Monday, June 6, 2011

Text in Their Theater, Get The Boot!

I love this story. A patron is texting in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and the management kicks her out. . .per their policy!

Watch the PSA using a voicemail left by the disgruntled patron.

. . .and God bless the Magnited States of America (or whatever she calls us).

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting to the Root of Social Media Evil

Paul is a great writer and a great voice artist. I always enjoy his blog, but this entry is extra-enjoyable.

Read and learn. . .especially the LinkedIn comment!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lessons Learned at the Close to Six-Month Mark

Trying anything new can be frustrating, rewarding, maddening, boring, enlightening, but mainly, frustrating.  My case in point is the glacial speed in which my business in voice-over is expanding. 

For those of you new to my experience, please review the blog.  For regular readers (not even my mother reads my blog, and that's probably for the best), you know how I came out in a blitzkrieg of demos, pay-site memberships, and bravado looking to take the world of voice acting by storm.  Looks like the storm has turned out to be a cut-off low that is causing early morning drizzle with the chance of scattered showers.  Turns out, this shit isn't easy. . .or at least as easy as I thought going in.

There's a lot to know, learn, and do.  Being a voice actor involves so much more than reading scripts and making up stupid voices.  I was prepared for some of the extra duties that come along with the job like audio production, editing, and writing.  What I was not prepared for, and still need to work on are marketing skills, taking direction, copy interpretation, and just "letting go."  My radio experience went pretty far in preparing me for this new venture.  What it didn't do was teach me how to use those tools I had recently abhorred (Facebook and Twitter) to build my success.  Now, I post, tweet, blog, and constantly update my website (see the sidebar for the link).

I've learned that I don't know everything about reading copy.  Sure I can make funny voices.  Sure I can sound like an announcer.  Sure I can hit time marks without breaking a sweat.  The question is; can I sell?  So far the answer has been, "maybe."  I think I know what I have to do.  I think I know who I need.  I know that I know who I don't need (see earlier posts about "coaches;"  turns out, they're a dime-a-dozen, and most aren't worth a tenth of what they charge. . .as a matter of fact, if you're reading this and you're interested in getting into the voice-acting/voice-over/commercial voice field, check out Bill DeWeese; the only guy I know in VO who coaches and puts his money where his mouth is. . .to use a very appropriate idiom). 

So, the bottom line here is this; the world of VO is just like any other part of the entertainment business; natural talent and ambition will get you so far, but grinding it out and constantly working to get better is where it's at to get the gigs.  Luckily, I have time on my side.  I may have touted my impatience in the past, but it's my patience and willingness to learn and grow that will win out in the end.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Roll On By The Tide?

Incredible video of huge tornado somehow avoiding Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I like hearing this about Tom Tait. In the past, our mayors have been more focused on their own political careers, or about establishing some kind of "legacy" like high-speed trains to San Francisco.

Tait has decided to focus on what to do with a $10-12 million budget shortfall each year rather than play trains with other mayors looking to be famous!

Read all about it:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You're My Wonder Wheel

Google is the interwebs.

Need more proof? Check out the Wonder Wheel feature next time you do a Google search. Read this blog and follow the simple instructions. If you're a SEO noob, like me, then you need this info.

I'm still not sure how I can use the Wonder Wheel, but I'm going to find out. If you already know, feel free to hit me back with your science!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Google Hiccups; Should We Pounce?

Anyone who has followed the consistent rise of Google's stock has to be amazed at the giant's 1Q earnings report. Although Google made money ($2.3 BILLION as opposed to a paltry $2 BILLION last year during 1Q), it wasn't as much as analysts predicted (remember, you can't spell analyst without "anal"). Hence, a precipitous fall in stock price (5% yesterday; another 6%+ today).

The lesson? Buy Google now while the idiot investors run! You won't see this kind of deep discounting for very long!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rebecca Black is Rock and Roll

Before anyone gets all up-in-arms about that statement, take a breath and finish reading what I'm saying here.  First off, I know this has nothing to do with the super-glamorous world of voice over nor the numerous people now involved in voice over posing as coaches to make money because they no longer make money as a "voice artist."  I happened to be awakened this morning by local radio pundits debating the merit and effect of young Rebecca Black and her viral song, It's Friday.

The first fact they mentioned that hit me between the eyes like a sniper's bullet was that the video has over 64 million views.  Let that one sink in.  64 million.  Not only that, her song, simple as it is, has been in the iTunes Top 30 for a month.  Folks, she's 13 years old.  Her song and video were financed by her parents.  They did this because she asked them to.  It cost about a grand.  She's making huge bank on this.  People, that is rock and roll.

See, back in the days before autotuners, Pro Tools, and copyright infringement, there was Rock and Roll.  Guys like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, and Bill Haley.  There were girls like Wanda Jackson, Leslie Gore, the Crystals, the Shangra-Las, and the Ronettes.  What did they all have in common?  A song and a desire.  It caused people to love it or hate it; very little in between.  When Elvis sang on TV, you didn't see his hips.  When Little Richard wailed "we gonna ball tonight," he wasn't talking about dancing.  Hell, the term Rock and Roll was used by the original bluesmen (like Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, and Muddy Waters) as a euphemism for sex.  Rock caused problems.  Rock crossed color barriers.  Rock turned parents' stomachs.

So what happened?  I'll tell you what happened; the 70's.  I'll go one better, "Prog Rock" happened.  Suddenly, bands discovered drugs (I know that most of the guys and gals I mentioned above were drunks, hop heads, and pill poppers, but they never took trips to "The Center of The Mind")  and rock turned into one big navel gazing exercise.  Now I appreciate Pink Floyd, Genesis, and their ilk, but they didn't represent the rebellion and the "Hey gang, let's make a record!" spirit of rock.  Worse, they led to the 70's.  The 70's gave us Journey, Boston, Kansas, and Satan's own favorite. . . Styx (if you thought I was going to say Kiss, HA!).  Some of you (anyone?) reading that last sentence are likely saying to yourself, "Hey, I like (insert name of lame band here).  They did, (insert name of super lame song used in any one of a number of Adam Sandler movies here).  I love that song!"  Let me guess, you chose "Don't Stop Believin'" mainly because it was used in the last episode of "The Sopranos."  You lose.  That episode was lame; the song is SUPER LAME; it was written by a talentless hack who happens to be a Giants' fan; and the powers that be decided to torture Dodger fans by playing it during the bottom of the 8th at all home games.  That has LOSE written all over it.

But I digress. . .

The point here is this:  Those bands brought rock to it's nadir.  The bottom.  Hind teat.  Styx and the like ushered in the era of Corporate Rock.  An era when rock was judged by chart success, concert tickets, and hair.  When songs like "Blue Collar Man" pushed better songs off the air, rock died.  Face it, rock radio died in the 70's.  How many times must one hear "Money" by Pink Floyd on one's life?  Ever heard, "See Emily Play" by the same band?  Didn't think so.  While I'm at it, the next idiot who plays "Sweet Home Alabama" on a juke box when "Simple Man" is available will get my full and vengeful wrath.  Luckily, the decade was saved in 1978 by The Ramones.

The Ramones were four guys from Queens who made the trek to Manhattan on a regular basis to play bars like CBGB's and Max's Kansas City.  They wrote songs about teenage fun, horror movies, sniffing glue, pinheads, Rockaway Beach, and a girl named Sheena.  Their songs were never longer than 3 minutes.  They wore black leather jackets, ripped T-shirts, and tight jeans.  Their names were Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and (insert name of current drummer here), and they all had the same last last name; Ramone.  Rock radio wouldn't play them.  Rockers mocked them.  Parents were afraid of them.  Kids (like me) loved them.  They were the embodiment of what Rock was and should be.  Four guys who could barely play their instruments banging out rhythms on their chewing gum and putting kids into a sweat.  They had a song and wanted to sing it.  They had no A&R man guiding their "singles."  No record company breathing down their necks pressuring them to sell thousands of tickets and fill arenas.  They were, by far, more influential than any other band to come out of the Punk era.  They were likely the most influential band ever, outside of four other guys from a Northern England town known for shipbuilding and soccer.

This brings me full circle to Rebecca Black.  She is more Ramones than Journey.  I get the irony of my "autotune" statement, because her voice is obviously over modulated and produced.  The real reason she is Rock and Roll is seen in her success.  Her song is short, catchy, fun, and makes grown-ups squirm.  Is it stupid?  Hell yes, but so was "Beat on the Brat," and Saint Bono and that overrated bunch in U2 covered that, didn't they?  Does the song get on your nerves?  No more than any rap record does already.  And believe me, there is more Journey, Styx, and Kansas about current rap music than there is Ramones about it.  Rebecca is all about her song and having people hear it.  Did she do it for the money?  Don't know.  Did Rage Against the Machine do it for money?  Answer; YES, but no one seems to hate them for it.  Did she do it for fame?  Again, don't know and don't care.  When Will Smith's obnoxious, overly-precocious daughter is allowed to torture us with tales of whipping her hair back and forth, I gladly welcome Rebecca and her warbling about the end of the week.  A girl, her song, and an audience. . .THAT, people is Rock and Roll.

Besides, I dare you to listen to her song and not sing it on the day that proceeds Saturday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Privacy v. Anonymity

Interesting article forwarded to me by the good folks at Voice123. As the information age continues to expand at Big Bang proportions, how much do we, as users, sacrifice in the name of "information." Certainly, Google knows who we are and what we look at, but what they share and who they share it with involves our privacy.

We like suggestions when we begin a Google search; we hate spam. This article tries to rationalize the line drawn by search engines to protect us, and keep themselves profitable.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


The webinar on saying no is Monday the 28th, not Tuesday the 29th.

As the kids say, "My bad."

Say No? Whaa?

Join in and find out why a VO talent might actually say no to a job.

I can think of one reason; they want to pay you $50 to read "Pride and Prejudice" cover to cover. The sad part is many VO noobs are willing to do it.

Listen in on the 29th and find out what the pros say about saying "No!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Sad Reality of Voice Acting

This is an excellent article on the truths of voice acting. I have a feeling a ton of people who have recently flooded the market (me included) are going to be dropping out very quickly. Thank goodness I have a couple of day jobs to sustain me. If I had to rely solely on VO work to make a living, I'd be the burger flipper with a great demo.

Sad to say, as I have written before, there are far too many making $1,000's of dollars on the hopes and dreams of potential VO talent. Boot camps, "inner-circles," and unscrupulous "coaches" are getting fat on starry-eyed newcomers. I, for one, am keeping my pocketbook closed to these latter-day Levi Strauses (get it, it's a gold rush metaphor. . .not a great one, but a metaphor nonetheless).

Enjoy! Thanks to Dave Courvoisier

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Christian Pastor Fired For Making Sense

This article is not about what I thought it would be about. This minister gets the boot for questioning the outdated belief that souls will be subjected to eternal torment if they're not Christian.

Check out the part of the story where someone claims Gandhi is in hell. This guy is all for the message of love and acceptance over hell and damnation, and many Christians can't handle it.

Religion just cracks me up.

Thanks to Dan John for first posting the link on FB.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"The Secret?" Get to Work!

I like what Aziz has to say about "get rich quick" and "think it and it will happen" schemes. Basically, those who work the hardest have the best luck. I believe Thomas Jefferson said that first, but you get it.

Many look for shortcuts to the easy life when the shortcut just leads to more disappointment and mounting credit card debt. By the way, I called BS on "The Secret" many years ago. Many of their authors, speakers, and "mentors" all got their wealth by finding enough suckers who were willing to part ways with their money to hear cliches like, "keep your eyes on the prize," or "go the extra mile" without offering any real advice or solution.

This blog seems to agree with the basic philosophy of my blog.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quick and Easy Way to Generate Keywords

This is a great tool to maximize your SEO by generating keywords that work. A quick tip to drive traffic to your sites through effective copy editing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting More From Linkedin

I don't know if I should share this. The advice seems so easy and powerful, that if everyone starts doing it, then what? We all can't come up as #1 on a Linkedin search. But still, this is great SEO advice.

I, for one, am going to use these tips and see where it leads my business.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What The Life of a VO Talent Has Come To

I like reading Paul's blog (it's connected to many other good blogs and sites) for his open and honest takes on the world of voiceovers. Here, he gives a tongue-in-cheek treatment to the types of jobs VO talents are taking these days.

I should say, I like his blog even though he got a gig I auditioned for recently. But, such is life in the VO universe!

Happy reading.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ISDN: Should it Stay, or Should it Go

Everyone in the VO biz should know about ISDN and what it is used for. The question is, "Do I Need it now?"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vocal Warm Ups from The National Theatre

Got this from my friends at Voiceover Universe. A great series of voice warm-ups including breathing, resonance, and articulation. Good for voice actors, teachers, attorneys, announcers, salespeople, and anyone else dependent on his/her voice for a living.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Booshaka League

Here's the original blog post from Dave Courvoisier's blog. Apparently Booshaka has hit a few snags, but still presents interesting possibilities for internet marketers and social network abusers.

Welcome to Booshaka!

Got this tip from Dave Courvosier via his blog. A good way to keep up with what's trending on Facebook.

Surprising Facebook can't tell you what's trending on Facebook.

I'll link to Dave's blog where I got this from.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Spending All Your Hard Earned Money

My recent re-entry to the world of voice-over has been fraught with several opportunities to separate me from my money.  Some I have deemed necessary like spending the big bucks on a demo, buying a quality mic, and signing up with a few P2P sites.  The one thing I haven't done is hire a "coach," or "attend" a webinar (seminar held over the internet) put on by a "coach."

Now, before I begin to sound too cynical (I'm trying to keep things positive), I have invested in reading materials that have given me several good ideas about continuing my education in the VO world.  Such advice like taking acting classes, volunteering, and getting feedback from professionals, I've either done or am planning on doing soon.  Other advice, like signing up for every "webinar" or "teleseminar" offered by a "coach," I haven't done.

I'm all for training.  I've coached several teams in several different sports over the years, and the one piece of advice I give all my players is to practice, practice, practice.  If possible, I encourage them to take lessons; whether it's seeking out a good batting coach, personal trainer, or guru, getting that little extra will separate the motivated player from the one whose parents have forced him/her onto the field.  So really, it should be no different for me.  After all, as an attorney, I tell all prospective clients, "The man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client," so the VO actor who tries to be his own coach is working with an idiot.

That brings me to the real reason I decided to write today:  just who do you believe when it comes to "coaches?"  I am bombarded with e-mails from various sites offering costly workshops (the priciest was over $1300 for 3 days) both in-person and over the web.  The problem I have is deciding who's credible, and who's just trying to pry my wallet open.  One thing I look at is the number of "seminars" the person puts on in a given period of time.  One "coach" has sent me about 10 different e-mails offering a wide variety of classes.  When someone has the time to offer so many classes, I begin to think they have too much time on their hands.  In other words, is this person a true working professional, or a full-time coach?  The answer may or may not be important to you, but to me, I'd rather go with someone who is still plying his/her trade over the person who has not consistently booked in the past 3 years and is now a "coach."

Maybe my cynicism is getting the best of me, but I really can't help it.  There are plenty of good people out there doing good work who are also willing to share and help.  It's what sets the VO world apart from the rest of the entertainment business (and the rest of the professional world for that matter).  With entire websites devoted to this branch of VO commerce, the only piece of advice I can impart is, "Let the buyer beware."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is playing a numbers game? | Double Dutch

I came across this blog entry a little late. . .sorry for the delay. But it is a hard lesson in the "pay to play" business model. Unfortunately, I am learning this through experience, rather than by doing my research first.

Live and learn.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ron Nelson Voiceover

I finally took the plunge and got my own website up and running. It's under construction, but it's a start. The site will lead you to my bio pages at other sites, my demos, and give you info about me and what I do.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can A Voice Over Artist Improve Your Marketing?

Hey all you businesses out there! Take a tip from fellow voice-artist, Terry Daniel, and hire a voice actor for all your voiceover needs.

As a matter of fact, hire this guy (me)!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blue Microphones Yeti Professional USB Microphone - Bing Videos

The microphone I currently use for all VO work. I'm working on getting a powered mic and pre-amp, but this mic is a great piece to have in the arsenal!

Pot dispensary neighbors protest in streets | pot, dispensary, street - News - The Orange County Register

Right around the corner from my house. I'm all for medical marijuana, but dispensaries need to be in areas zoned for businesses and away from kids.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Golden-Voiced Ted Williams Out of Rehab, Looking for Voiceover Work - Live Feed

Good for Ted, but am I the only one who's getting a little weary of his story? God-given talent, throws it all away for booze and drugs, hits bottom, gets found, gets clean, gets back on top. I get it. I've read it. Maybe I'm a little jealous of it.

In reality, Ted didn't ask to be "re-discovered." He just wanted money for "food," so blaming him or judging his life is out of line, I suppose. I guess what gets me is the grandstanding of some to be seen in photo ops as they give Ted, "A hand up."

Maybe that's it.

Still, good on Ted. Hope he stays clean and uses his powers for good; not evil!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just added a new blog post. More to come!

Social Media: What the hell is that?

I have to admit, when it comes to "social media," I'm still treading in the backwaters. . .ideologically and in practice.  My ideas of social media were formed watching an older daughter try, use, then leave My Space.  When Facebook came along, I was told it was the "My Space for adults."  This turned out to be true for about 15 seconds as said daughter, the daughter #2 both joined.  I joined a long time ago, but only because a friend thought it would be cute.

Now, I'm beginning to realize why I have to use it.

Facebook, Twitter, Amplify; they all are there for fun and games, and are used that way by about 90% of the members.  Guys like me who always thought of them as a sure waste of time and a huge pain in the ass are now learning they are the gateway to jobs in our chosen fields.  As a full-time educator, I have little use for Facebook or Twitter.  As a part-time voice actor (I've been reading, too, and this is what I'm supposed to call myself. . . lookout!), the "Social Media" sites are a must if I want to get my name and voice out there to potential clients.

My problem now is; how do I use them to their potential?  How can I generate some interest in my voice using them?  Well, for right now, I'm just using this blog as a "jumping off" point, Amplifying it, posting new links on Facebook, and tweeting updates.  Then, I go back to Facebook, comment in threads, make sure people see my name, hopefully follow my links, follow my blog, get their followers to follow me, hope on of their followers owns a big commercial production house, calls me, and "voila!" I get a job.

In the meantime, I'm also relying on the "old fashioned" method of giving great service to clients, depending on referrals, and following up on contacts as a way of generating business.  For now, my primary goal is to learn and grow, and hopefully not get lost within the "Social Media."

I also welcome all advice on how to make better use of it all!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

OK, So I Sound, uh, Sensitive (?)

People who have known me for a while are surprised by one of two things: One, that I have a blog about being a voiceover artist, or two; that I talk about my feelings without gratuitous expletives and epithets.  Guess that means I'm multifaceted.

I really want this blog to be an account of what I've learned and what I'm learning as I re-launch this part of my life.  It may also be a place where potential clients may try to find me.  It can also be a place where fellow voice-actors can visit for a sometimes-serious, sometimes-not look at what we do.  I've talked about the frustrations of dealing with agents, traffic, auditions, and waiting.  I've tried to share what tips I've used and which are junk.  All in all, I'm going to keep it professional and not slag anyone unless I think they're ripping people off.  If I link to their sites, it's because I've used their product, I like it, or they linked to me (I dropped one link who did not link back. . .if she links to me, I'll re-add it, but for now. . .no link). 

This is the era of social networks, blogs, and website optimization.  This little blog is just my feeble attempt to get the word out that I like to record my voice for other people for money.  Sorry if you want me to do that for free, but I gave that up back when I was 10 and I would record me doing voices and reading the newspaper.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Better to Plead for Forgiveness than Ask for Permission

This has sort of become my motto of late.  One of my big problems is a lack of patience.  It will likely be my undoing in the world of voiceover, but I'm willing to take that risk.  I realize I've only been on two pay sites for a little over a week, but the fact is I can't wait.

I can't wait for clients to listen to my auditions.
I can't wait for them to book me for the job.
I can't wait to finally get paid for the gig.

See a pattern?

So today, I decided to take matters (again) into my own hands.  Without going into great detail, I circumvented a few steps in the "Standard Way to Get Into The Glamorous World of Voiceover" (yes, I've seen websites using the word "glamorous" with "voiceover" in the same sentence) and used information at my disposal to send some e-mails.  Now, I don't know if this was against any "AUP" or code of conduct, but I decided "what the hell," I wasn't doing much the other way.  So, I may have broken protocol.  What's the worst thing that could happen?  They stop taking my money to be on their site?

Not bloody likely!

Long story short (you read that right), I think I got the gig.  And you know what?  They're going to be real happy with what they get from me.  And I finally don't have to wait any more.  Ask for permission?

Not bloody likely!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things will change

So, after changing my strategy, I have seen a ton of action.  If you consider answering about 20 auditions as "action."  Getting the auditions is great, and I was completely stoked when they started rolling in.  The problem?

They were rolling in for everyone else on the paysites as well.

Hey, I'm just trying to get my feet back under me after a long layoff from this business.  25 years ago, this is all I wanted to do, but I gave up after hitting roadblock after roadblock (read: nepotism).  Unfortunately now, about 2500x more people are either in the voiceover business or getting in now.  They're all on these sites.  I need a way in that is less crowded and allows me to stand out. My search continues.

In the meantime, I continue to plug along with auditions in hopes of landing a gig.  I may get more training, I may just train myself (I am my own worst critic. . .besides my wife. . .she's brutal).  I'm definitely going to give audiobooks a shot; keep trying telephone messages; get on a podcast, and keep on pushing my voice "out there."

Find me on Voice123.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When In Doubt, Change Strategy

So I go and complain that I'm not getting any love from the several agents I've sent my demo to when I read something that changed everything.

As I was futzing around the internet, I came across the Voice Over Extra site.  Now, at first, I figured it was just a bunch of advertisements from people who hold themselves out as "coaches," looking to separate me from my hard earned money.  I have to admit, living in Southern California has jaded me a bit in this respect.  I start from a position that if I live in the entertainment capital, those from outside the capital must be a "nobody."  I am quickly discovering the opposite; looks like the "nobody" is writing this blog.  Heh.  Back to the point.  As I am perusing the site, I discover a series of articles for newcomers including this one.  Mind you, I went to the one-day training seminar at the Marc Graue Recording Studio, so I knew everything I needed to know about how to break in to the voiceover biz (note use of hip insider lingo!).  Of course, my notes and recollection of what to do are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember the advice of sending out my demo to as many people as possible (although I seemed to focus on agents only). What could this guy possibly have to say to one so close to voiceover stardom?


The author, Robert Sciglimpaglia, lays out the steps to building your career with brutal honesty. His directions get right to the heart of the matter.  For me, this meant what I was doing was all wrong.  His approach does not involve agents and the endless search for one.  Instead, he advocates a direct marketing approach to getting your foot in the door.  I won't bore you with restating the article here; you really should read it for yourself.  Instead, I'll tell you what I've done since reading it.

First, I went against my better nature and signed up for a premium membership with Voice 123.  I don't plop down $300 without thinking and doing a little research (unless I'm playing video poker, that is).  I looked at other "pay to play" sites, and I think this one fits my needs the best.  If I'm wrong, I won't renew. 

Now, why did I do this?  Easy.  It provides me access to auditions that I would never know about; gives me an excellent resource of hundreds of contacts in the VO world that Google can't help me with; allows me to hone my skills through auditions, and; provides valuable feedback for my efforts.  So far, I have had one audition, but I've only been signed up for one day.  Good record so far.

Next, I'm getting over my fear of putting my name and face out there.  If I want to make money at this, I'm going to have to tell people what I do.  That means sending e-mails to different sources, whether or not I think it's the right place to send it.  Getting on social networking sites and telling them what I do.  Giving feedback to others when asked.  Participating in on-line forums and linking back to my site and blog.  These are just some of the ways I'm changing my strategy and upping the aggression.  If an agent calls, I'll listen. But I'm not just going to keep sending CD's out to people who could give two shits about what I do.

If becoming successful is a "numbers game," then I'm upping the numbers.  So, when my enthusiasm was flagging, one article has given me hope.  I'm reading with the appetite of lion coming off a power fast.  Absorbing what is useful and throwing away that which is not (thanks, Bruce Lee!).

Well see how this goes from here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Keeping that Positive Attitude

A positive attitude can be a tricky thing.  I've read numerous articles, books, treatises, testimonials, and advertisements about "positive attitudes."  Football coaches, cancer survivors, former athletes, people who cut off their own arm in order to get themselves out of a ridiculously harrowing position they put themselves into hundreds of miles from humanity (but I digress); all have a "message" about why you need to keep your chin up.

My message?  It ain't easy.

Now you might want me to elaborate on such a vague statement of the obvious.  Being the generous sort, I'm going to give you the goods.

As stated before in this marvelous collection of my wit and wisdom, I have been sending out copy after copy of my demo to agents.  To date, I have sent over 75 e-mails with the mp3 attached and 12 CD copies to various agents and casting directors.  I have also sent the demo to advertising agencies and at least one radio station.  The response thus far?  Two agents contacted me for interviews.  Of those two interviews, I have signed with exactly zero agents.  Now, I know it's early in the game, but one could begin to resign oneself to failure.  It's not cheap sending CD's to faceless, heartless (unless you sign me), and anonymous agencies.  The CD, the jewel case, the envelopes, the labels, the postage; it all adds up. . .quickly.  So, yeah, it would be easy for me to just give up and forget about living life in the fast lane as America's Newest Voice Talent Sensation. 

No, not me.

I know that finding an agent is a "numbers game" (Thanks to Marc Graue for that one); the more I send out, the better my chances.  Also, I have to realize that agents don't necessarily listen to demos every day, every week, or every month.  It may take weeks to hear back.  Some agencies will keep my CD around and may go back to it sometime in the future when they can't find what they're looking for.  This may sound like "pie in the sky" histrionics, but I believe it to be true.  My life, thus far, has shown me that just when it looks like a good time to cut bait and move on, something comes along to change everything.  I just need to be patient.

Maybe a separate blog about my lack of patience is more appropriate.

So, instead of giving up, I'm looking for other ways to get my voice out there.  Twitter, facebook, Actor's Access, and other internet media.  I'm also getting my headshot done to include in my profile and finding other ways to get my demo in the ether.  In the meantime, I'll take what's available, get my experience, and keep moving forward.

That's my idea of a positive attitude.  Not just words, but actions.  Maybe I should be a motivational speaker. . .

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another Meeting; Another ??

North Hollywood is slowly becoming my least favorite city in the Valley.  That's a pretty bold statement considering the valley has garden spots like Arleta, Panorama City, and Sylmar.  The difference between them and NoHo?  Freeways access.  That and the fact that I have suffered rejection twice (mostly) in NoHo, whereas the other mentioned cities (I actually think they're all just big chunks of the monster that is LA) have only mildly offended me.  If you're really curious about the freeway access thing, read my other blog here.  For now, on to the agent story.

I got to the agency in the aforementioned Garden Spot about 3:15 (I made record time and expected to as I was going against traffic) and checked into the "office."  There I was greeted by a cute 23 y-o assistant who asked me to take a seat and the agent would be right with me.  I could hear what was going on in the other room (the door was wide open); two actors were reading a scene for the agent.  When they finished, another pair of actors came in, and they read for her (both readings were followed by a conversation).  They finished, and a third pair came in to read and have the follow-up convo.  While waiting, and during the second pair reading, I was given a script and told to go outside to practice with the assistant. Seeing no one else in the parking lot, I accurately surmised it was my turn.

Now, when you're interviewing with an agent (in my limited experience) for a voiceover slot, it seems to me that reading a scene is a little, well, odd.  Still, I read with all the gusto my junior high acting experience could muster.

Side note:  I worked for Safeco Insurance for all of 91 days.  In that time, we had an employee retreat at the Balboa Bay Club where my division, personal lines underwriting, had to write and perform a skit based on an average workday.  I helped write and was lead actor in the skit.  I won the "Oscar" for best performance in a skit at the retreat.  I subsequently quit Safeco a week later and went on to the glamorous world of teaching junior high.  Now back to this one. . .

So the agent is finally done with everyone else and it's 4:15.  All I could think of was the freeways and how they were beginning to resemble Tommy Lasorda's arteries after a large meatball and cheese from Lugi's Deli (in Anaheim!!).  I read with the assistant (nice girl, from Australia, although she had to tell me that since she had little to no accent) and nailed the scene.

Or so I thought.

The agent says, "That was good, but I can tell you're very raw."  To which I reply, "Well I am here for off-camera voice jobs."  She says, "Would you like to do on-camera, too?"  Now, my expectations were a little low going in, so this got me slightly excited.  "Sure!" says I, "When do I sign?"  The next thing she does is ask for a headshot and resume.  When I say I have none as I am, again, seeking off-camera work, she tells me it's impossible to place me without a headshot.  Short story, long:  Looks like I need to get my shit together and get a headshot done and begin padding a resume ASAP.

So, the bottom line here is one more interview in the can, but no real rejection.  This agent planned on signing 5 of the 6 actors who preceded me yesterday (one was already signed and was auditioning today).  She also seems to get her actors auditions, and more importantly, she gets them booked.  I guess having my picture taken and exaggerating about my acting experience is so bad.  Things left off with her telling me that once I get the pic and resume, give her a call.

Now, can I include acting in the Lincoln Savings employee motivation show as relevant acting experience?
I'll take that as a yes.

Oh, and one more thing, the agent loved my commercial demo produced by Marc Graue.  Get yours done here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Best Laid Plans. . .

Things got delayed today by the weather.  Go figure.  Rain causing havoc in Southern California?

Preposterous, I know.  Nonetheless, I'm scheduled to meet with my potential agent on Wednesday.  I still plan on bringing my positive outlook tempered with a dose of reality.  I know I'm one of the new kids on the playground (no way I was going to say "block"), but I have every reason to be confident.  If you've listened to my demo, you know why.  My voice is relaxed and professional.  I can adapt to most any situation.  My grasp of technology is such that I can turn around auditions in minutes, and I can make sure they are free of pops and clicks.

Bottom line:  I'm ready for this to happen.  Happy New Year to all. . .now get me signed!