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favor for a voiceover friend (celia siegel edition)

I Stand Up For Celia SiegelI’m going to ask you for a favor and it’s not for me.

For as many decades as I have written this blog, or have just been writing – before blogs were a thing, I’ve been very blessed with people who would read what I wrote. I greatly appreciate that.

Celia SiegelMost of my blog readers are in the voiceover industry either as voiceover talent, recording studio engineers, creative service directors, advertising agency pros, voiceover agents, business owners and the like. To all you folks, I’d like to take a minute to share someone ELSE’S blessings.

Her name is Celia Siegel.

If you’ve been in the voiceover industry for more than five minutes, you either know or at least have heard of Celia Siegel. You’ve likely heard about her company, Celia Siegel Management. Her company is known for creating strong personal brands for voice talent and marketing those brands to the max-in a way that’s authentic to each voice actor.

Now if you’ve met Celia, you know she actually more than a company or an accomplished author or even Mom…all challenging jobs in themselves and blessings, all. She is also a Cancer survivor. She has achieved a lot. She’s a strong broad.

Yet into each life, a little rain must fall.

Among the most unpleasant of all unwanted surprises, in mid-June of this year Celia was diagnosed with a completely different and advanced form of Cancer that she now must battle. We all know how stupid Cancer is but thinking it could successfully mess with Celia a 2nd time is super stupid. Cancer will fail.

It will, of course, be a fight for Celia…mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially.

On our road trip this weekend, my family prayed the rosary as we were driving for Celia. We prayed that Celia gain all the stamina and blessings she needs to beat this latest Cancer battle. We also made a donation to Celia’s GoFund Me page.

I’m asking you also to offer prayers of healing and strength for Celia’s battle…and also to please DONATE to her GoFund Me page.

Bills do not stop just because someone gets Cancer. They actually can get a lot worse.

We all want to give more for something like this and maybe we’re embarrassed because we think the donation we can afford right now is too small. But giving SOMETHING is best if it’s from the heart. Please do what you can to help my friend and one of our industry’s biggest advocates.

Thanks for your consideration and thanks for reading.

the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with Ta-Da Voiceworks in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Editor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

Voice Talent Peter K O'Connell Ta-Da Voiceworks 19

I had to go all the way to Los Angeles to get an agent in Toronto, even though I lived in Buffalo, NY at the time.

Confused? Well, that’s just good story telling!

When I first met Tanya Buchanan, the owner and head agent at Ta-Da Voiceworks….she wasn’t the owner of an agency. She wasn’t even an agent. She was (and still is) a voice talent.

From my records, it looks like I first met Tanya in person on June 1, 2008 as a Toronto voiceover seminar hosted by Debbie Munroe. I believe Jodi Krangle was at the seminar and possibly also Elaine Singer. I knew Elaine and Jody virtually via VO-BB.com and I think I knew Tanya via there too.

But Tanya was a pistol right out of the gate and she was a presence in the room…in a good way.

Fast forward 4 years later in Ventura, CA, about an hour northeast of LA where Amy Snively was hosting FaffCon 4. Amy had brought some agents into the event and one of them was…Tanya Buchanan?!

Clearly I was Captain Oblivious (yet again) because I had no idea Tanya had started a boutique voiceover agency in Toronto. I was flummoxed mostly because I had no idea she harbored such aspirations (when we first met, she might not have…but we all evolve).

Starting a creative…anything in Toronto is NOT for the faint of heart because that’s akin to an American business person trying to start a boutique voiceover agency in New York or LA. But Tanya is a doer and she was making it happen in the biggest city in Canada. That impressed me.

During FaffCon, I wanted to talk with Tanya about her voiceover agency and whether it would be a fit for us to work together. I had spoken previously with the only other reputable non-union agency in Toronto and he wanted nothing to do with me…the American thing threw him.

Back in Ventura, Tanya and I were both kinda surrounded by VO’s and it wasn’t the perfect space for that kind of one on one business discussion. But my dislike of vegetables offered a solution.

One day during FaffCon, Amy had scheduled a salad lunch…salad….no sandwiches, no soups….just vegetables. In the Peoples Republic of California, a visitor sometimes feel like they are encountering the Borg (think like we, think, act like we act, eat what we eat, join the collective…assimilate!) ?

I knew I would need to find something else to eat. Fortunately, right across the street from the hotel was the west coast’s iconic In & Out Burger restaurant. So I asked Tanya if I could buy her lunch. She agreed. Some how Graeme Spicer ended up joining us for lunch too because I think he wanted to try this burger that was so famous.

Ta-Da Voiceworks 2014 Holiday Party (l-r) Tanya Buchanan, Darryl Hogan, Peter K. O’Connell, Bill Hunt, Graeme Spicer and Debra Scott

Ta-Da Voiceworks 2014 Holiday Party (l-r) Tanya Buchanan, Ta-Da Owner/Senior Agent, Darryl Hogan former Agent and Ta-Da Voiceworks Roster Voice Talents Peter K. O’Connell, Bill Hunt, Graeme Spicer and Debra Scott

Well good news, bad news. Bad news was the food was passable at best. I’ve no idea what all the fuss was about In & Out Burgers. McDonalds is a thousand times better. And yet anything was better to me than a salad bar lunch. Note to Amy: do not pull that again! ?

Good news was between the milkshakes and fries, Tanya figured we should be able to work together, especially since I was in Buffalo and that’s all of two hours away from Toronto. In TO, they still like VO’s to record in person there so if I had to go up, I could make that work.

So I guess 7 years, some voiceover jobs, some FaffCons and even some voiceover conference panels later, Tanya must have forgiven me for subjecting her to a greasy fast-food lunch by the ocean. We’re still working together and I’m glad for that.

the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with the Sheppard Agency in Austin, TX

Editor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

Voice Talent Peter K O'Connell Sheppard Agency 19It is my personal opinion that Erik Sheppard of The Sheppard Agency (formerly Voice Talent Productions) was a grumpy old man by his early teens. Young as he is today, he still has that hilarious grumpy old man persona.

VO Agent Alliance_tall_audioconnellHe, of course, is a perfectly nice, smart guy, a family man (lovely wife -also a voice talent– , son and now a toddler daughter), a business owner (Sheppard Agency) and an advocate for the voiceover industry (VO Agent Alliance).

In my professional voiceover career, Erik is one of those people who seem like they have always been a part of it. I was trying to figure out exactly what year he called (or maybe emailed, I really can’t remember) to ask me to be a voice talent on Voice Talent Productions. I do recall him saying something about it just getting started and would I join etc. That maybe 2006 or 2007. The first email I could find from him (of easily over 600 emails) was 2008.

Point being, we’ve been together in this business a long time. I also believe him to be one of the hardest working agents I know of…auditions coming through to me constantly…on top of bookings and all over payments. The total package you want in a voiceover agent.

His Voice Talent Productions holiday parties were the stuff of legend…so much fun. All the VO talent from around the country would fly into New York City for the weekend and the parties were a blast. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones…all voice talents. Erik and Lindsay even got engaged at one of the parties.

I remember at the after-party for one VTP Holiday Party — it was a cold December night. Erik and I were talking outside because he was having another cigarette. We were talking about the voice acting talent at the party and I said that he really needed to take a listen to a somewhat (at that time) known female voice talent named Mara Junot. I think I had met Mara previously at a FaffCon – but her voice then as now was uh-mazing.

I said Erik, ‘you’ve got to sign her’. He said ‘you’re like the fifth person who has said that to me tonight’. I said ‘that’s part of the point of this party…discovering new voice actors…they show up, the other talents know them, hear them and make an introduction for them.’ Not because of me, but Erik did sign her and I think the Sheppards bought a boat, three cars and a summer home in Nantucket off commissions from the work Mara has booked.

From my commissions, the Sheppards’ were able to buy not one but two boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. Thin Mints, no less. So there’s that.

However, the greatest part of working with Erik are his audition notes…specifically when the rates or usage were ridiculously stupid. None of these note are printable (expletives deleted..and then there’s not much else to read) but trust me they are laugh out loud hysterical… day makers, when you read them.

He is iconic in his VO persona and legendary in his work ethic on behalf of his voice actors. Erik Sheppard is the guy you want in your corner when the VO battles rage.

New O’Connell TV Affiliate SHOW Promo Demo

Peter K. O'Connell Television Affiliate Show Demo

Affiliate promo voiceover work is one of the best parts of this business for a voice actor…it’s always new, the evolution of it is fascinating if you ever study it (even over just the past few decades), new shows, new news teams…the change keeps it interesting, I think.

Match that constant change with some really smart Creative Services Directors, who always come up with new promotional ideas for shows and events, and the voiceover work doesn’t feel so much like work.

My new television affiliate show promo voiceover demo includes not just my voiceover work (which I think is pretty good) but it also includes some of those great promo concepts that I mentioned, including shows like Ellen and Family Feud. The concepts and my reads are show-friendly, advertiser-friendly and overall…very brand-friendly for the stations.

The television affiliate news demo that I recently produced has a different feel – still promotional, but news is often times more serious than entertainment programming and so news promos need to have a more serious edge.

Both types of promo are right within my wheelhouse. If you’re a CSD looking for a new show or news promo voice for your television station (no matter the market), listen to the demo BELOW, please get in touch with me and let’s talk. Thanks.

LISTEN TO THE NEW PETER K. O’CONNELL TELEVISION AFFILIATE SHOW PROMO DEMO:

New O’Connell TV Affiliate NEWS Promo Demo

Peter K. O'Connell Television Affiliate News Demo

Besides the fact that it has been a while since I updated my TV Affiliate News Promo Demo, it never hurts when a TV station inquiries about my affiliate voiceover services to force me to get my butt in gear to make the demo update.

For those not in the industry, the TV affiliates are the local stations in your local TV market where you watch your ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC & PBS network shows as well as national newscasts like World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and PBS Newshour. These TV affiliates have local newscasts with name like Eyewitness News, Action News, NewsCenter, News 4 and have news slogans like “Live, Local & Late Breaking” or “On Your Side”.

I really enjoy voicing affiliate news promos but sometimes we voice talents forget that we need to actually update our voiceover work via our demos for prospective stations.

It’s like advertising agencies that are always busy working on client work and forget to update the agency’s marketing on their web site.

I also recently updated my TV Affiliate Show Promo Demo, more for the Programming department than the News department…I am equally comfortable in both genres.

When producing this new VO demo, I felt like less is more. So I kept the demo to 4 really strong segments that best represent the versatility of my affiliate news promo voice. I hope you agree. 🙂

If you’re a Creative Service Director at a network affiliate television station, I REALLY hope you agree.

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

LISTEN TO THE NEW PETER K. O’CONNELL TELEVISION AFFILIATE NEWS PROMO DEMO: