Entries Tagged as 'voiceover'

Writing a useful Voiceover Profile for Source-Connect

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Source-Connect Profile 2021With so many more voiceover talents jumping on the Source-Connect bandwagon in the midst of COVID-19, some voice talent may ignore a key marketing tool included with their Source-Connect membership.

The Source-Connect user profile.

As with almost all things internet, every Source-Connect member can (and should) fill out their profile. There’s the basic form to fill out (name, rank, serial number….that was a joke, don’t try to search for rank and serial number).

But the important part, in my opinion, is the biography information below the form.

This is where I think thoughtful voice talents have the opportunity to stand out successfully.

There will always be a few producers who blow past the Source-Connect bio opportunity and not read it because…whatever.  Some voice talents may feel the same way. That’s fine.

There are a few more producers who may be torn between picking from some Source-Connect voice talents whose sound is similar, who both obviously have Source-Connect but whose profiles say and convey different things.

Those conveyed differences could be the distinction between you getting and losing the gig. Those same million variables exists on every voiceover job, I know. My point here is: with a little work now, do it right, set and forget it and you’ll have a better shot of getting the job.

You want that possible advantage, don’t you?

Here are the things I think you should make sure you include in your Source-Connect profile biography.

OVERALL
This biography is absolutely NOT like the biography (the “About”) page on your web site. This should be informative, concise, easy to read and extremely focused on the needs and wants of the studio producer reading it. Lots of meat, very little warm and fuzzy.

THE STUDIO
Many but not all people hiring you will own their own recording studio, your Source-Connect session will be recorded in their recording studio. To the people who do the hiring, studio information can make a difference. Be as detailed and yet as matter of fact as you can be. Those recording in closets, do your best to describe your custom built or custom designed recording space. You need not feel shame as long as your recording space SOUNDS professional…no doubt most Source-Connect using producers have recorded more than one voice talent who voices from a good sounding closet.

THE TOOLS
Especially with (but not exclusively to) recording studios, engineers will look with a keen eye at your list of mics, audio interfaces and software. They do not have many ways to ensure for themselves they are going to be receiving quality sounding audio BEFORE they actually hear it in the session so reading about your gear IS important to them. That said, don’t get into a “brand-panic” or fall into an inferior mic complex or some such thing. Just make sure you consult with an audio engineer (the George Whittham’s of the world) to make sure your studio tools give you a quality, broadcast-ready sound BEFORE you try selling yourself ANYWHERE, let alone via Source-Connect.

THE CREDITS
The word credits is born of word credibility. While your entire Source-Connect biography is about establishing your recording credibility (studio and performance) – listing your professional voiceover credits is a way to assure producers that whatever project they have you in mind for…their session with you will NOT be your first voiceover recording rodeo (this is true for any professional voiceover biography). Your list of voiceover credits allow the media producer to know other producers and specifically other brands (hopefully, well known, easily identifiable and respected brands) have trusted your professional voice talent and/or recording abilities and so can they. Anywhere from 7-10 featured brand credits (across multiple industries) should assure them you are an experienced, professional voiceover talent.

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Source-Connect IconTHE YOU
Probably the biggest difference between your “ABOUT” biography on your personal web site and your biography on your Source-Connect web site is “The You”. On your web site, you can talk about your likes and family and unicorns and rainbows. All fine.

Not on your Source-Connect biography…at least that’s my opinion.

Producers are usually rushed for time when hiring a talent and if…IF…they take the time to read this part of your Source-Connect profile (and again there are no guarantees they will) give them ‘just then facts, ma’am’.

If you want to tie in a few words about your personal brand (very few) and location, that’s fine. Keep it short. For example, in my Source-Connect profile, I mention I used to live in Buffalo, NY and now live in Raleigh, NC. Some producers from years ago may remember me from Buffalo, not realize I moved to Raleigh and thus may not be sure I am the same guy. That location detail has professional, business relevance to my profile. Otherwise I wouldn’t include it.

Why so much info on a profile that is supposed to be so brief? Because to be concise, you have to be fairly thoughtful about those few, right words…about sharing the most valuable content. I hope this blog has offered you some helpful guidance and ideas.

V.O. North 2020 was Virtually Great

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover V.O. North 2020This past weekend’s V.O. North was my first virtual voiceover conference. It worked out well.

Look, nothing will ever be as much fun an in-person conference. The interactions and the spontaneity of in-person events cannot be matched.

What would be worse, though, would be to not have ANY voiceover conferences at all and I believe that was Tanya Buchanan and Dervla Trainor’s thinking in going ahead with V.O. North 2020. They were the event producers.

Me and 250+ of my closest friends all agree theirs was the right decision.

From the execution of the web-based seminars (which was technically pretty much flawless) to the content and even the evening parties…we all had a great time.

Tanya invited me to moderate 4 seminars this weekend with a total 14 presenters and they were all so (individually and collectively) terrific! The content was practical and applicable, the information shared was thoughtful and insightful and the presenters very willing to share their knowledge. Of course all the attendees were extremely nice.

Special thanks to my panelists:

  • Tanya Buchanan from Ta-Da Voiceworks (full disclosure, my Toronto-based Canadian agent for at least 8 years and friend for longer)
  • Roger King from PN Agency
  • Carol Rathe who is now retired from Go Voices
  • Roberta Romano who is the director of the Voice Department at Fountainhead Talent
  • Erik Shappard from The Sheppard Agency (full disclosure, my agent for at least the past 12 years, maybe more and friend for longer)
  • Ralph Streich from Vancouver’s RED Talent Management
  • Long time friend and fellow voice talent Bev Standing who now heads up the Canadian division of Gravy for the Brain
  • Voice talent David Toback who also oversees GVAA
  • Vancouver-based voice actor Noel Johansen who runs On The Mic
  • British voiceover artist Rachael Naylor who owns The Voiceover Network
  • Los Angeles-based voice actress Rachel Wohl
  • Audio producer (and Calgary Flames hockey fan) Bruce Crews who work with On Air Studios in Calgary
    Long time friend and voiceover talent Liz de Nesnera
  • Los Angeles-based audio producer and sports ball fan Andrew Silagy, who is the terrific Talent and Production Manager for Snap Recordings

Y’all made my job very easy. Thanks!

E-Learning and Explainer Video Narration Demos by Peter K. O’Connell

OK, ok, I finally did it.

In my past narration voiceover demos, while I always included my corporate voiceover samples, I also included samples of voiceover work I have recorded that are known as e-learning and explainer voiceovers.

At last I have given my explainer voiceover work and my e-learning voiceover work their completely individual voiceover demos.

Now you might not know terms e-learning or explainer…but I am pretty sure you’ve heard these genres of voiceover in your professional lives.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S E-LEARNING VOICEOVER DEMO:

E-learning voiceover narration by Peter K. O'Connell E-learning narration refers to the voiceover recording genre, often involving video and/or the internet that that helps students and professionals learn outside the standard classroom. E-learning has been long popular for training employees and teaching students at all levels of education but it’s popularity really spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of distance learning process.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S EXPLAINER VOICEOVER DEMO:

Explainer Video Narration Peter K. O'ConnellExplainer voiceovers are the narrations that tell the story of Explainer Videos. Most often used for businesses, Explainer Videos communicate in a simple ang engaging way how a product or service works and why a user would benefit from that use. Although they can be produced in a variety of graphic styles, Explainer Videos are most often animated – which helps producers convey complex ideas into a more simple form with eye -catching visuals and, of course, ear-catching narration! That’s where I come in.

Producers of E-learning and Explainer videos prefer to hear voiceover samples of their specific genre now, so…that’s what I am gladly offering them. Enjoy!

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.

using a professional voiceover recording studio DOES matter

Professional Voiceover Recording Studio Peter K. O'ConnellAs as a voiceover business owner, there is always the question of how much capital to invest into one’s business.

One wants have very good audio technology that allows for the best voiceover audio quality.

One also want to have enough money to pay the mortgage and eat.

I get it.

A voiceover CLIENT, on the other hand, wants everything to sound perfect, they want no technology problems and they want all that broadcast quality sound and more right now.

Only the client’s wants and needs matter, by the way. That’s just a fact.

Occassionally, voice talent (who are new or relatively new to the voiceover business) focus their budgets on microphones and not so much on their recording environment. Goodness knows there are low-cost, short-term tricks to making an audio recording environment “workable”. We’ve all been there…especially when trying to record voiceovers while traveling.

This discussion isn’t about traveling.

This is about home voiceover recording studios.

(Note: I am NOT a home studio expert, nor have I played one on TV. But after nearly 40 years in the business, I have learned a thing or two <hundred> about audio recording).

One’s home voiceover recording environment is critical…short term fixes (closets, blankets etc.) can work but also have significant limitations that reveal themselves at really inopportune times (usually with a client on the line, a deadline looming and one of your biggest paydays hanging in the balance….no problem!!)

Outside noises in your studio will negatively disrupt a recording session, upset a client, make re-takes a nightmare and basically ding the “professionalism” of a talent’s reputation – at least in the opinion of a voiceover client (and really, is there any other opinion that matters?)

This video (below) shows one way to address your recording environment professionally. It is NOT the only way and it doesn’t have to be pretty (unless clients will be coming TO your voiceover recording studio). My non-home voiceover recording studio expert but significantly experienced advice is to find a good, strong recording space solution to ensure, more often than not, that the quality of your home voiceover recording environment is as dependable and reliable as you are as a voice actor.

It ALL really matters. Hope this helps.

“Notecard” The Voiceover Workshop with Peter K. O’Connell

I think most Moms are the same…they all mean and do well for their children.

So I’m guessing your Mom, like my Mom, said something to you like “The little things matter.”

It was only later in life people tell you “not to sweat the little stuff.”

But the little things DO matter, especially when it come to kindness. And small business ownership.

Like when you write a hand written note to your prospects or clients. So I’m going to chat a little bit about that.