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.
I know I promised another article that was inspired from my recent trip, but I had to pass on something I just read that will help you move forward in your voice-over career. It’s a new year, and many people have spent part of the day setting goals and reflecting on events of the past year. Every New Year’s Eve, I write in a special journal about my plans and hopes for the coming year. I have goals for all areas of my life, especially in my voice-over profession.
However, I have learned that I don’t want to spend too
Drew and me in front of the Sphinx and Pyramids
I was shocked and saddened to open my e-mail this evening and find this message from Michele Cobb, president of the Audio Publishers Association:
We are sad to report that Kate Fleming, award-winning audiobook producer and narrator passed away Thursday, December 15, after being trapped in her flooded basement studio. She was a proud member of the audiobook community and will be greatly missed. We offer condolences to her loved ones, colleagues at Cedar House Audio and to all of the members who worked with and were inspired by Kate. Information regarding where you may send condolences will be forthcoming.
-- John Lydgate
As an aside -- when I was researching the correct attribution of this quote, I was interested to learn that, according to Wikipedia, the Oxford English Dictionary cites Lydgate with the earliest record of using the word talent in reference to a gifted state of natural ability.
Lydgate's quote was on my mind because of the first of the trip-related stories that I wanted to write. In your voice-over business, do you have a level of service that you provide to your clients? Do you guarantee your clients' satisfaction with your work? Have you done any contingency planning so that you can provide your voice-over recordings to your clients in the event of unexpected delays?
I have not written terms of service for my voice-over business, but I strive to ensure that every client is totally delighted with the work I perform. Ever heard of the phrase 'the show must go on'? If someone has booked your time, a professional talent doesn't call in sick and leave the client hanging in the face of a deadline.
In contrast, many large corporations have extensive written terms of service that their customers should expect. Human error, mechanical problems and forces of nature can cause the terms of service to decline or sometimes disappear.
The Audio Publishers Association reports that many people get audiobooks when they are traveling. With Thanksgiving a couple days away, you may be thinking of picking up an audiobook for your trip, and, as an audiobook narrator, I applaud your wisdom! 🙂
If you would like some help in making your selection, you will enjoy reading Stephen King’s recent column in Entertainment Weekly titled Hail to the Spoken Word in which he listed his top 10 audiobook recommendations. The discussion from readers is equally lively.
I ran across a fantastic entry on fellow voice-over actor Adam Creighton's blog titled Acting is a lot of work. It's the sort of thing I wish I had written.
I don't know Adam and haven't previously read his blog. However, he strikes me as an extremely talented, goal-oriented guy who can inspire all of us with his tremendous work ethic and fierce determination to live the life of his dreams. I particularly liked the paragraph where he said that if you don't have work, you make your own. I also have used comic books for character voice creation and practice, but Adam takes that method one step further by creating simple animation by taking pictures with his digital camera.
Some of the most stellar ideas for business expansion have come from people making their own work. Hollywood stars often have their own production companies; why shouldn't a voice actor do the same thing? In his most excellent course You Must Act! , actor/writer/director Bob Fraser advises would-be actors to cast yourself in roles that you want. Whether you are acting on stage or in a voice-over booth, his advice is still sound (pardon the pun).
I was fortunate to have a personal consultation with Bob in which we discussed that point. Casting oneself means that you know your strong suit, and you also know the things that you enjoy doing. You therefore actively seek out those opportunities or possibly create them for yourself. Adam knows this secret.
Things happen for a reason. Every moment and decision has meaning -- even if you don't know it at the time.
As I sit in my beautiful soundproof recording studio with its Parisian decorating scheme, I still marvel at the newness of it. A little more than a year ago at this time, my house, my voice-over career and my life were severely disrupted because we were in the midst of building the addition on our house for the studio.
I didn't even make the decision to build the studio until 6 January 2005. Prior to building the studio, I had been using an unventilated, small walk-in closet as my voice-over recording booth. While I could tolerate the many discomforts of the space, it was the surrounding noise that forced me to go to drastic lengths.