Entries Tagged as 'Faff Camp'

40 years as a professional voiceover talent

Peter K. O'Connell 40th Anniversary Voiceover Collage

Aside from me having done a little math, few people will likely care that much that I’ve now been a professional voice talent for 40 years.

I’ve been in the voiceover business, getting paid, getting new and repeat clients for 4 decades.

And yes, for you trivia savvy, MTV and I launched in the same year. MTV has made much more money than I have.

But back to my 40th anniversary.

Sure, clients and prospects may like the idea that they are working with someone with 40 years of professional voiceover experience and coming with that, a plethora of voice acting skills. But as for the rest of the world, Peter K. O’Connell’s 40 years as a professional voice actor doesn’t really mean that much.

40th Voiceover Anniversary Peter K. O'Connell

The anniversary IS important to me but not because of longevity or being self- aggrandizing. The very slight marketing benefit I may enjoy really isn’t cause for celebration either.

What makes me proud to celebrate 40 years in the voiceover business is who got me here. Not me being in the business all this time.

It’s about the support of SO many people, not all of whom could be named here but none of whom are forgotten.

Their help is really the story I want to share here. My failures are mine (and plentiful) but my successes are because of their help.

Thank you God for all of them and all of this.

How did I get to 40rty years in voiceover?

My family first…my saintly wife and glorious kids today (and every day). Certainly my parents, who originally gave me the public speaking and broadcasting genes to start with and then the ability to attend Canisius High School (where I met my video production teacher, video company partner and groomsman at my wedding, Terry Fisher) and then the University of Dayton.

Foxy 93 WFXZ BuffaloKnowing my interest in broadcasting, my brother Michael connected a junior-in-high-school-me with local radio broadcaster Susan Hunt, who was the morning news anchor at WFXZ-FM. I was able to become an intern with Susan and the program director, Jeff Appleton. What a coup for a sixteen year old broadcasting novice!

I was probably more of a burden to Susan and Jeff than a help – but I was/am grateful for the opportunity. I am still embarrassed to think about how green I was at the time. But by doing the internship at that time, I established what I was told was the first broadcast internship at my high school. I guess that’s something…not sure what.

Let’s see where we go from here.

DAYTON, OH

UD Magazine Winter 2016-17 (not the real cover) Peter K. O'Connell WVUD-FM

No this is not the REAL cover of University of Dayton Magazine. The guy in the pink shirt just pasted himself on there. What a goof!

In 1982, when I started working at the University of Dayton’s student-run, carrier-current radio station, WDCR-AM (now WUDR) and a little while later at their professionally operated 50,000 watt station reaching three states, WVUD-FM (now WYDB), I simply didn’t know how much I didn’t know.

All I knew was that I wanted to work in radio. I still would work in radio if today it was even ½ the business now that it was then, but it’s not. I keep my hand in radio volunteering at an independent Catholic formatted radio station here in Raleigh (Divine Mercy Radio), which is just fine for me.

Before entering UD, I didn’t know John Luttrell who hired me at WDCR (who is now with Cumulus Media in Albany, GA) or Tracy Hurd who was my program director and who is not involved in broadcasting any more. I didn’t know the late Mike McMurray who was the PD at WVUD who hired me or Music Director Sandy Huff-White, who I have been friends with ever since we worked at Hitradio 100.

I had no idea there were other broadcast fanatic people my age until I move into a college apartment with Dan Suffoletto, Ron Alexander and Jeff Wagner. Oh what fun we had.

<i>WKBW-TV Sports Anchor Clip Smith</i>

Buffalo broadcasting legend Clip Smith

How about props for my Dad and especially my Mom, who was attending a charity dinner in Buffalo while I was at college, sat with weekend TV sports anchor Clip Smith and, by the end of the dinner, had secured for me an internship at WKBW-TV my first summer back from college.

Back at Dayton, I was working as the afternoon news anchor, then weekday evening DJ, 6-9pm as well as morning host fill-in when the morning man went on vacation.

Speaking of vacations, I went on vacation from the station for a week one summer (we worked year round). While I was gone, there was a sort of melt down in the commercial production department and I came back to be made Production Manager…this is where the voiceover bug really started to brew.

Commercial production clients liked how I sounded, they pay me a little extra sometimes to do their spots that aired on other stations…and for much of that help, I owe thanks to the radio station account executives Gary, Lenny and Ruth.

Saturday Night Solid Gold with Peter O'Connell on WVUD Dayton 1984-86

Saturday Night Solid Gold with Peter O’Connell on WVUD Dayton 1984-86

So there I am at school studying (sometimes) working (a lot of the other times) and having a swell time. Unbeknownst to me, the host of our live local weekend oldies show failed out of school (he was more into radio than studying) and I get put in that slot (while continuing in the production department. I finished at WVUD in ’86 with the #1 rated Saturday show in the entire market, 7p-12a, against some really great programming. There’s luck, timing and a little talent included in all that craziness, as you might guess.

Oh, speaking of luck, I graduated college.

BUFFALO, NY

Buffalo NY Waterfront

Buffalo, New York waterfront

I mentioned earlier about the video production company I started with Terry after I graduated from the University of Dayton. Also at that time, I became the voice of Burnham’s Appliances in Buffalo, NY with the help of Kevin Brayer, who was a family friend and working in management at the local chain of stores. That was a nice break for me.

Peter K. O'Connell Buffalo Voiceover Clients

Talking Proud: Buffalo headquartered companies who have secured Peter K. O’Connell’s voiceover talents

When I recorded those spots, usually over at local radio stations, I met terrific local radio folks in Buffalo (and some others of whom did NOT hire me to work on the air as I wished they had 😉  One jock/production manager who was especially nice to me recording the Burnham’s spots was Keith Luke at WBUF, who had one of the deepest voices you’ve ever heard. I also met Chris Nichter when recording a few of those spots at WJYE.

Interestingly and again unbeknownst to me (cause I love saying unbeknownst) starting his radio career around that time and going on to be a long time production voice in Buffalo with Entercom radio (now Audacy) and local TV was my high school buddy Matt Young.

Actually, I came across many nice folks while I was recording voiceover and working other jobs over those years (“other jobs” because Buffalo has never been as busy as LA, the internet VO biz wasn’t yet a thing and recording studio technology was not yet as portable…but it WAS stupid expensive).

Voice Actors Peter K. O'Connell and Pat Fraley in Buffalo, NY

Voice Talent Peter K O’Connell with Voice Actor and Voice Acting Coach Pat Fraley

Those who I met who stand out the most in my Buffalo voiceover memories include Alan Baumgardner and Kim Ferullo over at Chameleon Communications, Shaun Mullins at Propellerhead Media,  John Ciglia and Dan Innes at Crosswater Digital Media, and maybe most importantly Toni Silveri, who just started All Coast Talent when I met her and she quickly signed me. We’ve been long time pals ever since…Toni also introduced me to the great character voice actor and teacher, Pat Fraley.

VOICEOVER AGENTS

I’ve had many voiceover agents over 4 decades, which reminded me of the old phrase ‘you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince’.

Voice Talent Peter K O'Connell Sheppard Agency 19

Peter K. O’Connell has been on the voiceover roster of Sheppard Agency (formerly Voice Talent Productions) since it’s inception

While there are many frogs, who I decided to no longer work with, there are far more princes (and princesses) including Toni (who I mentioned) Erik Shepard of the Sheppard Agency, Kelly Wilkening at Big Mouth Talent, Laura Von Holle and the team at Heyman Talent, Cindi Davis-Andress and the team at Pastorini Bosby Talent, Stacey Siegert from Moxie Talent, Tanya Buchanan of Ta-Da Voiceworks in Toronto and Jeffrey Umberger (formerly of Umberger Agency) in Atlanta.

These folks do the work for their clients and I appreciate each of them even more because of business relationships with those former VO agents who did NOT do the work.

Live and learn.

Muhammad Ali’s said: “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

VO-BB.COM

VO-BB Microphone IconWhat I know now as a voice talent that I didn’t know then is that while this is among the most sole of sole proprietor businesses, I am happy to report that I found I was not in it alone.

The “there are others like me” moment became most apparent to me in 2005 right after the on-line voiceover world really kicked off around 2003-04. I was on an unmemorable VO bulletin board web site (mostly conversations in text) where a VO talent I knew from that board, the great Connie Terwilliger, posted about a different voiceover bulletin board website, VO-BB.com.

It’s hard to effectually put into words the world that opened up to me on February 2, 2005 when I joined VO-BB.com. Insightful information, humor, arguments and just friendships among people who knew my business, knew my challenges, shared my fears…just everything.

Phone calls, in person meet-ups and people who I can call on and who can call on me when they need my help…all sprang from this simple website. It’s like if one were alone on a journey, seemingly forever, to finally came upon a camp of delightful and insightful fellow travelers. DB Cooper (and now Bruce Miles) cannot be thanked enough for keeping this enterprise going.

Without this internet bulletin board, there could have never been a FaffCon or FaffCamp.

FAFFCON

Peter K.O'Connell on a panel at VOICE 2010 in Hollywood, CA

Peter K. O’Connell speaking on a voiceover panel at VOICE 2010 in Hollywood, CA

Some years before the first FaffCon, a bunch of VO-BB’ers were at the VOICE conference in Hollywood. It was a nice conference, I was invited to speak on one of the panels, and everyone had a nice time, especially seeing VO people in person. But following the event, those of us in attendance chatted on the VO-BB about the event. VOICE felt very corporate.

It seemed like the people presenting were, for the most part, trying to sell their services by giving you a little taste of their knowledge with a 45 minute presentation. Also, people with greater voiceover experience gained less there than those who were just starting out in the VO business.

Nothing wrong with all that but it was just like every other conference.

In any industry.

Ever.

FaffCon 8 2016 Minneapolis, Minnesota

FaffCon 8: The Happiest Voiceover Place On Earth

Amy Snively posed a question on the board about an idea she had for a different kind of voiceover conference strictly for experienced voiceover talents, based on a conference design that was developing at the time…something called an unconference.

Presenters at this unconference would be made up of attendees (versus pre-arranged, more well-known speakers), who presented their ideas for voiceover topics. The organizers would review the topics, chose the ones that made the most sense for the audience, merge the similar topic ideas and presenters together, create a daily schedule right there at the event and, alakazam, the conference content and schedule would be set.

Attendance at the conference would be limited in capacity and to those who were professional voice talents versus those who might have a lesser experience level. Later an event called FaffCamp would be created for voice talent at any level of the VO journey.

Bottom line and the point of difference: at this voiceover unconference, nobody would be trying to sell you a product or series of lessons. The 3-4 day event would just be about education and networking based on voiceover performance, voiceover business needs and voiceover technology…with everyone sharing as much as they were willing to share. It was a safe place to meet, share and learn.

Needless to say, the voiceover talent on the board thought it was a great idea…Amy created a team to help her and – in short order – she created and produced 9 FaffCons and I think 2 FaffCamps. Amy Snively did that and turned voiceover education on its ear in the best possible way.

Voiceover Emcee Peter K. O'Connell at FaffCon 8

FaffCon 8 Emcee and Voice Talent Peter K. O’Connell

My participation was small compared to Amy and her co-producers (first Pam Tierney and later Lauren McCullough). Because of the birth of my son, I could not attend the first FaffCon; at the end, I attended all but two. I produced a promo video for the first unconference and got asked to help out selling sponsorships. I think it was at FaffCon 2 in Hershey that I was handed a microphone during the giveaways and asked last minute to MC it. It went well and I helped with the MC duties after that. Minor support that I was glad to offer in support of those doing the real work.

But the biggest impact on the attendees and the industry (including me) was the content offered, the people networks built, the enormous knowledge shared and fantastic individual revelations uncovered. You really had to be there to understand the intense impact FaffCon and FaffCamp had on many lives but it was unlike ANY other voiceover conference I have attended before or since. I remain grateful for FaffCon to this day…and there are hundreds more like me.

VOICEOVER MEET-UPS

Even before FaffCon, voiceover meet-ups are something that have sustained me professionally and personally for many years. These are simply a gathering of two or more voice talents – sometimes in in your area or when you’re traveling, in a fellow voice talents town. Nothing fancy, usually breakfast, lunch or dinner at a spot…the important thing was and is the conversation and fellowship.

Voice Talents Peter K OConnell and Bob Souer at a Pittsburgh Pirates game in Pittsburgh, PA

Voice Talents Peter K. O’Connell and Bob Souer at a Pittsburgh Pirates game in Pittsburgh, PA

In June of 2007 (according to my voxmarketising blog post) – before FaffCon or other conferences that I ever attended – it was everyone’s voiceover friend Bob Souer who called me up from his then home in Charlotte to say he would soon be in Western New York. Would I want to meet with him? At the time he was working in the Media Department of the Billy Graham Association in North Carolina and a Crusade was going to be in our region of the country.

Where had I originally met Bob? On the VO-BB.com of course (told you that was an impactful place).

This would not be the last meal, event, baseball game etc., that I would share with Bob or his wonderful family. But it would be the spring board for me to initiate many more meet ups when I would travel for my marketing business or when people would come to my town.

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate lot to travel a lot for business, having the option to call on friends (especially voiceover friends) in other cities makes such business travel more enjoyable and gives you something extra to look forward to than just the monotonous itinerary airport-hotel-quick dinner alone-hotel-meeting-airport-home. Plus information shared with smart voiceover people is great for my business too.

For me, it is truly humbling to realize how many great folks in voiceover blessed me with their time in these small meet-ups since 2007. Time is a great gift to share and for the scores of voice actors who have allowed me to spend time with them, I am really grateful. Thank you.

Voice Actor and Live Announcer Doug Turkel at a voiceover meetup in Miami, FL

One of the meet-ups that made quite an impact on me (which will surprise no one who has met the man I am about to mention) was when I was in Miami in 2009. Doug Turkel had assembled a group of local voiceover talents to create a kind of Mastermind group – voice talents meeting together at a scheduled time with the expressed purpose of mentoring each other, helping to solve VO business problem and share ideas. All through my future travels and my FaffCon experience, I kept thinking we needed to do this kind of meeting in Buffalo.

HEARD AROUND BUFFALO

Heard About Buffalo is a monthly meetup group of Western New York-based professional voice-over talents

With the success of the FaffCon, I was busier than ever because – for a while – the events were running on top of each other…plus VO business, marketing business, travel and a growing family….it was a lot.

But this local meet-up thing was gnawing at me…this would be good for me and for the local folks I knew OR didn’t know yet but would get a chance to meet. But time…and pressure and…and…I needed help.

I did something that – due to my awful pride or ego or both – I tried not to do too often. I asked for help to put together the local Buffalo meet-up group. It couldn’t just be on me to set up the group or it wouldn’t get done at that time.

Voice Talents Dan Lenard, Jodi Krangle & Leslie Diamond at VOICE 2010

Voice Talents Dan Lenard, Jodi Krangle & Leslie Diamond at VOICE 2010

So in the spring of 2013, I made two phone calls to (at the time) Buffalo-based voiceover friends I knew I could count on: Dan Lenard and Leslie Diamond. Loosely based on my experience with Doug’s group and FaffCon, we together created our Buffalo voiceover meet up group: Heard Around Buffalo (Leslie provided the creative name).

All volunteer, no profit just everyone who wants to be there and who should be there was there, with a focus on pro VOs. We tried for monthly meetings and we got pretty good at it. Very voiceover focused, lots of conversations about performance, marketing, technology…and life. Exactly what it needed to be. We were even blessed to have voiceover friends from the central part of New York state and Southern Ontario. These were special evenings indeed.

Buffalo Voiceover Meet-up at FaffCon 8

The Buffalo Voice-Over Meet-up Group “Heard Around Buffalo” at FaffCon 8. Front Row: Natalie Stanfield, Fran McClellan, Maria Pendolino; Middle Row: Fred Filbrich, Dan Lenard, Peter K. O’Connell, Bev Standing; Back Row: Patrick Sweeney

Even though Dan, Leslie and I moved out of Western New York, the group still gets together and I am very happy about that (though, selfishly, I miss our time together). Voiceover superstar Maria Pendolino oversees the group now. Local voiceover meet-ups are a very worthwhile use of time and it recharges one’s spirit to be around people who understand one’s profession. Again…very grateful to all who have joined me here.

RALEIGH DURHAM VOICEOVER MEET-UP

RDUVO Raleigh Durham Voiceover MeetupHad you asked me at any time in my 50+ year life in Buffalo, NY, “would you leave Buffalo?”, my answer would have been no. I couldn’t think of a reason to leave. Snow? It’s all I ever knew.

Well, a reason involving the health of a family member progressed to the point that my wife and I had to make a decision and not an easy one. But it was the RIGHT one.

We had to move south in 2016 due to this situation, but I got to pick the city because of travel schedule. I needed to be in a city that had a good airport. We wanted good schools for our kids. We wanted a good quality of life. My choice. No pressure.

Because I had been in the area many times before on business and it seemed very nice, I told my wife we should explore Raleigh, North Carolina first. What made Raleigh most immediately memorable for me was their beautiful airport that could get me anywhere. I said if they spend that kind of money on the design of their airport and expansion of its airline schedule, this is a town that cares about quality of life.

Well fast forward to today and we are very happy here and grateful for the friends we’ve made. We will always miss our home in Buffalo.

Voice Actors Peter K. O'Connell, Bonnie Marie Williams & Asif Samad At Soundtrax In Raleigh NC

Voice Actors and members of the Raleigh Durham Voiceover Meetup Peter K. O’Connell, Bonnie Marie Williams and Asif Samad recording together at Soundtrax Recording Studio In Raleigh NC

From a voiceover business perspective, I was fortunate to know a few voiceover friends in Raleigh-Durham already including Rowell Gormon, Deb Stamp and Wendy Zier. They, of course were, very welcoming and provided local insights that helped in our family’s move to Raleigh and my business transition to a new market.

But because of my experience with Heard About Buffalo, I knew I wanted…no, needed to start a voiceover meet up group here. I needed to grow my network, learn about the market and make new friends.

Voice Actor Rowell Gormon celebrating his casting at the voice of Colonel Sanders for the KFC app during a meeting of the RDUVO voiceover meet up at Soundtrax in Raleigh, NC

Voice Actor Rowell Gormon celebrating his casting at the voice of Colonel Sanders for the KFC app during a meeting of the RDUVO voiceover meet up at Soundtrax in Raleigh, NC

So was born the Raleigh Durham Voiceover Meet-up (RDUVO). With the help of Rowell, Deb and Wendy we had our first meeting in June of 2017, less than a year after moving here. Even through COVID, when we met virtually (like pretty much everyone else) we got together for organized meetings and sometimes just for coffee. Glad our group is going strong.

CATHOLIC RADIO VOLUNTEER

WETC_Catholic540AM StAnn Oct2019 Peter K. O'Connell

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Raleigh, NC, broadcasting live from St. Ann Catholic Church in Clayton October 2019 (l-r) Pastor of St. Ann’s Fr. Peter Grace; Catholic 540-AM Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell and Divine Mercy Radio Chief Engineer Keith Flanary

All my professional life, I’ve been involved in a variety of community activities – to better myself and to better the community I live in. I think this is true for just about everyone…we donate our time, talent and treasure to those organizations we feel drawn to help.

In Buffalo, my biggest commitment was to the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives, which was formed in 1942. I joined because I felt I needed to learn more about sales and marketing, which I did. I was a member there for about 25 years, leaving BNSME a year or so before we moved to Raleigh.

I was also involved in supporting Catholic education, which helped me a lot in my life. I served on the alumni board of my high school, the board of trustees of my grammar school and finally on the Diocese of Buffalo’s Board of Catholic Education. There are other groups I served but this isn’t my resume and that’s not my point here.

My point is that when I moved to Raleigh, I told my wife that I was really done with trying to serve on multiple committees with multiple groups all while taking time away from my wife and children. Plus I also kind of felt like I’d been there, done that.

So what I said to her was I was going to pick one charity and that was going to be my sole community focus in Raleigh. And the charity I picked was actually selected before we had officially decided to move to Raleigh.

In Buffalo, I had done some volunteer announcing for the Station of The Cross Catholic Media Network, headquartered in Buffalo. To my knowledge almost all Catholic radio stations are non-profit 501 (c) (3) groups and many are run by volunteers. This particular group of stations in Buffalo didn’t have a roster of announcers so they would get volunteers to read the community announcements for their radio stations in the Northeast.

So when we were looking at Raleigh, while in my hotel room here one morning I looked to see if there was a Catholic radio station here.

There was, sort of.

Divine Mercy Radio was operating two low-power radio stations (where you could hear the signal within about 3 miles of the transmitter site) in both Cary, North Carolina and Wake Forest, North Carolina. They also broadcast on their web site. Their broadcast schedule was basically a retransmission of the EWTN radio network and a few local programs. So they were barely on the air but they had big plans.

Anyway, back in Raleigh at the hotel…while we still hadn’t decided where we would move to, I called the phone number on the Divine Mercy Radio web site and ended up speaking to the wife of the couple running the radio stations. I introduced myself, said my family was thinking of moving to Raleigh, had experience working in Catholic radio and I would be glad to volunteer my announcing services if they might need them.

Cecelia Flanary and her husband Keith could not have been more excited to receive my unexpected call. Cecelia had just been to Church that day — praying for help to get an announcer for a script that had to be recorded — because none of their volunteers were announcers.

Peter K. O'Connell, Volunteer Catholic Radio Announcer, Divine Mercy Radio

Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell accepts the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Award for Best Affiliate Top of the Hour ID for Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio, WETC-AM Raleigh, NC

Then she gets my call out of the blue. And why did I pick that moment to call? I just thought I should do it while I was thinking about it. Mysterious ways indeed.

So I have been volunteering my radio programming, production skills and live announcing abilities with them ever since I moved here. On February 4, 2019, the station powered up it’s 10,000 watt AM station (bye-bye low power) and about a year later we got our own app. Today, we have a pretty great assortment of local programming. In our first year as an AM station, our production work received one of only a few national awards from EWTN for excellence. Very blessed.

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME

The smartest and most effective voiceover talents in the business have all learned one important lesson about their performance in voiceover.

It’s not about me.

That means that, as a voice actor, you completely serve at the vocal pleasure of your director. Whether you think a script should be performed a certain way matters not a wit. Your acting skills need to serve the objectives of the director…not your performance preferences. Don’t like the professional direction you are given for the voiceover job you accepted to do? Tough, do what you are told…you were not hired for your opinion (in most cases).

Leave your ego and opinions at the recording studio’s door.

It’s the same for me as I reflect on my 40 years in voiceover. I was the vessel but any success I have enjoyed came on the shoulders of the family, friends, clients and contacts with whom I have interacted with.

As I hope these stories have proven, it’s not about me.

It’s about those who have taken the time to befriend me, mentor me, berate me, ask me, listen to me, accept my apology, tolerate me, love me, hate me, respect me, help me, disregard me, pray for me, marry me and certainly give birth to me. And importantly, vice versa.

40 years as a professional voiceover talent is NOT a reflection on me but a testament to those people, helpful and awful, who showed me direction, red flags or even disrespect in my life.

What I did with the sum total of all those interactions is how I ended up here today.

If I stumbled (which I did, many times), that’s on me. But if I succeeded, it was because of all the people (named and unnamed) who did what they could with the developing lump of clay that is me.

More to come…God willing.

what i know about voice-over talents after attending faffcamp 2

 Peter K. O'Connell hosting a marketing session at FaffCamp 2015 (Photo Courtesy of Brad Venable)

Peter K. O’Connell hosting a marketing session at FaffCamp 2015 (Photo Courtesy of Brad Venable)

I have been fortunate to have been included in a great many FaffCons and FaffCamps. These are unconferences and conferences for voice-over talent and they are among the most revered voice-over events by anyone who has ever attended one.

Full disclosure, I am on the FaffCamp and FaffCon committees because I believe so strongly in them. Also because I am so small, conference producer Amy Snively hardly notices I’m there.

At this FaffCamp, I offered a marketing planning presentation on Saturday and Sunday. Though the presentation was meant to be informative and somewhat light-hearted, I noticed a couple of things in both groups that I believe are universal among voice-over business owners.

Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of this. I certainly see myself in some of it.

Making a point or just scaring his audience, Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O'Connell makes a point during his FaffCamp 2015 presentation (Photo Courtesy of Sean Caldwell)

Making a point or just scaring his audience, Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell makes a point during his FaffCamp 2015 presentation (Photo Courtesy of Sean Caldwell)

1. Most voice-over business owners generally don’t like the business part of the voice-over business. In no way am I saying they don’t do it well but they don’t like it much. I think they like it less than most business owners.

2. Though they themselves are a key part of the marketing food chain with the service they provide, voice-over talents do not like doing marketing much. It overwhelms them and intimidates them for the same reason I think it intimidates most small business owners: “where do I start?!” syndrome.

3. Which leads me to the universal acknowledgement by almost all of my session participants that they each suffer in varying degrees from the malady “Paralysis by Analysis”. The non-medical marketing definition is “I don’t know what to do first so I won’t do anything.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The author also sometimes suffers from this malady.)

4. Most voice-over people are pretty smart and strong and even though sometimes paralyzed by the fear of marketing, they understand that they have to do and when led a little bit, they can take the reins and run with a marketing plan. That takes guts and strength to jump into something even when you’re not fully sure what you’re supposed to be doing

I post this not so much for the FaffCampers who attended my presentations (and thank you for doing that) but for other voice talents who couldn’t make it to San Antonio. I want you to be reminded that you are not alone in your business challenges and that rather than have it be a mountain, operational and marketing challenges can be only a bump in the road to your ultimate business success.

Just remember to believe in yourself and your abilities…even those abilities you don’t think you have.

3 reasons attending FaffCamp is critical for your voice-over career

FaffCamp is March 19-22, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas

FaffCamp is March 19-22, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas

FaffCamp is coming to San Antonio, Texas March 19-22 this year. If you’re already attending, I look forward to seeing you there as I will be there as an attendee and a presenter.

Registration information is here.

If you work in voice-over, you are invited to attend…like right here, now, this is your invitation. That knocking sound you hear is opportunity.

For those uninitiated, FaffCamp is a peer-to-peer professional development conference for working voiceover pros (not just voice talents, voice actors, and narrators, but all pros who do work related to voice overs). It’s participant driven and highly interactive, just like its sister event FaffCon.

But at FaffCamp much of the agenda is set in advance, which makes it possible for Faff Camp to welcome a larger group.

Plus, there are cool things we do only at Faff Camp, like Topic Tables, Adopt-a-Question, and Lightning Talks! And since we have two tracks, Starting Smart and Working Pro, we welcome voice talents at ALL career stages.

I don’t have an ownership stake in FaffCamp or FaffCon but I am on the organizing committee and have been for many years, because I believe in it.

 This is FaffCamp producer Amy Snively, associate producer Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O'Connell (me), the sponsorship guy at FaffCamp 2013

This is FaffCamp producer Amy Snively, associate producer Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O’Connell (me), “the sponsorship guy” at FaffCamp 2013

FaffCamp and FaffCon have directly helped my voice-over business and here’s how I think it can help yours:

1. FaffCamp presents interactive and expert advice on performance, technology and business management from vetted industry leaders. All of this information is specifically tailored to the voice-over business because the people presenting it are working in the voice-over business

2. FaffCamp is like Voice-Over College. FaffCamp brings together a whole lot professionally and financially successful voice-over talents. Many of these folks are past Faffers who have both learned a lot and shared a lot at Faff events. Bottom line: walking and talking between sessions, at meals and in other social times is basically like going to Voice-Over College. If you have questions – the answers are likely at FaffCamp.

3. You’re surrounded by people who understand you. Either you are today or want to be someone who sits in a booth all day and talks to him/herself. You’re not normal and neither are FaffCamp attendees, cause we do the same thing. We understand the professional and personal challenges of being a performer, a small business owner and bread winner. You got questions? Very likely we’ve got experienced answers and the meter is NOT running.

One last piece of advice: Go.

faffcamp II registration ends on july 10, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PT

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FaffCamp is scheduled to be held in San Antonio, TX on March 19-22, 2014.

We’re holding registration for Faff Camp II Kickstarter-style: we only have until July 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time to reach our attendance and hotel reservation targets. If we fall short of the break-even point, we’ll send everyone a refund and, sadly…no Faff Camp.

But we don’t think that’s the way it’s going to go–not if we all pull together and make it happen!

To register for FaffCamp II click here soon!!!!!!

faffcamp II is coming march 19-22, 2015

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Faff Camp II is scheduled for March 19-22, 2015 at the Omni Colonnade in San Antonio, TX. Use this promo code: VT8988559 and I win a new(er) car! It might be a Matchbox or Hot Wheels – no way to tell yet.

IF you work in voice-over, know people in your acting class, VO workout group or wherever you’re connected to VO pals and colleagues, you should all attend if you’re all serious about a career as a professional voice-over talent.

Voice Talents Amy Snively, Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O'Connell at FaffCamp 2013
We’re looking for bright, friendly, down-to-earth VO people (like those in the above picture –ahem) who you think would love Faff Camp’s smart, ego-free, solution-oriented learning and sharing; people who’d fit in well with the Faff culture of VO people helping VO people get better at VO stuff (and make more more money doing it).

We’re doing Faff Camp II registration “Kickstarter-style”. If we hit our attendance target by July 11, we’ll see you at Faff Camp II!

If we fall short, we issue 100% refunds and…no Faff Camp.

My guess is – FaffCamp II WILL be happening. Visit the FaffCamp web site for all the details. Registration opens Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. pacific time.

the voice over cafe live at faffcamp

The Voice Over Cafe made its way to Charlotte, NC, for FaffCamp and recorded its latest episode there….what a blast.

Female Voice-Over Talent Trish Basanyi and Male Voice-Over Talent Terry Daniel have been hosting and producing the Voice-Over Cafe for a while and it was a special treat for me to be invited on to this live recording session as there was a room full of interesting people with whom they could have spoken. Terry and Trish are supported in their production by the lovely and talented Sean Caldwell, Tom Dheere and Peter Bishop – each a bad ass voice-over talent in their own right and all loyal Faffers to the core.

The episode stars Amy Snively and features Bob Souer, Liz deNesnera, Dan Friedman, (movie star) Melissa Exelberth, Connie Terwilliger and Cliff Zellman.

You can listen here. And I hope you will.