Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Surfing The 'Net...

I hope you each had a wonderful Christmas (or whichever Holiday you celebrate)! As we look towards the New Year...I discovered there is quite a bit of activity online today! Perusing my favorite blogs and message boards, I came across some fun things, and some wise advice!

First, my dear friend Peter O'Connell had a wonderful idea on his blog. After all the discussion regarding Brian Williams hiring Michael Douglas to intro NBC's Nightly News, Peter put out his own casting call for voices. Of course, you would never hear someone with my voice type intro the evening news...but I still gave it a shot! You can hear all the 'auditions' on his blog. It's a good reminder of the kind of talent one can find in this country (and beyond)!

Second, I was reading some very wise words from Philip Banks on one of the VO message boards. I wanted to share his thoughts, because I think we could all learn something from them:

The Year Of The Spine, by Philip Banks

“Hello. My name is Marv’. I’m a voice talent and a victim of bullying”. So go the introductions around the room at the most recent meeting of Bullying Victims Anonymous or BVA.
In LA there are groups specifically for voice over artists. Believe me? Of course it’s untrue but it ought to be true because the number of victims in the voice over world is huge. Combine insecurity, ego, desperation with a sprinkling of sycophancy and cowardice and you have the perfect target for a bully.

Make it your goal not to be a victim or a bully and watch yourself for declining standards of behaviour.

Here’s an example. An agency sends you an audition for a job but you notice that the fee is neither here nor there and that it’s a cattle call. You delete the audition and contact the agent requesting that they only contact you with jobs or when a client has specifically requested that you audition. Now, how many of you as you read the example started saying “ah but it doesn’t work like that” or “I don’t want to upset the agent” or “an audition is good practice”? Take a black marker pen and write VICTIM on your forehead, it’ll save people time. To quote Julia Robert’s character in Pretty Woman “I decide who, I decide when, I decide how much!” Look in the mirror and say it out loud.

The pay to play (audition) voice over web sites tell talent how much, when, where, how to but they pay talent NOTHING! Talent pays a site and then allows it to set the agenda. For $100, $200, $300 or more the site works for the voice NOT the other way around.

“I’m a voice over professional and I understand the way things are done”. No you don’t, you’ve just fallen into line. Try this line in the mirror “Oh no, I’ve become a coward” can you bear to repeat it? I hope not.

I’m certainly not saying become an arrogant, pompous moron but I am asking you to think about the way you behave and the way you are perceived. It is possible to stand your ground, let people see things from your point of view, don’t let people waste your time, money or talent ALL with a smile on your face and with an agreeable manner.

It's worth mentioning that this was written to be read as a sort of "pause for thought" and the comments made are based on some tough lessons I had to learn a few years ago.

Good luck for 2008

Finally, (and thank you for sticking with me this long!), a voice over hopeful posted some wonderful questions on VoiceOverSavvy. If you are considering voice over, or are just beginning your career, I highly recommend you read this post!

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