Sunday, March 4, 2007

Worm Poop vs Voice Acting

I read a fascinating article in one of my gardening magazines recently that has really started me thinking about my own new voice over business. The article was about two college freshmen from Princeton University that came up with a genius concept for plant food. The 'food' is made from liquefied worm poop. Literally. Food waste from large scale food producers is fed to worms, the castings (or poop) are then processed and liquefied. Early research shows the result is as good if not better than commercial brands. Along the way, these two college students decided to use recycled soda bottles for their 'containers', rejected spray tops for the nozzles, and rejected shipping boxes for their own shipments. The name of the Company is TerraCycle, and you can now pick up their all purpose plant food almost anywhere.

In fact, we picked up a bottle yesterday and started using it last night...I will let you know the results in a month or so.

What I love about this company is that it began with an old concept (worms being good for plants) that became 'new and different'. Months of scientific research went into the development of the food. These guys found earth conscious and money conserving ways to produce their product, bottle it, and ship it. The product is sold at a reasonable price, competitive without being 'cheap'. When I buy it, I feel good about getting a quality product, while supporting conservation at the same time.

As I look at my own business, I want to use these two young men as my models. I want to take an old concept (voice acting) and make it somehow new and fresh. I want to research new voice techniques, spend time on quality auditions and jobs. I don't want to waste money on unnecessary equipment just because someone else has it, or it's the 'cool' product of the moment. When a client 'purchases' my product, I want them to feel good about their decision. I want to give a quality product at a competitive price without being 'cheap'.

Miss any of these steps, and 'worm poop' is all I have to offer!

18 comments:

Rich said...

Very interesting analogy Kara. I've noticed you like to draw parallels between the voice over business with other elements of your life.

I think it makes for interesting reading. I think I could learn a thing or two from this post. I have been slowly building my business and taken the baby steps to put a polished product out there, but I think I've probably spent a little too much money on gear.

I should have focused first on performance and getting that where it needs to be before ever thinking about how good I sound.

Kara Edwards said...

Rich-

Yup- I'm a parallel-type of girl :)! I see things in the world and try to figure out how they can enhance my own life and career. (And how my life might enhance others!)

I'm sure if you do an internet search on the product, there are all kinds of articles on the creators. I think they did a spot-on job of creating their company!

On the other hand, I think you've done a spot-on job of creating your business! I envy the work you have put in to branding, marketing, and creating a quality studio. I have no doubt your success will be swift and great! I'm sure many could learn from YOU as well!

Thank you for your thoughts!
Kara

Peter O'Connell said...

....OR are you comparing voice actors to worm poop?

Its not that you're wrong, I suppose, but I just think we voice actors smell better is all....

Kara Edwards said...

Peter-

Compare my fellow voice actors to worm poop?? Never! Although it is a rich source of nutrients...:)

Besides, I'm sure you smell much more like the flowers they are feeding (I'm batting my eyelashes as I type).

Hah- thanks for the humor!

Kara

Bob Souer said...

Kara,

The other area rich with possibilities for innovation for you is all the new places there voices are needed. Things that didn't exist even a few years ago.

Voiceover is about a whole lot more than commercials, training films and animations these days. Which is the biggest reason I see this as the best possible time to be a working professional voiceover talent.

Thank you for the intriguing word pictures and thought connections.

Be well,
Bob

Stephanie Ciccarelli said...

Hi Kara,

Worm poop!

The idea of reinventing an experience while keeping it organic is really quite invigorating (both from a gardener's point of view and a marketer's).

That being said, I absolutely can't wait to meet you in Las Vegas :)

Bob's right: Kara Edwards comes up with some of the most entertaining correlations on her blog.

I think I just might have to point this one out to the audience at VOX Daily, not just because it's a fantastic post that should be read, but I've never in a million years had the opportunity to post anything with a title like Worm Poop and Voice Overs!

Take care and keep blogging!

Stephanie

P.S. Having met Peter in person, I can vouch for him not smelling like worm poop. He's chock full of good ideas though ;)

Kara Edwards said...

Bob-

You are absolutely correct! Being a voice actor in 2007 couldn't be more fulfilling or rich with possibilities! It's all about marketing a great product and reaping the benefits of working in a job you love!

I couldn't be in better company :)

Kara

Kara Edwards said...

Stephanie-

You are forever kind- I CAN'T wait to meet you in Vegas...I am sure we will be fast friends. I always enjoy reading your blogs, and listening to the Vox Talk podcast.

Yes, there is nothing more enjoyable in life than finding a way to compare one's chosen profession to worm poop :)

Kara

Stephanie Ciccarelli said...

Hey Kara,

I just posted on VOX Daily and linked back to your post about worm poop!

Here's a link:

Worm Poop and Voice Overs

I'm sure that headline will grab hundreds of eyes come tomorrow morning and hopefully yield several more comments to join in the conversation here at your splendid blog - here's to growing the VO blogosphere!

Cheers,

Stephanie

Kara Edwards said...

Stephanie-

That is so funny! Who knew worm excrement was so entertaining??

I greatly appreciate you including my wayward ramblings on your blog- I have to send the link to my entire family...they will love it!!

Thank you!!!
Kara

Jay Levitt said...

"I don't want to waste money on unnecessary equipment"

I... I... don't understand.

Caryn Clark said...

Hi Kara,

Great blog, and an excellent analogy! Who knew!?

Caryn

Kara Edwards said...

Caryn,

Thank you for your kind words- it's always great to hear from you!

Jay-

Hang in there...it's an addiction I still struggle with :)

-Kara

David Boyll said...

Hi Kara,

Thanks for reminding all of us about the power of innovation and creative breakthroughs. These guys took an existing product (earthworm castings) and packaged it in a new way and... voila! Something new!

We Voice Actors are continuously challenged by writers, directors, clients, etc, to "make it fresh" and "keep it real". Even if the material is less than "fresh" or "real", we still need to put our own stamp on it - I call it my "brand identity".

The creative insight I'm talking about typically comes in a flash... so be ready... but in a perfect world, it happens right before we open our mouth to read!

Keep up the great work, Kara!

Cheers,

David Boyll

Kara Edwards said...

David,

You are absolutely correct!

Thank you for your thoughtful post :)

Kara

stefania said...

Hi from England!Fantastic entry. I'm working on building up my voiceover career so that I can go full time next year. I found so much inspiration in this blog and the comments. I've added you to my faves list. You and your colleagues are great role models!
Cheers! Stefania //(^.^)\\

Kara Edwards said...

Stephania!

You are very kind- thank you! Being a full-time voice actor is extremely rewarding...sure there are bumps in the road like all jobs- but I love it! A great place to check out is www.vo-bb.com if you aren't a member already. There is a ton of great advice (and friendship) there.

Welcome aboard- and please stop by and comment often!

Kara

Kara Edwards said...

Sorry!

It's Stefania, not Stephania...

You are so nice, and then I turn around and mis-spell your name! You can call me Cara from now on :)

Kara