Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

December 23, 2009

You Just Never Know…

Filed under: Auditioning, Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 10:04 am

After all that ruminating about doing so many auditions and lamenting that most people were not casting off our demos (see prior blog post –, I had a direct hit off one of the P2P sites that will result in an ISDN session this morning.

So, you just have to keep everything honed and at the ready…’cause you just never know the path someone will take to find and hire you. Keep your generic demos fresh!

It’s just one part of any good business plan. Scroll back a few posts to see some great responses from a couple of pros on some of the other business thoughts I’ve had over the past week or so.

December 22, 2009

More on the Business of VO

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 10:19 am

I read a lot of message boards and user groups focused on the voiceover biz. One of them is the Yahoo Voiceover Newsgroup and a recent thread has been about some of the many changes facing the – well, pretty much ANY business these days.

Combine the economy woes with the changes that the Internet brings every day and you have a lot of old-timers scrambling to make the new world of voiceover work for them. You also have more and more who want to break into the business lured by promises of easy money just for talking. It takes a lot more than just talent…

Here are a couple of paragraphs of sage advice from Jennifer Vaughn.

Talent doesn’t take the front seat in any successful business.  A successful business requires a savvy business person who is knowledgeable in all the elements required to make a business profitable.  That includes: a strong work infrastructure built by you, marketing, sales, promotion, branding, networking, advertising, negotiating, customer service, recording keeping, and bookkeeping. Yes, you have to be a bean counter too first, then hire someone when you start making the money. If you don’t know the first thing about bookkeeping, you are not going to understand the numbers to discuss strategy in your business which is required to hit your numbers each and every day, week, month, and year.  The very same thing with Sales….if you are not the ultimate salesperson and you think your work speaks for itself, you are sorely mistaken.   If your thought is, “I’m just a talent, I don’t get involved in that”…then expect to have issues with the IRS, expect to have issues with “down” years, and expect to not be a consistently thriving business.  You would be lacking the responsibility of working your business into a constant state of evolution.  Do you think Oprah, Warren Buffet and The Donald would be the icons of our time if they just through their “talent” was key to success? Nada!

And let’s not forget the personality type which is almost a necessity to make a business successful…..the type “A” personality of: quick study, flexible, self motivated, ambitious, goal oriented, work ethic or work-a-holic mentality, overly competitive, creative thinker, multi-tasker, strong/deep desire to achieve, firm demeanor (you’re not seen as a pushover) all play into making headway into success.  Without these personality traits (and these are ingrained in you as person, not learned in a few years), the ability to achieve is even farther away from you.  The other side of the coin is “luck”, and luck is one in a million….the odds of being successful with “luck” is like winning the lottery.  Odds are against you.  It happens, but it’s a one in a million chance.

December 21, 2009

Answers about casting from Rudy Gaskins

Filed under: Auditioning — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 8:59 pm

In light of my recent blog post (and subsequent article on VoiceOverXtra) about the selection process, Rudy Gaskins has some answers in his most recent article on VoiceOverXtra (Part 3).

He offers some fabulous insight in why he would select celebrity vs. working class talent. He also talks the process of selection – not the process of rejection. One question I may ask him is how many custom auditions he listens to and at what stage in his process. The article implies that he casts off the generic demos on the sites such as

Check it out –

Tangible and Intangible Assets Needed for Voiceover Biz

Filed under: Business — Tags: — connieterwilliger @ 8:37 pm

While this is simplified, there are two lists here of things the budding voiceover talent of today might need to make it.

The first is a list of the basic physical hardware and software assets needed to succeed in the business today. The second is more intangible, but even more important if you want to actually work and make a living doing voiceovers.

The Tangible (Physical) Assets

  • Computer for recording
  • Large hard drive (as many Gigs as you can afford)
  • Computer speed (as fast as you can afford)
  • Good sound card (most computers these days come with decent sound card that will work for basic voiceover)
  • Lots of memory (as much as you can afford)
  • DVD/CD drive AND a CD-R/RW Sound
  • Recording Software (Sound Forge, GoldWave, Adobe Audition, ProTools)
  • High-speed Internet Access (cable or DSL)
  • Web Presence – your own web site or your demos posted on a web site
  • Microphone – decent mike – $300 or more that works with your voice
  • Headsets – something comfortable that won’t squeeze your head or bleed onto your recording 
  • Sound Proof or at least Acoustically Treated area for recording
  • Separate computer (preferable) for record keeping and marketing
  • Software for Business (one or more of the following types. Look for new programs that will multiple tasks)
    • Accounting software (Quicken, QuickBooks, etc.)
    • Database software (Filemaker, etc.)
    • Contact Management software (Outlook Business Contacts, ACT, etc.)
  • Cell phone
  • Voice Mail
  • Toll Free number is optional, but good to show that you are in business
  • Fax capability (paper or computer delivery)

The Intangible Assets

  • Acting ability
  • Sight reading ability
  • Self-directing ability
  • Ability to be directed by others
  • Marketing ability
  • Business savvy and expertise
  • Technical savvy and expertise
  • Desire
  • Follow through

Anything you would like to add to this list? Is there something I’ve left out?

December 2, 2009

Ruminating again about auditions

Filed under: Auditioning, Marketing, Musings — Tags: , , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 5:14 pm

I have never auditioned so much in my life as I have since Internet casting and remote recording came in vogue.

I can’t help but remember back to the 80’s when I rarely auditioned for anything. While I was on staff at KFMB-TV as a live staff announcer, the door to my tiny room would open and the production manager would hand me copy to record. Or I would wander down the hall to KFMB-Radio and do multi-voice spots with Mark Larsen or Danny Romero.

After landing an agent (Nanci Washburn – Artist Management) I still didn’t see much of a difference for the voiceover work. She simply called to book me on a job and I drove to Studio C or KyXy or Seacoast or Spot Shop or Lightning or Western Video or Four Square or JM Television or Invincible or San Diego Audio Video – the list goes on.

Of course I auditioned for on-camera work, but the VO stuff – more often than not – just got booked off the demo. This may have partially been due to my location(outside the big 3) and that at that point in time I was a pretty big fish.

After about a 10 year hiatus from VO work while running the video department at General Dynamics in San Diego, I started to ease myself back into voiceovers – and boy oh boy had the world changed!

It seems that the moment I had the ability to record out of my home studio and send voice files over the Internet I suddenly had to prove that I could read specfic words. No longer was the artfully prepared demo enough. I’m not complaining, but it was a big change. Auditioning is actually like taking mini-acting classes all day long!

I didn’t realize that at first. Not only was I simply not used to it, it was time consuming – and frankly, I don’t think I was all that good at auditioning for certain kinds of scripts, so naturally those didn’t convert to paying gigs. But somehow, I managed to find clients – many of whom are long term repeat clients.

Today voiceover auditioning is part of the job. And the competition is fierce. So I begin to treasure those opportunities to try something brilliant with the copy. Digging under, around, above each word to communicate the meaning and the emotion of the copy (even if it is just the word “uh-oh”).

Everyday this week I’ve spent at least two hours auditioning. I’ve had at least one paying job per day as well. And spent the rest of what might constitute a typical work day bookkeeping, marketing and learning something new about a piece of my production software.

December 1, 2009

What makes an audition “win?” Am I the “voice in the head” today?

Filed under: Auditioning, Business — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 4:20 pm

This is a subjective business – this business we are in – the business of recording our voice for sales, marketing, information, entertainment. And it is a mystery for sure sometimes as to why one voice is selected out of all the choices submitted.

I’ve mentioned recently that after many many years in this business, I am starting to have the opportunity to go vocal cord to vocal cord with some of the best most well known talent in the industry. My ear is caught many times a day by the radio or the TV as spots that I have auditioned for fly out of the speakers.

I have heard the Geico Pothole and Parking Column spots. The new Chinet spots. Something for weight loss. And several more. I have returned to my audio files to compare what ended up on the air with what I submitted. And I know that my audition was truly competitive – but being the subjective business this is – I was just not the voice in the head of the people making the decisions that day.

However, I WAS the voice in the head of the decision makers recently for a national spot for Kaopectate. The audition was the basis for a great deal of chatter in the voiceover community as the dialogue for two of the roles being cast consisted of “uh-oh” – well, the woman also had to say “fast.” Many many of my voice over friends auditioned for this spot – including Peter O’Connell who blogged about it a week or so ago ( and included his audition with the word “uh-oh.”

My audition caught someone’s ear – and I am very glad that it did – as it resulted in a fun 15 minute recording session in my ISDN studio. But I have to wonder just what it was about my audition that stood out above all the other wonderful women’s auditions. Was my delivery so much different? Was it my place in line? Was it the agency who submitted? (All 3 talent in the spot were cast through Voice Talent Productions.) Was it something to do with the way I slated? I did the slate just a tad differently than “normal.” Although there is nothing normal about our business. Here’s what I submitted.

Hard to tell what the magic “uh-oh” was for the client. But I’ll be keeping my ears open to catch the spot when it runs. Only problem there is that it will fly by so “fast” that I’ll probably miss it!

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