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!
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.
More info at http://www.nationalvoiceovermonth.com!
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.
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
There aren't enough superlatives to describe what a tremendous online forum the VO-BB is (and nobody likes an overwritten script anyway). Therefore, I'll just ask you to join me in a hearty Congrats and Happy Birthday to the site, born five years ago today.
My pal (and creator & manager of the site) DB Cooper also deserves more thanks and salutations than I can adequately express here. Here's to many more!
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.
My previous post, and its topic, reminded me of another online article I'd read recently. Talk It Up! is a busy, well-written blog helmed by Heidi Miller, a professional speaker who gives in-booth presentations at trade shows for clients all over the world. In the post in question, Heidi (ahem) talks up a website which offers free voiceovers to podcasters and others.
To be fair, Heidi isn't trying to sell anyone on the notion that it's useless to pay big bucks for VO talent when it can be had for free; she's careful to point out that the site in question is performing a kind of "public service" by offering voice services gratis to those who may simply not have a budget for professional VO.
Which, I say with no facetiousness or sarcasm, is all well and good. Still, I felt compelled to toss in my $0.02; while I know that Heidi isn't out to hurt the voiceover industry, it occured to me that a blog piece titled "Free Voiceovers!" ought to be counter-balanced. My response at the blog:
Just weighing in on this topic.
First off, let me say that as a professional VO artist, I have no problem with others in our business who occasionally work gratis or "pro bono" when it suits them. Sometimes scripts are just too much fun to pass up, sometimes one may believe strongly in an organization's message or cause. Still, most pro VO folks know that our business isn't like retail; loss-leaders don't bring in more traffic.
Non-profit organizations were referenced earlier as a kind of entity worthy of free VO services, but --- just to take things a step further --- even non-profits have budgets, even if they may be relatively smaller. In those cases, a VO artist should be willing to work at a reduced rate, but not an unreasonable one.
Most VO artists I know, myself included, make it a general rule not to work for free unless everyone involved is also going unpaid. I've worked on projects like that, especially when it appeals to me personally.
Voice artists at the "beginner" stage can help alleviate this problem by...well, not being beginners. That is, they need to be ready to provide professional-value service before opening up shop. As Stephanie mentioned above, there are plenty of ways for the VO to gain experience without giving away the store.
I'm not here to condemn RD or any other outlet that provides free voiceovers; however, I think that the words "caveat emptor" are important to remember --- both for voice artists and their clients.
Many thanks for the soapbox!
Had a great time at last night's Network Austin Mixer; a bi-weekly networking `get together' where various people in the Austin entertainment industry meet, forward their careers and share ideas and information. Met a number of actors (and made new friends with terrific people like Lexa Dell Prette, Doran Ingrham, and the inimitable Gary Wimmer) and at least one agent (Heather Collier), had some wonderfully animated conversations, and handed out a few business cards.
Last night's speaker was Casting Director Donise Hardy, C.S.A., from Casting Works LA. These events are geared toward TV and film actors, but her advice and knowledge of this Business we call Show is invaluble for anyone in the acting field --- and we voiceover types are part of that crowd (at least we'd better be!). The next mixer is a firm to-do on my calendar.