Book More Work, Manage your energy, and Focus your Brand.

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Let’s be honest – as voice talents, it’s exciting and enlivening to see your booking rate increase, career expand and skill-sets deepen.

But conversely, it can also be enervating to be constantly sending out auditions and putting work out there, into the universe, with little or no direction and/or feedback.

I remember how tough it was those first years, as I was just embarking on this journey. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do, or how to get the results I wanted, while still keeping a healthy work/life balance. And on that front, perspective is important, as well as staying grounded and keeping a healthy balance between expending energy and conserving it.

I’m going to share some ideas about how to work smarter and more focused to increase revenue (without pouring in more hours).

Don’t Make Auditions too ‘Finished’ or Record Too Much of Each Script
It’s understandable to always want your best quality work out there, especially for auditions. I have to serve my inner- audiophile – don’t we all?

But given all of that, it can be difficult to juggle high-quality with the demands on time and effort. No one wants to compromise.

I developed a software process chain that cleans breaths and enhances the already clean, great sound from my hardware, mic and booth. Without a software-supported process, you can quickly get sucked into an energy ‘black hole,’ as you pump out 10 or more auditions a day.

I’s best to give the talent buyer the ‘meat’ of the script [for long selections]. You’ll find that this is usually around 40 or so seconds of recording. While this may seem shorter than what you’re used to, you have to understand that talent buyers normally decide if your voice is the right one in about 10 seconds or less.

By handing the potential client your best rendition of their material, you’re giving them what they’re looking for, but also avoiding giving yourself a ‘VO hangover’ the next day (e.g. that next day bleariness that follows an intense session of back to back auditions!).

Don’t Try to Be All Voices for All Jobs or Genres – or even most!
It’s a beginner’s mistake to think that one can fit every sound, age group and category (and yet sometimes pros still do it too).

Just like not every person is suited for an onscreen part, not every voice is suited for every voice over job. While at first this may feel like a negative, once you understand your unique talents and strengths, you’re in the best position to rise to the top.

I was recently hired to record, what I thought was a lightly-technical medical infomercial, which turned out to be thick with nearly impossible to pronounce pharma names and medical terms. I was able to pull it off, but only after spending three times the usual amount of work, time, and effort that I would normally be required to commit too. However, it reminded me that there are specialists who do nothing but that genre of recording, and they are very welcome to it! I would never have taken the job had I known that the talent buyer was inexperienced and didn’t realize the details or effort involved either.

So while it’s always possible to find yourself in a gig that isn’t an ideal fit, by understanding where your specialities lie, you’ll be in the best position to strategically grow your business. It’s now rare that I find myself in situations like the above.

Listen for, and to, Your Brand
As we touched on in the above, once you know your brand (or think you do!), trust in it. Trust how the real you is performing the read. Use the energy and emotion of how you feel about the copy, not the fake or forced voice that you could put on, if you were simply trying to sound ‘marketable.’ Instead, believe in your instinct and alignment with your brand and let it guide you.

In my personal experience, it’s taken me a little more than a year with the support of brilliant coaching, and my hard work, to learn to drop effortlessly into my brand, which is my true, authentic sound. But as a result I’m booking more, and better work, and the process is much easier since uncovering and acknowledging my brand.

So if you need help, guidance or training – and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t benefit – get it! By getting a new perspective, building awareness, and applying new skills and technique, you may find that it brings back the spontaneous wonder you had as a kid.
It only takes a few minutes to pause, take a deep breath, and plug back into how it use to be to have fun with your voice. – whether that was recording accents, wacky voices or fake commercials into your portable tape deck (yes, I had one of those!). Back then, you may have had more trust in the process of exploration. You put your natural self and your authentic voice on a journey, not to dilute it or change it, but to uncover your strengths and your niche.

Coaching and training has helped me realize that I’m enough exactly as I already am – and I feel confident that it could help you too.

You deserve to infuse your voice over business with a fresh sense of joy – one you bring into the booth with you every time you step in and get to work.

Why Gratitude Should Be a Daily Practice

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It’s so easy to forget and take for granted all of the things I’m so very grateful for- whether it’s the nice house I wake up in, or the adorable dog who is so excited just to see me- even after just going out to get the mail; how about the wonderful person I just happen to share my life with? Same old same old – happy together, not happy together. Good news, bad news…same news. But what keeps our lives, well, enlivened? What inspires that feeling of joy, seemingly arising from nowhere?

Gratitude is the never ending waterfall of support that enables one to‘see’ what’s good, what’s great, even whats just fine, around them. I say this from experience. I have a personal credo that keeps me buoyant and uplifted even when the details of life are not so inspiring. I go into my vocal booth and I say out loud a daily litany of gratitude. I say this into my microphone because that’s where I will be spending a chunk of my day recording for my client’s projects. So, I figure it’s a good place to plant the seeds of success for the day.

I do this everyday, because, like most people, I have a built in forgetter, so I have to refresh my joy, refresh my commitment, refresh my love no matter what. If I’m tired one morning, and don’t feel like repeating/offering gratitude it can become a slippery slope quickly; maybe the next day I feel the same apathy and forego the centering practice again, and what if, the following day is Sunday, and I’m not working, and don’t go into my studio at all – now I have a loop going on – the dreaded voice asking : “does what I do matter? What/who am I in the scheme of things? Am I really making a difference in the world?…ugh… I fell down the nowhere rabbit hole, and I went there fast! At that point I’d already forgotten the support I get, and the feeling of self-love that comes up from offering daily gratitude; renewing my commitment to excellence; sending my best out into the world.

It can take quite a bit more energy to get back to my normal good feeling, and to rev up the energy I bring to my work. Physical energy is integral to how well I perform, since my voice is my business, so it’s a practical matter as well, and it’s so much easier to keep the good feeling going – to ride that wonderful momentum from the daily practice of gratitude.

Everything I know about Business and Human nature I learned in a Restaurant

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Everything I know about human nature, how to work, what my strengths and challenges are, how to listen, how/when to speak, how to be in relationships with other people, and grow once there – all of those really important major life tools came out of my time in the trenches of the food business.  Do we want our kids to grow up and be adaptable, solution-oriented, money aware, PEOPLE aware, curious, kind and interesting? How about our workforce – could the company’s bottom line increase by instilling these same invaluable skills- say by adding a team building weekend at a diner in New Jersey to the current talent training agenda?

Whether waitressing, bartending, managing teams and clients, or selling my services as a voiceover talent & media developer- bookings and success still hinge on the same four things:

1). Be nice- not just the phony nice, the real, “I care about you” kind of nice. Simple kindness is also an amazingly tasty dash tossed into the human connection cocktail.

2). Stay focused and actively listen – eye contact and truly listening increase the depth and knowledge of others, and ourselves; people, in general, are constantly revealing so much richness and basic wisdom of life and who they are; all you have tois be interested and really listen.

3). Treat/see the customer/client as a friend or family member – [the family members you like that is! ] Find something in the customer that is, well, endearing. They feel it when you’re genuine and for them , well it’ s really compelling to have a stranger actually ‘ see‘ them.

4). Don’ t take things personally – If your goal is to make as much money as possible during your shift, or in your business, then why act like an entitled, self involved twit?

HELLO! Stop wasting time watching the other person/competitor, who knows the above rules, make all the money, book the gigs and the business, and win the devotion of the boss.  I had an amazing experience one Saturday night at the last restaurant I ever worked in, in NYC. I was anxious to make my rent that weekend; it was snowing and bitter cold with very few of our regular customers making reservations.

As I felt my stomach tighten, and worry cloud my focus, a new table was seated in my section. Two folks, who didn’t order a bottle of wine – oh great! I immediately made the metal note of – CHEAP check – low tip!! So, though I was nice, I wasn’t allowing my usual sparkle to cut through the worry loop in my brain.  I trudged into the kitchen and began cutting their bread, where I had a view of their table.

Just happening to glance over at the duo – possible father and daughter, or uncle and niece, or older man/ younger woman friends [ obvious not romantic] when all of a sudden something stopped my mind from spinning: I looked at his happy face smiling into hers, as he listened intently to every word she said. For some reason, at that moment, time stopped and I dropped effortlessly into my heart. I felt my innate connection to them and, actually, everyone else in the restaurant- even the crabby sous chef!

I didn’t notice tears rolling down my face, but when I snapped back into the present moment, and what I was doing, I realized that I finally understood what truly seeing another person meant – by experiencing that heart opening connection with strangers, no less. I became a smarter version of myself that night; a more emotionally aware and mature person.

The man’ s simple kindness to his dinning partner had the power to open my heart up to another chamber I hadn’t inhabited prior. And did I mention that they left me my best tip of the evening?