Monday, July 28, 2008

Thoughts From the Week

I've always been a big believer in Karma and the Golden Rule (do unto others...). Therefore I made my own rule when I first went full-time with voice over: I would always be willing to help out my friends should they need a voice for a project, period. I don't believe money should always be the motivation for doing something I love. Sure, we should be fairly compensated for our talents, but sometimes it's ok to do this job just because we love it, and because we are needed.

Case in point...a couple of weeks ago I got a call from an old friend. He needed a short voice over for a government project he was working on for a local college. They didn't have much of a budget for voice over, and he was looking for someone willing to work pro bono. Since we've known each other for quite some time, I jumped at the chance to see an old pal.

I drove uptown to record the piece, and worked with them on a few script changes during the session. A few days later, I received a call that some of the dates had been incorrect and could I return to record a short pick-up? Of course!

Here's where I believe Karma kicked in...when I was finished with the project, they took me on a walk around the studio. It turns out this studio was getting ready to hold a casting for an animation they were doing. Since I was already in the building, they threw a script my way and invited me to audition!

Perhaps I would have received a call to come in and audition anyway, but perhaps not. I was in the right place at the right time on this particular day. Since I was the only one auditioning, I was able to provide multiple takes, really having fun with the characters. I'm not sure if in the end I will be cast in a part or not, but I'm a believer that just being given the opportunity is 95% of the battle!

Of course, I would have been more than happy helping out regardless of any 'payback' that came my way, but it is always nice when there are unexpected rewards!

On a different note, I've been thinking quite a bit about this blog lately. I do my best to write something every week, while not always succeeding with the frequency. Lately I've noticed less and less visits to the blog, and much fewer comments. I'm fine with this, as the blog is really just an outlet for my thoughts. However, I am curious...are more readers subscribing to the RSS feed, having blog posts delivered to their e-mail, thereby making it so they don't have to visit individual blogs? Could this be why fewer comments are made on this and many other blogs? Or, is it possible that with so many voice actors creating new blogs, that there are simply too many to check on a weekly basis?

An advantage I find to having readers subscribe to the RSS feed is that there is less pressure on me to deliver something new on a daily/weekly basis. I feel like I can post a new blog when I have time, and when I have something relevant to share. The drawback is that I miss the conversation that happens when people leave comments on blogs. I'm curious how others in the blog-o-sphere feel about it?

Finally, one last thought from this past week. As a voice actor, I often find it hard to tear myself away from my studio. I always have a script waiting to be recorded, an e-mail needing to be addressed, or a client needing to be called. It's difficult in this business of last minute jobs to walk away and leave the mic behind. Fortunately, I made the decision last week to do just that. After a job I did in Texas, my sister, nephew, and I took a few days to drive to west Texas to visit my grandpa (I wrote about it in a previous blog). Yes, I'm paying for it this week with a pile of work...but it was worth every minute to spend time with my family. I find it is important to remember to always be there for my clients...but to also be there for myself.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Avoid The Distractions

As you can tell, I've gotten a bit behind on my blogging as of late. I made the attempt at writing a new blog last week and it went something like this:

It's funny to me that several people recently have commented that my new camera (a Nikon D60) takes great pictures...but really, isn't the photographer the one taking the pictures? Much like in voice over, when so much discussion is had over microphones, when acting lessons should really come first. Great equipment is essential, but solid training should always come first.

Unfortunately, that was all I could come up with at the time, so I never posted that blog. Plus, since I am not a photographer and have never taken a photography class...I really wasn't in the position to rant! However, I am a voice actor...and this is a blog about all things voice over I thought I'd share a story from this past week that I hope might inspire you in your daily voice acting life.

My grandfather, Herman, will be 93 this year. Now, I'm fortunate to be married to a wonderful man, and to have an incredible father-in-law...but I often say my grandfather is the greatest man alive. He still spends his days on the cotton farm out in West Texas, and never misses a Sunday at church. I've been trying to plan a trip out to see him, because it's been too long since my last visit, but work and life just keep getting in the way.

Since I am planning to spend a week in LA in August to attend VOICE 2008 and receive some private coaching, I have been doing my best to work ahead and complete as many projects as possible over the next couple of weeks. (I have projects every month that I just can't get behind on) I'm a planner, and I had mapped out my July perfectly...or so I thought!

This past Saturday I received a call, I was needed in Texas to record a project. They would need me there the week of July 21st. I immediately thought of my grandfather- wouldn't it be wonderful to also take the 5 hour drive West to see him, since I'll be in Texas anyway? Looking back at the calendar, I realized there was just no way.

Sunday morning we went to church. Now, regardless of what your beliefs are- we can all admit that the simple answers are often right in front of us if we'll just take the time to look. At the end of the service our Pastor offered a prayer. He prayed that as we went on with our week, we wouldn't let the little distractions of the days keep us from realizing the gifts we are given.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been so caught up in busy, busy, busy that I hadn't realized how amazing it was that I had just been given a free trip to Texas in which I could do some work, and then go see my grandfather like I had been wanting to for so long.

I came home, looked closely at my calendar and realized it would be no problem at all to make this happen. Sure, I'll have to work a little harder this week (and believe me- I have been!), and it will have to be a shorter trip than I would have liked...but I get to see my grandpa and that is the greatest gift of all.

I hope that as you struggle through the week, whether it's trying to fit all the work in, or trying to bring the work to you, that you'll take a minute to appreciate the gifts in your own life. I've been reminded that when you do, the rest just falls into place.

As a side note: anyone wanting to see the photos my new camera takes can check out my Flickr page. I'm sure you'll see why I plan to stick to voice acting :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Membership Level at

Stephanie from sent me an e-mail today with information about their new platinum membership service on the site...

The Platinum Membership includes your very own website as well as listings on 10 niche voice over websites, a public relations campaign, ad placement on the advertising network, 100 MB of storage for your MP3 voice-over demos, videos, priority ranking in the search results and unlimited Featured Talent Directory listings, and access to the industry's hottest freelance voice-over jobs.

You can read more about it at VOX Daily or on the site.

I can see where this would be a great investment in one's voice over career, but I've always been known to take my time in making business decisions. Only the first 100 people will be allowed to sign on, so if this is something you are interested in, you'll want to jump on it. The price of an annual membership is $1,995.

I'm curious what folks think of this new step from Voices, and if you think the other sites will follow suit. Feel free to leave a comment, as I'm interested to hear opinions!