Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

April 28, 2010

Door Prizes are Cool!

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

Was at a San Diego MCA-I meeting tonight at Phil Ferrari’s studio – the annual NAB wrap-up meeting with stories from members who attended and presentations from the top vendors in the industry talking about their new toys.

3-D is the happening thing apparently. So be prepared, you will need to buy another new TV very shortly.

We had Panasonic, JVC and Sony there with new equipment to show off – and lots of door prizes…not just from the big three, but from our local suppliers (I will add them as I confirm who contributed – Video Gear for sure) and some of our members as well. Luke and Mark always pick up a couple of hum-busters (Empire State Filters) to donate to the door prize pool.

I won some fabulous ear buds from JVC – Marshmallow stereo headphone – and a very cool black ball cap that says ProHD donated by Alicia Reed, our JVC rep. As I write this, I am listening to my Depressed Mode channel on Pandora. Great sound!

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April 27, 2010

Sense of Direction

Filed under: Recording, Techniques — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 8:14 am

I remember a session very early on in my career where I was just NOT producing what the director wanted. It was a horrible experience – and I was dismissed knowing that I had not been able to understand and deliver. I knew this because I heard the producer on the phone with my agent asking if she had to pay for me. Really horrible experience.

 A few years later, I was in a session with 6 producers – each offering different bits of “advice” for the read – and was able to find the “right” read that satisfied them all. Was it simply my added years of experience? Are there any standard words of advice that veteran voice talent can offer a director to help the session run more smoothly with successful results when all is said and done?

My friend and fellow VO talent Peter O’Connell sent a link out this morning that has a wonderful article from Babble On Recording Studios that covers the mysterious and often confounding issue of “directing the talent.”

http://babble-on-recording.com/babble_blog/?p=849

Key messages I took from the post:

  • Maintain a rhythm in the session. I have been in sessions where, after a take, the talk-back stays silent for minutes – many minutes – leaving me wondering what was being discussed. The basic insecurity inherent in being “talent” starts planting seeds of discontent and we end up trying to find other ways to read something without any feedback.
  • Avoid references to famous people when directing. Famous to one person may not be famous to another. Rather, describe the “quality” that you think you want.
  • Steer clear of “line reads” if at all possible.
  • Replay the audition. Seems logical. We audition so much, we may not remember what we did to win the job.
  • Let us do “three in a row.”
  • Playback the reads as time permits.
  • If something is “perfect” and the client thinks it is “perfect,” why are we doing another one? It is nice to know if we are free to do something different, or if you want another read very much like the “perfect” read.

April 26, 2010

Auditioning: When is too much auditioning too much auditioning?

Filed under: Auditioning — connieterwilliger @ 5:46 pm

I belong to a very active LinkedIn group for working voice actors and the question of the day is about the “Law of Averages.”

Ed Victor says – “My new law of averages in scoring work is frankly “Less is More”. Less auditioning. More work. Is this the beginning of the end for agents and casting directors? Is the writing on the wall? Am I full of it?”

http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=18517379&gid=137057&commentID=-1&trk=view_disc

My first response to his question (there may be more):

Most of my work remains referrals, repeat clients and direct hits to my website or to one of the other websites where my demos are parked (some free and some P2P) with no auditioning. I also try to target a few new contacts each week through reading group posts, following links, key word searches.The vast majority of the auditions do seem to disappear into the ether – many never get heard. But I have landed a few nice little projects this year through auditions from agents with very limited pools – and most of those have been character voices or role-playing.

Ed continues: “These days I can audition till I’m blue in the face, horse, or both – that would amount to: blue in the face and horse at the same time. But here is the key. I’m still not getting or winning anything new. Then inevitably I hear, “Oh, it’s the law of averages. The more auditions you do the better your chances!” Really? Is that how it works? Cause I haven’t seen that at all. I guess it really is like playing the lottery these days.”

I have written about the number of auditions I am doing and I too see diminishing returns. I might as well be going for a walk. Health is very important.

April 20, 2010

The Power of Face-to-Face Networking

Filed under: Marketing — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 4:11 pm

Over the years my local work has dropped way off. Luckily for my continued mortgage payments, work outside the market has and continues to increase. My website placement on the web is a great part of this, as well as direct target marketing, social media, various “agents” around the world and the introduction of pay-to-play websites.

My face-to-face marketing efforts had pretty much dwindled down to monthly MCA-I meetings where I would have the word Voice Talent written under my name on my stick on name tag. That is usually the extent of my “sell” at these meetings – primarily because most of them think that they can’t afford me. I should probably try to change that impression somehow. Or maybe they are right. But I should open the conversation.

But after a rather disappointing 2009 economically, where my electronic marketing efforts were dramatically reduced due to an increase in personal time after moving my mom out to be closer to me, I decided to jump-start my local marketing efforts with some more face-to-face networking.

One week I attended 3 such events in a row – two on one night – and followed it up the next week with another. With good results (see the end of the post for details.)

Now, not all of these networking events were worth the parking and glass of wine costs.

The first was a huge party for IT geeks – their March Mingle (sdtechscene.org). It was free and the food was fabulous – new Italian restaurant on 30th Street in North Park (Il Postino). Met some nice people there. Still following up with some of them. Cost – $12 glass of wine. Free parking on the street.

The next night I attended an industry event held by a vendor. It was free, parking was discounted, the food was great, and I had a chance to spend some quality time with of the folks I see at those other meetings.

On a tip from one of those guys, I re-parked my car in a $10 lot near the Old Spaghetti Factory where I paid $15 for entry (plus the fee for having to get money out of an ATM) and another $10 or so for a glass of wine to rub shoulders with multi-level marketers (Nu-Skin, Send Out Cards, and some strange ***IRS alert*** travel website), anti-aging compounds distributors and get out of debt plans. I did meet some cool guys running a non-profit for performers (sdeag.org). But most of the people I met must have taken some sort of super networking course where they clasp your hand and look you in the eye and with all the sincerity they can muster ask you who your ideal customer is. Over all it was a huge disappointment. I didn’t need food, but if I had, it was sparse.

So I was not really keen on going the next week to what looked like a similar kind of networking event, but ultimately decided to go (Campbell Networks). It was held at a brand new night club downtown on 4th (FLUXX) and the crowd was diverse and successful. I connected with several people, a couple of them I knew already who then introduced me to people they knew – which is always good. Came home from that event energized – $7 for parking and $11 for a glass of wine.

The result of all this crazy face-to-face contact? One job contracted and completed, another inquiry fielded, and several referrals (both directions). Additionally, I connected with potential support services for my mom. I also won a two-night stay at a beach side hotel in a business card drawing sponsored by “It’s all about the Kids!”

I’ll keep looking for the right face-to-face networking opportunities. But I promise I won’t clasp your hand and stare into your eyes asking who your ideal customer might be.

April 19, 2010

Technical Specs for Audio/Video Scripts

Filed under: Techniques — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 1:42 pm

It is usually a team effort to create an audio/visual presentation. And if the people you are working with don’t “see/hear” the end product the way you do, you may not get the “right” results.

This extends to the voiceover part of the presentation. You may have the entire presentation visualized in your head, but unless there is something on the script that helps the narrator see it (hear it) the way you do, you both will be working a lot harder than you need to.

Be sure to let the talent have as much information as possible about what you are hearing in the way of pacing and attitude and energy. This may mean taking a few minutes ahead of the session to discuss it with the talent. Believe me, for most projects, it is well worth the time. If a rough cut exists, consider sending a file with the interview clips. If music has been selected, let the talent hear that as well.

But it also helps if the script is easy to read. I’m not getting into the actual script writing here – that’s another topic for another time – these tips are for formatting your script to help the talent move through it quickly.

– If your script includes sound bites, be sure to include a transcription of the words that the narrator will be leading into and coming out of. This will help overall continuity and flow.

– If your script has a storyboard, please include it, but make sure to send a basic recording script. Trying to read from a storyboard is difficult, as sentences are usually chopped up … into little … pieces.

– Double space the script so that the talent has room to mark the copy.

– Use at least 12 point font. If sending an electronic doc file, then we can make the font larger if necessary, but if sending a pdf, we can’t usually bump up the font on printing, so make it a reasonable font size to start with.

– Use upper and lower case – ALL CAPS ARE MORE DIFFICULT TO READ. Think about it, the talent has no way of knowing if something should be capitalized if everything is capitalized. This could affect interpretation. (As far as I know, the use of ALL CAPS goes back to the days of the teletype machine in radio news departments.)

– Try to avoid breaking a sentence in the middle from one page to the next. This will reduce the number of times you have to stop down for page turns, as well as possible page rustle. (Turn on the Widow/Orphan control.)

– If you are using a dual column editing script as a narration script, some sentences may be broken in the middle of a thought to show the editor where a new image is supposed to appear. While most professional talent can mentally take up the space and tie the sentence together, try to avoid this on the script you hand the talent.

The easier it is for the talent to read and understand your script, the easier the session will go and the happier you will be with the results.

April 17, 2010

Stock Music and Sound FX Site

Filed under: Marketing — Tags: , , , — connieterwilliger @ 7:12 am

Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5

Just ran across this site through a strange email exchange. (That exchange is the subject of another blog post.) Anyway, this site has stock video, music, and sound effects…apparently all user contributed. 50-50 split I guess. The site is pretty fast and easy to use. I downloaded a couple of the free sound effects they were offering just to see how the interface works. It is free to sign up and they are having a giveaway for an iMac this month.

I listened to some of the music and for $5 (hard to find the actual prices until you check out), they sound pretty good for the right projects. My concern, of course, is that this is another watering down of prices for creative content. The Internet and Social Media have changed the way we do business.

April 13, 2010

A Dozen “C’s” for a Career in Voiceover Work

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 9:44 am

My friend Marc Cashman – a voice over instructor and performer has identified and described 12 voice over skill sets that will help you to refine your current skills and develop new ones. Here is the list – the whole article is available at Vox Daily.

1) Clarity

2) Cleanliness

3) Consistency

4) Connected

5) Conversational

6) Cold Reading

7) Chop Chop

8) Coordination

9) Characterization

10) Convincing

11) Control

12) Confidence

April 9, 2010

Shut up! And 7 other things to do AFTER reading your script! Advice from Edge Studios

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 10:06 am

Got this in an email a couple months ago from Edge Studios and found it again going through my InBox. Some great advice here for the beginner and a reminder for the pros…

***********************

Shut up!  And 7 other things to do AFTER reading your script!
 
It’s not just getting the gig that’s important.
It’s making sure the client hires you again.
 
So we’re sharing 7 things many voice talent forget to do after reading their copy!
 
1. Shut up when done reading your copy.  Don’t tell your client how you did – you’re liable to contradict their opinion and/or create more work for everyone by opening up a can of worms.  Instead listen to their direction.  Read again when prompted.

2. Conversely, when the job is done, talk.  Thank them.  Request a copy of the finished product.  Request a testimonial.

3. Later that day, send an email.  Say it was nice to work with them.  Compliment them (e.g.: You give great direction.)  Let them know you’re available to re-record any lines if necessary.

4. A day later, send an invoice.  (Don’t expect them to pay otherwise.)  At this time, ask for a referral.

5. A month later, follow up with a compliment.  E.g.: “I noticed your website was re-designed – it looks great!”  The idea is to stay “top of mind.”

6. If you were able to learn their birthday, send a card on it. 

7. Every few months, send a reminder card that you worked with them.  Ask what scripts they have that would be appropriate for your voice.

8. Follow up with a new demo annually.
 
You see, it doesn’t take much to be professional and stay “top of mind” with clients.  Here’s to many repeat customers!

*********************

I’ll be reviewing that list – I think I have learned the Invoicing lesson a number of times!

April 7, 2010

Tasked with an impossible name?

Filed under: Techniques — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 11:59 am

One of the things I do every month is record the names, addresses and phone numbers of eye doctors, dentists and lawyers for a couple of large IVR systems for Allstate. Lots of the names are foreign and appear impossible to pronounce at first glance. Finding a source to help with these names with origins from around the world would be great.

I’m checking out the VOA (Voice of America) pronunciation website – http://names.voa.gov/index.cfm

Mike Cain from the Yahoo Voiceover Message board passed this along.

April 5, 2010

Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Email? Smart Phone? POT? Blogs? SEO? What works?

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 7:33 am

It has been an interesting year – trying to find the right mix of media to keep in contact with my clients and potential clients. Depending on who you talk to, the mix of media can be one or more of the above, in any order and in every possible percentage. What works for you?

I’m finding that my Blackberry lets me get out of the studio, but getting out of the studio means less time to work my network of contacts. And being an early adopter of nearly everything technological (I had a Kaypro), I have had to try out social media as a way to connect.

Can’t say that it is really working for me yet – although I did manage to land a nice project through a Facebook happy coincidence. I joined an e-Learning group the same day someone else did who happened to be looking for female voice talent. Hey, it happens.

However, I have spent several hours trying to search Twitter to find some way to leverage that site. I am not seeing it yet. Maybe one of my LinkedIn groups will get a post for a free teleconference specifically on the subject of Twitter. Instead of clicking past it, I would be inclined to check it out. I just don’t like not being in the loop I guess.

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