I've been working and traveling so much lately that I have neglected to update my blog. Happy anniversary to me! I've been writing blog entries for a year and hope that you have found some useful tidbits in them to help you live the life of your dreams, especially your dreams of a thriving voice-over career.
I recently bought the DVD and book of the best-selling work The Secret. I do believe in the Law of Attraction and attempt to live my life according to its principles. I have read many books on the topic and find something meaningful in each one. Since some of my writing on this blog relates to ideas and processes described in The Secret, I decided to add a category for The Secret to make those types of posts more readily identifiable.
My knowledge and application of the Law of Attraction are sort of like learning to use your microphone and editing program. At first, you don't know how to do it. Once you get comfortable with the principles, you practice and continue to learn. Even when you're competent or even at authority level, you still want to learn and apply more so that you will always improve.
I was on a cruise recently and had an epiphany. Drew and I were seated around some loud, obnoxious people. We looked at each other and said, as we have said in many similar past circumstances, "We must be magnets for this type of behavior." I realized at that moment that we were indeed MAGNETS! By constantly saying and reinforcing the idea that we would be seated next to rude, noisy people, it's like raising our hands to the Universe and saying "bring 'em on!" I now say that I am a magnet for peace and quiet, with respectful people around me. 🙂
Hurricane-ravaged Grenada was one of the islands we visited. While the country has rebuilt much destroyed in hurricanes of recent years, nature's damage was still very evident. Roofs were missing from the 3 churches that we saw. Some building still looked ramshackle and uninhabitable. Looking around and seeing the people scrambling for every dollar made me once again feel extreme gratitude for the bountiful blessings in my life.
However, my spriritual side was not the only part of me that had a boost in knowledge during the trip. I also noticed something that could apply to my voice-over career. Drew and I were about to cross a street in a narrow intersection at the top of the steep hill near the old fort. He started to walk, but I stopped him. A car was zooming up the hill, and the driver wasn't going to stop.
I saw a post on another blog a few minutes ago that compelled me to respond. Someone else had commented that they were wary of authors reading their own books for the audio version because reading aloud is hard to do properly. The podiobooks blog author asserted that reading aloud for audiobooks could not be difficult since that person’s mother read to him/her when s/he was a child. Before I answered, I guess I should have noticed that the post was filed under Rants. Anyway, I’m including my comments about the difficulty imposed by audiobook narration here on
A few weeks ago, Drew told me that he found himself critiquing the voice-over actors on local radio commercials. He said he could recognize voice talent who need more training because they haven't learned how to sound conversational in their reads. Among other things, he astutely detected that amateurs invariably let their voices trail off at the ends of sentences.
That same day, I called a major entertainment venue here in Atlanta to learn information about an upcoming event. I was rather shocked to hear a voice message in which the events and ticket prices were read in a choppy, uneven manner by someone with an accent. While some local commercials are produced by people with limited budgets, this complex has revenues in the millions each year. Its operations department unquestionably could afford to hire professional voice talent but has not.
In both cases, a professional voice-over artist like me could be tempted to offer her services to these businesses to fix their problems. However, both the people producing the commercials and those at the entertainment venue don't think that they have a problem. My efforts therefore would fall in the category of unsolicited advice and most likely anger the people that I most wanted to impress.
I learned this lesson the hard way. As I was beginning my voice-over career, I wrote an e-mail to a local car dealer who runs a lot of radio ads. With my infinite wisdom, I explained that the dealer's ads about Jenny in the office making a Bundt cake for all of the salesmen was offensive because it presented a very sexist and condescending attitude toward women. Mind you, I sent this message in the late 90s or early in this decade. The ad WAS sexist, but as a new voice talent who had no connection to this advertiser, it wasn't my place to point out that fact. Naturally, I happily identified myself as a voice-over talent and offered to assist the dealer with future commercials.
I have auditioned for that dealer's spots on numerous occasions but have never booked one. I have listened to my auditions against the ads that ran on the air. My vocal qualities and copy interpretation are eerily similar in many cases. Since I'm a positive person, I believe that maybe the producers knew the talent selected for the ads or perhaps never heard my auditions. I have to be honest, though, and acknowledge that an equally likely scenario is that my unsolicited advice was considered criticism and destroyed my chances of booking work with that advertiser.
A musical instrument can produce melodious notes in any key playable by the instrument and known by the musician. If my voice is my instrument, why should I limit myself only to the words available in one language?
The world view of an American is someone is only knows one language. Foreign languages are not required school subjects here, so many people do not choose to learn them. English has become the global language for business and computer systems.
In 1994, Drew and I took our first trip abroad. Our destination was Germany, with a weekend in Amsterdam on the end of the trip. I had studied German in high school and college, but I had forgotten much of it since I had not had an opportunity to practice it. Don't worry about the language was the advice of a friend. Everyone in Europe speaks English.
We discovered that the German people spoke German, at least on our first day in Munich. While our remembrances of that day now make for funny stories, the language barrier caused one of the most frustrating days of our entire marriage.
As a side note, I believe that the fear of the language barrier is one reason many people don't travel internationally. This post and several others have been inspired by some trips, but this blog is not about travel. However, I will point out that if you attempt to speak even a few words in the native tongue of the country where you're standing, you have just made a huge step forward in making your trip an enjoyable one.
In Germany, I found that I started remembering more of my German as I continued to hear it. I could speak sentences half in German and half in English to people. After the first day, more people started speaking English, even ein bisschen (a little) to us. When they said they could speak 'a little' English, they usually were fluent.
Two trips abroad this past year brought me in contact with students at language schools.In February, I went to Brazil for the fantastic Inner Game of Voice-Over Workshop taught by my voice-over coach Susan Berkley and her co-instructor Rich Jones, an award-winning voice talent from Canada who now lives in Brazil.
Susan and Rich both speak fluent Portuguese. The workshop participants certainly were grateful for their translation assistance when we were shopping in the small countryside towns where English was not widely spoken! One of the most memorable uses of language was our studio session in Sao Paulo. Susan directed the talent in English and immediately gave production instructions to the engineer in Portuguese.
Rich also teaches English at the Millennium Language School in Sao Paulo. I was delighted in recent months when Rich asked me to voice some tracks for an instructional CD to be used at the school.
When I was in Brazil, the Brazilian students loved to talk to the Americans as it gave them ample opportunity to practice their English. I loved talking with the students as I was able to interact with people in another country on a more personal level than I normally do when I travel. The Brazilian students were all adults in a wide spectrum of ages.
I had a doctor’s appointment today. I have been taking prescription drugs for several years to prevent migraine headaches, and I have decided that I don’t want to take daily medicine for the rest of my life. I want step down the dosage so that I’m off the drugs completely.
While the doctor is willing to accommodate my request, I noticed that she told me more than once that I would probably start noticing an increase in headaches and would need to go back on the medicine. Maybe, but I don’t think so.
The mind is an extraordinary thing. In
Whether you are just beginning or a professional, I cannot recommend too highly my voice-over coach Susan Berkley for training classes. Susan is the voice of AT&T, Citibank and other companies. She holds teleclasses, voice-over bootcamps and specialized workshops throughout the year to meet the needs of voice-over students.
I am a member of Susan’s inner circle coaching program and have taken several classes that she sponsored. One reason I like the Inner Circle so much is because we have a monthly teleclass. We usually speak with someone in the voice-over industry, but we also have
One need only look at my voice-over studio to know that I am in love with Paris. The Eiffel Tower is my favorite thing in the world. I wear a gold Eiffel Tower charm on a bracelet, and I have numerous Eiffel Tower figurines in my house. The highlight (no pun intended) of my collection is a tall, lead crystal Eiffel Tower that sits on a lighted mirrored base. The base has colored LEDs, so the sparkling crystal shimmers in a rainbow of color as the base slowly turns.
A dear friend didn't know that I had bought this crystal Eiffel Tower when I was in Las Vegas. As a birthday present, she surprised me with a smaller version of the one I had bought. It even sits atop a lighted mirrored base just like the one pictured here.
Granted, the peddlers swarming beneath the Tower's four lacy pillars wouldn't know those things about me as Drew and I exited the Tower on a recent visit to Paris. They would only know that I had been up in the Tower, and they should have noticed that I was carrying a shopping bag. Since it was dark, they may have been unable to discern that the shopping bag was from the Eiffel Tower, indicating I had purchased souvenirs at the Tower gift shops.
Just like at the Great Pyramids, these people all rush up to you, shoving their wares in your face and shouting prices at you. In addition to the ever-popular Eiffel Tower key chains that we have seen (and bought) on previous trips, the new craze was hand-held, flashing, lighted Eiffel Towers. A girl who loves the Eiffel Tower as much as I do and already has 2 lighted crystal Eiffel Towers is a likely target market for such a thing. At the time, though, I was most interested in dinner since it was very late, and we had to get up early for our flight home.
The seller's approach has everything to do with the prospect's interest. People shouting prices at me just make me want to hurry along to get away from them, no matter how much I might like their item. As Will Newman points out in his excellent article in the Early to Rise e-zine, you often have to use the word because and appeals to prospects emotions if you expect to make sales.
One of these flashing light vendors started walking with us. Like the guy at the Pyramids, I'll give him points for trying to create rapport with us. He even attempted to follow Newman's advice to play to our emotions, but he made a critical mistake.