My friend John Taylor posts on his Voiceover Universe blog today a cautionary tale about an experience he had with his PayPal account. The long and short of John’s story is that there are risks to just about everything.
Marice Tobias who is both my voiceover coach and my friend will be a featured speaker at Promax this year. Marice will then conduct her traditional follow-up weekend incorporating the news and views expressed by producers, stations and networks at the Conference in this pivotal year of change.
The Promo challenge for performers is to continually distinguish the vast and varied demands of the read in all its subtleties and shifts.
Trailer is the most elusive discipline in VO, yet it’s growing in number and in diversity. The trailer read informs and influences all other aspects of VO and is an imperative skill for serious players.
With the expansion of Cable and the Internet, Narration is the ever-growing opportunity for performers to deepen their footprint and opportunities.
Creative teams are compact and fluid. Networking and recommendations, genre to genre, promos to shows, shows to networks are guided by social media as much as personal experience. The more chips you have on the table, the better.
The Post Promax Voiceover Intensive for Established Professionals. New York City – Saturday and Sunday June 20 & 21, 2009 from 10am-5pm each day. New attendees: $775. Returning: $650. Call Stacey Stahl at Creative Entertainment Management 503.246.2239 to bookmark your spot.
When I find good people who know what they are doing I like to pass along the word. Not only does he deserve the business but you deserve to be treated well too. That’s part of what makes my friend Warren such a pleasure. He has just opened up shop as Zen Pro Audio.
A few weeks ago I was asking about what you would like to see as a voice over package.
This is the guy I was telling you about. He has put together some nice packages, check them out, but that’s not what he does best.
Warren, or Warhead as his friends call him has been in the audio industry selling gear for over 5 years. He’s been a home and project studio guy since the early 90’s, interned at SoundLab Recording Studios in Lexngton SC from 1993 to 1994 and learned the basics, and buying his mentor’s previous 8 track rig and setting up an office trailer in the backyard to charge $15 an hour to track local bands. “It’s been years, but yes I’ve edited with a razor blade a few times back then…!” he recalls.
Moved to digital in the early 2000’s and became active in online forums posting as “Warhead”, always appreciating the high end stuff but decidedly “bang for the buck”: He talked mostly about things he discovered that delivered high quality sound for a great price. He began writing online reviews for MojoPie.com, and received a Safe Sound Audio P1 channel strip for review and was blown away by it. Instead of reviewing it, he worked out a deal to import Safe Sound Audio to North America and it’s been that way for over 5 years. Now he sells dozens of brands and hundreds of products, most of which he owns or has personal experience with to help the customer make decisions that are right for them.
ZenPro Audio is his new venture
Warren really knows the products well and what will work best for a given situation. He is there to help you and makes it a point to really understand what you are after. In other words, the man knows how to SERVE his clients…he is not just a place to buy gear but more of a gear guru that you will find yourself going back to over and over again. The gear purchase is almost like a bonus to the education you’ll get…
A lot of guys in the gear sells business claim they can do this…but so many are limited to what the current push on equipment is…ever went into a store for a mic and came away with a new preamp because they were the “featured” product?
Your life, as far as equipment purchases go, just got a whole lot easier. Give him a call….tell him I sent you…you’ll find you like him right from the start. He’s a one man operation and how he manages to keep up with it all and still serve you like you’ve never been served before is an amazing feat all it’s own. Don’t take my word for it though…You could look up his name on Gearslutz and find out what others say about him…like, “the guy really knows his stuff”….”great guy to work with”….”amazing how he knows all this stuff”….it goes on and on….give him a shot…you’ll find out what buying gear is supposed to be like. www.zenproaudio.com
The site looks like someplace worth exploring and Greg knows what he’s talking about when it comes to gear. Thank you for the good information, Greg.
With thanks to my manager and friend, Stacey Stahl for sending me the link … take a few minutes to read Drew’s Marketing Minute for today. As you might imagine from the title of this post, it has to do with being authentic. Read the post carefully and then think about how you approach voiceover work. If you business has been in decline for a while, is it maybe because you don’t speak with a real voice?
For just over a year now I’ve known Stacey Stahl as one of my agents. She’s a bright lady with a wonderful grasp of the way the voiceover world is working these days. Not long ago Stacey began Creative Entertainment Management.
Starting this year I now am working with Stacey as my manager.
I’m calling this interview with Stephanie Ciccarelli “The Platinum Interview” because our focus is on the recently announced Platinum Membership level at Voices.com. As you may know, Stephanie is a co-founder of Voices.com (with her husband David Ciccarelli, who is company CEO) and is in charge of marketing (second entry on the page) and blogging for the company.
So, to the questions.
Question 1 – You’ve provided lots of information on your site and blog about this service, but I’m not sure it’s completely clear who this new Platinum Service level is for and who it is not for?
Stephanie – The Platinum membership is designed for full-time, dedicated professional voice over talent who want to invest in additional services to help market their business, including press opportunities, dramatically increased visibility online in the search engines, insider knowledge, and participation in the Voices.com Advertising Network comprising of 10 partner sites and Voice Over Times.
Many professionals believe that they should be hired based upon their demo alone and audition only if necessary for larger projects. That is exactly the kind of clientele this membership is meant to serve.
On the other hand, the Platinum membership is not for amateur voice talent, people who pursue voice over on a part-time basis or people who are not willing to invest $1995.00 per year for this level of service.
Question 2 – Will Voices.com reserve the right to decline to accept someone at the Platinum level if their demos and experience aren’t of sufficiently professional levels?
Stephanie – Yes, Voices.com does reserve the right to accept or decline someone at the Platinum level. This membership service is for professionals and the membership will reflect that.
Question 3 – Will any sort of payment plan option be provided, aside from lump sum described on the Platinum Membership information page?
Stephanie – We are offering a quarterly payment plan to voice talent who are interested in alternative payment plans for the Platinum membership. Customers are committed for the year and will be invoiced a fee of $498.75 each quarter. Those interested are welcome to contact our offices or me directly to arrange the details. (Note: Stephanie’s contact information is near the bottom of the Platinum Membership information page.)
Question 4 – You’re launching a series of niche targeted sites. A couple of questions come to mind about this part of the service. Part A – Will anyone not part of the Platinum level be able to sign up to be featured on any of these niche sites.
Stephanie’s answer to Part A – No, the niche sites are exclusive to Platinum members.
Question 4, Part B – How will you ensure that the demos posted on these niche sites by your Platinum members aren’t just chopped up bits from their main demos, but are in fact professional quality demos specific to the given niche.
Stephanie’s answer to Part B – When selecting which demos go on each Platinum member’s partner sites, we visit their website at Voices.com and check to see if they have a corresponding demo for that particular partner site. The demo that best suits the category is sourced from Voices.com and featured. The demos that are selected to be showcased are stand alone samples that are representative of the niche site they are listed on.
Question 5 – How does the Platinum level at Voices.com compare and/or contrast with the highest levels of service provided by VoiceHunter.com?
Stephanie – Thanks for asking, Bob. There are two overarching points of differentiation including:
1. Voices.com does not take any commissions on work procured for voice talent members through our website or partner sites. By virtue of this fact, we readily present your contact information and point links directly to your official website from your Platinum partner sites where clients can communicate with you outside of the Voices.com network allowing you to close the deal on your terms.
2. While Voice Hunter focuses their marketing efforts on the distribution of CDs and profile building on 1 website, the Platinum membership through Voices.com offers:
- Customized listings on 10 niche websites in addition to a Voices.com site
- Limited service to 100 professional voice talent
- Search engine optimization services by experts in the field
- Graphic design should the Platinum member need art work for advertisements
- Submission to directories
- Inclusion in the Voices.com Advertising Network
- Two professional publicity campaigns per year that includes the writing and distribution of press releases
- Expanding our Platinum members’ reach through social media
- Exclusive monthly industry reports
- Marketing and Branding Tips
- All of the features and benefits of the Premium membership at Voices.com including unlimited access to auditions in the voice over marketplace
- Escalated support from the Voices.com team
Question 6 – Any time you do something bold, there will be folks who will complain or criticize. Are there any criticisms you’ve heard that have led you to adjust anything about the program?
Stephanie – That’s a good question. From feedback we’ve received, we implemented a quarterly payment plan that breaks the payments up over the year. People who subscribe to the Platinum service are receiving exceptional value for what they are paying. Priced individually, this package is valued at over $7000.00.
I had one follow-up question for Stephanie, and that was to ask whether they foresee the possibility
of ever expanding the number of Platinum Memberships beyond the total of 100.
Stephanie – I can say with some certainty that it’s unlikely we would expand the number of available Platinum memberships. The reasons being that creating the profiles for each member’s partner sites (members can have all 10 if they desire), conducting the social media efforts and creating individualized publicity campaigns requires a lot of human and financial resources to ensure that each Platinum members’ experience is successful.
Stephanie, thank you for your time. It will be very interesting to see how this develops going forward. For more information, visit the Platinum Membership page at Voices.com or check out one of Stephanie’s blog posts on Vox Daily.
I noticed in my server logs today that I received a visit by someone who followed a link I’d never encountered before. Curious, I followed the link back to the excellent site of Dan Popp and his company Colors Audio. While digging around on this site I came across an excellent article chock full of solid advice for you if you’re just thinking about getting started in voiceover work.
With thanks to my friend Chris Eder for posting the links on his blog, I read a couple of really thought-provoking posts today on Peter O’Connell’s blog and on a blog new to me called The D-Ring, written by military public relations specialist Steve Field.
I started this blog because I love to write and I wanted to give myself an outlet for writing that would also help me connect with other like-minded souls: other voiceover talent.
I also want to connect with the producers, writers, agents, studio engineers and others who are part of our world of voiceover because they hire or refer us. At the same time, like Peter says in his post, I’m really just writing this for you and me. Because we’re the only 2 people here.
Peter says he is concerned that his posts might be too long. I wonder if you think my posts are too short most of the time? Let me know. Comments are open.