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guest blogger- female voice talent natalie stanfield thomas

Female Voice Over Talent Natalie Stanfield Thomas

I met Natalie Stanfield Thomas at Faffcon 2 but I knew of her work before then.

She’s a wonderfully creative voice talent who brings alot of life experience to her voice over work and it make her audio great.

We were talking one day (as we New York State neighbors often do) and she mentioned how she felt how she was upset with herself and her faux communication skills. She said she’d been using social media as a way to communicate with her friends and family more than actually speaking with them.

I said you’ve got a blog post in that idea and you need to write it. She finally did. Here is my friend Natalie Stanfield Thomas:

In the past six months, I’ve witnessed the birth of my friends’ grandchildren on one side of the country and children of another within days of each other on the other side of the country, I’ve been there to offer support when a marriage fell apart a continent away, crashed a wedding and reception I didn’t even know about until some friends told me, gave moral support to a friend who was dealing with a child with emotional/behavioral struggles, cheered from the sidelines while another friend launched her book deal, drooled over the latest cuisines and tastings some of my cohorts saw fit to share, and witnessed countless career-making deals be made between friends in the entertainment industry.

I did all of this, and never left my desk, in fact, for the most part many of these exchanges occurred without any real human contact at all. I had all of these interchanges with my close personal friends and family members, through Facebook and Twitter.

It suddenly occurred to me that I have been lulled into the false sense that I was actually cultivating my relationships.

It was so astonishing, as a matter of fact, that one of my friends remarked in an email exchange that he too had just realized that since we often comment on one another’s pictures or status updates on Facebook, he had not realized until that very moment, in that very email, that this was the first intentional contact we’d had with one another in SIX MONTHS.

Our job is communication, it’s what we’re supposed to be good at, so why then am I sitting here making a ‘to do’ list of intentionality?

I am reminding myself that PERSONAL contact with the people important to me, friends and clients is something I have to cultivate. The electronic media that makes networking so simple, also has an insidious side. It has the ability to afford a false sense of connectivity, to make you believe you are staying involved, when in reality you are on auto pilot. Remember, the only time you can coast is when you are going down hill. So I’m awake now and pedaling forward. I’m making personal contact with the people I interact with in my social media.

So how about you?

When was the last time you had a real conversation with the people in your network? Think about it, and do me a favor will you? If you see yourself in any of this, don’t ‘tweet’,’plus’ or ‘like’ it until you’ve first called someone and told them about it.

the oversharing voice talent

audio'connell voice over talent_microphone on stage

There are two or three voiceover coaches who post so much on Facebook, Voiceover Universe and Twitter et al about their latest seminars in Tupelo, Mississippi or where ever that I’ve simply unfriended them. Social media for them is an endless informercial, I guess.

Oy.

Evidently so many voice talents have sooo much new business – based on all the Facebinkedinwitter posts I read from them – that there may be no voice over jobs left for me (or you for that matter) so we all should just quit. It’s like an accountant in April posting “I just completed another tax return!” Um, pal, that what you’re supposed to do.

The debate over the best microphone has become so intense that two voiceover talents will duel to the death tomorrow morning– their weapons of choice will be a Neumann TLM 103 and a Sennheiser 416. It begs the question if two voice over talents die in the forest, who will announce it?

And it will surprise you to learn that voxmarketising is NOT the only blog on the topic of voiceover – at last count there were 14 billion voice over blogs, all of them debating whether breaths should or should not be edited out of narrations.

Obviously I’m being silly but the truth is: in the voiceover business, we talk a lot.

When it’s not on mic, it’s on line.

The trouble is we’re ALL talking about the same things…over and over. And I think I’m getting burnt out.

That’s a bad thing because while I thought I was contributing to the conversation, I wondering now if I’ve simply been contributing to the noise.

Paul Strikwerda, my Double Dutch voiceover friend, recently wrote about this issue, which I have been bandying about in my head for a while. He’s felt tad bored by what he’s read.

My concern is not that I’m bored (I know how to fix that – change the channel, hit the off switch) but rather that I’m the one being boring. I’ve actually cut back a bit on my social media and blogging because I didn’t feel I had anything interesting to contribute. I’m not sure “my perspective” is always enough.

Thinking about it that way made me feel a little better because at least I was thinking before typing. I think when it comes to Social Media, that’s not done a lot (and it’s not an issue exclusive to voice over talents, believe me). I’ve also been guilty as charged so don’t think I’m casting aspersions (so please, no emails from aspersions looking for voice work).

It seems we’re now all (and that “all” was a lot smaller when I started in Social Media) talking about the same voice over topics and from where I sit (just one man’s opinion here) the individual perspectives don’t always seem unique enough or even thought-provoking…and again, myself included.

I know we all just want to be heard and we all enjoy freedom of expression and that’s great. I don’t want it stifled but shouldn’t we all consider a little self-editing? Just a little?

I don’t know about you but I do NOT want to be the “oh not THAT guy again” brand. The line between frequency and obnoxious gets thin fast in social media; brands are now suffering (and not reaping).

SEO and marketing opportunities available through Social Media are so enticing (based on cost) that I think we all forget sometimes that for Social Media to be effective, we have to be maybe less frequent but certainly more interesting. And that’s not always easy.

Nor should it be.

What do you think? Or are you even paying attention anymore? 🙂

…because i don’t have enough to do already

Truth is this was a simple idea that I should have caught on to long ago but last week is when inspiration hit. My hope now is to give you an idea that you can customize to hopefully benefit your business.

I graduated from the University of Dayton in 1986 which didn’t seem like a long time ago at the time.

Looking at LinkedIn recently I was checking on UD groups and such and saw some called “Business Connects”; these were city specific networking groups made up of UD Alumni in that city.

Ooof! Simple. On-line. Free. Double ooof!

Now I had tried creating an in-person UD alumni group in Buffalo and long story short, it no longer exists but not for lack of alumni interest.

So I created University of Dayton Business Connect Western New York. This group would include any UD alumni who have or currently do live anywhere roughly between Buffalo, New York and Rochester, New York. But those are the only requirements (so if you don’t meet the requirements, don’t ask to join cause I’ll say no – but I’ll say it politely and with a smile).

I gotta think that if you graduated from a College or High School, something like this exists BUT if it doesn’t, I can tell you it is not that tough to slap one of these groups together. If you are willing to spend a couple of hours prospecting, ‘er, researching your school name and your city name on LinkedIn, I bet you can find folks who you can invite to join.

Over about 2-3 days, there are 11 members in our group. A ton? No, but a start. I’m not sure if I can give you a better example of social media at work.

To be fair, I have no idea how successful this could be but I have nothing to risk and individually and as a group we have everything to gain.

Do you think this would be worth doing in your area for your school?

podcamp philly october 2-3 2010

If you are in or around the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and have a new or continuing interest in social media as it pertains to you life (business or personal) I highly recommend you attend Podcamp Philly 2010.

Of course if you have a Podcamp ANYWHERE near you, I recommend you attend it.

The cost is only $20 (which basically weeds out the real attenders from the pretenders and makes headcount more efficient for the volunteer organizers) You can sign up HERE.

podcamp boston september 25-26, 2010

The one that started it all, Podcamp Boston, will celebrate its fifth anniversary this Saturday and Sunday, September 25 & 26, 2010 at the Microsoft N.E.R.D. Center (yes, you read that right).

That’s the good news. The bad news is it looks to be sold out and there is a wait list for tickets. So I guess blog posts like these for their event don’t seem so necessary anymore.

Well, good luck to all involved anyway.

taking drastic action

Some will think this stuff and nonsense but I have been stewing about something for while and it has truly been bugging me.

Facebook Fan Pages.

Specifically, should I have one for my voice over marketing?

I have one for the Voice Over Entrance Exam and I have my own personal Facebook page…but do I need a “Fan” page? Sheesh!

Social Media clearly has a narcissistic component to it. Rarely are you asking people on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or on your blog how they are doing – more likely you are telling people who, what, when, where and how you are doing.

There is no ME in team but there sure is ME in Social Media.

Yet most of us play the game and often times enjoy it especially when there is give and take, usually always pleasant.

But I guess it’s the term Fan Page that has bothered me (I think Facebook is trying to get everyone to call it a Like Page but you’re basically asking for fans or for people to vote that they like you.)

That’s awkward to ask and seems kinda desperate in appearance when the Fan Page is about me (the e-book is a “thing” and it helps people – I have no problem with a Fan Page there).

I have joined a ton of fan pages for other people and never gave it a second thought. No, I didn’t think they were desperate at all because of their Fan Page.

But I look at myself differently. It feels like I am being egotistical if I do this Fan Page thing. The old comic line “But enough about me, what do YOU think of me?” comes to mind. Again…awkward is the word that keeps coming to mind for me.

From a business stand point, it could help me communicate with people on Facebook who are interested in my voice over business (the same reason I participate on LinkedIn and Twitter). That’s the big “Pro” in the “Pro/Con” debate that’s been raging in my cranium literally for months.

Well, ultimately that was the deciding factor for me and shamefully, I am announcing I have a Facebook Fan Page now (talk about burying the lead). Peter K. O’Connell – Male Voice Over Talent is what its called (for the SEO lovers out there). In this context, it sounds as ridiculous as “Peter K. O’Connell – Male Model” but, in for a penny, in for a pound.

We’ll have to see how long I can stomach this. I make no promises.

Thanks for listening.