About Me

Why The Change was Necessary

I will start by saying that the past five years have flown by and while I have had to seek help with my studio gear, my MacBook Air has been dependable in every way since its purchase. I have not had issues with my computer. I have been extremely happy since switching from a PC to a Mac, and have been extremely happy with the MacBook Air specifically. So, why switch? Well, as per my blog last week, I made a lot of gear upgrades in my studio recently. The early 2015 MacBook Air I have only has one Thunderbolt B port and NO, as an not a single one, Thunderbolt C ports, and it was not possible to have both my pre-amp and my studio monitor hooked up simultaneously, while both are essential. So, I made the choice to upgrade.

Why Did I Pick the iMac?

To be clear, my MacBook Air is still running fine. It completely functions and has not changed in any way, it is just missing some essential ports. This is sad. So, when looking at apple offerings, I decided that since I have a working laptop, I could focus on a great desktop. In truth, I have always wanted one. In the pre-pandemic world, when I could actually enter a store and look around, I always thought it would be great to work at a desk top. I decided this time the desktop made sense. The iMac had the right requirements in terms of storage and speed. I got a track pad and the 21.5 inch screen. All I had to do was wait about 10 days for the iMac to ship from Shanghai to New Jersey!

The SetUp-How did it Go?

The set up went well. It took me most of the day. It arrived around 10:30 am and by dinner I was up and running, and the timing was pretty good. Coming the Friday of a holiday weekend is ideal as the bookings I have for live sessions will not be until next week anyway. I had heard some horror stories of industry friends recently setting up new computers, so I was not optimistic or overly enthusiastic and I expected it to take a while. The initial backup from iCloud went ok. Then I had to install my UAD software. Since I had just done this with Tim last week on the laptop, I still remembered how and it was not fast but I was able to do it. I was worried about getting my settings onto the iMac, but I was actually able to use airdrop to move them from one computer to the other. Twisted Wave setup was a little tricker for me. I spent a while putting in my many keyboard shortcuts. I could not figure out why my effects stack would not open in its entirety. I realized I had to find my initial izotope purchase, download that, enter the ilok, and then open the effects stack. I was getting a little nervous that I would need a session with Tim, but to my own surprise I was able to get it going! I am happy to report that the monitor in my booth connected with ease and I am so thankful to have my booth in working order. I am still making tweaks like syncing my drop box and connecting my pay to plays in my chrome short cuts, but for the most part it is set up how I want it!

What Is Still Missing- Source Connect

I was successfully able to download and install the software for Source Connect. I use the Pro version 3.9 and thankfully I pay for support, so there is no crisis, I just wish I had it up and running. The hiccup for me is repointing the location from the MacBook Air to the iMac. I am also curious if I can run Source Connect on both computers or not. I set up the soonest support session I could, which will be this coming Tuesday at 5:30, and all my questions will be answered. This also made me realize that I had to get zoom up and running, so thankfully that is now set up on my iMac as well.

Thoughts and Plan- Upstairs/Downstairs

Rome was not built in a day, and I am sure that in the coming days and weeks I will realize other applications that need to be installed on the iMac. I am thankful, though, that I accomplished as mush as I did at the start. My plan is that the desktop will live in my office space and my MacBook Air will now reside upstairs and will also be dedicated to my travel rig. It has only been since Friday, 48 hours, but so far this seems like a really wonderful upgrade. Ultimately, this isn’t about just changing computers, right. I had a setup that was working until it wasn’t. I made a change. I used to really fear change, but I know know (more than understand, actually know) that change makes me better and presents opportunity.

How I got Started

Years ago when I was an Upper School History Teacher at a prestigious all girls school on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, a popular question higher-ups used to ask faculty was where we saw ourselves in five years. I always answered in the classroom. It was true. I never had administrative ambitions. At 24, it was hard to imagine myself designing curriculum and assigning faculty their courses . When I got into voice over, much the same happened. I had and have longterm goals for myself and for my business, but they typically involve building and maintaining a consistent sustainable income in an industry I am extremely passionate about.

So how then, without looking to build a coaching career, did I suddenly coach three people last week? As a platinum member of Voice123, they asked me to. In the email they asked if I would be interested in working with talents who are premium members new to the platform. I was delighted and excited at this new opportunity on a platform that has helped me build my business. Without betraying the confidence of those I have worked with so far, I will share some interesting lessons I learned from coaching that I think would be useful for those of us who are working professionals and are a few years in.

We all started somewhere

When you surround yourself with the right industry friends, you can share this journey with them!

It is easy to forget that at some point we built our businesses and had to learn about the industry. Some of the talents I worked with had a better understanding than others, but compared to working pros they were clearly at the beginning of their journey. What they all had in common was that they were bringing valuable skills from their prior life with them into voiceover, whether they knew it or not. They also had a shared passion for voice over and a necessary determination to succeed. Yet, they were on a site to book work before even understanding the genres that are on the site, the criterion for professional demos, and some needed to get educated about how to use audio technology in general. Think about where you were when you went into VO? How much research did you do? Were you even aware of what you needed to learn? It was an exciting moment to connect with these aspiring voiceover actors and help to point them towards success, in hopes that they have the stamina to connect all the many dots necessary to build a career. It also brought back so many memories of what it takes to succeed and build a business.

Another Opportunity for Branded Content

As I corresponded with these aspiring VOs before our sessions, I found immediately that many of their questions overlapped. They wanted to know about:

  • How to improve their profile
  • How to submit competitive auditions
  • If their demos were appropriate
  • What DAWs to use
  • How to Market directly to clients

This touched the teacher in me. I was excited to hear about their goals, and I did not want to assume that what I want is what they want. I also was delighted to have a chance to create some of my own branded content to use with my new voice over students. I spent hours making lessons and creating handouts to use in our sessions. I wanted to create meaningful templates that would help start a solid foundation. I also wanted it to reflect my brand and my business values. I was very proud to put my logo on the worksheets I created. I was also very proud to make referrals to my many industry friends who I have connected with over the years who teach social media and marketing classes and produce demos.

Self-Evaluation

So, how did it go? Well each session went differently but all went well. As all of the talents I worked with thus far are at different points in their voice over journey and needed different levels of support, the sessions took very different paths. For example, only one student wanted to work on script analysis and craft. I loved pulling scripts I thought would be right and working on the reads. Another has built an impressive on-camera career and really is building her studio from scratch at the moment. It was exciting to be talking to her at the start of it all. Another had a wonderful acting background on stage and as a working mom is patiently waiting for her kids to go back to school. I sure can relate to that! I think now that I realize how everyone is in such different points, I will do an introductory survey before the session. It will help me better prepare and best meat their needs. I also think I will have even more support resources readily available if I know about their training, demos, and studio in advance.

My Chat This Week With VO Project Managers

An Unusual Opportunity…

This week I had an unusual opportunity to have a zoom sessions with a few folks who do casting. I was on a zoom call with an extremely accomplished male voice actor based in Vancouver named Brent Miller. Brent and I get to spent about 45 minutes chatting with these folks about our background, experience, best clients, niche roles, and the kind of work we book. Here is a summary of what the Project Managers asked me and how I replied:

Did you get your start on Pay to Plays?

I wouldn’t say I got my start on Pay to Plays, I would say that seeing what was available on the various casting sites gave me the confidence to pursue voice over.  When I saw how much opportunity there was on the various casting sites, I was confident that with the right training there was potential to do work and make a sustainable income. I spent years getting coaching, doing demos, and building my website before I had a presence on any of the various pay to plays though. I know some talent just buy a mic and go, but I wanted to be competitive and to put a certain quality out that represented my brand from the start. I wasn’t ready to launch until I was ready to launch.

What advice do you have for other mom’s in VO?

I say this a lot: get a crockpot. It’s hard juggling a lot of balls, and if you still have household responsibilities and you have to work a full work day, it’s hard to do everything. Plan ahead as much as possible.  I do weekly meal planning for all of our dinners.  Another tip for working mom’s is to have patience. When I started I had all of these immediate goals for my voice over career. I have always been very “Type A.” But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and especially when you have a family, you have to realize that there is not overnight success in voiceover. It does take time to build a client base. Lastly, find and report to an accountability group. I meet with mine weekly. We have five touch points that we report on, but we for sure hold each other accountable and lift each other up.

If you could work with another talent, who would it be and why?

Oprah. I have always loved Oprah. I actually came face to face with her once at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. I was speechless. She looked amazing and said hello and I stood there mouth open and no words could come out. Nothing. Silence. But I have dreamt of speaking to her and collaborating with her and going to her school in Africa. I have dreamt of contributing in any way to one of her many amazing projects. I have fantasized about collaborating in numerous ways.

I have also had similar fantasies of working with Ellen DeGeneres. I think Ellen, like Oprah, uses her celebrity to better the world and to help people. I love the positive energy they put out and I love the giving example that Ellen sets for others. I confess that I watch whatever Facebook poppop comes up of Ellen, and if I could ever contribute to an Ellen project it would mean a lot.

What is a project you’ve booked recently that meant a lot to you?

You know it’s funny, I do a lot of TV and radio commercials, but recently I was cast in a B’Nai Mitzvah video as the voice of the family dogs. If you don’t know, a B’nai mitzvah is a Bar Mitzvah for boy/girl twins, and if you don’t know what a Bar Mitzvah is, it is a coming of age celebration at 13 for Jewish people. Anyway, in the video montage that was to play at the celebration in Long Island, I was the voice of the family dogs. This meant so much to me because I understood that all the people they loved most in the world would be there, and I was really touched be that. We talk so much about usage in the voice over industry, but this is something that hopefully these kids will show their kids in 20 or 30 years, and I hope they love it and it brings the family a lot of joy. It was really special to be a part of such an intimate project.

There are some Questions the Project Managers DID NOT Ask and I Wish They Had:

What kind of work do you want to book more of?

Promos. I spent a really long time coaching with Dave Walsh and I redid my promo demo in 2018. I would LOVE to do more promo work. As a wife and a mother, I would love to book more work related to women’s health issues. Surprisingly I seldom play the mom role, so I would love to do more as a mom in VO.  I also would love to do more work related to pet care. I have done some, but as an animal lover and mom of two dogs, I would love to add more pet brands to my client roster.

How do you feel about rates right now in the industry?

I wish the Project Managers had asked about rates. It’s something we discuss a lot in my accountability group. Particularly during the covid-19 Pandemic, I thinks some voice actors are more willing to take lower rates as work is slow. I think it is more important than ever to maintain industry standards.  Whether it is the GVAA rate guide or the Gravy for the Brain Rate Guide, it is really important that voice actors maintain a unified front and let those casting know what we are worth.

One of our oldest family friends who lost her son waiting for a heart lung transplant at CHOP the year I graduated from college said something to me years ago that stuck: never compare suffering. I keep hearing friends say that this is worse than 9/11. Having been in New York City on 9/11, even saying that out loud makes me want to vomit, and I have a hard time conceptualizing how in such a short period of time we can actually, as a collective people, go through something that is worse. So, I hope that you will forgive me if instead of blogging about voice overs or life as a working mom, today I will use my weekly blog post to attempt to deal with what I am struggling with, as others most be struggling too.

The Numbers…

Intellectually I understand that the numbers of deaths from Covid-19 in my home state of New Jersey have now surpassed those from 9/11, but even hearing this over and over it does not feel real. According to NJ.com, as of this morning 846 people have died in NJ from the Corona Virus and 704 died on 9/11. On 9/11 I was a proud NYC resident living on the Upper West Side and Teahing History on the Upper East Side. Those statistics are also not great: according to Politico yesterday, 2700 New Yorkers perished on 9/11 and as of yesterday 2935 have succumbed to the corona virus. So yes, I get it, in terms of the numbers the virus is much worse.

The Timing

If you ask most people, especially New Yorkers, where they were on 9/11, they can tell you precisely where they were and what they were doing when the towers were hit. I was with my department chair at the Nightingale-Bamford School, Kitty Gordon, for out weekly Tuesday morning. Her assistant Sharon interrupted us to tell us the news. We were shocked but we continued out meeting. I then went to teach my 8th grade American History class, and as the girls started to panic about their parents who worked in the area, I realized that my now husband then fiancee was across the street. For me, the horror of that day unraveled in a few hours. Harlan felt the impact of the second tower being hit at his desk and was up and running. Harlan saw things that day, as many New Yorkers did, that no human should ever see. He saw the giant gaping holes in the towers as they stood and he saw people making there terrifying exits. Harlan ran to the west side highway and then walked all the way up to me at Nightingale at 92nd and 5th Avenue. He was there at dismissal with his parents. Harlan and I then had to walk some students home to the west side. We were blessed. We survived as did our family.

For me, the time factor of the corona virus is different. 9/11 was a sudden shack. The attack was rapid and unexpected. In the aftermath people came together, but the attack was over. With covid-19, the attack is slow and lingering and one never really knows when it will strike and where the danger is. The pace seems to change everything. There are daily challenges and then within the struggle we grasp at silver linings. There is terror mixed with blessings. This “new normal” as so many call it is bizarre. For me, in the midst of this setting, the statistics only serve as a reminder that we are all still stuck in this, unable to go back as life to the way it was in February, which seems like a lifetime ago.

There Were No Silver Linings With 9/11

For me, I have a hard time even looking at the 9/11 memorial. I become extremely emotional. I do not like taking the path train to the World Trade Center. The made it so nice that I just feel vulnerable all over again. Having been through 9/11, it still, even today, feels too raw and I cannot feel any silver linings.

The current Corona virus situation is terrifying in a different way, but for me, the pace is slow. Even though we are surrounded by death and suffering, there have actually been some silver linings. Here is my list, maybe it will help you:

  • Since we are all home we got a Labrador Retriever puppy.
  • We are all cooking together a lot.
  • We are eating healthy, balance meals.
  • We are spending time as a family.
  • My husband and I are going for walks every day.
  • My kids are learning to do chores around the house.
  • We are not putting many miles on our cars.
  • We are polluting less.
  • My kids are happy not to take the train to school.

All of these silver linings are fine and dandy as long as my family gets through this unscathed. I think the hardest part for me is not seeing our extended family: my parents, my in-laws, my sister…. and we don’t know when we will see them. The unknown is scary and in this scenario it could go on and on. Never will we take wellness for granted again.

It’s a Conundrum

I have so many good days, when I am super productive, I have tons of energy, and I get more accomplished than I had ever thought possible. On such days, sometimes a crazy thought creeps through my head: what if they’re gone? What if just as suddenly as they came, I will never get a migraine again? Then, like a load of bricks dropped on my head, I wake from my sleep with the throbbing pain behind my right eye and I hope that I get the medication in me in time so that I can take the lowest dosage possible. So, how can the good days seem so immeasurably good and then the bad days I am just so thankful for each task that is completed. When making toast seems like climbing Mount Everest, the vast contrast between the good days and the bad days of this working mom is mind blowing. But here’s the real kicker: I speak for a living. As a migraine sufferer, on bad days, I don’t want to talk. At all. The sound of my voice seems to echo against the inside of my head and is excruciating. How frustrating that all of the things I am passionate about, including voice over, are not easy on migraine days.

Making it Work

As a working mom I try hard to exhibit good coping for my twins Emma and Jack, so laying curled up in a ball on the sofa all day is not a good longterm strategy for a chronic problem. When I’m “lucky,” and believe me I am using that word loosely, my migraines will come on a weekend and I can sleep them off. Often they come as they like as they are triggered by all sorts of things: stress, lack of sleep, my cycle, the weather, so in short- life triggers them. When they come on a week day I try to take the medicine as early as I can. I tend to be a heavy sleeper and wake up confused, but if I can actually get the medication in me early, that helps. I try to always have both coffee and ginger ale in the house as they help. My strategy then changes. Daily routines will be completed, but anything extra gets pushed to another day. Nothing fun will happen on a migraine day. I try to give myself a break and only do what is essential. Booked work will be recorded. Auditions will likely be skipped. All emails will be replied to. I will likely defer any direct marketing. In terms of mom tasks, if I can ask Harlan to help with anything, I do!

Planning Ahead

My migraines started when I had my twins, almost 17 years ago. It is safe to assume I will have them until the kids go to college, so now, like with everything else, I plan ahead. Here are some tricks that help me a lot, just in case a whopper of a head ache should descend:

              • Pack school lunches the night before. I actually make sandwiches or entrees for a few days at a time so that I just have to grab the sides each night. It really speeds things up!
              • Have set laundry days.
              • Order groceries weekly so your house is always stocked with the basics at minimum.
              • Plan your food for the week. I have a weekly print out so if I am down for the count someone can figure out the food.
              • Make sure to refill the migraine medication regularly. It is terrible to realize that you have run out at 3 am when you really need it. Keep a stock of it on hand.
              • If you cannot drive on your medication, as I often cannot, make sure you have carpool arrangements that are flexible for your kids.

Voice Over Specific Issues and Migraine

There are work related tasks that I will and won’t do on migraine days. I will happily do any self-directed sessions at my leisure. I will happily record short and normal length scripts. A migraine day is not the day to have an ISDN session with new clients and multiple people giving directions. My brain just can’t process the input and it is not a smart, career promoting move. I also wouldn’t promise to deliver 10,000 words of eLearning with a migraine. It doesn’t mean I couldn’t record a few modules, but I pride myself on being a meticulous editor, and nothing is meticulous when you are on such strong headache medicine. The other task I would avoid on migraine days is voice matching. I have a knack for being able to match others’ voices and my own past jobs. But, on a headache day, that is just too tricky and I would wait.

Pros of Working with a Migraine Sufferer

Yes, I wish my migraines would stop and never come back. But, I do think they have changed me. I have so much more understanding of what people with much more serious chronic illnesses go through. I am much more patient. I am genuinely thankful for every non-migraine day. I am very sympathetic when others have to reschedule and are under the weather.

This is written for my twins, Emma and Jack. All I do is for them, all day. Every day.

The Actual Bottom Line

While most of us who work do it because we have an actual financial goal we need to hit, working moms with children at home have goals as role models as well. As my role in my family shifted from that of a stay-at-home mom, a role which I coveted for as long as I could, to a small-business owner who works full-time to contribute meaningfully to my family’s well-being, there is so much that I want my twins, now teens, to take away from this. I spend countless hours in a padded foam booth pursuing my passion for voiceover. There are so many life lessons in the hard work and interactions with both clients and industry friends and colleagues. My hope is the my kids can learn from my experience as a momtrepreneur so that when they have a family and they work they carry not only our family values and ethics with them, but they make good choices because of what I have gone through.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations and Know The Difference Between Your Starting Point and Your Goals

Every one starts somewhere. When I started, I spent a lot of time working on my goals and my business plan, which I reflected on in last week’s blog. You don’t reach your goals over night. Very few people start in life at the top. In an industry like voice over, the first booking, and each and every booking after that, is to be celebrated. As a business owner, building client relationships is essential to building a sustainable business, and relationships don’t happen from one email or from one phone call. It takes time, hard work, and perseverance. Sometimes there are setbacks. Sometimes mistakes are made on either side.  But just because it is hard to reach your goals, reach for the stars and don’t be discouraged! According to both Fresh Books and the Houston Chronicle,  “In conventional terms it can take two to three years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing poorly.”  If you have a dream and a goal, don’t give up. If I had gotten discouraged easily, my voiceover business would never have been possible.

Don’t Get Bogged Down By What Others Think About What You Are Doing

When you have a job, everyone will have an opinion about it. Your friends will. Industry friends will. Random neighbors on the street will. Frankly the only voice that matters is your inner voice, the feeling in your gut. You have to decide whose guidance you value and filter out the rest. Once you start letting these voices in, they don’t stop. You have to have an inner compass that is stronger than all of these people who think they know what is right for you. It is almost mind-blowing how many people have opinions on subjects they know nothing about. Decide what is right for you and go for it. I spent a really long time deciding what I wanted to do before I decided to pursue voiceover. Some people thought it was great and were encouraging. Others’ comments ranged from skeptical to cruel. I had to turn a deaf ear to all of it and follow my gut. It felt right and I went for it. It was actually not that complicated. I had a well-researched plan and I was ready. If you are well-educated I know you will make good choices.

No Human Will Ever Love You Like Your Dog Does

And that’s ok, the dog will fill that void. The love that we have gotten from Barclay and Violet has been a great joy, and working in my studio with Violet by my side is a true gift every single day. Dogs are a blessing in this world. When humans have let me down, the dogs have always made everything better. There has never been a time in my adult life when the dog has not been there. You can trust them emotionally completely. Conversely, I would not trust a human who does not want a dog by his or her side. There must be something lacking in their soul.

 

 

Don’t Settle

If you work hard you can have everything you want and need in this world. Dreams do come true, and as a mom I know that to be true! Everything else that has happened in my life aside from the birth of my children is gravy, but knowing the small miracle that they both exist, I was blessed to be Barclay’s mom and that we have our precious Violet, if that can all happen then the jobs and the client relationships, all of that are possible.

Hey… What’s the Best….

Last night we were out to dinner with my folks and my husband’s folks. We were at one of our favorite places, Dough, in Caldwell, NJ and it was particularly fun because we were at a big, square table. The kids were asking my dad stories about law school, and it doesn’t take much to get him going. But this is not uncommon, a lot of times people ask my dad about his “craziest case.” Or we’ll be out with a friend who’s a doctor and we’ll ask them about their wild cases and boy, without violating HIPAA, can they tell some unreal stories. So I never feel put on the spot when people ask me about my craziest job or my best recent casting. But in case you’re curious, here are some, and these are not in order of favorites, just how they came to mind:

WWII Foundation Narration

I was so excited when this project came in. I was actually sitting at the Encore hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where I was staying right before WoVo Con 19 started when Brian, the producer called me. Both of my grandfathers served in the Pacific Campaign in World War II. I went to graduate school for History. My son is at present obsessed with World War II History. So, what could be more fun than voicing a project that would help draw high school students in and educate them about such an important period in time? The script was so well-written and Brian was so easy to work with, which always makes projects better! Being cast in this meant so much to me on so many levels.

Climate Change Narration for PBS and Chrysler Museum

PBS WHROI always hate to overtly give away my age, but when I was a kid we did not have cable tv, we had the networks, PBS, and maybe two other channels. So, when they animation project came in for PBS, a channel I grew up glued to, as did my kids, my heart went all-aflutter! I think I was so enthusiastic both because it was PBS and because it addressed climate change, something I am so profoundly concerned about. It means a lot to me to have an opportunity to voice projects with an impact. I have also always loved taking my kids to museums too, so when I learned that this was tied in to the Chrysler Museum it was even better. In this animation, I used a kids voice. Like the WWII project, my goal was to draw kids in and keep them interested. As a working mom and a former educator, I feel like I bring all of this with my into the booth for these projects.  When I have an opportunity like this, I am left feeling instilled with hope that change will come.

UK Tampax Spot

As an American who grew up in a Philly suburb and resides in a New York suburb, I was cast by a London ad agency in a UK tampax spot for their UK tampax channel? How, you may ask? Well, my nephews have grown up in a posh sloan square neighborhood so I just had their little voices in my head when I auditioned and I guess that booked it! I cannot do a range of UK accents, I can specifically do central London as that is what I hear in my head. I can sometimes do slight cochney, but that’s it. Anyway, for this project we had a live session with a European creative team. It was not 10 minutes and done. I remember it going about 40 minutes, which is long for me. But the spot is cute and I am pleased with it. And since we all get out monthly visitor, we not have something that is relevant for girls and women, right? This was a fun one for sure!

 

IMRC Commercials

Well, who doesn’t love a good tv campaign? And when the hospital that you are voicing the campaign for is bought out by Cleveland Clinic, it gets even better! And when your Aunt and Uncle have a home in the viewing area? It feels like a home run! In truth, anytime I have an opportunity to work with clients on a repeat nature I am delighted, but I love doing campaigns because I enjoy the continuity. It is nice to have the project to look forward to, and I am always so sad when they end. I loved these spots and hope there are more down the line. I think these resonated with me so much because the real life stories they used were just so touching. Also, even though the hospital is based in Florida, the Alan, the producer, is a Jersey guy, and that just makes everything better.

Cosmo Prof Training

I may have been born in Philly, but I’ve been here 15 years and I’d say that’s long enough to call myself a Jersey girl- gel nails and supah blond hair and all! So, when an eLearning came my way that was all about training for hair products, let’s just say I didn’t have to act to sound upbeat and enthusiastic! I was so so excited to do this module for CosmoProf and Sally Beaty. From brushes to straighteners to curling irons, it’s like they had me in mind when they wrote the content!

How Have 5 Years Gone By?

In the blink of an eye, it is the end of 2019 and time to set goals for 2020. But this year also marks my fifth year pursuing voice over full time. The foam in my booth has literally turned from bright white to a funky yellow! Five years ago so many things were unknown: how would I juggle being a working mom, how would I find VO clients, how would I run a business as a solopreneur? Now all of those things are still part of my daily life, but I am confidently figuring it out. There is a good rhythm to my voiceover practice. So looking ahead to 2020, I am optimistic that I am on the verge of more good things. and I have always believed that if I don’t say it aloud, or in writing, then the universe doesn’t hear it… so, here are my goals for 2020:

More Radio Imaging

I have worked hard, every single day for the past few years, to grow this side of my business. I hope that in 2020 I can add more CHR and Adult Hits stations to my roster. I continue to reach out to station managers and program directors. I love doing liners, sweepers, and station promos. I am no longer with my manager and my hope is that stations are happier to make arrangements with me directly.

More Commercial Campaigns, Fewer One-Offs

My hope is that in 2020 I book more commercial campaigns and fewer on-offs. Like the work that I did for Anytime Fitness, I hope to book more of this. I love helping a brand emerge and I love being associated with certain brands. I also love working with ad teams continuously and building the rapport that comes with it.

Grow My Repeat Client Base

I lot of my business, about 60%, comes direct from clients. Most of that is from clients that come back over and over again. This year I hope to add five or six more solid clients to my repeat client roster, folks I can work with over and over again and count on for steady work.  Again, like my campaign work, this will enable me to really get to know them. This will also help my continue to build on my sustainable, consistent family income.

More eLearning

I love doing eLearning work. I have some steady clients that I do work with almost every week. This year my hope is to have a few more clients that I do work with regularly. I enjoy all aspects of this work, whether I am playing a character in a training module or a traditional narrator. I love working with the instructional designers to bring these roles to life and make them authentic.

Political Spots

My hope for 2020 is that I can help bring about some much needed change by voicing many blue political spots. I have so many hopes and prayers for our country, and the world, and it is my hope that if a some more liberal folks are elected we will be in a better place next year. I was a political science major in college and I have very strong feelings about what is going on at present. To literally be the voice of change would mean a lot to me. I am very proud of the political demo that I did with Brandon Perry from Adrenaline Studios and I hope that I book a lot from it.

Speak at Conferences and Build relationships with Exhibitors

Since I got into voice over I have been fortunate to attend conferences, many conferences, including WoVo Con, VO Atlanta, VOCation, VO North, and more. I love them for so many reasons, and that is really a separate blog. I am at a point in my career where I want to start giving back to the voice over community that is so very important to me and sharing what I have learned. I have sat in on so many valuable sessions, and now I would be so excited to contribute.

I also love going to the expos at these conferences. I always post about my gear and everything that makes my studio great on my social media. Now I want to start building relationships with the folks who represent at these conferences. Since I represent brands for a living, I would like to build a bridge between the products I use to represent other brands and myself.

Wishing All the Best for 2020

I have noticed on social media that there is a tremendous generosity of spirit in the voiceover community now more than ever. From folks like Bev Standing, Mark Scott, J. Michael Collins, and Kim Handysides to name a few. I am thinking of my fellow voice talents this week and always. I share this joy in our community and am so proud to be a part of these great VO tribe. I wish everyone much success in 2020. I think back to what I learned from Anthony Gettig in the beginning of my career: The rising tide lifts all the ships in the harbor.

Time to Reflect

At the years’ end, it seems like an additional time to reflect. I’m not sure if it’s the food coma induced by all the latkes and egg-nog lattes, or it is just the natural cycle of things, but it is a great time to look back on the best parts of the year and see how far this career I have worked so hard to build has come. So here is my countdown of top 5 best voiceover moments from 2019:

5. WoVo Con In October

Time with industry friends goes by way too fast!!

Without a doubt, WoVo Con is always worth the trip to Las Vegas! What do I love about this conference? Well, the superior sessions, seeing my VO besties, and an opportunity to build important voice over relationships. Over the years I have gone to some amazing sessions. This year I loved Everett Oliver’s session and I loved Brad Newman’s session. I was so happy to have time with Shelley Avellino and to see others like Dana Hurley, Jodi Krangle, Anne Ganguzza, J. Michael Collins, and the list goes on and on. I also had a chance to meet and get to know potential clients! I even went to dinner one night with an eLearning company that added me to their roster, so I enjoyed my time there and made every moment count.

4.Trip to Toronto adjacent to VO North in September

I had an amazing time in Toronto this fall! I had initially planned to be there for VO North, but instead I was adjacent to the conference and spent time with some my VO besties Dearbhla Trainor, Kim Handysides, and Shelley Avellino. We stayed at Derv’s and helped her get ready for the

From the front left is Kim Handysides, Shelley Avellino, me, and Dearbhla Trainor at a NY style diner in Toronto! We had s much fun.

conference. We got to see about of the city and have time together. Kim and I went on an adventure to the middle of no where together to visit clients. That was interesting. We also saw her family and her home town! It was absolutely amazing to have time with these spectacular women and I loved every moment of being with my friends and being in such a great city! Next year I will definitely stay for the entire conference.

3. Trip to LA for WWRS in March 2019

In March, 2019 I went to Burbank, CA for the World Wide Radio Summit. This was the same week as VO Atlanta, so I had to choose between the two conferences. I have been working so hard to grow the radio imaging side of my business and to be there to here the best in the business speak on amazing panels was so inspirational. In 2019, there were not one but two imaging panels, of both voice talents and program directors. To hear folks like Issa Lopez and Ashley Cavalier was a dream come true. These women are role models for us all and they set the bar really high. Their work is incredible and they have achieved so much. I also met people from all over the world, wether they were from across the pond or across the country. To have entire networks like iHeart and Sirius represented was just amazing and the folks that I met were so nice. I have enjoyed keeping in touch with them.

2. Collections are Complete

As a small business owner, it is a pretty major accomplishment to be totally on top of my collections.  Just because I am able to mark this is a goal that I have met does not mean that this was an easy feat. It has taken diligence, patience, and commitment. Most clients are very kind and well-intentioned. Some of these kind clients pay right away. Some are just busy with work and life and forget to pay and need a friendly reminder. But you know what else I have learned as a business owner? Not everyone is nice. Some people do not want to pay even when they are happy. Why? Because they are not nice. So they make small business owners jump through a million hoops to chase them down for money in hopes that we would rather just disappear. This year my multi-pronged approach, wich combines friendly reminders from me with an attorneys letter at the 90 day mark was the right combination. I am thankful.

1. Amazing New Clients and Stayed on Pandora’s Roster

I am so thankful that my client roster this year and always. I am proud that when I work with a client I typically keep working

With an eLearning client at DevLearn last fall and visiting a client in Orlando last Spring:)

with a client. Some of the major brands I have had an opportunity to do voiceovers for in 2019 include Dove, Kyvno, CT Lottery, Michigan Lottery, Cleveland Clinic, Quest Diagnostics, Spoke, CosmoProf, Origins, and the list goes on and on. I am also thrilled that my work for both Pandora and Spotify continued. Pandora has extended another contract to me for 2020 and I am so very thankful for their trust in me year ofter year. This year, a lot of the work I did for them was repeat work because the clients specifically requested me. That means the world to me.

Say Cheese- Leaving the Booth for a New Opportunity

Over the years I have seen postings of other voice over actors including Tracy Lindley, Jas Patrick, Kim Handysides, Sofia Cruz and many others going to on-camera gigs and I was intrigued. I LOVE doing voice over and being behind the microphone, but as a working creative I could understand how there are a lot of over-lapping skills and I always wanted to give it a try. I had been offered a life-style modeling contract years ago, but it would have taken me out of the booth too much, and as a working mom my entire business was built around wanting to be here for my family. But, the occasional on-camera gig seems like the right fit now.

When my Denver based agent Leenda Nicole, of CatheXis,  and I started talking about both on-camera opportunities and modeling opportunities that suit my career now, everything fell into place. This week I got to film my first on-camera spot, an agency promo for CatheXis, and it was great!

Rounding Up

You know how this time of year when you go to pay for something at a store and they ask you if you want to round up to support a charity? That’s what it’s like to work with Leenda, she rounds up: she asks for the best of people, her talents and clients alike, at precisely the right moment, and brings out the best in everyone.  Any CatheXis talent will tell you that having Leenda as your agent is wonderful. I am fortunate that as a full-time professional I have regional representation around the United States and abroad, but CatheXis is different for several reasons. First, whether you are a voiceover actor, model, singer, or dancer, Leenda represents talent that she believes in. We all feel this way. She then creates a network where talent mentors other talent and we are all involved in the community. Volunteer work is a fundamental value of the agency. It is in this wonderful environment that my first on-camera opportunity came about.

All in the Family- Working with my Cousin and his Team

Leenda wanted to be able to pitch me as a team, not just as an on-camera actor, but also for my copy writing too. When Leenda asked about a talented video production crew that I work with, I was thrilled to recommend my cousin, Dave Scott of All Systems Go AV, in Bensalem, PA. Dave, or David, as the family calls him, and I grew up together in Philly and we have always been really close. My

Here I am with the creative team! On top I’m with Chris, Adam, and my cousin David. On the bottom left it’s me and David in front of the green screen. On the bottom right it’s me and David when I was in college and he was about 8. I won’t say how long ago that was!

sister and I fuss over him as we didn’t have a little brother. When I told Leenda about David, I said that while he may be my cousin, his work is outstanding and he has an extensive background with years of training and experience. He was even the sound guy for the Pope last year!  David does audio for tons of live events, including working with Steve Martin and Martin Short, and their video production, a new endeavor relative to the live event work, has produced impressive results. So, when Leenda cast us on the project together, nothing was more exciting for me! Working with my “little” cousin and his team was a dream come true in every way.

David works with two other guys in their huge facility, Chris and Adam. They are all pros and have all been at it for a long time. On the day of the shoot, I went down to their location to film since they have a green screen, teleprompter, and everything else needed to record and edit. It was also a great reason to check our David’s set up and see his team in action. These three were fantastic to work with. They are delightful, give clear directions, and are professional without being too intense.

Impressions of Being on Camera

Being on camera was a lot of fun! For me, since I have been full-time in voiceover for many years, I spent a lot of time working on my lines before the day of the filming. I thought about pacing and word emphasis a lot in advance so that when we did multiple takes, if I did not have play back like I do in my booth, which did turn out to be the case, I would be alright. I also did not want to look like I was reading, and since I’m new to the teleprompter I was concerned about that.

Chris marked where I had to stand so that I would stay in my spot in the light and in front of the camera. I tend to fidget, so I had to not fidget when I spoke, and I just tried to look cute and deliver my lines as if I were in my booth. Since I do a lot of live sessions for commercials anyway, I wasn’t nervous about that.  I wish that there had been more mirrors around so that I had a sense of how I actually looked. I know I have a good side and a bad side, but I have no idea what I actually gave them because there were not mirrors. Fingers crossed I gave them my good side.

All in all, it was a lot of fun leaving the booth and going to work in person with other creatives. It was an honor to be able to represent my agency as the spokesperson in this spot. It was a dream come true to work with David and his team. I hope that this is the first of many on camera bookings that I do!