Entries Tagged as 'community'

why voice-over meet-up groups are so valuable

A meeting on the Buffalo, NY Voice-Over Meetup group (from l-r) Robert W. Taylor, Leslie Diamond, Dan Lenard, Chris Nichter, Peter K. O'Connell, Jen Deyo, Fred Filbrich, Randye Kaye amd Glad Faith Klassen

A meeting on the Buffalo, NY Voice-Over Meetup group (from l-r) Robert W. Taylor, Leslie Diamond, Dan Lenard, Chris Nichter, Peter K. O’Connell, Jen Deyo, Fred Filbrich, Randye Kaye and Glad Faith Klassen

Voice-over talents are a closeted bunch.

Meaning whether in our homes or studios, we spend a lot of time in booths (closets) churning out voice stuff.

It’s great but who do you bounce business, technical or performance ideas off of if you work by yourself? Where are your checks and balances coming from?

It was 2009 when my friend and fellow voice-talent (the lovely and talented) Doug Turkel invited me out to his Voice-Over Mastermind Group in Miami, FL. So I hoped in my private jet that afternoon and join Doug and his pals for what was my first official meet-up group. As with most things Doug, it was terrific.

From that moment forward, I wanted to start some kind of group like that in Buffalo, NY.

But Mrs. audio’connell and I had a child. And another. And another. A bunch of FaffCons later, I still didn’t start my meet-up group. Then finally, after attending a voice-over class that just wasn’t filling my needs, I did what all good leaders do to get things done.

I delegated.

See, I was not going to be able to organize a meet-up group with my family and professional commitments. I’m the guy that had always put this stuff together but this time it wasn’t going to happen and I knew it. But it didn’t mean stuff couldn’t happen. With the advent of FaffCon, more Buffalo voice talents attended together, we realized the power of what we could do and we all wanted to do it.

So I contacted local voice talents and fellow Faffers Dan Lenard and Leslie Diamond and said “help”.

Leslie offered up her house, Dan made some calls, we shared notes on who to invite (lots of people) and in August 2013, we held our first meet-up. I think 5 people showed up. I was stunned there weren’t more with so many talents around.

What I came to understand was that these were the committed ones, the ones who wanted to try. And our monthly meetings have been going on since. And growing!

Our troupe now includes: Robert W. Taylor, >Leslie Diamond, Dan Lenard, Chris Nichter, Jen Deyo, Fred Filbrich and Glad Faith Klassen.

To be clear, this meet-up is not like my traveling lunch dinner tours that Bob Souer and I have made famous over the years.

The Buffalo Voice-Over Meetup Group created our own agenda: reviewing successes, talking about challenges, picking a specific industry related topic and everyone just sharing info. Sometimes one of us volunteers to talk about a subject we know a little more about. We take notes….and we work on scripts. We group direct and one on one direct.

And we remember that we are not alone. Our families may sometimes question our career choices but in a meet-up, we are among those who get it. Meet-up members understand the incurable disease of voice-over performance. And for just those few hours every month, you get to talk shop where nobody looks at you funny. Usually.

They are fragile eco-systems, these voice-over meet-up groups, because they live and die by the quality of the talent (performance and business-wise) in the group. It should be a group, not something led by one individual. Plus people come and go…the success of every meeting is not guaranteed. Which is why everyone who is in an on-going, effective and most importantly interactive meetup group should be very thankful. I know I am.

last day for movember 2013 – please DONATE and SHARE


Thirty days later…the above picture is the result of my Movember commitment (well, of course, I gave some money too).

Aside from Mrs. audio’connell’s complaints (not a whisker fan) my part in all this was pretty easy.

Your part (whether you’ve donated already or whether you will today – please) is a little bit more involved as you’re being asked to give a little money to support research into Men’s Cancers. Thank you for giving whatever you can TODAY!!!

Any amount will do….even $5. And yes, we would accept $5,000 if you’re so inclined. The point is we don’t judge.

As I’ve said in the past, whether you donate MY MOVEMBER PAGE or THE MO-VO TEAM PAGE makes no difference to me. When you donate to one, you donate to all. There is no competition in voice-over and there is no competition between MO-VO team members.

Movember_Voice-Over Team 2013

This event would not be a successful voice-over event without the generous support not only of the donors but of all the people on the MO-VO team (I think this is like our 2nd or 3rd year together) including: Jeffrey Kafer, Johnny Heller, Cliff Zellman, Paul Christy, Chris Mezzolesta, J Christopher, Homero Espinosa,Anthony Gettig, Graeme Spicer, Dustin Ebaugh, Matt Simmons, Ryan Calafato, Joey Pepin as well as MO SISTAS (yes, women CAN be a apart of the fund raising effort) Nancy German and Fran McClellan

Thank you ALL!

the voice over cafe live at faffcamp

The Voice Over Cafe made its way to Charlotte, NC, for FaffCamp and recorded its latest episode there….what a blast.

Female Voice-Over Talent Trish Basanyi and Male Voice-Over Talent Terry Daniel have been hosting and producing the Voice-Over Cafe for a while and it was a special treat for me to be invited on to this live recording session as there was a room full of interesting people with whom they could have spoken. Terry and Trish are supported in their production by the lovely and talented Sean Caldwell, Tom Dheere and Peter Bishop – each a bad ass voice-over talent in their own right and all loyal Faffers to the core.

The episode stars Amy Snively and features Bob Souer, Liz deNesnera, Dan Friedman, (movie star) Melissa Exelberth, Connie Terwilliger and Cliff Zellman.

You can listen here. And I hope you will.

april 15, 2013

My Father had a saying that I have always tried to live by. I’ll spare you the original Latin; translated it is “Don’t let the bastards get you down”.

It is easy to say but not so easy to do on days like today. But we must not let the bastards get us down.

If we do, we lose.

We’re America…we don’t lose.

an admission of voice-over guilt

I have been doing voice-over professionally since 1982. That’s not the admission of guilt.

In all that time, I have been to an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor a grand total of once: to get my ears look at.

Never have I been to an ENT to get my throat and vocal folds looked at…that’s my admission of guilt.

Think about it for a moment…the key instrument upon which I rely for my income had never been in for a medically tune up. My microphones were better taken care of than my throat.

That’s stupid and that’s my fault.

Now, you don’t have to admit it, but I’m guessing you’ve been stupid too. When was the last time (if ever) you’ve been to an ENT to get checked out (especially a preventative exam)?

I was even pulled aside by my friend Sean Caldwell at FaffCon 5, who explained to me in no uncertain terms the dangers of ignoring throat and vocal health. That was months ago and yet I waited.

Stupid me.

Well I recently addressed my stupidity head-on…because I was forced to. If you’re skittish about unhappy endings, read on as this one turns out ok.

Here’s the brief back-story – I went down to my father-in-law’s house a few weeks ago for the Easter holiday. He has a cat and it turns out (and I knew this for a few years, having visited him before) I had developed an allergic reaction to cats (as an adult) in the form of asthma (albeit a minor but still uncomfortable form of asthma).

The subsequent significant coughing (even while on medication which I ordered up ahead of time in anticipation of my problem) left me significantly laryngitical for weeks (as my FaffCon Stand-up group can attest). That meant no voice-over work. None.

So after squeaking into the phone one day too many I decided I needed to see someone other than my talented general practitioner about my pressing vocal health challenge.

Problem was I didn’t really have a name of someone to meet with. So I called my friend Dan Lenard who was kind enough to share his ENT with me (since Dan and I live in the same area although we only see each other at FaffCons).

I met Dr. Joel Bernstein who began the appointment by condemning me for talking too loudly when I said hello to him and went on to discuss how I needed to rest my voice more when I wasn’t using it professionally, which I knew. I also let him know I have three small kids and use my loud voice sometimes to corral those feral cats. He didn’t really have an answer for that one.

So on to the heart of the exam- the throat scoping. This involves a little topical anesthetic through the nose…so that a camera tube can be put down there and the good doctor can see what’s up in the throat and vocal area. It’s a bit uncomfortable but it doesn’t hurt.

Well the good news is the exam showed my throat to be in perfect health and that there was no damage to my vocal chords and that I would be fine once my coughing and asthma symptoms subsided, which they have. I am back to voicing new projects without sounding like Harvey Fierstein.

So even though you didn’t ask for my advice, I hope you won’t be as stupid as I was…take this nudge as reason enough to contact an ENT in your area to get your voice-over money maker examined.

silly voice-over direction

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been writing this blog for so long but I’m fortunate to get the heads up on new and unique projects coming from within the voice-over community whether they be blogs, books, webisodes etc. Many of these new projects I try to include here, some I forget about and don’t. It’s not that I don’t want to include most of it, it’s just I either run out of time, plain forget or fall asleep from exhaustion.

I only make it look easy.

This latest notice kinda tickled my funny bone. Marc Cashman is writing a book entitled “We’re Auditioning For a Muse” which will be a collection of really stupid directions talents have been given in a voice-over script. As Marc describes it “You know, the ones that have you scratching your head wondering what the hell they mean.”

So if you have any of these directionally challenged directions, send them to Marc.

The one I remember happened to a voice talent named Margo Davis who was asked by the director if she could make her read ‘sound more paisley.’

Um…yeah, sure.