Friday, October 10, 2014

Don't Call Me That

I have had this discussion with others in the voiceover world. On occasion it has turned in to an argument that I probably didn't win. Here it comes. How dare you call me a voice actor. Now, there it is, my argument starter. It's my opinion. So let's call it a draw before we even start the argument. If you are interested, read on.

Voice Actor Image
I never wanted to be an actor. I hated being on stage taking on the persona of someone else. That's because I am me and I can be no one else. That's also why when I was a youngster I always wanted to be a radio personality. And, I did that for 22 years. The fact that I don't refer to myself as a voice actor probably riles a lot of people and probably limits my marketability as a voice talent. Then again, I refer to it as my vocal niche.

Everyone has a personality and a style. Mine happens to be that of a warm and conversational guy. I love bringing my personality to a client's material. So, when I take on a project, I bring to the microphone a little bit of me, oh OK, a lot of me. Most of the time I'm a nice guy and I think that comes across in the projects I tackle. But, if you piss me off I can be an S.O.B. (some other brand). So if a potential client does tick me off or I offended them in some way, we probably never got to do a project together anyway. There are a handful, I have to admit.

So, if you ask me to be a character in a video game (highly unlikely) or commercial, I'll give it a try. If you want the character to have a personality like mine, we're “In Like Flint.” But, the actor you seek is just not in me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Keep Commitments and Be Direct

I know I'm supposed to be thick skinned in the business of voiceover. And, generally I am. Knock me down. I'll just get up again, brush myself off and start over. And I'll keep starting over till I can stay standing.

In business relationships and in life I always do what I say I'm going to do. If I tell someone I will call them back tomorrow, I will call them back tomorrow.
How often has someone said to you, “I'll get back to you” and doesn't? It's happening more and more to me and it drives me crazy. I think that's because I'm a man of commitments. If I tell you I will do something, I deliver.
For example: If you contract with me to do a voiceover project and I tell you that I'll have the finished project done by Friday. I will have it done by Friday. If I can't meet that commitment due to something beyond my control, you will get a call or email from me explaining the circumstances and with it a request for an extension.
Image: I'll Get Back To You - Business Man

I have had occasions where I have had discussions with potential clients who use the “I'll get back to you” line as an “I don't want to deal with it now” stall or brush off. They really wanted to say, “I'm not interested in talking with you right now. Go away.” However, I can see right through their vague exercise in temporary politeness.

At one time there was a potential business collaborator who was really excited about doing business with me and worked with me to create a sample we could use to attract customers for our joint effort. Once the initial presentation was complete, I attempted to contact him to check up on potential clients. Calls were not returned, emails not responded to until one day I finally got a response by email. His reply was: “Let me see where we left off and I'll get back to you.” That was the last I ever heard from him. To my knowledge I didn't do anything wrong or inappropriate. Perhaps, he just got busy and was either was no longer interested in the collaboration or his business changed and he saw no reason to continue the relationship. But, he never would tell me directly what the issues were. A year or so later we had occasion to be at an event where our paths crossed. I said hello to him and he returned the greeting with that “Do I know you?” look. I will remember this exchange forever and it has permanently scarred any future relationship.

This is why I always keep commitments and do what I say I will do. I know that if I don't, my business and reputation are at risk.