Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

March 28, 2010

When Volunteering Collides with Work

Filed under: Business, Musings — connieterwilliger @ 9:09 am

The balance of business and personal time is changing dramatically for me this past year. And I am trying to figure out if this is a good thing or not. While business has been a bit weird this quarter, it has been steady with repeat customers and some new – but no dramatic up tick.

This could be the economy, or it could be that my marketing efforts have been waylaid by my personal and other volunteer committments. 

I’ve learned the marketing lesson before. You stop marketing yourself and people forget who you are. Well, not everyone, but you know what I mean.

Between my new responsibilities (and frankly new life) with my mom who moved close to me last April, my continuing volunteer work for MCA-I, roles in community theater performances, friends, classes, relationships – there just isn’t the same amount of time to do the marketing – and uh – working things.

So, it is time to prioritize. But that will have to wait until after my taxes are done. And after the other important personal paperwork is done. And after the run of the current play that I am in. And after the trip to Europe. And after the next association board and leaders meetings. And after the next newsletters are done. And after all that other stuff that is really more important to a good quality life than sitting behind a computer – like spending time with my mom, getting enough exercise and an occasional pedicure.

Hmm. Looks like I may need to seriously think about reducing some of the obligations that are not actually contributing to my health and sanity. One of the problems is letting go. Specifically – letting go of the responsibilities that have grown (by my own hand of course) with my professional association.

The truth is, I have been thinking about doing this for some time, but now IS the time.

March 18, 2010

Technical Troubleshooting

Filed under: Recording, Technology — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 10:20 am

Argh! Turned on the system the other day and there was a phased hum/tone thing going on in the background of my recordings. Nothing had changed (well, maybe the weather), but suddenly my output was unacceptable.

I was able to clean up the background noise well enough for auditions (and it didn’t affect my ISDN sessions), but luckily, I didn’t have any paying work that couldn’t be delayed until a fix was found.

Was it the Mackie? Was it the cable to the computer? Was it the mic cable? One thing at a time – one precious minute after minute – I eliminated and pondered. Finally, I packed up the Mackie and the cable to the computer and trundled them down to San Diego Professional Sound and Music.

Turns out the 2nd channel on the Mackie is kaput – or at least has a permanent hum. He cleaned all the inputs and outputs – basically every connection on the unit – and we didn’t hear any problems with the other 3 channels (one of which is for the phone patch).

Back in the studio – cables back in place – and voila! No hum. Thank you Shane.

March 10, 2010

New Toshiba Laptop Arrived

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 8:27 am

Ah, technology today. My new Toshiba Satellite laptop was on the front porch yesterday.

Open the box. Plug it in. It finds my network. Asks a couple of questions and boom, we are up and running. This one has Windows 7 on it. So far, it seems pretty self-explanatory and user friendly.

Now comes the task of loading all my software on it to see if it is user friendly for the various programs. This will take me until the end of the week probably.

The basics:

  • Adobe Audition (done, not checked yet for recording)
  • Office (at least Excel and Word – maybe Front Page for website updates on the road)
  • Vox Studio
  • Word 2 Wav
  • Paint Shop Pro
  • Miscellaneous enhancements for playing audio, video, etc.

March 3, 2010

Source-Connect Ports are in Order

Filed under: Marketing, Technology — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 5:07 pm

Forgot to update the Source-Connect saga. Followed the detailed instructions on the Source-Connect website about how to configure the ports and “voila” so simple even a cave man could do it.

Now I am going through the Source-Connect data base to say hello to folks who might be interested in knowing that it is up and running.

Most of the people who have it are either talent or audio studios – neither of which are the best for pin-point marketing, but certainly the contacts are great networking – which ultimately pays off.

March 2, 2010

Fast! Good! Cheap?

Filed under: Auditioning, Marketing, Musings, Negotiating — connieterwilliger @ 4:38 pm

You know this adage – Fast, Good, Cheap – Pick any Two? Technological advances are putting this saying to the test – with people wanting (and many times getting) all three. The principal of the “Long Tail” – originally used to describe a retailing concept of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities – is another factor in the evolution of this axiom. Apply the long tail to voiceovers and it means creating lots and lots of product that will be seen or heard by fewer and fewer people. Think about the growing number of niche television, radio, YouTube channels. Fewer eyeball and ears? Maybe. Maybe not – considering the population of the world.

So how is this affecting Fast, Good, Cheap?


When it comes to the voiceover business, particularly at the first stage – voiceover auditions – Fast reigns supreme. With online casting (either through agents or Pay to Play sites), you are expected to get your auditions in as soon as humanly possible. If you work a day job and are trying to pursue VO work on the side, this means that in some cases, the auditions are closed before you even have a chance to sort through them.

You can’t let your email collect during the day and only chose to check it now and then. The BlackBerry and iPhone are part of your tools these days. Agents and clients simply expect that you will be available and be able to respond. You need to be Fast.


But along with Fast, your audition must be Good. You need to know how to lay down a couple of good takes with contrasting reads in the shortest amount of time so that you can deliver it Fast. And the simple fact is that you need to do this in a vacuum – this is the reality of today’s online casting. Actually – creating the final product these days is also frequently self-directed, so learning how to create Good reads that are “right” for the job is paramount. You have to wear all the hats – writer, producer, director and talent. Listen to all of those voices in your head and get a Good audition out Fast.

This may be hard to do for the seasoned (read older) talent used to directed auditions in studios with other actual living breathing people around. It may be hard for the newer talent who may not know exactly where they fit and what auditions they should be doing. Both scenarios will result in auditions that are not quite “Good” enough.


Unfortunately, with the reality of online casting and delivery of final product combined with the depressed economy and the trend toward niche marketing, there are more and more jobs demanding all three – Fast, Good and Cheap.

The end clients are “selling” less of more. Which means one of two things – they need to charge more for their product, or they need to spend less on everything else. As media gets more and more splintered, with fewer eyeballs and ears seeing or hearing the end product, it is going to be harder and harder to maintain rates. Eyeballs and shelf-life are two ways that rates have traditionally been negotiated. Volume and frequency of work are other ways to caress a budget or bid. But when it comes to shelf-life, even if a spot or a project is supposed to be for a limited audience and short-lived, consider that once something is posted online, it can live forever.

There will always be higher visibility projects or projects with longer shelf-life, or more distribution channels, so for the cream of the crop, there will still be mortgage money coming in. But working Cheap, or working for less than established norms, is becoming more and more common.

There are talented voiceover folk (experienced and newbies) who meet the Fast part by being one of the first few auditions; who meet the Good part by knowing how to find the “right” read; and who also meet the Cheap part by accepting a sub-par rate.

The tricky part in all of this is that we are in the middle of a huge change in the way we all do business, so what was once a sub-par rate may end up as accepted. While it has become easier to produce multimedia Fast, producing Good media is still an art form. Which is why it shouldn’t be done on the Cheap.

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