Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Boys & Their Toys...aka: Gear Envy!

In the voiceover buisness there are the working actors (I'm lucky enough to be one of those!), and then there are the Super Stars! Don LaFontaine is one of those super stars. He also happens to be a really great guy!

When I attended the VOICE2007 voice over conference last year, "The Don" was a featured guest. During the Q&A session, I asked him how he kept fresh after the scores of sessions he voices every day. He said he loved the words, and loved what he does. - It really is a great way to spend your days! - He also stayed at the conference till every last person who wanted to
shake his hand & have their picture taken with him was able to do so!

I was recently directed to an article on Don's new VO studio. Yep, serious gear-envy! But what's interesting is that although he does have all the best bells & whistles (as he says, he can afford it!) he still records his voice "flat" letting his clients deal with any processing in post-production. It's still cool to see what the big-boys are playing with!

On a side note, Don had a health scare recently, so please keep him in your thoughts as he recovers.

My thanks to Eddie Eagle for the heads-up on the above referenced article.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What goes around, comes around

One of the best aspects of being a voiceover artist is that I get to work out of my own home studio, without anyone looking over my shoulder every minute, of every day.

One of the hardest aspects of being a voice over artist is that I work out of my own home studio, without anyone to talk to all day!

There's a reason we VO's joke about being a bit strange: we sit in our padded rooms, talking to ourselves all day!

But one of the most amazing aspects of being a voice over artist is the fact that I have been blessed to meet the most talented, funny and generous group of people on the planet, both in person and "virtually" online: other voiceover artists.

This business, like many others I suppose, is built on relationships. But, regardless of what outsiders or newcomers to voiceover may feel, there truly is no "competition" in this business. I don't sound like Moe Egan, or Mary McKitrick. Bob Souer doesn't sound like Jeffrey Kafer or David Monteath. Each of us is unique in our sound, our delivery and in the types of VO we are best suited for. If a client likes the way we sound we get hired. If we're not right, hopefully one of our friends is!

There's a real sense of community. A group whose members are happy help each other along the way, and who celebrate each others victories.

I have been happy to pass along job leads to friends and I have been lucky enough to have leads steered my way as well.

My father taught me a long time ago that when someone does you a favor, you may not always be able to "pay" that person back right away - or ever - but if you help someone else, the good just keeps on going. The ripple effect is real.

I'm thrilled to be a part of a community that lives this ideal, and doesn't just give it "lip-service!" (Pun intended!)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Learn a word & Feed the world!

I love words. Yes, one of my favorire books is the dictionary! I'm always looking up words I hear that I don't know...and then get distracted by other words as I look for the definition of the first word! I have English dictionaries, French dictionaries, English to Russian Dictionaries...I could go on...yeah, I love words!

So when I found out about Free Rice, I had to share! Free Rice is a website where you play to test your vocabulary, and help feed the world at the same time! For every word you get right, they donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations Food program.

Don't think thin 20 grains is much? according to their website, they've donated 15,934,508,610 to date (1/25/08)...every little bit helps... I just played and donated 220 grains already! (make that 300 grains...) I did my good deed for the day!

According to their website, Free Rice has two goals:
- Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
- Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

As a voice over artist, I live in the world of words. this site will be a new addiction!...but at least I'll be doing good!

My thanks to Stephanie Ciccarelli at Voices.com for posting this info on their Vox Daily Blog

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm on the latest episode of the "Voice Overs On Demand" podcast!

I was just interviewed on a great podcast:
"Voice Overs On Demand" with Terry Daniel & Trish Basanyi.

Check it out!
Voice Overs On Demand! - Episode 9

You can also download it from iTunes.

It was so much fun!
We talked about my background and marketing and....well, GO LISTEN!

(It runs about 30 minutes)


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Be yourself, not someone else!

This will be quick, but (I think) profound.
The classic: "It may be simple but it's not easy"

My friend and FABULOUS British voice talent Philip Banks just posted this very "simple" admonition to all of us VO's out there, and which works for any entrepreneur:

"Do you know the name of the man who provides the voice for most film trailers? It's Don La Fontaine; there are a few other men doing the same job. Ashton Smith, Hal Douglas and Nick Tate to name three. Between them they account for about $12,000,000 in fee income. Call any agent in New York or Los Angeles and they've got "that sound" covered. What are most of the male voice in the USA trying to sell? The same sound, the same voice; their USP ......Me too! How far do you think it gets them? On a few web sites frequented by Voice Overs I posted this .......ME2 . My point is a fairly simple one but so few seem to want to take it on board.Is your business just a clone of another business set up by you in the hope of getting a share of the market? Wouldn't it be easier to sell YOU?"

Your story is unique: tell it! Works for me! (Thanks Philip!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On the road to success

When I started down the road to becoming a full time voice over talent, there was a lot to learn. Not the least of which was how to run my own business and all that that entails. I'm still learning new skills as I go along - blogging for instance! - and enjoying the process.

While many of you on the VO Blog circuit have probably seen my friend Mary McKitrick's great post on setting rates, I think it's worth reading again...and again...and again! Her followup on perceived value in voice over is also a must read.

As entrepreneurs, because yes, that's what we are, it is our responsibility to value ourselves and our talent. That confidence will be reflected in how we interact with clients, who we can then turn into raving fans! And if certain people don't see your value, move on.

As one of my mentors, Barbara Winter, once told me "Make it your goal to only work with the willing."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hello! Bonjour!

OK....Take 2!!!

Blame this blog on my dear friend Bob Souer!

I hope that I will live up to his faith in my ability to add something of value to the Voice Over blogesphere!

So…who am I? Qui -suis-je?

It’s a question that we all seem to pose at some point in our lives!

But, for the purposes of this blog, “who” I am can be answered with the following statements:

I am a bilingual, English & French speaking Voice Over talent.I love my job. And that is a huge part of who I am. Someone who loves their “work.”

I grew up in a multi-lingual family (my father spoke EIGHT languages fluently, my mother FOUR). I am a native speaker of English and French, I can carry on a decent conversation in Russian, and can find the nearest “watering hole” in German, Hungarian and Spanish.

Feel free to check out my Voice Over website, by clicking here: http://www.hireliz.com/

Now, to explain the title of this blog:
I am a Voice Over artist who speaks French….thus the play on words
In French, the expression to have a FROG in your throat is to have “A CAT in the throat” which is “Un chat dans la gorge.”
So the title really does cover my passions of voice over and language quite well I think!