Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

January 30, 2016

Blog moved to www.voiceover-talent.com

Filed under: Announcements, Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , — connieterwilliger @ 10:32 am

I have integrated this blog into my regular website. If you are following me, please hop on over to www.voiceover-talent.com to keep up with my latest musings.

This one will not be updated any longer and eventually, I will shut it down.

See you over on the other site!

Connie Terwilliger, Voice Talent

November 6, 2015

Careful What You Ask For

Filed under: Announcements, Auditioning, Business, Marketing, Technology — connieterwilliger @ 10:33 am
WoVo logo

WoVo is an association of voiceover professionals (both union and non-union) seeking to inform and educate about best practices, standards for ethical conduct and professional expertise. It has an online casting engine that features ONLY vetted professional voices, unlike the company being discussed in this blog post.

Remember the commercial actors strike in 2000? Pay-per-Play was one of the big things the union was asking for. The business has never really been the same.

According to a white paper published by Villanova University the convergence of TV and the Internet was the “core” issue. The unions were aware of the technical tsunami approaching, that the distribution of the content was forever changing. Not the actual work, but the delivery of the product.

It is hard to predict the future, but being responsive to changes so that you don’t get so far behind that you can never catch up should be part of your DNA by now. But changes are not always good without understanding the past. Creative fields are slowly being strangled by over saturation and plummeting rates.

Part of it has to do with new younger producers who know nothing about the way things used to be done. And they don’t care. The Internet provides them with access to everything in the blink of an eye. Ask and you shall receive. But you really need to know the right questions to ask.

I am a dinosaur – producing, writing and performing as on and off-camera talent since the 70’s. But I am also an early adopter of technology and take personal pride in staying close to the bleeding edge.

When I started focusing on voice talent work in the late 90’s, I dove into the Internet and have been a Beta tester for several online marketplaces matching voice talent to producers. The growing pains were just that – painful. And still are.

The concept of streamlining the casting process is good. The execution is not as good. The big online casting sites – what we took to referring to as “Pay-to-Play (P2P)” because they charged a fee – began with a good concept that appeared to be advocating for the talent, but has instead (at least in some cases) been shown to be powered by pure business greed.

Giving away free information was (and still is) a way to gain traction in the search engines. I’ve had free stuff on my personal websites since 1996. I also joined many online voiceover groups and freely provided advice and information.

One group I supported early on was Voices.com (I am not putting a link to them here – I’m sure you can find them) because they had a lot of free information for voiceover talent. I created 2 podcasts that have been on their site since 2007/2008. I paid the fees to receive auditions from them and a couple of other developing P2P sites.

No more. I have not been a paying member of Voices.com or Voice123 for several years now. I have maintained a free profile on each site, but that has also changed as of today. I have asked that both my podcasts and my profile be deleted from Voices.com until such time that they recognize that their current business practices are simply not serving the professional voiceover community, nor helping the production community understand the value of the voiceover talent.

As the site grew larger and larger, the focus seems to have changed from providing an online “dating” service for talent and producers, to how much profit can be made on the backs of the people who are paying the fees to list themselves on the site. Frankly, they are acting as an “agent” and a casting director. I am not opposed to a streamlined system for this process. But if you are acting like an agent and/or casting director, then play by those rules. Go ahead and charge a commission (the escrow fee in the case of Voices) and even charge to coordinate large jobs (as long as this doesn’t undercut the rate to the talent in order to do so).

But as the “dating” service has evolved into functioning as an agent, the site should NOT be charging the talent a fee to be on the site.

The Internet has changed everything. We ask. Someone writes some code. And voila, we have an answer. But be careful what you ask for. Do your due diligence. Think about the consequences of what you are asking for.

In the case of online casting, more and more people claiming they are professionals with the result being fewer and fewer people who can make a full-time living doing the work. This isn’t unique to the voiceover business, all creative fields are suffering from lots of people lowering their rates (or being asked to lower their rates) to try to snag some of the work.

One group is trying to find a balance. World-Voices.org has an online casting site that has ONLY vetted professional talent – www.voiceover.biz. It is brand new, so there will be growing pains here as well. The talent listed on this site are all members of WoVo, which means they pay a small annual membership fee to keep this advocacy group for voice actors and the voiceover business in general functioning. A listing on Voiceover.biz is a benefit of membership. Less than $50 a year, as opposed to upwards of $400 per year for a listing on one of the big P2P sites.

It’s new. It doesn’t have a lot of activity yet. There are undoubtedly going to be some glitches, but it might be something you would want to try when you are looking for a voiceover casting site that is all about the voices and not about making a profit.

Be a part of the next new thing in voiceover – Voiceover.biz.

You might just get exactly what you are asking for.

June 12, 2013

With Trepidation I Present “In a World…”

Filed under: Announcements, Business, Musings — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 6:11 pm

Just what we need, more exposure for the voice over business! So, I am somewhat hesitant to bring this up, but since most of the people who will chance across this post will already be in the business, or already interested in the business, I suppose it won’t do any harm.

From watching the trailer, this looks like a delightfully funny little film about life in the rarefied air of the Los Angeles voiceover market where there is a chance of someone actually hiring you (man or woman, but mostly man) to do a movie trailer.

Lake Bell wrote, produces and stars in the film, with some other familiar real-life voiceover “stars” in the Los Angeles market including Joe Cipriano and Marc Graue. In fact, now that I think about it, this might make a good pilot for a sitcom that takes place in a renowned recording studio in someplace like  – say Burbank – where the charismatic and desperately creative  studio owner – say whose name rhymes with brow… no, wait, scratch that, just what we need, MORE exposure for our business.

Most people know when they watch “So You Think You Can Dance” and “The Voice,” that only a few people can REALLY make it. But most people who see anything about the voiceover business think they can do it. So, no, I take it all back.

But since I did bring it up, here without any further ado – the official trailer for “In a World…”

May 13, 2012

Forum Decorum

Filed under: Announcements, Business, Communication, Marketing, Musings — Tags: , , , — connieterwilliger @ 9:20 am

I belong to a slew of groups on LinkedIn – including a large number of voiceover related groups. Why is it that there seems to be a plethora of unprofessional comments. Social media has been around for years now and it amazes me how people don’t seem to understand that what they post is there for the world to see (when a group is an open group).

I felt compelled to comment today on one of them after a couple of people actually started slamming a legitimate producer for not posting his undying thanks to the group. His post was 6 MONTHS ago and people are still posting comments with links to their demos. And now some are complaining that he hasn’t posted to say thank you!?

It is an International Group with members from all over the world, and perhaps members with little time on social media or little time in the voiceover business, so – as a long time full-time voice talent – with a background as a producer – and an early adopter of technology and social media – may I offer a bit of advice? Thanks…

First of all. When someone posts looking for talent, it is fairly easy to click on their profile link and do some due diligence to see if they are “real” company. Check out their website. Is it professional? Can you check out who some of their clients are?

Then, reply privately! There is no need for two or more pages of voice talent shouting “pick me, pick me!” Really, take a look at any thread where someone has posted that they are looking for talent. It screams desperation.

And understand that producer seek talent in a lot of places. This particular producer posted to a group that specifically includes people that say they do eLearning work, so it was logical that he would post a request for people who do eLearning, but he probably was looking in other places as well. Even if this was the only group he posted to, a lot of people DID contact him privately, so he may not come back here…until the next time he needs talent.

But, if you look at the original post – it was 6 months ago! My goodness! Why are people still posting to the thread? And worse yet, castigating him? Why would he ever come back?

There are groups where introducing yourself when you join is encouraged. If you are joining a group where voiceover is not the main focus – then, certainly introduce yourself to the group and provide links to your demos.

Then watch the other introductions as they come in – and send PRIVATE responses to those people who may (or are) seeking the kinds of skills you possess.

The more professional, helpful, respectful and funny you are in the posts you do make to public forums, the more people will think of you as a professional and someone they would like to do business with.

March 16, 2012

Social Media Paranoia

Filed under: Announcements — Tags: , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 9:34 am

Over the past few years, I have posted a few select projects to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as blogged or distributed Press Releases. Not everything we do is post-worthy, so I have tried to keep the posts to interesting subject matter, great scripts, super production values, that sort of thing.

The intent is to simply remain visible in this sea of data. Stay in someone’s mind in case a project comes up that might require my voice. Not really selling anything specific, just a little social networking.

Well, all that changed yesterday, when I got the email from ACX that my first audio book is ready for people to actually buy on audible.com. “Death of an Obnoxious Tourist” by Maria Hudgins. Now I need to promote it – and ask people to buy it and listen to it. And when they do, they get to comment and rate the result.

And I am scared to death.

The ability to quickly click on a star to rate the performance has me chewing my cuticles. What if people don’t like it!

I learned a lot about the process of recording an 8 and a half hour book. Overall, I enjoyed studying the book to learn about the various characters. I enjoyed the actual reading of every single word – which is something that I discovered I don’t actually do when reading a book to myself. I skip a lot of stuff – skim through passages.

But when reading an audio book aloud, you need to read every word.

It wasn’t easy. There were chapters where every sentence was a struggle to articulate. Was it the time of day? Was it what I had had to eat? Was it the way the words were juxtaposed on the page? And when the words come out in bits and spurts, you have to be even more careful in the editing to make sure that the end result is smooth.

I learned that I am super critical – but was I critical enough?

Will the people downloading and listening and then taking the time to rate – click 5 stars or 1 star – or somewhere in between? Will my various accents stand up to the scrutiny of native speakers? The book includes several Italian, British and Canadian characters, as well as an “east coast” sound, and a slew of just normal North American. In retrospect, I could have given one of the main characters a slight southern accent, but I didn’t really think of that until far too late in the process. Oh, well. Lesson learned.

Recording an audio book is a labor of love. Do I love it? Well, with the first one under my belt, I am interested in doing it again to see if I actually learned those lessons!

So, here goes – out to the universe. Hit me with your best shot social media. And if the reviews come back mixed, I hope the comments are constructive, so that the next project will be significantly better!

March 11, 2012

And Another Thing about FaffCon…

Filed under: Announcements, Business, Marketing — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 8:42 am

Full disclosure – I am not only a Founding Faffer and a Frequent Faffer, I am a Fanatic Faffer, so I have been part of the wonderful team helping Amy get things organized from soup to nuts.

Part of that team is all of the wonderful sponsors – without their support, FaffCon would simply be too expensive for most people.

Sure, educational conferences such as FaffCon are tax deductions, but you have to actually spend the money in order to get the deductions and there are limits to what pencils out.

So, many many many thanks to our incredible group of supporters. My friend Peter O’Connell (voice talent, bon vivant and also a Frequent Faffer) was part of the team making calls to potential sponsors as well as following up with the many sponsors who simply contacted us and said they wanted to support FaffCon. We were astounded actually at the number of people who did that, and are eternally grateful for every one of them.

He blogged about this today and I am stealing it because he already has all the links! (Thanks Peter! You are a gem.)

Below I have provided a list of our great Faffcon 4 sponsors. My request is that you take a look at their links and while purusing their sites, if you see anything you might want to purchase that they offer…please do so and mention you found them through FaffCon. And thanks.

Voicebank.net

Bob Souer – Professional Story-teller

Edge Studio

Mara Junot – Professional Voice Talent

Audio-Technica

BSW (Broadcast Supply Worldwide)

Voice Actor Dave Courvoisier

Liz de Nesnera – French and English Voice Over Talent

GA Voiceovers – The Voice of Technology

Get Rich – Rich Owen | Voiceover Talent

JS Gilbert -Professional Voice Talent

Bobbin Beam – ISDN Voice Actress | Female Voice Talent

Voiceovers by Moe

Melissa Exelberth – Bilingual ISDN Voice Talent

Harlan Hogan’s Voiceover Essentials

The VO-BB.com

VoxMan – Corey Snow Voice Actor

Word2Wav An Automated Audio Recording Application

Source Elements

Lynda.com – Online Software Training Videos

D3 Voiceworks – Diane Maggipinto Female Voice Talent

Sound Advice – Voiceover from an Audio Engineer’s Perspective

Voice Over Xtra – The voice-over industry’s online news, education and resource center

The Dallas Voice Acting Meetup Group

March 9, 2012

FaffCon 4 is Fast Approaching!

Filed under: Announcements, Musings — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 1:30 pm

I keep looking at the list of attendees for FaffCon 4 – Ventura Beach and literally clapping my hands in happiness! In less than 2 weeks, I will board the train from San Diego and head up to Ventura for another energizing weekend with some truly wonderful people.

Many of the people on the list are returning Faffers. More than half are face-to-face friends/acquaintances. Some I know virtually through social media and am looking forward to meeting them in person. Some names are completely new to me at this point in time. By the end of the weekend, they will not be strangers anymore.

http://faffcon.com/whos-coming/

I’m a Founding Faffer and have become more and more “involved” with the event since the first one in Portland. I can say without a doubt that each event has surpassed the previous in every way.

Portland was Perfect!

We were all feeling our way here – figuring out how this unconference idea really worked. Loved the little hotel. Loved Portland! By the end of the weekend we all knew that Amy’s idea was a winner – and it worked because all of us trusted the process and each other. The empty grid soon filled up with ideas and off we went.

Atlanta was Amazing!

The venue was spectacular – what a striking hotel. Nothing like being up on the 70-somethingth floor! And touring CNN was rather thought provoking. An amusement park mascarading as a news outlet. The actual conference – a party mascarading as an incredible learning experience. The returning Faffers quickly helped get the new Faffers up to speed.

Hershey was Happiness!

We laughed and laughed. And we learned and learned. The weather was balmy. What an amazingly talented group of people. The Jam Session and Karaoke were simply the best entertainment around. As with FaffCon 2, the more experienced Faffers again helped get the uninitiated up to speed when it came to rolling up our sleeves and sharing our ideas.

Ventura will be adVenturous and Valuable!

There is no doubt in my mind that FaffCon 4 in Ventura Beach will be another unique and wonderful experience! Help me find a few more V words!

At some point, perhaps, I will have to miss one, but I am having a hard time figuring out what earth shattering event would prevent me from being there. In fact, I do not want to even think about that, thank you.

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 FaffCon.com and get yourself registered!

It is part of the cost of doing business.

December 29, 2011

Get a Kick in the Pants! Get the New Edition of “There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is”

I just sort of fell into the voiceover business. I really didn’t have any training. No school of broadcasting. No acting classes (well, none since the 2nd grade). But I had done a bit of radio in college and that led to some staff announcing while I was in grad school. Grad school led to a job in a TV station, first as a director, then, after deciding that was something that I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life, as a staff announcer. A live staff announcer.

A live staff announcer who didn’t sound like a typical announcer – so the door to my little closet-sized booth would open on a regular basis with people  handing me commercial copy. After a period of time, I decided that I might need to learn a bit more about this voiceover stuff – and bought my first book – “Word of Mouth” by Susan Blu and Molly Ann Mullin. That edition was was originally published in 1987 and was instrumental in giving me a good swift kick in the pants to propel me to new heights of voiceover work.

Suddenly, my world of voiceover was transformed – I started to critically dissect the copy and figure out who I was supposed to be as I delivered the copy. I did a lot of this intuitively, or I wouldn’t have been getting repeat business, but being able to actually identify the elements of what I was doing was helpful in moving me forward. Much of that book is still relevant today. The link above is to the latest edition.

I now have a shelf full of voiceover books. Many of the books say much the same thing about breaking down a character or a script, but each does it in their own “voice.” Many of the books use techniques from some of the same well known voice actors and voice over teachers. Each book has merit and if you have some extra cash, pick up copies of as many of them as you have time to read. You can get them used.

Probably the most used book on my shelf is Elaine Clark’s, so it is with great excitement that I announce the publication of the Third Edition of Elaine A. Clark’s “There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is : A complete insider’s guide to earning income and building a career in voice-overs.”

I even did my first Amazon review:

If you are looking for a well organized, thoughtful, easy to understand book on the voiceover business, filled with practical examples of scripts of every variety – from commercials to audiobooks – from corporate communication to video games, this is the book to have on your shelf.

It takes you through the basics of the business – from technical to techniques – for the beginner and the seasoned pro. Then be prepared for a workout! It is packed with scripts and more scripts – with analysis that even a professional can appreciate. And finally, no matter how much know about the business or how much you practice – if you don’t know how to hook up with the people who want to buy what you have to sell, then you won’t be making a living in this business. This part of the book is actually the hardest for most people – and the part that is often left out of voiceover classes.

In this era of recording in a vacuum, the more we know what works and how to hear what works when we do it, the more often we will find a way of connecting with and delivering the copy – a read that clicks with the producer listening to the auditions. And sometimes – beginner or pro – we get into a rut and need that kick in the pants.  This book is a good one for doing just that – in friendly, easy to understand prose.

December 18, 2011

Put the pot on and bring it to a boil

Filed under: Announcements — connieterwilliger @ 9:05 pm

Many voiceover people use various kinds of nasal rinses to keep their sinuses clean and clear. I use one of those plastic squeeze bottles. Others use a Neti Pot.

But a story in the news recently points out that this can be a dangerous habit unless you take some precautions to sterilize the water.

Two people were found dead in Louisiana after using unclean water in their Neti Pots.

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/16/two-dead-in-louisiana-after-unclean-water-used-in-neti-pots/?hpt=hp_bn10

I had heard about these deadly amoebas when I took a canoe trip down the Colorado River from the Hoover Dam. All the way down to the water, they repeated the admonition not to dunk our heads under the water in the hot springs. They seemed pretty serious about it – and now I know why.

These amoebas can get into your brain and are 95% lethal.

So, even though it is probably a pretty low risk, I’ll be using distilled water or boiling it before rinsing out my nose!

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.