Publicity, Pipes, and Perilous Thinking

Jan 8, 2011

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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2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Karen Commins
    January 8th, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    Greetings, David! I am sooo glad to see you make the point that we shouldn’t spend time worrying about any voiceover career outside of our own!
    I haven’t commented on anything to do with this story until now. I am amazed at the time and energy that some voice talent have used this week in all the blog posts, forum comments, social media updates, etc. that they have devoted to this one topic.
    The reaction in the v-o community has become like the people who sit around and endlessly discuss any TV contest reality show, particularly American Idol. I choose to put my spare time and energy into the pursuit of my own goals and dreams rather than waste it thinking and talking about those of someone else.
    Cordially,
    Karen Commins
    http://www.KarenCommins.com

  2. Paul Strikwerda
    January 8th, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Hi David, thanks for your kind words about my piece. There’s always a story behind the story and that’s what I’m interested in.
    Mr. Williams ain’t no saint, and it remains to be seen how many new companies will be knocking on his door as we learn more about Ted’s dark past.
    If anything, I hope that when the dust settles, the general public will be left with renewed recognition and respect for our profession.
    I also hope that the companies that were so generous toward Mr. Williams, will show the same level of generosity toward voice-over professionals like you and me when we’re negotiating our next project.

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