Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

January 22, 2012

Back to School!

Filed under: Business, Teaching — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 9:34 am

While I work as a voice talent full-time – and have been this time around for the past dozen years or so – I do manage to carve out enough time in the Spring and Fall to teach one class at San Diego City College.

The reason I say “this time around” – is that I started out making a full-time living doing announcing and voiceover work, while also working in my spare time as a producer/writer. I actually gave up my free-lance voiceover work for several years while I worked full-time in a video and film department where I wore lots of hats. Eventually, I chose to stop producing and put the writing on the back burner as well, moving back into voicework full-time. I actually consider those years as “post” post-graduate school for my voiceover work.

Back to the class. It is a basic introduction to voiceover. If you are interested in what goes on there, you could sign up for the class blog with assignments and links to interesting articles and podcasts of interest to people wanting to learn more about the business.

While, of course, I get paid to teach the class, the main reason I rearrange my schedule is that when I teach the class, I am actually taking the class myself! Every semester, in the process of revealing the mysteries of what it is to be a voiceover professional, I learn something new.

(Geez, there are a lot of “I’s” in that last paragraph.)

But, it is true, if you spend time thinking about what it is you are doing – analyzing – verbalizing – you will get better at it. Plus, I get to “perform” in front of a captive audience twice a week.

First class is tomorrow at 9:35 AM. The class is full with a waiting list, so the first day will be busy with paperwork. But we will manage to get some actual “work” done to, because this semester will start off a bit different from most in that I will be out of town the entire following week doing a live announce gig.

So I have this Monday and Wednesday to get the class “introduced” to the biz and then give them a big listening and doing assignment that will throw them into the deep end of the business.

It will be so much fun to see what they come up with when the class picks back up in February.

January 15, 2012

Nurturing the Garden

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Musings — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 3:11 pm

In my part of the world, the climate allows me to have a garden all year long. Right now I have lettuce, an eggplant, some tomatoes and a perpetual red Swiss Chard that has been growing for about 2 years now.

But a winter garden requires more attention than a summer garden. In fact, it is a mess right now! The lettuce is starting to get a little nibbled and brown at the edges and has never really grown to expectations. For some reason the little purple flowers on the eggplant have not produced anything. It is sturdy, but barren. The tomato vine is brown and the actual fruit gets to a certain redness and then stops. The Swiss Chard seems to bounce back with just a little water…but the size of the leaves get smaller and smaller. Don’t even look at my banana trees, it is simply not banana tree time.

I spent some time this morning watering, pruning and pulling weeds. Not a lot of time, but enough to know that most of the plantings need to be cut back or just uprooted and turned into mulch.

There are times during the year when the growing cycle is right and you can’t hardly do anything to stop the bounty – a little water and everything is fine. But when the climate just isn’t quite right, or the plant isn’t quite right, it takes a lot of effort and the end results are never quite as good.

Just because we CAN grow veggies all year here in California, doesn’t mean that we HAVE to!

In many ways, the lessons of the garden can be applied to my business – to any business.

Just because someone wants me to do a job for them, doesn’t mean I have to.

In fact, I was able to use this lesson last night. The phone rang well after business hours. (Probably a reminder right there – set some hours and check my voice mail on a regular basis.)

After a couple of minutes of listening – to accented English with drop outs from mobile technology combined with the sound of a small child in the background – I still wasn’t sure what the caller wanted. I couldn’t tell if the person was asking me for advice about how to get into voiceovers, or was a potential client.

Turns out it was someone “starting” a marketing company who found my name through a circuitous path that began with another potential client from several years ago with whom I had tried to establish a business relationship, but had had similar incomprehensible conversations (what ends up on the Internet STAYS on the Internet).

After being directed to a video posted on YouTube, that was using a text to speech program for the voiceover, I finally understood what was being asked and was able to direct the client in another direction for their needs.

To tie it back to the garden, the amount of work required to bear fruit in this particular case would have been far more than the fruit was worth.

So, a couple of reminders…

– plant when the time is right

– select good plants to start with

When you nurture this kind of garden, prepare to reap the bounty.

January 8, 2012

The Cost of Doing Business

Filed under: Announcements, Business — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 5:01 pm

Esteban Valdez Pots for sale
They say you have to spend money to make money. I would agree with that. Unless you dig clay from the earth, use your hands to form a pot, grind rocks to make paint, gather wood to build the fire to bake the pot and then stand by the side of the road to sell the pot, you probably have to spend at least a little money to be in business.

I had a chance to meet Esteban Valdez at his family compound just outside San Miguel de Allende Mexico a few years ago. He does just that. At his age though, other people are helping him gather the materials, so he probably has to pay out a bit in payroll these days in order to make his pots.

Esteban Valdez at work

I’ve been doing voiceovers now for quite a while and I have spent a lot of money on my business. Training, equipment, marketing, software, telephone, etc. And I will admit that training has not been a huge part of the expense. The few classes and workshops I have paid to attend have been valuable, but I have found that the lone class I teach at San Diego City College – an introduction to voice acting – is like taking a 5 hour per week class in the Spring and Fall. Not only do I learn more about myself and my craft, but I get to perform before a live “studio” audience. And for those of us who spend a lot of time locked in our own little vacuum, interacting and getting that instant feedback is a wonderful thing.

Over the past two years, I have found a “training” expense that seems to offer the right amount of bank for the buck. A conference focused on the professional working voice actor. It is called FaffCon. The next one coming up March 23-25, 2012 in Ventura Beach CA is number 4 and as of right now there may still be a few places left. Attendance is capped at 100 and as of my last peek at the website, there were 92 people listed as coming.

FaffCon 4

The list of attendees is impressive and the information we will be sharing will no doubt be as valuable as were the first 3 FaffCons. What we will actually do there is always a mystery and is at the whim of the participants. But with a list of seasoned pros and enough repeat Faffers who know the drill, the results of FaffCon 4 will be stimulating, motivating, inspiring and just plain fun.

But even more so, I will have a change to renew personal friendships that began at previous FaffCons, finally meet some virtual friends face-to-face and get to see people who I have gotten to know over the years at other conferences, workshops and gatherings.

So, if you are a working pro – and want a huge jump start to the 2nd Quarter of 2012, get over to and get yourself registered!

It is part of the cost of doing business.

January 4, 2012

What will the future bring for video?

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 12:01 pm

Humans frequently predict the future. It helps us plan for a rainy day. We think it helps us know what should we look out for that will ensure we keep moving forward toward our ultimate goals – whatever they may be.

It is very interesting to look back at predictions to see what the soothsayers said and what actually happened. This reading is sobering, amusing, thought provoking and sometimes just plain silly.

I found a website with 20 predictions that we are still waiting for – like the flying car and weather control.

And to me an even more interesting website with 100 predictions from 1900 – including that there will be no C, X or Q in our everyday language.

So what is next for video – or more specifically video commerce? Justin Foster just posted a piece on MediaPost. He is co-founder and Vice President of Market Development for video commerce solutions provider Liveclicker. He is also the founder of the Video Commerce Consortium, a trade group devoted to advancing the use of video in e-commerce.

He thinks that videos will continue to get shorter – as attention spans dwindle. I think he is probably right about that. And video will become more interactive – he moves it from “‘nice to have’ to ‘must have.'” And with so many Apple products in the market, HTML5 is going to be the darling – until something else comes along.

These are just a few of his predictions. Read the whole article:

As for what is next in general here at 42nd Street Productions. 2012 has started out bright and sunny – literally and figuratively. It is a glorious day here in San Diego and I just got back from a session at a studio where we did a phone patch with the client on the East Coast. No rainy day yet. But knowing what the trends are will help me continue to prepare for the inevitable.

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