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January 08, 2011

Publicity, Pipes, and Perilous Thinking

So much has been written about Ted Williams in the last few days that this entry certainly appears late to the party. But, hey, this is still a voiceover blog, and the formerly-homeless baritone's story continues to unfold and gain steam.

Paul Strikwerda has written a piece on Williams sufficiently insightful and thought-provoking (and ultimately about far more than the man himself) to warrant a more dignified label than “blog post”, and I won't be attempting to top his efforts here. Nevertheless, here are a few thoughts.

After the story broke --- even before the subsequent media reports detailing Williams' less-than-angelic past emerged --- VO artists filled up boatloads of bandwidth with reactions ranging from effusive praise to grapes oh-so-sour. To that latter group, I say: debate over the various aspects of his story is fine. However, regardless of how one feels about his talent or whether he deserves the announcing jobs he's been offered, spending even a moment worrying about any voiceover career other than your own is to get on a speedy treadmill to nowhere.

After Williams was offered an announcing job by the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was supposed by some that he'd taken the place of an existing employee, who was probably cast aside callously so that the franchise could garner a share of the growing publicity. I'm confident that, were this the case, ESPN and other sports media outlets would be all over it like the fatigues sported by Williams in that first viral video. So far, I haven't seen any such reports.

For any still concerned that Williams may have unjustly taken (or, if you prefer, been granted) any jobs that might have gone to a “more deserving” VO artist --- ones equipped with an agent, a home studio, lots of C-notes spent on training and coaching --- consider something for a moment. It's already happening. It's been happening. It's going to continue to happen. “It”, of course, is the hiring of voice talents who might just not necessarily be ideal for the job. “It” occurs at all levels of the industry, from small-market radio to multimillion-dollar TV campaigns. These jobs were already being “taken” by others, and not for a moment did it ever mean that there wasn't still work to be had.

I say, hate neither the game nor the player. Embrace both and see what happens.

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December 01, 2010

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays from David Houston Voiceovers!


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November 25, 2010

Have a Great Turkey and Football Weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving from David Houston Voiceovers


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October 28, 2010

FaffCon2: Atlanta 2011!

The success of the first FaffCon event in Portland has led to FaffCon 2, coming to Atlanta in 2011. Early registration begins November 1st!

FaffCon is a voiceover "unconference"; instead of being locked in to seminar or workshop content dictated by others, you get to choose what aspect of voiceover work gets discussed/worked on/et cetera. Congrats to FaffCon's organizer, Amy Snively, on the success of the (un)conference!

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September 20, 2010

New PSAs for National Voice Over Appreciation Month

Check out all three new PSAs for National Voice Over Appreciation Month! Dave Courvoisier put it together with 16 voice actors, including David Houston, Tricia Basanyi, Linda Ristig, Liz de Nesnera, Lee Gordon, Jody Krangle, Justin S. Barrett, Lindsay Martell, Ken Maxon, Rowell Gormon, Mike Coon, Doug Turkel, Melanie Haynes, and Daniel Wallace. Also included: David Atwood, Mahmoud Taji, Jay Sawyer, Jim Barton, Ken Maxon, Morgan Barnhart, Dan Roberts, Trish Basanyi, Andy Boyns, Bob Souer, Dave Courvoisier, Mike Roberts, Edo Peters, CC Petersen, Jodi Krangle, Ralph Hass, and Michael Schoen.

PSA 1

PSA 2

PSA 3


More info at http://www.nationalvoiceovermonth.com!

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January 11, 2010

Objects in this Entry Less Evil Than They Appear

Voice-talker and tea-biscuit-dispenser extraordinaire Philip Banks is a lovely fellow, really. It's just that the news team putting together this story on Philip were in an incredible hurry, and managed to print a photo that would unnerve even a Bond villain.

At any rate, the piece talks up Philip's appearance at VOICE 2010, coming in June to a massive voiceover conference near you. Congrats on the press, Philip, and I promise I'LL TALK! I'LL TELL YOU WHERE THE MISSILES ARE!!!

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Jeffrey Kafer Talks VO on TV

My friend and VO colleague Jeffrey Kafer appeared on Mike Huckabee's cable show this past weekend, to talk about making the transition from day-job exile to full-time voiceover artist. He shares the segment with another guest, but Jeff is the far more telegenic and compelling of the two.

It's a great bit of self-promotion for Jeff, and it underscores the fact that working to market your VO business can pay off. Jeff had issued a press release on his blog about his jump from layoff-world to an audiobook career, and it caught the eye of the show's producers. Here's hoping it leads to more gigs for this talented voice-talker.

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December 07, 2009

Merry Christmas from the VO-BB!

It's here! Several voice actors from the VO-BB forums, including yours truly, got together to read a classic holiday tale for you. Big yuletide props to Jeffrey Kafer for initiating, organizing, and finalizing the whole shebang. Enjoy!

CAST: Philip Banks, Bob Souer, Todd Ellis, Bobbin Beam, David Houston, Peter O'Connell, Bruce Miles, DB Cooper, Donna Postel, Michael Minetree, Mandy Nelson, Dave Courvoisier, Andrew Frame, Jeffrey Kafer, Justin Barrett, Connie Terwilliger, Pam Tierney, and Tony Impieri

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May 26, 2009

Audiobooks Silenced?

 

 

 

 

Audiobooks have been hailed as an ever-expanding market for voice artists to tap into, but recent numbers are telling a disturbingly different tale. A recent AP article notes that audiobook sales for 2009 are down 20 per cent from last year, with publishers seeing a whiplash-inducing 47 per cent drop in revenue from the medium.*

What's causing the audiobook to lose ground? Clive Young at ProSoundNews cites the ever-growing list of alternate media options, combined with popular titles' higher price tags compared to their paper counterparts. However, Young also suggests ways in which social media could play a role in reviving the format.

Information and entertainment mediums of all types are undergoing radical changes these days, and the audiobook appears to be no exception.

 

 

 

*The article notes that the Nielsen scan data used doesn't take digital downloads into account, but publishers are still not optimistic about the overall trend.

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May 22, 2009

Press Release: Professional Voiceover Talent David Houston Signs with Ryan Artists Talent Agency

Professional voice over talent David Houston has agreed to be represented by Ryan Artists talent agency.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


May 22, 2009 – Professional voice over talent David Houston has agreed to be represented by Ryan Artists talent agency, it was announced today.

Ryan Artists, Inc., is the only full-service union-franchised talent agency in Oregon, operating in the Pacific Northwest since 1981. In addition to voice over, the agency represents models and actors in the areas of fashion, lifestyle, and on-camera, working with numerous regional and national clients in a variety of markets.

With this new partnership, Mr. Houston adds to his representation in Texas, California, Louisiana and New Mexico by The Atherton Group (TAG) Talent Agency.

"I'm excited to be partnering with Ryan Artists. Already having the strongest and most active representation in the South and West regions of the country with TAG, I wanted to expand my marketing and business opportunities to other areas as well", said Houston. "With Ryan, I can rest assured that my representation in the Northwest is being handled by top-notch professionals."

David Houston (davidhoustonvoice.com) is a voiceover artist, actor, and audio producer based in Austin, TX. He has been heard on numerous national TV and radio commercials, and also performs voiceovers for animation, corporate narrations, documentaries, broadcast voice imaging, audio books, podcasts and messaging on-hold (MOH). Houston was originally cast as the voice of James Bond in Activision's "Quantum of Solace" videogame. Also an on-camera actor, David Houston has appeared in episodes of the network TV series "Friday Night Lights", and will also appear in the upcoming feature films "Ex-Terminators" and "Temple Grandin".

Media Contacts:
David Houston, David Houston Voiceovers, 512.659.0013
Liz Atherton, The Atherton Group, 512.930.9301
Sarah Catherine Sorensen, Ryan Artists, Inc., 503.274.1005

# # #

Actor and voiceover artist in Austin, TX. Warm and rich baritone/tenor, pleasant yet authoritative; from friendly, smooth, and sophisticated, to commanding and powerful, to hip and upbeat; from Guy-Next-Door to Voice-of-God.

Companies like Activision, Dell, Callaway Golf and OmniTrader have chosen David Houston Voiceovers to voice their projects.

Other clients include: Saberex, Kinetic Concepts, Inc., Powered, Inc., Rove Mobile, KFLW-FM Radio


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February 15, 2009

You Oughtta Be In Voiceovers

Ever been told you should be doing voiceovers? Ever told someone they should be doing voiceovers? Here's a brief but must-read article on the reality behind what the next step actually entails.

UPDATE: A fellow voice talent shared her experiences, in a response to this post in another forum. Here are her thoughts:

 

My reality: $14,000 later with a professional demo and directors, agents and actors telling me I'm competitive and the top student in the working professional classes, agents all told me "I have that niche filled." and "I'm sorry, you're too old to portray children. You can't possibly understand their motivations."

An audiobook startup is happy to use me for character work in exchange for copies of the books and a small mixer board they outgrew. My voice is on another "resume job" display in a museum of coin-op amusements.

I return to working on advancing my day job career with dreams of building a studio of my own to record the antique children's books I've collected.

For everyone who makes it big, how many are working with broken dreams?

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December 30, 2008

Voiceover Opportunites for the New Year

 

Report on the Voice Over Industry for 2009, from voices.com
 

 

David Ciccarelli of Voices.com has published Report on the Voice Over Industry : 2009, a comprehensive look at recent trends in media with an eye toward the upcoming effects --- and opportunities --- for the voiceover industry. It's a free PDF download, and it's highly recommended reading.

 

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December 02, 2008

Survey Says...

 

 

 

John Florian at VoiceOverXtra has published the results of their “How’s Business Lately?” survey of voice talents, Conducted in late October 2008, the survey asked participants to compare their current job volume and income with what they experienced at the same time in 2007. 

There's a mixed bag of results, with many reporting an uptick in business but also expressing concerns about the future. Worth a look.

 

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November 20, 2008

Notes from Berkley "No Auditions" Teleseminar

 

 

 

 

Susan Berkley's “Tons of Voice-overs Without Tons of Auditions” teleseminar earlier this evening --- referenced in yesterday's post --- featured some great tips, useful for novice as well as intermediate to advanced VO artists.

First of all, make no mistake: auditioning is a necessary part of the voice actor's professional life. The key is to remember that it should be only a part, and not the whole, of the search for jobs. I liked Susan's use of the term "slack adjusters" as one way of looking at auditions. The term comes from retail, in reference to big-ticket items that are expensive and don't fly off the shelves; however, just one sale of such an item can put a store in the black for that month. The problem is, no retail store can survive solely on that one big purchase, just as a voice artist can't afford to wait on landing that one magic job.

The focus, Susan drives home, should be on prospecting, marketing, and selling yourself. Instead of waiting for a buyer to pick you from among hundreds, seek out potential clients and make yourself the only choice when they need a VO. It's not as easy as staying on the audition treadmill, but it's far more rewarding.

Just to add my own $0.02: Landing a good agent --- you know, the one who sends you all those auditions --- isn't likely to happen in the first place unless you can convince them you're able to make money. Once you've got your own list of clients, having made yourself their choice, agents will look favorably on your pitches.

More information on Susan Berkley's upcoming seminars and classes at GreatVoice.com.

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October 03, 2008

A Crash Course in Political VO

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably noticed that we're about as deep into the political season as it gets. Campaign ads on radio and TV are ubiquitous, and they're meant to have an impact on undecided voters. A hat-tip to Stephanie at Vox Daily for finding and publishing this behind-the-scenes look at how it's done.

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July 10, 2008

Helium Happenings

 
 

 
My article on Getting Started in Voiceovers is featured today on Helium's home page. A hat-tip from me to the Helium team.

Also featured are excellent VO articles by Natalie Nicole Gilbert and Doc Phillips. Give those a look while you're there, and take a look at the larger Helium community; it's a terrific resource for articles on just about any topic imaginable.

 

UPDATE (7/11/08): I received a message from a Helium user after yesterday's front-page showing:

 

I read your article on voiceovers (congrats on making the front page of Helium) - you have an excellent writing style, phenomenal understanding of words and their use in the English language, and easily share your knowledge without sounding pompous. Thank you for bringing your talent to Helium.

C.M.Erickson
Coffee sub-channel steward

 

C.M. didn't leave an e-mail address, so I hope it's okay if I offer humble thanks here for those kind words. 

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