Friday, September 26, 2008

Packing Day

Today was officially 'packing day'. Of course, I've been packing boxes for a month and a half, but today was the day the movers arrived to get everything ready to load on the truck tomorrow morning for our big move to Florida!

It's been a crazy week for sure! Monday I was up until almost 2am finishing a couple of voice over projects. On Tuesday I sent an e-mail informing everyone I would be tearing down my NC studio and heading south. I decided to call a couple of Tampa studios to set up my back up plan in case I have any problems during the move. I also wanted to find out ISDN rates since we'll be renting for a couple of months while we look for a house. My plan has been to set up ISDN in my studio as soon as possible, so I knew I needed a place to go in the meantime. During one of these calls, I was blindsided by some surprising news!

Apparently, Verizon- the main carrier in Tampa- has stopped setting up ISDN. Period. In a panic I posted some questions on one of the voice over boards, and made a few calls. As it turns out, I think I will be able to get ISDN- it will just require some leg work. It was very difficult to get anyone to understand why I would want ISDN- since most people think it's related to internet. With the creation of fios, or optical strands, which work much faster than the old copper wires, why would anyone want 'old' technology? My friend Bob Souer called to let me know that ISDN must run on copper wires, which I relayed to Verizon.

I must say, Verizon was fantastic with their customer service. Someone got back to me quickly, and gave me an e-mail address to send potential home addresses to. They will look up the homes we are considering for purchase and let me know if they can support ISDN. While it's a little weird that my next home will depend on whether there are copper wires nearby, I'm thankful to have a glimmer of hope that this problem may be solved!!

Wednesday my mother arrived to help pack, which has been wonderful! It took 6 hours to tear down my studio and pack everything into their original boxes. I was meticulous about documenting exactly how my mic-pre and Mbox were set. I drew diagrams and took photos of every button and knob so I could reset everything in my new studio just as it was. Despite taking forever, it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be to pack an entire studio.

Then, we were thrown another curve ball. Yesterday we received word that there is a major gas shortage in Charlotte (where I live currently). My mom took the car to see if she could find anywhere to fill up (I had about half a tank) and came back frustrated, and with the gas tank a little more empty, after hitting 8 stations and finding nothing.

Today, when the packers had finished, I set out for South Carolina with the hopes of finding someplace...anyplace, that might have gas. As I was driving down the road I noticed a long line of cars pulled over. Figuring this was more than likely my best shot, I got in line. 45 minutes later I pulled into a Citgo and was directed by one of several attendants to pump 1. Ahhh...gas!!! I filled up the car and just before pulling out I look back to see what I guess to be around 50 cars in line behind me. Then I heard one of the attendants say they were about to run out. Yikes.

So, as I prepare to watch my belongings loaded into a truck, in the back of my mind I'm hoping everything can just make it to Florida! I hear that once you get past the middle of South Carolina, things go back to normal. Thank goodness!

Tomorrow I head to a hotel to wait for the closing on Monday, then I'll be loading 2 cats, a dog, a trunk full of hard drives, a mic-pre, an Mbox, a couple of mics, a library of music and SFX, oh- and some clothes- and heading to my next home where my husband awaits!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Latest...

I've just returned from a fantastic weekend in Denver, CO at the Nan Desu Kan anime convention. For quite some time I've wanted to host a panel and discuss the steps one needs to take to begin a career in voice over. NDK gave me the opportunity, and the panel was a blast!

I tried to give real-world, practical advice and even had 4 people come up and voice auditions from real anime sides. They blew me away with how great each of them was! It occurred to me that the reason they were so good is because they are fans of anime. It's like DB Cooper always says, "If you want to voice videogames, play videogames"! I took several questions, and was surprised by how thorough the fans were. They asked about everything from demos, to agents, to unions! I did my best to give completely honest answers, and I hope everyone was able to walk away with a little insight into the voice over industry.

While I was in Denver, my husband sent me a link to an an article written about him in the Tampa Tribune. Chris recently became the new morning and noon meteorologist for Tampa Bay's 10 (WTSP) and the article announced his arrival. I was flattered that the reporter even included a small mention of me and my voice over business!

Speaking of Tampa, our relocation is still underway. While I was in Denver, we put an offer on a house north of Tampa, but were beat out by another offer that came in a few hours before ours. Since I am headed to Tampa on September 30th, we've decided that renting a house is going to be best temporarily. I think we've found a great rental that will allow our pets, and has plenty of space for me to set up my studio (and it's in a quiet neighborhood!). Once we're settled, we will resume our search for our next home.

Fortunately, I've been able to keep up with my voice over work between packing and talking to Realtors. I've even had the opportunity to work ahead on a few projects, to allow for the time necessary to make the transition. Unfortunately, I've fallen behind on answering e-mails from people asking questions about how to get into the business. If you are reading this, and are wondering why I haven't answered your questions...I promise I will once things settle back down! Feel free to re-send your e-mail if you like, but please understand if it takes a few weeks to receive a response. For now, I want to make sure my focus remains with my fantastic clients, and having a successful move.

On that note, my last day in my NC studio will be September 24th. On the 25th, I will begin packing my equipment to get it out of the way of the movers (all of my equipment will come to Tampa with me- I'm too paranoid to let anyone else touch it- heh). I will be sure to let everyone know when I am back up and running. I'm in the process of contacting studios nearby I can use for ISDN until we are settled in our permanent FL home. I don't expect more than 7-10 days of downtime.

Of course, I'll be posting updates as often as possible here on my blog :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Two Years Today!

September 7th, 2006 was the day I made the decision to go full-time with voice over. It was something I had considered for years, but never felt brave enough to take the plunge. I remember so well the weight that was instantly lifted off my shoulders when my decision was final. I knew I had a ton of work ahead of me, but I looked forward to each and every adventure!

It's hard to believe it has already been two years since that day- it feels like yesterday! Two whole years later, and I still wake up every morning thrilled to walk the 50 feet to work.

I like to keep very detailed records of my business, and every few months I do a year to year comparison. My first year full-time was better than I could have ever expected. I was lucky- I went into the year with my plate already pretty full. In the first few months of that first year I recorded a new anime, a couple of videogames, and began recording Raggs for PBS. My business continued to grow as my different marketing efforts took effect.

This year has been no different. I'm fortunate to have seen significant growth in the amount of clients and the quality of jobs I get to do! It is such a joy to do this work that I love so much, and I can't begin to express my gratitude to my fantastic clients and colleagues!

I spent a portion of the day today working on a project for a client that has joined me in the past year, Highlights. It is truly a pleasure to work with such a large company...and one I grew up with no less! In the past few months alone, I've had the opportunity to voice several videogames, a few animation projects, dozens of radio and TV commercials, e-learning projects, and a few narrations. What an awesome opportunity each has been! I've also picked up a new agent that I'm very excited about, and have had the chance to audition for some incredible projects in the past couple of weeks.

As I enter my third year full-time there are many changes on the horizon. At this moment, as I sit here typing, I am surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap. I'm getting things packed up to head to my new home in Tampa, FL. Where that new home will be exactly remains to be seen (we are still in the looking process) but I will soon be a Floridian regardless of the exact location!

I am sad to leave dear VO friends here in NC I've met over the past 2 years such as Bob Souer, Brian Haymond, Rowell Gorman, Donovan Corneetz, and so so many others! The fantastic studios I've worked at like The GroundCrew, Concentrix, and CHP. I will miss my amazing local agent, LuAnne, who is the sole reason I still do on-camera work!

Of course, the best part about being a full-time voice actor is that they are all one ISDN line away! I will continue to work with each and every one of them through the magic of technology, and for this I am beyond thankful!

Speaking of new technology, this move to Florida will also allow me to set up a new studio- which is always exciting! My third year full-time is sure to bring about many new adventures, and many pieces of new equipment- oh yeah!

As of now, I am planning to head south the first week of October, and I can't wait to meet my new Tampa VO friends I've met online!

It's been a fantastic, wild, emotional, incredible voice over journey thus far...and I love that it's really only just begun!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Don LaFontaine

I received an e-mail yesterday with the sad news of Don LaFontaine's passing.

We are in the business of words, yet the right words seem hard to come by today.

Don had a way of touching lives. I had the great fortune of meeting Don last year in Las Vegas at the VOICE conference. My mother attended Don's panel with me, and took the photo above.

My mom, with no knowledge or real interest in voice over, left that panel saying she had an enormous respect for Mr. LaFontaine. He made us laugh, he made us want to know him better, he made us want to be a little more like him. Whether you loved him for his talent, or his ability to tell a great loved him. Instantly.

After the panel, Don stayed long enough to take photos with every person in that room. He certainly didn't have to do this, and we would not have thought less of him for leaving. Yet, he stayed and shook every hand.

I am deeply saddened by Don's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with, and will continue to be with, Don's family and friends.