Entries Tagged as 'voiceover advice'

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

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!”

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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. 😉