Q It Up: How would you rate this past year on a professional level, based either on personal experience or just observation of the industry as a whole; and what’s on your list of goals to improve things in the New Year? Are you going to upgrade that old computer? Finally get that new plug you’ve been wanting? Take some voice acting classes? Get your freelance business off the ground?
Todd Franklin [
Andrew Frame [
Blaine Parker [
Let’s start with the pain. Barometer of how things are out there: one rather good account rep recently said to me, “I really DO like Top Ramen noodles.”
I fear the new paradigm in desperation advertising: the many new clients who want to try “a one-day test” or “a one-week schedule,” and account reps and sales managers enabling it. Now, while I’ll never encourage a one-day or one-week schedule, there are ways to pull it off if you’re aggressive and intensely strategic. I’ve done it, and it’s a gas when it works. (Like one client with 5 spots a week who had to stop advertising because they couldn’t handle any more response.) Unfortunately, I see a lot of people with no chops for this kind of thing creating a long-term problem for us in the vein of “I tried radio and it didn’t work.”
But let’s not dwell on that. Radio will survive.
What’s good and where it’s going: Late last year, I convinced management to let me work 800 miles offsite. You should try it. My wife and I moved to Park City, Utah, and are currently residing in a house we built along a ridge at 8,000 feet. My production studio/office has a view of the Park City ski areas, the Olympic ski jumps, and occasional moose.
Interestingly, leaving Los Angeles seems only to have helped my voiceover career. I’m getting more VO than ever. Go figure.
In 2009, I resolve to spend a lot more time saying “The hell with it” and going skiing mid-week. For the new year, my wife and I are launching our own company. She has 20 years working the agency side as a copywriter with heavyweights like Grey, Deutsch, Ogilvy, McCann and J. Walter. We’ve decided that, especially in a time like this, smaller businesses need cost-effective help, and deserve better than they usually get. Despite not even having business cards yet—we already have three clients.
Gear-wise, it’s time to bring the new home studio together. I’ve just handed my old CPU back to the company and acquired my own blistering fast Dell workstation. Other New Year upgrades include incorporating a Telos digital telephone hybrid (they have a one-line unit for about 600 bucks); Avantone mix monitors (they only look like the fabled Auratone) and the Studio Projects C1 microphone. If you don’t know it, this is an alleged knockoff of the U87, manufactured in China. I won’t go so far as to say it really is a $300 U87, but it’s a surprisingly good sounding mic when used properly on the right voice. (I plan to always keep a TLM103 handy.) I hope to have all this together and dialed in by January 1.
Other resolutions for 2009 include getting more VO gigs, reaching for new heights as a copywriter, and perfecting my wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.
Oh, and I plan to broaden the reach of my weekly rants on advertising. Anybody who doesn’t yet get enough annoying junk mail from self-proclaimed experts, feel free to shoot a subscription request to
Happy New Year to all.
Michael Pedersen [
Any Pro Tools user should be upgrading to v.8 the day it is released. An incredible release with more new toys than the small upgrade fee reflects. (Great for a struggling economy!)
Mitch Todd [
Johnny George [
We upgraded the JGC DigiStudio to a Mac Pro - loaded! Then replaced my Pro Tools Digi 001 to a MBox 2. Didn’t like the quality of sound I got and the latency problem, so I upgraded later this past year to a rack Digi 003 and love it.
Upgraded the office Dell PC to a BEAST 2008, as we affectionately call it. Dual Core, 3.16 GHz w/ 5 GB RAM, 1.5 Terabyte drive for audio and all the other geeky fast stuff my IT guy put together for me, along with Windows Vista Professional Office, etc. etc. It screams. Additionally, finally added UPS for power protection.
On our plans for 2009 - Regular voice coaching lessons now in place with Nancy Wolfson, who is a wonderfully talented coach I had done a few tele-seminars with in 2008. Plan to add a Sennheiser 416 to my equipment list since I’ve been so pleased with the sound I’ve heard from some of the other studios I record from when called in. Plus the rave reviews don’t hurt. ;-) Looking for a great deal - if you know of a preferred place, pass it on.
Marketing plans are scheduled to be reviewed in the first quarter and implemented since we dropped a couple of services in 2008 that were not bringing in any decent results.
I wish a very profitable and creative year for all and shall continue to network and work with my fellow VO professionals. Drop me a line anytime!
Harry Legg [
This past year I invested in a new mic preamp, the Manley Voxbox, and some more portable equipment so that I can better serve my clients and audition while I’m on the road. For the New Year, I may invest in a new Mac for my Pro Tools system, and I’ll take more personal voiceover coaching to make sure I stay on target!