Entries Tagged as 'voiceover'

female voice talent natasha marchewka published in backstage magazine

It is always nice to be invited to a party.

It means people enjoy your company, you usually have interesting or funny things to say and people generally like having you around.

Voice Talent Natasha Marchewka published in Backstage MagazineSo I was honored yet surprised when I got an email from my friend, fellow Faffer and female voiceover talent Natasha Marchewka a few weeks ago. She was writing an article for Backstage Magazine about the best ways for voiceover talents to secure new business and she wanted to interview me.

Naturally, I requested a private plane to NYC, a suite at a 5-star hotel in mid-town Manhattan for 7 days, 24-hour chauffeur, clothing and food allowance (no more than $5,000 per day, as I am not greedy). I also said the 10 tickets I would need for Hamilton on Broadway could be within the theatre’s  first 10 rows. Only divas demand front row. I am hardly a diva.

Plus sometimes the actor’s spit when they talk and if you’re in the front row…ewww!

So Natasha emailed me the questions and said IF (and only if) my answers were any good, she might include them in the article.

Oh well, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. 🙂

Somehow I made the cut. Natasha was very kind to include me at all and the editors of Backstage were also kind not to hit the delete key after seeing my name in the article….sometimes my life can feel like one long edit with a dull blade (old time radio people will get that reference).

Here is the link to the Backstage article HERE.

pleased to welcome big mouth talent to my voiceover representation team

Some nice news to share with you.

I am pleased to announce that I have added Big Mouth Talent in Chicago to my team of stellar voiceover representatives. Kelly Wilkening and her team will handle voiceover opportunities for me across Chicagoland, Illinois..and elsewhere as they have contacts around the country.

It’s kinda of a fun story about how this particular arrangement came together.

NBC Chicago Jan 30, 2019

This is what -23 degrees F (with crazy wind chills) looked like from outside my hotel on January 30, 2019.

You might remember a few weeks ago when I was in Chicago during their record cold spell of -23°F with wind chills that made it WTF Cold (#chiberia as it became known).

Well just before the BIG freeze (oh it was still plenty cold), I needed to do a recording for a client. I looked up studios in the area around my hotel and one voiceover studio, Chicago Recording Company, was three blocks from my hotel. I booked the session and over I went.

Yes I walked to the session, I’m from Buffalo, NY for goodness sake! My lips unfroze….eventually! 🙂

The people at CRC were great – amazing set up there, the session went very well and they were very complimentary and gracious. They noted that they often work with Big Mouth Talent in Chicago and, based on what they heard, maybe I introduce myself to them.

So I did, we communicated for a bit, saw it would be a good fit for both of us and I am now part of the Big Mouth Talent VO roster.

But next time I head to Chicago, I’d like to try and do it during baseball season.

a taste of radio makes you hungry for it again

audioconnell radio production studioIn the past when I traveled, I used to bring my portable rig, build a pillow fort, hook everything up and try and make a good recording in a crap environment. For the most part, it worked out OK.

The best result was that it would sound OK. That’s pretty much it.

Folks who don’t travel alot, like I do, think it’s kinda fun to put all that stuff together. After years of doing all that, you find out it’s monotonous. From the actual fort building and jerry-rigging to getting a shot-gun microphone through airport security without TSA pooping their collective pants (reasonably so as a Sennheiser 416 mic looks very suspicious under the x-ray machine) it gets to be a pain.

Bottom line, if I don’t HAVE to bring a travel rig, I won’t.

Instead, I use recording studios in the cities I visit. You meet new people, make new contacts and generally enjoy much better recording conditions. Except for that recording session outside of Dayton, OH that got postponed because there was a drug-related murder that took place across the street just before I was set to arrive.

And by postponed I mean I cancelled it. Just to avoid the possibility of me getting eternally cancelled.

So recent on one of my trips, I was in need of a studio for a rush audition. It was inside a large radio station and being in the station’s production room was like a joyful time warp for me.

From the board to the desk to the Electro-voice RE-20 microphone (the same type I used in the 80’s when I worked in radio) it was a wonderful place to be.

People who used to work in radio (and there are tens of thousands of us) will rightly complain that we were poorly paid, over worked and undervalued. People of work in radio now may say the same thing.

But pay and some lousy bosses (and/or owners) aside, it brings most of us real broadcasters to our happy place. Playing the music, mixing the stop sets, the radio station jingles, banter, callers, on-location events – it was all so fun and yet professional. There were and are many very good people in radio. We were serious about doing a good job, being creative, working to make sponsors happy….it could be a good business to be in.

This isn’t a gauzy, romanticized remembrance for me…radio had many good parts to it.

But by the time I finished with it, the bad parts outweighed the good parts. That’s just how life goes.

I completely understand why people stay in the radio business (even for less than stellar wages) and why even a few of my VO friends have gone back into it.

Being in that radio studio for my recent recording, it was my brief happy place. And all we all want is to be happy.

proof that following your voiceover instincts can work

Trust Your Instinct audioconnellOne of the biggest challenges to ANY small business owner (in voiceover or elsewhere) is knowing when to make an important decision.

Sometimes circumstances are clear and the business decision seems easy. Most times it’s not. That’s when business owners need to look at as many facts as possible and make the call, decision time.

Often, when circumstances and facts don’t seem as clear cut, a decision comes down to the business owner’s instincts. Their gut feeling.

So it was some years ago when I was reviewing the voiceover agents I work with.

I had many of them but more than a few were agents in name only. I never saw a lead for a new voiceover job from these few, never got a phone call from these few nor had I had my phone calls to these few returned. Most of my agents did all these things. Not these few.

Looking back it on my emails from these few, it had been multiple years since I received any communication from them. Any. That should have been reason enough.

Yet, I was hesitant…could this hurt my career if I decided to cut ties with these unproductive voiceover agents? Even though it seemed like they were not doing anything on my behalf, that they weren’t responsive to my communication, maybe (I briefly thought) they had a big job in the offing…maybe I should keep them on for just a little while longer.

My gut said no. My instincts told me I had reached out to them enough (and got little to no response) and also that if I met them in person they would not be able to pick me out of an audio or video lineup.

So I sent them a professional letter and advised them their “services” were no longer required.

I hadn’t thought about that time for a while until I received this advisement email from the Lori Lins Ltd. Talent Agency in Milwaukee, one of the few.

It read:

To: Kalah Spaude
Subject: New political commercial demo for Peter O’Connell
Sent: Monday, June 4, 2007 10:21:42 PM (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

was deleted without being read on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 12:13:55 PM (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).

I had sent the agency a political voiceover demo in 2007. TWELVE years later, the agency deleted the demo email WITHOUT IT BEING READ.

Now maybe there is a technical reason for this…maybe a legitimate email went into a spam folder or maybe it got rerouted to a computer that went unused and they just cleared the system. Maybe somebody read it and forwarded it on to a technical person to post on a web site who ignored the email – with the person who emailed it not following up.

Or maybe no agent at my agency read the email. Maybe they just ignored it. Based on the service I experienced there (and with the other few), I tend to believe it was the latter.

In my opinion, my gut was right to part ways with this agent (and I cut the cord with them after 2007). This recent email notice was one of those “signs” we get in life. I have little doubt they even noticed my departure.

I’ve been successful without those few, and hopefully they have been successful without me. It’s not personal, it’s strictly business. I bear them no ill will.

But I am reminded by this email notice: go with your gut. Trust your instinct.

Requiescat in pace Patrick Sweeney

Requiescat in pace Pat SweeneyOh Canada. Today you lost a great one.

In the 8+ years that I have been friends with Pat Sweeney, he had become one of those rare fellows of whom I only heard positive, kind words said.

Marking his passing from Cancer this morning, those kind words are being reiterated and certainly shouted from the roof tops. As they should.

Family was first and foremost to Pat, as he would often speak of his wife and sons. They were his everything.

But second, I think, was his love of the voiceover industry and of the community that Patrick Sweeney helped foster in Toronto and pretty much everywhere else he went.

Before I moved to Raleigh, NC, I lived most of my life in Buffalo, NY, nearby to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where Pat and his family live. My affinity for Canada is well known (my Grandmother was born there and I spent my summers in Fort Erie, Ontario for decades). So I was especially happy to hear many years ago that a pair of my voiceover friends had gotten together in Toronto to create a local Voiceover Meetup Group called VO in TO.

One of the group’s founders was female voice talent Jodi Krangle. The other (and to hear Jodi tell it, a driving force behind the group) was Pat Sweeney.

To watch Pat navigate the room at a VO in TO meetup was a thing of beauty. If you didn’t know Pat before you walked through the door, you would know him by the time you left. And he would introduce you to one or two other people there who he thought you should know, so you could have someone to say hi to at the next meeting. Pat was a wonderful community builder.

Another voiceover group where we shared many happy times together was at an annual event called FaffCon. This is a wonderful group of talents from all over the world who would come together to share best practices in a very inclusive and welcoming format. It was an event tailor made for Pat, who certainly learned a great deal from his fellow voice talents but possibly shared even more, especially in one on one conversations. Pat’s supportive and encouraging spirit, attitude and actions positively impacted more people than he may have ever realized.

All of this ignores when Pat and I would chat about his visits to Buffalo or mine to TO. Or when we worked together as part of a voiceover marketing collective called MVO: The Voice-Over Guys. Or when he would commiserate with me on the phone about my (usually losing) Buffalo sports teams.

You always left a conversation with Pat feeling better.

All of this kindness and help from Pat made it so challenging for us (his VO pals) when Pat got sick and we couldn’t help the guy who had always helped us. There wasn’t much we could do but support and pray for Pat and his family.

Hard as we’d pray, it never felt like enough of a repayment for a gentleman who so positively impacted so many people. We are deeply sorry for his family’s loss but are grateful for their many family memories and for Pat’s final peace.

Me? I’m selfish. I will miss my friend.

Eternal rest grant to your servant Patrick, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

welcoming the new kid to the neighborhood

Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell recording voiceover scripts at Soundtrax Recording Studios in Raleigh, NCGetting acclimated to any new city is not always easy.

Moving to Raleigh in August of 2016 was certainly an adventure.

But while we miss our friends and family in Buffalo, NY, we have family and new friends here in Raleigh and Cary. People here are generally very nice.

And while my voiceover business has continued to expand, I haven’t had all that much voiceover business in the Raleigh Durham area since moving here.

I think that is to be expected as local producers and recording studios aren’t nearly as excited that a new voice talent has moved into the area as the voice talent is to now be the new kid on the block.

But remember how I said people here are generally very nice? Well I have found that to be exceptionally true in the voiceover community. When I floated the idea of a new RDU voiceover meet-up group, I wasn’t sure how that would go over.

But local folks I’ve known for years like Rowell Gormon, Debbie Stamp and Wendy Zier introduced me to other Raleigh voice talents like Mike Urben, Bill Jordan, and Kevin Silva among many others. The meet-up has gone well (but I have to schedule the next one, thanks for the reminder).

These fellow voiceover talents also introduced me to some great recording studio producers including Tom Guild and Becket McGough (who are also great voice talents) over at Soundtrax Recording Studios in Raleigh. The studio is generous enough to play host to our voiceover meet-ups.

Becket especially has been working to get me into record.

This week I was hired for my first major local project. At Soundtrax!

The work, while terrific, isn’t nearly as impressive to me as the kindness Tom and Becket have offered this “new” voiceover kid.

Thank you very much.