East Coast – Left Coast – and Other Times Around the World

I live in California. Pacific Time Zone. 3 hours later than many of my agents and clients. 9 or so hours different from several other agents and clients scattered across Europe.

This means that my operating hours are not 9-5 Pacific time. They are 9 AM to 9 AM anytime. Over, the years, as more of my clients are in far flung parts of the globe, I find that I do a lot of work very early in the morning. I get up fairly early anyway, but more and more it seems as though I must be “in voice” for a 7 AM session.

Just part of the customer service.

It used to be – when I was working in the local studios, I could ask my agent to arrange for sessions between 10 and 2 so that I didn’t have to mess with the traffic. This usually worked. Not for any on-camera […]

2017-04-20T20:45:43+00:00 September 28th, 2013|Categories: Business, Musings|

I’ll Gladly Pay You Someday for a Voiceover Job Today

Why is it that creative businesses (mostly independent freelancers) find themselves on the short end of the stick when it comes to getting paid in a timely manner? My voiceover friend Paul Strikwerda discussed this phenomenon today in his Nethervoice blog – http://www.nethervoice.com/2013/09/18/when-a-client-owes-you/

Why is it that the sub-contractors have to wait for their money until the prime contractor gets paid. This is not the way it is supposed to work. Paul postulates as to why we find ourselves in this position of being the tail on the dog when it comes to getting paid.

When I was an active video producer, I mostly worked in-house or for a large production company and didn’t have problems with getting paid for what I did, or paying the people that worked for me. There was a much larger machine chugging along with enough accounts receivable to cover the costs of the jobs. I just […]

2017-04-20T20:45:44+00:00 September 19th, 2013|Categories: Business, Musings, Negotiating|Tags: , , , |

Improv and Successful Voiceover Work?

I have long been told (and even suggest it myself) that Improv is a great training ground for voiceover pros. Instinctively I think I knew this to be true. But I have never been able to really articulate exactly why. Edge Studio published an article by Vanessa Richardson that finally clarified it for me.

Spontaneity is the word I have been using when thinking and talking about what Improv training will do to help improve delivery of a script, but it goes deeper than just being spontaneous.

The dictionary defines Spontaneous as “1. coming or resulting from a natural impulse or tendency; without effort or premeditation; natural and unconstrained; unplanned: a spontaneous burst of applause.” Or 2. (of a person) given to acting upon sudden impulses.”

This doesn’t really explain what is actually happening in Improv and how it might relate to reading a script.

It gets more confusing because the word improvise is defined as doing something without preparation.  We all improvise. Every day, all day, we move through our […]

2017-04-20T20:45:44+00:00 September 9th, 2013|Categories: Musings, Techniques|Tags: , , , |

Do you know someone who you can recommend?

For some reason a lot of people ask me if I know people. Do I know someone who could produce this – crew that – voice this. The answer is usually yes, but referrals are a tricky thing. There is time involved. And reputations at stake. On both sides! Actually on all three sides. The Asker, me, and the person I refer. Referrals can be a wonderful thing, but you have to be careful.

When I was producing and writing corporate media full-time, I was often asked if I could recommend people to either write a project or produce something. If I wasn’t available to do the writing project myself, I had to spend quite a bit of time evaluating the person/company needing the script and then searching my memory and Rolodex for someone who I felt might be compatible. The last thing you would want is to […]

2017-04-20T20:45:46+00:00 August 6th, 2013|Categories: Business, Musings|Tags: , , , |

With Trepidation I Present “In a World…”

Just what we need, more exposure for the voice over business! So, I am somewhat hesitant to bring this up, but since most of the people who will chance across this post will already be in the business, or already interested in the business, I suppose it won’t do any harm.

From watching the trailer, this looks like a delightfully funny little film about life in the rarefied air of the Los Angeles voiceover market where there is a chance of someone actually hiring you (man or woman, but mostly man) to do a movie trailer.

Lake Bell wrote, produces and stars in the film, with some other familiar real-life voiceover “stars” in the Los Angeles market including Joe Cipriano and Marc Graue. In fact, now that I think about it, this might make a good pilot for a sitcom that takes place in a renowned recording studio in someplace like  – […]

The Blush is Off the Rose…

My love affair with Social Media seems to be waning. I don’t find myself hanging out on Facebook as much as I used to. And I only am on LinkedIn when something really interesting pops up in my daily digests. Or when I need to moderate something on the group I manage.

And while I want to get over to the VO-BB on a more regular basis, sometimes several days pass and I realize that I have not been over there to check on the latest person to get llama duty. Not much action on the Yahoo Voiceover Email list either these days, so maybe it isn’t just me.

(Ironically, I have bumped up my Tweets a bit. That seems to be easy to do these days when every article you read has a Retweet button handy.)

Perhaps the rest of my life is vying for my attention. The class I teach during […]

2017-04-20T20:45:46+00:00 June 5th, 2013|Categories: Musings|Tags: , , |

Change is Inevitable

The only constant is change. It used to be (for those of us who remember the days of black and white television) at a fairly slow pace. Adoption of new technologies was at a slower pace. You had time to adjust – albeit some were dragged along kicking and screaming about the old days.

But the speed of the changes started to pick up and today, you barely have time to buy a new technology before the newest and more advanced product is available. We face it daily, so why is it so hard to accept the inevitable.

I am still using Adobe Audition 1 on my editing computer. I like it. It still works – on my XP operating system. All my computers are XP. But, I know that will have to change the next time I have to upgrade the hardware. I will not like this change – at first. I’ll […]

2017-04-20T20:45:47+00:00 March 28th, 2013|Categories: Business, Musings, Technology|Tags: , , |

Interrup…what the h#%@! was that? Distrac…oooh, look at that!

Today, I am not talking about being distracted by amusing kitty videos on Facebook, although I did see at least one funny video that distracted me so far today.

And I’m not talking about the constant flow of email that comes in that – of course – needs to be handled immediately (even if it DOESN’T).

Nor am I talking about being interrupted by the dog scratching at the door, or the cat sliding across some papers which are now all over the floor and need to be picked up before the dog actually gets in to trample them with dirty paws.

And I am not talking about the frequent helicopter flyovers – both routine (the gas’em up path is over my house) and not-so-routine (the circling helo’s looking for whatever mischief is being sparked by semi-high density housing and a bad economy).

No today it is interruptions of major proportions – but an […]

2013-03-21T14:19:50+00:00 March 21st, 2013|Categories: Business, Musings, Recording|

A Dozen Years and Counting..(wait make that almost 3 dozen…)

I’ve been in the voiceover business for much more than 12 years, but I got an email the other day from an occasional client and noticed that the earliest email I have from him is dated 2000. And then after looking at my current client list, I see a couple of others on-going since then, some with monthly (even weekly) work. My records for much earlier than that have either been lost for good on some dead hard drive, or packed away in boxes.

But I would put my first paid voiceover work doing some TV Staff Announcing in 1975, when I was working part-time at WTIU-TV during graduate school at Indiana University. Prior to that in 1972, I wrote, voiced and produced public service announcements on KCOE-FM while at Coe College in Cedar Rapids Iowa. So if I do the math, the number of years doing something related to voiceovers […]

2017-04-20T20:45:47+00:00 March 2nd, 2013|Categories: Musings|Tags: , |

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: , , |