Entries Tagged as 'voiceover advice'

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.

what i know about voice-over talents after attending faffcamp 2

 Peter K. O'Connell hosting a marketing session at FaffCamp 2015 (Photo Courtesy of Brad Venable)

Peter K. O’Connell hosting a marketing session at FaffCamp 2015 (Photo Courtesy of Brad Venable)

I have been fortunate to have been included in a great many FaffCons and FaffCamps. These are unconferences and conferences for voice-over talent and they are among the most revered voice-over events by anyone who has ever attended one.

Full disclosure, I am on the FaffCamp and FaffCon committees because I believe so strongly in them. Also because I am so small, conference producer Amy Snively hardly notices I’m there.

At this FaffCamp, I offered a marketing planning presentation on Saturday and Sunday. Though the presentation was meant to be informative and somewhat light-hearted, I noticed a couple of things in both groups that I believe are universal among voice-over business owners.

Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of this. I certainly see myself in some of it.

Making a point or just scaring his audience, Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O'Connell makes a point during his FaffCamp 2015 presentation (Photo Courtesy of Sean Caldwell)

Making a point or just scaring his audience, Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell makes a point during his FaffCamp 2015 presentation (Photo Courtesy of Sean Caldwell)

1. Most voice-over business owners generally don’t like the business part of the voice-over business. In no way am I saying they don’t do it well but they don’t like it much. I think they like it less than most business owners.

2. Though they themselves are a key part of the marketing food chain with the service they provide, voice-over talents do not like doing marketing much. It overwhelms them and intimidates them for the same reason I think it intimidates most small business owners: “where do I start?!” syndrome.

3. Which leads me to the universal acknowledgement by almost all of my session participants that they each suffer in varying degrees from the malady “Paralysis by Analysis”. The non-medical marketing definition is “I don’t know what to do first so I won’t do anything.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The author also sometimes suffers from this malady.)

4. Most voice-over people are pretty smart and strong and even though sometimes paralyzed by the fear of marketing, they understand that they have to do and when led a little bit, they can take the reins and run with a marketing plan. That takes guts and strength to jump into something even when you’re not fully sure what you’re supposed to be doing

I post this not so much for the FaffCampers who attended my presentations (and thank you for doing that) but for other voice talents who couldn’t make it to San Antonio. I want you to be reminded that you are not alone in your business challenges and that rather than have it be a mountain, operational and marketing challenges can be only a bump in the road to your ultimate business success.

Just remember to believe in yourself and your abilities…even those abilities you don’t think you have.

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.

3 reasons attending FaffCamp is critical for your voice-over career

FaffCamp is March 19-22, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas

FaffCamp is March 19-22, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas

FaffCamp is coming to San Antonio, Texas March 19-22 this year. If you’re already attending, I look forward to seeing you there as I will be there as an attendee and a presenter.

Registration information is here.

If you work in voice-over, you are invited to attend…like right here, now, this is your invitation. That knocking sound you hear is opportunity.

For those uninitiated, FaffCamp is a peer-to-peer professional development conference for working voiceover pros (not just voice talents, voice actors, and narrators, but all pros who do work related to voice overs). It’s participant driven and highly interactive, just like its sister event FaffCon.

But at FaffCamp much of the agenda is set in advance, which makes it possible for Faff Camp to welcome a larger group.

Plus, there are cool things we do only at Faff Camp, like Topic Tables, Adopt-a-Question, and Lightning Talks! And since we have two tracks, Starting Smart and Working Pro, we welcome voice talents at ALL career stages.

I don’t have an ownership stake in FaffCamp or FaffCon but I am on the organizing committee and have been for many years, because I believe in it.

 This is FaffCamp producer Amy Snively, associate producer Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O'Connell (me), the sponsorship guy at FaffCamp 2013

This is FaffCamp producer Amy Snively, associate producer Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O’Connell (me), “the sponsorship guy” at FaffCamp 2013

FaffCamp and FaffCon have directly helped my voice-over business and here’s how I think it can help yours:

1. FaffCamp presents interactive and expert advice on performance, technology and business management from vetted industry leaders. All of this information is specifically tailored to the voice-over business because the people presenting it are working in the voice-over business

2. FaffCamp is like Voice-Over College. FaffCamp brings together a whole lot professionally and financially successful voice-over talents. Many of these folks are past Faffers who have both learned a lot and shared a lot at Faff events. Bottom line: walking and talking between sessions, at meals and in other social times is basically like going to Voice-Over College. If you have questions – the answers are likely at FaffCamp.

3. You’re surrounded by people who understand you. Either you are today or want to be someone who sits in a booth all day and talks to him/herself. You’re not normal and neither are FaffCamp attendees, cause we do the same thing. We understand the professional and personal challenges of being a performer, a small business owner and bread winner. You got questions? Very likely we’ve got experienced answers and the meter is NOT running.

One last piece of advice: Go.

straight talk for voice-over talent

Bob Bergen, Lisa Marber-Rich and Tim Walsh at The Business of Voiceover in New York City. Photo Courtesy of Invision/AP

Bob Bergen, Lisa Marber-Rich and Tim Walsh at The Business of Voiceover in New York City. Photo Courtesy of Invision/AP

Melissa Exelberth (also know as ‘X’) posted a video of a voice-over panel she recently attended in New York City that was hosted by the Television Academy.

On the panel was a voice-over talent, two agents, a casting director and a voice-coach, all with names you’ve likely heard of if you’ve been doing voice-over for any length of time.

You don’t need any more build up for this other than to say you should watch this. Watch the whole thing.

And you’re welcome. 😉

who cares?!

voice over workshop kick in the pants

Too much free time. That’s the problem I think plagues many voice talents.

As busy as I am, some days I pay too much attention to social media silliness and my “likes”, “comments” and “retweets” take up more of my day than it should. Like other small business owners, voice talent get sidetracked. But I think it’s a bigger problem for voice talents.

Voice talents love to post and debate – for example ANYthing that has to do with Pay To Play sites and how frustrating those sites are. I see the start of a P2P rant thread and I think ‘do what I did, dump them and move on’ but for some, the topic continues to fester. While I respect that Pay To Plays do have some impact on a voice talent’s bottom line – it is NOT as important as the continuously recycled debate online would make it seem.

But the most recent discussion involving a blog post from my voice – over colleague Paul Strikwerda really brought this “too much time on voice talents hands” thought home to me.

It had to do with the recent Voice Arts awards. Paul wrote a very well thought out post about the awards with his opinion on their value. My take away as the reader (these are my words not his) was that the first year awards, while possibly noble in intent, do seem more like a cash grab in some ways, judged by a bunch of folks who in a few cases seemed to have served as both judge and nominee.

Discussions ensued on line (some thoughtful, some humorous, some vitriolic) about the awards, their merit, their prospective longevity and whether or not Annette Funicello really was the prettiest Mouseketeer.

To all this I say: who cares?

Not that people are not free to express their opinions. Sure they can. Paul’s points are well taken and the people who are behind the Voice Arts awards should at the very least be commended for trying to be innovative with a new idea for an awards show. Being the first to do anything is fraught with peril, financial risk and ridicule. My point isn’t to indict a blog post or an awards show.

My point IS an indictment of voice talents who continually get caught up in excessive online nonsense, preferring a social media time suck to actually taking care of business. And I see it ALL. THE. TIME!

This particular Voice Arts debate is a very good example of social media as a worthless distraction. And I believe voice talent fall prey to it waaay too often.

For example, what part of any of this Voice Arts discussion (or any other voice-over related discussion on any other social media forum) vitally impacts the daily life and bottom line of a workaday voice actor?

The answer is honestly none of it. Nor does it end up changing much.

‘But Peter, it’s FUN!’ Sure, we all enjoy the sense of community that social media affords us and I am not trying to squash that.

But it’s a business problem for voice talents when social media becomes (as it does so often) a distraction – the overactive back and forth online does not truly matter (except to boost or damage certain egos) and only serves to take our minds off of managing our businesses.

So my solution is to have voice talents do a pre-post test of what they are about to put up on any social media channel.

If you as a voice talent find yourself in an on-line debate about some voice over matter – before you hit send, even before you post or like or retweet, ask yourself if being online at that very moment the best prioritization of your time and talent.

Note, all this is about more than the occasional “like” or “comment” or “retweet”. It’s about willingly getting caught up in a time suck and focusing on that in the name of branding and marketing. And YOU do it. You can lie to me but you cannot lie to yourself.

Too much attention paid to social media is neither marketing nor branding but you, as the CEO of your voice-over business have no one above you to give you a kick in the ass and tell you to get off Twitter and get back to work.

Consider your ass kicked (mine too).