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losing our minds


I like reading books, but I don’t do it a lot (it’s the time thing).

When it comes to book reading for my own entertainment, I am not a huge novel fan (except when someone’s paying my to produce an audio book of their novel…then I jump in feet first!) Unless the writing or a character really grabs me very early on, I lose interest.

I’m more of a biography guy. Reading about the lives of people whom I find interesting is more entertaining to me. I also enjoy certain business books as well.

But like many high schools students, I had to read the late Kurt Vonnegut, specifically Slaughterhouse-Five. I didn’t like the book and thought the story poorly told (but he’s sold more than a few copies so what do I know?). Part of the process of learning in school is accumulating a list of likes and don’t likes so I slogged through it.

And I get that Vonnegut is talented, sharp and witty. And through some of his interviews, he also struck my as a bit of a pain in the ass (something I have never been accused of being!;)

But courtesy of Tim Ferris’ blog today, I had the chance to read part of Vonnegut’s final interview (originally in US Airways Magazine of all places…and who knew they bothered to put that mostly advertorial rag on line?)

In that interview, Vonnegut brilliantly summarized a thought I have had for sometime regarding our society’s scary and growing dependence on the electronic media (of which, I admit, I help foster with my business). What made his quote brilliant to me was that he said it and I only thought it.

If you want people to know you’re brilliant, you’ve got to show them the evidence. Here’s Vonnegut’s Exhibit A:

Q: We live in a very visual world today. Do words have any power left?

Vonnegut: I was at a symposium some years back with my friends Joseph Heller and William Styron, both dead now, and we were talking about the death of the novel and the death of poetry, and Styron pointed out that the novel has always been an elitist art form. It’s an art form for very few people, because only a few can read very well. I’ve said that to open a novel is to arrive in a music hall and be handed a viola. You have to perform. [Laughs.] To stare at horizontal lines of phonetic symbols and Arabic numbers and to be able to put a show on in your head, it requires the reader to perform. If you can do it, you can go whaling in the South Pacific with Herman Melville, or you can watch Madame Bovary make a mess of her life in Paris. With pictures and movies, all you have to do is sit there and look at them and it happens to you.

Other than soap and water, we shouldn’t let other things we experience , like electronic communication, simply wash over us. Our brains and those of our children become sedentary and nothing good can come from that.

We shouldn’t let things just “happen” to us. We’ve been given the gift of thoughtful participation and I think we all should use it alot more!

Make it a novel or a biography, but read a book…right after you’re done reading with your children.

best and worst logo redesigns


I have no idea who this blog’s author is and what the overall content of the blog is about and I am certainly late to the party in finding the post but I do like the way he thinks about logo redesign.

audio’connell in atlanta


Thanksgiving in the ATL was great (once I finally got there). It was lovely fall weather there and we even brought them some much needed rain.

One of the real treats was having lunch with September Day Leach, an Atlanta voice over talent and soon to be Los Angeles voice over talent (yes Bob, I forgot the camera again). She’ll not be falling off the Greyhound bus with stars in her eyes once she reaches the west coast…this young woman has some tremendous voice credits already including serving as the voice/announcer for the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards (check out the name on the cast list right after Avril Lavigne).

We shared many fun stories and helped lay the ground work for some seriously impressive marketing opportunities for her. Expect to be hearing her even more in the near future.

My thanks to Karen Commins, Lance Blair and Scott Pollack, September’s fellow Atlantan voice talents who wanted to join us but had commitments that didn’t allow time for my (as per usual with me) last minute get together. Maybe next time.

testing patience and trackbacks


When plowing through my blog subscriptions via my Google Reader everyday, I find myself simply hitting the “Mark As Read” button on many posts. I’m not sure if its because I’m tired of reading or the post hasn’t grabbed my attention or if I’ve got a hellish day ahead (or behind me) and I just can’t be bothered.

But a trick I’ve tired to implement more regularly recently is if I see a post of interest but feel I don’t have the time to concentrate on it, I just leave it and make sure I come back to it. Sure, that sounds logical enough for most people but in my drive to accomplish things or be able to cross one more thing off my list…having the patience to hold and go back is a big deal.

What’s the payoff? This is the payoff. Thursday (Thanksgiving Day in the states) Copywriting.com had a post “The 10 ten ways to drive traffic to your blog”. Thursday was a long day for me because Air Tran Airlines had trouble managing to get a non-stop flight from Buffalo to Atlanta so my 6:20 a.m. flight didn’t leave Buffalo until 2:40 p.m. (All together now…”Air Tran sucks!”)

In the interim, I went over the US Airways Club to chill (airport benches just are not comfortable). While I was reading my Google Reader, I started to feel a bit sleepy (I hadn’t even had turkey yet but they did have football on and I’d been up since 4 a.m.). So when I came across the Copywriting.com post, I knew I would want to read it but wouldn’t be able to concentrate at that particular moment.

This morning, I read the post and it had a terrific video from Jack Humphrey (http://www.jackhumphrey.com/) on how to use Trackbacks on wordpress blogs. The video is on his blog and on Copywriting.com’s blog.

Thanks to Copywriter.com and Jack for these terrific tips, proving that my patience often will be rewarded. It also proves that the older I get, the less it takes to please me 🙂

audio’connell in charlotte

Peter O’Connell, Kara Edwards, Bob Souer, Charlotte, NC November 2007

Bob Souer and Kara Edwards were so kind to join me for dinner last night as I stopped by Charlotte, NC. And I also enjoyed having lunch with Brett Mason who has a great story about how he started in radio.

In the voice over business, it’s rare you could go into a city and NOT have someone in your voiceover network who you would know. For such a individualistic business, our networks are getting stronger all the time. My thanks to Kara, Bob and Brett.

writers strike zaps voice talent

Stewie from Fox TV’s Family Guy

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane had hoped Fox wouldn’t continue production of his show without him when MacFarlane did not report to work in support of the Writers Guild of America strike, saying of the idea of producing his show without him: “it would just be a colossal dick move if they did.”

Well they are and it is.

Look, I get that they may own the show (at least partially assuming MacFarlane didn’t entirely get squashed during the last negotiations to bring it back after it was cancelled) and I also get that Fox has a network to program.

But these characters are critical to the show and while others can impersonate the voices, it would be a bad move long term. This strike will end but the bad feelings may not regardless of future revenue possibilities.

And woe to the voice talent who takes the interim gig…like he won’t be black balled. Except for maybe one or two exceptions, he may get lots of money short term but he’ll likely be back to doing convenience store ads for basic cable as soon as the strike is over.