Tag Archives: Voice Over

Work Ethic…. An Example


SammyCortino

 

Every once in a while I like to recognize at least what I consider someone who is doing everything they can to achieve their dream. Someone who I see constantly striving to be the best they can be and pushing new limits for themselves. This time I am recognizing illusionist Sammy Cortino. Now to be fair, this is only about work ethic. I am not talking about his show as I haven’t seen it other than a few video clips and the one illusion Sammy did for a show of mine last year. This is purely based on how hard I have watched Sammy work over the last four years.

I found out about Sammy Cortino on twitter four years ago and we became social media friends. Since then, Sammy has moved to Nashville, TN and is carving out his niche as a master illusionist around the country. Rarely have I seen someone give so much of themselves to their dream and try so many things to see what worked and what didn’t. Most just stay the same, never trying anything new, not listening to advice and wonder why over the last few years nothing gets any better. It becomes everyone’s fault but their own and the reality it is simply the world didn’t want to buy what you had to offer, at least not in the way it was presented by you. Sammy is becoming so good at learning to change things up and re-branding his image when necessary. He sinks his money back into his career, most importantly in the things he actually needs, not necessarily wants. For those entertainers that complain about travel and how much they have to take, try being an illusionist. Set up and tear down time is much longer and usually 1 – 3 people doing it not 4 – 5 like in a band.

Sammy tries to fusion things that have rarely been done before or are original, another trait lost on many. Keeping a show fresh and something you can sell over and over again to the appropriate talent buyers or promoters is incredibly important and Sammy seems to understand this. This isn’t to say Sammy has figured it all out or is always gigging. He hasn’t and he isn’t, but he is working harder than just about anyone I have ever worked with by far. Sammy is always coming up with new photography, videos, illusions and tons of other content to try and keep himself fresh in the worlds mind. Sammy also understand that image is everything. You can decry it all you like, but it’s the truth. It’s the first thing people see and it determines whether or not they will click anything to check you out.

Whatever you may think of Sammy Cortino’s show or talent is up to you, but what you should take away from this is no matter how talented you are, if you are not working as hard as someone like Sammy is, they will take your spot on the bill or the stage just based on their work ethic alone.

Well done Sammy Cortino. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and success in what ever way you deem it.

Note: The Lowry Agency is in no way affiliated with Sammy Cortino.

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Finding the Courage…


For anyone trying to make it in the entertainment business or professional sports, you are constantly under barrage from people telling you that you can’t do it. You are aren’t good enough, you don’t have what it takes or there is no money in it so go get a real job (like there is any security in that anymore anyway). You deal people who let you down, who don’t do anything at all after the big long speech of how good they are, how hard they work or what they can do for you.

You have haters and trolls on the internet, other people in your genre constantly tearing you doing or taking jabs at you. It get’s lonely, harder and often times you feel like giving up. Well you can’t. No matter what anyone says or does to you, only you can keep pushing, proving them wrong and only you know who you really are. Anyone who would tear you down is the insecure one, the one who if full of it, the jealous one who really has no idea what they are doing. You can’t let them affect you or stop you.

No matter what life throws at you, you have to keep pushing on with your dream. In today’s entertainment scene you have more control than ever and more often than not, that means you are doing it on your own because now the money is gone. You can’t afford to pay for professional help and you are facing this wave of overwhelming obstacles and people who have no life so they try and tear you down.

So let me offer this to you for some inspiration. No matter what you are facing in life, business or if you are someone who is trying to help someone you care about get through something, do it with the strength and focus that Garrett shows in this video. If he can over come what he is going through, we can over come what we are going through.

 

I wish you all the best and the strength to get through it.

Good luck!

 


White Noise… How To Seperate Yourself From It.


The latest entry in my vBlog featuring my thoughts on separating yourself from the white noise we create on social media to our friends and family. Please share and comment!

 

 


For the Fans… How You Can Best Help on Social Media


I know, I know… There are a million bands, authors, actors, small businesses asking for you to spread the word about them, “like” them, vote for them and so on and on. Sometimes we feel like we have to because we don’t want to create trouble because we are friends with so many local talents and if like one but not the other then the drama starts and some times we don’t support at all because we don’t want the drama or we don’t have the time or something similar. With this blog I am not asking you to do anything but support your favorites and only your favorites.  It is not your responsibility or obligation to support anyone except those you chose and no one should get mad at you if you don’t support things you chose not to for any reason at all.

In order for your favorite artist (insert entertainment medium here) to spread the word and create the “buzz,” they need people spreading the word about them as much as possible. Social media is the easiest and cheapest way to do that. So this blog is about that and how you as a fan, friend or family member can do this to maximize their efforts and actually yours as well.

It is very important to the success of any type of entertainer be it musicians, authors, bloggers, actors etc… that their content reach the masses. Since many of you already click like on so much of their stuff would it really take that much extra time to share it? Comment on it on the actual page and not just on Facebook although that does help. All these sites rates posts popularity by how much attention it gets and for it to reach the masses, it needs your attention. So please read this and if you are able to help these people out, please do the extra little bit for your favorite artists etc…

Facebook – With Facebook all these artists should be using a fan page to track their metrics and not a personal page although many haven’t figured this out yet. Facebook recently made it harder for the Fan Pages to get attention by limiting the amount of people seeing posts so they could attract revenue dollars by having people with pages pay to advertise their posts to the audience that had already requested to see the posts by “liking” they page. I know ludicrous but it is Facebooks right to generate revenue so let’s just leave it at that for now. As a fan you need to go to the artists page, hover your mouse over the “like” button and select “show in news feed” to make sure you are getting the info they put out. When you do see the info, please “like” each post, share each post and comment on each post if you can. Remember that statistically only 7% of your audience sees your posts so you are not going to be annoying anyone with these posts and even if you do, so what. It’s your wall and you can choose to support what you wish with out fear of reprisal from others saying you post to much about something or someone. It’s not their business nor is it their wall.

In respect to this, if someone shares a post from a blog or other source, please if you can take the time and do the same on the original post, not just the Facebook one. There are share buttons for Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and loads of others. Please share this on your accounts and also comment on this page. It will help drive up the rankings for Google and on what ever other social media site it is on to further increase their exposure.

Twitter – Retweeting is the key here, if you have a twitter account please RT and share any content you can. Learn how to use #hashtags if you are posting on your own about your favorite artist and RTing something.

Pinterest – The latest social media spot. You can keyword on Pinterest to have your pins pop for people looking for things to find or discover such as #music, #movies, #authors etc… You can use any word to describe your pins and hopefully help people discover that artist you think is amazing. You boards also are coded to post in certain categories to which you chose when you create them.

Youtube – Obviously probably the most influential for music and movies so please again “like” the video, share them from the available links and comment on them. Youtube videos go viral from you emailing them to your friends. This especially happens from the teenagers and young adults. Don’t forget to help out with that. Maybe you can help create a viral campaign for your favorite artist.

Blogs – With people who blog, it is important to realize that like with WordPress, the more views, comments and star ratings a blog gets the more likely it is to be featured on the home page. This is a big deal for bloggers or artists using blogging sites for their main web pages. Please take the time to make sure you comment, rate with the star system, like and share from here as well. You can cut and paste your comment from Facebook to here to make it easier. It’s not that hard or time consuming and is a huge help to the author of the blog. Please make sure you also follow the blog. This way you can get all the updates to better help you spread the word and keep on top of the latest news.

Because of all the social media coming at you, the requests, the endless number of bands, singers, authors, writers, radio shows etc… asking everyone to do these things, it is important for you as the fan to really chose whom you want to support and help them stand out from the rest of the white noise out there on social media.

Everyone is trying to get noticed and draw attention to themselves, their show, their blog or whatever. That is fine. That is what they are supposed to do and there are many great ones out there, but you individually can’t do it for all of them. Chose your favorites and help make a difference for that artist. They need your support now more than ever as there is so much out there now, it is very hard to get people to notice you.

From the bottom of all of our hearts as entertainment people, THANK YOU for all that you do. None of it is worth it without you and no one could do it without you either. So again thank you for all of your past, present and future support from all of us.

Regards,

The Entertainment World.

P.S. A special shout out to Michelle Holland for being the embodiment of this message in her support of Richie Kotzen.


The Difference Between Those That Do Make It and Those That Don’t


Often those of us in the business in any capacity have the opportunity to work with very successful artists or entertainers and those that are still trying to get there. Of course this applies to any type of successful business or entrepreneur but we are talking entertainment here so let’s leave it at that. We get to see and observe things that those that make it do and those that can’t seem to get any traction don’t do. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and I am sure that there are many things that won’t be listed this blog but here are some things I want to point out to help make it easier for all who read this to hopefully put into action to make everyone’s job easier and make teams stronger and easier to work with.

Successful entertainers surround themselves with positive people and then they take care of them. They don’t look to get them to work as hard as possible for as little as possible. They reward them for their hard work. Any business owner knows you pay your people who are working to make you a success first not the other way around. They don’t bring people on board and then sit there waiting for something to happen. They bring people on board and keep busting their ass to give those people something to work with. They keep working as hard as possible to be able to create the opportunities to make things happen. They listen to advice and feedback from their team and those that the team interacts with and makes changes as needed. They don’t make excuses or avoid making the hard decisions for change. Whether it be personnel changes, style changes, business changes etc. Successful artists give positive feed back to their team. They show up for meetings and are a part of the overall vision and plan. They don’t sit around waiting for everyone to do it for them. They are proactive and constantly push for the next big thing.

Too often in this business, people rest on their laurels or they have something good happen and they sit back and coast. You cannot do that. You have to keep moving forward. You have to learn how to create opportunities out of what you have everyday. People who truly want to do this for a living find a way to make things happen. The others make excuses. This business is nothing but hard work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no other way. Not everything tried will work but they know that. They make adjustments and keep trying new things. Successful artists don’t take no for answer, they don’t blame everyone else for what isn’t happening for them. They know that they are the product and that it’s a constant work in progress. They know that not everyone will get them, their music or art and they keep trying to find the ones that do.

Unsuccessful entertainers listen to their 30 friends or fans and let that lull them into complacency and think that people aren’t working hard for them. They don’t understand that they have to work just as hard and actually harder than their team. They don’t understand it’s a business. They don’t understand it’s their responsibility to set the bar high. They don’t understand setting goals and working hard to achieve them. They don’t understand cutting out the people that are holding them back.

In most business books your will find examples like “every successful” business trims the bottom 20% of fat every year.” This means they get rid of the things not working, not making them money or holding them back. That could mean clients, marketing, personnel or anything preventing them from reaching their goals. You have to make hard decisions sometimes no matter whom it affects to be able to move forward. It sucks but it’s true.

Most entertainers especially it seems musical ones aren’t business minded and we all know that. They are creative people and in many ways avoid hard work. That is why they are artists or entertainers. They thrive in the creative and not the analytical or structured world. Unfortunately, if you are an entertainer, it is your business and you have to operate in both. There is no one to blame but you when things aren’t getting done and I guarantee you, if things aren’t getting done many times it’s because the entertainer isn’t doing it. They aren’t getting their work done on time. They aren’t showing up for meetings. They aren’t working all the time. The team won’t bust their ass for an artist that isn’t busting theirs.

I recently started working with an artist and we got more done in the first two weeks then we did with any other artist because that artist gets it. They work all day, all night. They have a vision and nothing will stop them from achieving it. They learn what they need to learn to get their career to the next level. They listen to advice, implement it and run with it as fast as they can. This is what people are looking for. Nothing else will do. You want to make a living at this business? You better get your head straight and learn from this artists example.

I know there are many artists that want this dream and work hard to achieve it. I know sometimes they are confused and overwhelmed. The first and best thing to do is to do something. Don’t sit there and do nothing. Learn to get done what needs to get done. Don’t skimp on your career by not investing in your self, your education and learning.  Research your career choice and the things you need to know to get things done. If you don’t have a budget for websites, graphic design, etc… you better learn how to do it. Every business has to do this, not just artists. We all have to do this at times. We all have worked with people that don’t get it done even when paid so sometimes we just have to learn to do it ourselves unfortunately.

This business is so extremely hard. It’s very hard to make money in and it’s very hard to get noticed. Nothing but excellence will do. Do you have it in you?

Get out there and get it done! You can do it if you put your mind to it.

Good luck!


Keeping The Pace: Surviving VO Technology


KEEPING THE PACE:  Surviving VO Technology

by Dave Courvoisier, The Lowry Agency Voice Over Talent

Ever since the worm turned and the “old way” of doing voiceovers became the “new” way of doing VO business, it’s been tough to keep up with the march of technology.

For decades, talent living in major metro areas reported to various professional studios, auditioning in person, and surviving on an agent/union paradigm.  This still happens to some extent today, mostly in NYC and LA.

ISDN survives too, although people have long been predicting its demise.  Such will be the case for many years, while the business of voice overs moves through its fits and starts, ever-changing with the times and the technologies.

In the meantime, an emerging wave that comprises the lion’s share of voice over work in the 21st century occurs in private studios all over America.  These are studios typically built by the talent themselves, and populated by equipment cobbled together using whatever knowledge and resources they have.

In addition to the process of recording and sending sound files, much of the rest of the business of voice overs is also conducted online, or at least on a computer, often by one person – the voice over talent.

That means the process of marketing, promoting, advertising, accounting, bookkeeping, mailing, invoicing, editing, and follow-up all occurs in a digital world.  That’s not necessarily a problem, but that world keeps changing and developing at a break-neck pace.

So, the question:  how to keep abreast of the changes that will make up the new paradigm of VO, and what changes are those?

Clearly, Social media is not only one of those new technologies, but also the one that helps you understand the OTHER changes taking place in the industry.  Why?  Because Social Media sites that cater to voice-over business people personify the stream-of-consciousness that keeps you in-the-know.

FaceBook, Twitter, online forums, LinkedIn, YouTube, and ning sites like VoiceOverUniverse now make up the new (and continuous) Town Hall Meeting where people share, engage in Q&A, comment off-the-cuff, and create conversations and relationships.

Those online sites are typically where you will first see notice of new equipment, where to buy, how much it costs, and how to use it.  Consider, for instance, the weekly EWABS online video webinar conducted by George Whittam and Dan Lenard.  EWABS stands for East-West Audio Body Shop, and the hour-long Sunday evening event is free, and can be viewed on UStream effortlessly.

Newsletters, blogs, and teleseminars on equipment and services abound in the VO world these days (see http://courvo.biz, for instance).  LinkedIn VO Groups have thousands of subscribers (see:  Working Voice Actor Group administered by Ed Victor), and FaceBook has a number of extremely active VO Groups (see: Voice-over Friends, administered by Dave Courvoisier, Voice-Over Pros, administered by Terry Daniel, and Voice Artists United , administered by Chris Kendall – among others).

While many of these sites could be termed “niche”, they are also welcoming and inclusive.  ‘No such thing as a “dumb question”, and newbie concerns are encouraged. J

Even more so, a Yahoo Group that caters to VO professionals has been going strong for years, and has an active, and highly-regarded membership that knocks around issues that range from equipment to software, marketing, demos, and freelance rates.

So how do you keep up?  Join. Belong. Engage in the conversation.  Pay-it-forward, and you will receive in return.  Ask questions.  Provide answers.  Be a part of the community, and enjoy the benefits of association with like-minded souls.  Everybody has something to give in the milieu of online discourse.


Picking The Right Professional or Team for your Career


Picking The Right Professional or Team for your Career

 

The power of social media has its pros and cons. The pros obviously are the ability to network and get your message out there. The cons are you don’t know whom you can trust. With so many people out there saying how great they are and making huge promises you have to be very careful about whom you choose to share your info with and put your hopes and dreams in the hands of. In the entertainment world it’s a crap shoot to begin with, so make sure you spend the time necessary researching the people who are offering their services to you or making huge claims about what they are going to do for you in the “industry”. Also make sure you research exactly what they do or the services they offer so you can decide if it’s really what you need as an artist.

I recently did some research on a person who claims to be in the music industry. For the past year, this person has been making huge claims about how they are going to “change” the industry with a new platform. First of all, from what I understand, a platform like the one they hope to “change the industry” with already exists. I believe in practicing what I preach, and began to research this person.  I contacted a well-known, reputable friend who has been doing business on Music Row here in Nashville for more than 20 years, asking if they have ever heard of this person, their company or their work.  My friend is in the same area of the business as the person who is making the claims, and my friend sent an email out to all contacts. The result is that no one had ever heard of this person who claims to be “revolutionizing the industry”. There is no bio on them, no track record, no website, no clients, no proof of anything showing that they can do what they say they can do. Even worse, they are not listed on ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Harry Fox or Music Row as what they say they are. Now you have to be listed with at least one of the following ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or Harry Fox to be what they say they are, so this leaves you with either (a) they are a fraud, (b) they don’t know what they are doing, or (c) they are possibly operating under a different name, which also means their online presence is a lie. They have been putting together a team of people who, like them, seem to have no real track record. You can see that in how they promote themselves on the web. Don’t work for a person, or hire a person who doesn’t have their own business together with proper imaging, websites, photos, content and most important – actual proof of their work. This is the entertainment industry. Image and proof of solid work is everything for everyone, not just the artists.

When picking out people you want to work with, please review and research them in detail. Never trust an online profile that doesn’t list any information about themselves, their company or who they work for. Ask their clients if they are happy with their service and make sure they have legitimate things happening for their clients. Make sure there is a proven track record for the service they claim to provide. If they don’t have anything to show for their success then it’s a big risk. Especially pay attention to how they behave online with their twitter and other social media accounts. If they behave unprofessionally – flirt, make huge promises, offer a special free of charge opportunity to a hundred different people for months on end, make false claims against another with no proof or get involved in mud slinging then run and run fast. That is not professional behavior and they will treat anyone like that, including you. It will hurt the chances for your career to be involved with someone who behaves improperly, especially in the music industry, where the reality is that the odds are already stacked against you. If their followers or fans grow at a very slow rate, that is also a sign. It means they have nothing to offer content wise. They aren’t adding value to the industry, so know one is paying attention. It takes more than listing followers and saying nice things.

Not everyone is a huge success or a huge business, that’s not the most important issue; making things happen is what’s important, proof of work. Finding a professional or a team that is hungry and works very hard is what matters the most. Never fall for promises that are huge; this business is too hard to make any kind of claims and promises – that is the reality.  When evaluating a person or company, let their work speak for them instead.

Please read our blog “It’s All About The Team Baby” by Sass Jordan, a Juno and Billboard award winning artist and former host of Canadian Idol for more on picking the right team! https://lowryagency.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/183/

Good Luck!