Monday, November 21, 2011


It's that time of the year again!  Since 2011 is coming to an end very soon, I thought I would list my top eleven things I am thankful for.  I have them listed in numerical order but it's not a ranking system.  I am just listing them as I go.

1. Parents:  My mother had a stroke on the eve of Thanksgiving a few years back and I am grateful she is still around and delivering her smile upon us every day.  As a teacher, my father has been an inspiration.  My writing and speaking skills are a reflection of what I learned from him.  They both put up with a lot of shenanigans, especially during my high school years.  

2. Tracy: The love of my life.  She has helped me so much.  In personal growth as well as my business.  She has a way of lifting a person up when they get down or are having a bad day.  Waking up next to her every morning is like waking up and finding a gift at your bedside. 

3. Working from home:  There is nothing like heading downstairs to the studio in your flannel pajama pants and your hair standing straight up.

4. My voice:  I have been blessed with a good speaking and singing voice.  I am very grateful for these abilities and I continue to work hard on these skills every day.

5. Coffee:  I don't think I could live without it!  Coffee with cream is awful for your voice but I have to admit, I cheat a little.  There's nothing better than waking up to a beautiful sunrise or a lovely snowfall and sippin' on that first cup of coffee!

6. Facebook:  Without it, I wouldn't have at least a dozen of my clients and I wouldn't be with Tracy.  Tracy and I had gone to high school together and we reconnected on facebook!

7. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm:  Next to electricity, this might be the greatest invention of all time!  I'm not sure if I could survive without my Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm!  For those of you who still use Chapstick, you are allowing the best things in life to pass you by!  

8. Neumann TLM-103:  One of my best friends in the world is my studio microphone!  We were made for each other.  It has been responsible for a multitude of voiceover projects and I will take it to my grave!

9. Family:  I am grateful for my family and Tracy's family.  They make living life such a joy on a daily basis.  We don't always agree on everything but that is what makes it fun and keeps life interesting.

10. Friends: I am honored to have so many friends not only in the voice-over industry but close friends who I have known for quite a few years now.  They were there for me when I went through my divorce, when my mother had a stroke and on days where I am feeling a little down.  As a die hard Minnesota sports fan, you need good friends to help you cope with the disappointment!  Lol! 

11. Pets:  My dog Kaytee has been a staple in this house since 2003 and with the addition of Tracy's cat, Huckleberry, they are about as entertaining as a good sitcom!  A couple of true characters that entertain us on a daily basis. 

It's always tough to come up with just ten or eleven!  Feel free to comment with your own lists.  I would love to read some of yours as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bouncing Higher

Like it or not, we are living in the era of craigslist.  Someone will mow your lawn for $20.  A photographer will shoot your wedding for $100 and so-called voice talents will record a 10-page narration for $50!  This is the world we are living in.  Every profession deals with low-ball inquiries from clients.  You don’t have to like it but there are some things you can do about it.  I used to get upset when clients would call me up for a quote and then come back to me, telling me they found someone else that can do it for less.  Now, I just ask them a few questions.

1. How important is your business to you?

2. What is your marketing objective with this script?

3. How important is it that you have professional audio quality?

4. Is this person who can do it for less a professional voice talent?

5. Can I provide a sample for you first and then you can decide?

6. What is holding you back from wanting to pay my requested rate?

7. If I throw in a free voicemail message for your business, will you hire me for this rate?

8. Would you like to hear some samples of work that I've done that are similar to your content?

9. Did you know that 50% of the rate I am asking for is allocated toward my studio expenses? 

10.  Do you have Toto's first album?  (I always throw that in for fun!)

While cost is a factor in any business decision, it should not be the number one objective when hiring voice over talent.  Take car shopping for example.  Do you look for the lowest price tag or the car that will best fit your needs?  The same holds true with a well-versed and seasoned voice talent.

No matter how hard you try, many will still take the less expensive route only to be dissatisfied with the quality of the talent and eventually hire a more experienced talent to record the voice over.  In my career, I have had several of these clients come back to me after originally going elsewhere for a cheaper rate.

Thankfully, there are a lot of wonderful clients out there who understand that in order to move product, they will need to hire a professional and pay them what they deserve. When clients hire so-called VO talents for $20, it shows you what they think of their own business. The cost should not be a factor as the end product will result in exactly what you are looking for.