Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Are Your Kitchen Cabinets Stocked?

During a recent teleseminar with Nancy Wolfson and Anna Vocino (Acting For Advertising Part 8), Nancy made a comment that really hit home for me. Nancy and Anna were taking questions, and several people were very curious about ISDN, which Anna had recently added to her studio. Someone mentioned that they heard ISDN was on the way 'out' and asked if it made sense to go through the effort of hooking it up. Nancy made the comment (and forgive me for not having exact quotes, as I'm trying to write this from memory- scary!), "When your kitchen cabinets are fully stocked, you feel more confident about the future."

Nancy really touched on something so valuable here! Those that truly know me best know that I have a fear of not having food in the pantry. For me, food is security. As long as my family can eat- I know we will be ok. To be honest, I've always been a 'be prepared for anything and everything' kind of girl. Which is why I think Nancy's comment made such an impact on me.

Of course, Nancy wasn't talking about food, she was talking about our preparedness as voice actors to be able to handle anything that comes our way. The more prepared we are to meet any challenge, the higher our confidence will be, and ultimately the better job we will do for our clients.

So, how can we prepare? First, by making sure we are up to date on current voice over trends through extensive training with top notch coaches (Nancy is one of my coaches, and I highly recommend her!). Regular practice with a coach and on our own can help develop good habits to be called upon at a moment's notice.

Second, we can prepare by making sure we have the best sounding studio possible. Everyone is different, so the equipment that gives me the best sound isn't what will give you the best sound. Research and explore all the possibilities. I love having ISDN. It's not only helped me maintain the clients I had prior to relocating to FL, it's opened new doors for me as well! It's just one more 'can of food' to add to my 'pantry'. Are you an audio producer? That's something great to add to your resume! Do you have a wide selection of royalty music and sound fx? If not, it may be something for you to look in to!

Next, we can prepare by making sure we are marketing to the right buyers. Is your current marketing campaign working for you? If so- yay! If not- change it! Voice over is often 90% working to get work, and 10% actually doing the work- so make sure your 90% is well spent!

Finally, we can fully stock our 'kitchen' by surrounding ourselves with positive, like-minded people that want us to achieve our goals. These are the folks you turn to after a bad day that pick you up and dust you off. They might be fellow voice actors that send you job leads, or point you in directions that might help your business. As long as you are careful to give as much as you receive, your voice over kitchen will be bursting!

When I e-mailed Nancy to ask her permission to use her wise words, she told me about a great book relating to this very topic. You can find it in her online store...it's called "Talent Is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin. I plan to read it soon!


Christian Plasberg said...

Hi,Kara! I've been reading your blog for a while-a sort of "first time caller, long time listener" as it were. I've also studied with and had my demos produced by Nancy. The ISDN thing seems to be a bigger & bigger issue & more of a must for home studio talents who want work. Hopefully some cheaper long distance technology will come along soon! Thanks for this blog article & all the good food for thought!!

Kara Edwards said...


Thank you for your comment! It's always good to hear from new (or 'long time' as it were) readers :) ISDN is certainly a great tool. Another I am considering is Source Connect. It feels a bit redundant since I have ISDN- but I have had 3 studios ask me if I have it...so it would be just one more useful item! Nancy is great- I hope to update my demo with her in the near future.


Adam Fox said...

Hey Kara..

Another great blog entry.. Your entries are such great "Food for Thought" since we're talking about food and all..

Once again some incredibly mindful insight.. I know.. for instance.. that I'll feel allot better when the new studio is completed.. for me the security comes from having my ducks in a row.. if I have a project that's unfinished.. I'm always nervous that I'll get a big project and not be able to complete it because I'm in the middle of something.. Luckily.. I've got my current studio space setup and am scheduling the work in the main room upstairs at times when I'm not working on networking, projects, voiceover work etc. even if I've got nothing going on.. being ready to go if those emails come in.. I'd rather not be hammering a wall when I should be making that extra 500 bucks.. :)

Speaking of food.. I think I'll go to the pantry and make a can of soup.. :)

Peace and Chicken grease! ;0


Kara Edwards said...


Thank you for your comment! I'm enjoying following your studio developments- it's going to be great!!


Greg Houser said...

Hey Kara,

now you didn't think that you could have a topic about recording technology and just have me sit on the sidelines, did you?

Despite the naysayers, there a more than a few studios who prefer Source Connect over ISDN. One of the big reasons for this is cost (it's much cheaper than compared to ISDN). Additionally, Source Connect's interface with applications such as Pro Tools makes life a lot easier for studio engineers than ISDN does (though frankly, that comment is a hard sell to me as I've not really noticed it). However, what I truly like are the backup capabilities which I am told that Source Connect can provide. I was talking to George Whittam about this, and one of the primary reasons he was pushing the current version of Source Connect was that it had the capability to recover and re-download the audio as it's automatically stored on the computer and can be resent.

As for ISDN, yeah it's going away. I'm sorry, but you can see it in how it's being used and in how difficult it's becoming for talent to have it installed. I like ISDN, and for what it was designed to do (short dedicated connections, video teleconference) it does a great job. VOIP hasn't gotten there yet, and frankly it's not going to be for a few years still. Latency, and major security issues are keeping a lot of corporations from fully embracing it, and they're the ones who will set the tone for what the telecommunication companies provide. Until they fix the issues, and the technology is fully embraced, ISDN will continue to limp along (which is a good thing).

As for whether anyone actually needs ISDN for their voiceover business, the answer is that it depends. It's one of those things that you need, when you know that you need it. If you're losing $ because you don't have it, you might want to consider investing in ISDN, but not necessarily (depending on how much you're actually losing compare to the cost of installation and maintenance).



Voiceovers by Gregory Houser
A man, a martini, and a microphone

Bob Souer said...


I finished reading "Talent Is Overrated" last week (after Nancy recommended it to me, too) and let me tell you, it's a great book. It will change your point of view about talent, practice and persistence. In a good way. At least that's how I took it.

Be well,

Kara Edwards said...


As always, thank you for your insight, it is much appreciated!


That is great to know! I look forward to reading the book!