Oh my! I will be leaving my laptop studio at home the last two weeks in June and heading off to Germany, Italy and Switzerland. I will have an international BlackBerry with me to check email, Facebook and Twitter, but no recording stuff.
The last time this happened was in August a few years ago when the wireless card on my old notebook died the first day of a two-week trip to central Mexico. I went to Internet cafe’s every couple of days to clear out email, but other than that – cold turkey. And I survived.
With the BlackBerry, I will actually be more connected and will try hard not to worry about missed auditions or – yikes – missed work!
Wednesday afternoon, after an ISDN session in the morning, I will motor up the freeway to LA for VOICE 2010. I will pack my studio, but am also happy to know that there will be at least one soundbooth with ISDN there in case a project pops up.
Probably won’t be able to update my blog much during June, but I will be posting to Facebook.
There are many ways to beat the bushes for new business, but by far the most efficient way is to let someone else do the beating for you!
Just sent an invoice to a new client who was referred to me by another voice talent. And last week I invoiced for a project that was a referral from an audio production studio who has hired me in the past.
What goes around comes around – at least that is what the saying says – and probably every month, I get to refer one of my voiceover friends to one of my clients.
This is not as easy a task as it seems – because each time the question is posed (“Can you recommend any male voice talent?” “Do you know anyone who can do a kid’s voice?” “Bilingual in French and English?”) I have to evaluate the requestor and the kind of work they require and then review my list of go-to guys/gals to see who might fit the bill.
It’s almost a passive effort after you have been in the business a while – these incoming referrals. You don’t ever know when they will happen, but it sure is nice when they do.
Yikes! Had a session today – cast off my demo – where the client was ultimately not happy with the read. This has not happened for many many years – I’d say 25. At least where I knew about it anyway. There are those clients who pop in for one session and then you never hear from them again. With a large stable of regular clients and referrals, you just never really think about the possibility that someone didn’t really get what they wanted – until someone tells you.
It was a spot for a retail store – that included a list of prices and items – that needed an unpolished conversational read. After lots of direction – which can be helpful (or not) and some line reads – which can be helpful (or not) – I got the feeling – from these very nice guys – that we were on the right track. As it turns out, they were being nice…apparently it never got conversational enough and they will not be using the track.
I will be agonizing over this for a while – and hoping that it doesn’t affect my relationship with the intermediary where my demos are posted. I’ve already been assured by them that everything is fine, but it does remind me of the importance of continued training, practice and experimentation with the words on the page. The next time a VO workout is scheduled – I’ll be there – and I’ll be bringing this piece of copy with me!
You know how when you first start doing something you spend a lot of time figuring it out and you end up with something that works really great – and then over time – you end up forgetting what it was you did in the first place – and for a while that doesn’t matter – because everything is working just fine. But then it stops working fine – and like I said – you have no idea what you did in the first place – and now you are stuck with this incredible kluge job of tangled cables and settings.
That’s where I am right now. I’ve been doing voiceover work full-time now from my home studio for more than 10 years – and have slowly added this and that to the mix of equipment. In fact I have two separate “studios” – one for my phone patch and self-directed stuff (and now Source-Connect sessions) – and another for my ISDN work. The reason? I can’t record in the self-directed studio when it rains! So I had two mics – and one of them had to be sent out for repair after a blown capsule – came back way too bright – so I bought a new mic – and all was well with the world – for a while.
A long time ISDN client recently told me that he thought my sound was sounding not so good – not my acting skills – the actual sound of my signal. We tried resetting the codec. Then we tried a different mic – the one that came back from repair. It sounded a bit better than the other, but not much. He thought maybe it could be the pre amp in the Mackie – suggesting that a different pre amp might be helpful.
So I had an audio friend come over and look at things. He saw several little knobs on the mixer that were in the “wrong” places. He adjusted some of the switches on the repaired mic. We turned off this – we turned down that – we plugged and unplugged and patched and repatched. Then I called back the engineer hearing the “problem” and he STILL heard what sounded like bad MP3 compression coming from the two older mics – one really really bad. At that point, he suggested that I bring in the newer mic from the other studio and “voila” – he was happy.
Diagnosis – old mics need to be permanently retired. Solution – buy another one of the mics he was happy with. I have been very happy with the sound of the new mic – an ADK Hamburg edition – not very expensive – and now I have two of them – one for each room.
So, with technology issues solved (for the time being anyway), I need to let all my ISDN clients know that if they had been less than happy with the sound of my room, they were in for a pleasant surprise. Of course, with the ISDN troubles ironed out for a while, wouldn’t you know that the dial tone to my phone patch came up MIA about an hour later.
Ah – technology – don’tcha just love it!!!
Got a message from a voiceover friend on the other side of the country that another voiceover friend had fallen and broken her leg – a rather severe break as I understand it. This is one of the most giving people I have ever met and perhaps life wants her to be taken care of for a while.
She is part of a very special group of voiceover artists who had the extreme pleasure of getting to know each other – first virtually through the VO-BB.com and then face-to-face at VOICE 2007 – and have continued to stay connected and involved in each other’s lives.
We are all waiting for the flashing light on our Blackberrys to tell us that she is doing well and didn’t have to be intubated for the surgery.
VOICE2010 is coming up the first week in June and many of us will be able to reconnect in person (not all of us – life happens). I am so hopeful that she will still be able to attend. I am feeling a huge need to hug her until she begs for mercy.
The voiceover world is abuzz! Not sure where this ride will stop, but let’s hope a twist on the adage “what goes down, must go up” comes into play.
Less than 10 years ago, a lot of voiceover casting moved to the Internet. The Pay 2 Play sites appeared and suddenly the role of the agent was bypassed and assumed by the talent who entered into a bidding war against other talent – most of it completely blind – with no ability to vet the potential client. Remember the old TV game show “Name That Tune?” That’s what it is like – someone else tells the client that they can do that job for less than you will do the job – much less. Well, at some point we have to be able to say, name that tune and move on.
Is there a bottom to the falling rates? I hope so. And our industry is not the only one being affected by this virtual job market. But because so many people think that what we do is “easy,” we may be affected by this rate slide more than some others. I have not been marketing myself as a writer for many years, but it is my gut feeling that the perceived level of effort for writing seems to be greater than for voiceover work. Am I correct?
Back to how this is affecting the VO biz – many of us received an email to participate in a new P2P website and the VO world started to spin. The contract was so one-sided (favoring the P2P site), the rates (for spot work) so low and the 50% commission (!!!) was unheard of. In my role as a teacher of an introduction to VO class – one class per semester because I work full-time as voice talent – I wanted to understand what, if anything, this site had to offer in order to pass it along to my students, so I signed up.
Technically, the site seems to work pretty well, but the idea of working for HALF of $45 for a radio ro TV spot – with no guarantee of being paid was enough to prompt a phone call to be removed from the site. My vetting was done. About the same time I was poking around – many other voiceover pros were doing the same – including voice actor / attorney Rob Sciglimpaglia Jr. Here is one of a series of articles on the subject on VoiceOverXtra. You might want to sign up to see where this ride ends up.
My virtual good friend Philip Banks posted a video recently of his VO Booth on Wheels (he calls it the Voice and Go), but I think the technology in this article from Studio Daily tops it.
Perhaps a bit more pricey, but seems to be working for those busy celebrities who need to do some VO work in between takes on the set of their latest series. Complete with ISDN, this mobile recording studio helps prevent those pesky and expensive “no show” sessions.
It’s called Voice Over There.
Here is the article about it – http://www.studiodaily.com/blog/?p=3148