Have you ever wanted to eavesdrop on a conversation between two voiceover pros?
Terry: Hey man! So, instead of another typical interview with a pro, I thought you and I could just shoot the shit about our daily lives as voiceover artists. Is that cool with you? Wait, are we truly artists or do we just tell people that because we're starved for attention?
Doug: Yeah, that’s cool with me. But “artist” always sounds so pretentious. And since I’m not nearly as arrogant as you are, I usually go with voiceover “talent.” ; ) Plus, since I own VoiceoverTalent.com, I figure it can’t hurt the old SEO, right?
But anyway, my day usually starts with a quick look at my to-do list to see if there’s anything that needs to be recorded right away. After that I’ll scan my emails to see if there are any new requests from clients or auditions from my agents. How ‘bout you?
Terry: Thanks for whoring out your website in the first part of the interview. That was awfully kind of you. Don’t expect a hyperlink to it, either. Ha! I wish I could say I didn't start my day with a giant mug of java because I know how awful that is for the voice but that's what happens! Twice a week, my fiancé and I head to the gym early in the morning to get a good workout in. It helps reduce the stress of the work week.
Like you, I have a task list that sits on my Google Calendar that works very well for this sort of thing. Do you use any fancy software for your task list or calendar?
Doug: Hey, you know me...it's all about the marketing, right? so any time I have the chance to mention VoiceoverTalent.com, I'm gonna mention VoiceoverTalent.com. With hyperlinks. Get over it.
As for to-do lists and task lists, I've tried a bunch...Remember The Milk, Astrid, Toodledo, Wunderlist, and others, including Google Tasks, which is built into GMail. And that's the one that I'd go with if I had to pick some software solution to the to-do problem. Mostly because I live in GMail all day anyway. But for me, any of those solutions is just another layer of hassle between me and what needs to get done. And another layer of remembering to check my list.
So I go old school: I've got a dry erase board in the studio. That way, it's always staring at me, and at a glance I can always see everything that's on my plate. What’s your favorite way of managing what you've gotta get done?
Terry: Doug, I’m such a superstar in this business that I have 10 employees that keep me organized. Actually, I'm a Google freak myself. I live, sleep and breathe Google! In Google we trust. Okay, I’ll stop. Between the Google task tool and calendar, it keeps me pretty organized. Google Drive is another good wrench for the tool box! You can create documents and they automatically save in seconds. This works well for contacts, billing records and tasks. I also use that cute little reminder app on the iPhone.
The dry erase board is a great idea. It’s the old school ideas that still work best for some folks. Speaking of old school, I've decided to revert back to my pre-school days and just write on the wall with a permanent magic marker. That works great! What are we doing? Is this getting too nerdy? By the way, I just tweeted that we were working on this gem of a blog and noticed you weren't following me. What a jerk!
Doug: Yeah, of course I don’t follow you on Twitter. Do you have any idea how often you tweet? Back when I did follow you, all I saw was your freakin’ headshot popping up every 45 seconds or so. I’m just not strong enough to handle that.
But that brings up an interesting question. You've tweeted (@voiceoversbytd) more than 30,000 times. I’ve tweeted (@Voiceover) about 1,700 times and I’ll admit that my ROI on Twitter hasn’t been great. I know that we probably disagree on this, but I’ve never felt that focusing on Twitter for marketing made a whole lot of sense. You've obviously been using it a lot more actively than I have...has it generated much work for you?
Terry: First off, thanks for stalking my account. Second, perhaps if you weren't just following me, you wouldn't have seen my ugly mug pop up every three seconds! Twitter has been a great tool for me. I can honestly say that I get at a handful of new clients every year based on relationships I've made via Twitter. It takes more than just tweeting pictures of your cat or tattoo. I like posting links to cool VO projects I’m working on and occasionally will post helpful YouTube videos as well. I follow as many agencies and production companies as I can.
Sometimes it's as simple as just sharing ideas back and forth with these companies. If you’re not careful, it can be a total time suck. This is the case with any social media sites. I do pretty well with twitter. It sure beats picking up the phone and making a cold call, although I understand the importance of it. Are you a fan of cold calling? Sometimes I would rather drive my knuckles into the pavement than make a cold call.
Doug: Believe it or not, the thing that’s been most effective for me on Twitter has been recommending other voice talent. When clients or connections of mine on Twitter are looking for voice talent who don’t sound like me, I’ll refer them to someone who meets their specs. It’s a win-win...I help someone find just the voice they’re looking for, and a VO buddy of mine gets some work and a new client. Those clients are always very grateful, and often come directly to me the next time they need an “UNnouncer” sound.
Cold calls? I hate ‘em. I know that some people love them (or at least don’t mind them) and if they work for you, start dialing. They don’t seem to work for me, mostly ‘cause I don’t enjoy them, so I’d rather focus on marketing efforts with a better ROI. For me, that’s laser-focused marketing aimed at individuals who I can build relationships with. Less scattershot “advertising,” more one-on-one “interacting.” Do you have a favorite type of marketing?
Terry: I really enjoy just going door-to-door in random neighborhoods. “Hi, Mr. Thomas! Do you and your family need a voiceover for anything? If not, do you have any beer?" Like you, I enjoy the relationship building process. Sometimes it’s not even about voiceovers. It’s more about what I can do to help their business grow and bouncing ideas off each other. Even if they don’t need an actual voiceover right away, if you can come up with a cool marketing idea for a prospective client, good things happen!
For example, I recently developed a good relationship with prospective client and he hired me to do their voicemail when at the time, he really wasn't looking for a voiceover. All I did was give him a couple of key ideas for their website. This is a great example of building trust. Doug, this may seem random but what kind of wine do you like?
Doug: Yup...totally random. I’d expect nothing less from you, Terry. And I wish I had an answer for you, but the truth is, I've never really liked wine. And I've tried to like it. Back in my radio days, we used to host regular wine tastings and intimate concerts at the station for some lucky listeners. Every time, I’d sit there and listen to the wine expert discuss the finer points of the wines’ cherry or plum nose, its complexity, and its oak-y finish, or how it, “hints at green tomato and mineral notes as the finish dances.” Whatever. To me, it all just tasted like, well...like wine, I guess...nothing special. So I could totally live without wine, and I pretty much do.
Can't live without VO, though...I love everything about it. (I know this might sound cheesy, but it’s true.) The work, the clients, the challenge of finding effective ways to track down new clients, and especially the incredibly cool, supportive and generous people I'm lucky enough to call my colleagues. What helps you keep making that long commute downstairs and into your studio every morning? Other than the wine. : )
Terry: Lol! The cold winter weather in Minneapolis motivates me to keep coming down to “The Cave!” Yes, I have a nickname for my studio! There is truly nothing like coming down to the studio in your flannel pajamas pants and being able to record at 2am, 2pm or whenever you need to. Like any sales oriented job, you’ll have your slow and stressful months but the busy ones more than make up for those.
One of the greatest feelings in the world is when a client calls to thank you for the job you did and gives you credit for helping their business grow. I love that. I am extremely passionate about voiceover and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Well, except singing in a Johnny Cash Tribute Band!
Mr. Turkel, this has been a blast and if you’re not sick of me by now, we should do this again soon. Doug? Doug? Doug!!!!!!
To be continued...