Entries Tagged as 'voice over training'

off to vo atlanta

VO Atlanta audioconnell

What’s your agenda when you attend a voice-over conference?

I think most people would answer – ‘whatever is on the agenda’ is on their agenda when attending a voice-over conference.

One assumes people look at what’s planned for a conference and decide based on that whether the event is worth attending.

That’s fine. I also think it’s lazy and unproductive. (Uh oh, here he goes again!)

Look, if you want to be led around by the nose by whatever is put in front of you in the banquet of conference classes, that’s OK.

It just seems to me that to get your true money’s worth out of a conference, you need to set personal objectives – to be achieved as a result of your attendance – that will help move your career further, no matter what stage you find yourself in your career.

I’ll give you a personal example.

Outside of FaffCon and FaffCamp, which remain my favorite professional voice-over events, I haven’t been to that many voice-over conferences. I’ve presented at some but I don’t attend that many.

Time is one reason but the bigger reason is I don’t feel the content at most VO conferences will add significantly to my current knowledge bank. That doesn’t mean I’m better or smarter or that the content isn’t good. It means I don’t feel like I’m the right audience for most VO conferences.

When you’ve worked in a business (any business) for 34 years, that’s going to happen. Someone with none of my experience, half of my experience or even more than my experience would likely see many VO conference agendas differently than I do. It’s a personal career decision.

But it is also true that after that much time, I’ve come to realize that I know how much I don’t know. And you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. The tricks had just better be spectacular.

The tricks at FaffCon and FaffCamp, because of the level of professional, experienced talent in attendance, have always been pretty spectacular and helped in my professional growth and development.

I am a newbie to VO Atlanta, which is now in its 3rd year. There are a significant number of folks new to the voice-over industry that will be in attendance and certainly some of VO Atlanta’s content is geared toward that audience. That’s cool.

Unique this year at VO Atlanta is the attendance of a great number of casting directors and voice over agents. This has piqued my interest.

It pleases me to already be working with many (but not all) of the agents at VO Atlanta including Erik Sheppard from Voice Talent Productions, Jeffrey Umberger from Umberger Agency and of course my agent and long time Toronto pal Tanya Buchanan from Ta-Da Voiceworks. I would like to at least meet a few of the agents and casting directors that I don’t yet know.

Further, there are a couple of sessions on Saturday (the day I’ll be there) that I would like to listen in on. Although I am not interested in the concept of X-sessions, which requires an additional fee for each session on top of the initial conference fee. Not judging, that’s just me.

Also, I’ll be in attendance at VO Atlanta with some of my fellow MVO: The Voice-Over Guys including Dan Friedman, Brad Venable, Jordan Reynolds and Dustin Ebaugh. That’s always fun!

Will there be Voxy Ladies there? Nah, ya can’t never find them anywhere. 😉 (ducking).

Finally, there are at least 25 of my longtime VO friends who will be in attendance, whose company I enjoy and who are always generous with their insights and advice.

Too, there are new friends to make at this new-to-me conference.

So not a lot of my objectives for VO Atlanta have anything to do with the agenda. But I do have specific objectives for my attendance.

My suggestion, if you are going to this or any other VO conference, is to think about what your goals and objectives are for attending…then think bigger – whatever that means to you.

You’re the student.

I hope this helps.

Voice-Over Mastery 2015

Voice-Over Mastery

Some people would be content to rest on their professional laurels rather than try something new. Most folks don’t like to break out of their comfort zone.

Most people aren’t Randy Thomas.

Likely America’s most famous female voice-over talent, her talents have taken her from radio dee-jay to the voice of Hooked On Phonics to the first woman to announce The Academy Awards©, The Emmy Awards©, The SAG Awards©, The AFI Awards© (to name a few) voice of Entertainment Tonight for almost a decade, years as the station voice for countless local TV and radio stations, author….look, you get the idea.

Where you hear women announcing on live award shows a lot now, Randy is the one who broke through the male dominated field and paved the way for them (when on the rare occasion she’s not actually the one doing the voicing).

She’s still actively working on voice-over (most recently having done promo work for a well-received CNN documentary series) but she isn’t satisfied with just that.

Last year she created a new voice-over educational series called VO Mastery in her hometown of Fort Meyers, FL. The event is open to all voice talents and even folks considering joining the industry (mostly, though, the attendees include people working in the voice-over business).

In 2014 and again this weekend she brought together a series of accomplished voice talents and industry professionals (many of whom are not often seen at these kinds of voice-over conferences) to cover the gamut of performance, technology and business topics.

Last year, three highlight speakers were Joe Cipriano, Melissa Disney and Chris Corley who each offered some terrific insights into how they manage their careers and how what they’ve learned (good and bad) might be applicable to the careers of those listening. It was a great weekend of networking and I picked up some helpful information too.

This year I had a scheduling conflict with a family event so I couldn’t fly in for VO Mastery’s Friday’s reception. I grabbed a 6:30 a.m. flight Saturday via Washington, D.C. to Ft. Meyers and got there a little after noon.

I arrived in perfect time to grab lunch with longtime pals Doug Turkel, Dan Friedman and Celia Segal. What was especially nice about this lunch was whom they had brought along…Jonathan Tilley, who was speaking at the event (on Saturday morning, so I unfortunately missed the talk). But we had a very nice time at lunch. If you’ve not seen any of Jonathan’s videos including his Tedx Talk, you should check it out.

Another person whose presentation I was looking forward to David Lyerly, former Atlas Talent Promo Agent and now New York’s premier voice over coach for network promos. His panel presentation was interesting but what was especially fun was his performance class, where he guided about 20 of us through cable and network promo scripts. Then he and I got to have dinner afterwards.

There were of course other fine speakers as well including Susan Bennett, Peter Rofe, “Uncle Roy” Yokelson, Simone Fojgiel, Pilar Uribe, Zu Rek “Rick” Party, Carol Monda, J. Michael Collins, Don Abbott, Ronald Magaut as well as Doug, Celia and Dan.

Of course, truth be told the BEST part about these conferences is seeing my friends like Doug, Dan, Celia, Roy, Simone, Zu Rek and Randy. But there were other friends there too (most of whom didn’t know I was even coming to VO Mastery) and all of whom I wish I had more time with including Jackie Bales, Rosi Amador, Bev (Come to Welland) Standing, Shelley Avellino, Faith Coons & Kerri Donovan.

Of course, with my old brain, I have likely inadvertently omitted someone – for which I apologize now, no offensive was intended – but I am grateful for all the people I got to meet in my all too brief visit for #vomastery

peter k. o’connell new tv promo voice-over demo

TV Camera

This is my new TV Promo Demo.

My last voice-over demo for TV promo wasn’t as good as this (I’m not talking about me, but rather the overall quality of the demo).

Although I do think I sound better on this demo because I put time and effort in to studying with really good teacher and practicing what I learned. I’m glad I made the investment.

While I hope you like it, I hope promo producers like it even more 🙂

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

the vo-bb…10 years later

 The Voice-Over Bulletin Board

The Voice-Over Bulletin Board


I realized this evening that I forgot an important professional and personal anniversary in February of this year.

For ten years I have been a member and participant in the Voice-Over Bulletin Board, The VO-BB.

There have been so many bulletin boards for the voice-over industry over these past ten years and many have burned off into the ether. But not Deirdre (D.B.) Cooper’s VO-BB.

It is unclear to me which is more important about this special internet place, wherein mostly words with links about the voice-over profession and the people who practice it are posted. Is its purpose more as a place of learning or as a community?

A case could be made for both.

So many educational nuggets on so many facets of the voice-over industry and it’s practitioners are contained within its virtual walls that if a PhD could be given for the study of voice-over, the VO-BB would be the industry’s Library of Congress.

But upon reflection (and yes, I am a person who reflects on such things) I think the VO-BB as a place of community is the site’s true hallmark. Beyond the business benefits of being virtually connected with these people (referrals and the like — as it is with most businesses, people prefer to do business with friends), there is a sense of camaraderie, of team and of belonging – of people who get me and what I do. After all, it’s their business too.

Some years ago, when there were more boards like this, a few people called those of us on the VO-BB “clicky”. That really was never true because, almost universally, everyone on the VO-BB always tried to welcome and acknowledge new members when they announced themselves. I think what those few “clicky accusers” were trying to say was that there was a great familiarity among the regulars on the VO-BB, sometimes, inadvertently, posting and “conversing” in a knowing shorthand. We all just followed D.B.’s rules (still do) and play and learn from there.

There may be a few folks who don’t realize that without the VO-BB, there might not have ever been a FaffCon. Without that epic voice-over convergence, many hundreds (if not more) voice talents might not have ever enjoyed the immeasurable benefits that this revered event brings to past attendees everyday.

We VO-BB members have done much voice-over work together. Heck, when Erik Sheppard of Voice Talent Productions used to have his holiday party, we’d have pre and post party VO-BB get togethers. There are even more stories beyond these two quick examples, but you get the idea.

And friends. So many real-world friends. An abundance of riches for which I am humbled and grateful beyond words.

Thank you Deirdre and all my friends on the VO-BB for…everything.

If you haven’t yet joined us, come on in. As Mickey once sang: “Hey, there! Hi, there! Ho, there! You’re as welcome as can be!”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

voice-over mastery & friends

Voice-Over Talents Jaye Delai, Peter K. O'Connell, Dan Friedman, Faith Coons & Doug Turkel at Randy Thomas' Voice-Over Mastery Event in Ft. Meyers, FL

Voice-Over Talents Jaye Delai, Peter K. O’Connell, Dan Friedman, Faith Coons & Doug Turkel at Randy Thomas’ Voice-Over Mastery Event in Ft. Meyers, FL

There had never before been a Voice-Over Mastery Event and I’m not sure even its producer and well-respected voice talent Randy Thomas knew how her event would turn out. But I think it was better than even she expected.

Randy brought together speakers including Joe Cipriano, Melissa Disney, Chris Corley, Anne Ganguzza, David Goldberg & Graeme Spicer among others to have them offer their insights and experience. If I was going to pick my favorite part, it would definitely be the networking with…everybody.

I’ll be very interested to see who Randy brings together next year. Thanks Randy.

faffcamp II is coming march 19-22, 2015

faffcamp-patch-logo-faffcon_225x200

Faff Camp II is scheduled for March 19-22, 2015 at the Omni Colonnade in San Antonio, TX. Use this promo code: VT8988559 and I win a new(er) car! It might be a Matchbox or Hot Wheels – no way to tell yet.

IF you work in voice-over, know people in your acting class, VO workout group or wherever you’re connected to VO pals and colleagues, you should all attend if you’re all serious about a career as a professional voice-over talent.

Voice Talents Amy Snively, Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O'Connell at FaffCamp 2013
We’re looking for bright, friendly, down-to-earth VO people (like those in the above picture –ahem) who you think would love Faff Camp’s smart, ego-free, solution-oriented learning and sharing; people who’d fit in well with the Faff culture of VO people helping VO people get better at VO stuff (and make more more money doing it).

We’re doing Faff Camp II registration “Kickstarter-style”. If we hit our attendance target by July 11, we’ll see you at Faff Camp II!

If we fall short, we issue 100% refunds and…no Faff Camp.

My guess is – FaffCamp II WILL be happening. Visit the FaffCamp web site for all the details. Registration opens Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. pacific time.