What a Concept: Somebody Cares What You Think!

23 Jan

     I know, I know.  Seems like, more often than not, the bulk of your day is filled with people who are TELLING you what to think. 

     Here’s a brief, but refreshing change.  (And it’s not just some survey company, out to make money off your information.)

     Head over to Peter O’Connell’s blog and voice for your top 3 picks for this year’s Fauxditions.  (See post below.)  The person who garners the most votes will get a free registration to Faffcon2 in Atlanta.

     After that, you can blip to another site or turn on your radio, tv, or open a newspaper and get back to having everyone else tell you what your opinion is.

— over and out —

Come On Down!

12 Jan

     Great news!  Someone wants you to sound like an announcer!  (I know, when was the last time you heard THAT direction!?!!)

     Better news:  you won’t have to stand outside at a cold intersection with a cardboard sign to get the invitation.

     Better news yet:  while you won’t get tons of fabulous job offers and a place to live, you might get your admission paid to a great gathering of professional…and very sharing…voice talent in Atlanta next month:  the fabled Faffcon 2.

     Friend Peter O’Connell [http://www.audioconnell.com] has come up with another in his series of Fauxditions.   Go to his website, read the directions, and send in what you think you’d sound like if you were the new announcer on The Price Is Right.  Male and female talent are equally welcomed.  Peter has sample script, directions, and even a music bed for you to use.  It’s all in fun, and you won’t find yourself on TV because of the audition…not even on Dr. Phil.  But the declared winner will receive free admission to the two-day Faffcon event.  Having attended the original gathering last fall in Portland, I can tell you this Un-Conference for voice talent is going to be a surprise-package of practical information no one can put a price on.  Part of the reason for that is:  no one really knows what’s going to be shared until we all get there! 

     You’ll also have a chance to automatically “give back” as well.  Part of every Faffcon registration is put into a group donation to a charity in the host city which somehow promotes what we do in our profession.  You can check the Faffcon 2 website to learn about this year’s recipient.

    Start with the audio’connell website, follow the links, and set your “pipes” on “Announce”.  It promises to be fun…and this year there’s even a prize!  And even though I’ve indicated Faffcon itself is priceless, ya gotta admit:  if you’re winning free admission, The Price Is (DEFINITELY) Right!

— over and out —

The Art of the Pause

11 Jan

     Sometimes ya just gotta know when to use a pause to its best effect.

     Radio/TV/Comedy legend Jack Benny knew that better than anyone.  He even let his writers poke fun at it in what turned out to be a classic exchange on his radio program, when confronted by a holdup man played by Mel Blanc.

Jack Benny and Mel Blanc on the Christmas Show. Different Script. Different Pauses.

Mel:     Okay, buddy, this is a stick up.  Now come on:  yer money or yer life!

(LONG PAUSE….AUDIENCE BEGINS CHUCKLING)

Mel:     (Yelling)  LOOK, BUD!  I SAID ‘YER MONEY OR YER LIFE!’

Jack:    (Yelling Back)  I’M THINKING IT OVER!!!!

(AUDIENCE ROARS)

     Most pauses aren’t that funny.  Like the one I finally gave into today.  After an insane workload leading up to the end of last calendar year, January has been calm to say the least.  And what I have done, I notice doesn’t have the level of sharpness and energy I’d like it to have.  Today, with the community iced-in, and even the phones silent, I should have used the pause to finally work on my studio clean-up…or begin tax prep…or get on the phone and start trying to make new contacts.

     Instead, I gave in, and spent the most productive hours of my day on the recliner, under a blanket, with sinus medicine, the ever-present diet coke, and one cat sleeping on my legs and another cat sleeping next to my head.

     Sometimes a voice talent just needs to know when to be quiet, and use the pause.

     …a status which I’m going to return to right now.

— over and out —

New Year, Old Friends

8 Jan

record labelI don’t care if it’s a late Christmas Present or a New Year’s gift, I’ll take it!  Animation author and expert Jerry Beck over at CartoonBrew.com got permission to post a terrific little promotional record made by some of my early voice-actor idols:  Daws Butler, Don Messick, June Foray, and Doug Young.  And it still holds some true insight into the trials and travails of advertising copywriters (and even those of us who have to put up with client VO Wannabees!). 

The post even has a picture of the record label, with caricatures by Disney artist/director Tee Hee (his real name).  It’s a lot of fun…at least it was for me:  a guy who grew up with Daws, Don, and the rest bouncing around my imagination during those early years of Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound, and the classic Stan Freberg spoofs which often included Daws Butler and June Foray in digs at the advertising industry.

Enjoy.

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/classic/butler-and-messick-in-bloopers-soap-revisited.html

— over and out —

T’IS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

24 Dec

T’is the day before Christmas and sadly, I fear
my friends may conclude I forgot them this year.
The workload I’m handling has gotten so huge,
it’s caused me to seem like a Grinch or a Scrooge.

The house has no tinsel, no cards were created,
all due to the work with which I’m inundated.
Though I managed to fly out and visit my Mom,
my main Christmas shopping was amazon-dot-com.

But I shouldn’t complain, and I shouldn’t be stressing.
This fourth-quarter bounty has been a real blessing.
With so many others hard-pressed to find work,
to whine about business would make me a jerk.

So as one more deadline gets shoved out the door,
(…and knowing, come Monday, there’ll be several more…)
I wish Merry Christmas to friends I hold dear,
though I can’t do it justice till the end of the year.

Coming Up For Air…Then Back On The Air

22 Oct

It’s been busy…for which I’m thankful. It’s been insane…for which I’m realistic.

There have been so many doors opening and closing around here lately I feel like I’m in one of those cartoon haunted house chase scenes.

But in a few weeks I’ll be making another transition which will have me evaluating how best to use my time. To that end, I’m going to attach this quote from the lovely and talented Claire Dodin on my computer monitor:

” That’s the problem with open auditions: they don’t want You; they want A voice, and usually the cheapest one.”

The comment was part of a fascinating interview Paul Strikwerda did with Claire Dodin, which you can read here in its entirety. But it ties in with what I had already planned to do in wrapping up my fourth-quarter goals: concentrating more on finding people who need what I sound like…rather than knock myself out trying to be the online audition equivalent of “Caller Number 10” on those radio station giveaways we used to have to do.

More on the transition later.  Too much work to do now (thank goodness).  I’ve got at least two sets of spots and another half-hour program to get ready for air tomorrow.

Meanwhile…grab onto Miss Claire’s quote and use it to boost your own confidence in your own future and in your own career.  …and start considering how much time would be better spent working for people who want YOU…not just another blind audition.

— over and out —

It’s Official! I’m A Warm, Friendly Voiceover.

16 Sep

     Okay, I’ve always suspected it.  That’s why I asked my webmaster/designer Lou Dalmaso to include those keywords in my website, voices2go.com.    And he must’ve done a great job with it.  Now Google confirms it!

     I’m only just now getting some of my sleep-deprived grey matter working after a flight out to Portland, Oregon for the first-ever “Faffcon”.  It’s an “un-convention”, where like-minded professionals gather to share ideas and techniques without the usual lecture/audience structure.  Far more than just what we used to call Bull Sessions, there were many helpful one-hour mini-meetings where we all taught and shared.

     I went primarily to learn more about self-marketing.  And Steve Cunningham’s hour on search engines and websites was a highlight for me.  There were many reasons:  not the least of which was the surprise of seeing him flash this image on the screen:

     I’ll be taking Steve up on his generous invitation to call and find out how to further capitalize on what I must be doing right.  And there are other friends, new and established, I’ll now be able to add to my “who ya gonna call?” list for other things.  Who knows?  I may have wound up on one or two lists myself.

     Faffcon takes its name from a British slang term for “goofing off”…faffing about.  But the activity of the past weekend with those of us now being called the Founding Faffers was anything but a waste of time!  And there will be more in the future.  You can find out about it at http://www.faffcon.com/

— over and out —