Entries Tagged as 'casting'

very nice! rodney saulsberry nominated for NAACP image award

Actor Rodney Saulsberry

I saw the news on Voiceover Universe today that the wonderfully talented Rodney Saulsberry has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his acting work on The Bold and the Beautiful.

He is nominated as Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series.

Folks, there are hundreds of talented actors that cruise through the soap opera world every year and get nary a mention let alone a nomination – this nomination is a BIG deal.

My congrats to Rodney and the team at The Bold and the Beautiful.

the voiceover fight is on: “dora the explorer” vs. viacom

Caitlin Sanchez - Voice of Dora The Explorer; Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon-AP

This is not the first voiceover contract battle nor will it likely be the last but Caitlin Sanchez family’s lawsuit now filed against defendants Nickelodeon, MTV Networks and Viacom International is a bit more high profile than most.

It pits Viacom, one of the world’s largest communication companies and owner of many media properties including MTV as well as Nickelodeon against the plaintiff Sanchez (and her family) who was hired in 2007 as the voice of Dora the Explorer for the wildly popular and profitable cartoon series of the same name. The family

According to the article in the New York Daily News, the suit claims “Defendants used Caitlin, unjustly enriching themselves of millions of dollars in profits from the series and branded products, which Caitlin preformed and promoted,” and that Sanchez’ Dora deal promised her more than $5,000 an episode and compensation in residuals and merchandising.

After negotiations between the parties failed the lawsuit, which the defendant’s attorney claim is “without merit”, was filed.

My take on these suits is always “we’ll see”.

hear! what national voice over month is all about

National Voice Over Month chair, leader and flag bearer Dave Courvoisier put out the call for scripts and voice talent to help him produce a PSA (public service announcement) for NVOM.

As you might expect, Dave was deluged with people offering to help in his awareness efforts. That’s kinda been the way its been going from the event’s inception in late (I mean really late) August of this year.

So with the GLOBAL voice over help of:

Daniel Wallace, David Atwood, Mahmoud Taji, Bobbin Beam, David Houston, Jay Sawyer, Jim Barton, Ken Maxon, Liz de Nesnera, Linda Ristig, Morgan Barnhart, Lee Gordon, Dan Roberts, Trish Basanyi, Andy Boyns, Mike Coon, Doug Turkel, Melanie Haynes, Bob Souer, Dave Courvoisier, Justin S. Barrett, Rowell Gormon, Mike Roberts, Michael Schoen, Edo Peters, CC Petersen, Jodi Krangle and Ralph Hass

Here is the first National Voice Over Month PSA, produced by Dave Courvoisier.

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“…only to a certain degree.”

Voice over talents are independent contractors who do one-off jobs as well as long-term contract work. While we market our work to prospective clients via advertising and tools like social media, truth be told, most of the world doesn’t know we exist or really what we do for a living…except talk.

And in our collective business model, that’s as it should be…our job is a behind-the-scenes deal.

For one voice talent, that changed this week. And I have a sense that this change will have some repercussions within the industry…I am pretty sure at the very least it will spark discussions.

While it is a long story, I will try and briefly summarize it as it was told on the blog of voice talent D.C. Douglas: he states that the lobbying firm, Freedom Works, encouraged supporters of the Tea Party movement to get D.C. fired as the national voice talent for GEICO Insurance. D.C. says that is because he left an agitated voicemail (with his contact information) for Freedom Works regarding slurs Tea Party participants made about Rep. Barney Frank during the recent Congressional health care vote. Evidently Freedom Works and the Tea Party movement are aligned in some organizational way. As a result, D.C. has not been retained as a voice talent by GEICO.

I do not know D.C. Douglas, I do not believe I have ever spoken to him and I doubt he knows me either. But his was a pretty large voice over deal on a national advertising campaign for a very large American company. And now because he expressed his opinion (in what he infers was a regrettable manner) to a group that used their professional connections to get him fired, he lost a contract.

More to the point, because of his expressed opinions, he as a voice talent was dragged out from behind his major client’s curtain, thrusting both himself and his client onto a public, political stage neither was expecting to be on…or ultimately wanted to be on. The result was his client dismissed him. To his credit, D.C. Douglas inferred on his blog that he fully understands and accepts GEICO’s position.

It seems to me that the overarching question in all this is: do voice talents, who speak for a living, enjoy the right to free speech outside the booth?

In my opinion, the answer is yes – but only to a certain degree.

Voice talents are just as bound to and protected by the United States Constitution, its Bill of Rights and our country’s laws as any other American citizen. Voice artists have opinions and we share them as we see fit.

But it is the content of those opinions, how we express them and where we express them (the “as we see fit” part) that elicits my “only to a certain degree” opinion.

Remember, usually, a voice talent is an anonymous entity in the world except to those who need to hire voice talents: advertising agencies, television and radio stations and businesses may need a professional voice for their clients or themselves.

Their primary objective is to find a voice that suits their script. The voice talent is only one cog in a big marketing/advertising wheel and these producers – while caring about a “voice” very much – also have other things to do and deadlines to meet.

When hiring any project, if a voice talent is considered egotistic, poorly prepared, unprofessional or difficult to work with in anyway, they’ll move on to their second voice choice rather than deal with the headache of their “difficult” first choice.

As far as I know to this point, D.C. Douglas has no such negative reputation and his voice resume would seem to support my understanding.

But like it or not, what D.C. now faces is a very high profile examination of his personal and political beliefs by people who have yet to hire him. Whether his beliefs are right or wrong to me or you isn’t important…unless “you” are the one doing the hiring you happen to disagree with D.C.’s opinions – D.C.’s beliefs now may precede and even supersede his professional voice work, in a producer’s mind. It’s a reality he now must face because he chose to share his political beliefs in a public forum in an aggressive way with an equally passionate, politically opposite but clearly more influential group whose tactics are aggressive.

“…only to a certain degree.”

His name, his brand may be sullied in the eyes of some potential employers – and he’ll never know it, they will never speak of it to D.C. and his agents…these potential employers will simply move on to their second voice choice.

“…only to a certain degree.”

It doesn’t mean his voice over career is over…it may mean that the pool of options may be lessened. Conversely, there may be companies who didn’t know of him before hand, agree with his beliefs and hire him because of them. But it is an unknown that D.C. will have to live with for a while until he sees how this all shakes out… his voice over checking account will provide the final results.

“…only to a certain degree.”

I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say that D.C. Douglas didn’t see all of this coming with one, poorly worded, heat-of-the-moment voice mail message. His beliefs are his own and as such are not right or wrong – they are his and he is entitled to them.

“…only to a certain degree.”

But politics can be a dirty and dishonorable business, even among those who enter it professionally with the best of intentions. The best intentions of lobbyists are based on serving and accomplishing the political goals of those who hire them. Whether that system is right or wrong matters not to this discussion – those are the understood rules of the pool that D.C. Douglas dove into, heart first, in his voice mail.

Now, he will have no choice but to live with the courage of his convictions (which is not a bad thing), a choice I don’t think he understood he was making when he placed that call. But it is a situation that he and I think all voice talents may have thought about, at least a little bit, at one time or another in their professional lives.

The question for voice talents now is this: What is your “certain degree”. At what point would you risk having your brand overshadowed publicly by your personal beliefs? Or would you handle how you promote your beliefs differently.

There are no wrong answers as I see it – only the right answer as decided by each individual voice talent. I look forward to your opinions.

is bob souer a voice over god?

<em> Male Voice Talent Bob Souer</em>

Male Voice Talent Bob Souer

No but he plays Him in an audiobook. (Ba-dum-bump!)

About four years ago my friend, fellow traveler and sometimes dining companion Bob Souer was booked to narrate entire Bible in the “New King James” version.

Let me repeat: the entire Bible – all 700,000 plus words of it. It’s now been released.

Personally, I’ve always felt there was a bit of divine intervention in the booking because you’ll not find a more kind, Christian man with greater voice over talent than Bob.

If you or someone in your family enjoys absorbing Scripture, this would be an awesome gift, written by some awesome people and presented by an awesome guy.

extra, extra, voice over xtra!

vox_header_new

I hope I’ve written something like this before about the voice over industries preeminent e-zine, Voice Over Xtra! but if not, here it is: you darn well better be a subscriber if you are in this industry.

Should you needed any more convincing, look no further than the post its editor and my friend John Florian put up yesterday. He got voice over talent Jennifer Vaughn to write a fascinating article that financially analyzes and compares her 2009 efforts auditioning and securing business on both Voices.com and Voice 123.

As the voice over industry’s two primary pay-to-play sites who together have changed the landscape on how clients and talent get new voice over business (the argument about whether for better or worse will be held over for another time) this is really a great comparison and a startlingly honest report by Vaughn.

Thanks Jennifer for that and thanks John for everything.