Visiting Stoystown, PA, Pennsylvania and the Flight 93 Memorial  

The Tower of Voices, Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA 2019

The Tower of Voices is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.

I’ve traveled a lot across the state of Pennsylvania in my life…mostly for business purposes.

On one of my trips there this summer, I actually did a little web surfing and realized that I had bypassed a very important place in my travels.

Stoystown, PA.

My personal feeling is that a lot of us have not visited this hallowed place. My point here is that each of us should.

It is in Stoystown, near Shanksville, that a common field became a field of honor on September 11, 2001. The 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 commandeered the plane from the terrorists, who hijacked it and were planning to crash it into the U.S. Capitol. The plane ultimately crashed in Stoystown, killing all on board.

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

Not for reasons of malice but likely more for reasons of geography, greater attention has always seemed to me to be paid to the crash sites in New York City and Washington, D.C. Not one of the three sites is any less important than the other…the tragedies were horrifically equal.

I write this today so that you may know, as a now proud visitor to the Flight 93 Memorial at 6424 Lincoln Highway, Stoystown, PA 15563, I believe you too should visit this Memorial.

For your soul, for your patriotism and for your faith in your fellow man to do the brave thing when it is the hardest thing, you must visit the Flight 93 Memorial.

Flight 93 National Memorial's Wall of Names

Flight 93 National Memorial’s Wall of Names, honoring 40 passengers and crew members of United Flight 93 killed when the hijacked jet crashed at the site during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

It is vast in scope, as one might imagine a remote, open field to be. There are three main sites to visit at the Flight 93 Memorial – you should visit them all and spend quiet time at each of them, as I did.

It is a beautiful place, especially in its simplicity.

It is an elegant place in its design elements and layout.

It is a reflective and thoughtful place where you learn about the people who died in defense of their country, the messages they left for their loved ones as events unfolded and the selfless bravery they each showed when bravery was their only defense.

18 years ago today, I know where I was and what I was doing.

This summer, I also knew where I was and what I was doing.  And I am eternally grateful that I did it.

Crash site of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA

The boulder in the distance represents the crash site of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, killing the 40 passengers and crew on board who – in their bravery -thwarted a planned terrorist attack on the United States Capitol.

‘hell no’ to the voiceover exposure offer

-Source: NEW YORK POST August 21, 2019

I was – all at once – shocked and not at all surprised to read an exclusive story this morning in the New York Post about a major business organization completely disrespecting a well-respected, very well-known and honored performer.

The organization wanted to offer the artist “exposure” (i.e. no fees or expense payment). Not even a car ride.

According to the story, with accompanying confirming quotes from the performer – the great singer Darlene Love was recently asked by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to perform her iconic song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” at the NYSE’s 96th annual Christmas tree lighting, coming up in December.

Everybody with a brain in the music industry knows and respects who Darlene Love is…but the NYSE thinks after 60 years as a professional, Darlene Love needs exposure.

Exposure, not payment. From the world’s largest stock exchange, an organization profiting from trading billions of dollars daily.

Exposure not payment. For a singer, actress and music industry legend since 1959 to sing one of her biggest hits, an iconic song, live at – what I feel very sure is – a fairly expensive Christmas event.

Exposure, not payment. At Christmas!

To the offer, Love ultimately said not no, but hell no.

As a voice actor, you need to say the same thing to an “exposure” offer – whether it be a grossly low fee or no fee at all.

If you’ve been in this business for more than a minute, some jackass (man or woman) has come to you with a voiceover job that couldn’t offer you a fee but could offer you “great exposure” and that “might lead to more business down the road”.

Unless the offer is a charity you would otherwise support (so, without the “jackass”), the offer is baloney and will lead to nothing more than you devaluing your own business worth, while also being taken advantage of in a very public way by an unscrupulous business person you shouldn’t be working with in the first place.

Even those who are just starting out, who feel they need the exposure – if you don’t see your true value as a VO artist (and thus being willing to work for free where other ARE being paid) —then don’t be a VO artist! You not only disrespect yourself but you disrespect the rest of us in the voiceover industry. I am personally very not OK with that.

To the exposure offer in any industry – but especially voiceover – don’t just say no, say hell no.

source-connect is the standard and i’m a standard bearer (that means i have source-connect in my voiceover studio)

Voiceover Peter K. O'Connell Source-ConnectThere are nice things about being in a club.

I’m not talking about the leather-chair, cigar smoking clubs out there (I’ve been members at those kind of clubs…they are not that big a deal).

I’m mean like clubs where members share a common interest and can talk about things you each know about and, as a member, you can learn from people who share your interests…like audio production and voiceover. Turns out there’s a kind of club for that.

Technology brought a lot of change to the industry, some of it bad (pay to play voiceover web sites) and some of it good.

One of the good things was Source-Connect, which uses codecs and the internet to offer recording studios, media producers, voiceover talents like me and other audio professionals high-quality options to record and monitor recording sessions remotely.

ISDN AUDIOCONNELL.COMSource-Connect is (has been) replacing ISDN, which was the industry standard for remote recording. ISDN always sounds great, no doubt about that. The down side of ISDN is that it was expensive to connect to ISDN studios with over priced codec boxes and copper wiring via the telephone company’s system to make recording sessions happen.

After a while, between criminals in the street trying to steal expensive copper wiring and criminals at the phone company jacking the ISDN rates up (because they didn’t want to support an unprofitable service like ISDN)…studios and talent needed a new remote audio recording tool.

Enter Source Elements and Source-Connect. The faster the internet got, the better signals got – Source-Connect  allows super high quality remote audio recording with extremely low latency (if any at all).

Studios anywhere in the world can connect with me on Source-Connect (username: audioconnell) and the recording can be voiced by me here in Raleigh, NC voiceover studio and recorded on the other end (again, anywhere in the world) if they also have Source-Connect.

Oh, and with Source-Connect, a connection can be bridged to an ISDN recording studio if the studio only has or prefers ISDN. So I am still ISDN compatible, without the expense on my end.

That’s why I am a card carrying member of the Source-Connect club. The service makes it easier for my clients and it also make it easier for me.

Easy is the new black.

If you’d like to record with me using Source-Connect, just let me know. Voice with you soon!

not peter on ANOTHER car commercial (yes sir!)

Deacon Jones Auto Group North CarolinaI loves me some television car commercials.

They are fun for me as a voiceover talent because the vibe is different for every dealership’s tv car spot and every car brand.

Some are super hard sell and some are very warm and fuzzy…others are in between. It’s great because it’s a unique persona (ugh, more arty-farty acting words!) for each spot. It allows me to show off my acting range (oy, ok, enough with the acting lingo).

So this one was nice because its a regional television spot for the 18 dealerships of the Deacon Jones Auto Group in North Carolina. Their dealerships are in Smithfield, Goldsboro, Princeton, LaGrange, Greenville, Selma, Raleigh & Clinton. Their car brands include Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Kia, Lincoln, Nissan, Honda and Toyota.

Client was looking for a friendly, trustworthy voice and lo and behold, here I am: your friendly, neighborhood voiceover talent at your service.

Very nice folks to work with and pleased to have been of service to them.

audio’connell in portland, oregon (all the beautiful people)

Portland Oregon Voiceovers July 2019

Portland Voiceover Friends (around the U from left to right) Marc Rose, Bruce Miles, Emma Miles, Jen Gosnell, Peter K. O’Connell, Karyn O’Bryant, July 2019

If you’re going to travel from one ocean to the other, it’s sure is nice to have friends waiting for you on the other side.

So I did the Portland, OR trip this week…lovely weather too, so much nicer than the oppressive heat and humidity of Raleigh in the past few weeks.

I was very fortunate to have my friend Bruce Miles coordinate a lovely dinner with old and new voiceover friends….I’m told Portlandia is a foodies paradise and the two dinners we’ve had out there have been great.

So in addition to Bruce, his lovely and so fun wife Emma joined us – she’s not a voice talent, she’s better than that!

Jen Gosnell was there, taking a break from her family and voicework, great to see her. New Portlandian Karyn O’Bryant (who was on a VO-BB video chat earlier with Bruce and host of much more famous voices) came out to the party too. And I got to meet Marc Rose, a voice talent who runs Fuse Audio Design, where he also produces music and sound effects and teaches VO too.

There was an abundance of talking and noshing and just a great evening. I’m both pleased and honored that they would come out for some dinner.

Hope to see them again soon.

guys who do stuff podcast with Peter K. O’Connell

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Guys Who Do Stuff PodcastIt was quite an honor to be the first guest in the new studio of the “Guys Who Do Stuff” Podcast, which we recorded a few weeks ago. Yes…I got to go to a REAL podcast studio, none of this phone stuff (which, of course is fine).

The podcast is produced by co-hosted and produced by Joe Woolworth and Josh Manning, both who live in the Cary, Raleigh, Durham North Carolina area where I am. Joe owns a web, media and business strategy company called Relevant Media Solutions. Josh is a media producer (web, photography and film) at his company called Jerico 7.

Joe Woolworth Guys Who Do Stuff Podcast

Joe Woolworth, Co-host of Guys Who Do Stuff Podcast

So as media producers, Joe and Josh are story tellers and through their podcast, they tell stories of unique small businesses and the people that run them. I believe the idea is that no matter how unique the business featured in the podcast, there are universal threads that run through each story and those threads are applicable to any business. By guests talking about the successes and challenges of their businesses, listeners can apply  the business and life lessons shared to their own lives.

How I got involved was just me networking, completely unaware of this podcast.

Josh Manning

Josh Manning, Co-host of Guys Who Do Stuff Podcast

Because I’m still meeting new people (having only been in Raleigh Durham for coming up on 3 years) I was reaching out to local marketing and media people on Alignable, a locally focused business networking site. Through that site, I’ve been setting up some Starbucks marketing meetings with folks (similar to my Bagel Marketing back in Buffalo, NY but Starbucks is closer to my house, hence the name I just coined sitting here writing this blog post). I’m focused on folks in my Town of Cary, North Carolina (CARY = Containment Area for Relocated Yankees or Can’t Afford Raleigh Yet).

So I see Joe’s business on Alignable and I either emailed or called him and invited him to Starbuckies for a coffee and a chat (well, I do hot chocolate, not coffee, but it’s in the same cup as the coffee so people think I cool…fooled ’em again!) As we talked, Joe decided I would be a good guest for the podcast…or the guest he had scheduled had died…one of those two things. Anyway we talked.

What did we talk about? Easier probably to identify what we didn’t talk about but to try and summarize it we spoke about my start in voiceover, the University of Dayton, working with kids at home, Tony Stark, Spiderman, the Marvel Universe, co-working spaces (BTW in that part of the podcast, the co-working place I used was called HQ Raleigh…so embarrassed I blank on that name, sorry HQ Raleigh), then Wegman’s, the Gig Economy, Canada, getting the business, working in your underwear, greenways and parks, In-And-Out Burgers, Shake Shack, residuals, picking RDU, restaurants, Ernie Anderson, Mary Tyler Moore, The Partridge Family, Bruce Miles, D.B. Cooper, Mel Blanc, Looney Tunes, acting, Grover, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and after that, I forget.

The podcast has a fun, informative, light-hearted feel to it that makes the listen seem shorter than it is.

Vibe Cary NC A Co-working communityNow this co-working space where Joe and Josh have built their podcast studio is pretty awesome. It’s called Vibe and it’s a co-working community inside the Cary Towne Center Mall in Cary, NC. I’m not sure how many co-working spaces you’ve been in…I’ve been in more than a few.Many co-working spaces are very corporate…kinda steel and cold in tall office buildings…or they try and be too UNcorporate…and it’s too country, college-dormy. Vibe Cary is right in between for small business people, micropenuers who want professional and comfortable where you don’t feel like you should wear a tie but you probably don’t want to wear your ripped t-shirt and look like a slob either. Professionally casual. That’s my take anyway. You can get a membership or use it by the hour; you can get a private office or use a meeting space or, yes, record a podcast!

A great experience at a great place with great hosts. Thanks for including me.