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Articles

A special week

I spent years in radio broadcasting, and the week of June 13-17, I’m heading to Dallas! For many years, I served as the morning host at KCBI Dallas, and with their host Jim Wilson taking a vacation, I’m going back to fill in.

Wonderful to see everyone again!  You can listen online if you’d like, from 6am – 8:30am Central time.  Just click here!
Articles

The value of a Partner

In the voiceover business, we often refer to our customers as “clients.”  That’s a totally acceptable term shared by many industries.  In my view, though, I prefer to think of my clients more as partners.  Why?

Two main reasons, as I see it.  First, and frankly, we are both in business to make money.  When someone hires me to do a voiceover for them, they are going to ultimately use my product to increase their revenues (or those of their client.)  So, we are partners in business – both helping each other to, well, earn a living.
Second, and more important I think, I view myself as a partner on their project team.  When I’m hired for a job, I take ownership of that job – just as if I was in the office or studio with them, accountable to the same standards, deadlines, bosses, and the like.  It’s important to me that my client knows that I’m on their team, and can be depended upon to see the project though.  I never want to become one more thing that they have to manage!  It’s an attitude that I think they appreciate.  They tell me so.
On the other hand, I came across this interesting blog by voice actor J. Christopher Dunn which contains a warning on what happens when you take these relationships for granted!
Articles

June is Audiobook Month!

As a narrator, it’s so exciting to see all the buzz about the world of audiobooks!  I just returned from New York and the Audio Publisher’s Association Conference, and it was clear that the world of audiobooks is growing at a break-neck pace!

Seems everywhere you look, you see them.  Not long ago, I was at a Love’s Country Store in the middle of nowhere, and right there by the register was a well-stocked rack of some terrific titles.  The clerk said that even way out there, they are a big seller.  It seems that Sam’s Club is carrying more and more titles, and none of this even counts the many ways consumers can purchase audiobook content online!
If you’ve never listened to an audiobook, June is a great time to do it!  Take it to the pool, on a plane, to the gym, or wherever you like to just get away.  And let’s celebrate June – Audiobook Month!
Video

A special weekend – very special

This weekend, it’s Memorial Day across America.  It’s a very special weekend to many.  In this time of war, and in times of wars past, you don’t have to look far to find someone who has lost someone who gave it all for freedom.  Some people just have to look in the mirror.  Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, and many others have fallen.

I remember once I was working as a producer for a radio station in Dallas.  Part of my job was to write copy for promos and imaging.  Each time a holiday came around, I would try to create unique audio elements that would connect with the listener in a special way.  One year, I was working at a station and was blessed to partner with radio voiceover pro Pete Bunch of Spoken Word Images in North Carolina.  Pete is one of the best in the business at interpreting copy down to its “deeper” level.  Memorial Day was approaching, and I had put together some nice liners and promos designed to connect the listener with the true meaning of the holiday.  Not cookouts, beaches, and a long weekend…but the deeper, more somber message that lies within the name of the Day itself – to remember.  Because of this, my copy did not contain the words “Happy Memorial Day!”  It’s not a happy day.  It’s a serious day of reflection to honor those who, as Billy Ray Cyrus puts it in the video above, “gave all.”  Real people with real families and real friends.  And as I expected, Pete nailed every read I wrote for him.
Pete Bunch told me that I would be stunned at how much Memorial Day copy he received from stations around the country replete with “happys,” and that he feared that we as a nation had really just forgotten; dumbed-down and distilled Memorial Day into just another reason to sleep in.
This is not to say that we don’t have much to celebrate, and I believe that if those whom we remember this weekend could speak, they would want us to enjoy the freedom for which they died.  But as we light the barbecue, take a dip in the pool, or crack open that cold one, let’s not forget why we’re doing it.  It’s the least we can do.
Articles

New York is full of books!

Here I am in NYC, the sun came back out, and I’ve met a lot of amazing people at the Audio Publishers Association Conference and Book Expo America this week!  One word that seems to be a central theme is “content.”  Everyone is looking for the best way to deliver content of all kinds to consumers.  Printed books are alive and well, of course.  The other major categories are eBooks and audiobooks.  Guess which one is my favorite?

But seriously, I was quite surprised by some of innovative ways that content will be delivered in the future.  It seems like every other person on the convention floor has an iPad!  
One thing that will never change, however, is that all of this “content” is really just all about the ancient art of storytelling.  Any narrator that can skillfully lift an author’s vision off the page and tell a good story will always be in demand.
Links

Another new friend!

Thanks to my new friend Tony and all the folks at the North American Mission Board for letting me join their project team recently!  Exciting things are happening with NAMB’s work in Canada, and I was delighted to narrate the inspiring story in a new video.  Thanks NAMB!

Quotes

Today’s quote

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.

James Conant
Video

She didn’t expect a thing…

Looking for a unique and uber-romantic way to propose to your sweetie?  This guy takes the cake.  But one thing that made his Cupid-like caper work was great copywriting for voiceover.
In this scenario, the movie trailer VO performer takes the target audience (in this case, the unsuspecting bride to be) on a path AWAY from the ultimate destination – thus perfectly completing the disguise of what was to become the moment she would never forget and gush about for years.
Sometimes voiceover performance scores big with a direct message approach.  But often, it hits a home run by the going the opposite way!
Articles

Perseverance and more perseverance

Bob Souer is a man to be admired, and not just for his boundless skill behind a microphone.  Bob is a man of integrity, and here he shares honestly about what it takes to truly become a full-time voiceover actor.  His thoughts inspire me!

PS – President Coolidge agrees!

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A terrific home studio project is completed

I’ve built a couple of home studios in the past, and to say the least they are always interesting and challenging projects.  I get a lot of questions about them.  Unfortunately, what I haven’t done well is carefully capture the planning and building processes for others to check out online.

Enter voiceover talent Paul Strikwerda – the “Nethervoice.”  Paul just completed his excellent studio project, and he did a wonderful job blogging it up.  Congratulations, Paul!