Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

October 17, 2015

A little (on purpose) down time

Filed under: Life, Musings — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 3:26 pm

Many people have written about the importance of taking time off. It’s good for you according to an article in the Huffington Post – “Taking Time Off Can Improve Health and Productivity.”

A lot of people agree with this – an article in US News and World Report said – “45 percent of Americans agreed that “they come back to work feeling rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected to their personal life” after vacation…”

Some people swear by taking lots of mini-vacations. I’ve talked about that before. My current “job” as a voice talent allows me to take time off pretty much whenever I want – a couple of hours at a time. I do this on a regular basis. Take off on a hike up Cowles Mountain, or down to the Grinding Rocks in Mission Trails. Head out to the beach (when the water is warm enough) to catch some waves on my body board. Take a long walk to the Post Office to check for sacks of money. Putter around the yard. Maybe do some art.

I’m lucky. Not everyone can do this. And, of course, there are days when the schedule is so tight that I can’t break away. But no one is peering over the cubicle wall at me wondering why I got back 10 minutes late from lunch. But, I do spend a LOT of time in my studio in front of the computer.

Getting out of town requires a bit more planning, but it is doable. Mostly on weekends because of class I teach on Monday’s and Wednesdays for a couple of hours. But since I don’t have a travel partner to get away for an adventure somewhere, these slightly longer trips are mostly to attend voiceover or media production related events. Lucky for me, these gatherings are a delightful mix of business and pleasure. Over the past several years, I have been able to get to at least 2 per year.

Statue with offeringsHowever, taking a 2-week break is daunting. And rare. My last 2-week break was in 2010 to Germany, Italy and Austria. And I had my laptop with me for auditions. And I stayed for a short while at a friend’s place who owns an audio studio where I did do some actual work. It was a vacation with a little bit of work, a little bit of family and a lot of time on my own with no set agenda.

This time was different in many ways. I left my laptop at home and traveled a full day to (and a full day back from) Bali meeting a dozen smart, funny, adventurous women for 12 days on this amazing island. I may need to watch “Eat, Pray, Love” again to see if I recognize the Bali that it portrayed, because the Bali I saw seemed very different. The bustling center for Art and Music – Ubud – is where we spent most of our time. With the narrow streets filled to capacity with people, scooters, motorbikes and passenger vans, you needed to be aware at all times. But step into a doorway and suddenly that falls away. Restaurants bubble with mouthwatering aromas. Your eyes can hardly absorb the colors and shapes of the flowers and statues. Your very person feels welcomed by the smiles and warmth of the people of Bali.

The trip was organized by Myle Walsh – Water from the Moon Travel – who has been traveling there for more than 30 years and leads small groups (of mostly women – handpicked to invite harmony) through her adopted second home. She surrounds you with wonderful Bali people who share their homes and businesses, their lives, and their time with you. The schedule was fast-paced, but several days at the beach in Amed on the East side of Bali in the middle of our trip offered us time to process what we had seen and done so far and primed us for the rest of the adventure.

Bali ingredients

Ingredients ready for chopping, grinding, woking and eating.

Myle’s website says – “The Balinese believe in the balance of life, nature and spirit.” I believe it.

We saw dance and music performances, temples, monkeys and museums. We made art. We cooked. We visited a village school bringing school supplies and toys. They sang us the Indonesian National Anthem. We taught them the Hokey Pokey. We relaxed on the beach. We had massages. Some of us attended a cremation. Some rode elephants. Some rafted. Some rode bikes. We walked in the rice paddys. We shopped. We ate – and we ate – and we all dropped a pound or two in the process.

I was as unplugged as you can get these days with Wi-Fi in every corner of the globe. My time online was spent uploading pictures of the wonderful experiences we had in Bali. Email did come in with a very few needing an immediate response. I did lose at least one job because I wasn’t available. I had to pass on a number of auditions. But other jobs waited for me to get back.

So, now I’m back. After a little “on purpose” down time. What I am finding is that it is taking a little bit of time to just jump back into the pace I’ve been setting. I want to stop and read a book. I want to leave the studio and go find a massage somewhere. I want to gather fresh greens and things from the market and stir fry some Gado Gado.

We’ll see how long this lasts. For right now, I’m basking in the Bali glow.

September 7, 2015

Smarty or Arty?

Filed under: Business, Life, Musings — connieterwilliger @ 2:30 pm


It’s nice to be smart – even a little smart. Because, as it turns out – “intelligence only gets you so far when it comes to creativity.

Intelligence is focused on the details  – add a little experience – and creativity leaps off from there.

Add a touch of luck (preparation meets opportunity) and the level of success can be unbounded.

How did I get here?
Sometimes, I feel a little guilty about the fact that without a lot of effort I have made myself a fine little creative life – one I never really planned to have.

Oh, I know I did a little planning as I started to see opportunities, but it seems as though it was just one foot in front of the other following my instincts and ending up here. My experiences along the way influenced which of the many possible paths I ended up taking.

Brains ain’t everything
I’m pretty certain that my intelligence is not out of the ordinary. But I may have used my brain power to steer me towards the things where success was more easily achieved.

When bringing to mind my efforts in school, the creative side certainly stood out, with Art being not only my favorite subject, but my best subject.

My decided lack of success in Latin and Math resulted from something which I now recognize as probably laziness (perhaps an understanding that Latin was something that I would probably never need?) and not lack of intelligence.

Now, the math – hmmm, I’ll self-diagnose with number dyslexia – or dsycalcula – to make myself feel better about flip-flopping numbers when trying unsuccessfully to keep the station logs while employed at a TV station. The program manager was constantly on me about mistakes such as writing 4:54:45 instead of 5:45:54. Try as I might, about twice a week, he would have to correct the logs and that made him grouchy. I don’t even think about trying to balance my checkbook anymore – you flip-flop an entry and you are off by .03 or .07 cents. In reality, I think it is another example of being lazy. The live booth announcing job was pretty boring in the grand scheme of things.

Outside of that part-time announcing job, I was wearing lots of hats (producer, director, writer, on-camera spokesperson, VO talent) and that provided me with never ending experiences.

Touch and go…
In general, when looking at the path I took to get to where I am today, I see what appears to be a lot of touch and go activity. I’m game to try anything once – as long as it doesn’t require that I sign a waiver not to sue for accidental death – that kind of activity I stay away from.

And try a lot of things I have. Some things I have done more than once or twice and decided “meh.” Some things I have achieved a high level of expertise – even getting a few awards – but never to the point of being a fanatic. It appears that activities and experiences stay with us and influence what happens next.

Additionally, I have always had a high level of curiosity. Peering into, under and around things. Taking things apart to see what makes them tick. Not always successful at putting them back together again, so they may not tick anymore.

No limits
I suppose I am only limited by the amount of effort I put into what I do, because I think I’m pretty well set with the smarts I need and the experiences to continue to create my particular “art.”

An article from concludes …

…expert creatives don’t need to be more intelligent than the average person. They simply do three things more diligently than anyone else: they have more experiences, they think on their experiences more often, and when they start pursuing potential outcomes to problems or projects they simply work more with the ideas they come up with (whereas everyone else gives up after evaluating just one or two possible ideas, or by letting their inner critic prevent them from exploring more).

Here’s to those of us who have the freedom to explore and use our smarts to create art.


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 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.

June 22, 2015

Usage has Value

Filed under: Business, Communication, Musings, Negotiating — connieterwilliger @ 4:20 pm

One of the lessons free lancers – independent contractors – need to learn in this Internet age is to negotiate a fair price for their work. We see it day after day – people wanting the free lancer to work – well, to work not necessarily for free, but close to it. And in fact, in some cases – people DO expect it for free. It is happening in all creative areas.


Oh, for the good old days…

You wouldn’t ask the plumber to cut rates by half or more. The dry cleaner. The tailor. The electrician. But on the creative side of things – the graphic artist, the writer, or the voice talent – it seems like a “name that tune” experience nearly every day.

Part of it is educating the people doing the hiring. But the people doing the work need a bit of education as well in order to arrive at a rate that is fair for everyone.

This is tough, because there are no set rates other than union rates – and those don’t cover every new genre of voiceover work. Nor does the union understand how the majority of voiceover people work these days – in their own studios, on their own time, with their own tools. Some union contracts have value, but a lot are simply hangovers from days gone by. Some rates are too high – and others are too low. And some areas of voiceover are simply not even addressed.

And the scale rates also don’t take into consideration the additional money the producer pays for payroll taxes (the talent is working as an employee), disability, social security and health and retirement benefits. So if you are using union contracts as a guide, be sure to add the extra %!

Nor do the scale union rates consider that the talent will be using their own studio, which under the old model was extra. Then, add to the confusion that the new producers (outside the major markets) might not know any differently. The idea that they would hire a voice talent and then hire a studio to engineer and edit may simply not even occur to them.

And most of the work being done today is non-union. There are “suggested” non-union rates, but these are all over the map. And none of these union or non-union rates are applicable across all projects.

One key area for each side of this coin to think about is “usage.” What is the product designed to do? And where will the end product show up and for how long? Creatives – be prepared to ask. Producers – be prepared to tell.

What is the product designed to do?

Let’s stick to the voiceover side of things for the example. Is the script in front of me going to train in-house people on a process or change the way they think about a process? Or is the end product promoting a product/service to a potential client? Both have value.

Both the producer and the talent need to be aware of the potential for profit for the person paying the bills. While you may not be able to predict profit, you at least must be aware of the potential. This is a starting point for negotiations. If you don’t consider it at all, then there is no room to haggle. Not that I am encouraging a lot of haggling!

Where will the end product show up and for how long? 

How will the final product be used? Is is going to be shown only on a company website with plans to upgrade it each quarter? Or is the script generic and the clients wants all rights in perpetuity throughout the known universe (yes, read the fine print!).

I call it shelf-life and eyeballs/ears. And it is part of any response to the emails that come in saying “How much?” Using those words can break the ice a little when tiptoeing around the dollars.

Usage has Value!

What we do as voice talent is of value to our clients. It will help them communicate to someone to achieve a certain result. That result could be sales. It could be happy productive workers. We all need to aware of what these results could be. Will it keep visitors at a plant safe? Will it cut production costs? Will the project be seen by millions of people over the course of a 10-year lifetime? Will it be seen once by a 12-person board of directors – who control a 6 billion dollar company? Or will it be shown to the board of a small non-profit. Will it help sell thousands of low-dollar product, or hundreds of high-dollar packages?

While results and sales figures can’t possibly be known before the project is produced, we should all evaluate the potential as we negotiate.

Our joint job is to recognize that there is a new business paradigm created by the internet. Some of us have been in business since before the Internet became ubiquitous. We see the changes and struggle to figure out how to stay in business as rates plummet. For those who know nothing of a time before the Internet, they must try to understand that lowering the rate of pay for the creative people who create and produce their messages to a level where they can’t stay in business will result in everyone losing.

One way to help this along is to use an agent. Yes, consider using a middleman…the person the Internet has basically cut out of the equation. An agent will know to ask these questions. Agents are used to discussing rates. Creatives are not as a whole. It has become a very stressful part of a talent’s job – and actually can create barriers to creativity.

In the end, there will be compromise of course. But always, when negotiating directly with the talent, or using an agent, there has to be awareness of the value of the work that is being done.

June 19, 2015

A Change of S-pace

Filed under: Communication, Musings — connieterwilliger @ 12:02 pm

Coming up on about a dozen years ago, I did a major remodel of my kitchen, complete window replacement and interior repainting. What I learned was that I am actually quite comfortable in a much smaller footprint. I lived out of my back bedroom with one of the bathrooms doubling as the kitchen sink and found it actually soothing. Perhaps because I didn’t have so many choices at every turn.

I had a chance to experience this change of space again recently. After attempting to rid my deck cover of termites using a heat treatment, I opted for the more drastic, but more conventional tent and gas method. The last time I tented a house was probably 20 years ago. It ended badly, with the house robbed as soon as the gas dissipated enough not to kill the perps. I am fairly certain it was an inside job, but it wasn’t ever proven. I had insurance and since it was so long ago, my life wasn’t so tied up in hard drives, so I really didn’t lose anything that couldn’t be replaced – except for my grandfather’s antique cherry wood view camera.

RVThis time I was not going to leave the house unguarded. So the plan was to rent a motor home and park out front. I thought I was going to be able to access my back studio and garage in order to keep working and simply sleep out there, but as it turns out, there are electrical and cable conduits running from the main house to the studio and garage, so they counseled me not to enter – even though the risk was low.

So, basically, I went car camping in front of my house for a few days.

And once again, I found that I liked the smaller space. For a while anyway. The 25′ motor home had a big bed, a shower and potty, a stove, microwave, refrigerator/freezer – and I was close enough to my house to hook up to power, water and wi-fi. So except for access to my studio, I was set.

Since my studio is in the back part of my lot, I do not spend much time in the front part of my property. I get out to walk the dog a couple times a day and back out of the driveway when I leave to run errands. But hang out in the front? Nope.

What I discovered by living on the street in front of my house was – in addition to reminding myself that I was comfortable living in small spaces – was my neighbors. They would walk by – poke their head in the open door – climb in and chat. Or we’d meet out on the sidewalk under the Mulberry tree and chat. Or someone would suggest going for a walk. It was delightful. I met and/or reconnected with a lot of neighbors. I got lucky that no one needed an ISDN session and the work that was due wasn’t urgent, so I was on vacation for a few days – no place to be. No deadlines. A change of pace as well as my space.

The tent is off. The food unpacked. And once again I have room to spread out. And choices to make at every turn. The pace is back to normal – busy busy. I would hope that I learned something from this little front yard camping experience, but now that I am back in my office, the front yard is again abandoned. People pass by with their kids and dogs and friends – and I am oblivious. But now more mindful of the parade I am missing.

June 10, 2015

Alphabet Soup

Filed under: Business, Musings, Techniques — connieterwilliger @ 5:57 pm

When a normal person hears the words “alphabet soup” they probably think of the kind you eat with the little noodles shaped like letters. When a voiceover person hear the words “alphabet soup” it means that their mouth is going to be filled with lots of acronyms.

soupOne of the things that endears a voice talent to clients is a talent’s ability to see past the noodles in this word soup and find the broth. This doesn’t necessarily mean understanding every word that is spoken, but it does mean understanding the context and how the words relate to each other.

It helps to have a little bit of understanding about a LOT of stuff. For voice talent who do marketing pieces, informational and corporate communications work – we see scripts for IT, healthcare, the financial business, the military or the government and many other types of industries. I did a long piece recently for a municipal building project that spoke to the prime contractors about their required paperwork at every step of the project. Another large project was for a government agency website describing every department within the agency in minute detail.

We need to see past the word soup and understand the message so that we can hear when something just doesn’t sound “right” during the recording.

Many scripts are not written by scriptwriters, so the words may have never actually been spoken aloud. Sometimes a script is written by an experienced white paper writer, or annual report writer. These are words that are written for the eye and not the ear. Long sentences with multiple compound phrases. Experienced talent can parse through the words and generally get the message across in their delivery.

Knowing who will be seeing or hearing the presentation is helpful, too – along with understanding what is new information for the audience and what they might already be familiar with. An experienced talent will know when to ask questions so that the message doesn’t get lost along the way.

I had a script today with several newly invented acronyms which referred to other newly invented acronyms about a subject that I am not completely familiar with. But familiar enough to get to the flavor of the story I was telling.

That is my job. I have to look past the noodles and concentrate on the soup.

June 8, 2015

Getting Your House In Order

Filed under: Business, Musings — connieterwilliger @ 3:41 pm

I am a bad homeowner. About 10 years ago, I had a major remodel done that included replacing all of my windows with new wood dual pane windows. Of course I was told that wood windows needed to be maintained. A coat of paint every few years was part of my responsibility as the homeowner.

Bad WindowDid I do it? No, so the result is going to about $1000 worth of repair and then new paint everywhere – which I will probably hire out because the idea of painting 14 windows and all the trim around the top of front of the house seems like a daunting time suck – plus I don’t have a ladder tall enough to get up to the roof line.

The list of things to do around the house after living here nearly 30 years is starting to get long. First on the list is tenting for termites. The heat treatment I tried on the deck cover just didn’t work and there is evidence of termites in other places, so that is first on deck for the checkbook. After that, the windows, then the stucco.

Inside there is some work to be done too. Lots of little handyman things. Although, if I win the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes, then the rest of the hardwood floors will be redone and the inside of the house repainted.

If you take a quick tour of the house, you would think that everything is great. But look at it with the studied eye of a real estate broker and you can hear the property value dropping. (Not that I am selling anytime soon!)

The same thing can be said for my VO business. Despite the fact that I am a successful working voice talent, my VO house is not quite in order. For example, my website is in dire need of an update. Last year I tried to hire a popular website company to upgrade the site and they were simply too busy to even put me on the schedule for months down the road.

So, the website got shoved to the bottom of the pile of things to do. Much like I walked past the windows in my driveway day after day and sort of shoved the site into the back crevices of my brain.

But it is time to stop procrastinating. Put the sticky note that says WEBSITE in block letters in the upper right corner of my monitor, and make a promise to myself not to ignore it like the windows…

Maybe that busy website company isn’t so busy this year.

May 23, 2015

Curiosity Creates Opportunity

Filed under: Auditioning, Business, Musings — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 4:55 pm

Ding Tut sleeping on pile of papersI was thinking about the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” today as one of my cats climbed up on a pile of empty cardboard boxes that were piled high on a work table to see what was going on and everything came down in a huge, yet rather quiet crash – except for the startled yelp of the cat as he was propelled into the air.

Most of us know what curiosity killed the cat “means.” Poking around can have dire consequences. But I was curious as to it’s origin, so I did some Googling and found this info on Wikipedia. It started out as “care killed the cat.”

Ben Johnson, an English playwright in 1598 used something like it one of his plays – followed by Shakespeare in 1599. It evolved into the more familiar “curiosity killed the cat in the later half of the 1800’s. O’Henry used it in a short story back in 1909.

This is the short definition from the Know Your Phrase site: “Used as a warning for anyone who is acting excessively curious, as their prying behavior may lead them to harm or even death.”

Then they used it in a sentence and it got me to thinking about what I do as a voice actor. “My boss warned me that curiosity killed the cat after I kept pestering him to tell me why he fired his last employee.”

Does this little adage apply to what I do? Not at all frankly.

Much of my day is spent auditioning for possible work. I spend some time doing actual work. A lot of time is spent finding opportunities to work – or opportunities to audition for work. And time is spent in billing and counting the stacks of money that arrive at my door. OK, not a lot of time is spent doing that last thing.

But my point is that I have to be curious. I need to be up on the latest trends in voice styles and deliveries. Not that I am trying to copy someone’s sound, but if I hear something truly aurally delicious I listen and analyze what they are doing with the words, the syllables, the pauses, the pacing, the attitude, the mic proximity, and on and on.

Each commercial, web video, overhead announcement, or anything where a voice talent has been paid to read a script is worth my time to listen and learn. To learn how to better make that connection between the words on the page and the person listening.

So, my curiosity about what makes something great creates opportunities for me to do a better read the next time I am in the booth – either auditioning for a job, or doing a job. The more I connect with and communicate the meaning of the words, the more opportunity I have to connect with the decision maker and get them to hire me for the job. It helps me produce work that keeps my regular clients coming back with more work.

So, bring on that pile of boxes and let me poke around exploring. There just may be something special buried in there!

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