Positive or Negative

Have you ever thought about the kind of energy you send out to your coworkers from day to day, and have you also thought about the kind of energy they send back to you?Have you also thought about the kind of energy that you’d like to be sending out to them?

I’ve so often heard it said that when you smile at someone, although you may not realize it,   your smile may be just the smile that that person needed on that particular day.

The person who walks in to work late or the person who may have experienced a huge battle in traffic on their way to work that morning  is most likely going to send out negative energy when they enter the work place.

On the other hand, the person who has had a great weekend will walk in on a Monday morning sending out positive vibes.

I believe that we all have choices. We can either choose to go in to work dwelling on the  traffic battle that we experienced before we arrived or the  argument we had with our spouse just before we left,   or we can let  those things go  and allow ourselves to  be   present in the moment. It’s really up to us.

I’ve read that it takes at least 30 days to form a new habit, and this would include any type of habit from changing your eating habits to changing attitude habits.

I believe that there would be a lot less conflict in the work place if we all took the time to do three things:

1:  Think before we speak.

2: Leave our personal issues outside the door.

3:  When you feel an argument coming on, take a time out. drop the matter before it escalates.

Positive or negative. The choice is yours.

So you want to be in show biz?

As a voice talent and vocalist, very often, I talk with people who say, How fun that would be! Isn’t it glamorous? Maybe I should go in to show biz! I could make big money! I’ve also discovered that many people love to have a microphone in their hand. This is why karaoke clubs have become so popular.

But honestly, if you’re looking for a get rich quick scheme, show biz may not be for you.

I love what I do or I wouldn’t be doing it whether it be recording in my little home studio or performing on stage, and yes, I do have fun with it. But there is a lot of work involved that noone sees unless you are really looking behind the scenes.

Most voice talents have their own studios now which means that we can be called to work at any time whether it be weekends or even late at night  For those of us who have clients emailing scripts from European countries that needed to be completed yesterday. This has been called a 24 7 business. The recording portion is a minor portion of the work involved. We are now audio engineers as well as Marketing Directors. You have to market your business in order to build it up. Right?  We are required to wear several different hats.

Besides all of this, in order to keep our skills sharp, it is also recommended that we spend some time on a daily basis doing cold reading. By cold reading, I mean, picking up a magazine article or newspaper article that we’ve never touched and reading it out loud. What is the purpose of this? When we are called in to a recording studio or when we are called to read in front of an agent, and we are handed scripts on the spur of the moment, our jobs are to put ourselves in to the character as quickly as possible, and make our reads as conversational as we can. In other words, when we are in studio, time is money, and you’ve got to hit that home run in as few takes as possible. If the client gets what he’s looking for in a reasonable amount of time, then you end up establishing good relationships and getting more work.

There are also classes to attend, voiceover workout groups to become a part of, and social networking sites to be affiliated with.

All of this being said, I wouldn’t be doing anything else other than what I’m doing now. You do it for the love of it.

So I say, if you’re thinking about pursuing this type of career, give it a try, but before you go soaring off in to the clouds, remember, there’s no business like show business, but it’s still a business.        

Three Quick Networking Ideas

When I first began writing these little articles, several months ago, I talked about networking. It’s a subject that I find fascinating. Many people are afraid of it, but many people thrive on it at the same time.

We all know that we need to network whether it’s face to face networking or social networking in order to grow our businesses. But I hope that, at the same time, networking is also important to you because you want to build relationships, just for the sake of building relationships. People have made life long friends through networking, and not just through attending networking events, but through participating on a Board of Directors of the organization of your choice.

I am very excited because in a couple of months, I will be participating as Chairman of the Programming Committee for the Orange County Los Angeles chapter of the American Advertising Federation. Will there be a lot of work and a lot of responsibility? You bet there will, but I’m feeling that the rewarding part is going to come from those close relationships that I will develop from sitting on the board.

Christine Oller, Change Strategist, suggests three fresh approaches to networking:

#1

Networking is actually more about listening than talking. To network with someone
is to make a genuine, quality connection with them. In order to do that, you must
engage them as the person they are, not as the job they do.

#2

Networking is truly one of the most powerful and yet one of the most underutilized
tools that each of us has in our toolkits. And, by using it, you can start to change
your life without first changing your circumstances.

#3

When you are networking, There’s no desperation. You are not begging for a job.
You are presenting folks with information that they or someone they know might find
helpful now or at some point in the future. The more people that you educate, the
more people you will have out in the world effectively educating other people about
you.

So there you have it. Some food for thought.

Happy summer, and happy networking!

Listen Up!!

Listen up because you never know what you are going to hear!

Do you consider yourself a good listener in both your personal and professional life?

I try to listen well, but then there are those times when someone is saying something to me, and instead of really listening to their whole sentence, I’m already thinking about how I want to respond and how I will say what I want to say or worse yet, I will interrupt them in midstream.   I hope I’m not the only one guilty of this.

I’ve realized over the years that there is an art to listening well. Now you may be reading this and thinking Why is this so important, and why should I care. When you are on the other end, you are the one who wants to be heard.  Right?  Here’s an example.

A few weeks ago, I went to dinner with a very close friend, and in the middle of what I was sharing with her, there were these long pauses while she was texting her friend. I actually felt offended and came to the conclusion that multi-tasking and listening well never go together.

I believe that in any relationship whether it’s with an acquaintance, a spouse or your boss, that the art of becoming better listeners will only enrich us and help those around us feel like they really matter and that they are really being heard.

After recently reading an article by Nancy Friedman called “Six Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Listener”, I found a few interesting tips that we all may wish to implement:

1: Decide to become a better listener. First, you have to make up your mind that that is what you really want to do.

2: Concentrate. Keep an open mind to what the other person is saying, forgetting about your own agenda.

3: Give verbal feedback in using words like interesting, great, I understand, etc.

4: Make a mental note of what is being said, and pay attention to the tone of the other person’s voice because oftentimes, tone speaks volumes.

Not listening or half listening can be dangerous. So listen up because you never know what you are going to hear!

The Many Genres of Voiceover

The other day, I was talking with someone who was very excited and full of enthusiasm about attending her first voiceover class. She said, Maybe I could become the voice  on a national tv commercial. Of course, that’s what we all dream of. Right? Maybe not all of us, but some of us. I answered her and said, “Well, you could, or you could become the queen of animation and cartoons which is a separate entity within itself, or how about the Go To person for on hold messaging and telephony. Or maybe the queen of corporate narration or the main voice for the Smithsonian museum.”

The possibilities are endless when you begin to discover the many  genres of voiceover.

So now the questions become, What is your niche? What is my niche? Should I do it all or should I concentrate on one area.

After talking with some wonderful coaches who have many different styles of coaching, I have come to these conclusions:

1.  First and foremost, listen to every type of work you can get your hands on whether it be a tv or radio commercial, a narration, the Travel channel or an on hold message for a phone system.

2.  See what draws you in and how you emotionally connect with a particular piece of copy. If your heart is in the spot, you will not be so concerned about sounding like someone else or that voiceover celebrity who is your hero. You will just be you, and you are unique.

3.  Ask a coach who you have established a relationship with, What niche do you see me in.

4. It doesn’t mean that you will be recording one type of voice only, but it means discovering your strongest areas when it’s time to record your demo and getting that demo out and marketing it.

As for me, it took a long time for me to discover how much I enjoy recording health care spots, and as for you, when you find your niche, you will know. Remember, with the many genres of voiceover including the audio book field, the possibilities are endless!

The End of an Era

I decided to talk about something on a more personal level today.

We all have memories from our life experiences whether they be  memories to treasure, memories that are vague, funny memories,  or sentimental memories.    After hearing a few years ago about the passing away of one of my all time favorite singers, Eydie Gorme, I began thinking about how we are at the end of an era musically and memories came flooding back of growing up on  the music of Eydie and Steve.

As a voice artist and vocalist, like many other artists, I love talking shop. But surprisingly enough, Eydie Gorme’s passing hit me on a more personal level after losing my mother just a few months ago. I have memories of my mother and I sitting back, listening to an album of hers, and marveling at her vocal control. Both of my parents gave me a love and appreciation for big band music, better known these days   as the Great American Song Book. I grew up with   Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence records all over our house along with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, and you name it. Now I’m really outdating myself, I realize, but I couldn’t help thinking today about the wonderful memories of the great music that I grew to love and appreciate through my family. Oh yes, and not to mention Tony Bennet, who is 85 years old and still going strong

Of course, we have some wonderful jazz artists out there now, and people like Michael Buble and Renee Olstead who are carrying on the big band tradition.    But with losing as many great entertainers as we have lost, (oh, and I forgot to mention George Duke),it makes me realize the way the business as a whole has changed, the way the marketing has changed, and the way our entire world has changed, not to mention the fact that life is short, and we all have to make the most of it.  These people will never be forgotten, and as strange as this may sound, I almost feel as if they were personal friends. There was an elegance and sophistication about them that will be greatly missed.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are many of today’s artists who I absolutely love whether they be country, jazz or pop. There are many great talents who have been discovered from shows like StarSearch, American Idol, and The Voice, to name a few.

But the people who I want to  give special attention to today are people like Eydie Gorme, Sammy Davis, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin, and I could go on and on. They left us with something, I believe. A kind of sophistication and refinement that could only come from living in that time period. Even though we have come to the end of an era, I am thankful for the joy of the music that they left with us that will never die. A joy to treasure, something that will remain with those of us who knew them, so to speak. Their voices will always be with us. So will their stories, and also their memories. I’m thankful for the legacy that they left behind,   their music that will continue to live on,and the memories to be cherished that noone can take away. Aren’t memories the best?          

Rejection: That R Word

Rejection: That R word. We all hate it, right? How does it make you feel when you even hear the word.

I don’t know about you, but when I even think about the word, all sorts of negative thoughts come flooding in.

As we all know, there are all sorts of rejections that come along in one lifetime, and we all experience it at some time or another in some way, shape or form. You didn’t get that job you so desperately wanted, and you were so close to getting it.  You didn’t get accepted to the only college that you really wanted to go to, and then there was that person you wanted to go out with that turned you down. These are only a few examples of the types of rejections that can come along, of course. There are many that are much more inward than these that maybe you’ve held on to for years.

If I had known when I went in to voice work, how many auditions I was going to end up recording that passed right by me and that were given to someone else, well, I often ask myself, Would I have still gone in to this? I always come up with the same answer, Yes, I would have, and I have no regrets. When you are in the entertainment field, whether you model, act, or sing, there will always be auditions, and there will always be rejections. I’ve always heard it said that you need to have a very thick skin to be in this type of business, and now I know that it’s true. If I truly know that I felt good about my audition after I   sent it out, and that I did the best that I could, when I receive a new one, I get it out, and forget about it, knowing that another one will come along before I know it.

What if we all did that with every type of rejection we received in life rather than stewing about it. Wouldn’t it make life a whole lot easier? You could just move on and keep running the race.

Have you ever noticed that when we want something so desperately, whatever it may be, we try way too hard to make it happen, and that can make us forget to relax and be ourselves. If we could all just do our best, and then let it go, we could actually enjoy life more and maybe breathe just a little bit easier. What do you think?   

So you want to be a voiceover artist?

About once every couple of months, I have someone who either calls or emails me, asking me, What do I have to do to get in to voice work? The conversation usually goes something like this:

They say:  I’ve had several people tell me that I have a great sounding voice, and that it would be a fun business to get in to. So what do I have to do?

 I myself, have been in voice work for over 10 years, and it’s been quite a journey. I love talking shop and helping people in any way that I can. So the first thing I’d like to say to those of you who have asked this question is this:

Getting in to voice work takes “More Than Just A Voice”, which is actually the title of a book that just came out which was written by Dave Courvoiseier, long-time voice talent and TV News Anchorman, out of Las Vegas. It takes training and coaching, but not just training and coaching as you are first learning the art of doing voice work, but continual coaching throughout your career.

 It takes having a demo produced in a professional recording studio. People have said to me, But couldn’t I just produce my own demo? What is critically important to remember here is that your demo is your calling card, you resume that will go out to producers, agents, and casting directors. So it really needs to be professionally done.

When you get in to voice work, you are starting your own small business. Ninety percent of your work will be marketing your business, and 10% will be recording projects from your home studio or studios in your home area. I could go on and on and on.

When I took my first voiceover class, the bug bit me, and I realized that I have a passion for this work. If it’s a dream that you have, if it’s a passion that you have, I say, Go for it, and see what happens, you’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain. But like anything else in life, it takes time and work.

Pick up a copy of Dave’s book, “More Than Just A Voice,   The REAL Secret to Voiceover Success”, available on Kindle and paperback by ordering through Amazon.    He has a lot to say about this business.

Whatever your dream turns out to be, don’t give up on it, and good luck!

Better Than Ever!

After attending a voiceover conference and meeting voiceover actors from all over the world, I’ve returned home feeling empowered once again, ready to improve my acting skills and to return to the craft that I love with a lot more energy than I had   in the past. Isn’t that what conferences are all about?For me, that’s why I went in the first place, to get pumped up, and that’s just what I did.

This year’s theme was entitled Better than Ever. This was the third conference that I attended, and this one was, without a doubt, truly better than ever!

Most of the time, voiceover actors are isolated in their home studios for hours at a time, and I’ve discovered that at times, it can be a very lonely profession. This is only one of the reasons why it’s such a great feeling to see colleagues from all over the world getting together in one place, laughing, learning and just having a great time exchanging all sorts of information.

Of course, just as with anything else in life, time flies when you are having fun right?The challenge comes and the work begins, when you have to leave the mountaintop, so to speak. All of a sudden, it’s back to reality! It’s back to paying bills,and attending to whatever responsibilities  happen to be your responsibilities. And, of course, we all know that we can’t stay on that mountaintop forever, right? We’d all end up exhausted if we did, especially the hosts of the events.

I believe that there are several steps we can take to get that back to reality momentum going again.

#1 Bask in the memories. Think about the new people you’ve connected with. Some of those people will turn in to life-long friendships.

#2 Take a look every once in a while, at  those pictures you took. They will always be there to enjoy and to treasure.

#3 Think of the knowledge that you came away with. I believe that there is great joy when you come away with something new wherever you go, and then when you find a way to apply it in your every day life, that’s even better.

It’s like turning over a new leaf, or closing  a book and beginning a new one.

What lies ahead in the future can only be good. What do you think? Or maybe even better than ever!         

After attending a voiceover conference and meeting voiceover actors from all over the world, I’ve returned home feeling empowered once again, ready to improve my acting skills and to return to the craft that I love with a lot more energy than I had   in the past. Isn’t that what conferences are all about?For me, that’s why I went in the first place, to get pumped up, and that’s just what I did.  

This year’s theme was entitled Better than Ever. This was the third conference that I attended, and this one was, without a doubt, truly better than ever!

Most of the time, voiceover actors are isolated in their home studios for hours at a time, and I’ve discovered that at times, it can be a very lonely profession. This is only one of the reasons why it’s such a great feeling to see colleagues from all over the world getting together in one place, laughing, learning and just having a great time exchanging all sorts of information.

Of course, just as with anything else in life, time flies when you are having fun right?The challenge comes and the work begins, when you have to leave the mountaintop, so to speak. All of a sudden, it’s back to reality! It’s back to paying bills,and attending to whatever responsibilities  happen to be your responsibilities. And, of course, we all know that we can’t stay on that mountaintop forever, right? We’d all end up exhausted if we did, especially the hosts of the events.  

I believe that there are several steps we can take to get that back to reality momentum going again.

#1 Bask in the memories. Think about the new people you’ve connected with. Some of those people will turn in to life-long friendships. 

2 Take a look every once in a while, at  those pictures you took. They will always be there to enjoy and to treasure.

3 Think of the knowledge that you came away with. I believe that there is great joy when you come away with something new wherever you go, and then when you find a way to apply it in your every day life, that’s even better.

It’s like turning over a new leaf, or closing  a book and beginning a new one.

What lies ahead in the future can only be good. What do you think. Or maybe even better than ever!            

Pay It Forward

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for those of us who live in southern California, wouldn’t you say that with our beautiful weather on a daily basis, we should really call this place paradise? Well, not counting the traffic, of course. Wouldn’t you say we are on the spoiled side?

In the Me society that we have become accustomed to living in, how often do we think about giving back.

The other day, I was listening to a radio station where they had put a contest together where, if you entered this particular contest, and your name was drawn, you would win $500. But there was a catch to winning that $500. The whole object of the contest was that you could keep half of the $500, but give the other half away either to your church, to your favorite charity or wherever you wanted it to go. What a concept!   Now wouldn’t the normal inclination be to just keep the $500 for yourself? We all have bills to pay right?

But then again, there’s something contagious about giving something of yourself without expecting anything in return.

When you attend a business networking event and you are meeting someone for the first time, do you find yourself saying as you exchange business cards, What can you do for me. Do you think you can help me? Is there anyone you know who can help me step up my career?

What if instead, you said, Now how did you decide to get in to the career that you chose or Is there anything that you feel that you are needing right now that you think I might be able to help you with. What if you just simply formed a friendship. That friendship that you form could possibly bring you business leads down the road or it could turn in to a lifelong friendship, and how nice would that be!

I think there’s an inner joy that we all experience knowing that we’ve helped someone along the way, and later on down the road, I think we experience the joy of the help that we are looking for coming back to us in ways that we never thought possible. It’s a natural sequence of events, not something that’s forced.

The other day, I went to breakfast by myself, and while I was sitting at the table, I ran in to someone who I had met at a networking event several years ago. She told me she was sitting on the patio having breakfast with a small business networking group and invited me to join them. Now she did not have to do this right? She could have just gone on her way. But because I did decide to join this group, I met some very nice people. I don’t know whether it will lead to work or not, but I just met some nice people and got to hear an interesting speaker.

So rather than saying, what can you do for me, turn it around, and say, what can I do for you. Try it once and see what happens.  It’s all about paying it forward!