Wednesday, September 23, 2020



I go from a 5 show Fall season, to the world coming to a halt in March. 

Sort of...

As many of you know, people call me a polymath, I wear a lot of hats and can pivot when things go sideways. The VO work picked up the pace, and the college gig considered me an "essential worker" so I went into the office everyday.

Then the other calls started to come in. People needed help pivoting onto Zoom and other streaming platforms. So I dove in. 

PS21 in Chatham was doing a few concerts with socially distanced performers and audience. I helped with a multi-camera live switch stream feed to their Facebook page. And you know, once you do one, you can't go back to a single camera. The online audience loved it. PS21 kept me busy.

Then there was the virtual book fair.

Then another online play production. 

Then classes were ramping up, with real live students on campus. Weekly testing, and tight protocols. 

And here we are. September. I don't even remember June or July. Or April for that matter. It was a blur.

Be the person people turn to when they need help. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Virtual hugs.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New Year!

There's a great Charlie Brown cartoon I recently saw. Charlie Brown says, "You only live once." And Snoopy responds, "No, you die once, you live every day."

Now, a little research says that quote is actually credited to Bobby Darin. But who can trust the internet some days?

Yesterday is gone and in the books. To be honest, 2019 was a great year for me. I did a LOT of theater, with several shows back to back. And I won't do THAT again.

It was a lot.

A lot lot. 

And I'm glad that I did it, and I'm glad it's over.

Me performing This Wonderful Life, basically telling the story
of It's a Wonderful Life, with all the characters.
What I learned is that I'm good at what I do, and can make an audience smile and enjoy themselves. And directors keep calling me back, so I guess I'm not a tool.

These are important things to remember! It's so hard to take a complement sometimes and to shake off the imposter syndrome and perhaps admit to yourself you are good at something. 

That's a common thing in our work. Do we belong in the room? Are we good enough?

When you're alone in a booth it's hard to hear the audience reaction. But on stage, it's instant. You know if you nailed that line.

2020 is a new day. And I'm looking forward to the new challenges that await me. I'm already in rehearsal for the Three Penny Opera, I've started writing a new one man show for a festival this spring, and I'm waiting to hear if an invitation to the mideast is going to pan out.

Ya! I'll die later. Today I'm going to live.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Working on BRANDING!

I have met Celia Siegel a couple of times and I've worked with her on my branding. Recently I purchased her book Voiceover Achiever, and decided it was time to focus my brand.

Here's the thing. I have known that I have a lack of focus for years. Too many things interest me! I'm like a kid in a candy store, distracted by shiny objects.


Man, have I heard that word before. In grade school, teachers would tell my mother, "If he would only focus, he would be an amazing student."

I'll get back to that.

So consider Celia's book a workbook. It's not an idle read, you have to do some work. Write down ideas and try to distill yourself down to the essence of what makes you, YOU.

Sure, gee, that's easy. NOT.

The thing is, I believe that sometimes, you have to look outside of yourself to see yourself. If you look in a mirror, you only see that one angle. You don't see yourself as others see you.

So here's what I did, and it sounds like the most narcissistic thing ever, but I asked ten friends for ten words. Ten words that describe me. I also chose ten friends that didn't really know each other, separate circles of friends that have worked with me in one fashion or another. (Ok, some people do know each other, but they don't hang out together.)

Then I dropped those words into Wordle, and it took the common words, made them bigger. So I'm seen as a Trustworthy Creative Renaissance-Man, with a side of charisma as a loyal caring teddybear.

Now what?

I took a quiz. I took the How to Fascinate quiz developed by Sally Hogshead. It told me, that, according to my responses to the quiz, I'm a Rockstar personality. (The results cost me just over $50 to get the full print out. But I'm considering that part of my marketing research.)

Well put that in your imposter syndrome pipe and smoke it!

Back to FOCUS

So a little more research. And I keep coming back to images of things like Hemmingway, or Howard Hugues. Not the images of how they died, but how they lived. And a phrase kept coming back, over and over. 

Jack of all trades, Master of ONE. Which is different than what is usually said, which is Jack of all trades master of NONE

BRILLIANT! I have found an answer to what I've been struggling with. And it came through that word renaissance-man. Hemmingway, Hugues, and many others were jack of all trades, they dabbled in many things and were quite good at them. But they did FOCUS on one thing and mastered it. I'm allowed to be good at many things, as long as I can focus on being outstanding at one thing.

I'm an actor. I may be good at tech, fixing things, teaching and problem solving and all that, but the thing I ALWAYS find time for, even with my schedule, is acting. Voice, on-stage, commercial, film projects. It is what I put aside all other things to do. Directors do call me. I often don't audition. I'm good at it.

And to write that down feels wonderful to admit. (I can hear it now, Actors Anonymous, "Hi Monk!")

Back to BRAND

We're not done yet, but we're sharpening the spear. Getting to the point of boiling down to my 'essence' of what makes me, me. And what sets me apart from others. What makes me "brand-able" 

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 29, 2017

FaffCon Number 9, (number 9, number 9...)

Another FaffCon! Come and Gone!

"Growing your business is more about farming than hunting."

Wow. Hello. How brilliant is that!!

Instead of "hunting" for work, how about planting a few seeds and cultivating relationships and growing trust!

Why I Faff.

To those faithful reader of this blog-o-thingy, you know that once a year I surround myself with fellow Voice over people and talk about Voice Acting and how to get better and better.

It's my tribe, my "church" that I go to once a year to refuel and kick my ass back into gear.

This year was no exception. I left Charlotte with a serious "To do" list.
1. Update the website
2. Another session with Celia Siegel
3. Get that NYC agent.
4. Start using Evernote
5. A new CRM from Brad

and a few others.

My Big Golden Nugget

VO work is an interesting field. If you're good, you get work. I get work. If you're good on camera you get more work. I get camera work, to the point my agent in Rochester actually said, "I'm sick of seeing you on TV."

BUT, there's always that lingering doubt, "Am I good enough?" I know we can always improve, but at what point do you take the leap of faith and just stretch beyond the comfortable?

David H. Lawrence XVII gave a session about this. Talking about the Imposter Syndrome. That idea that you may be faking it. That someone is going to stand up at some point, point you out in a crowd and start the chant. Fraud! Fraud! Fraud!

It can be paralyzing. It can keep you from trying. Keep you from taking that chance to find out how great you really are.

The golden nugget I walked away with, was being told, I am ready. They knew. They saw it.

Sometimes all you need is someone saying, "Ya, you so totally got this." And they mean it. It's not mum saying, "You're the best!" I mean, it's great to get praise from mum. (Mum, it is!) But a fellow VO professional walking across the room and taking the time to pull a splinter of kyrptonite out of your ego. That's FaffCon magic!

David asked me if I was booking gigs, and getting work.  I said that I was. Then, in answer to my internal question "am I ready?" was his answer: "The evidence is mounting..."

Fear of Success?

I used to say, I have a fear of success. I now know, that's kind of chickenshit response. I am aware of the idea, "be careful of what you wish for." I get that. I truly think that a lot of people that enter social services have the best intentions, and then get overwhelmed by the real sorrow in the world. You couldn't pay me enough to be a police officer. Dealing with problems all day has to drain your energy.

Part of the problem is a lack of focus, I know that. I've written about it before. I'm good at a lot of things, but I'm finding I'm really good at Voice Acting and Acting in general. I've been tearing up the local stages. And I love it.

Bringing a script or character to life is amazing work. It's non-kinky role playing with applause. (Well I actually do a show yearly in drag, and I'm paid for it, with rave reviews, so I don't know what THAT means...)

I'm going to strip off these chains. How about you?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Clearing the decks!

(aka the art of finishing projects and saying no.)

There's a certain wonderfulness about being a freelancing-independent-business owner. You never stop marketing and never stop pushing to keep the cue full of work that pays money.

The image of Sisyphus pushing that rock up a hill comes to mind. We work 80 hours a week to be our own boss.

BUT there is a skill that one has to learn at some point. Well, two skills actually. One skill is finishing a project.

There is going to be a time (or two) that you'll say "Yes" to a project that you would have rather have said "No." too. But, there was money tied to it, and you just couldn't resist. (Or power, or prestige, or fame, or some sort of ego boosting thingy.)

However it happens, for some reason, you said, "Yes, I'll do it." OR you volunteered your skills!!

Good for you. It's good karma and helps somebody out. 


Ok here's the big but. (insert Sir Mix-A-Lot here) There's only one you and you need time for that 'you'.

How many projects are sitting in the wings that you started? Each one is a weight on your shoulders. 

That edit you promised. 
The script for a friend. 
The website changes.
The marketing material.
The siding on the house.
The project in the basement.

The list can go on and on!


Ok here's the first REAL skill. Saying "No." once in a while. While it's true, if you want something done, ask someone who's busy. I'm very good at lists and getting things prioritized. But I'm terrible at saying "no." when someone asks me. 

That changes today. (actually it changed yesterday, the first time I did it.)

I'm starting with the free things. "We would love you to audition for this show, you'd be perfect for it!" 

Ok, go ahead, stroke my ego, that's wonderful! 

BUT, "I'd love too! I'm just overbooked right now, but please keep me in mind for your next show." is the new response.

The art of saying 'No.' or being more selective is HARD! Especially when you've had the mindset that you need to take on things to survive.

So I've started to throttle back on saying 'Yes.'

Clear the Decks!

I'm clearing out the projects I've promised to do. One by one by order of priority. 

Prop for a show? Done.
Cassette to DVD for a friend? Done.
Pop by and help a friend with his audio chain? This weekend.
Clean my workbench? Today.

Each project you finish, takes some of the weight off your shoulders. The trick is, DON'T ADD ANOTHER PROJECT RIGHT AWAY!

Try not to fill the void. Allow yourself time for yourself and the projects for YOU. 

Your website.
Your marketing.
Your motorcycle in the basement.
Your mental health.

Once everything is done, all the projects have been cleared and the backlog is gone, THEN (Carefully) say 'Yes.' again. But be selective!  

Your time is valuable and finite. Learn to say no once in a while. It's ok.

Friday, December 4, 2015

2015 Marketing update!

Okiedokie... it's DECEMBER.

December 4th to be precise. And I finally mailed out the first round of marketing packages!


Finding time and energy... lame lame lame excuse. But there were a lot of factors, getting the introduction letter right, finding the right box and packing material, creating a client contact database, etc, etc.

New headshot, check. New demo recording, done. Good size boxes for shipping, done. (thank you

Marketing material isn't any good sitting on the floor. It needs to be in peoples hands.

And it has begun.

Now to keep the rhythm going and keep sending things out.

Friday, March 13, 2015

2015 Marketing

Ok, it's March, the temps are warming and we're shaking off the cabin fever. Time to get motivated!

Right now, I have to admit, I'm busy. The eLearning is cooking along, the commercial work comes in and out, (regular, but often enough) and the studio is sounding nice. But there's a plan to do more.

Several months ago there was a great meeting in NYC with a fellow "Voiceoverist" Philip Banks and he said something profound. A couple things actually.

Start at the Top!

If you start at the top, you can only work yourself down. So introduce yourself to the big wigs.

They Don't Know You Exist!

True, so if they have never heard of me, how in the world would they figure out how to hire me?

Make it Easy for Them!

People are so freakin' busy. Seriously. Make it easy.

The Plan.

Last year I hired Celia Siegel Management to give my marking a once over. (money well spent!) That was website, branding, message, etc. I had a new demo produced, revamped the website and had Lee Everett over at Fine Line Multimedia create a new graphic for my name.

So a bit of coding and some photography got the website up.

Philip mentioned sending out a USB with marketing. Sure! why not! But I decided to take it further with the branding. And had UBS's printed up with my new graphic, complete with contact information and dropped my new demo onto it.

It's a USB AND a bottle opener...
The next bit of marketing schwag was the mug.

I have used a mug for marketing for years. People don't toss out mugs. At a recent on-camera shoot, the producer had my mug on her desk. I had cleverly left it in the green room at a previous shoot.

HEY it works! I've had other producers call me, and say, "I have your mug, and had to call..."

People may toss out schwag, but damn, that mug has stuck around. So it needed an update as well, to match. A couple minutes in Photoshop with the new graphic and off to 144 mugs with shipping was just over $500. But completes the package.

New and shiny!

Next comes the tough part. Finding the names and places to send them to.

People will argue over all kinds of things in this business, "It's competitive!", "No it's not..." What I have found is that people are willing to share all kinds of secrets of the business, but they're not going to tell you who their client contacts are. Nope. No-sir-ee-bob.

THAT you have to find and build yourself. There are sources, but it's not going to be handed to you on a silver platter. (Unless you're a nationally known film and TV actor).

The Goal

These mugs and USB drives aren't going to mail themselves, so the plan is to create a list of production companies and agencies and introduce myself. Get things put together and get them out the door.

The more people who know me, and listen to my work, the more people who will know me and listen to my work.

As the amazing Bob Souer says, "Prepare for the avalanche."

I'm ready. And I'm going for it.