean understanding every word that is spoken, but it does mean understanding the context and how the words relate to each other.

It helps to have a little bit of understanding about a LOT of stuff. For voice talent who do marketing pieces, informational and corporate communications work – we see scripts for IT, healthcare, the financial business, the military or the government and many other […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 June 10th, 2015|Categories: Business, Musings, Techniques|

Getting Your House In Order

I am a bad homeowner. About 10 years ago, I had a major remodel done that included replacing all of my windows with new wood dual pane windows. Of course I was told that wood windows needed to be maintained. A coat of paint every few years was part of my responsibility as the homeowner.

Bad WindowDid I do it? No, so the result is going to about $1000 worth of repair and then new paint everywhere – which I will probably hire out because the idea of painting 14 windows and all the trim around the top of front of the house seems like a daunting time suck – plus I don’t have a ladder tall enough to get up to the roof line.

The list of things to do around the house after living here nearly 30 years is starting […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 June 8th, 2015|Categories: Business, Musings|

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: , |

Doing it for a live audience

After a two-year absence from the stage, I was cast in a show at one of my favorite theaters here in San Diego. Scripps Ranch Theatre. I played Rose, the aging neighbor in a Brooklyn apartment near Sunset Park (also the name of the show).

Marley Sims, one of the writers was able to come to the Preview and Opening Night. She hadn’t seen the show in 10 years since it premiered in Los Angeles and seemed to be pleased with our interpretation. And for me as an actor, it was fun to have her in the audience.

It wasn’t a huge part, so I was able to enjoy the process without the stress of being in every scene. A perfect way to get back on the boards.

That meant a lot of time backstage with the three other actors with minor roles and the stage manager. The interaction has […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 May 16th, 2015|Categories: Musings|

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: , , |

June Came and June Went…

What the heck just happened? The month of June just sort of disappeared in a vortex of VO work. Which is a good thing, but makes it hard to find the time to compose something interesting, relevant or amusing as a blog post.

And that is the goal of keeping a blog – at least as I understand it.

My class blog is easier to keep up to date, but can become a tad boring and even repetitive for people who are not active students in the class. If there was a way to filter OUT the homework assignments, and only keep the interesting videos and articles that would be different, but I haven’t figured out a way to do that yet.

One of the things I talk to my introduction to voice acting students is that just because you are hired to record […]