new year, fresh commercial demo

Peter K. O'Connell New Voiceover DemoMedia producers who are on top of their game know that they need to be hiring professional voiceover talents who can offer the most current, bookable voice styles.

Those sound styles that advertising agencies or clients hear elsewhere on TV, radio or the web and want for their audio branding. Or unique vocal styles that actually aren’t heard everywhere and are very new but stand out and break through the audio branding clutter.

For me as a voice talent, I share those bookable and unique vocal styles with my voice demos and in this case, my new commercial voiceover demo for 2018.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S NEW COMMERCIAL DEMO BELOW

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Right click on this link to download the demo here

Combining voiceover work I’ve done with vocal styles and reads recommended by my Los Angeles-based voiceover coach, Mary Lynn Wissner, as well as the legendary demo producing skills of Dan Friedman, my new commercial demo highlights all of those bookable and unique sounds producers are looking for right now.

If I were to tell you my new commercial voiceover demo sounds great, that would be egotistical and self-serving – which would be embarrassing and soooo beneath me.

So I’ll just tell you my 2018 commercial voiceover demo sounds really awesome, which of course is a very different description from great. Right? OK, I’ll just go with that. Awesome. 😉

Hope you enjoy it.

Celia Siegel has a new book – Voiceover Achiever

It is with great pleasure that I share with you that a friend of mine — and a friend to voice talents everywhere — Celia Siegel, is now one of those fancy, pipe-smoking, ascot-wearing author types!!

Celia has just released her new book, entitled Voiceover Achiever – Brand Your VO Career. Change Your Life.

As it’s so new, I have not yet read it. But here is where you might want to grab your copy here.

That’s where I just bought my copy.

Celia Siegel

You may have heard of Celia’s company, Celia Siegel Management, which has been working on establishing brands for voiceover talents for many years.

You might not know that before that, Celia worked as a talent agent with agencies like CESD, JE and Wehmann. She has a great deal of experience in the voiceover business.

In addition to her branding work, Celia is a certified life and business coach, success strategist and talent manager

In this, her first book, Celia shares her winning formula for creating standout brands that ignite standout careers.

 

VO Agent Alliance Shows What They Are All About

Anyone who reads this blog regularly (which mathematically is equal to 100 x 0) knows that I love great marketing and even more, great graphic design that supports that marketing.

All new organizations fully understand how important it is to make sure your target audience knows who you are, what your name is and what you can do for them.

Marketing people in those new companies know you should never stop doing that. Ever.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sadly, you don’t see that combination of great marketing and graphic design a lot in the voiceover industry…until recently.

The 15 voiceover agencies who comprise the VO Agent Alliance, a new collective of vetted professional voiceover talent agencies operating individually but committed as a group to the highest standards the industry has to offer, understands the importance of audio AND visual marketing

If you haven’t seen their posts on their social media pages like Facebook, you missed some pretty great examples of how to get a voiceover branding message across to your audience in a visually memorable way.

GOING TO WAR

A little background – the VO Agent Alliance was formed after a disreputable Canadian voiceover pay-to-play company secured venture capital money to, among other things, acquire a major California-based voiceover lead generation service in August 2017. The lead generation service was a significant marketing tool for voiceover agents but now with new owners, who have been found to skim money from voice talents to keep for the company coffers as part of their P2P division, Alliance agents did not want to be associated in any way with the voiceover lead generation service’s new owners.

Thus, the VO Agent Alliance was formed bringing together long time voiceover agency owners, smart business professionals, who were not going to take an attack from a disreputable Canadian voiceover pay-to-play company on their voiceover agency businesses sitting down. Well that’s my view on the situation, anyway.

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Together we can do it

“VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Together we can do it”

So the war poster motif (a design style most popular in the states during World War II) now seen in these graphics seem really apropos for the VO Agent Alliance. Plus, I just think they are super fun, creative and memorable.

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Support Them

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Support Them

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Quote Correct

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Quote Correct

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Double Submitted

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Double Submitted

The only critique I have about these WWII-era-like posters is that there should have been some kind of tag or logo tie in either with the #Voicestrong movement or with the VO Agent Alliance wordmark or website address.

For example, I grabbed one of their posters and branded it just a little more and it looks like this.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE The Good Guys

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE The Good Guys

Just a little extra branding to make the purpose of these posters a little clearer. But again, great overall work on the creative by the VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE .

IT’S THE 1950’s ALL OVER AGAIN

Most of us have seen the memes with the mid-Century looking clip art. It’s been done, right?

But the reason it’s been done and gets done again is because it gets people’s attention. People look. People read. People react. All of which is a marketer’s and new business owner’s dream.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE No junk auditions

These particular pieces from the VO Agent Alliance score high with me because they tie in the group’s brand and web address, giving people who are unfamiliar with the new group place to search and learn

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Get paid properly

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Get paid properly

INFOGRAPHICS

I’m sure most folks understand the purpose of infographics but just by way of brief explanation for those who do not, infographics are a way to share fairly involved messages in a more interesting way than just paragraphs. Inforgraphics help tell the story of message (often times complex but not always) through the creative use of words, typography, graphics and color.

These information style seems to have really become popular in the last 5 years…but that’s just my novice opinion — someone smarter (anyone smarter) can give you better details than me.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Diminishing Returns

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Diminishing Returns

Be that as it may, my friends at the VO Agent Alliance have also used infographics as a way to break down their messages and service in a more understandable way. While a bit of creative whimsy may be taken by the reader in the first two sets of graphic examples, like it’s genre, the VO Agent Alliance infographics are pretty much all business.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Pain Scale

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Pain Scale

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Choices

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Choices

There are some others that are also swell, but I just wanted to share some of my favorites as a way to maybe help you rethink some of your visual branding. Not so much to steal any ideas here but maybe as an inspiration for an idea to help you convey your voiceover business messages to your clients across a spectrum of marketing channels.

Hope this helps.

The FCC Begins 2018 By Failing To Protect Local Communities

FCC LogoOn January 8, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission will remove the almost 80 year-old rule that required broadcasters to have a physical studio in or near the areas where they have a license to transmit TV or radio signals.  With that rule no longer in place, the FCC has issued a likely fatal blow to the tradition of local broadcasting in radio and TV.

I’m not talking about the syndication of a program, which has been a profitable and long standing broadcast practice (that’s how the world first heard about Oprah Winfrey). Rather, with the elimination of the rule requiring broadcast owners maintain a main studio in or near the local coverage area of their license …owners can rent an office somewhere, sell ads locally, while all non-network broadcasts emanate from one central location…some place else, anywhere else really.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who took a leadership role on this ruling, said “Continuing to require a main studio would detract from, rather than promote, a broadcaster’s ability and incentive to keep people informed and serve the public interest.”

Chairman Pai’s professional background is that of a lawyer, administrator and bureaucrat. He had only a brief career as a lawyer in the telecommunications industry. His resume references no work in broadcasting. None.

The only winner with the elimination of this rule is anyone with a large broadcasting company (about ½ dozen or more companies) who can now create centralized hub studios any single place in the country and simply send out a signal to a city or town’s transmitter.

If you go to the web site of your local TV and radio station, you’ll see the station’s corporate owner name. Click on the web site link…see how many other stations they own and where.

Then think about how much money they will save their company by shuttering all their local TV and radio stations, laying off a sizable portion (if not all) of their local staffs at those stations, putting their stations’ local sales departments in small rented local buildings while all broadcast operations emanate and are transmitted from a far-away US city.

They will try and make the broadcast look and sound local, maybe, but (as an example) a Los Angeles broadcast hub for scores of stations isn’t going to be able to truly share the local news and community feel of (say for example) Sioux Falls, SD or insert your town or city name here.

Cost cutting at local stations has been happening for some time at broadcast stations. Some radio stations broadcast only satellite programming, with maybe someone reading local news in the morning and a local TV meteorologist pre-recording a weather forecast throughout the day (or just using a national weather service…again, not local).

Many TV stations within an ownership group have their news programs actually directed from a regional production hub nowhere physically near the station. And in some markets, a TV station in one city or state will actually create a newscast in their city for a station and viewers in totally different and unrelated city…sometimes fairly far away. Or TV stations just forego a news operation all together. Too much time, effort and money….you understand.

Some will ask why it matters to have a station physically in a market. The Internet, YouTube, and iPhones have changed how we all consume news and programing. Satellite radio is more popular than ever as are Internet radio outlets.

I understand all that but…BECAUSE of those new channels — the need for local coverage is more important than ever and cannot be executed effectively by well-meaning people in a building hundreds or thousands of miles away who have no ties to a community.

A Winter Storm Whips Across Lake Erie South of Buffalo, NY

If you’ve ever been through a tornado, blizzard, forest fire, flood or other horrible disaster, that would be just one prime example of how news…live and local, will be almost completely lost either immediately or over a slow, imperceptible transition to viewers and listeners. Local meteorologists? Oh, they can just put those weather computers any place and see the readouts.

Oh, and the job losses at all these local stations? Well those are a big part of how ownership groups will save money, which is why broadcast lobbyists put immense political pressure on the executive and legislative branches of the US government (and thus the FCC) to get this rule eliminated. Just because they own broadcast outlets doesn’t necessarily make these TV and radio station group owners true broadcasters. Owners answer to revenue and profits and it matters little how those are achieved.

I understand and respect cost savings as a business owner. I get it.

But as a broadcaster, who understands the immense value that a radio and TV station bring to a community, I see a dangerous and probably irreversible change. Change whose resultant problems will be dramatically felt at a local level while its national implementers are safely ensconced in their vaults.

It may be a slow demise, but it will likely be local broadcasting’s demise nonetheless.

A Dirty Word for Voiceover Talents – CANAFORNIA

Canafornia Bad For Voiceover #voicestrongThe headline making the social media rounds today was that the disreputable Canadian pay to play company based in the province of Ontario that bought a major California based voiceover lead generation service in August 2017 is now (as expected…by me anyway) smashing the two companies together under the Mothership’s brand.

No word on whether the California part of the company (specifically those ‘pesky, profit sucking employees’ – some of whom I know to be quite talented and nice people) will still have jobs following this smashing.

The key to today’s announcement involved adding all the high profile union talent (SAG-AFTRA) and agencies to the Mothership’s brand. Metaphorically, the stars will now swim with the swine. To be clear, were I involved with the disreputable Canadian pay to play company (and I am very much not), I would be part of the swine.

Since the two companies now being smashed together are in Canada and California, for the purposes of this blog, I will hereafter reference the two companies (now under one banner) by one smashed name: CANAFORNIA.

PROFIT WITH GRAVE MALICE

The announcement today by Canafornia’s Mothership was written in a manner that, in my reading, attempted to make many of the union voiceover agencies and their union agents feel like the corporate smashing would be a good thing.

On-line voiceover sites who may skim from voice talents and agentsMost agents of any size will see through Canafornia’s anticipated deceit, I believe. The company’s owner has been caught in too many falsehoods and most everybody in the voiceover industry seems to know about them.

In their pronouncement, Canafornia made no mention of their past skimming of funds from the budgets of their “clients’” voiceover projects, skimming that left significantly fewer dollars for those whom these funds were intended — the voice talents.

This disreputable business practice of skimming is evidently what Canafornia has been doing for sometime now on many non-union voiceover jobs. Caught red-handed on more than one occasion, they were! Denied wrong doing on more than one occasion, they did!

Now, adding union talent and union voiceover agencies into the mix with this latest smelly venture, Canafornia seems positioned to make sure there will likely be less funds for union talents AND their union agents.

‘THIS ISN’T MY PROBLEM’

Maybe Canafornia is the least of your concerns as a voiceover business owner, you think.

Well, if your concerns for your voiceover business involve a troubling downward pricing trend for VO jobs, as well as people with significantly less VO talent than you posing as voiceover professionals and disrupting the market while these same talentless reprobates also devalue what you do for a living, then Canafornia really is a bigger concern for you.

There are some voice talents who either do not believe the facts uncovered about Canafornia or are too afraid to leave a source of revenue (dwindling though it may be). For reasons I have previously articulated on these pages, that is their right as business people —whether I agree or not.

But what if you want to do something about this situation? Can anything be done?

All is not lost. As a voice talent, you can take a number of proactive steps to protect your business and support your industry.

ISSUE A PINK SLIP

You're Fired Signed #VoicestrongThe first thing I would recommend to any voice talent committed to a better and more profitable future in voiceover is either not to start or now end their business relationship with Canafornia’s pay to play side of the business.

To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of the voiceover pay to play industry generally as I think it continues to devalue the voiceover marketplace. I do not invest my marketing dollars in those channels. Your mileage may vary.

But Canafornia’s operation is the specific company I would directly avoid doing any business with at all. As always, just my opinion.

TALK WITH YOUR CURRENT VOICEOVER AGENTS…NOW

Second, I would recommend communicating with your current agents about the topic of Canafornia.

Why?

audioconnell payphone

Because some voiceover agencies, which are professionally operated and wonderfully focused on serving the voiceover community, are still working with Canafornia’s west coast service.

Yes, there are many voiceover agencies that have left Canafornia’s west coast service after the disreputable Canadian pay to play company bought it and I’ll talk about those agents in a moment.

For those agents still working with Canafornia’s west coast service, you as a talent and their client need to have a pro-active business conversation.

You’re agent could be sending you auditions for jobs where, should you land the gig, you could receive significantly less pay than was intended for you by the producer. Likewise, the agency will end up making less money for themselves in the process.

In my case, I have had and continue to have conversations with those agents representing me who still disseminate voiceover project leads from Canafornia’s west coast service. I’ve also had the good fortune to speak with many other agents (some who represent me and others who do not) about this unique crossroad we are all migrating together.

In a brief summary of all those agency communications: no perfect answers have been found but with the community working together, some clearer direction offers a better road ahead. More on that in a moment

Why do I stay with agents who are presently still on the Canafornia’s west coast service site? Why not just cut ties if I don’t want to be involved with Canafornia?

I have known these agents for a long time. I understand the challenge they (and we as VO’s) face. I respect these agents as business people, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed with them in the first place.

Like voice talents working with pay to plays, there is no foolproof answer for everyone. Agents are traveling the same bumpy industry road as talents are and we are each trying to determine how to proceed for the good of our own businesses.

While I have made clear to these Canafornia-involved agents that I would like to continue our representation agreements (remember not all leads come from Canafornia’s west coast service), I have told them I do not want receive auditions from Canafornia’s west coast service’s web site. Nor do I want my demos listed on their agency page on the Canafornia’s west coast service’s web site (which will be merged with the mothership’s site in late February 2018, as was announced today).

I have to manage my business so I can sleep well at night. Canafornia is not an organization I wish to be even tangentially associated with.

The conversations have been very positive. Agents need constructive feedback too. Plus, when is it ever a bad thing to have a meaningful business conversation with your agents? Answer: never.

THE ALLIANCE

I mentioned earlier that many voiceover agencies had left Canafornia’s west coast service almost as soon as Canafornia announced the acquisition.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE The Good GuysThe reason, by way of brief explanation, is that these agents are well aware of the Canafornia pay to play questionable business practices and absolutely did not trust the company would be any more responsible with Canafornia’s west coast addition.

But they didn’t just sit around and lick their wounds after they fired Canafornia’s latest acquistion. While the #voicestrong movement was growing, these voiceover talent agents spent a few months talking amongst each other (which was fairly unprecedented in and of itself) and decided that they wanted to create a voiceover related organization, centered on the agency side of the business, that would have the exact opposite business code of conduct of Canafornia.

The group, called the VO Agent Alliance, resolves to implement the industry’s highest ethical standards for the benefit of talent, their representatives and their valued clients. The vetted voiceover agency members across North America include: In Both Ears, Go Voices, Sheppard Agency, Play Talent, Umberger Agency, DeSanti Talent Agency, Rockstar Entertainment, The Actors Group, Ta-Da Voiceworks, Big Mouth, The Atherton Group, Central Voice Group, Heyman Talent, Alexander White Agency and Collier Talent Agency.

So what does that mean for a voice talent’s career? That’s my third piece of advice.

If one or more of your agents are part of the VO Agent Alliance already, you’re in better than average shape, because these folks are working hard for you as they always have. I’m fortunate to have five of my longtime agents in this group.

If you are not represented by one of the Alliance agencies, you might make it a priority to scout them all out and see if you may be a fit with one or more of them. I know most of the principles at each agency and you will be well served to have them on your voiceover business team.

A HUB OF OPPORTUNITY

Voice Casting Hub logoI’m not sure if this is a matter of strong business planning or great luck but just about the time Canafornia was releasing its most recent plans to destroy the ethical and business landscape of voiceover, an internet executive with 20 years in the web business named Matt Dubois was working on a new online agency casting platform.

Voice Casting Hub is the name of the platform, which is intended to replace the site acquired by Canafornia with the distinct difference that Voice Casting Hub wouldn’t be skimming off the top, as is the concern with Canafornia’s site.

A fourth piece of advice would be to check this site out and register yourself as a talent. It’s free to register. The site is, as of this writing, less than a month old so it’s too early to judge its performance but it is awesome that the marketplace is responding so swiftly to this Canafornia challenge with a viable option. Monitor this, as I think it could be a great opportunity for all of us.

IT BEGINS AND ENDS WITH YOU

With all the online gnashing on teeth, nothing that Canafornia or voiceover agents or alliances or hubs do can ultimately take the place of good old fashioned individual business marketing.

Nothing.

Your primary focus as a voiceover business owner is to beat the bushes trying to get new business…YOU, not a web site or a representative.

Sure, they are all part of the plan…but just A part. The rest is up to you. It is a constant, daily effort that only you can lead. Think, create, plan and do.

You’ve got this.

But if you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a chance.

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE – O’Connell Completes Studio Renovation and Upgrades

Peter K Oconnell Studio Bricks Logo 171229 350CARY, NC, January 1, 2018 – – The planned renovations and upgrades to audio’connell Voiceover Talent’s relocated voiceover recording studio have been completed, it was announced today.

Studio owner and male voice talent Peter K. O’Connell noted that he made a variety of facility improvements. Among upgrades to improve the voiceover studio’s acoustics, work was completed to improve the studio’s flooring and wiring.

O’Connell also added a new Studiobricks Voiceover Booth which was designed and built in Barcelona, Spain by Studiobricks SL. O’Connell installed a Studiobricks One Plus acoustic booth, ensuring top sound insulation and acoustics for all clients’ voiceover recordings.

About Peter K. O’Connell

From Fortune 500 companies to companies that think $500 is a fortune, multi-award winning male voiceover talent Peter K. O’Connell has shared his voiceover skills with a wide variety of global companies. Some of Peter’s clients include Duracell Batteries, General Electric, Kraft Foods, Western Union, PBS Television Network, Shell Oil, Deloitte Canada, U.S. Army, Starz Cable Television Network, BlueCross BlueShield and SunSetter Awnings.

Known as America’s Friendly, Neighborhood Voiceover Talent, Peter is a natural born storyteller whose voice-over work has been featured in radio and TV commercials, corporate narrations, political commercial voice-overs, TV network promos, e-learning narration projects and other media productions. Originally from Buffalo, NY, now living in Raleigh, NC, Peter owns audio’connell Voiceover Talent, a division of O’Connell Communications, LLC. Peter can be reached via audioconnell.com or peterkoconnell.com.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

CONTACT

Peter K. O’Connell

Your Friendly, Neighborhood Voiceover Talent

audio’connell Voiceover Talent

P.O. Box 5493 | Raleigh, NC 27512-5493

PH. +01 716-572-1800

EM. peter@audioconnell.com W. audioconnell.com

COMPANY MEDIA CENTER

http://www.audioconnell.com/media

PETER K. O’CONNELL VO CREDITS

http://www.audioconnell.com/clientuploads/pdf/PDF%202017/                    OConnell_Peter_Voice_Over_Resume_171001.pdf

COMPANY NAME SPELLING

Use lower case letters- audio’connell or audio’connell Voiceover Talent

COMPANY NAME PRONUNCIATION

au·dio·o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-oh-kah-nel) or au·di-o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-kah-nel)