Entries Tagged as 'voiceover meet-ups'

another way voiceover has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Ta-Da Voiceworks Toronto Voiceover Town HallEvery business, every industry and everyone of us has changed either a small or large part of our lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes voiceover.

When the pandemic first started, advertising trailed off for a while, brands and corporations shifted from a marketing attitude to a survival attitude. Consumers seemed more focused on toilet paper than a new car or going to the movies…which they couldn’t do cause anyway because all the movie theaters shut down.

We did get more telephony work (those of us that do that kind of voiceover work) for businesses that wanted to talk to consumers in their on-hold messaging about how their business WAS going to work with customers during the crisis – new protocols etc. Or for business that needed to shut down — their message on-hold addressed how to best communicate with now work-from-home employees.

Voice talents too changed the way they communicated with clients and prospects, I think. I know I found myself calling to check on the people more than checking on new business opportunities. Recording studios and ad agencies were among many industries who suffered a round-house economic punch from COVID-19 and I’ve worked with many of these folks for a long time.

It feels now like we are rebounding, day by day, little by little. How we move forward and what is ahead is not certain but as Churchill said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” So we keep going, us people folk.

There ARE some positives for the voiceover business that have come from the pandemic. One of them is that we have been forced to be better communicators – in how we talk to our peers, our vendors and our customers.

One big way I saw this was with one of my voiceover agents, Tanya Buchanan of Ta-Da Voiceworks in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Voice Talent Peter K O'Connell Ta-Da Voiceworks 19Some weeks ago, she called a town hall of all her talent – the majority of which are Toronto-based or living in and around the GTA (Greater Toronto area). She does have some American talent on her roster as well and I am one.

This online meeting was more than just a Zoom voiceover meet-up.

The focus of that first meeting was to help many of the Toronto talent figure out how they were going to record either auditions or jobs during the pandemic. Toronto is a unique voiceover market in that many media producers there much preferred voice actors to record at local studios versus recording in home studios.

In the U.S. many voice actors record from their home studios regularly, but trust me, we LOVE going to outside studios to record. There, we just record the voice and don’t have to do any post-production….it’s heaven! Plus those recording studios have free snacks!!!!!!

With the pandemic, many of the voice actors in Canada’s largest media market immediately had to learn about building home studios, having Source-Connect, buying the best types of microphones etc. It was a lot for any group of people to learn and digest in short order.

Tanya wanted to help ease the stress for her talent, provide resources for them and ultimately serve as the calm voice of reason. She was.

In short, Tanya smartly managed her voice actors…who ARE her business. Questions were answered, apprehensions were calmed and some of the more experience VO’s on the call (who have home studios, etc.) could share their knowledge with their voiceover peers who were less experienced this particular area. She further built her team.

From that first COVID-19 town hall, Tanya has smartly grown these Zoom meetings into monthly, lunchtime Ta-Da Voiceworks talent meetings where trends are discussed, agency policies are updated, local knowledge is shared among talent all while Tanya further cements her credibility as a top Toronto agent who has her talent’s back.

Her communication is solid and her roster clearly appreciates it.

All that, created from the ashes of the pandemic, has bred a significant amount of loyalty from her talent. I can assure you, after almost 40 years as a professional voiceover talent, that kind of loyalty to an agent is not always a given.

audio’connell in portland, oregon (all the beautiful people)

Portland Oregon Voiceovers July 2019

Portland Voiceover Friends (around the U from left to right) Marc Rose, Bruce Miles, Emma Miles, Jen Gosnell, Peter K. O’Connell, Karyn O’Bryant, July 2019

If you’re going to travel from one ocean to the other, it’s sure is nice to have friends waiting for you on the other side.

So I did the Portland, OR trip this week…lovely weather too, so much nicer than the oppressive heat and humidity of Raleigh in the past few weeks.

I was very fortunate to have my friend Bruce Miles coordinate a lovely dinner with old and new voiceover friends….I’m told Portlandia is a foodies paradise and the two dinners we’ve had out there have been great.

So in addition to Bruce, his lovely and so fun wife Emma joined us – she’s not a voice talent, she’s better than that!

Jen Gosnell was there, taking a break from her family and voicework, great to see her. New Portlandian Karyn O’Bryant (who was on a VO-BB video chat earlier with Bruce and host of much more famous voices) came out to the party too. And I got to meet Marc Rose, a voice talent who runs Fuse Audio Design, where he also produces music and sound effects and teaches VO too.

There was an abundance of talking and noshing and just a great evening. I’m both pleased and honored that they would come out for some dinner.

Hope to see them again soon.

atlanta voiceover recording (trevor johns edition)

Voice Talents Peter K O'Connell Trevor Johns

Voice Talents Peter K O’Connell and Trevor Johns in her Atlanta voiceover studio, July 2019.

The audition had to be delivered quickly.

I was in Atlanta, Georgia and knew many voiceover friends who were relatively nearby (nothing really is nearby anything in Atlanta, it seems).

I called my friend Lance Blair….he kindly offered studio time but it was in the afternoon. Grateful, but the audition needed to be in by noon.

Called my pal Jill Perry but she was also booked in the morning.

However, she’s Jill Perry…she just gets stuff done.

Male Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell At Trevor John Studio In Atlanta Georgia

Male Voice Talent Peter K. O’Connell at Trevor Johns Voiceover Studio In Atlanta Georgia, July 2019

She said, “I cannot help you but you are going to call Trevor Johns at this number and she if she’s available, she will help you because she is awesome. Here’s the number, call her now.”

Trevor Johns, as you may recall if you’ve been to FaffCon, is a terrific, positive ball of happy, voiceover gladness.

Trevor Johns is awesome. Jill Perry said that and it is so.

Trevor had time and said for me to come on over.

Trevor works with Twisted Wave on an Apple computer…just like home.

Session was recorded and edited in record time. We even changed microphones…awesome!

So grateful for Trevor, Jill and Lance. Thanks for helping me out. You all know you have voiceover studio coverage in Raleigh when you need it.

Requiescat in pace Patrick Sweeney

Requiescat in pace Pat SweeneyOh Canada. Today you lost a great one.

In the 8+ years that I have been friends with Pat Sweeney, he had become one of those rare fellows of whom I only heard positive, kind words said.

Marking his passing from Cancer this morning, those kind words are being reiterated and certainly shouted from the roof tops. As they should.

Family was first and foremost to Pat, as he would often speak of his wife and sons. They were his everything.

But second, I think, was his love of the voiceover industry and of the community that Patrick Sweeney helped foster in Toronto and pretty much everywhere else he went.

Before I moved to Raleigh, NC, I lived most of my life in Buffalo, NY, nearby to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where Pat and his family live. My affinity for Canada is well known (my Grandmother was born there and I spent my summers in Fort Erie, Ontario for decades). So I was especially happy to hear many years ago that a pair of my voiceover friends had gotten together in Toronto to create a local Voiceover Meetup Group called VO in TO.

One of the group’s founders was female voice talent Jodi Krangle. The other (and to hear Jodi tell it, a driving force behind the group) was Pat Sweeney.

To watch Pat navigate the room at a VO in TO meetup was a thing of beauty. If you didn’t know Pat before you walked through the door, you would know him by the time you left. And he would introduce you to one or two other people there who he thought you should know, so you could have someone to say hi to at the next meeting. Pat was a wonderful community builder.

Another voiceover group where we shared many happy times together was at an annual event called FaffCon. This is a wonderful group of talents from all over the world who would come together to share best practices in a very inclusive and welcoming format. It was an event tailor made for Pat, who certainly learned a great deal from his fellow voice talents but possibly shared even more, especially in one on one conversations. Pat’s supportive and encouraging spirit, attitude and actions positively impacted more people than he may have ever realized.

All of this ignores when Pat and I would chat about his visits to Buffalo or mine to TO. Or when we worked together as part of a voiceover marketing collective called MVO: The Voice-Over Guys. Or when he would commiserate with me on the phone about my (usually losing) Buffalo sports teams.

You always left a conversation with Pat feeling better.

All of this kindness and help from Pat made it so challenging for us (his VO pals) when Pat got sick and we couldn’t help the guy who had always helped us. There wasn’t much we could do but support and pray for Pat and his family.

Hard as we’d pray, it never felt like enough of a repayment for a gentleman who so positively impacted so many people. We are deeply sorry for his family’s loss but are grateful for their many family memories and for Pat’s final peace.

Me? I’m selfish. I will miss my friend.

Eternal rest grant to your servant Patrick, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

pandora and peter

Pandora team with voice talent Peter K. O'ConnellFaffcon has given me many things professionally over the years but probably one of the best things it did was introduce me to Pandora.

Pandora — as the best music and media service around — is known by just about everybody. But not everybody knows about the exceptional talents that manage Team Audio.

These talented women and men have produced (and continue to produce) some outstanding advertising. I am thrilled that I have been a VERY small part of some of their great audio branding.

Pandora office 1Well this week, I got to see their HQ/home in Oakland and what an amazing place it is.

Pandora3 350You would expect a super creative company to work in a super creative environment and that is especially true at Pandora. If all offices created workspaces as cool as this…people would be a lot happier at work.

The best part of course, were the people of Team Audio, many of whom I’ve been proudly working with virtually for many years on many spots.

They are each nice, cool and uniquely creative. I’m so honored and glad we got to spend time together. A great company with great people….which is what makes it a great company. Thanks to everyone at Pandora!

west virginia i was in you again

Charlie Cooper, Peter K. O'Connell & Amie Breedlove in Charleston, WV

Voice Talent and Admix Broadcast Service Owner Charlie Cooper with Voiceover Talents Peter K. O’Connell & Amie Breedlove in Charleston, WV

Traveling is not as exciting as people who don’t travel think it is.

But if you are a traveler and you’re on planes as much as I am…you learn the tricks that save you time and aggravation.

One of my tricks is to try and get together with people I know in the city I am traveling to…for a couple of reasons.

It gives you something to look forward to when you visit a city where you otherwise would not know a soul.

From a voiceover perspective, it also gives you insights and introductions to recording studios that are good to record at (as opposed to studios that are….not so much).

I’ve been heading over to Charleston, WV and the surrounding areas for years now and fortunately sometime ago I connected with voice talent Amie Breedlove. She introduced me to Admix Broadcast Recording Studio owner and voice talent Charlie Cooper. We all became fast friends.

So it was again this week that we all got together to solve the world’s voiceover problems. We handled some world problems too but those, as you can imagine, were pretty simple to solve compared to the complexities of script interpretation and microphone positioning.

If you get a chance to work with either of these two fine, talented folks (where ever you are in the world) I hope you will do so…very worthwhile and very fun. Plus Amie’s got a new Jaguar (see the picture)!!!!!