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GKN Weekly Update 4/2/13 – Dreams vs. Reality

Hello, and Happy Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day! Why it’s on April 7th and not December 7th I have no idea, but I’m sure there’s a good reason.


BTW thank goodness that March is over, right? That month came in like a lion and out like that jerk who shows up to your party uninvited, drinks all the good beer, and won’t take the hint to leave!

You may have gotten an Event Invitation on Facebook for the “Anne Manx: Birth of the Cat” release. It’s not a live event! It just marks the day we will officially release the comic book that I helped write, which is Wednesday, April 17th at 12PM. That’s when we’ll post the link that you can use to purchase the comic book, if you are so inclined. As of yet it will not be available in stores, only online. You can buy it in print or as a digital download. Can you do me a favor? If you get that invitation (if you haven’t already) it would be a major solid if you show your support by RSVP’ing “Yes”. I’d really appreciate it! BTW I don’t make a dime from these sales, I just wanna help get the word out about the comic book. Thanks!

Throughout my career (and especially over the past few weeks) I’ve noticed something. It’s not a trend and it’s more than a pattern. It seems to be an ingrained paradigm in the voiceover industry: the obsession with booking commercials and landing agents.


I mention this because I’ve been watching the FaffCamp seminar registrations and the tables that seems to keep filling up are the ones involving commercial reads and agents. Also, we at The Voiceover Cafe took a poll to see what kinds of guests our listeners would like to have on the show and the winner (by a large margin) was for agents.

Is this a bad thing, a good thing, or no thing?

Well, if it’s a bad thing, it’s because there is a hell of lot more to the voiceover industry than just commercials and agents. It could be perceived as an unrealistic, Hollywood-ish approach to the business. “All I need is a good agent who can book me some big national spots and then I’ll be rich & famous!” Sheesh. Many of my voicoever friends (including myself) are very successful at what we do without doing many commercials or depending on agents for landing gigs. Yes, I have agents and I book commercials, but my e-learning, audio book, and Explainer Video work is far more lucrative and I get those gigs on my own.

If it’s a good thing, it’s because if you have the chops to land a good agent,  book some Class A national spots, then join the union, you are on your way, maybe. Maybe. It’s also true that you get the most bang for your buck voicing commercials than almost any other type of VO work.

If it’s no thing, then I’ll just shut up. Yeah, like THAT is gonna happen!

TIP OF THE WEEK: Here’s a reality check for you. Some of us (most of us, actually) are never going to land a big agent and book national commercials. And  don’t come back at me about having dreams and a positive attitude. It is more likely that your sound just isn’t conducive to landing agents & commercials no matter how much coaching you get or how much hard work you put in. And you know what? That doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful voice talent!

To paraphrase the wise sage The Rock, “Know your role and OPEN your mouth, jabroni!” Listen to the industry and determine what is truly your sound, then market to that end. You can be just as successful doing what you love, even though your career path isn’t what you thought it would when you started out. That was certainly the case for me!

When I decided I wanted to be a voice actor in 1994, I thought I had to sound like James Earl Jones to book commercials. Do I sound like James Earl Jones? Many frustrated years later, I did some analytics on the voice work I got and it turned out that 75% of my work was e-learning. So I made a deal with Mister Jones (not really, it was in my head). He’ll stick to sounding like a grown-up doing commercials and I’ll stick to sounding like me doing e-learning. Because you know what? I can’t do what he does but he can’t do what I do, either!

Remember the Chinese proverb, “No disease, short life. One disease, long life.” It means, know your limitations and work within them!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Don’t make your problem my problem!” Alec Baldwin yelling into his cell phone on the set of “30 Rock”

STUFF!: I finally got to see “Oz The Great and Powerful” over the weekend. It was so cool to see my friend Melissa Exelberth in it. Way to go, Mel! I wish the rest of the film was as cool. Man, James Franco dragged that movie down like a lead balloon!

From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere: GKN News…

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