Sunday, September 26, 2010

Changing of the Seasons-New Beginnings

The changing season brings to mind many fall seasons in my life, burning leaves in Kansas City where it wasn't illegal then, gorgeous colors of Northern trees (when we see a brilliant tree color here in Texas, it's an unusual sight...alas), Halloween, Thanksgiving, wearing jackets and coats, chilly mornings. Mom and Dad, God bless 'em, still miss them daily, getting me ready for school, insisting I dress warmly. The smell of bacon cooking in the Autumn morning air. Knowing that winter was around the corner and winter was difficult with snow and ice and freezing temperatures but it was a new season too and always interesting and beautiful. I don't like living where we don't have distinct seasons. California would drive me bonkers, Arizona, New Mexico, places where we don't get the abrupt changes and dramatic sights of various seasons. Now I know those who live in these parts will disagree and so be it...I love your states too. I just miss the North and yet, don't miss the brutal winters...every part of the U.S. has beauty and I know that! But this morning, blogging, it occurs to me that many of my memories of past life are tied with seasons, happenings in certain times of the year, sights and sounds of seasons. Watermelon gardens and picnics in the summer nights, snow and ice in winter, summer evenings and crickets and lightning bugs (don't see them very much anymore...), spring flowers and birds singing as the wake up from the long winter and fly back North. And seasons of a career are important to think about too. Are you new? In the first season of your career? You've growing to do. Embrace it. Are you older with many seasons behind you, yet new seasons to come? Good. Every season has joy. Go for it.

Fashion and Voice Overs: Lessons to be Learned

The subject is competition, innovation, advertising your wares, catching the public eye, excelling in your business, making money. It's true in fashion and in voice overs (and all, film, tv, music, art, on and on). A student spoke with me about "competition" and how much of it there is in voice overs. What? So what? Talk about about being a fashion designer? I was reading Harper's Bazaar this morning. Love fashion. Love watching it and reading about it. All of the seasons of each year, designers must release new clothing, touting the line as "new." In reality, nothing is new. It's a rehash. What about opening a clothing store? What about going national with your clothing or your cosmetic line or whatever it is you do or sell? Scary? You bet! And people do it all the time without fear...well, they have fear, of course, they plan and design what seems to them to be the best roads to take to success, and along the way, get investors and lines of credit at banks and money to take their wares national. Then, the eventually have showrooms in NYC or even buildings in NYC and all over the world like Gucci, Chanel, von Furstenberg (opening new store not far from our home in Highland Park Village, the "rodeo drive" of Dallas...nothing in any store under $2000! And lots of shoppers in them too. So there! Don't worry about competition. What about being a hairdresser or a dentist or a dancer or a painter or a home decorator or furniture designer? Competition rules the world. Go with it. Enjoy it. Learn from your competition. Take their best ideas for yourself and earn with them. Learn from them and wish them well. Learn what NOT to do too. That's important. Fashion and Voice Overs and Acting and Singing and Playing the Guitar and name it...competition is the spice of life!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Know Audio Books and the Publishing Biz

Here's why: In 1991, we met in a restaurant, my soon-to-be-partners and I, to talk about forming a corporation, an audio book publishing company. This was the start of a whirlwind education,overly optimistic, I headed onward totally ignorant of what I had just set myself up for. Stupidity. So now, with offices rented and office furniture purchased, an attorney paid a fortune for drawing up the corporate papers, there we are. We created and distributed fifteen titles in all. Many were worldwide sellers, still out there! I became a Simon and Schuster author reader producer as a result of their finding out about me and my company's successes. Along the way, we snagged several big fish including The Audio Book Club. When they ordered 25,000 copies of several titles, it was time for big bank loans. Oh boy. Scary.swe spent a fortune on getting educated, attending conferences, consulting with experts on both coasts, buying expensive booths at trade shows just to get noticed. It worked. Ten years later, we dissolved the corp. when two partners became ill and subsequently passed away. It was, indeed, a life experience. Now, I teach audio books...the business and narrating them. I know whereof I speak. Let me help you avoid the painful experiences I endured on my long learning curve. My annual audio book workshop in Dallas is a goldmine of information. Join us. Watch my site for info. In 2010 it's Nov 13-14. Be there.

Competition Is Good

So what do you do now? PUBLICIZE, PROMOTE, SELL, NETWORK, GET AGENTS, GET ONLINE, GO FOR IT. You are a business. Your business is YOU. You cannot be fired. You cannot be jobless. That is, if you work hard every day and plan and scheme and figure out how to get noticed in this jungle. Voice overs today are overflowing with wannabees, newcomers. Some will last. Others will quickly drop out. Don't be concerned. The strong will survive. Competition has always been a motivator and it continues to be. Love competition. It's your FRIEND.
All best
Bettye Zoller

Go For It! What's Stopping You?

Today I had a client in my studio who is a video shooter, editor. TV personality, former newsman. He has wanted to do vo for decades. He is. Fantastic talent. I've had so many over the years who knew inside they could do this but something stopped them. What? Could be self-doubt. Could be negative voices of influence. Could be fear of failure. Could be lack of knowledge about the business. One common comment from newcomers is: "But the competition is so great." I respond, "SO WHAT?" Try hairdressing or dancing or opening a carpet store or clothing store or being a dentist. What else is new?" The Mary Kay Corporation says to its new salespeople, "don't fear competition. Everyone has SKIN." You have skin too! Get a THICK SKIN. Roll with it. Persevere. Go for it. Be not afraid.
All best
Bettye Zoller

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Determination or Just a Dream?

Voice Overs and my recording studio and life go on...some happy some sad moments when dear friends pass or other life happenings. I am watching the black and white classic movie, "Sunset Blvd." with the late and always amazing Gloria Swanson. William Holden stars. He always was a fav of mine and in the film, "Picnic," took my breath away. I've loved him for decades. well, I'm what do I want to write my blog about today? Let me see...

Today I had a client in my recording studio and she kept finding fault with herself. Classic case of self-doubt and insecurity about her abilities. I call that, in my students, "the imposter syndrome." Self-doubt comes from not feeling comfortable in one's own skin, not being sure one should be doing something. Self-doubt can end with abandoning plans, one's dreams, goals, because the person began to doubt so strongly his or her direction. Don't let that happen to you at the beginning of a new endeavor be it a business or a love affair. Yes, voice overs are a business. But they also should be a love affair. They should be something you want to do more than anything else and you should be determined. I guess that's what I want to say here: Determination. Do you have it? You need it.

A good friend in radio, a man who was very wealthy from his broadcasting endeavors, once told me this: "If someone tells you they are THINKING about doing something, starting a new business, learning a new skill or trade, tell them they probably never will amount to anything. That's because if a person wants, with a burning desire, to do something, accomplish something, he isn't just THINKING about doing it. He is DETERMINED."

See what that means? Be determined. Focus. And find your bliss. If it's not meant for you, you'll drop out. Many have. It's not all fun. It's not all joy. It's hard work. It's not glamorous. Oh no. It's sweaty and scary and wonderful.

Bettye Zoller

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Who Do You Miss and Why?

People affect us all of our lives good and bad. The good ones we grow to respect, love, admire, revere, treasure. Who do you miss in your life? I miss so many, teachers, friends, helpers, neighbors, business associates. It'salways there in the back of my mind and pops up at the strangest times, often when I see a movie or read a book or talk with a friend who reminds me of them or how much I miss them. Longing and largess and pining, and straining for them.But they are gone, gone gone. What to do? "Think about other things," people counsel me. "You can't bring them back so don't pine for them." "They live on in your memory." Well, memory is not GOOD ENOUGH. I want them here, now, in my life like they USED TO BE. Get it? But that doesn't matter cause they are, in fact, GONE GONE GONE.

Missing folks you love or admire is part of life so enjoy and treasure the ones around you while you have them. That's my advice.
Bettye Zoller

Voice Overs Can Be Weird and You Should Know

I grow increasingly tired of people who complain about lack of career success in voice overs. I began in this business as a studio singer and voice over performer with a four month old son and a husband (later we divorced) who seldom worked. The money from studios saved our lives. My mother often bought me groceries and paid my gas bill. I freed my parents from all that. Then later, studio money sent children to private schools, expensive colleges, built on our house, took expensive world vacations, so much more, all on monies earned from recording work. My parents, God bless them and He does and did,would have been so proud had they lived until now. But they know looking at me from somewhere across the veil.

You must keep trying. Do it for the ones you love and especially yourself!

Well, you can do it too. You have to promote yourself, get to know people who can hire you, get your name out in the world, on the internet, and have people who LIKE YOU. That's first. People want to work with people THEY LIKE. Ask any job consultant. They will say the same.

Today I downloaded and printed an article about this subject. It is entitled, "Find Success With Hard Work." Bravo. Yes. Right on. And tonight on TV I'm watching the masterful movie, "Julie and Julia." Yes, both women were so strong and kept on and did not give up. You can do it too.

Onward. Upward. Let this be your motto. Best of luck and hugs to you all.
Bettye Zoller