Monday, January 31, 2011

GKN Weekly Update 1/31/11

Good morning, everybody! Getting ready for another week of crap-tastic weather? I sure am.

Sitting down at my desk every Monday to write this here thang has been a ritual of mine for over four years. I get immense pleasure out of it, but sometimes I sit down, open up Blogger, and discover that I have absolutely nothing to say. When that happens, I sit here and wait for something to inspire me. Usually all I have to do is look at my planner and read what happened in my life the previous week. More often than not, it reminds me of something interesting or profound or just plain goofy that I did, said, or experienced and bang, I'm off to the races. Other times I am given a gift, usually in the form of a phone call or email that gives me something fun to go on. On this particular morning, I just got not one but TWO emails, both about the exact same subject! If that's not a sign, I don't know what is. The gift is: The Cohesion Project.

The Cohesion Project is a documentary focusing on the lives of three amazing dudes living with Cerebral Palsy, one of whom I went to college with (BTW this guy climbed Mt. Washington!). This doc was produced by my very dear friend Doug Bollinger (remember Can You Imagine and Transition?) and the extremely groovy Kim Surowicz, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time last summer at a Cohesion Project fundraiser. Principal photography is completed and they are in post-production. However, they need funds to finish the film. They have posted their project on, an amazing website designed to help fund projects. To check it out, click on this link. Please share this link on every site you can think of to help complete the Cohesion Project and bring awareness to this extremely worthy cause!

TIP OF THE WEEK: The Good Karma Network is a great place to bring awareness to your latest entertainment industry project. I strongly encourage all of you to post your casting and performance notices here. This is also a great venue to bring awareness to noble causes in the entertainment industry or other venues. However, and I'll be totally blunt here, please don't post any materials of a political, religious, or sexual nature. We're all friends here and I want to keep it that way. If you want a perfect, and I mean perfect, example of my vision of how the Good Karma Network is meant to be utilized, I give you The Cohesion Project.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: The quality of life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask yourself. Dan Duckworth

STUFF!: Are there any projects you are casting right now? Anything you're rehearsing for?

From Tom Dheere's soon-be-snowed-in apartment, this is Tom Dheere, GKN News...

Monday, January 24, 2011

GKN Weekly Update 1/24/11

Hello on this...holy crap it's cold outside! I am so glad I don't need to go anywhere today.

First off...ANNOUNCEMENT: I am a featured talent on Nextcat! check it out here.

Recently my dear friend and fellow GKN'er Morgan Barnhart give me some great tips to improve the quality of the GKN Weekly Update (which is basically a blog), to increase the number of loyal, wonderful readers (dats you guys), and to encourage more participation. Morgan, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Her kind gesture made me really examine what I'm doing here and how I'm doing it. I'm not talking about the content. Many, many of you great people out there have told me how much you enjoy reading my silly little stories so I'm not changing that. However, the way I get the message out definitely needs to be improved...

If you're reading this, the odds are it was delivered to your in-box either from the Facebook Group or Yahoo Group and you're reading it because it's convenient. Most likely you didn't go to my blog to read it, it came to you. I compose it on Blogger then I re-post it on Facebook, Yahoo, MySpace, Nextcat, Game Voices, and VO Universe. I honestly have no idea how many readers I have since it's spread out all over creation and there is no way to track it on most of the sites I post. I have six Blogger followers (which is obviously not indicative of the actual amount of readers), 380 Facebook Group followers, 120 Yahoo Group followers, and I can get anywhere from 0 to 100 hits on Nexcat per week. I use Blog Patrol to track my Blogger activity, but it's inaccurate and frequently crashes. See what a mess this is?

So, what should I do? What do you VO bloggers do to get your message out there? Do you post on  multiple sites? Does it matter to you how many readers/followers you have? What keywords do you embed in your blog, if any? How do you encourage comments?

Among the many great suggestions Morgan gave me, one was to switch from Blogger to Wordpress for many reasons. I Googled "Blogger vs. Wordpress" and I found a TON of online articles comparing the two. Wordpress does seem to have the edge. However, I'm reluctant to switch. I'm comfortable with Blogger even though I'm aware that Wordpress can serve my cause better.

TIP OF THE WEEK:  I know darn well that the way I've been getting the Good Karma Network message out there is messy & inefficient and I've known that for a while. However, I've gotten used to it, which makes me a knucklehead. No more, true believers! Let this be a lesson to all of you: just because you're used to doing things a certain way doesn't mean it's the best way. Always look to improve every facet of your life whenever you can, for the betterment of yourself and those around you.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: The only purpose your life has is the one you give it. from the book Conversations with God

STUFF!: So, fellow bloggers, what's your preference? Blogger or Wordpress?

From Tom Dheere's apartment, this is Tom Dheere, GKN News...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

GKN Weekly Update 1/17/11

Well, hi there. How YOU doin'? I'm alright.

So, let's pick up where we left off with Goal Setting 101. Last week we talked about setting goals for the year. This week were going to talk about the dreaded Action Plan!

I've been writing Monthly Action Plans for myself for over five years. Let me tell you, there is nothing more grounding than to have it all written down, staring at you, every day. It's like that volleyball Wilson in Tom Hanks's movie "Castaway". It makes you a little crazy, but if you didn't have it, you'd go completely crazy.

My Action Plan has evolved over the years. For a long time I broke it down by category: Finances, Tools, Technique, Marketing, and Health. Now I break it down into the following categories: Daily Stuff, Weekly Stuff, Monthly Stuff, and Special Stuff. Why do I do it this way? Because it needs to be fluid. Anything can happen on any given day, especially considering that I'm self-employed and the phone could ring any second and I may have to go to New York, Princeton, etc.

So here are the things I do every month:

  • Daily Stuff: exercise, look for work online
  • Weekly Stuff: post my blog, audition for a minimum amount of gigs, lose weight, do online networking
  • Monthly Stuff: a lot of this is "maintenance", like backing up my hard drive, defragging my PC, syncing my Blackberry, updating my website/resumes, etc.
  • Special Stuff: these are where all my projects are and they change every month. I also leave some lines blank in this section for when new things pop up in my travels. For example, if a friend recommends a website, I write it down in this section and check it off after I check it out.
At the end of the month, I look it over to see how I did. I take some notes about what worked and what didn't. Then I carry over any unfinished stuff for the next month. It's rare that I get every single thing done. I'm only human, you know!

TIP OF THE WEEK: If I didn't have a Monthly Action Plan, I don't know where I would be right now. You need to remember that this is not supposed to be easy. If it was, it wouldn't be worth doing. Start small, start simple, and you'll build some momentum. Before you know it, you'll be accomplishing far more than you ever dreamed!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Treating others with love does not necessarily mean allowing others to do what they wish. from the book "Conversations with God"

STUFF!: Okay, kids it's time to get cracking! I want all of you to write down one Daily Goal, one Weekly Goal, and one Monthly Goal. Take that piece of paper and put it somewhere in your home or office where you will be forced to look at it every day. Keep the goals short, simple, and achievable in one month. For those of you who are really brave, post your three goals here so we can root for you!

From Tom Dheere's apartment, this is Tom Dheere, GKN News...
Quote of the Week: Treating others with love does not necessarily mean allowing others to do what they wish. from Conversations with God

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I narrated 5 medical narrations on Monday only to find 14 more in my Inbox. This is a fun week!

Monday, January 10, 2011

GKN Weekly Update 1/10/11

Hello to you on this brisk Monday morning! I had a great weekend, the coolest part being the poker tournament I participated in. Out of 42 players, I came in FIRST PLACE! That's right, I won the whole shebang. Last year I won one hand so my goal was to win two. I overshot. Anyway, we have much to discuss...!

First off, thanks to those of you who visited the GKN blog and checked out the Wibiya Toolbar I installed. Please check it out and tell me what you think. Also, I'd really appreciate it if you clicked on the Facebook "Like" button as well as Tweeting the blog link. A big thanks to fellow GKN member Amy Ricalde for recommending Wibiya!

OK, here is the deal with Red Dead Redemption. Yes, I am in the video game. No I am not in the "Undead Nightmare" add-on. My character Benton Manning is in two locations. He is in Benedict Point guarding Moses ("Stay away from them animals!"). He is also in Blackwater as part of the "Great Men are Not Always Wise" encounter. He's on the roof with John Marston shooting at the bank. He goes into the bank with Marston and battles the bandits. You can hear screaming phrases like "Heretic!" during the gun battle. It's hilarious!

I've been thinking about getting a Good Karma Network logo. Would any of you like to try and design one? If I get multiple designs, we can hold a contest and the logo with the most votes will become the official one for the GKN. What do you think?

TIP OF THE WEEK: Here's Part Two of Goal Setting 101!

Last week I said I'd walk you through my goals and how I came up with them. First I'll talk about the annual goals, and next week I'll talk about the action plan I use to achieve said goals.

I break down my annual goals into five categories as taught to me by the esteemed Dan Duckworth of Voiceovers Unlimited: Finances, Technique, Tools, Marketing, and Health.

Finances: this one is pretty simple, make more and spend less! I looked at my monthly income & expenses from last year and adjusted them to do a little better this year. Make your Cash Flow goals challenging but realistic.

Technique: this one is about becoming better at my craft. This includes not only the quality of voice but my knowledge of the industry. Seeking a coach, reading publications, following trends etc. are ways to improve your technique.

Tools: This is the material stuff like my website, demos, swag, and sound equipment. Set goals to acquire and/or increase the quality of your tools.

Marketing: This is all about getting my name out there. Joining online networks, attending networking events, and writing a blog (like this one!) are ways to improve your marketing.

Health: this pertains to physical, mental, and emotional health. Staying in shape, being sharp, and being happy! Like Finances, make these goals challenging but realistic.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Include yourself among those you love. from the book "Conversations with God"

STUFF!: The big story for the past week has been about Ted Willams and his "rags to riches" journey. There have been some very heated debates concerning this story amongst my voiceover colleagues. I'm not going to get into the parts about him being a substance abuser with seven kids and an extensive arrest record or the fact that the "Good Samaritan" who videotaped Mr. Williams waited five days to release it on a slow news day to get more publicity.

It does bother me that Mr. Williams landed gigs for Kraft, MSNBC and the Cleveland Cavaliers not because he earned them, but because he is the latest "Sneezing Panda", "Chocolate Rain" or what have you. Would he be where he is right now if he was a homeless accountant doing someones taxes from a cardboard box?

Yes, it's a heart-warming story, the epitome of the American Dream, and I am not unsympathetic to Mr. Williams. However, my fears are this:
  • Producers will start asking for the "Ted Williams Sound", a sound no longer in demand which will have an adverse effect on guys like me.
  • Even more people will flock to the voiceover industry and further water down the talent pool as well undermine the industry's integrity & financial structure.
  • This poor guy will be back on the street in six months and nobody will give a crap because they got their good PR from him and cast him aside.
 Feel free to comment, but please keep it civil, folks!

From Tom Dheere's apartment, this is Tom Dheere, GKN News...
Quote of the Week: Include yourself among those you love. (from Conversations with God)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Word of the Day That I Have to Say For a Voiceover Script: Poly-ethyleneterphthalate. Yikes!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I've already booked seven voiceovers this week. A nice way to start the new year!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Check out my latest voiceover blog entry!

GKN Weekly Update 1/3/11


2010 is in the books and I'm sure you're all geeked up for 2011. Well, aren't you? Hmm?

Today we are going to review Goal Setting. Why? Because so many of you asked. I must say I am impressed by the amount of GKNers who wrote me asking for help. That speaks very highly of you!

So, how did it go last year? Did you achieve your goals in 2010? Did you set some and give up by February? Did you set any at all? Why is this so freaking hard?

Setting the goal is part of the problem. Most of the time the goals you set are too vague, too unwieldy, or both. "I'm going to lose weight" never works. "I will lose five pounds by March" is better. "I will switch from white bread to whole wheat" or "I will not have a second helping of starch" is even better.

Executing the goal is the other part of the problem. Most of the time you just declare your goals in a half-drunken haze at 2 AM on New Year's Day and then pray. Doesn't work, does it? IBM just doesn't shout from the rooftops "We're gonna make more money this year!" then run off and slam into things sideways hoping that cash will fall out. They think about it very carefully. They craft a plan. Then they execute the plan.You need a system for executing your goals. They must be simple, incremental, and achievable.

TIP OF THE WEEK: To achieve your goals, do the following:
  • Be Specific
  • Be Realistic
  • Write It Down

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Everyone can love everything the moment they understand what they are doing, and why. From the book Conversations With God

STUFF!: While doing all of this, you must ask yourself two very important questions
  1. What do I want?
  2. What am I willing to sacrifice to get what I want?
Next week I'll walk you through how I set up my goals for 2011. Once again, feel free to write me if you need any help.

From Tom Dheere's apartment, this is Tom Dheere, GKN News...
Quote of the Week: Everyone can love everything the moment they understand what they are doing, and why. Conversations with God