Monday, March 30, 2009

GKN Weekly Update 3/30/09

Howdy do! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I got to see my niece Asha again! She's going to have her first birthday in a few weeks. I can't believe it's been an entire year!

Anyway, last week was another crazy one but things seem to be getting back to normal. Here's the rundown...

On Monday I finished narrating "Five Thrillers". This one was definitely my favorite to read!

On Tuesday I had a recording session for Oxford UK at Full House Productions. This time I got to narrate the test instead of play the student. Thanks to Leon Chambers for giving me the occasional grownup role! I also had a VO audition for College Board courtesy of IFM.

Wednesday I narrated "Turing's Apples". I had to do the whole thing with a British accent, narration and all. That was hard. That was the last one! Now all that's left are the retakes.

Thursday I spoke at the National Broadcasting Society's Career Focus event at their national convention in NYC. I got to talk to college students from all over the nation about the voiceover industry. It was fun! Thanks to Scott Alboum for inviting me.

Friday was an ESL recording session for ETS at Hagens Studio in Princeton. Hi Carrie!

TIP OF THE WEEK: So, I was just on the Voiceover bulletin Board and the virtue of social networking sites came up. Since they can be used as a marketing tool and that's been our "Tip of the Week" subject as of late, I'll wrap it up with my post on that thread:

"Social networking sites are like tools in your garage. If you go to Sears and buy a bunch of tools that you display all pretty like for the neighbors to see but you never use them, what's the point? However, if you use them to enhance your internet presence, do some online networking to complement, not replace the real thing (cold calls, conventions, etc.), and have something of substance to say (a good blog), then they can be very powerful. The tough part is figuring out which ones to use, what you should do with each of them, and how much time should you dedicate to them. It's different for everybody..."

In other words, joining them all but not doing anything with them doesn't help. It's also easy to get sucked into them and waste a lot of time. Use them to distinguish yourself, brand yourself, and become an active contributor.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it. Abraham Lincoln

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How much time do you spend on social networking sites? Do they enhance your career or are they a time-waster?

Have a great week!

Monday, March 23, 2009

GKN Weekly Update 3/23/09

Wassup my homies?

I'm exhausted (I just got out of a six-hour recording session) so I'll keep this one short. Last week was as crazy as the week before!

Monday I finished narrating "The Ray Gun: A Love Story".

Tuesday I had an Amex commercial audition in NYC courtesy of IFM.

Wednesday I had a recording session in NYC for Pearson Asia and I narrated "Fixing Hanover".

Thursday I started narrating "Shoggoths In Bloom".

Friday I finished narrating "Shoggoths", started narrating "Five Thrillers", and had a recording session for ETS in Princeton.

I also managed to squeeze in a small dubbing session for a production company in Berlin.

TIP OF THE WEEK: We were talking about Marketing, right? Here's a nugget: do everything you can to distinguish yourselves from your competitors. What do I do? Why, the Good Karma Network, of course!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax. Abraham Lincoln

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What makes you stand out from your colleagues? What special service or asset do you bring to the table?

Have a great week!

Monday, March 16, 2009

GKN Weekly Update 3/16/09

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I hope everyone had (or will have) a mighty green time. I went to my friend Jim's on Saturday for a BBQ and I spent Sunday with my friend Carly and the love of my life Asha!

Last week was the busiest voiceover week I ever had and it went a little something like this:

Monday was a recording session for ETS in Princeton.
Tuesday I narrated the sci-fi short story "Exhalation" for Infinivox and a few lines for an animated medical narration in Spanish (no I don't speak Spanish but they trusted me. Thanks to Shellyne Brown for helping with the translation!)
Wednesday I narrated the story "The Dream of Reason".
Thursday I narrated the first 20 pages of "The Ray Gun: A Love Story".
Friday I had another recording session for ETS.

Whew! This week will be almost as busy. I need a nap...

TIP OF THE WEEK: Let's get back to the five areas of success in our industry, shall we? Today's subject is Marketing.

The arts tend to get hit hard during economic slumps this like this so finding acting, VO, modeling, and crew work is becoming increasingly more difficult. Strangely enough, so far 2009 is the best year I've ever had! Why? Well, my main clients have been sending more work my way and I landed five gigs from new clients. Some of it is just a coincidence. Some of it came from being as aggressive as hell for the past few months. When I had my major slump in November and the kidney stone bills started rolling in, I got seriously motivated. I started making those dreaded cold calls again, I published another quarterly newsletter, and I put the Good Karma Network on Facebook. Did it help? Who knows?

Marketing is a big ole mystery. It's a gamble, a crap shoot. Nobody knows how it really works and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. What I do know is that you need to work hard to find a system that works for you and keep at it EVERY DAY. Next week I'll talk about what I do on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to market myself.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: A struggling Voice Over has a massive ego completely out of control. A successful Voice Over has a massive ego, for the most part, under control. Philip Banks

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What do you do to market yourself in your field? Do you have any success stories to share?

Have a great week!

Monday, March 9, 2009

GKN Weekly Update 3/9/09

Happy, um...second week of March? I looked at my planner and I got nuthin'...

I hope everyone enjoyed the first reasonably warm weekend of the year out here on the East Coast. I played in a poker tournament (yes, with real people in a real room with real money) and I came in third place! Whoo hoo!!!

Last week was the start of a big ole honkin' VO project for me. I will narrate nine more sci-fi audio short stories for Infinivox. Once again, Allan Kaster has been kind enough to cast me to read some very high quality scripts. I've narrated only one so far so this is going to be a busy week!

I also had two recording sessions for ETS in Princeton last week. They're keeping me busy, too!

A couple of quick website announcements:

For those of you who use "Craig's Helper" to find work it's now called "Search Tempest". The new URL is

Also, Variety's networking site "The Biz" is now called "Variety's Media Careers". The new URL for that one is Update your bookmarks accordingly!

TIP OF THE WEEK: Someday I'll get back to focusing on the five areas of success in our industry but stuff just keeps coming up!

I got two very interesting responses to the last Tip of the Week. The first was a request to write an article exploring technology & manners/professionalism/etiquette. It's a fascinating subject that I will be happy to dive in to. I'll let you know when the article is posted. Great idea, John!

The other response was a personal apology to me for a recent lack of communication concerning a particular subject. Out of respect I won't go into any further detail, but I must say how touched I was. Everybody's lives are so hectic and we get so caught up in what we're doing & feeling that sometimes we lose sight of the world around us. Which brings me to this: the key to any successful relationship, whether it be personal or professional, is communication. Take the time to talk, even if you have to say something the other person doesn't want to hear. Everyone is better off in the long run.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: (On Richard Nixon) Richard Nixon is a no-good, lying bastard. If he ever caught himself telling the truth, he'd tell a lie just to keep his hand in. Harry S Truman.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Is there anyone in your life, professionally or personally, who you've been avoiding? Are you protecting their feelings or yours?

Have a great week!

Monday, March 2, 2009

GKN Weekly Update 3/2/09

Happy Eastern Orthodox Lent! Yeah, I looked at my planner again. And don't forget that Daylight Savings Time is on Sunday. Spring forward, right?

A couple of fun & interesting things happened on my end last week:

I had a Samsung VO audition in NYC courtesy of Ingrid French.

I landed a great gig at CKP Media. I recorded a radio commercial spot for Swiss Air with none other than fellow GKN member Liz DeNesnera! We've been buddies for a few years but this was the first time I got to work with her and it was a pleasure. Thanks as always to CKP's Herbie and Tony for thinking of me!

We had a lot of great Project TERRA stuff happen last week. First, we have some great new pics of Agent 122. For some reason, Blogger won't let me post images any more so all I can do is ask you to follow this link to the Project TERRA MySpace Profile or check out the Project TERRA Facebook Group to see them there. Great stuff, David!

We also have some images of the Sani-Mech, a little robot who plays a huge role in the series. We'll post them soon. Kudos to Teddy for the design!

I'm also working on my second draft of the Project TERRA screenplay. We thought we could just string together all the Episodes of Season One to make it but it doesn't quite work. I don't have to do any rewrites, I just need to rearrange the order of the scenes so it matches the flow of a feature film. It's a very interesting experience!

TIP OF THE WEEK: the great thing about modern communication technology is that now you can be rude in so many new and exciting ways! Not only can you not return or even take phone phone calls of people you don't want to be bothered with (yeah caller ID!), now you can ignore text messages, emails, wall posts, and even IM's. Isn't it grand?

If you have a preferred mode of communication, take the time to let everyone know what it is. For example, I HATE text messaging. If you want to talk to me, talk to me! You have the phone in your hand, call me! But I would never ignore a text message. It's just plain rude. Here's another example. I'm online all day since I work from home. Sometimes I'm too busy (or just not in the mood to chat) so I make sure my AOL, MSN Messenger, Skype, and Facebook are all marked offline, away, etc.

Here's my point: rude is rude, unprofessional is unprofessional regardless of the medium. If you have multiple ways of being contacted, please use them (or not use them) in a courteous manner.

BTW this isn't necessarily a rant or the result of a recent experience. This is just something I've noticed over the past couple of years...

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: (On Calvin Coolidge) Mr. Coolidge's genius for inactivity is developed to a very high point. It is not an indolent inactivity. It is a grim, determined, alert inactivity, which keeps Mr. Coolidge occupied constantly. Columnist Walter Lippmann, 1926

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How do you prefer to stay in touch with your clients? Is it the same way you contact your friends?

Have a great week!