Entries Tagged as 'public relations'

the oversharing voice talent

audio'connell voice over talent_microphone on stage

There are two or three voiceover coaches who post so much on Facebook, Voiceover Universe and Twitter et al about their latest seminars in Tupelo, Mississippi or where ever that I’ve simply unfriended them. Social media for them is an endless informercial, I guess.


Evidently so many voice talents have sooo much new business – based on all the Facebinkedinwitter posts I read from them – that there may be no voice over jobs left for me (or you for that matter) so we all should just quit. It’s like an accountant in April posting “I just completed another tax return!” Um, pal, that what you’re supposed to do.

The debate over the best microphone has become so intense that two voiceover talents will duel to the death tomorrow morning– their weapons of choice will be a Neumann TLM 103 and a Sennheiser 416. It begs the question if two voice over talents die in the forest, who will announce it?

And it will surprise you to learn that voxmarketising is NOT the only blog on the topic of voiceover – at last count there were 14 billion voice over blogs, all of them debating whether breaths should or should not be edited out of narrations.

Obviously I’m being silly but the truth is: in the voiceover business, we talk a lot.

When it’s not on mic, it’s on line.

The trouble is we’re ALL talking about the same things…over and over. And I think I’m getting burnt out.

That’s a bad thing because while I thought I was contributing to the conversation, I wondering now if I’ve simply been contributing to the noise.

Paul Strikwerda, my Double Dutch voiceover friend, recently wrote about this issue, which I have been bandying about in my head for a while. He’s felt tad bored by what he’s read.

My concern is not that I’m bored (I know how to fix that – change the channel, hit the off switch) but rather that I’m the one being boring. I’ve actually cut back a bit on my social media and blogging because I didn’t feel I had anything interesting to contribute. I’m not sure “my perspective” is always enough.

Thinking about it that way made me feel a little better because at least I was thinking before typing. I think when it comes to Social Media, that’s not done a lot (and it’s not an issue exclusive to voice over talents, believe me). I’ve also been guilty as charged so don’t think I’m casting aspersions (so please, no emails from aspersions looking for voice work).

It seems we’re now all (and that “all” was a lot smaller when I started in Social Media) talking about the same voice over topics and from where I sit (just one man’s opinion here) the individual perspectives don’t always seem unique enough or even thought-provoking…and again, myself included.

I know we all just want to be heard and we all enjoy freedom of expression and that’s great. I don’t want it stifled but shouldn’t we all consider a little self-editing? Just a little?

I don’t know about you but I do NOT want to be the “oh not THAT guy again” brand. The line between frequency and obnoxious gets thin fast in social media; brands are now suffering (and not reaping).

SEO and marketing opportunities available through Social Media are so enticing (based on cost) that I think we all forget sometimes that for Social Media to be effective, we have to be maybe less frequent but certainly more interesting. And that’s not always easy.

Nor should it be.

What do you think? Or are you even paying attention anymore? 🙂

embarrassed, humbled or jealous?

I learned one thing about the internet early on – unless you are a savant at making viral videos, you had better be good at promoting yourself cause as much as they might like you, others will never promote you as well as you can promote yourself.

Well, I must change my opinion of that, having now been distilled through the Voices.com PR machine. Others, it turns out, can promote you as well as you can promote yourself…in this case, better.

Hubris or ego or savvy marketer (I’ve been accused of all three), I was never really comfortable with having to directly promote myself as much as the internet dictated I would have to, if I was to help my business. I did it (and do it) strictly because it does help my presence on the web – period. But it is awkward to do it – that’s truly how it feels to me. I offer that as background.

So fast forward to recent times, having been hounded (maybe just “asked” a number of times) for a few years by Stephanie Ciccarelli at Voices.com to do a podcast for them, I sent her “The First 15 Seconds” (about voice talents should approach their voice over auditions) before Christmas, 2010. Stephanie published my podcast the first week of January, 2011.

Then their public relations flood gates opened. It was torrential and impressive.

First Voices.com was kind enough to say in their release “Peter K. O’Connell is one of North America’s top voice over coaches and voice talents.”

As God as my witness, I never, ever recall claiming that in any of the stuff I’ve written about my work ever (send me a document I wrote if you can prove otherwise and I’ll admit my mistake…cause I don’t think I did so). I think Voices.com wrote that on their own (thank you for your kind words, folks). I’m also thinking all the really good voice over teachers are pretty pissed at me right now for soiling their talent pool…but I didn’t say that, Voices.com did.

Then I was sorting through some of my normal Google Alerts to see what if anyone is saying about me, my business or my industry. There I realized that Voices.com flushed their press release about my podcast through every public relations pipe the web has!

Truly, I thought I had this web promo thing worked out but now I see I am a pathetic rookie compared to these crazy (in a good way) Canadians (I can say that because I am part Canadian, which explains my affinity for Tim Horton’s donuts).

So thanks to Stephanie and her team for the plugs and good on them for their web marketing machine. If you’re going to go – go all out or go home!

“We were wrong. So we changed it.”

Male Voice Talent Michael Minetree

As a world, we seem to be mostly a proud bunch.

But too much pride can be a bad thing. I know because I am better than you – smarter, better looking, more successful – so I know pride can be a bad thing and conceit is even worse.

Wait a minute…

Anyway, I mention this because I got an email blast from Michael Minetree of MineWurx Studio. In addition to voice work, he’s overseeing a myriad of other projects including voice over directories, isdn directories, voice coaching and web hosting.

It was the web hosting part that he was emailing about. I’ll let you read the whole thing because I think it’s a really great example of how to adapt and change in a transparent way that builds credibility.

We all have to change and we all make missteps. How we make ourselves accountable can determine success or failure. I think the way Michael did this was a major success. Really well done.

In this newsletter:

1) A total slash on pricing – things have gotten El Cheapo – like Unlimited Web Hosting for $4.95 a month…

2) A total shift in policy – now we don’t have one.

3) A complete change in our course of business.

4) A total redesign of the site.

Our hosting site, www.artistwebhosting.com, has been made anew.

1) A shift in Pricing: We have completely removed all limitations on the hosting accounts – now everyone can have unlimited disk space and bandwidth for as little as 4.95 a month. On top of that – unlimited emails, databases and FTP accounts. Now – we are just like the big boys – and even better in some instances. Your web hosting has never been any cheaper. Add free setup and free site transfer to that and you’re looking at a winner.

2) A massive shift in Policy: Gone are the setup fees, gone are the account limitations, gone are the confusing “Tiered Hosting” accounts. All of it – GONE. Now – there are just unlimited accounts – with all the backend server features activated for all of them. No more junk. No more clutter. Wide open accounts. Period.

3) A complete change in course: We’re always ready to admit we made a mistake and change things. The first approach was old and out-dated. We goofed on the concept and figured people would have the time to figure it all out. We were wrong. So we changed it. There’s always room for improvement – so we hope that our new course for the future is the right one. We’re certainly convinced that it’s a whole lot better now.

4) A complete redesign of the site: Last week we sat and looked at the site and realized that the original test design was a bust. Too much data, too many choices and much like most of our newsletters – too much information. The whole damn thing was wrong – from top to bottom. So we scrapped it and went to work on making it better. Because we sit and look at data all the time we kind of lose sight of the fact that not everyone else wants to. This led me to make the site WAY too detailed and forced a lot of the important information off to the side. Not any more. All of the important stuff should be there. Right up front.

We encourage you to go by and take the new site for a test drive. Any of your comments and input will be greatly valued, so valued in fact that we’re offering an additional $3.00 per month off any monthly account to any one of our newsletter subscribers who sends us a little note with their feedback about the new site. $3.00 may not seem like much – but in the world of web hosting – it’s absolutely huge.

We look forward to hearing from you. And look forward to your comments about our new course of direction.

Michael Minetree

MineWurx Studio


(blower) 703-293-8906

ISDN 703-766-1048/1049

Find Great Voices at:


Find ISDN Voice Talent at:


Find Great Web Hosting at:


Find Voice Over Coaching at:


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.

“…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.

join the happiness by voting here


For at least the second year that I have promoted it, Google again presents its “Doodle 4 Google” contest.

I know.

It’s a corporate “feel good” event that makes a billion dollar company seem more human and I should scoff.

But I love the idea and I love the art and I love that school aged kids show their enormous talents.

It’s nice to get the winning doodle be used as the main Google doodle for an entire day. Its nice that the winner gets a college scholarship and that his/her school gets a technology grant.

But it’s the creativity from young people that makes me happy. I think you’ll enjoy it too.

Voting ends on May 18, 2009. Join the happiness by voting by grade here.