Entries Tagged as ''

audio’connell in miami beach

audio’connell_favicon copyright2007

MIAMI BEACH – Sometimes work can take you to places you never thought you’d go. Miami Beach is one such place and it is the location from where I am writing this evening. While I am on a sales and marketing assignment, I didn’t bring any recording equipment because the schedule I was given for these business meetings showed I wouldn’t have the time to devote to voice over production. However, I am a bit of a planner.

Everytime I travel to a city, I check and see if there are any of my fellow voice over pro’s nearby in case I were to find myself in need of some studio help for a pressing audition or recording. I also find it’s a great way to meet my fellow pros; heck, we can always grab a drink and share some war stories too if there aren’t any projects that need attention.

I’m sure glad I found Doug Turkel and his Miami based voice over business He could not have been nicer and more welcoming. Doug is not only a talented VO in his own right; he also works on air and in production for the South Florida cluster of Clear Channel radio stations. VO is full of terrific people and I can now add Doug to that list!

elaine singer and voices.com

Have you ever been to an event, not really knowing what to expect only to be blown away from the collective knowledge in the room?

That’s what Podcamp Toronto was like. They took a simple audio process and outlined the future of it and the possibilities for it. Commercially, it’s an impressive future.

No one was profiting from it except to share their knowledge and gain new insight. I learned so much and still have to figure out how to process the stuff I heard but haven’t yet committed to memory.

I would highly suggest you all take a look at these seminars and take notes.

For some months now, a fellow voice over talent by the name of Elaine Singer has been corresponding with me on VO topics. Elaine is in Toronto and I’m in Buffalo (2 hours away) and we’re both in the internet business networking groups, Ryze and Linked In. Yet we never got a chance to meet. (Voice talents love to get together to share industry stories and insights we each other…they’re like war stories only funnier). Well we met at Podcamp Toronto and she was just as charming and smart as you’d guess from her posts on VO-BB. A great new friend!

And in my perspective on the voice lead companies, my attitude has changed a bit having now met David and Stephanie from Voices.com. My read is that they really are as customer centric as their site appears (as has been mentioned by others, their site seems more service oriented than V123 and now I believe I know why). They are sincere in both word and deed; they want everybody to succeed: voice talents to get quality leads and clients to be exposed to quality voice talents.

If you have a podcamp coming to your town, try and get to it. The Torontonians / Canadians / podcasters / bloggers who I met impressed the heck out of me. It would be worth risking your time at a podcamp in your area to see if the local knowledge bank in your area is as impressive as the folks I met with in Toronto.

podcamp toronto 2007 – the morning after


What a tremendous experience. Saturday, I participated in Podcamp Toronto 2007. It was arranged by a group of talented podcasting, sales, marketing, advertising, internet (and pros from countless other industries) to share their knowledge of podcasting (and explain what in some cases is a booming commercial industry).

Billed as an “unconference”, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto. The “un” upon reflection having experienced it, means a more relaxed and interactive learning environment; it does not mean that there was any less talent and insight shared, in fact, just the opposite.

I like a lot about Podcamp, but what I think I liked most was coming across presenters and podcasters whom I might not have ever met in any other forum; each offered a thoughtful, smart and unusual perspective on this burgeoning industry. Remember that point in your life where you were in a business and someone said “hey you know this web site thing is interesting, do you think we should get on that internet thingy and get us one?”

Here’s you wake up call….podcasting has greater potential than you can possible imagine. This is the ground floor, get in on it.

Two presenters whose sessions I really enjoyed were Mitch Joel of Twist Image, a marketing agency Montréal whose presentation on “Building Your Personal Brand through Podcasting” was spot on. Great reading on his blog as well. The other presenter who was very impressive was Julien Smith, a Montréal based designer, entrepreneur, student, and podcaster whose presentation Giving Your Podcast A Google Presence was really smart. I’m going to have to get myself up to Montréal…it must be something in the water.

And my special thanks for Leesa Barnes of Podnomics and Caprica Interactive Marketing who was kind enough to include me in this experience. A great friend and a great client, thanks Leesa.

I have a bunch of other stories from Podcamp Toronto 2007 that I’ll save for later, including a visit with voice over talent Elaine Singer, the presentation I made to a packed house (boy was I surprised) and a visit with the owners of Voices.com, Stephanie and David Ciccarelli.

Final note, check out http://podcamp.pbwiki.com/ to find the location of the next Podcamp in your area.

are you a voice actor?

If you listen to the majority of voice over demos from most voice talents (especially the guys), you’d think that there must be a billion radio stations out there and each and everyone one is a CHR or Hot AC format (hey, I’ve got one too, so I’m not throwing stones, just making an observation.) The power voice or the raspy voice or the cool everyman voice can be offered by about a thousand voices.

But once a VO’s done his/her few contracts for the month (be honest, we KNOW who gets the majority of the work…it CAN’T be all of us), what else has one got? Well there’s the straight announcer voice that can be altered with a few inflection changes. OK, that’s good.

Let me ask a harmless question: are you a voice actor?

“You mean like impressions?” No, sort of, but more acting.

“You mean like my Homer Simpson impression?” Uh, no.

I mean can you leave your imaging and announcer voice behind and actually become a character with only your voice?


Hmmm. Well, while you ponder that thought, let me just point out that I have a very marketable announcer voice, and I have done my fair share of imaging work. But when it comes down to making money, my voice acting abilities are what sets me apart from many voice talents. It also allows me to pay a mortgage. Oh yes, voice acting isn’t about $50/spot work….did I fail to mention that?

Am I the greatest voice acting talent ever? Yes, when I am in the booth alone or in an ISDN session, that’s what I subliminally tell myself; but in reality, no. However to the producers that hire me for President’s day commercials or St. Patrick’s Day commercials or for video games, I am the best voice because I can bring their character to life like no other.

Can you?

That isn’t a “one-up-manship” question, but rather a way for you to critically look at your abilities.

I know some voice overs who will never be voice actors- the creativity or the vocal abilities really aren’t inside them. They make their money off their “money voice”. That’s awesome!

But if you have some characters inside you but you’ve never really fleshed them out or you’ve never strayed far from the voices you’ve been doing since high school, I’d like to offer you some unsolicited advice.

Get your ass to class.

Voice acting class actually. There you’ll find other voice actors of various professional experiences, abilities and talents who have gathered with a teacher they trust to develop the basic skills they need to create or expand a character repertoire. They’ll help you try new things without pointing fingers or laughing. It’s a group of sincere, like-minded folks who want to succeed and more often than not want YOU to succeed.

Finding a class in your area may take some work. I would start with some professional recording studios that often produce commercials or a college with an acting program. I alternate between two acting classes (mostly because I enjoy the students and teachers at both). The Voice Squad is run by Len Tobin. The Voice Actor Workshop of WNY is run by Toni Silveri who has performed and trained with some of voice acting’s greatest talents including the late but still infamous Daws Butler. There are some great national teachers who often take their act on the road including Pat Fraley as well as James Alburger and Penny Abshire; if they are presenting within a “state” of you, get your ass to their class too. James and Penny offer this voice acting teachers guide too. The Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) also have a resource page you may want to check out as well.

I also work with and train voice talent through the Voice Talent Workshop.

You’ve have got to stretch not just your vocal muscles but your creative muscles as well. If you think you can act, you need to try. There’s money in them there pipes…you just need to flush it out!

best super bowl commercial 2007

I’m sure there are some folks who would dare be dumb enough to debate me (ha, thems fightin’ words) but there is no way that any one could possibly sway me to believe that during Water Bowl 41, uh, I mean the Super Bowl other than THIS ONE.

It’s funny, totally unexpected and (save for what the spot’s talent COULD HAVE charged but didn’t) the least expensive professional commercial produced for the big game.

Hands down, best spot. Next!

podcamp toronto update

Editor’s Note: It’s very rare that I would post an entire release on voice over blog on! but this is one of those rate times for my friend Leesa Barnes who is one of the organizers of Podcamp Toronto. As I have noted in the past, any excuse is a great excuse to visit Toronto, one of my favorite cities and home to some of my favorite clients. If you are in the area, I hope you’ll join us (yes, I’ll be presenting too…but they’ve asked me to stand in a dark corner and face the wall when I present. Must be a Canadian thing!)

(Toronto, ON) – Podcamp Toronto (http://www.podcamptoronto.org), a 2-day unconference which will be held at Ryerson University on February 24-25, 2007, will teach people how to plan, produce and publish a podcast. Attendance is free.

A podcast is a multimedia file that’s syndicated over the Internet. Similar to an Internet radio program, podcasting allows people to download audio or video content when they want to view or listen to it.

“Both hobbyist and companies are using podcasts to communicate with fans or clients,” says Leesa Barnes, one of the organizers behind Podcamp Toronto. “There’s a guy who uses his podcast to teach people how to knit and there’s a large corporation that uses their podcast to give end users tips on how to maintain their computers.”

The very first Podcamp was held in Boston in September 2006. It was born out of the desire to share information about audio and video podcasting and related subjects. Podcamp Toronto is a 100% free, volunteer-driven, sponsor-supported event. Otherwise known as an unconference, Podcamp Toronto focuses primarily on allowing people to share ideas, interact with each other and learn in an open environment.

“Using the unconference method means that attendees will learn from those in the trenches, the very people who are producing podcasts on a day to day basis,” says Barnes. “Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster or someone who’s just curious about this new medium, Podcamp Toronto will allow you to learn at your own pace.”

Sessions includes Interviewing Techniques, Video Podcasting for the Average Joe, Podcasting 101, 7 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast, How to Create Hollywood Effects from Your Living Room and Podcasting in Public Interest. There are a number of panel discussions, including Will Podcasting Kill Radio, Using Podcasting in Secondary Schools and What’s Hot in Marketing Your Podcast. The hosts of 2 of Canada’s most listened to podcasts – In Over Your Head and Galacticast – will be on hand to answer questions about replicating their success. These are just a sample of the 25+ sessions and panels being offered.

A blog is updated almost daily with news about Podcamp Toronto. Sponsors include Scotiabank, the first Canadian bank to produce a podcast called The Money Clip and BabyTel, a voice-over IP company.

Visit http://www.podcamptoronto.org for more information or to register for free for Podcamp Toronto.

Media Contacts

Leesa Barnes


(647) 225-3792

Jay Moonah


(416) 885-5341