1. Added to the blogroll today

    I’ve just added my friend Heather Costa’s blog to my blogroll. Welcome, Heather!

  2. How quiet do you need it?

    My friend Andi Arndt has written a wonderful post called The Sound of Life about wrestling with whether or not to add an isolation booth to her toolkit as a narrator. I think you’ll find it well worth a few minutes of your time.

  3. A long series of failure

    I have been reading the Monday Morning Memo by Roy H. Williams since 1997. If you don’t get it in your inbox every Monday, I encourage you to sign up. The insights are well worth the few minutes of your week, and then some.

    Today’s memo is about the value of failure. As I read it, I started thinking about my long journey from worker bee to full time voice talent in a new way. Yes, it took me 26 years to finally make that transition in 2009. Yes, I had lots of opportunities along the way to make that transition at an earlier point in my life, and each of those times I failed to pull the trigger and ride the bullet.

    But, now I realize that each of those failures helped me better prepare for when I made the transition. Everyone, no matter at what level they operate has bumps and bruises along the way. Don’t imagine that your journey is going to smooth out one you hit your stride and start doing voiceover full time.

    And of course, in the world of voiceover, there are loads of auditions we don’t book. Plenty of connections and contacts that don’t lead to anywhere. So, are you going to take each of these “failures” in stride and keep moving? Or are they going to derail you?

  4. The ACX Master Class registration is closing

    You may have seen at least one of the free videos that Dan O’Day and David H. Lawrence XVII have done in advance of their ACX Master Class, so you probably know by now if recording audiobooks is appealing to you. Registration closes at midnight, Friday, February 7, 2014. In other words, just a little more than 24 hours after I post this, and probably less than 24 hours from the time you’re reading this.

    The first class will be Monday, so if you want to take part, register.

  5. Quote of the day

    “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.” – C. S. Lewis

  6. ACX Master Class and even more information

    As I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, Dan O’Day and David H. Lawrence, XVII are going to be presenting a Master Class on ACX soon. Before that, however, Dan is releasing some free videos about audiobook narration, of which this is the third. It’s chock full with solid information, much of it from people who are actually successfully narrating audiobooks.

    This video includes tons of tips about how to maximize your results via ACX. Dan even provides you with a checklist of things on which to work.

  7. ACX Master Class and more information

    Dan O’Day has released the second of his videos about audiobook narration. As I mentioned a few days ago, Dan will soon be presenting an ACX Master Class for those who want to make better use of the ACX site in building their voiceover business.

    In this second video Dan reveals the mystery audiobook expert with whom he is presenting this class. Honestly, I was all ready pretty interested in what Dan would offer in this class, but after watching this video I am even more interested than I all ready was.

  8. Returning to a theme

    A couple of years ago I wrote a post about how building a voiceover business is a lot like farming. You have to cultivate the ground, plant seeds, till the weeds, wait, pray for rain, wait some more and then you get to harvest. And then start all over again. Constantly.

    Today, Seth Godin amplifies and clarifies the point of that farming analogy with blog post Gradually and then suddenly. It’s a post well worth a moment of your time to read and several of them to consider.

    Oh, one other parallel between farming and voiceover? And this one I know in my bones because I grew up as a farm kid in North Central Minnesota: it’s a lot of hard work.

    Yet at the same time voiceover is much better than working for a living.

  9. ACX Master Class coming

    I enjoy narrating audiobooks a great deal and have had a narrator listing on ACX since the day it went live. Maybe you’ve been thinking about starting to work in the audiobook field or you’ve put your listing up on ACX, but so far nothing is happening for you. Well, my friend Dan O’Day is about to do some teleseminars on audiobooks and he’s releasing a series of free videos to help you get a better handle on exactly what’s involved and to decide if taking part might be right for you.

    The first video tackles “The 7 Lies You’ve Been Told About Narrating Audiobooks.” (Click the link to check out the video.)

  10. Banks wisdom for 2014

    My friend Philip Banks posted some cogent thoughts on the VO-BB earlier this week. I’ve quoted him here because not everyone will click through on the link and you really do need to see this:

    1 -Stop comparing the Neumann U87 with any $150 mic from China and then asking for opinions.
    2 – Stop comparing the MKH416 with the Neumann U87
    3 – Stop debating whether or not P2P sites work
    4 – Stop finding alternatives to ISDN
    5 – Stop working on your brand, you don’t know what that means
    6 – Stop linking to your blog, post your ill-informed opinions here
    7 – Stop looking for yet another agent
    8 – Stop trying to sound like the VO you admire
    9 – Stop trying to find YET another VO Coach
    10 – Stop asking other out of work VOs how to get more work
    11- Stop giving advice to other out of work VOs on how to get work
    12- Stop arguing with VOs who are at the top of the game
    13- Stop believing other VOs who claim to be at the top of their game
    14- Stop attending VO mixers until you’ve replaced the batteries in your Bullsh*t detectors
    15- Stop telling potential clients how you sound and what you can do and let them decide
    16- Stop following and start to lead
    17- Stop apologising for your rate
    18- Stop competing with others and start selling you; you’ll own the market
    19- Stop aiming low
    20- Stop giving yourself such a hard time, you’re doing fine.

    Now you’ve cleared the decks that leaves you free in 2014 to do all the things you’ve been avoiding which lead to jobs and pay days. You will be amazed how much progress you’ll make in a relatively short period of time.

    I wish you all prosperity in heart, body and bank account for 2014.

    As Philip would say … “Think on.”

  11. A Happy New Year to you

    Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing The Voiceover Boblog. I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 9 years now and I am truly grateful for your kind attention.

    The vast majority of the time I try to write about things other than my own voiceover work, because while this blog is about my take on voiceover, it’s not specifically a showcase for my own performances. However, this recent ad from nTelos Wireless is so much fun I just had to share it with you.

    May you have a truly wonderful 2014!

  12. Quote of the year

    Living as I do in the Pittsburgh, PA area I run across things related to Fred Rogers and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood all the time. If you don’t know who he is, click here and you’ll see who I’m talking about. He was truly a wonderful human being and the quote I ran across recently I’m calling my quote of the year, because it so beautifully captures one of my core life principles.

    “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like “struggle.” To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now – and to go on caring even through times that may bring us pain.” – Fred Rogers

  13. Lessons from a high school talent show

    My middle son David was recently one of the performers in his high school talent show. He did a beautiful job singing “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” from the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” movie.

    But while I am very proud of the job my son did, what got this post started rolling around in my head was watching the entire evening and observing the wide range of talent displayed. From a drum duet to a baton twirling act, there was something different happening every few minutes.

    One of my observations has to do with the interesting clash between the apparent popularity of a given performer and the quality of the actual performances. For example, one singer who was clearly one of the popular kids based on the way the audience reacted before the song began, was flat about half of the song; meanwhile another singer who garnered a much more tepid reaction from the audience absolutely nailed her performance.

    Thinking about the evening, I started with the observation that it’s inevitable any talent show featuring high school students is going to have a wide variety of talent levels demonstrated. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this isn’t just true about high school talent shows, it applies to the whole of life including our work in voiceover.

    Each of us has categories of work where we shine most brightly and others where the light isn’t quite so sharp. Does this mean we should only do the stuff at which we’re best? That’s one way to go for sure, but I would submit it’s not the only one.

    From the most polished to the least, each act I saw in my son’s talent show was presented with real passion and a desire to please the audience. And more important, by someone who pushed past his or her fears to get on the stage and perform. So, don’t fence yourself into a pen that’s artificially small. Stretch your wings. Take a chance. And then another.

    You might land on your face and end up feeling foolish. So what? You took a risk. And that puts you miles ahead of the masses who never get past their fears. Who never step into the spotlight and let it all hang out.

  14. A newspaper interview

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has just published an interview with me. I hope you enjoy reading it.

  15. The Gold Rush

    In the last 150 plus years, there have been a few periods of madness in the USA that were called a “gold rush.” The most famous was the California gold rush in the middle of the 19th century.

    As you may or may not know, there were only a relatively few people who actually struck riches during any of these gold rushes. No, the people who most consistently made good money were the merchants who supplied the miners with tools and supplies. And at the time there were no certification bodies for safety or quality. So, when buying a pick or axe or shovel, the miner was on his own to determine if it was of an appropriate quality to do the work and last long enough to actually get some results.

    So what does this mini history lesson have to do with voiceover?

    In the last few years, there’s been quite a rush into voiceover. I can’t count the number of emails, calls and other messages I’ve received from people who have heard that there’s “good money in voiceover.” Here’s a quick thought on that subject before I continue:

    “Voiceover is a great way to make a living, but it’s a terrible way to make a living quickly.” – Bob Souer

    Look, voiceover is a business so, yes, you need to pay attention to making money. But, it’s also art. So, if you’re in voiceover just to make money, there are probably a lot better avenues to pursue. It’s a long, hard slog to build your business to the point that you can make a living doing just voiceover work. Only a tiny fraction of all the people who start out to make a career in voiceover ever make any real money at it. A very tiny fraction.

    Meanwhile, you’ll find loads of folks with “advice” or seminars or workshops on how to make money in voiceover. I have no fear of being wrong when I advise you to run in the opposite direction from anyone who wants to sell you something or some plan to help you make money in voiceover.

    There are many legitimate coaches. But there are a host of people more interested in separating you from your hard-earned money than they are in actually helping you make any real progress toward your goal of working in voiceover. I sincerely wish this were not true, but it is. Be very careful who you start studying with. Ask questions. Here’s one: What are the names of 5 people who have studied with you who are now working full-time in voiceover?

    Assuming you get the names, contact these individuals and ask them about their experiences.

    The coaches with whom I’ve studied have my explicit permission to use my name and share my contact information. I’m happy to give an honest evaluation about my experiences. And I do.

    When you find a coach who is helping people actually make a living in voiceover, and you’ve talked with several students, then go for it. The money you invest (assuming you’re willing to do the work to actually learn and put into practice what you’re learning) will pay substantial returns in the long run.

  16. A little something I just recorded

    For a while now it’s been my delight and honor to voice some commercials for Roswell Park. Here’s an example:

  17. It’s been far too long

    I’ve had several ideas for blog posts floating around in my head for weeks now, but between one thing and another it’s been way too easy to put off actually writing anything. But today’s blog post by Seth Godin called Not a gift has kicked me off my “stuck” and into action. Seth makes such a solid point about how the attributes we admire and desire in others, which we often describe as being gifts are in fact attitudes and not gifts. People aren’t born generous, honest, or thoughtful. Those and a host of other qualities are attitudes, not gifts. And we can choose to have positive and helpful attitudes or we can choose not to have them.

    So, today, what are you going to choose?

  18. Added to the blogroll today

    One of the very best things about Faffcon is the people you get to meet, learn from, and with whom you get to spend some time. At Faffcon 6 in San Antonio almost a month ago, one of the people I got to meet was Melissa Moats. Just today I discovered Melissa has a voiceover blog so I’ve added her to my blogroll.

  19. Marice update

    Here’s an update on where Marice Tobias will be over the next few months.

  20. Wisdom from Calvin’s creator

    With my profound thanks to my friend Fran McClellan for posting the link to this on Google+, where I found it, please take a few minutes to read some wise words and images in this post by Bill Waterson called A Cartoonist’s Advice.

  21. Home Grown Giants

    For a couple of years now, it’s been a delight working with the San Francisco Giants. They’ve just released a terrific documentary called Homegrown Giants. I hope you enjoy watching because the stories of the people involved are terrific whether you’re a baseball fan or not.

    (edited to fix typo)

  22. Marice Tobias workshop next month

    This will be amazing. (Note: Updated to make clear this event is taking place in Los Angeles.)

  23. Interested in voicing games?

    Then take a few minutes to read this superb article by my friend DB Cooper

  24. Quote of the day

    From Trent Hamm’s wonderful The Simple Dollar blog:

    “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie

  25. It’s the last day for one key benefit to The Voiceover Class

    For several years now, Harlan Hogan and Dan O’Day have been doing a teleseminar series once during the year. It’s called The Voiceover Class. I took part in the first of them back in May of 2009 and it was an excellent experience. I’ve encouraged many of my friends to take the subsequent editions of this teleseminar series and have posted about it here as well. The stated goal of The Voiceover Class is to help you take your voiceover sideline and turn it into your full time business. Based on my experience and the experiences of a number of my friends, I would say it’s a goal that Harlan and Dan do a terrific job of reaching.

    Registration has been going one for several days now, but there’s a pretty strong reason you’ll want to act today if you think this is something you would like to invest in. Each time Harlan and Dan do The Voiceover Class, they bring in Jeffrey Fisher to do an evaluation of the sound the studios of the members of the classes. This year, because of other commitments, Jeffrey is only going to be able to do a limited number of evaluations so you have to register before September 1, 2013 (in other words by Midnight today or tomorrow depending on when you’re readying this, August 31, 2013) in order to be included in those who get this evaluation. And again, I can say from experience,  what you get from Jeffrey is  valuable information that will help you get a better sound from your studio.

    Harlan and Dan have offered to pay me $200 for each person who puts my name in the “Your Comments” field of the online registration form. You decide if you want to put my name in there or not. I’m fine with whatever you do. It’s not cheap. In fact, it’s a pretty fair chunk of money, but I think you’ll find the money you invest in The Voiceover Class will be money well spent, especially if you’re serious about making voiceover your full time business. So click through on one of the links for The Voiceover Class to get all the details about signing up.

  26. Hal Douglas in the spotlight

    With my thanks to Dan Hurst for posting the link to this video on Facebook, here is a fabulous short documentary about the great Hal Douglous.

  27. The latest “bridges,” Vol. 38 has been released

    Four times a year, it’s my pleasure to work with the Office of Science and Technology at the Embassy of Austria on their “bridges” journal and specifically on the podcasts of some of their articles. The latest edition, Vol. 38 is now out.

  28. In A World

    I’m hoping to see the new movie In A World in a few days. If you’re involved in voiceover or interested in voiceover, you’re likely hoping to see it as well. Meanwhile, you might want to check out the excellent review of the film posted in VoiceOverXtra by Heather Costa.

  29. The Voiceover Class

    For several years now, Harlan Hogan and Dan O’Day have been doing a teleseminar series once during the year. It’s called The Voiceover Class. I took part in the first of them back in May of 2009 and it was an excellent experience. I’ve encouraged many of my friends to take the subsequent editions of this teleseminar series and have posted about it here as well. The stated goal of The Voiceover Class is to help you take your voiceover sideline and turn it into your full time business. Based on my experience and the experiences of a number of my friends, I would say it’s a goal that Harlan and Dan do a terrific job of reaching.

    Registration actually started yesterday, and there’s a pretty strong reason you’ll want to act quickly if you think this is something you would like to invest in. Each time Harlan and Dan do The Voiceover Class, they bring in Jeffrey Fisher to do an evaluation of the sound the studios of the members of the classes. This year, because of other commitments, Jeffrey is only going to be able to do a limited number of evaluations so you have to register before September 1, 2013 (in other words by Midnight, August 31, 2013) in order to be included in those who get this evaluation. And again, I can say from experience,  what you get from Jeffrey is  valuable information that will help you get a better sound from your studio.

    Harlan and Dan have offered to pay me $200 for each person who puts my name in the “Your Comments” field of the online registration form. You decide if you want to put my name in there or not. I’m fine with whatever you do, but I do think you’ll find the money you invest in The Voiceover Class will be money well spent, especially if you’re serious about making voiceover your full time business. So click through on one of the links for The Voiceover Class to get all the details about signing up.

  30. Leslie’s audiobook

    My very good friend Leslie Wadsworth is the narrator of an inspiring new audiobook called Gods of Noonday. Leslie’s is one of those luscious voices I can listen to all day, reading anything; so when she’s telling a gripping story, it’s very much worth checking out. Here’s her narration of the book’s prologue so you can see and hear for yourself what I’m writing about.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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