Tag Archives: Voice Talent

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.


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!


Filling the VO Void – 5 Tips for Taking Advantage of Downtime


Filling the VO Void
5 Tips for Taking Advantage of Downtime

By Dave Courvoisier, The Lowry Agency Voice Over Talent

What happened?
Every freelancer hits that wall.  The work…just…stops.  Nothing’s coming in.  Leads are long gone, and clients are clamming up.  Hopefully it’s just a day or two…a week or two at the most.

You’d go crazy trying to figure out why.  Sure, there may be some legitimate reasons: you’ve been slacking in your marketing, lead-generation, or referral “asks”…but sometimes you’re doing all that stuff – diligently – and still the work stops.

These moments are actually opportunities.  Remember all the things you put on the back burner when you were crazy-busy with that big narration project and six auditions/day?  Well, now’s the time to drag it out…now you have the time.

Since 80% of your VO business is marketing, and 20% is voicing anyway, this should not be a big surprise.  In fact this may be one of the reasons the work stopped coming in – while you were busy voicing projects, the lead-generating activity stopped.  It’s a nice predicament to be in, but the key is to be able to find the time to do both.

Take Advantage of the “Free” Time
Here’s a quick list of suggestions that will keep you “working” while you prepare for the next wave of paid gigs:

1)   Practice. In VO terms: audition.  Pick up what leads you can from pay-to-play sites, your agents, and web-searches.  That’s right, do a Google search for “VO jobs” or “voiceover needed”.  You’ll be surprised what comes up.  When those sources dry up, just read.  Practice on copy from Voices.com or Edge Studio.  They have reams of legitimate copy for practicing.  Record it.  Edit it.  Listen to it.  Send it to someone for a critique.  Play like it’s real, ‘cause it is.

2)   Listen to ads. I’m serious.  You’re already watching TV or driving your car with the radio on.  Don’t skip past the commercial spots!  Somebody voiced that spot.  Why wasn’t’ it you?  Listen to the nuances of the spot.  The writing.  The author’s intent.  How the talent handled the juxtaposition of the video and the copy.  Sometimes it even helps to transcribe the copy, and voice it yourself in your studio.  Can you approximate the read that got someone the job?  So you don’t have HIS/HER pipes…fine, play to your strengths.  How would you read it?  Record it.  Send it to a friend for an honest opinion.

3)   Visit VoiceBank.net and listen to all the demos you can stand.  These are people represented by agents.  They got on VoiceBank by no mistake.  The demos you hear there are representative of the talent who are getting work today.  How long is the demo?  What was the first thing you heard?  How many elements did the demo have?  How many different reads did you hear in the demo?  Does your current demo stack up?  If not, (3) could just as well be Redo your demo (the subject of a whole ‘nother blog!)

4)   Spruce up your marketing activity. Maybe you like to send postcards to prospects or regular clients to let them know you’re still alive. Maybe you’re an email maven.  Maybe your approach is to camp out on the social networks.  How’s your FaceBook profile looking?  Does it have lots of trigger words that the bots will find?  When’s the last time you tweeted ANYTHING, or contributed to a discussion on LinkedIn?  All those seemingly mundane actions spread your name out on the internet. Maybe you’ve forgotten your promise to make at least 10 calls/week to prospects.  WHATEVER your marketing duties are – get going!  The stuff you do today will bring work tomorrow or next week.

5)   Re-examine your audio chain and your studio.  This could be the time to make that re-arrangement in your physical space that will absolutely remove a mental roadblock to recording.  That strange crackling that pops up in your recordings?  Track it down.  When’s the last time you checked for an update on your software…or for that matter, this may be an opportunity to finally dig into the manual and find out what is the software keyboard shortcut you need for long-format narrations that will save you hours in the booth.

Get the drift?

There’s actually more…much more.  Like prospecting for a good agent…asking your steady clients for a referral to another possible client… doing good research on the internet to find your next “warm”-call target.

See? These are things that get lost in the shuffle when you’ve got your head in a big voice project.  ‘LOVE to have work.  But that job was not a “gimme”.  You did something right somewhere sometime to earn that job.  Now’s the time – when you have the time – to get back to the basics and make it happen again.