‘you were their second choice’

2nd place trophy audioconnellA silver lining?

I prefer streets paved with gold.

But life doesn’t usually let us win every voice-over job and so it went today as I was advised, “you were their second choice”.

If you’ve been in voiceover for more than a day (and I’m not sure what percentage that is at the moment) you’ve likely been told at some point you were a prospect’s second choice for a voiceover job.

If you’ve been up for a job in almost any industry, you may have been told you were a second choice.

It happens. Now what?

Well nothing really. The bus left without you so you need to see about getting a different ride.

Sure, you can punch a wall or kick a dog (I’m personally OK with the wall option but not the dog…ever) but it doesn’t fix anything.

The real answer is that if it festers too much inside you, you need to get mentally tougher or quite seriously quit the voiceover business. The voiceover business is a business filled with rejection. Which is why it’s so great when you do land a new VO job.

As Pollyannaish as it might sound, it is not a bad thing to come in second. First is best but third is worse.

The point is your performance was really, really good. However, left up to the SUBJECTIVE (look it up) ear of a producer, they liked one other voice better. You cannot control that. No one can.

So if you can’t get over learning you came in second on a voice gig after more than about a minute, start working on your resume because you will need to look for a new job. I mean it. Get out of voiceover, for your own good.

Everybody else…move on. As I know you already have. Good job.

And congrats on that audition…you truly nailed it.

an o’connell finally wins an oscar®

MY name was THIS close to being called by OSCAR® presenters Sunday night as a winner. And that is 100% true.

But I know you doubt me, so I shall endeavor to explain.

Back in 1964, after having welcomed their 4th (and subsequently deemed their “whoops” baby), Joseph and Mary O’Connell had picked a name they liked for their new son. He was to be called Kevin Kinney O’Connell.

Except on the drive home from the hospital, Joseph had a change of heart on the name for his 3rd son. He liked the name Peter, as in Saint Peter Canisius and the Apostle Peter — “upon this rock I shall build my church” — that Peter.

So the newborn left the hospital as Kevin Kinney O’Connell and arrived home as Peter Kinney O’Connell.

Flash forward to the 89th annual OSCARS® where, for the 21st time, a universally respected sound designer named Kevin O’Connell was nominated for an award. O’Connell had been winless each time since his first nomination for the movie Terms of Endearment in 1984.

This time, in the category of Best Sound Mixing, Kevin O’Connell won the OSCAR® for his work on the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

An O’Connell had finally won an OSCAR® . Kevin O’Connell.

Just not THIS Kevin O’Connell. 🙂

I am not related to the man. I do not know the man. I am none the less thrilled for the man.

The best Kevin won. Congratulations.

 

answers to your voiceover database question

audioconnell contact managementYou may be saying to yourself: “Self, I did not know I had a voiceover database question! So how is Peter K.O’Connell going to answer a question I did not know I had?”

I am going to answer it extremely well, especially if you are using Google Contacts as your customer relationship management tool. Based on discussions I have had with many voice talents as FaffCon, alot of people DO use Google Contacts…mostly because it’s free!

What you see on the left is my groups list for my database, which has about 1,250 contacts, pruned down significantly from about a year or so ago. At the bottom, you see a red circle around OTHER CONTACTS. That’s what I will be talking about here, specifically regarding when users export their contact list for things like email blasts.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, when you export your contacts to services like MailChimp for email blasts, you review the exported list before you upload the list to Mail Chimp or some other blast service. In doing so, many times you look at a number of email addresses on the list and ask in a loud, bold and italicized voice:

Who’s email address is THAT and how did it get in there?

The email address you are looking at is not familiar to you nor does it  match any names in your contacts, yet there it sits in your excel or comma separated values sheet.

Most likely it came from OTHER CONTACTS and my advice to you here today is to review, edit and/or delete any names in OTHER CONTACTS before you export your next list.

Briefly stated, Gmail and Google Contacts will save email addresses of group emails you received and some individual emails too if there is not a contact assigned to it. OTHER CONTACTS is where these emails get stored.

It’s not a bad thing. Sometimes when you get an email from a prospect who turns into a client, in the haste to provide your product or service, you don’t always create a prosper contact account for that person (i.e. you did not put that name in your database).

Google Contacts helps make sure you hold on to the email address and let’s you decide later if it is “Contact Worthy” or if it gets deleted.

If you have not gone through OTHER CONTACTS in a long time, spend some time to go through it and don’t just immediately delete everything. Copy an unfamiliar email address into your emails and see what comes up. You’ll know pretty quickly if it’s a keep or toss.

And don’t forget to sort your contacts by groups. But that’s a blog for another day.

peter k. o’connell aka the explainer video voice guy

Explainer Videos Peter K. O'Connell

Being nicknamed “The Explainer Video Voice Guy” wasn’t something I planned…I think it’s that way with most nicknames. But once you work with clients enough and friendship develop, nicknames are born and that how I got mine.

Hey, as long as the check is made out to Peter K. O’Connell, clients can pretty much call me whatever they want 🙂

Peter K. O'Connell business cardOn my business cards, I list Explainer Videos as one of genres for which I provide voiceover services. People who aren’t involved in media production ask me sometimes “what is an explainer video?” It’s a reasonable question that you might have too.

Usually short (like 2-3 minutes – but sometimes longer), an Explainer Video is a  fun and informative video presentation that creatively explains a product or service. Because it’s fun and informative and short, an Explainer Video captures and retains the viewers attention, making it a more useful sales tool for companies — compared to longer, dull videos or even brochures.

Plus, video continues to be a preferred media for people to discover new ideas and concepts.

The reason I get selected so often to provide voiceovers for explainer videos, I have been told, is because I offer a variety of fun, informative and friendly reads – depending on the script and the client’s audio branding needs. Like commercials and narrations, Explainer Videos fit my vocal styles.

For example, as an Audiobook narrator, I think I’m good (maybe even just OK) but certainly not great. Yet with Explainer Videos, as a voice talent I excel. I can’t draw a straight line but I can enjoyably tell you all about that straight line with a Explainer Video script in hand.

At this point, it would probably be more effective (and likely more entertaining) to let the Explainer Videos do the talking. So here are some examples of my Explainer Video voiceover work.

DELOITTE CANADA

This was one of the more informative Explainer Videos I recall narrating as I felt I not only learned about the impressive depth of Deloitte Canada’s knowledge of Canada’s economy but I also understood it…and folks, I was never a Finance major in college. Really well written.

ESKER

I worked with a great team at Esker, a global leader in document process automation. Their talent marketing team asked me to voice a series of explainer videos that highlighted their impressive array of services in a fun and interesting way. They save a lot of smart companies a lot of time and money Here’s one example of the explainer video series I voiced for them.

 

3 MINUTE CATHOLIC CATECHISM

I’ve done videos for clients all over the world and it’s a great experience. This particular project was interesting because the producer found me on Google all the way over in Austria. 15-20 years ago, that would not have been possible but today, it happens all the time. This was an interesting project because the producers wanted to make these short 3-minute videos, explaining the Catholic religion’s Catechism, for many languages. They started in German, producing all the videos based on a German voice talents tracks, then came to me for English. Needless to say, the video timing got tricky as they switched languages. It was great nonetheless!

If you’re interested in using me as the voice for your explainer video, give me a call at +01 716-572-1800.

local is not as sexy?

WWDLFDWhat follows is not a religious story, it’s a voiceover business story written thousands of years ago.

Most who know me won’t be surprised that I was in Church the other day but you might be surprised to hear I was paying attention while I was there.

And what I heard didn’t so much speak immediately to my spiritual side as to my voiceover side.

Yes, our all-knowing God wrote a kind of parable about the voiceover business.

Long before there was a voiceover business.

I told you, this is a voiceover business story.

The quote from reading was this:

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.”  ~ Mt 13: 57

The context of the quote depicted the disrespect and disbelief shown to Jesus in his hometown as he began his adult work spreading the word of God to those he had grown up around and who knew him as a child. The locals.

Let me be clear at the outset: I do not think I or anybody else is like Jesus nor do I believe that voice talents should be treated like prophets. This is a business story!

The quote IMMEDIATELY took me back to Buffalo, NY and the years I spent working to get voiceover work locally, especially from advertising agencies.

I remember one instance in particular that illustrates the issue well.

There was an owner of a boutique (read: small) ad agency in Buffalo who seemed generally quite proud of herself (even featured herself in her own commercials for her agency). Some friends at a networking mixer had introduced me to her. She asked me what I did and I told her I was a voiceover talent — this got her attention.

“Oh you are? We get all our voice talents from New York City.” I was about to say something like ‘that’s nice’ when one of the people in the circle (who was a client of mine) jumped right over me (incensed by the rudeness and tone of this agency person) and said “Oh Peter is really quite good, you should use him!” Love that client!

Buy Local FirstBut that story reflects a truth in voiceover that I know personally and I have found (talking with VO’s around the country) is pretty universal. Local voice talents, no matter how qualified and no matter how many national brands they have voiced for, just don’t seem to be good enough for some of the producers in their own region.

What is the VO’s fault? They are a local voice. To some media producers, a voice talent from their own area is perceived to be less talented versus a voiceover from another market, further away.

It was a problem for Jesus and it’s still a problem for voice talents. Sometimes the local folks don’t see our value just because we are local.

This doesn’t mean that voice talents don’t get ANY local voice work and, to be sure, some voice talents are very popular around where they live. I have a very good relationship with many WNY producers and really enjoy working them. But there is a kind bias against local talent by some local producers…everywhere in the country.

I’m fortunate having moved into a new area. I am now the ‘new’ guy, a fresh voice! ‘Let’s try the new guy!’ Yes, I say, lets!

And maybe having moved away from my hometown, I’ll be some WNY media producers’ ‘out of town’ voice guy. That would be a hoot.

I offer this story for some of you who I just know are experiencing the same issue in your voiceover business. Burdened wit the same confused frustration I used to have. I want you to know not to feel bad about it and just move on.

If Jesus had to deal with it too, then we ‘local’ voice talents are in pretty good company.

the fun is gone

Political Discussion on Social Media

I didn’t like the cat videos.

But now I miss them a little.

Righteous indignation and straight out hate abounds on Facebook now, a result of a bitter election between less than stellar choices (OK, that’s my opinion, your mileage may vary).

But here is a universal truth, no matter who won the 2016 Presidential Election, based on the results, about 50% of the country would be complaining and protesting and causing a stink. And now we’re divided.

And we are ugly.

Every single one of us.

Pick your party, pick your platform, pick your nose. Ugly. All of it.

We are NOT talking about a healthy debate among mature people. On social media, that just does not happen any more…if it ever did.

If we looked at ourselves on Facebook as we do our children, if we saw the kind of rants and vulgarity….really foul stuff…we would send ourselves to our rooms without dinner and all our Christmas toy would be taken away for a month.

The prevailing attitude: if you’re not FOR me, you’re AGAINST me.

Can’t we see this about our own behavior? Can’t we stop ourselves?

While it isn’t the only battle ground for this hate speech that we seem to be getting so good at, but the stump speech convenience of Facebook allows it’s participants to tee off on their rant of the day (or hour). Vitriol abounds and if you’re not spewing it, you’re receiving it…or at least reading it.

Those who spew the vitriol will claim that they are defending their right to free speech, to defend (their version) of America from the bad guys (i.e. anyone who disagrees with them…again, which ever side you want to take). And if someone recommends curbing bad behavior, the recommender doesn’t ‘understand the seriousness of what’s at stake.’

Um, yes we do.

But we also see the absolute useless of changing people’s opinions on a life or death matter via social networking. The shared information on social media…and often mis-information…is not creating awareness but it is creating wariness.

We see people treating politicians (of course, only the politicians that they like) as if they are trustworthy fighters of truth, justice and the American way. The shortest answer I can give here is they are so not. Some of the ARE trying. Some of them are just trying.

We see that to make change you must get involved in the actual process (i.e. real life, not social media). Because of the pathetic pool of talent from which to pick leadership of any kind, we ended up with the choices we did. The worse news is that anyone with ANY common sense doesn’t want to swim in political waters.

People like me do not turn a blind eye to the evolving truths of the world. We are not uniformed. We just work to effect change in less obnoxious, divisive, dismissive and hurtful ways.

facebook iconI cannot decide how this plays out for Facebook. My theory is that usage may be up on the service because some people believe they are furthering their agenda/cause (and I think serving their egos) by posting as many rants and rant-like links as they can find …often without vetting the link’s accuracy (again, on either side).

However, I think Facebook may see (and likely not report) that said usage is up because of active use by a smaller total number of people. I believe folks like me are standing further away from Facebook.

We don’t sign in as much or at all. It’s not social, it’s not fun, it’s not relaxing. No idea how many people are doing this besides me…it’s just a gut feeling.

And to be clear, that withdrawal is not Facebook’s fault. It’s because of the content of the social media service’s users. And as you may have noticed, ‘users’ begins with ‘us’.

I pulled the Facebook app off my phone weeks ago. I have spent significantly less time on the service. I’ve tried ignoring and unfriending and unfollowing but the poison still permeates.

So I stay away more. In the end, that’s probably best anyway. Maybe I’ll connect more in real life. That’s what matters anyway.