Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

July 31, 2015

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…HA!

Filed under: Business, Life, Musings — connieterwilliger @ 1:22 pm
Connie recording at MediaPiu in Italy in 2010

Connie Recording at MediaPiu in Italy in 2010

It feels like summer this summer. As adults, sometimes – maybe most of the time – summer is just another 3 months – just a little warmer. Our schedules stay the same. Maybe we plan a short vacation. If you are in the US, and you work a regular job, you may get some vacation time, you may not.

Apparently we are the only advanced economy that does not guarantee any paid vacation time or even paid holidays. Most employers do give their employees some paid time off – a typical U.S. worker at a private company gets about 10 days of paid vacation and six or so paid holidays per year. If you are in France, bump that up to 30 paid days off per year. Viva la France!

As a self-employed person, I get to set my own rules on vacation days and usually it averages much less than the 16 days (vacation and holidays). I usually just work, work, work and squeeze in some mini-vacations throughout the year. And by mini, that could mean taking half a day off and heading down to the beach to do some body surfing. Or planning a weekend business seminar somewhere around the country – which is sort of a vacation.

But this summer I have made it more than just work. While I haven’t actually headed out of town yet, I have carved out lots more of those mini-vacations. Hit the beach with the boogie board. Enjoyed lots of live theater. Ate popcorn at the movies. Daily yoga and/or Pilates classes at the Y. Fussed around in the vegetable garden. Broke out the stained glass supplies. Had coffee with friends. Ah, the lazy, hazy, crazy days of sum…

Wait, this stuff sounds like ordinary things that most people work into their daily lives! Sigh. Such is the life of a solo-preneur. My last “vacation” was 5 years ago now – and I ended up recording something at a friend’s audio studio in Reggio Emilia in Italy – which helped pay for the trip.

But I have planned a 2-week trip to Bali this fall. A true – leave the laptop at home, get away from the day-to-day – vacation. (Although I hear that there is pretty good wi-fi, so I will be bringing my tablet.)

Happy Summer! (For those of you who celebrate…)

July 15, 2015

Common Sense Communication…What Not to Say…

Filed under: Business, Communication, Musings — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 9:49 am
Dan Leonard

Dan Lenard saying something socially acceptable at a VO Peeps gathering last year.

I was thinking about something someone said to me last night at a networking meeting. The person thought they were being complimentary, and I knew that, but it just felt awkward. I’ve been working out a bit more in the past 6 months or so, but no drastic changes really. Anyway, the intended compliment came out as a comparison to some impression of me in the distant past (many many months earlier) and forced me to find some kind of a response, rather than just a thank you.

We have all been guilty of saying things to friends, acquaintances and strangers that should have been better left unsaid – or phrased differently. I would have been very happy with a “You look great!” rather than a “Your face looks thinner.”

I know I have said similar things with similar consequences. The other day I caught myself as I met a colleague who had obviously dropped a lot of weight in recent months. Instead of saying, “You’ve lost so much weight.” or something like that, I simply clasped her hand and said. “You look great!” She was then able to explain what she wanted to explain without any awkwardness.

We all could use a little more “social awareness.”

Found an article by Dr. Travis Bradberry that encapsulates some of the most common conversational pitfalls and suggestions for what to say instead and the reasons why.

I appreciate Number 7 – what to say instead of “Good Luck.” His suggestion to say something like “I know you have what it takes.” is great advice.

However, I am trying to apply it specifically to my career as talent. I may have what it takes, but I may not be the voice in someone’s head this time around.

This is one reason I don’t talk a lot about auditions. People outside my industry, who don’t realize that I audition every day without being the voice in the client’s head will remember that I told them about a cool audition I did to be the voice of such-and-such and then, the next time I see them – could be days or weeks later – they ask me how the audition went. By that time, I have no idea which audition. It is better just to not talk about auditions.

So, if someone does tell me about an audition, I am compelled to respond, In this case, “Good Luck” may be the correct phrase. Especially if said with the right knowing tone. The tone that says, “I know what you are going through.”

But instead, I might say something like, “That sounds right up your alley. Hope you get it!”

Here’s to all of us “getting it” more often!

July 11, 2015

There is no math in Voiceover…Ha!

Filed under: Business, Negotiating — connieterwilliger @ 4:58 pm

At many a gathering either virtually or face-to-face, voice talent has been known to utter this phrase – “There is no math in voiceover.” It has various meanings for each of us, but usually means that we are grateful that we don’t have to tackle calculus or quantum physics in order to do our jobs.

MathI wanted to be a bio major in college (loved my high school bio classes), but kept flunking chemistry. And one semester I withdrew from calculus before the teacher had to give me the inevitable “F.” OK, so I really didn’t study very hard in school and there may have been some drinking involved (Iowa was an 18 state at the time), but my brain just didn’t want to remember formulas and add and subtract large numbers – much less fractions.

This goes back to early high school (the first of the 3 high schools I attended – military kid) where the teacher sat us by grade. Yes, the A students, B students – etc. – down to the D and F students. I sort of matched my seating position in Home Room where we were sat alphabetically. As a T, I was always near the end of the line – in front of Voorhees, but after Sims.

But I did get moved up to the A row once a year when we were doing Geometry. This wasn’t math to me, it was art – shapes, angles, designs. The biggest thrill for me was that during that unit, I got to sit near the man-boy of my dreams during math class – Bill Sims – who always sat in the A section. I was able to sit near him during Home Room – the alphabet thing – but not in math. My remembery is a bit fuzzy on how this worked in other classes, but I do remember Home Room and Math.

I have always had a knack for percentages and averages. But the detailed stuff? The balancing the checkbook stuff? Adding up complex numbers. Formulas. These have always been difficult for me. I don’t think I’m dyslexic, but numbers do get reversed. I’m probably just not really paying attention.

So, my plan to become a research biologist and discover the cure for cancer fell by the wayside and I ended up majoring in Art in college. The art degree opened the doors to a job in a TV station as a graphic artist, then floor director/camera op – on to graduate school in radio and TV.

Most of my life, I have worn many hats, some of which did require using some math. A producer needs to work up budgets for example. But script writing and talent work usually doesn’t. At least not complex math – and for that I am very grateful.

But, as a free lance voice talent, I am here to tell you that there IS math in voiceover.

It may not be complicated math, but for some reason, there are times when I amaze even myself with my lack of math skills.

Beginning a project you work with the client to determine a rate. This can be fairly simple to mind-numbingly complex depending on the type of project. You want to make sure that you are accounting for several things as you find a mutually agreeable fee. Numbers have to be crunched carefully to make sure you find that sweet spot.

Your time, your expertise, the usage, the life-span, the speed of delivery. The number of projects being done at one time. The potential length of time for continued work on the project. Are you figuring the rate by words, finished minute, amount of finish work?

And while it is not technically math, you have to create, send, track and account for money owed. Software is helpful, but it never does exactly what you want it to do, so you have to remember the workarounds you found to make it work for you.

And then, there are the occasional scripts that come across your eyeballs that are ALL MATH!!! Do I remember the actual words for all those symbols so that I can work my way through the 4th grade fractions class. A few came to mind, but work flow slowed as time was spent researching the terms. I discovered that in math, I am NOT smarter than a 4th grader. (Actually, I knew that in the 4th grade.)

But most of the time, there is not a LOT of math in voiceover – and for that I am grateful.

July 1, 2015

Wait, I left my phone in the house…

Filed under: Business, Communication, Musings, Technology — connieterwilliger @ 8:43 pm

Modern telephone communication is a wonder – a boon – a time-waster and at times – a nightmare. It can also be an addiction, especially when it comes to our smart phones. In fact, it is a named anxiety disorder – Nomophobia (“no mobile phone phobia”).

From Psychology Today – July 25, 2013

Two years ago Psychology Today said that “Nomophobia- fear of being without your smartphone- affects 40% of the population.” Today, the figure is 64%, according to Pew Research Center.

I know that I feel panicked when I can’t find my phone. But it allows me to leave my office during traditional business hours and still stay connected to my clients. This is a good thing.

Years ago, before cell phones and their predecessor car phones, we all had pagers. Before that, we had no stress. OK, so we still had stress. Probably because we could never leave the office.

I remember one day – in the pre-cell phone era, I heard a very odd noise coming from what sounded like the inside of a wall in my house. Every few seconds – a repetitive “buzz buzz buzz.” I was convinced it was a gas leak, or some electrical wiring gone awry. I just knew the house was going to explode. I was panicked. I ran my hands up and down the walls trying to find the source. It went on for several minutes with my panic growing. Ultimately, I discovered my pager, under some clothing on top of a rattan dresser – which is why it wasn’t making its usual beeper sound.

Then I had a car phone – in my mind a status symbol. I felt like such a successful business person with this brick sized marvel sitting next to me. Until the day it was cloned while I was sitting in the turn lane on MacArthur Blvd in Orange County calling local auto shops after my clutch went out. That felt as though I had been betrayed by modern mobile technology.

This was in the late 80’s and since then I have had a progression of cell phones getting smarter and smarter with each waning contract and/or software update.

I couldn’t tell you exactly when I realized that leaving the house without my phone was upsetting. Probably after my first real smart phone – with Facebook and Google installed on it – and wi-fi in every coffee shop.

Lately I find that out of respect for people in public places (like my yoga class or the theater), I turn the ringer and vibrate off. And then forget to turn it on again.

This causes some anxiety – OK, a great deal of anxiety – when trying to find the phone. Since you can’t hear it when you call it, it can stay lost for a long time. Which brings on more anxiety.

I haven’t damaged my phone (knock on wood) for a long time by dropping it into the toilet or cracking the screen, but I have left it places without realizing it. I suppose I have been lucky that it has always showed up. That it wasn’t stolen, or hacked (do they still clone?) or dropped or cracked.

So, trying to not become a Nomophob, I have taken to intentionally leaving the phone at home when I am not going to be gone too long. Of course, the definition of “too long” is open for interpretation.

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