v.o. north 2020 adds voice actor peter k. o’connell to the presenters’ roster


Peter K. O'Connell V.O. North 2020 Toronto Voiceover ConferenceWe’ve all had some weird things happen to us in 2020. Well the hits just keep on coming.

Four years ago, we packed up the O’Connell Conestoga Wagon and traveled from way up north in Buffalo, NY to the southern climes of Raleigh, NC.

Now, I’m moving back north….even MORE NORTH than Buffalo which is weird cause everyone used to tell me Buffalo was “the end of the line”. Bah!

This time I’m off to Toronto, Ontario, Canada…which is fine with me because my Grandmother was born there and we had a house in Fort Erie, Ontario for over 4 decades.

So Toronto it is.

Only for a weekend, though.

Peter K. O'Connell V.O. North 2020 Voiceover ConferenceI’m not sure whether it was being housebound during COVID that impacted Tanya Buchanan’s thought process so much but she pinged me the other day and asked me to be a part V.O. North 2020, taking place October 16-18 in Toron….puter…screens. 😉

That’s a Canadian city you might not know about, Toronputerscreens….but that’s where you’ll find me for V.O. North 2020.

I will be a moderator for sessions where otherwise well meaning voiceover panelists, sharing their knowledge on a variety of topics, must endure me slinging questions at them on topics that may or may not have ANYTHING to do with voiceover. 😉 This is the kind of zaniness that takes place when you put me in charge.

I have not participated in V.O. North yet, so I am very excited to see how this will work.

Obviously, we would ALL prefer V.O. North take place in person in Toronto but something is better than nothing and V.O. North meeting promises to be something else…in a most wonderful way!

voiceover north 2020 toronto canada peter k. o'connellYou do NOT need to be Canadian or even know a Canadian to participate….so sign up! V.O. North 2020 has waaaay more impressive presenters than me. Check them out.

I look forward to seeing and speaking with you there.

 

 

Narration Demo 2020 by Peter K. O’Connell

Peter K. O'Connell Narration Demo 2020The hard reality for voice talents is that almost no one is as excited about the production and release of a new voiceover demo as the voice talent themselves. To us, it’s like a shiny new car.

Well maybe the demo producer – who earns his or her living off of producing voiceover demos – cares a lot…but the rest of the world doesn’t care quite as much as those two care.

Editor’s note: my new Narration demo is totally awesome (he said humbly) and you will totally love it (he noted demurely) and you’ll want to hire me on the spot (he said respectfully). I’m perfectly OK with that.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S NARRATION 2020 VOICEOVER DEMO:

 

It’s fun to listen to new voiceover demos when we come across them…hearing the read, gauging the performance, the script interpretation, the audio production and individually deciding if it all comes together in a finished voiceover sample that makes the voice talent shine.

From the talent and production side of the coin, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that the “shine” I mentioned is purely based on…the subjective opinion of the listener. That’s right, there is generally no right or wrong demo production answer, no perfect voiceover demo formula.

And that’s why even though I produced my last Narration demo about 6 months ago, I have now produced a new Narration demo. The last demo was great and I received work and compliments on it. But I decided to make what I feel was an important change.

On my past Narration demos, I included not only Corporate Narration clips but also E-learning voiceover samples and Explainer video voiceover samples. Maybe it was my stubbornness or my laziness (or something in between) but I believed at the time that one Narration demo with all three (3) genres included would serve the needs of producers.

For no particularly revolutionary reason and without a shocking epiphany, I decided that I might be wrong about that old reasoning.

It seemed to me that I wasn’t actually serving the producers of E-learning and Explainer videos very well with my “one-size-fits-all” Narration demo. So a new focused Narration demo has been produced as has a stand-alone E-learning voiceover demo and Explainer video demo. Each contains more specific examples of the categories, produced with element more appropriate to the production genre. Explainer video narrations sound different than E-learning narrations sound and Corporate Video narrations sound even more different than either of the other two.

Each demo now resides on its own web page as well, one for Narration, one for E-learning and one for Explainer videos.

I invite you to click on any of the links to hear any and all of them.

E-Learning and Explainer Video Narration Demos by Peter K. O’Connell

OK, ok, I finally did it.

In my past narration voiceover demos, while I always included my corporate voiceover samples, I also included samples of voiceover work I have recorded that are known as e-learning and explainer voiceovers.

At last I have given my explainer voiceover work and my e-learning voiceover work their completely individual voiceover demos.

Now you might not know terms e-learning or explainer…but I am pretty sure you’ve heard these genres of voiceover in your professional lives.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S E-LEARNING VOICEOVER DEMO:

E-learning voiceover narration by Peter K. O'Connell E-learning narration refers to the voiceover recording genre, often involving video and/or the internet that that helps students and professionals learn outside the standard classroom. E-learning has been long popular for training employees and teaching students at all levels of education but it’s popularity really spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of distance learning process.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S EXPLAINER VOICEOVER DEMO:

Explainer Video Narration Peter K. O'ConnellExplainer voiceovers are the narrations that tell the story of Explainer Videos. Most often used for businesses, Explainer Videos communicate in a simple ang engaging way how a product or service works and why a user would benefit from that use. Although they can be produced in a variety of graphic styles, Explainer Videos are most often animated – which helps producers convey complex ideas into a more simple form with eye -catching visuals and, of course, ear-catching narration! That’s where I come in.

Producers of E-learning and Explainer videos prefer to hear voiceover samples of their specific genre now, so…that’s what I am gladly offering them. Enjoy!

start with love…I dare you

Love One Another John 13:34

As incredibly complicated as everything is right now…love is the most fundamental first step to beginning…anything.

Those who know me understand that, with all my foibles (now THERE’S a list), I come from a place of love for people. That’s where I also try and start with each brand new “hello”.

Certainly over 5+ decades, there have been regrettable times where I’ve neglected that love…but I remember, I repair, I restart.

Maybe that same neglect has occurred in others too?

I think it has.

I think it is.

Love is strong and positive. Love is far from powerless and is worth defending.

Love easily trumps hate and anger…if we share it.

Our lives may feel more intense and complicated than merely beginning with love.

But pause for a moment, please, and consider love’s real and universal possibilities.

Watching the world around me, I believe all our lives would be vastly improved if we focused on founding each one upon a gift as simple as love.

Everyday.

I hope this helps.

another way voiceover has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Ta-Da Voiceworks Toronto Voiceover Town HallEvery business, every industry and everyone of us has changed either a small or large part of our lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes voiceover.

When the pandemic first started, advertising trailed off for a while, brands and corporations shifted from a marketing attitude to a survival attitude. Consumers seemed more focused on toilet paper than a new car or going to the movies…which they couldn’t do cause anyway because all the movie theaters shut down.

We did get more telephony work (those of us that do that kind of voiceover work) for businesses that wanted to talk to consumers in their on-hold messaging about how their business WAS going to work with customers during the crisis – new protocols etc. Or for business that needed to shut down — their message on-hold addressed how to best communicate with now work-from-home employees.

Voice talents too changed the way they communicated with clients and prospects, I think. I know I found myself calling to check on the people more than checking on new business opportunities. Recording studios and ad agencies were among many industries who suffered a round-house economic punch from COVID-19 and I’ve worked with many of these folks for a long time.

It feels now like we are rebounding, day by day, little by little. How we move forward and what is ahead is not certain but as Churchill said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” So we keep going, us people folk.

There ARE some positives for the voiceover business that have come from the pandemic. One of them is that we have been forced to be better communicators – in how we talk to our peers, our vendors and our customers.

One big way I saw this was with one of my voiceover agents, Tanya Buchanan of Ta-Da Voiceworks in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Voice Talent Peter K O'Connell Ta-Da Voiceworks 19Some weeks ago, she called a town hall of all her talent – the majority of which are Toronto-based or living in and around the GTA (Greater Toronto area). She does have some American talent on her roster as well and I am one.

This online meeting was more than just a Zoom voiceover meet-up.

The focus of that first meeting was to help many of the Toronto talent figure out how they were going to record either auditions or jobs during the pandemic. Toronto is a unique voiceover market in that many media producers there much preferred voice actors to record at local studios versus recording in home studios.

In the U.S. many voice actors record from their home studios regularly, but trust me, we LOVE going to outside studios to record. There, we just record the voice and don’t have to do any post-production….it’s heaven! Plus those recording studios have free snacks!!!!!!

With the pandemic, many of the voice actors in Canada’s largest media market immediately had to learn about building home studios, having Source-Connect, buying the best types of microphones etc. It was a lot for any group of people to learn and digest in short order.

Tanya wanted to help ease the stress for her talent, provide resources for them and ultimately serve as the calm voice of reason. She was.

In short, Tanya smartly managed her voice actors…who ARE her business. Questions were answered, apprehensions were calmed and some of the more experience VO’s on the call (who have home studios, etc.) could share their knowledge with their voiceover peers who were less experienced this particular area. She further built her team.

From that first COVID-19 town hall, Tanya has smartly grown these Zoom meetings into monthly, lunchtime Ta-Da Voiceworks talent meetings where trends are discussed, agency policies are updated, local knowledge is shared among talent all while Tanya further cements her credibility as a top Toronto agent who has her talent’s back.

Her communication is solid and her roster clearly appreciates it.

All that, created from the ashes of the pandemic, has bred a significant amount of loyalty from her talent. I can assure you, after almost 40 years as a professional voiceover talent, that kind of loyalty to an agent is not always a given.

using a professional voiceover recording studio DOES matter

Professional Voiceover Recording Studio Peter K. O'ConnellAs as a voiceover business owner, there is always the question of how much capital to invest into one’s business.

One wants have very good audio technology that allows for the best voiceover audio quality.

One also want to have enough money to pay the mortgage and eat.

I get it.

A voiceover CLIENT, on the other hand, wants everything to sound perfect, they want no technology problems and they want all that broadcast quality sound and more right now.

Only the client’s wants and needs matter, by the way. That’s just a fact.

Occassionally, voice talent (who are new or relatively new to the voiceover business) focus their budgets on microphones and not so much on their recording environment. Goodness knows there are low-cost, short-term tricks to making an audio recording environment “workable”. We’ve all been there…especially when trying to record voiceovers while traveling.

This discussion isn’t about traveling.

This is about home voiceover recording studios.

(Note: I am NOT a home studio expert, nor have I played one on TV. But after nearly 40 years in the business, I have learned a thing or two <hundred> about audio recording).

One’s home voiceover recording environment is critical…short term fixes (closets, blankets etc.) can work but also have significant limitations that reveal themselves at really inopportune times (usually with a client on the line, a deadline looming and one of your biggest paydays hanging in the balance….no problem!!)

Outside noises in your studio will negatively disrupt a recording session, upset a client, make re-takes a nightmare and basically ding the “professionalism” of a talent’s reputation – at least in the opinion of a voiceover client (and really, is there any other opinion that matters?)

This video (below) shows one way to address your recording environment professionally. It is NOT the only way and it doesn’t have to be pretty (unless clients will be coming TO your voiceover recording studio). My non-home voiceover recording studio expert but significantly experienced advice is to find a good, strong recording space solution to ensure, more often than not, that the quality of your home voiceover recording environment is as dependable and reliable as you are as a voice actor.

It ALL really matters. Hope this helps.