Monday, March 8, 2010

More coaching and mea culpa

More coaching last week. I'll find a way (read: take the time) to post some audio snippets of my sessions. We play lots of fun voice games such as, "Move the Emphasis." Move the Emphasis challenges the talent to read the same line several times, emphasizing just one word each time. The tricky part is to shift the emphasis to a different word each time. I did well with that, which pleased the coach, Jamie. I'm going back tomorrow for another session, which should be my last one before we start recording my demo.
I'd intended to do both commercial and narrative demos, but a lack of funds and a strong desire to get done prompted me to pare that to one. I haven't yet decided which I'll do. I'd prefer to do narration, but I'm certain they'll steer me toward the more lucrative commercial option. I'm not really expecting to make loads of money, but we'll see.

Speaking of saving money, Matt and I were on our way back from Indiana this weekend when I pulled out the ol' iPhone and started surfing Craigslist. My mission: to find a duplex in Tosa or West Allis that offered a garage, basement, and was dog-friendly. After striking out, my brain somehow overcame a longtime aversion to owning anything other than a freestanding home, and I proclaimed to Matt:
"I'm 27 years old. I'm sick of landlords telling me what color my walls should be, where I can park, and whether or not I can have a pet that lives outside of a bowl."
Matt: "I don't think an accent wall and a dog are too much to ask for."

Well put, sir.

I'm now open to...the condo. The goal is to pay my new MacBook Pro off shortly, rebuild the savings (damned VO training hasn't been cheap, but it's almost done), and get a modest downpayment together. I played with some online mortgage calculators, and I could do OK in Oak Creek, Franklin, or any of the other suburbs in that area. Maybe by Christmas, I could start looking...

I just want everything. Without waiting. Hurry up. NOW, dammit.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Second Coaching Session

Yesterday was my second voice coaching session. Basically, it went like this:

Coach: "Make it sound conversational and easy."
Jackie reads.
Coach: "Good, but you read too well. Sound more casual."
Jackie reads like a Milwaukeean.
Coach: "Great read! I love the 'ya know' you thew in. Just perfect."

All those years of practicing public speaking, honing my diction, and for what? To find out that the world wants to hear me talk like a Sout' Sider...wonderful.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Professionalism in Health Care

I just returned from a lunchtime trip to my orthopedic specialist for a look at das boot (which, by the way, will be with me for a few more weeks at least). While I was sitting in the waiting room, a man and two women sat in a corner opposite of me. The group did not consist of native English speakers. The man was on the phone with what sounded like their insurance company, for what sounded like one of many times over the past week. Just like anyone else, he was frustrated with misinformation he'd received and was trying to seek care for his sister, one of the ladies with him. Whoever to whom he was speaking kept asking him to spell their names, over and over. Maybe he was hard to hear over the phone, but I certainly had no problem understanding him.

Was this operator truly having a hard time understanding this client, or, was he or she deliberately hassling someone who needed help? His money is just as good as mine or anyone else's in that clinic. If his sister didn't truly need help, I can't imagine anyone putting up with the seemingly unprofessional treatment he received.

I understand it's a frustrating field. I really do. I believe, I hope, that for every instance of unprofessionalism, there must be a dozen acts of kindness and compassion that pass without comment. I've been the recipient of both. But, I also have a more thorough understanding of health insurance than a number of people do, and am not shy about asking questions. It just frustrated me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Official!

It's official! After a long chat with Colleen, one of Big House's very patient producers, I'm ready to plunge into the world of voiceovers! I am officially a "talent."

I am fairly type-A, organized, and prone to long-term planning. While these traits serve me quite well as an editor and project manager, they can be something of a hurdle when trying to dissect something completely large and foreign. I had it in my head that I needed an entire home studio in place at the onset of this process, necessitating a large amount of money and technology. Thankfully, Colleen is also type-A and understood my need for order and a regimented plan. In our own little uptight language, we connected and I understood that this is a long-term process that no amount of planning will be able to rush. Over-planning, in this case, could have cost me money, contrary to how planning usually works. I could have ended up with the wrong technology for my needs, or eating interest on a small business loan. Instead, I'll pay in chunks, as the production process is a long one, anyway.

So, there. I'm launching a small business and satiating a desire to pursue a place in an industry that I've always wanted to, in one fell swoop.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Trip to the Studio

Yesterday, I made my first trip to Big House Casting for a fun-filled day of voiceover instruction. I'm still tired (including my voice). In all, a good day. Big House offered to produce my voiceover demos for narrative and commercial work, which is pretty intense because they cast national-level accounts. I need to spend some time working to break some of my radio habits, like losing the "announcer voice."

The only downfall is the price of getting going: the estimated total cost of producing two high-quality demos, building and hosting my website, marketing, graphic design, promotional items (CDs for agents, mailing postcards to agents, etc.), and enough in-home studio equpiment to get started ($150 for an acceptable mic and $30ish for a boom-style stand) is between $7,000 and $8,000.

My gut feeling is to wait a few months, during which time I take out a small business loan so I can pay everything in full (and not lose my momentum by having to stop voice coaching until I can get enough money to pay for it, etc.) and establish the actual business itself (set up a workspace in my home, create invoices, set up a business checking account and credit card, make sure my remote connection works, etc.). I'm working with my financial adviser/tax dude to look at the practical logistics now. My goal is to set myself up to be as successful as possible, and to do things right from the very beginning

Regardless of the money, I had a great time reading copy and honing my technique in the studio. I was comfortable, happy, and felt a tremendous surge of creativity only felt when you're in the place in which you're supposed to be.

Also, I DROVE to Chicago for the very first time in my life. (Driving THROUGH the Windy City to other destinations does not count.) I'm proud. Spent the evening with some good Platteville people, becoming better friends through wine, Nerf guns, and Conan's last "Tonight Show" appearance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Voice overs

Tomorrow, I'm going to Chicago to meet with a voice coach at a production company; at least, that's my understanding of what's happening. My goal is to leave with a clear idea as to whether or not I have the natural ability to begin a part-time voice over business.

I've been involved as both a participant and judge of public speaking since middle school, including time spent on the radio. I know I can read the copy, but I've never done so in a huge market like Chicago. I've always enojyed the performance aspect of communication, but haven't been in a position to act on this idea until now.

Once upon a time, I really enjoyed flexing my vocal chords for the enjoyment of myself and others; I'd like to do so again.

Why "In Motus"?

Why the title I chose?

"In motus," translated from Latin to English, means "in motion." That's what I am--in motion. My life is dynamic, constantly changing and evolving. Read along!