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MEDIA RELEASE – O’Connell Bridges the Narration Gap for Kwik Bond Polymers

audio'connell Media Release

BENICIA, CA May 30, 2012 – – As the summer season approaches, so too does the bridge repair season. Narrator Peter K. O’Connell was recently signed as the narrator for a communications project produced by Kwik Bond Polymers, LLC, makers of the longstanding bridge deck rehabilitation tool, Polyester Polymer Concrete. O’Connell, a voice-over talent based in Buffalo, NY, narrated their sales and marketing video “Bridge Deck and Roadway Rehabilitation Systems”.

About Peter K. O’Connell
In addition this most recent sales and marketing video narration for Kwik Bond Polymers, Peter K. O’Connell’s professional voice-over credits include national and regional voice-over productions for companies such as PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), Shell Oil, Pitney Bowes, U.S. Army, Starz Cable Channel, SunSetter Awnings, Time Warner Cable, New Jersey Tourism, First Financial Bank, N.A., J. Walter Thompson Advertising, Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, Harlequin Enterprises and Pathmark Supermarkets.

O’Connell’s voice-over productions have been heard around the world in radio and TV commercials, medical narrations, television infomercials, political commercial voice-overs, TV network promos, e-learning narration projects (computer-based training, internet-based training and web-based training), public service announcements, message on-hold as well as other video and media productions. Peter K. O’Connell owns audio’connell Voice-Over Talent.

About Kwik Bond Polymers, LLC
Kwik Bond Polymers, LLC supplies Polyester Polymer Concrete overlays, multiple layer polyester concrete overlays, high molecular weight methacrylate penetrating healer/sealers, polyester grout and high performance patch systems. Kwik Bond Polymers has been a part of over 10 million square feet of polyester concrete bridge deck overlay placement and 60 million square feet of HMWM deck treatments in California alone. The company is headquartered in Benicia, California.

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NOTES TO EDITORS

Company Media Releases ON LINE:
http://www.audioconnell.com/media

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)

Company Name Spelling:
Use lower case letters- audio’connell or audio’connell Voice-Over Talent

Company Web:
http://www.audioconnell.com

Company Blog:
http://www.voxmarketising.com

O’Connell Voice-Over Resume:
See resume here

audio’connell in raleigh, north carolina

There are many great things about FaffCon (as I often remind myself) and one that immediately comes to mind was getting to meet North Carolina Voice Talent Vance Elderkin at FaffCon 3.

Another great gift for me at that particular FaffCon was getting directed in a voice-over session by my long time friend (feels like forever, in a good way) the Imaginator, Rowell Gorman.

Well on this trip to lovely Raleigh, NC, I got to enjoy dinner with both of my friends and catch up on news of their great voice-over lives. They both offer to me, each in quiet, unassuming way, so much insight into how to be a better VO professional (and I can ALWAYS use the help).

Plus they are fun to be around. Thanks to both Vance and Rowell for coming out to visit with me.

5 Questions for a Professional Voice-Over Talent – Todd Schick

Today’s 5 Questions for a Professional Voice Over Talent are answered by Todd Schick, a professional voice-over talent based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada .

1. The beginning: When did you know you wanted to be a voiceover talent; how did your career begin (please include what year it started) and then when did your passion for voiceover develop into something professional?

I would say that my professional career started when I got into radio in 1984 – my brother inspired me to get into radio broadcasting; he had a few years behind the mic at that time. It’s funny, but I really didn’t “know” I want to be a pro VO talent, but I was keenly aware that every radio station I worked at, I always got the lion’s share of commercial work.

I didn’t have a “passion” for doing VO – I was simply good at it – it was part of my job.

About a year before I left radio (1996 or so) I recall saying to a producer I worked with daily that “Guys in Toronto are getting paid $750 for a local spot, you know…..” In fact, I said this so many times, he got pissed off and told me to shut up and read the spot. I remember getting hot under the ears after that and I think that ultimately led me down the path to VO.

The only thing positive I took from radio was the experience – everything else was horrible. Lousy money, horrible hours and tons of stress led me to the point of a nervous breakdown. When I left for good in 1997, I recall saying to myself that I’d be happy mowing lawns if that were my fate.

Things came full circle when I ended up back with my brother at his house in Oakville outside of Toronto, literally stranded there after being dumped by Girlfriend From Hell back in Ottawa. I was a mess. He lent me his vintage 1966 Mustang to get around (in winter, no less). His only advice to me at the time:

“Make the choice to be happy.”

I had to start all over with less than nothing, I was carrying debt. So, I decided I’d try to do freelance VO. It was a tall order. I had a buddy in Toronto I knew for years say…….”So, you’re going to do VO…..fulltime?” I’m sure he thought I was smoking something…lol.

2. What is the one thing you know now that you wish someone had told you when you first started out in voiceover?

There’s a few technical tricks I’ve learned over the years I would have liked to have known at the start, but really, I would have done a much better job of protecting my intellectual property.

When I started my web presence in 1998 there were about 30 guys (no gals) on Yahoo! with a website up. Most, if not all of them, were tantamount to a flashy business card. No one was sharing information on the trade…..primarily because it was so new (running a home studio and delivering audio via the internet). Everyone held their cards pretty close to their chest for fear of losing….whatever.

I knew all along that – in respect to VO – one can have all the information on the subject in the world, but if they don’t have talent for the work, they won’t succeed. Kinda like someone reading about playing the guitar….but never having the skills to play it.

So, I chose to share information from the start. Gave it away for nothing. I figured that if it worked for Microsoft, it would work for me….and it did. I was bombarded by so many questions from both clients and talent that I kept writing content for my site and pointed everyone to look at toddschick.com. My site grew by about 3-4 pages a week at the start. It’s at about 160 pages now and enjoys fantastic rankings.

What I didn’t expect, was how badly I got plagiarized and ripped off….again, much like Microsoft. Audio from my demos started showing up on other people’s demos – SFX and transitions. I had a guy from Calgary send me a note asking if I’d link to his site. I went to have a look, only to discover that he had “copied and pasted” my index page……verbatim. He didn’t even try to change the wording! It was my thinking that he had hired someone to compose his site, they found me at the top of Yahoo! and ripped off my content.

The worst culprit was the P2P sites. They stole everything, right down to my color scheme (guess which one). The now widely used Custom Audition, rates, delivery method(s), how to categorize and structure demos….everything. They ripped it off, because they (like the guy in Calgary) had nothing else to go on – my site was – literally – “The Bible” in respect to the subject (business model) of home-studio based VO talent recording and delivering audio via the internet.

I guess the only other thing I wish I knew beforehand was just how much of a waste of time P2P sites would be. Had I spent more time working my existing client base and less time auditioning via P2P sites, I’d be better off. Hours and hours of my time I’ll never get back. I wrote extensively on the subject here: http://www.toddschick.com/VoiceTalentFAQVoice123.htm

3. What do you see as the biggest professional or personal obstacle you face that impacts your voiceover business and how are you working to overcome it?

Without question P2P sites. Here, we have websites selling people the “dream” of becoming a VO talent. A person can wake up one morning, decide they want to get into VO – someone told them they have a nice voice. So, they give a P2P site $300.00 and get all the validation they need to get their “career” underway.

P2P sites have de-valued the work to the point where people are reading commercial spots for $10……some even less. What have I done about it? Ha! I’ve been fighting the “good fight” ever since they appeared back in 2003 and still continue to this day. Don’t get me started…lol.

As for me personally, I don’t view P2P as an “obstacle.” My business is very healthy and continues to grow, despite the advent of P2P sites. That’s because true professionals in the industry (producers and other clients) know full well the difference between quality talent and the crap that’s rampant on P2P sites.

Indeed, if anything….P2P sites have served me well in that regard. Many of my new customers today come to me because they want quality and no longer wish to waste their time and money hiring talent off P2P sites.

The “obstacle” I see for the industry in general is P2P sites…and that is something that should scare the hell out of anyone getting started today. I fear for those people, because P2P sites are destroying the industry’s bottom line via their bidding-based business model – a very short-sighted approach. There’s simply too many people competing for a smaller and smaller slice of the pie.

4. What personal trait or professional tool has helped you succeed the most in your career so far?

I can’t name one, but many. Indeed, many people getting started in the business think that simply having a “nice voice” is all they need, when in fact – to be successful at VO – there are many factors involved.

I have entrepreneurial spirit; always prepared to fail. I have recording engineering experience, to play with the big boys who can tell the difference between me and buddy with a USB microphone. I have marketing skills from my radio days, along with business (sales) acumen. I have a trained and skilled voice that took 12 years of reading thousands of commercials and other content to hone. I live in a city where the VO market is huge. I have several agents, a staff to manage my business and schedule, contacts from my radio days that have helped me get imaging contracts….the list goes on.

5. In your development as a voice over performer, who has been the one particular individual or what has been the one piece of performance advice (maybe a key performance trick, etc.) that you felt has had the most impact on your actual voice over performance and why?

Forgive me for saying this, but that question I find somewhat offensive and a clear indicator of what’s wrong with the VO industry today. There is no “one thing” someone can teach someone else…and suddenly, the clouds clear, the sun comes out and the voice talent rises like a phoenix….lol.

What I learned, the skill I have today is the culmination of:

A) A god-given gift for reading anything aloud and

B) Decades upon decades of repetition, thousands and thousands of commercials, rolls and rolls of teletype paper when I read news, writing, producing and voicing radio documentaries….etc.

So tell me, do you have a “performance trick” you can teach me that’s going to work in lieu of the aforementioned? This….is what these P2P sites and VO coaches out there are telling people….that they can teach these “tricks” and make a voice talent out of someone, when nothing could be further than the truth.

I digress. On the subject of inspiration, I can mention three things:

One was my ninth grade English teacher Mrs. McNabb. She would do a reading exercise where the class would read from the same book and she would pick students at random to read a paragraph. Whenever she got to me, she’d only let me read a few sentences. One day after class, I went to her desk and asked her why she wouldn’t let me read more of the book. She said:

“Todd, you’re an excellent reader – very entertaining. The thing is, there’s other kids in the class that need the practice.”

The other person was a Program Director back in my radio days at 66CFR in Calgary. After about 6 years in radio I came to that station with a lot of experience reading spots – I had a killer commercial demo and the copy writers (and sales people) were licking their chops to get me in the booth to record.

The PD was a control freak and told me that she felt that I “wasn’t ready” to record spots for a market as big as Calgary.

Ever since then, I decided I will never let her – or anyone else – hold me back. Today, I voice everyday for a pretty big market – Canada – as the brand voice for the (national) Global Television Network.

The third and final inspiration is my theater experience. I was great at doing VO before I got into theater…..acting put my craft way over the top. Acting taught me skills I never knew I had…..again, not one person or one trick, but a cumulative experience.

this memorial day, note that we are not the only ones who remember

Today at lunch with the kids, I saw this article in the Buffalo News which I think is a wonderful reflection of how military service decades ago is still appreciated…even across continents.

On a solemn day, it’s stories like this that CAN make today a happier Memorial Day.

3 Things That Make My Life Easier

The thing about Smart Phone Apps is they are supposed to be helpful.

The challenge is there seem to be about 1,000,000 Smart Phone Apps on the market. If you press your nose up against the computer screen and do nothing but read the blog and web reviews about each app, you might get through 10% of them before you go nuts.

So this post will introduce you to three apps that have made my voice-over life easier and more organized. I am not a pioneer on applications and in fact, I often understand them better when someone shows me how they work rather than when I just read about them. Maybe that’s why I’m so slow on the uptake…in our new digital society, it seems we don’t talk about these apps, we just learn by doing.

I did the doing for you here, you can just enjoy them (I hope).

EVERNOTE

Do you use lists…like on paper, any sheet of paper that you often misplace?

I did and they only helped make me feel slightly more organized. Evernote is that sheet of paper except that it connects your lists to your Smart Phone, your i-Pad and every computer you want. It syncs up your notes, audio, web site, photo…almost anything and organizes them in a variety of ways to suit your style; it stands at the ready to keep your digital life organized. Just started using the free version and I really like it.

TRIP IT

I travel a bit and if you do too, organizing flight, hotel, car, appointment and event data can be a pain. I now use TripIt to organize me.

TripIt has been around for a while. I’ve been signed up since 2008 but I only started using it recently because someone SHOWED me how it worked. The lightbulb went off in my head and I love it.

It’s as simple as this: when you get an email confirmation from, say, your airline, confirming a flight you just booked, simply forward that email to a special email address and it syncs up ALL the details of that flight. It connects to your computer and smart phone calendars and you are good to go. And you do that with ALL your trip details. A thing of travel organization beauty. And it’s free.

DROPBOX

I’ve spoken about this site before but I keep running into people who still haven’t tried it so I thought I’d share it again. It’s a daily part of my professional and personal life.

It’s cloud storage…every darn thing you have on your computer right now (if you’d like it that way) on a server that can accessed on any computer or Smart Phone device anywhere at anytime. For small businesses or individuals, this is a big deal. For my business, it’s amazing.

5 Questions for a Professional Voice-Over Talent – Matt Dratva

Today’s 5 Questions for a Professional Voice Over Talent are answered by Matt Dratva, a professional voice-over talent based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

1. The beginning: When did you know you wanted to be a voiceover talent; how did your career begin (please include what year it started) and then when did your passion for voiceover develop into something professional?

From an early age, I was imitating cartoon voices and making sound effects but just figured you couldn’t make a living doing that! Then in 2006, I landed on a local voice over talent’s website, here in Toronto and after he critiqued me, the rest is history. It took approx. 3 yrs of auditioning everyday until I could walk away from my desk job and pursue my dream of being a Professional Voice over talent.

2. What is the one thing you know now that you wish someone had told you when you first started out in voiceover?

Well quite honestly, I was told the truth upfront…that it would be EXTREMELY hard work but if I dedicated myself to this…it would be possible. And I never gave up, I just kept plugging away, keeping a positive attitude, knowing I would succeed.

3. What do you see as the biggest professional or personal obstacle you face that impacts your voiceover business and how are youworking to overcome it?

The disappointment factor of not booking a VO gig after you and the Director/Sound engineer think you really nailed the read. From experience, of course I know it is so subjective and it could have nothing to do with the read, the client was just looking for a different sound. I regard every audition as a valued opportunity and grateful for the experience….BUT sometimes, it’s still difficult.:)

4. What personal trait or professional tool has helped you succeed the most in your career so far?

My professionalism, timeliness, sense of humour and the fact that I love what I do is transparent to the client and makes them feel at ease.

5. In your development as a voice over performer, who has been the one particular individual or what has been the one piece of performance advice (maybe a key performance trick, etc.) that you felt has had the most impact on your actual voice over performance and why?

There are too many pieces of advice but the few that stand out for me are “lift the words off the page and make them your own” “it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s how you say it” And lastly, “give the client 1 take for them (their wishes) and 1 of your own, because sometimes, they don’t even know what they want”