Friday, August 28, 2015

“You Can't Take That Away From Me”

Thank you George and Ira Gershwin for composing that song. I have decided to adopt that as my anthem. I wasn't around in 1937 to hear that song when the film Shall We Dance first played in the theaters. But, I've certainly heard it a few times, in my lifetime.

When I first decided to make voice work my full time focus in 2011, after doing it as a part-time freelancer for two decades and after two other very successful careers, one as a broadcaster and another as a public relations practitioner, I was often told: “You need to shed that announcer sound.” I took that advice seriously. But, now I'm having second thoughts.

I spent many years developing that voice, learning how to resonate from my chest, how to enunciate, how to sound authoritative, how to project, but at the same time how to sound warm and friendly and conversational.

Those are characteristics few in the voiceover community possess these days. Everyone wants to be the guy or gal next door because it has been suggested that the younger generation wants to be “told not sold.” Ok. I buy that. But what about my generation? The generation that is now retiring and has money to burn? The generation that grew up with that friendly, likable announcer on the radio. What about them? They like announcers. They feel comfortable with them. They grew up with them. Why shouldn't they trust them like they always have.

“Here's a new product that will make your life more enjoyable.” “Here's a great place to retire, trust me.” “Our health is important. Here's some advice.” “You'll love this. It's so warm and comfortable.” “I'm just like you and we're in this together.” They are announcer messages. And I believe baby boomers, my peers, respond favorably to them.

So, I'm dusting off that “announcer” that I put on the shelf several years ago. I suppose I could say I'm polishing him up. There is a bit of a shine in places where I used to have hair up there. So, I guess that's appropriate.

Announcer for hire because, “No No, They Can't Take That Away from Me.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fate is Good for the Voiceover Business

It's interesting, that phenomenon called fate. 

I recently changed fitness centers. I wanted one that had a little more activity and more options. Yesterday was my first day. People there seemed real friendly. It was a very welcoming change of environment for me. 

 At the place I previously worked out I seldom saw anyone at the time of day I visited except for the person at the check-in desk or an occasional trainer or physical therapist. It was a nice facility. But, after three years, it became obvious that I needed more social contact with people in my life in addition to my physical workout.

So yesterday, after a robust workout, I overheard two of the members talking about each other's business. One mentioned that he traveled around the state co-producing a Web TV show and that the company he worked for is branching into commercial production. I waited for an opening in the conversation and made it a point to drag out a business card. When the opportunity came, I introduced myself and told him that I could help if they needed a voice for one of their projects. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “I couldn't help hear you talk about your production company. My business is my voice. If you need a voice for one of your projects, I can help you with that.”

I then handed him my card.

Producer: “The one day I didn't bring any cards I meet two people at the gym that could help my business.”

The two finish their conversation. Then the producer pulls out his iPhone, walks over to me and offers to show me videos of some of his work.

Producer: “My partners and I were just talking about voiceover. We just started work on a project recently and will be producing commercials that will require us to hire a voice. Your timing is perfect.”

I finished packing up my duffle while he went to the car for a business card. When I was finished, he returned and we vowed to visit each other's web site and stay in touch.

Will we do business with each other? Well it's too early to tell. But, we've met each other face to face and the next step is easy. It won't be a cold call, because we have already met. 

It doesn't get any better than that.

Fate is a great business partner, isn't it?