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the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with All Coast Talent in Buffalo, NY

Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell All Coast Talent 19Editor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

For as long as I lived in Buffalo, NY, for a long while I wasn’t really part of the voiceover scene. I would occassionally do some local spots but I was mostly doing stuff elsewhere. Buffalo also suffers (current tense because it hasn’t stopped) from that fairly common media/advertising producer’s attitude prevalent around the country that ‘if you’re from here, you can’t be any good’.

But Buffalo did have a smaller voiceover community – outside of the radio people often called upon to do spots (and some of those radio people were/are amazing voice talents).

I think the real boom of voice talents in Western New York took off, however, when Toni Silveri and her family came back to Buffalo from LA.

Toni was a Smurf.

That’s right, she was one of the original voice talents on the NBC Saturday morning Smurfs. Of course she did other stuff as well while in LA. A long time singer and actress, she has been performing across the U.S. But Buffalo was home and so she returned when she had had enough of LA.

However, Toni brought back with her a new perspective — in addition to her new Hollywood contacts and friends. Many things made an impression on Toni while in LA. One big thing, I think anyway, was attending the voiceover classes held over at Daws Butler’s house.

Daws was to Hanna-Barbera animation what Mel Blanc was to Warner Bros. animation. In other words…holy cow talented. To say Daws was only a character voice actor would be unfair…but he WAS an uncommonly talented character voice actor. He used to host VO workshops at his house for working LA voice actors and Toni often attended them…with Daws soon becoming a Silveri family friend.

Toni Silveri All Coast Talent / WNY Voice Actors Workshop

I say this made a big impression because when Toni came back from LA, SHE started hosting these same kinds of workshops in her home. The Western New York Voice Actors Workshop was born.

My inculcation within the Workshop was not immediate. I knew of it but didn’t get involved until one weekend when Toni hosted among the first of her many Pat Fraley workshops at her house (and then later at local recording studios). Pat is a well known and beloved voice actor in his own right but also, in my opinion,  Pat is one of the best straight out teachers of voiceover – especially character voice – in the world. His handouts alone are worth the price of admission because he is so well thought out in his presentation, so organized and so engaging. Oh, and Pat was also a Smurf which I believe is where he really got to know Toni.

So I show up at this Fraley workshop in Toni’s backyard, fairly unknown to these folks. Pat of course is amazing. I guess I made a good impression with my work there because Toni pulls me aside and says “I’m starting up a voiceover agency and I would like to represent you.”

This was not a blanket offer to all workshop participants.

I couldn’t see how it would hurt as up to that point and even today, there isn’t another VO agent in Buffalo.

But she quickly went from local to national and hasn’t stopped. She’s the real deal. All Coast Talent was born and I’ve been there since the beginning.

It was a unique position for this local boy when my voiceover friends from around the country would call me and ask about this voiceover agent in Buffalo. ‘Buffalo, really?’ they would say. ‘Oh yes really,’ I would answer.

‘Can you help get me on her roster?’ I would just smile.

Proving yet again, it’s NOT the address that matters, it’s all about the person who lives there.

the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with Rockstar Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA

Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell Rockstar EntertainmentEditor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

If you haven’t met Scott Burns, Seattle, WA voice talent extraordinaire, well you’re kinda missing out.

As with many voice talents, including yours truly, Scott started out in radio and just has the most creative mind for broadcasting and voiceover scripts that you’ll find anywhere. He co-hosted a very successful radio show in the NW for many years and it is radio’s loss that they don’t have him waking people up in some amazing city somewhere.

I don’t know how many years I’ve known Scott but I do recall meeting him for the first time in Amy Snively’s bedroom at Faffcon.

I should explain that last sentence…but I don’t think I will. Though nothing even remotely improper took place, I want to be included in a salacious rumor that something naughty did take place and that I was somehow a part of it.

Yes, my life IS that boring! 🙂

Anyway, it was some years after the naughtiness that was not at Faffcon (around 2014) that Scott and I were speaking on the phone. I can’t remember the specifics of the call – because between meetings and phone calls, we’ve chatted a fair amount over the years.

Lena Morgan_Rockstar EntertainmentBut at some point in the conversation he mentioned Lena Morgan, the owner/agent at Rockstar Entertainment. Well, he didn’t mention her so much as he shouted her name from the rooftops (as Scott is sometimes wont to do). He couldn’t be more effusive about Lena, how she was at IDIOM Agency and went out on her own and how great she was at getting her work and managing each deal and on and on. Summing it up, Scott adores Lena as an agent and a person.

But then again, Scott likes me too, so his judgement is clearly askew.

Nonetheless, I took Scott at his word and after our call, I sent a quick email to Lena letting her know how beloved by Scott she was. Then SHE starts in on how great Scott is and his talent and on and on. Meanwhile I’m trying to figure out what kind of vortex of sincere, happy compliments I’ve suddenly dropped into. It was a surprisingly pleasant place.

Then, in the email, she asked for my demos. I sent. She liked. We partnered. Simple as that. I’ve been on Lena’s voiceover roster ever since.

the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with Moxie Talent in Kansas City, MO

Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell_Moxie Talent Agency 19Editor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

I met Stacey Siegert, the owner of Moxie Talent on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. That was also the day we agreed to work together.

I was in Kansas City, Missouri the night before having dinner with my old Faffcon pal Dan Hurst who, that night introduced me to two other voiceover talents, Matt Wiewel and Andy Barnett. We went to a BBQ rib joint there because…Kansas City.

We had a great time swapping voiceover stories and how we got to where we were in our careers. The stories were pretty great as I recall.

As happens in these conversations, we spoke about their specific market and about agents there. As my memory serves (and sometimes it’s closed for business on account of fog) Dan and Andy were represented by a long established agency…I believe Matt was there too.

But they also mentioned a fairly new voiceover agent in the market by the name of Stacey Siegert who had just started an agency called Moxie. I believe (again, this could be the fog rolling in) that Stacey has previously worked at a local agency and had decided to go out on her own.

So the next day I had a minute before catching my plane home, so I stopped by Moxie to introduce myself.

Sometimes these drive by introductions can go well and sometimes VO agents can be very off-put by such a display. I was in the Northwest part of the country once where my voiceover agent office drop by was met with a look of deer-in-headlights shock that I would walk in to a place of business unannounced. That told me all I needed to know and I left, relieved.

Stacey Siegert Moxie TalentBut when I stopped by to meet Stacey at Moxie, she was gracious, professional, smart and welcoming. An engaging personality that I could immediately tell producers would enjoy working with. She was somebody who appreciates that talent who worked with her. And all this in just the first few minutes.

She liked my demos, I liked her. It was a good fit.

About a year or so ago, I spoke separately with Dan and Andy and now THEY are on the Moxie Talent roster too!

sometimes you do it just cause it makes you happy

IN VOICEOVER and in many other industries, our websites are our store fronts.

peter k o'connell voiceover agent cities 2019

Because most of us work out of our homes, we don’t see much street traffic – although clients do come over to the house to record from time to time. It’s a great way to force yourself (or my children in my case) to clean the house.

So we as voice actors try to make sure we make the web site SEO friendly, make sure the menus flow well, make sure the content is informative, timely and fits our branding message. Of course, we want it to be attractive and inviting as well.

Some more obsessive website owners (whomever they might be and they might have an apostrophe in their name…or not) are always looking for unique and sometimes very subtle ways to gain a viewers attention or peek their creative interest by showing something visually (as well as ‘audiolly’) cool.

And then sometimes you include something in your voiceover web site just because it makes you happy.

Truth be told, THAT’s the reason I included the above graphics on my voiceover agent page on my web site.

Some will look at the page and this blog post as a way for me to be bragging about my agents…I can only tell you this post is sincerely not meant that way. I wanted to share with you the creative process I went through to create this in hopes that maybe it will spur you on to create something new and unique to your own web site, something unique and specially that you hadn’t thought about adding until reading this. Onward, then.

The idea started thusly…

I was looking at other voice talent web sites for a completely different reason and noticed a voiceover agent page that featured logos of that’s talent’s agents. Many of us try to include our agents on our web sites to give them recognition and possibly leads for those folks who prefer to book voice talents not directly via the talent but rather by an agent. Fine by me!

In a previous incarnation of this page, I had included a graphic of agency logos but I thought it got too busy and for a long time, I have just listed text.

Well today I went back to the idea of trying to squeeze in small logos from each agent next to their text listing. But it ended up looking forced and some of the logos were…well let’s just say some agents aren’t graphic designers and leave it at that (yes I am a snob about such things — with no credibility to judge anyone). Oh and many agents have very nice logos as well. Bottom line with my agents, they are good business partners and that’s what I sincerely care about.

But I wanted to create a way for the agent page to stand out a little more and be visually interesting to the reader.

airport bag tagSince logos weren’t going to work, I had to consider a unique, common theme. I thought about geography, then cities, then how people know cities, then how cities have nicknames, cities have abbreviations and then…..codes! Airport codes!! Of course!!!

As you know, I am in airports all the time and I often refer to cities by their airport codes. It annoys my family sometimes but I come by it genetically because my frequent flyer Da did the same thing. So there is that memory fueling this idea too.

Most of my clients are business owners and many of them travel so there should be an immediate familiarity with this look and feel as well.

So keeping with a generic format, I used no unique colors rather just a simple, understated, functional and a bit elegant look…at least in my head.

Maybe nobody will notice this except me…and now you because you read this (thanks for that, BTW).

But it’s kind of like those studio knickknacks we all have or that special picture or piece of children’s art you keep.

It just makes you happy to have them and that’s reason enough to keep them.

Until my next idea, anyway.