Friday, November 26, 2010

Enjoy Life Every Day! Stay Away From Bad News!

Be careful what you hear and watch on TV. It can drag you down. The world has been at war many thousands of years. The U.S. has had good and terrible presidents. The politicians have always been corrupt for large part. Evil people abuse precious animals and little children. People kill people. Kidnappers and pickpockets and thieves have always existed in the world. Along with these horrible things, good people exist. People help people.Our teachers help us. Our ministers and rabbis guide us. All religions believe in a god...all religions spring from history and have the belief they are the right religion. It's strange. Life is mysterious. We'll never know much about it as we live it. Go with the flow. Stop judging things as good or bad. They just ARE. Enjoy today and every day. The sky outside my window is clear pale blue without a cloud in view. Yesterday was chilly when we walked our dog bundled up to our ears. Today is sweater weather. Lovely. Left over turkey, of course, the day after Thanksgiving. Love that too. Blogging is a great invention. Thanks for reading this. Blog on and I will too.
All best (this photo is from Vienna where we spent Christmas 2009 with our beloved son and his family).

Thanksgiving for My Career and How It Happened

Serendipity: I was a jingle singer and performer with my jazz group in supper clubs, lounges. A friend who was also a studio singer told me she had a recording session and I inquired for whom. She replied it was a voice over session. I asked what was a voice over! The next week, I went to her house for lunch and heard her new demo (at that time, a little cassette tape). I had been wondering how I would ever use my extensive training as an actor (through two masters degrees and much private study!). Singing had taken precedence in my life. I didn't want to do theatre. Night rehearsals and performances and very little money in return. I was now making a great living singing. But I saw opportunity to diversify. I enrolled in a voice over course attending sixteen night classes with an experienced voice coach in Dallas. Subsequent workshops followed. Soon, I was in the voice over biz. It was and still is fabulous. can't praise it enough. It's a wonderful way to make a living. Teaching others? Didn't enter my mind. I was, however, a singer's coach (still am) and acting coach. Well, people kept asking me to help them break into voice work. I said "no" until it turned to 'yes.' Now, I teach people worldwide and have started literally hundreds in this profession and also in radio-TV work. It was meant to be...Life takes you on paths you did not choose. Go with it. Have fun and enjoy what you do and if you don't enjoy it, stop doing it! Fear of change will stop you. Don't let it. Entrepreneurship can be scary. Don't be scared. It's great. New challenges are around every bend. With every ring of your phone and every day's email, new offers happen. Gotta go. Auditioning and jobs to do and projects to mix edit in my studio. Hope you attend one of our seminars soon. Love to meet you if you and I aren't friends yet. All best. Remember: You are a small business owner and your business is YOU.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Protecting your voice from harm: Gaming/Cartoons

When voicing demanding projects, voice projects that often take long days or weeks to complete, vocal stress and harm is always a possibility, and once damaged, the vocal mechanism, the delicate vocal folds, take a long, long time to repair themselves. Complete vocal rest is mandatory for faster healing and that means not working at all, speaking, for a long period without income from your voice over work or acting. Bad news! There is a category of pay, in union jobs, called 'hazard pay.' This means your agent or you can ask more money for work that is potentially vocally damaging. It's not always paid, however, and smaller jobs or speculative jobs never pay this. So you're on your own...are you willing to be damaged irreparably? Are you willing to lose your voice (maybe forever)? Are you willing to undergo vocal fold surgery for nodes or nodules? Will you go without income when your voice is not operational?No one will care when you're damaged. You've damaged yourself and now it's too late. THINK ABOUT THIS. It's very serious. That's what our webinar is about November 8 Monday night--Protecting your voice. It's sponsored by VOICEOVERXTRA. If you're reading this after this date and did not tune in, you can still contact the voxtra website to enroll and have the podcast of this event emailed to you. The fee is $44.95. It's well worth it. All best.
Bettye Zoller

An agent is a marriage. Choose wisely and work at it.

An agent only gets paid when you work. An agent isn't interested in wasting time talking to (let along signing) people who probably will not make them any money. An agent demands excellent sales tools from talents whom they represent. An agent demands a certain level of accomplishment and knowledge of acting, voice overs, modeling, whatever the person's skills are said to be. Sometimes, people contact me to coach them or create a demo for them and they say (amazingly!) that they've been searching for (or have signed with) and agent (s). I ask why they would have presumed to be ready when they also tell me they are rank beginners and, obviously, do not yet have the proper tools such as demos or headshots or resume. It is out of ignorance that this occurs...putting the cart before the horse as the old saying goes. Oh, they may indeed have been signed by an agent somewhere, a very 'minor' agent, not one in the mainstream, not one with power or connections or experience. And they may have been signed by an agent who honestly does not represent talents of their type or skills (for example, a voice over performer signed by an agent who primarily books musicians or models or theatrical work). Ignorance on both sides. So don't waste your time or agents' time by seeking representation until you are ready and your tools are in place and of top calibre. Then, go for it! And make certain that the agents with whom you sign are right for you and your focus. First, explore their website. Next, talk with them and not only by phone...try to meet face to face. Never 'drop in' of course, but make an appointment. That's being polite! Consider agent choices in that market (region). Once you've made your agent decision and signed with that person, promote yourself and your new agent affiliation widely and keep on doing that online and off. Prepare a postcard mailer. Have proper labels on all CDs and photos and cards. This means you'll have to have multiple print items because each agent needs personalized labels, cards, etc. You should be able to do this simply, at home, on your computer. If you're buying expensive printed materials for each agent, change your business model. Do this at home and save lots of money. So now you're 'married.' You may later get divorced (staying friendly, we hope), but so be it. It is like a marriage, an agent and you, and it takes work to make it work. All best to you.
Bettye Zoller