so, about dave….

 David Letterman announces his retirement Photo copyright Associated Press

David Letterman announces his retirement
Photo copyright Associated Press


As a broadcasting nut (mostly because of my personal and professional addiction) I have been fortunate enough to hear and see some amazing things on television. Each makes you feel something whether it was the horrible OSCAR telecast with Rob Lowe and Snow White, the Challenger Disaster which I watched live in my dorm room as it happened or even the final shows of countless TV programs that I used to watch.

Many of us watched the last Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (and Jay Leno – twice- and Conan O’Brien- also twice). Not so much for today’s generation but for mine, Late Night television has been something special (even when it was bad).

But Johnny- as great as the show was- was not of my generation. I caught that train somewhere in the late 70s when it was already established but still in its 90 minute format.

But then came this fellow that Carson mentored, David Letterman. I remember first seeing Dave on something like Don Kirschner’s Rock Concerts as a stand- up comedian. I didn’t think he was particularly funny.

Then somehow Letterman ended up with a morning show on NBC. I caught that for a while and just thought the whole episode was awkward, although towards the end some of the bits were funny because clearly they didn’t care any more.

But Carson decided he wanted Letterman as part of the new 12:30 am slot. Given lots of rules that would differentiate it from The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman debuted and television was not quite the same after that.

It was unique mostly because Late Night had to twist the talk show format to suit Carson. It was a wise move for Carson and ultimately for Late Night. Dave and his writers came into their own in a time slot where really nobody cared much about what you did as long as it didn’t mess with Johnny.

Elevator races, top 10 lists, viewer mail, Velcro suits and Larry Bud Melman soon became television staples. What today’s generation of late night viewers take as standard operating procedure was, at the time, an inventive and modern twist on what Steve Allen and a few others had done in television’s infancy. But Dave made it ours.

I was standing in my kitchen one Friday evening in the 80’s and The Tonight Show had ended another program. In a cold open, for the next show on NBC, we see a shot of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia in his dressing room with a guitar trying to play a song but not getting it. In walks David Letterman who reaches over, adjusts Jerry’s fingers on the guitar. After which Jerry proceeds to start strumming “Proud Mary”.

It was hysterical. I was hooked. I had MY Johnny.

Through college my roommates and I always watched Dave. The NBC debacle between Dave and Jay was high drama for me (for no good reason except my peculiar fascination with the situation) and I was so pleased when Dave got the CBS deal.

I have been to a taping of the original Arsenio Hall show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien and even a rehearsal of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. But I never made it to the Ed Sullivan Theatre. I guess watching on the TV (and avoiding the cow herding aspects of being in a long studio audience waiting line) was good enough for me.

These final shows have been terrific mostly because Dave seems so relaxed that he’s almost like the old “Late Night” Dave. If you haven’t been watching them, you’re missing some great TV.

So far, this clip with George Clooney and Tom Waits with Dave (after Clooney handcuffed himself to Dave – hilarious because Dave was so uncomfortable – which makes him so funny) is my favorite for everyone’s great reactions and spontaneity. Watch this…

None the less, I’m watching these final shows with the kind of sadness I should reserve for people I know – and in spite of the TV relationship, I do not know any of these folks. But I’m sad for them and me none the less. It’s the kind of end of high school “we will never pass this way again” thing we’ve all been through.

I will be sadder than when I watched Johnny’s last show because Dave was my guy and he’s leaving. It may be time, but you never want to say goodbye even when you know you should.

So Dave, you’ll never read this, but thanks. You are a broadcaster’s broadcaster and an excellent entertainer in your own right.

Thanks for sharing your talents.

Good night!

audio’connell in washington, d.c.

David Goldberg, Bill Lord, Peter K. O'Connell, Joya Lord and Richard Corcoran at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C.  for David's Winning Auditions Workshop

David Goldberg, Bill Lord, Peter K. O’Connell, Joya Lord and Richard Corcoran at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C. for David’s Winning Auditions Workshop

So here’s one profitable use of social media for your voice-over business.

Next time you’re in Washington, D.C. for a quick family party trip, haphazardly go on social media, like Facebook, and stumble upon a post by voice talent Bill Lord. Bill’s post will tell you that David Goldberg from Edge Studios is hosting a voice-over workshop one Saturday morning at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Then just before all your family stuff starts for the day (which is the reason you’ve come to D.C. anyway) grab a cab from your hotel and go to the theatre and surprise the crap out of your voice-over friends attending the seminar. That sounds pretty profitable, right?

As nice as it was to see everyone, it was even better to see the looks of confusion and happiness at my pre-seminar surprise visit. I didn’t stay too long out of respect for their schedule and mine but for me it was a happy confluence of events that allowed me to stop by and say hi to help them begin what I am sure was a very educational AND profitable day.

audio’connell in raleigh, NC 2015

Voice-Over Talents Peter K. O'Connell, Debra Stamp and Rowell Gormon in Raleigh, NC April 2015

Voice-Over Talents Peter K. O’Connell, Debra Stamp and Rowell Gormon in Raleigh, NC April 2015

All I want to say about this dinner in Raleigh, NC with fellow Faffers Deb Stamp and Rowell Gormon is that we pretty much closed the place. And then kept talking in the parking lot.

A great night thanks to Deb and Rowell.

what i know about voice-over talents after attending faffcamp 2

 Peter K. O'Connell hosting a marketing session at FaffCamp 2015 (Photo Courtesy of Brad Venable)

Peter K. O’Connell hosting a marketing session at FaffCamp 2015 (Photo Courtesy of Brad Venable)

I have been fortunate to have been included in a great many FaffCons and FaffCamps. These are unconferences and conferences for voice-over talent and they are among the most revered voice-over events by anyone who has ever attended one.

Full disclosure, I am on the FaffCamp and FaffCon committees because I believe so strongly in them. Also because I am so small, conference producer Amy Snively hardly notices I’m there.

At this FaffCamp, I offered a marketing planning presentation on Saturday and Sunday. Though the presentation was meant to be informative and somewhat light-hearted, I noticed a couple of things in both groups that I believe are universal among voice-over business owners.

Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of this. I certainly see myself in some of it.

Making a point or just scaring his audience, Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O'Connell makes a point during his FaffCamp 2015 presentation (Photo Courtesy of Sean Caldwell)

Making a point or just scaring his audience, Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell makes a point during his FaffCamp 2015 presentation (Photo Courtesy of Sean Caldwell)

1. Most voice-over business owners generally don’t like the business part of the voice-over business. In no way am I saying they don’t do it well but they don’t like it much. I think they like it less than most business owners.

2. Though they themselves are a key part of the marketing food chain with the service they provide, voice-over talents do not like doing marketing much. It overwhelms them and intimidates them for the same reason I think it intimidates most small business owners: “where do I start?!” syndrome.

3. Which leads me to the universal acknowledgement by almost all of my session participants that they each suffer in varying degrees from the malady “Paralysis by Analysis”. The non-medical marketing definition is “I don’t know what to do first so I won’t do anything.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The author also sometimes suffers from this malady.)

4. Most voice-over people are pretty smart and strong and even though sometimes paralyzed by the fear of marketing, they understand that they have to do and when led a little bit, they can take the reins and run with a marketing plan. That takes guts and strength to jump into something even when you’re not fully sure what you’re supposed to be doing

I post this not so much for the FaffCampers who attended my presentations (and thank you for doing that) but for other voice talents who couldn’t make it to San Antonio. I want you to be reminded that you are not alone in your business challenges and that rather than have it be a mountain, operational and marketing challenges can be only a bump in the road to your ultimate business success.

Just remember to believe in yourself and your abilities…even those abilities you don’t think you have.

hold that microphone

 Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O'Connell enjoys his new traveling mic stand

Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell enjoys his new traveling mic stand

There are very few days off for voice-over talents.

One reason is that, as a small business owner providing a sometimes time sensitive service in a creative industry, when the client says it’s “go-time” you need to record pretty quickly.

So when I go on the road, I need to be able to effectively and professionally record which I have been doing for years. However, microphone stands have been a problem for me. They need to be small and portable but usually that means cheap and breakable (that’s no good).

This new small, portable and pretty strong tripod and mic holder that I just purchased is doing its job quite nicely. My arm, which had to hold on to the mic prior to this solution, is very happy.

cleveland fumbles the brand

Cleveland Browns 2015 Logo

ESPN reports the Cleveland Browns have updated their primary logo.

Voxmarketising reports all the Browns really did was put lipstick on a pig.

Tell me, tell me I dare you, where are the oohs and aahs in this big brand change? A new panatone orange and a brown facemask? A better typeface?! Well OK, the typeface IS better.

Forget imagery for a second….do you know how much it costs to change signage and imagery for any big business, let alone an NFL franchise?! Millions of dollars! Millions….for this crap?!

Back to the imagery, the brand, the look. Supposedly the uniforms will be updated in April and will compliment this new helmet. No, no they won’t. Only a brown paper bag will compliment this helmet and that has been worn before many times at Cleveland Browns games (pretty big talk coming from a long suffering Bills fan, I’ll grant you).

The Browns team president noted the helmet IS the logo for Cleveland and with it’s rich, storied tradition blah, blah blah the city would implode if the Browns changed the helmet to include a new logo (well, he didn’t say that exactly).

No, no the city wouldn’t implode but the city of Cleveland should be pretty pissed off if this is the result of two years worth of NFL branding research. Clearly, the Cavaliers and the Indians are the modern sports leaders in Cleveland.

‘Put a fresh coat of paint on the logo and call it new’ is not what a city like Cleveland deserves or needs. It says alot that a new secondary logo for the “Dawg Pound” comes across as more professional than the team’s main logo which, again, is a helmet.

A football helmet. That’s the logo. THAT’S what passes for creativity in Cleveland. There is a pretty terrific creative arts community in Cleveland and they have got to be collectively screaming “WTF!” Again.

I didn’t know the Browns were focusing on a branding change before I read the ESPN story. Yet, some weeks ago when the internet started to go crazy for a bunch of unsolicited helmet designs from a company called Deeyung Entertainment, I was totally wowed by Deeyung’s Cleveland Browns helmet design. It really stood out to me at the time.

Cleveland Brown Helmet Concepts Design DEEYUNG ENTERTAINMENT

Cleveland Brown Helmet Concepts Design DEEYUNG ENTERTAINMENT

A mean-ass dog perched, waiting for you in the shadows. THAT’S football imagery. That screams toughness, meaness, FOOTBALL for God’s sake!

The logo says ‘Our offense will run all over your defense. Our defense will chew up and spit out your offense.’

People don’t get bit by Tigers, Lions and Bears much but more than a few people know what it’s like to get bit by a mean dog. That’s a logo that speaks to your football audience.

You put a paper stick underneath the Browns’ ‘new’ 2015 helmet design and you’ve got yourself an ORANGE TOOTSIE POP! That’s not football! What a missed opportunity for a brand with unlimited potential. Oy!

So I guess I’ll summarize by making a declarative statement. I don’t like the new Cleveland Browns logo. :)