Entries Tagged as ''

“I’ve been told many times that I should be involved in voice over services.”

That is just one quote from one of the many ‘can I be in voice overs too?’ emails I get each week. All of them sincere.

I’m honored that these folks think I’m somehow worthy of the note, thinking that I may be able hand over the magic keys to the voice over kingdom. I’ve not the heart to tell them that no one has yet told me where the bathroom is in this kingdom let alone handed me the kingdom’s keys.

What I always do is direct them to my free e-book “The Voice Over Entrance Exam” which discusses what I believe are the real keys to beginning a career in voice over. It is rarely a fast turnaround career and it is mostly not a highly lucrative business for the thousand who practice it in earnest…it takes time and patience and that erases most of the newer contestants early on.

If today, this is you…you think you’d like to try your hand at voice over…OK.

1. Read my e-book, read other people’s books (there’s a list of some in my book) then decide.

2. If you are serious (and please read and think about those words again) you have options. One of many options is this one.

3. If you’re not serious about being in voice overs, now is the perfect time to realize and admit that – you are obviously an honest and courageous person if you can.

If you are currently a voice talent, feel free to reference this book and share the link with those who inquire to you if you feel the book is worthwhile.

If you would like to become a fan of the book on Facebook, click here and thanks.

As always, I hope this helps.

audio’connell in rochester, ny

I cannot remember if this is the third or fourth time I’ve attended the RAF’s Freelance Creative Expo but I am always glad I do it. While its only an hour away, my schedule is a too hectic to benefit from an RAF membership and it is my loss because they are clearly a membership filled with talented, nice people by whom I am always genuinely welcomed each year. Thanks to the committee members who put on this year’s event.

Why the Buffalo Ad Club can wrap themselves around such an annual event locally is a mystery to me. What an amazing friend raiser.

Which leads to a great surprise I enjoyed at last night’s show…through the throngs can this person with a name tag that said “voice over talent”…it was my on-line VO pal Leslie Diamond.

Male Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell and Female Voice Talent Leslie Diamond

She had never been to the Expo before and decided to check it out, not knowing I’d be there. I invited her to hang out at my booth/table so she could meet and introduce herself to some of the folks I was meeting. Having lived in Rochester for a while, I think Leslie got pleasantly reacquainted with some great contacts.

Thanks Leslie and thanks RAF for making this year’s show terrific.

you’ve got mail…maybe

About 1,200 of closest friends…OK my prospect and client database…started receiving my most recent marketing effort this week…the postcard you see above.

My thanks to my friend and designer Ann Hackett from aHa! Designs for her help and patience with me during the design process.

If you didn’t get it just send me a quick email (peter at audioconnell dot com) with your address and I’ll send you one.

“…only to a certain degree.”

Voice over talents are independent contractors who do one-off jobs as well as long-term contract work. While we market our work to prospective clients via advertising and tools like social media, truth be told, most of the world doesn’t know we exist or really what we do for a living…except talk.

And in our collective business model, that’s as it should be…our job is a behind-the-scenes deal.

For one voice talent, that changed this week. And I have a sense that this change will have some repercussions within the industry…I am pretty sure at the very least it will spark discussions.

While it is a long story, I will try and briefly summarize it as it was told on the blog of voice talent D.C. Douglas: he states that the lobbying firm, Freedom Works, encouraged supporters of the Tea Party movement to get D.C. fired as the national voice talent for GEICO Insurance. D.C. says that is because he left an agitated voicemail (with his contact information) for Freedom Works regarding slurs Tea Party participants made about Rep. Barney Frank during the recent Congressional health care vote. Evidently Freedom Works and the Tea Party movement are aligned in some organizational way. As a result, D.C. has not been retained as a voice talent by GEICO.

I do not know D.C. Douglas, I do not believe I have ever spoken to him and I doubt he knows me either. But his was a pretty large voice over deal on a national advertising campaign for a very large American company. And now because he expressed his opinion (in what he infers was a regrettable manner) to a group that used their professional connections to get him fired, he lost a contract.

More to the point, because of his expressed opinions, he as a voice talent was dragged out from behind his major client’s curtain, thrusting both himself and his client onto a public, political stage neither was expecting to be on…or ultimately wanted to be on. The result was his client dismissed him. To his credit, D.C. Douglas inferred on his blog that he fully understands and accepts GEICO’s position.

It seems to me that the overarching question in all this is: do voice talents, who speak for a living, enjoy the right to free speech outside the booth?

In my opinion, the answer is yes – but only to a certain degree.

Voice talents are just as bound to and protected by the United States Constitution, its Bill of Rights and our country’s laws as any other American citizen. Voice artists have opinions and we share them as we see fit.

But it is the content of those opinions, how we express them and where we express them (the “as we see fit” part) that elicits my “only to a certain degree” opinion.

Remember, usually, a voice talent is an anonymous entity in the world except to those who need to hire voice talents: advertising agencies, television and radio stations and businesses may need a professional voice for their clients or themselves.

Their primary objective is to find a voice that suits their script. The voice talent is only one cog in a big marketing/advertising wheel and these producers – while caring about a “voice” very much – also have other things to do and deadlines to meet.

When hiring any project, if a voice talent is considered egotistic, poorly prepared, unprofessional or difficult to work with in anyway, they’ll move on to their second voice choice rather than deal with the headache of their “difficult” first choice.

As far as I know to this point, D.C. Douglas has no such negative reputation and his voice resume would seem to support my understanding.

But like it or not, what D.C. now faces is a very high profile examination of his personal and political beliefs by people who have yet to hire him. Whether his beliefs are right or wrong to me or you isn’t important…unless “you” are the one doing the hiring you happen to disagree with D.C.’s opinions – D.C.’s beliefs now may precede and even supersede his professional voice work, in a producer’s mind. It’s a reality he now must face because he chose to share his political beliefs in a public forum in an aggressive way with an equally passionate, politically opposite but clearly more influential group whose tactics are aggressive.

“…only to a certain degree.”

His name, his brand may be sullied in the eyes of some potential employers – and he’ll never know it, they will never speak of it to D.C. and his agents…these potential employers will simply move on to their second voice choice.

“…only to a certain degree.”

It doesn’t mean his voice over career is over…it may mean that the pool of options may be lessened. Conversely, there may be companies who didn’t know of him before hand, agree with his beliefs and hire him because of them. But it is an unknown that D.C. will have to live with for a while until he sees how this all shakes out… his voice over checking account will provide the final results.

“…only to a certain degree.”

I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say that D.C. Douglas didn’t see all of this coming with one, poorly worded, heat-of-the-moment voice mail message. His beliefs are his own and as such are not right or wrong – they are his and he is entitled to them.

“…only to a certain degree.”

But politics can be a dirty and dishonorable business, even among those who enter it professionally with the best of intentions. The best intentions of lobbyists are based on serving and accomplishing the political goals of those who hire them. Whether that system is right or wrong matters not to this discussion – those are the understood rules of the pool that D.C. Douglas dove into, heart first, in his voice mail.

Now, he will have no choice but to live with the courage of his convictions (which is not a bad thing), a choice I don’t think he understood he was making when he placed that call. But it is a situation that he and I think all voice talents may have thought about, at least a little bit, at one time or another in their professional lives.

The question for voice talents now is this: What is your “certain degree”. At what point would you risk having your brand overshadowed publicly by your personal beliefs? Or would you handle how you promote your beliefs differently.

There are no wrong answers as I see it – only the right answer as decided by each individual voice talent. I look forward to your opinions.

welcome mr. whitney wyatt to the blogroll

I got a very nice email from Whitney Wyatt out in California advising me that he’d added me to his blogroll. When I got there, not only was there a link but a nice post about voxmarketising.com.

Certainly that kindness is not required to be considered for the blogroll, but it sure made my day.

mary’s thoughts on getting started in voice over

If I were a betting man, my guess that this blog post by my friend and fellow voice talent Mary McKitrick was written not only to help her many blog readers who may be getting started in voice over, but also to serve as a blog reference for her to those newbie inquires she gets and will continue to get.

And it’s a fine read for them…and you.

There’s also this little tome as well.