The Hip Chick Voice Blog!

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... of the Internet

It's January 4th, the very beginning of the New Year...

... and already, twice this week, I've been told that people have found me (and booked me) by Googling my name, then watching videos on my YouTube Channel, and listening to spots on my web site.

I also try to develop relationships through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook (TWO pages) and LinkedIn. I actually don't know that I specifically do that to garner business, but it's great to get to know like-minded people. I like learning about people and their experiences. And I feel like if people get to know me as a person, creating that relationship is better than just handing them a business card while giving them a 30 second elevator speech to hit them up for business. I'd rather have a relationship so that we get to know each other by learning about the music we like, hobbies we enjoy, volunteering we do... that kind of thing.

That said, there are precautions one should take. You can, without realizing it, put a lot of personal information out into the ether that you probably don't want people to know. Here are some things I find helpful:

- on Facebook, I have lists of friends. I have a "Private" list - those are close friends or people I know. I post more personal status updates and pictures to my "Private" list.

- I have a few other lists (voiceover, as well as people separated by organizations I'm involved with) and a general friends list. I make sure those posts are more generic.

- very little I post is to the "Public" - mainly work-related posts.

- I do NOT allow "Friends of Friends" to view my posts. I've done some research on that option, and I believe it to be more "open" than even a "Public" view, because things you post then show up on your "Friends of Friends" feeds. It exponentially increases your exposure. (And, when I did have "Friends of Friends" for a short time, I received some pretty creepy emails from men.)

- If I check-in somewhere, it's usually to my smaller, "Private" list. (And know that it's internet etiquette to ask those you're with if they'd like to be checked-in).

- I have to approve all tags for photos, etc.

- The settings on my phone are such that the GPS is turned off, therefore no one should be able to track me via a picture.

- I make sure anything I link to doesn't include any personal information that I don't want people to know, such as my AGE... (haha... just kidding) or my address (not kidding).

- While I DO accept Friend Requests of people I don't know (because there are lots of voice over people I don't know!!), they are put on the general "Friends" list and they see the very generic posts.

- If someone local in my area sends me a Friend Request, and I don't know them, I send them a message asking how we know each other. If I don't know them in some way, I simply apologize and explain that I don't friend people I don't know.

All of this might sound extreme, but I've had some experiences that have taught me first-hand, one can really never be too cautious on the World Wide Web. We certainly can use it to our advantage for relationships and marketing, but please, be careful.







 



Gratitude and Intention

I've noticed the recent phenomenon on social networking sites of people listing one thing they're grateful for each day in November, you know, since it's the month of Thanks and all. Grateful for their children, their iPhone, their dog, Pandora (I'll agree with that one... and I'll add Bluetooth, oh, and car seat heaters...)... the lists are endless.

Shouldn't we be grateful 365 days a year?

We all overlook it. We get caught up in the day-to-day hectic-ness of life, which generally causes stress and frustration, and we forget. We forget how fortunate we truly are.

One of my favorite books is "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill - but to me, and I think to the author, "rich" doesn't necessarily mean rich with money. "Rich" means whatever enriches your life and your soul. If you put the thought - the intention - out there in your heart and mind - and you truly want it, it will happen. You'll be given the way to make it happen. It won't always be easy. But if it's meant to be, you'll do it.

When I first decided to try a career in voice over, I read "The Secret" and watched the movie, too. And, I don't know why because I'm not one to "fall" for the hokey and cheesy sales pitches - but, I was sold. There was just something about the optimism - the hope and faith and belief that yes, you CAN have what you want, if you know what it is.

Days later, I sat on my living room floor, with poster board, magazines, glue sticks and scissors, and created a vision board (and I still create new ones every once in a while), and a gratitude board, too.

I believe by having gratitude for what we have, we end up being blessed with even more than we ever imagined we could be.

I manifested what I wanted. That doesn't mean reciting a mantra of requests for an hour a day. I worked at it. Hard. Every day. In my spare time when I wasn't working my day job, I spent hours upon hours in a 3x8 closet converted into a studio. I took classes. I read every book I could on the subject of voice over. I listened and learned from people in the business, at all levels... not just the pros. I auditioned for hundreds of gigs, I'm sure, and landed very, very few (but auditioning is practice!). I was even fired from my first job after recording it... devastated, yes, but I kept trying. Today, I really do pinch myself pretty regularly because I just can't believe it happened - I have a career in voice over. It really happened, and continues to.

So, here, in this month of thanks, I'm going to take some time to recount what I'm grateful for. Since everyone else is making a list, I will too!

I am grateful for:

-the fact that I'm breathing

-grace (this is a big one - not sure anyone ever fully "accomplishes" grace, but I'm grateful when I am able to live gracefully)

-faith and hope,

-someone up above looking out for me. For the first time in my life, I recently doubted this, but realize now that even when things are at their darkest, someone was watching out for me.

-being able to make myself vulnerable and take risks

-my mind and the ability to use my brain to think and reason and to create in both voice and written word - things I love to do,

-which in turn, provide me the ability to have my career,

-and that, in turn provides a home I call my own, and all the "luxuries" I enjoy (not that they're important in the big scheme, but I'm VERY grateful I'm not living in a refrigerator box),

-my ability to talk, walk, see, hear, taste, touch, feel and function healthily,

-people who love and care about me,

-the opportunity to volunteer with kids in my spare time (and to have spare time), and hopefully make some sort of difference in their lives.

Come to think of it, it's time to create a new Vision Board! Interestingly, though, my wants these days are pretty few. But, I am pursuing a new hobby I'm excited about. So, it's not a bad idea to make that intention "official" on a Vision Board. Off to find that glue stick and scissors...









Blessed with Press

Recently, I have have been fortunate to have some lovely articles written about me. I also had the opportunity to be the "makeover model" for a high end magazine in Southwest Florida. It was so much fun to have my hair and makeup done for a really fun photo shoot.

A special thank you to these press outlets for writing about my voice over career, life experiences, and giving me fantastic opportunities to share my stories, and hopefully inspire others in some way.

Here are the links:

University of Florida alumni magazine, FLORIDA - "A Gold Medal Voice"
July 2012

Gulfshore Life Magazine - "Makeover!"
August 2012

Gainesville Magazine - "The Voice You Know"
October/November 2012




How Did You Get Into Such An Unusual Career?

Whenever someone finds out what I do for a living, that is ALWAYS the question I am asked.

Thanks to Peter O'Connell, fellow voiceover talent and all around good guy, I had the opportunity to answer that question, and four others in his 5Q:VO Series, Five Questions for Professional Voice-Over Talent.

You can check it out here.

Thanks for reading!!!

How To Be A Voiceover Actor

Answer: Be Chris Rock.

Last night, before presenting the award for Best Animated Feature Film at The Oscars, Chris Rock made a few jokes about voiceover in animation and how easy it is, and what a payday it is.

Esteemed animation voiceover actress Tara Strong responded with a post on Facebook: "β€œI challenge Chris Rock to a voice off, since he thinks it's so "easy". If I win, I get his million dollar pay checks #oscars”

My guess is Tara Strong's email inbox will really light up this week, especially since her comments have made their way into the media. Click here to read.

I too posted something on Facebook about Chris Rock's comments, and a couple of my friends reminded me that Chris Rock is a comedian, and it was just a joke.

I get that. I truly do. Here, see, I'm laughing: hahahahaha!

On the flipside, many voice actors I know receive inquiries from voiceover hopefuls pretty frequently, with questions ranging from "how do I get started" to "what kind of a microphone do I need" to "who's your agent and can you give me a recommendation?"

Woah.

Baby steps, people, baby steps.

If you're interested in trying to have a career in voiceover, here are the first things I recommend you do:

1) Go to my friend Nancy Wolfson's web site, www.braintracksaudio.com, and buy the mp3 entitled "Your Voiceover Business." Listen to it at least three thousand times. (Ok, three times will likely work). Take notes. Process the information, and decide if you are truly willing and able to make the investment of both time and money to see if you can break into voice acting.

2) Buy the book "Voice for Hire" by Randy Thomas and Peter Peter Rofe. Read it. Two thousand times. It's a quick read. Ohhhh... ok, read it twice... that should do. Take notes. Process the information. This book will also give you a better understanding of how the world of voiceover works.

3) No matter what your background, or what genre of voiceover you're interested in, take acting classes. Lots of them. And improv too. Play as much as you can.

Once you've done the above, along with the one million and one things you need to do, most importantly, set specific goals. Create a business plan. Because, it is, afterall, a business. You will need to not only audition and work, but market yourself, seek out clients, be responsible for book keeping and invoicing, and all the other things that go along with running your own business.

I truly believe that if you truly have a dream to be a voiceover actor, you can do it. Lord knows, I did. I had zero experience - no radio  or broadcasting background, no acting background. Just a true desire to make a dream come true. I worked very hard... no, wait, I WORK (present tense) very hard, and I am VERY blessed to be able to walk into my studio each morning and work and make a living.

But it doesn't happen overnight. Or easily. But, it CAN heppen. You have to make it happen.

"Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be, your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil." ~ James Allen


The Training Effect by Marice Tobias

Voiceover consultant, Marice Tobias, imparts her wisdom once again. What a timely reminder as we get ready for the new year!! So very true. Gotta stay on top of our game!

Click here to read Marice's blog.

What Does a VO Director Expect of YOU?

My friends at Resnick Interactive Group posted a great blog post the other day about what is expected of a voice over actor during a session. It's a quick read, but one that's chock full of info.

Clickety Click here to read!!!


Be Grateful.

"It's not having what you want, but wanting what you have, that's true happiness."

I saw this posted on Facebook a few days ago, and it really resonated with me.

I believe in manifesting what you desire. I make Vision Boards every so often - I put pictures of places I want to go, health goals, the vo gigs I plan to voice one day, and even manifest monetary goals.

I've been doing Vision Boards for a few years now. As I look back at my old boards, it is absolutely amazing to see what has come into my life, because I put those desires out there to God/the Universe/insert your deity here, and made them happen.

But, there's also another Board I create and maintain.

A Gratitude Board. Or what I like to call, a Blessing Board.

On this board, I have pictures of the things in my life for which I'm grateful. There are also lots of words on this board, because frankly, it's easier to write these things out. I have a piece of paper glued to the board that has LOTS of space for me to write in, and every so often, I write down one or two things that come to mind that day that I'm grateful for.

I think it's important to not only put out there what you want to achieve, but to be so very grateful for all you have.

"It's not having what you want, but wanting what you have, that's true happiness."

Life's Lessons

A very knowledgeable, selflessly helpful man by the name of Mike Sommer passed away unexpectedly last week. My voice over friends and I just learned about this last night.

There's an online bulletin board for voice over talent called the vo-bb.com. I've met some of my closest friends through interactions on that board. These are people from all over the world... we not only talk all things voice over, but as it happens, we share our trials and tribulations of life. The folks on the vo-bb.com are some of the most supportive, caring, loving folks on the face of this planet. And I've not even met most of them in person.

Mike was a regular on the board. I didn't know him very well, however.

I've not been a regular on the vo-bb in a while. Life has just gotten in the way, I guess. But when I do go on the board, Mike was the master of the "Gear" section, always offering his help on studio build outs and acoustics. Let me tell you, when you don't know a whole lot about this kind of stuff, when someone offers their knowledge, you are soooo appreciative.

I remember Mike would even go so far as to ask for the dimensions of the room. He would draw out a plan and go to great detail to explain what the best acoustical plan of action would be. The conversation thread could be miles long - he was generous with his time and knowledge.

Even an acquaintance's untimely passing can give us pause to think about what's really important in life.

You hear all of this time and time again, but TRULY consider this.

Give an extra hug to those you love... everyday.

Don't just tell them you care about them, ACT like you care about them. Show them.

Show appreciation for those in your life. Even those you don't know well.

Be kind. Give a smile to someone you don't know. You never know how much it will affect their day... but I promise you, it will.

β€œTo laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to leave the world a better place; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


You Don't Know Till You Try!

Fellow voice over actress, Lori Ferguson Ferth, asked that I write a blog after I posted this on my Facebook fan page:

"Not sure your voice meets the specs of a project? Give it a shot anyway! You don't know till you try!"

Lori's asked to hear a story of my winning a job I thought my voice wasn't right for.

I must say, this has happened a number of times in the past year.

My "money voice" has been the happily amped, highly charged, Disney-esque toy commercial read. Now I can spit that read out so easily, it's just second nature. I can generally get it in one take, without really breaking down the copy or overthinking the read.

In the past 18 months, I've had some personal experiences (namely, a divorce, and all that comes with that) which have changed the shape of my perspective. This, in turn, has most definitely changed the way I interpret and read certain types of copy. I am able to lend a bit more gravitas and compassion to a read.

For example, I NEVER book the "hospital" read. You know the one... the "warm, compassionate, caring" read. But recently, I booked a large gig for that very read. The client definitely liked something about my sound when they heard the audition, regardless of whether my audition read fit the specs exactly.

Normally, I would likely not make auditioning for a gig like that a priority, however, I do try to submit on ALL auditions that land in my inbox. While specs are often somewhat specific (and, well, sometimes they're not), I think that in the end, the client only knows what they want once it graces their ears.

Here's another example: again, knowing my money voice is that hyped happy toy read, I DO audition for things that are sultry and sexy, and lately, land them! I've landed one very large account using this sexy, sultry read.

Point is this: you might have your "money voice" now, but know this can change, based on events in your life. Your perspective is ever-changing. Also, even though you're given specs with the audition, sometimes the client just "knows" what they want, once they hear it.

And you don't know if you're what they want, till you try!