Entries Tagged as 'technology'

hold that microphone

 Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O'Connell enjoys his new traveling mic stand

Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell enjoys his new traveling mic stand

There are very few days off for voice-over talents.

One reason is that, as a small business owner providing a sometimes time sensitive service in a creative industry, when the client says it’s “go-time” you need to record pretty quickly.

So when I go on the road, I need to be able to effectively and professionally record which I have been doing for years. However, microphone stands have been a problem for me. They need to be small and portable but usually that means cheap and breakable (that’s no good).

This new small, portable and pretty strong tripod and mic holder that I just purchased is doing its job quite nicely. My arm, which had to hold on to the mic prior to this solution, is very happy.

the blog dump

Sometimes I get a little behind in my blog ideas.

Often, I sift through my web browsing and my google reader and I note so many wonderful ideas for a blog post that I just don’t have time (at that very moment) to write about. So I click “save” or “unread” so I’ll have them in my file.

And then I keep them there and I never get around to them. Then comes a day like today where I am hell-bent on getting these ideas out but there are too many to write up individual blogs posts about and yet I am NOT going let them stay in my blog reader one minute more.

So this post will feature a link to all of them with maybe some notes from me on why I thought this was cool and you can decide for yourself.

Pintrest? WTH?: If you were to look for a pintrest board from me you wouldn’t find squat cause I don’t see a use for it yet, but remember, I am a famously late adopter in Social Media. You know how Courvo gets to everything first? I’m nearer to the opposite end of that spectrum. BUT for those in advertising and marketing (which almost every voice-over talent is, whether they like it or not) I saw that my friends at the logo critique web site, Brand New, have a new Pintrest board. It’s loaded with pins to their favorite logos and logo related stories. I enjoyed it.

Comic-Con: I’ve never been but I hope someday to actually go.

Peter O’Toole is one of my favorite actors, mostly because he was the star of one of my favorite movies, My Favorite Year. This week he announced his retirement from acting. I understand it but I’m still a little sad about it. All his amazing talent, multiple Oscar nominations but he never won an Oscar. That confirms for me what I’ve recently surmised: the Oscars are really nothing more than a 4 hour string of commercials occasionally interrupted by some trophy toting circus performers. Sorry Mercedes.

Evidently, a long talked about movie about voice-over is closer to production. Here’s a link to the trailer and no I’m not in the movie.

Someone who IS in the movie is the great voice actress June Foray. The big news here is June recently won her FIRST Emmy Award at age 94 for her work as Mrs. Cauldron on “The Garfield Show” on Cartoon Network. It’s about damn time!

Also under the about damn time category, George Whittam decries that its about damn time somebody found a decent audio interface for the iPad and iPhone. The winner at this point is the Studio Six Digital IAudioInterface2 as blogged by George via a report from voice-over talent Beau Weaver. The Beau/George report (not be confused with the Huntley/Brinkley report) can be found here.

Benztown Voiceover grabbed a very nice interview Voice Talent and WPLJ Creative Services Director Dan Kelly that I think is worth the read.

Finally, it might have been back in 1957 that Unnouncer Doug Turkel gave me the heads up that Twitter changed it branding, the Floridian knowing well how much I like logo news. And I do/did except I didn’t get on this in a very timely manner. But in case you’re one of the 12 that did NOT hear about the change, here’s a quick summary.

There’s probably more but my laptop battery is dying and I don’t feel like plugging in.

Best always,
-Me

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.

the password is…

We all deal with passwords in our digital lives.

Some people have so many its hard to keep track of them.

But I found a list of the most recent “worst” passwords that truly blew my mind.

How people could believe themselves to be digitally protected using any of the passwords this list seems just….unreal!

How about:

1. password

2. 123456

3. 12345678

4. qwerty

5. abc123

OY! ‘Password’ as a password?! Really?!

And there are about 20 more of these doozies on the list. Yikes.

A few years ago I met Christopher S. Penn at a Podcamp and I follow his blog because he writes smart stuff sometimes (which is about 100 times more than I write smart stuff).

His article about passwords I thought had some really smart ideas including:

“Change your passwords now, and change them in such a way that no one password works for everything. At a bare minimum, add a word for password groups so that password sets can be remembered but are different from major network to network.
For example, if the password you want to use is CheeseBurgers!, then create CheeseBurgers!Banking as a password for financial services, CheeseBurgers!Social for networks like Facebook and Twitter, CheeseBurgers!Email for mail services, etc. You’ll still mentally have “one” password but it won’t work for everything. (the added length is also a minor increase to security since longer passwords are harder to guess) If another Gawker media incident happens where millions of passwords and email addresses are stolen, perhaps only your CheeseBurgers!Blogging password will need to be changed.”

How you handle your passwords is your business but it’s important that you NOT take them for granted. The harder you make them, the easier it will be to protect your stuff.

I hope all this helps.

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? 🙂

dropbox plays the game

It’s Sunday night, July 3, 2011.

At 5:03 p.m. this evening I got an email from Dropbox, a service I highly recommend, advising me of a change in their terms of service.

A TOS is like fine print in a contract you don’t read.

Except, when I get a TOS notice intentionally sent on a Sunday during a long American holiday weekend, my spidey sense tingles.

I’m pretty sure Dropbox is trying to pull a fast one with their new TOS.

Not sure what shoe will drop but I’m pretty sure there will be a thud in Dropbox’s future.

The only thing constant in life is change. Just an observation.