This COVID-19 crisis has forced all of us to change our behavior in ways we would have never imagined, only a few weeks ago. The main questions on my mind were:
What exactly is going on?
What are the consequences?
How do I respond?
MY PERSONAL REACTION
This week I’d like to tell you how I am dealing with the corona crisis, by sharing some of my recent Instagram posts. If you’re not following me yet, I hope you will after reading this blog post (@nethervoice).
What I want to do with these statements is increase awareness, and make people think twice about the situation they’re in. My strategy is always to say as much as I can in as few words as possible without distorting the truth. At least, my version of the truth.
For many people, being confined to their home seems to be a major challenge. I count myself very lucky that living and working in isolation is no problem for me.
Other people are clearly having a hard time staying away from one another. They mob supermarkets hunting for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. What’s up with that?
Because my wife and I are in a risk group, people seem to believe we should be very afraid. For me, knowing what’s going on helps me get a better grip on the situation.
Ignorance weakens. Knowledge empowers.
Some politicians were accusing the messenger throughout this pandemic, and they continue to do so. Before we blame the press for all our woes, let’s agree that it’s up to us which source of information we trust, and what we do with the information from that source.
The media cannot make us do anything. We are responsible for how we respond to what we see, hear, and choose to believe.
I’m not worried about those who practice social distancing, and stay home as much as they can. I’m not worried about those who are mindful of others. I do worry about those who think they don’t have to change their behavior, just because they do not notice any symptoms.
To me, the image below sums up the best response we could have to COVID-19. I’d rather be overly careful, than underestimate the situation we’re in.
You don’t have to be an expert to see that this corona virus is not only a health crisis but an economic one as well. Unless you’re selling sanitizers, respirators and protective clothing, your business will slow down and suffer.
I hate to say it, but from now on it’s going to be survival of the smartest and those who are best prepared. The good news is that with less work coming in, you’ll have more time to prepare yourself for the months and years to come.
Abraham Lincoln, who was a skilled woodcutter before becoming one of the most important presidents in US history, famously said:
“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”
Well, my friends, this is the time to sharpen your axe, and use it wisely.
Refresh your demos, revamp your website, step up your marketing, increase your social media exposure, work with a coach on your weaknesses, build a proper studio, upgrade your gear.
Invest. Invest. Invest.
If you don’t do it, others will, and they’ll come out of this crisis ready and running.
To be honest with you, I’d rather read an article than listen to forty minutes of blah-blah-blah. I can scan an article or blog post in a short amount of time. I search for keywords, and skip the fluff. Done. On to the next one. I think I’m too impatient for most podcasts.
Since I wrote the story in 2015, the number of VO-related podcasts has increased considerably, and I have to admit that many of them are a joy to listen to.
I’ve been interviewed by a multitude of hosts, and my experience has always been very positive. Yet, there are only a handful of podcasts I regularly tune into, and they’re seldom about voice overs. Why?
I think It’s very important for a well-rounded VO (and I’m not talking about our waistline), to step outside of our blah blah bubble, and skip the talk about which microphone is best and how to get an agent. There’s a whole wide world out there filled with information and inspiration. Constant navel-gazing isn’t going to help us learn and grow as a human being.
This week, a Dutch podcast forum asked me about my experiences with podcasts. Do I have any faves, pet peeves, or tips?
This is what I wrote.
Let me start my story with a confession.
My roots are in radio.
That’s both a blessing and a curse. It means I can no longer listen to podcasts with an open, carefree mind. I listen the way a music critic listens to a concert. With super critical ears. Luckily I can turn the darn thing off as soon as I get bored.
In addition you should know that I’ve been a voice over for more than thirty years. This has made me allergic to badly written scripts, stupid slips of the tongue, loud, distracting breaths, and poorly recorded audio.
I’ve also made a living as a journalist, presenter, and media trainer. I know a little bit about interviewing guests. How to do it, and how not to do it.
All of the above means that many podcasts are just not my thing, even though I love the medium dearly. My favorite podcasts offer theater between the ears allowing my imagination to run wild. When I’m listening, I’m not distracted by flashing images on television which makes it easier to focus on the content.
I love the freedom podcasts give me. I usually listen when I have boring things to do like the dishes, yard work, house cleaning, long drives, or running on the treadmill. What do I listen to? Mostly radio shows.
This year marks my 20th anniversary of living and working in the USA. To stay connected to what’s happening in Holland (where I’m from), I listen to a show called Met het oog op morgen, (Keeping an eye on tomorrow). It’s a daily roundup of news, current affairs, and background stories.
As a former newscaster I’m always on the lookout for people who can interpret what’s going on in the world today. I want to know what motivated this person to make that statement, and what the implications are. That’s why I often tune in to the Brian Leher Show on WNYC, a New York City-based public radio station. Brian is a progressive interviewer who has an uncanny ability to ask pointed questions in a friendly and respectful way.
When I want to know more about art, literature, and music, I turn to Fresh Air, a legendary talk show with Terry Gross. Terry is considered a national treasure in the US, and for good reason. She’s been on national radio since 1975, and her show can be heard all over the United States. She’s known for her empathic, intelligent way of interviewing her guests.
For philosophy and science I listen to Radiolab with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. Jad composes the experimental music which is like a running commentary on the theme of the show. Apart from interviews with people such as neurologist Oliver Sacks, conversations between the hosts are also part of the program. Radiolab is exquisitely immersive and never fails to make me think.
PROBLEMS WITH PODCASTS
There are very few “real” podcasts (as opposed to regular radio shows) I can listen to without cringing. Usually, that’s because of three things:
1. Amateurs “playing radio.”
Bad audio quality is the first clue. The recording space is often too noisy, everyone is miles away from the microphone, and guests are mumbling their answers. After hearing the first twenty seconds I ask myself: “What on earth am I listening to?”
Podcast producers who actually know what they’re doing realize that they have to compete with “real” radio programs. Award-winning podcasts have a team of researchers, editors, script writers, and sound engineers that take their job seriously.
In the next few years the difference between hobbyists and professionals making podcasts will increase dramatically. The consumer will have even more to choose from, and won’t have to settle for kitchen table productions.
2. Hosts that are overly self-involved.
Podcasts seem to attract people that like to hear themselves talk, but who have very little to say. I’m thinking of the unfunny folks who believe they’re God’s gift to comedy, and who have trouble getting to the point. I call them “self-arousers” because the sound of their own voice makes them horny as hell.
The best interviewers don’t make themselves the star of the show but focus on the guests. They don’t stick to a list of pre-cooked questions. They listen carefully to the answers and follow up. This is not an easy thing to do. You’ve got to get people talking, you’ve got to learn to keep your mouth shut, and you have to jump in at the right moment with the right questions.
3. Weak content
Before you read the next line I’d like you to do a quick experiment while recording yourself. Choose a topic you’re interested in at the moment. Have a stopwatch ready, and when you press START, talk for one minute straight offering relevant information. No hesitations, no filler words, and no ums.
Ready. Set. GO!
Most people who do this experiment notice how hard it is to fill just one minute fluently, while keeping the audience engaged as they’re trying to make sense.
I often tell my students:
“If you want people to be interested, you have to be interesting. Your topics and your guests have to be interesting.”
Too many podcasts are of the category “much ado about nothing,” hosted by lazy, self-absorbed hosts that allow their guests to yammer on and on and on.
If you’re reading producing podcasts, you know it requires quite an investment to produce an outstanding show on a weekly basis. That’s why it is almost impossible to listen to your own shows with impartiality. It’s also the reason I recommend you get yourself a feedback group of people who know what they’re talking about. Do not ask family and friends who will love everything you say and do, no matter what.
You need the critical ears of those who will tell you what you don’t like to hear.
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Vandaag doe ik iets dat ik nog nooit eerder heb gedaan.
Ik schrijf dit blog in het Nederlands.
Wat is daar nou nieuw aan, zal je misschien denken, maar sinds ik in 2007 met dit blog ben begonnen heb ik altijd in het Engels geschreven. De meeste van de bijna veertig duizend mensen die mijn schrijfsels elke week toegemaild krijgen spreken die taal. Vandaar.
De laatste tijd heb ik wat meer contact met jullie, mijn Nederlandse collega’s, en daarom wil ik dit verhaal graag in mijn moerstaal vertellen. Als je me later op Facebook of Instagram tegenkomt, dan heb je tenminste een beter idee wie die Friese Nederlandse Amerikaan eigenlijk is.
Ga er maar even voor zitten.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
Ik weet nog goed dat ik eind 1999 op de luchthaven van Philadelphia aankwam. Mijn hele leven zat opgepropt in twee koffers en een plastic zak.
Een grote groep gillende meiden wachtte me hysterisch huilend op. Die waren natuurlijk niet voor mij gekomen, maar voor de jongens van de razend populaire band *NSYNCdie in hetzelfde vliegtuig naar Amerika waren teruggekeerd. Hun grootste hit op dat moment was “Bye, bye, bye.”
Na 36 jaar in Holland te hebben gewoond en gewerkt was het ook voor mij “Bye, bye, bye.” Wat ik achterliet was een gebroken hart, een bedroefde familie, fijne vrienden, en een droombaan als baas van mijn eigen trainingsbedrijf.
Het was maar goed dat ik toen nog niet wist dat ik binnen twee jaar opnieuw zou trouwen, vader zou worden, in een slepende vechtscheiding terecht zou komen, dat mijn dochtertje kanker zou krijgen en mijn derde vrouw moest leren leven met MS. Ik had nog geen idee dat ik bijna aan een beroerte zou komen te overlijden, en dat ik amper twee maanden daarna achter de tralies zou worden gegooid.
Amerika. Het land van de onbegrensde mogelijkheden!
Ironisch genoeg waren de Verenigde Staten het laatste land waar ik ooit terecht had willen komen. Ik had niets met de cultuur. Ik vond de meeste mensen maar dom, luid en oppervlakkig, en mijn taalgevoelige oren hielden niet van het accent dat ik overal om me heen hoorde.
Als ik al ergens naartoe had willen emigreren, dan was het wel Engeland. Het land van de stiff upper lip, Monty Python, Shakespeare en de BBC. Maar voor mij liep de weg naar het Verenigd Koninkrijk wel via Hilversum.
Mijn omroep avontuur begon toen ik als 18-jarige geselecteerd werd voor de tweede generatie van AVRO’s MINJON, de Miniatuur Jongeren Omroep Nederland. Ik studeerde in die tijd musicologie in Utrecht, en het leek me wel wat om later klassieke muziekprogramma’s te presenteren.
Bij de stoffige AVRO kreeg ik de unieke kans om alle aspecten van radio en televisie te leren kennen, daarbij geholpen door oude rotten in het vak. Ze zagen blijkbaar wel wat in me, want een jaar later werd ik gevraagd of ik samen met Tosca Hoogduin (“voor wie wil gaan slapen, maar nog niet kan”) een programma zou willen presenteren. Zo leerde ik ook producer Imme Schade van Westrum kennen die bekend stond als “de man achter Willem Duys.”
Tosca ontfermde zich als een moeder over mij, en als ze in de microfoon sprak, resoneerde de tafel in de spreekcel mee met haar diep doorrookte stem. Hoewel ze er in de studio nooit eentje opstak, werd de ruimte snel gevuld door de geur van sigaretten die ze uitwalmde. Wij raakten ons radioprogramma “Play it Again” kwijt toen een AVRO-baas op ons tijdstip een Sinatra show wilde presenteren. De man bleek voorzitter van de Nederlandse Frank Sinatra fanclub te zijn.
NAAR DE IKON
Voor mij was het inmiddels tijd om mijn maatschappelijke dienstplicht te vervullen, en dat deed ik bij de Interkerkelijke Omroep Nederland. Die periode begon dramatisch met de dood van Koos Koster, Hans ter Laag, Jan Kuiper en Joop Willemsen, vier journalisten die in El Salvador door militairen weren vermoord.
Paul (L), in een pij bij het afscheid van IKON radio directeur Barend de Ronden. Links Pia Dijkstra.
Dankzij de IKON werd ik ondergedompeld in de wereld van geëngageerde journalistiek. Ik produceerde, ik presenteerde, en ik ging als reporter de straat op. Als zoon van een Gereformeerd predikant en lid van een Gregoriaans koor, voelde ik me als een vis in het water in de wereld van de religie. Ik interviewde net zo makkelijk Eelco Brinkman, de verbannen bisschop Bär, of zijn baas kardinaal Simonis. Ook kreeg ik de kans om met schrijver Henk Barnard te werken. Henk was de man achter “Pipo de Clown” en “Ja zuster, nee zuster,” de televisie waar ik mee was opgegroeid.
Hilversum is maar een klein dorp, en omdat de IKON geen eigen studios had kwam ik vaak over de vloer bij de NCRV en de KRO. Op een dag was ik aan het monteren toen er een omroeper onwel werd in de studio naast mij. Zijn technicus stormde in paniek binnen en vroeg of er iemand was die in kon vallen. Het enige wat ik hoefde te doen was praten tot aan de pips.
Zo begon mijn carrière als freelance omroeper. Mijn stem was jarenlang voor de NCRV te horen, de KRO, de IKON en later ook de Evangelische Omroep. In het nieuwe omroepcentrum lagen de continuiteitsstudios van radio 1, 2, 3, 4, en 5 tegenover elkaar aan hetzelfde “plein.” Op sommige dagen riep ik op het hele uur om voor de KRO op radio 5, en op het halve uur voor de EO op Radio 2. Beide omroepen betaalden gewoon het volle pond.
Bob van der Houven zat in die tijd vaak voor de klassieke zender in de spreekcel. Als hij een lange symfonie draaide hadden we even tijd om in de kantine Ducktales to improviseren. Hij speelde de neefjes en ik deed Donald Duck. Het was het begin van een lange vriendschap.
EINDELIJK NAAR LONDON
Mijn Londense werkplek
Nadat de bevlogen Wim Koole met pensioen was gegaan trad Geerten van Empel bij de IKON aan als directeur. Geerten bood me de kans om een jongensdroom in vervulling te brengen: werken bij de BBC! Dankzij de vele coproducties waren de lijntjes met London kort, en kreeg ik zomaar een eigen bureau in Yalding House. Ik ging als producer bij het Religious Department aan de slag.
In die tijd woonde ik in de peperdure wijk Kensington, in de buurt van het huis van princes Diana. Een rijke erfgename verhuurde tegen een zacht prijsje kleine cottages aan BBC-personeel. Die cottages waren vroeger voor het personeel van de koningin.
Ik had destijds een bekakt Engels accent, en dat opende heel wat deuren voor me. Zo ging ik undercover bij de Britse tak van Opus Dei (een ultra-conservatieve groep binnen de katholieke kerk), ik nam muziekprogramma’s op in de Abbey Road studios, en ik lunchte met rabbi Jonathan Sachs, de chief rabbi of the Commonwealth.
Mijn sluitstuk was het maken van een uur durende Paas special op Radio One, de meest beluisterde zender. Dit programma, “A Damn Good Lie,” zou later de Sandford St Martin Prize winnen voor “excellence in religious broadcasting.”
Terug bij de IKON leverde dat alles een oer-Hollands “Whatever” op, en het werd me snel duidelijk dat ik die club een beetje ontgroeid was. Gelukkig was de Wereldomroep (RNW) op zoek naar iemand voor het programma “Kerk en Samenleving,” (beter bekend als “Kerk en Samenzwering”) dat vroeger door Pia Dijkstra werd gemaakt.
met technicus Rien Otterspeer
Omdat niemand bij Radio Nederland ook maar enige kennis van of affiniteit met het religieuze leven had, en we de paters in Afrika toch tevreden moesten houden, kreeg ik vrij spel. Dat pakte goed uit, want elke week kreeg ik post van enthousiaste luisteraars uit de hele wereld. Op een terugkeerweekend van missionarissen ergens in het zuiden, werd ik al snel omringd door blije broeders en zusters die mijn stem herkenden. Ik had heuse fans, en ze spraken allemaal met een zachte G!
Mijn eilandje binnen de Wereldomroep was mooi en ook kwetsbaar. Bezuinigingen waren op komst, en er gingen zelfs geruchten over opheffing. Het internet bleek onze grootste vijand te zijn, maar de bedrijfsleiding dacht dat wel te kunnen overleven. Ik probeerde intussen te overleven door mijn halve baan aan te vullen met omroepen en nieuwslezen, werk dat Jeroen Pauw vóór mij had gehad.
Radio Nederland zond in de meeste tijdszones uit, en dat betekende dat ik dag en nacht achter de microfoon zat. Het ergste was als er een collega ziek werd, en ik dubbele diensten moest draaien. Ik hoopte stiekem op brekend nieuws zodat ik makkelijker wakker zou blijven.
Die ervaring maakte wel dat je me op elk tijdstip een tekst onder de neus kon duwen die ik foutloos en met gepaste autoriteit uit kon spreken.
De onrust binnen de Wereldomroep zorgde voor veel personeelsverschuivingen, en ik werd als freelancer ingehuurd voor de nieuwsredactie en presentatie. Ook leverde ik bijdragen aan de Engelse afdeling en BVN, de televisietak van RNW.
In m’n vrije tijd was ik actief in de NVJ en deed ik wat ik kon om de positie van freelancers te versterken. Verder gaf ik mediatrainingen aan kerkleiders die zonder knikkende knieën voor de camera wilden verschijnen.
De radio was en bleef mijn tweede thuis, en ik raakte verslaafd aan het altijd maar halen van onmogelijke deadlines, aan het werkend eten en het etend werken. Het was ongezond voor lichaam en geest, maar de hechte band met mijn collega’s en de dagelijkse adrenalinekick maakten veel goed.
Na een lange uitzending vond ik het heerlijk om, als alle lichten waren uitgegaan, de concertvleugel op te zoeken die tussen de studios geparkeerd stond.
Op een avond improviseerde ik in het donker en zong ik zelfgeschreven liedjes, toen plotseling uit een hoek een bekende (en zeer verzorgde) stem klonk. Het was Ilse Wessel die net het laatste nieuws had gelezen.
“Wat klink je goed!” zei Ilse. “Ik had geen idee dat jij dit kon. Heb je daar nooit iets mee willen doen?”
“Ik heb vroeger wel met studentencabarets opgetreden en op bruiloften van vrienden gezongen, maar daar is het bij gebleven.”
“Nou,” zei Ilse, “als je het goed vind bel ik een vriend van mij die in de muziek zit. Ik vind dat hij je moet horen. Mag ik je telefoonnummer doorgeven?”
“Dat zou ik geweldig vinden, Ilse” zei ik. “Wat aardig van je!”
Ilse hield woord, want de volgende dag ging de telefoon.
“Meneer Strikwerda, met Gerrit den Braber” klonk een wat korzelige stem. “Ilse Wessel zegt dat wij elkaar moeten ontmoeten. Heeft u donderdag tijd?”
Zestig seconden later had ik een afspraak met één van de bekendste producers van Nederland.
Voice-overs love talking into microphones. No surprise there. That’s why a number of colleagues have embraced the podcast as a medium to spread their message.
Truth be told, I have a love – hate relationship with podcasts. You may remember my story “The problem with podcasting” where I explain why podcasts are not my thing:
“I spend very little time listening to podcasts. I’d rather read an article than listen to forty minutes of blah-blah-blah. An article or blog post I can scan in a short amount of time. I search for keywords, and skip the fluff.
Done. On to the next one.
Am I going to listen to a forty-minute podcast to possibly pick up a few useful ideas?
No thank you.
But there’s another reason why most podcasts are not my cup of tea.
I have no patience for mediocrity, half-ass efforts, or for untalented amateurs playing radio.”
This admission unleashed a storm of hate mail the likes I had never experienced before. People called me an arrogant sun of a gun, a failed, jealous blogger, and all kinds of other names I don’t care to repeat in public. It was clear that I had stepped on some very sensitive, potty-mouthed toes.
LISTENING TO MYSELF
This hasn’t stopped me from appearing on podcasts. I’m always honored that people seem to think I have interesting things to say, but here’s what you should know:
I rarely listen back to my interviews. Why is that?
Honestly, I feel more comfortable trusting my thoughts to my computer than to an interviewer. You see, writing gives me time to organize my ideas, and rephrase sentences until I’m happy with my words. Being interviewed is a spontaneous process (especially when it’s live), and it’s much easier to fumble and stumble. Once your words are out, you can’t take ’em back!
I tend to self-analyze while I’m talking, and I lose my train of thought wondering what point I was trying to make. Sounds familiar? On top of that, my post-stroke brain is often foggy, forgetful, and disorganized. What comes out of my mouth tends to be a reflection of that.
So, when Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico asked me to be a guest on the VO BOSS podcast, I had to talk myself into doing it. One of the reasons for my hesitation was connected to my struggle to control my feelings in public.
It’s ironic: right after my stroke I couldn’t access my emotions, no matter how hard I tried. I could sense they were waiting behind a huge wall, but I had no way of reaching them. I felt disassociated from what was happening to me, and my speaking voice was monotone and robotic. Only after many, many hours of speech therapy was I able to begin to infuse my words with some emotion.
In March of this year, during VO Atlanta, a miracle happened. I unexpectedly broke through the impenetrable wall, and the floodgates opened! Since then I’ve become this overly sensitive and sappy guy whose eyeballs start leaking while watching sad and sweet stories on TV. I’m particularly moved by people helping people who are down on their luck.
Those who are close to me say it’s a good thing that a man dares to be vulnerable and show some emotions. They wish more men would show that side of their personality. To me it feels like I have no choice but to tear up, and I’d like to be able to control my feelings a bit better.
One of the things I have learned during my recovery is that I can’t force anything to happen. It will happen when the time is right. Perhaps I will always stay this way, and you’ll catch me crying during a podcast. Perhaps I’ll get a grip and contain myself in the future.
MY VO BOSS MOMENT
So, here’s the interview with Anne and Gabby. The one I’m not going to listen to.
Will you do the honors?
A huge thank you to the VO Boss team for having me on the show, and thank you for listening to the podcast!
Some have called him the greatest performer of spoken word of our time.
His videos have brought YouTube viewers to tears. His powerful performances turned comic book addicts into poetry lovers.
In 2000, he won the individual championship at the National Poetry Slam in Providence, Rhode Island – beating 250 North American competitors. In doing so, he became the first-ever winner from outside the U.S.
His first published collection, Visiting Hours, was the only work of poetry selected by the Guardian, Globe and Mail newspapers, for their Best Books of the Year lists in 2005.
And yet, most people have never heard of him.
All of that changed when Shane Koyczan recited his poem “We Are More” at the opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, British Columbia. The man who was born in the obscure town of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, wowed the world with his words.
Most footage of that performance is of very poor quality because the Olympic Committee regulates the rights to the original broadcast and we’re stuck with amateur video.
Here’s an extended and animated version of “We Are More” (click on Watch on YouTube).
The reason I’m writing about Shane today can be summarized in one word:
I N S P I R A T I O N
Most days I wake up on the right side of the bed and everything just flows. Some days I feel stuck in a rut and I catch myself doing the same things I’ve always done, hoping to get a different result. It never works, does it?
To some, living life on cruise control might be the ultimate goal, but as soon as I find out that my brain has secretly switched on the autopilot, I tell it to turn it off and start doing some stretching exercises.
A big part of me has this inner urge to always learn and grow and expand what I am capable of. In order to do that, I need to be challenged beyond my boundaries. It’s the best way to escape my cozy comfort zone. But where to go? Whom can I turn to?
I am always on the lookout to emulate excellence. If I want to be the best, I have to learn from the best. That might sound straightforward to you, but in our culture that is not necessarily the predominant philosophy.
I never understood why medical researchers seem to spend more time studying illness instead of learning about wellness. During their training, doctors-to-be poke around in dead bodies, supposedly learning the secrets to saving the living. They spend most of their time around the sick and the dying, and some of them eventually become specialists in a particular disease.
The study of the dysfunctional is the norm, but it doesn’t have to be.
In certain schools of Oriental medicine, doctors get paid to keep the people in their care healthy. Their focus is much more on preventing the root cause of a problem, rather than on treating or alleviating symptoms. Instead of trying to find a cure for diabetes, they are teaching their “patients” (they call them “students”) about a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
It is a well-known fact that Western doctors have more problems with drugs and alcohol, and a higher suicide rate than their patients. (source) Most Oriental healers practice what they preach and keep on practicing well into their senior years. In their culture, the wisdom that comes with age is held in high regard, instead of hidden in underfunded assisted living facilities.
Like doctors, many professionals are trained to spend most of their time on sick systems, tracking and analyzing problems. Psycho-analysts come to mind, as well as lawyers, economists and -dare I say it- politicians. We have become masters at focusing on what’s wrong and finding someone or something to blame.
“Fast food and soda made me fat. I didn’t do it!”
What would have happened after 9/11, had we invested just as much money and brain power into building bridges between people, cultures and religions, as we have invested in beefing up homeland security? Or have we ignored the causes while we were busy trying to treat the symptoms?
Why not focus on creating beauty and cultivating friendships as we fortify our nation to prevent more death and destruction? How can we sow the seeds of peace and understanding if we spend all our money and manpower building more barriers and billion-dollar walls to protect us? Is that a sign of desperation or of inspiration?
I admit it: I have my dark days. When I look for inspiration, I sometimes turn to poetry and to my favorite poet: Shane Koyczan. He’s called a spoken word virtuoso for a reason.
As a professional speaker, I admire the way he hammers his words in with heart and with soul. They almost burn into my brain. I’d love to emulate his mastery of language and moving delivery. His artistry is the challenge I am looking for. His depth is what I aspire to.
Shane speaks to me in a way few other people do. One moment he seems to tenderly touch his words with velvet gloves, only to start building a tremendous crescendo of ideas and similes and associations my mind tries to process intellectually but cannot, until what’s left is an overwhelming feeling of intense exaltation.
It’s almost a hypnotic induction.
A great example of his style is the poem “Beethoven”. Even though the quality of the recording leaves a bit to be desired for, it is a monumental performance.
Shane Koyczan still performs his work for sold out houses, but he has done something else. He created a new genre called Talk Rock with his band the Short Story Long. His unique mix of song and verse won him the “Best New Artist” award at the BC Interior Music Awards.
Even though the poetry corner at my bookstore seems to be shrinking, the spoken word is alive and kicking. And I can’t help but wonder: what would happen if the world would feed itself with the art of poets, painters, dancers and musicians instead of with the language of hate, discrimination, intolerance, fanaticism and violence?
I also wonder how we as voice-over artists can do our part to change this world through the words we speak.
If you ever need inspiration, just listen to Shane.
Armin Hierstetter, the brains behind online casting site BODALGO has launched a new site: voices.net.
It’s been months in the making, but do we really need another voice casting site?
Time for a quick interview.
1. What specifically prompted you to build voices.net?
It was a thought process over a couple of months. Online casting has not really evolved that much over the last decade. Sure, I tried to enhance bodalgo.com by adding bodalgoCall and bodalgoCRM, but the core functionality of all the usual suspects is still the same. So is the concept of all the ones that showed up in the last two years.
2. How does your approach and philosophy differ from other voice casting sites?
It’s not pay to play. And while other new sites to the industry claim that their online casting sites are neither, the reality is: They are. voices.net on the other hand will not take a single cent from the talents. It is the clients that need to pay in order to be able to use the service.
3. Why would they ever do that when they can cast talents online for free on so many other websites?
The major problem with most online casting websites: Way too many auditions for a job! And way too low quality of auditions in many cases (there are a few exceptions, though, bodalgo.combeing one of them, I would think). But the major downside: A client has always to wait for the auditions to shuffle in before they get a feeling what to expect. All the p2ps are centered around the audition process. The matching process is not precise enough by design, so many talents get job offers and have the feeling a lot of opportunities are coming through. And when all of them audition, only a fraction will be really relevant to the client’s needs. That’s an issue.
voices.netwill completely change that. Even before the audition process, a client can narrow down the selection of potential talents in a very, very sophisticated way that works in real time.
An example: Let’s say somebody is looking for a US English female voiceover for commercial. Also, they want a low pitched breathy voice that sounds mystical. With websites out there, they would have to post a job and hope for the best.
With voices.net, you will be able to first narrow down a selection of talents that exactly fit that description in a few seconds. And if after listening to a few demos you changed your mind and would rather listen to higher pitched demos, it is just a click away.
4. How is this possible?
1. All demos on voices.netare precisely tagged by the talents including language, gender, character and attributes (warm, confident, sexy, passionate, caring etc.). A talent can upload an unlimited number of demos. But: Each demo must only feature one specific recording. It is not allowed to mix different genres or different styles of a read in one demo as the tagging would not be accurate anymore. voices.netdoes a lot to educate the talents to follow those rules. In fact, I have pointed out quite in the face that breaking the rules will lead to the deletion of a profile. The quality expectations are really super high.
2. voices.net has artificial intelligence built in to determine the pitch of a talent. This is important, because you need to have the same standard across the board. Talents are asked to have a standard demo of their signature voice analyzed as a pitch reference which will be taken as a default value for every further demo uploaded. Of course, if you intentionally voiced a demo higher than your signature voice, you can adjust the pitch tagging manually.
This pre audition filter process takes less than a minute. By listening to most relevant demos, a client can then decide whether he wants to contact a single talent directly or invite a group of talents to audition. For the talent that means: In case of an audition you are not up against a few hundred but up against a pre-selected few.
Maybe it becomes also clear why it is therefore in the best interest of the talents to be as precise as possible when tagging the demos. If they are not, they will end up in the filter results with a group of other talents that are much more relevant. So they will not stand a chance. So you absolutely want to make sure that your tagging is spot on on order to be successful.
So why will clients pay for this? Because voices.netwill generate better results in a shorter amount of time.
5. The name of the site is obviously a nudge to a certain Canadian company that has cornered a huge segment of the market. Are you openly challenging them? Do you expect any legal challenges from voices.com since your sites have similar objectives, or has that been sorted out?
Do I challenge them? No. In my book, vcom is mainly a platform for amateurs and bottom feeders. And for companies that do not know that a huge chunk of their budget does not end up with the talents but in the pocket of vcom. voices.net is a completely different game.
Regarding the website name: voices.netand voices network are registered trademarks in the EU. But even if that would not be the case: According to the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), “voices” by itself is a descriptive term that cannot be trademarked under EU regulation. If you choose a name like this, you simply have to accept that others might use it well. That’s not what I say, that’s what the trademark office says. Fair enough if you ask me.
6. Voices dot com has spent many years and millions of dollars on CEO and online advertising campaigns. Do you believe your David can beat Goliath at their own game and if yes, why?
First of all: Online advertising hardly works anymore when your objective is to find new clients (not talents). Reason is partly because those ads, for a few years now actually, are clicked more and more by talents looking for platforms they can book jobs from instead of clients looking for talents. Actually, it is the talents that kinda ruin the campaigns that are created to get them jobs in the first place. It’s a bit ironic.
But for voices.net, this will not be that of an issue. voices.nettargets top shelf clients that have very high expectations regarding quality. Those companies don’t google “hire voice talent” (which is far fewer searched for than some people think, by the way). Getting those clients excited about voices.netwill work best if you actually go to them and present the magic personally.
Will that be easy? No. Not at all. But every of those clients will have a healthy amount of jobs all the time, so if you get only a few dozens of the bigger ones on board, you already have a great base to work from. And because the talents do not pay a cent, I do not feel the pressure to find clients at all costs. It will take time, but I am sure that the path is right.
And if it fails: Nothing to lose for the talents except the time to create the most compelling profile on the planet.
7. Is the investment in voices.net coming out of your own pocket, or do you have any backers?
It comes out of my own pocket. Talking about it: I find it a bit amusing that there is one site out there at the moment that was basically created with membership fees paid upfront by the talents. That’s a pretty interesting stunt I have to say: Building a website and promoting it with no financial risk attached. If it does not work, it was not your money. Not sure though, how all those talents will feel about it when it does not work out¦
8. Who runs voices.net by the way? Is it just you or do you have a team?
Just me. It’s always just me, nobody loves me! [laughs]
9. The only way to measure the success of your new site is by the number of good paying jobs available. You already run an online voice casting site that is sometimes criticized for not offering as many opportunities as e.g. voice123. Shouldn’t you just focus on growing Bodalgo instead of dividing your time and energy between voices.net and your site selling vintage game consoles?
I think how I divide my time is completely my business. The numbers of bodalgo have been growing constantly for a decade now. Yes, there are fewer jobs than with the big “v’s”. On the other hand, the quality of the jobs is much higher. And the number of premium talents much lower. And the membership fee is much lower. Do I need to go on?
What’s more: Talents tell me time and time and time again that they convert many clients into returning clients. They can do so because bodalgo does not “own” the clients. So in a nutshell: bodalgo is doing fine and will continue to do so. And remember: If I present voices.netto new clients that are despite the compelling concept not willing to pay for online casting, there is still the option to promote bodalgo to them. So now I have two great products to bring to the market. I see that as an advantage for the talents, too.
10. Can any voice talent -experienced or inexperienced- sign up for voices.net? Do you have a limit as to how many voice actors you accept? What are your acceptance criteria?
No, absolutely not! The bar will be set extremely high. First, you need to be a pro. Second, your audio quality must scream awesomeness. And even if you are an experienced talent: That might not guarantee that your profile will make it in the end (maybe because of sub par audio quality, maybe because of incorrect tagging of demos, etc). The goal is to identify the best of the best talents available.
I know that this approach will not go down well with everybody, especially when they are rejected, but when you want to create something insanely great, there is no chance to be everybody’s darling at the same time. I hope the talents will understand that and rather work on their skills than blaming me for “playing god”.
11. Best scenario: five years from now, where do you see voices.net?
The go-to place when you are looking for the best voice over talents in the world. For agents, producers, ad agencies, enterprises, casting directors, you name it.
Many thanks, Armin, and best of luck with voices.net!
Because in their own words, they want to “better explain the rights people have when using our services.”
One thing that will not change is the distinction between Profiles and Pages. It’s something many colleagues still don’t seem to get. Here’s the deal:
You should never run your businesss from a personal profile. Always create a Facebook page for your business.
There are many reasons for doing that, and I’ll give you lots of carrots, but let’s start with a few sticks. The Facebook Terms of Service state:
“You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”
In other words, using a Profile for commercial activities is a violation of those Terms of Service, and Facebook can and will delete your Profile because of it. That’s what someone in my neighborhood found out when she tried to peddle her skin care pyramid scheme on a local Facebook group. Fellow-Facebookers reported her, and without warning she lost all her contacts, messages, pictures, and more.
PROFILE OR PAGE
To some people, the distinction between a Profile and a Page is a bit confusing, so here’s the bottom line.
A Facebook Profile is a personal, non-commercial account for individuals. It’s the way you connect with friends and family. It’s where you share your photos, videos, and life events. You can only have one Profile, and it’s managed by you. Only people you’ve added as a friend are able to see your posts, unless all your updates are public. For some mysterious reason Facebook allows you to have no more than 5,000 friends.
A Facebook Page is a business account for a company or organization. You can have many Pages, managed by multiple people. Your following is not limited by friend requests. Anyone who clicks the Like button receives your updates, and you can have an unlimited number of followers.
In order to create a Page, you first need to have a Profile. You can convert a Profile to a Page, but I don’t recommend it. First off, you only get one chance to do it. Secondly, the name on your personal account will become the Page’s name, which isn’t very smart. You want your Page to have the name of your business. Your Profile picture and cover photo will also be transferred, but it’s better for your brand to use your business pictures, instead of those silly summer vacation snapshots.
PROFESSIONAL OR PRIVATE
Before I discuss some of the features you can access once you have a Facebook Page, I want to tell you why I think it’s inappropriate to use a Profile to promote your business. It has to do with privacy, professionalism, and boundaries.
Number one: why would you give people you barely know access to your private life? Just because you exchanged business cards at a conference, doesn’t mean they should see you on your Timeline sporting a skimpy bathing suit at the Jersey shore, or drinking beer from a boot in Berlin.
The current U.S. administration may think it’s okay for Internet Service Providers to share our browsing history, financial information, health information, children’s information, social security number, and app usage. I strongly disagree.
I don’t want my private life to become publicly traded property. It’s literally none of other people’s business.
Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like the fact that the lines between public and private are getting more blurry every day. I value my privacy. Online and offline. I don’t see the need to turn my life into some kind of reality show for the whole world to see. It’s not that interesting anyway.
CUSTOMERS OR FRIENDS
Some of my colleagues who are still using a Profile for their business, have accepted friend requests from clients without giving it any thought. To me, that’s shocking. I don’t think a client needs to know what’s going on in your life or mine. It can have serious consequences.
Let’s say a customer asks you to do a rush job, and you tell him you’re too busy to fit it in. Then he sees on Facebook that you’re taking the day off, and he wonders: “Why were you lying to me?”
It is unacceptable for an employer to ask about your general health and medical condition, so why share that information on social media? Let’s assume a client has a job for you, but you just posted that you’re a bit under the weather, so he hires someone else. Had he not known that you’re sick, he would have asked you, and you could have said: “I’m totally booked today, but I can do it tomorrow,” (if you think you’ll feel better by then).
A few more scenarios.
A client owes you money, and he sees on your Profile that you just bought a nice set of wheels. That client may think: “Oh, he’s got plenty of cash. He can wait to be paid.”
What if you tell your Facebook pals you’re struggling financially? Friends of mine just started a very public GoFundMe Campaign because their clunker car died, and they can’t afford to buy a new one. Desperate people are willing to work for less, and a client could abuse that situation to negotiate a lower rate.
One colleague became Facebook friends with the author of a series of books he was about to narrate. “He’s such a great guy,” my colleague said. “I’m honored he wanted to be friends with me.”
Well, when the writer saw on Facebook that my colleague was gay, he said he could no longer work with him, citing his faith. What a terrible way to lose a deal worth thousands of dollars!
A conservative think tank wanted to hire a voice-over for a number of ads, and they found a female talent with the perfect pipes. Just before they offered her the contract, they did a background check. Because all the posts on her Facebook Profile were public, they discovered she was an Elizabeth Warren supporter, and they called off the deal.
So, you have to ask yourself: should you really give the whole world access to your personal life? Is gaining a superficial Facebook friend worth the risk of losing a good client?
Here’s an interesting trend. When I first brought this page/pofile thing up in my voice-over community, I got two kinds of responses. The older generation seemed to get this separation between private and professional spheres, as well as the need for reputation management.
The response of the younger generation boiled down to one word:
One girl wrote:
“This is a FREE country. I am who I am. If the client doesn’t like it, that’s their problem. I am building an online persona, and my followers like me just the way I am. They want a behind-the-scenes look into my life, and I ‘m gonna give it to them.”
To each his own, but as Dr. Phil keeps on reminding us: “If you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.”
Those consequences can be quite serious. One of my agents just posted the following:
“It happened again. A huge project we had an opportunity with turned down loads of talent from many agencies for inappropriate social media including:
Lingerie posted on Social Media
Sexually Suggestive posts on Social Media
Profanity on Social Media
Political affiliations on Social Media
Politically Charged posts on Social Media
Inappropriate language on Social Media.
If you ever want to get in with a kid or family friendly network, your social media needs to be squeaky clean. Because if one parent sees that you post something inappropriate you can be in big trouble.”
Of course you can remove controversial content you posted after that wild night out, but when you need to do that, it’s usually too late. Know that it can take up to 90 days for deleted content to be removed from the system.
FRIENDS OR COLLEAGUES
Now, is it safe and okay to befriend fellow-voice talent on Facebook? As a popular blogger, many people want to be my Facebook friend, and that’s very flattering. If you’re one of those people, you’ve probably received the following message:
“Thank you for your friend request. I’m honored! This is my personal Facebook Profile which I’ve reserved for close friends and family members. It helps me separate my personal from my professional life.
If you’re interested in my work as a voice-over, and in developments in that field, please like my professional Page: https://www.facebook.com/nethervoice. That’s the best way to stay in touch with me. Thanks for understanding!”
In the beginning I thought people would hate me for blowing them off, but you know what the most common response to this message is?
“That makes so much sense. I should really do that too.”
But when I check in on a colleague a few weeks later, she is still promoting her business on a Facebook Profile, together with pictures of her cats, a couple of bible verses, and some crazy pop quizzes about celebrities and sex.
Very professional, indeed!
WHAT’S A FRIEND ANYWAY
Sociologists have said lots of things about the way Facebook has hollowed out the notion of (online) friendship.
Yes, some of my Facebook friends happen to be colleagues, but not all colleagues are my friends. It takes a certain level of intimacy and bonding before I let people into that select circle. Most people who want to be friends, want to connect with me professionally anyway, so why bother them with pet pictures, or photos from lunch at the local eatery? That’s why I send them to my business Page.
Sometimes, colleagues become contractors when they hire me for a job, making them my clients. That’s another reason to point them to my professional Page. Making this distinction has another advantage. Because I have fewer friends, it’s now easier to keep track of the lives of people I feel closer to, and Facebook is less of a time suck.
Once your business Page is set up, and you have at least 25 fans (or Likes), you should get a vanity URL. For instance, my Page is https://www.facebook.com/nethervoice/. This will make it much easier to find your page for those doing an internet search. Be sure your 180 x 180 pixel profile picture, and 828 x 315 pixel cover photo (the most important visual aspects of your Page), look good, and reflect your brand.
Last summer Facebook rolled out a new ad-free business layout, making it possible to add more prominent Calls to Action buttons to your Page. The seven calls to action available are: Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, and Watch Video. Try my Contact Us Call to Action button, and see what happens.
A business Page also gives you an idea how your audience is responding, and how your Page is performing through Page Insights. Insights tell you which posts have the most engagement (videos and images rule!), and when your audience is on Facebook. You can use that information to increase traffic by creating content people respond to, and post it at strategic times. Jennifer Beese wrote an excellent article about Page Insights for Sprout Social.
Boosting posts is another way to increase your reach. You can boost a post when you create it, or after it’s been published. Simply click the Boost Post button, and you’ll be presented with some options. This is not a free service, by the way. The budget field allows you to select the amount you want to spend, or enter your own.
My more senior coaching students will often ask me:
“Do I really need to be on Facebook? Isn’t it all a big waste of time?”
Facebook is too big to ignore. It’s the largest and most popular social network in the world, with over a billion and a half monthly active users, and over a billion daily active users. If Facebook were a country, it would be substantially bigger than China (source), and it continues to grow by 18% per year. According to Pew Research, 79% of internet users are on Facebook, and Forbes estimates that fifty million businesses are now using Facebook Pages.
In other words: this is a huge opportunity, because most of your (potential) customers are already using Facebook. If you were to pick one social media site for your marketing, skip Twitter and Instagram, and choose Facebook.
But please, do yourself a favor, and create a Page for your business today!
For many voice-overs, the 2019 edition of VO Atlanta was unforgettable. The cameraderie, the learning opportunities, the emotions, it was all a bit overwhelming.
But, life goes on, and memories start to fade. There are new gatherings to go to, new projects to voice, and new memories to be made.
Thinking back to my time at VO Atlanta 2019, it was the year I had to stay under the radar. Still recovering from a stroke, I needed to keep away from the crowds and preserve energy for my presentations.
Still, I managed to take a few snapshots here and there, and I filed those photos away until I found them again the other day.
Watching the slideshow you’re about to see brought back many precious moments. Whether you were at VO Atlanta, or you’re thinking of going in 2020, I’m sure you’ll recognize some familiar faces. A big thank you to Jon Ciano for taking the pictures of my Stinky Sock Breakout Session.
Be sure to watch the photos on full-screen in HD.
VO Atlanta 2020 will be held from March 26-29. The theme is “Envision.” If you can’t wait that long, sign up for the Summer Intensive, a training weekend with Kay Bess, Joe Cipriano, and Cliff Zellman. Dates: August 16 – 17.
No matter how much you love your job as a voice-over, there are always aspects of your work you don’t care for, or would rather have someone else do.
I, for instance, am not a numbers man, and I’m glad my office manager is keeping the books for my business. Very few colleagues I talk to enjoy doing the unglamorous paperwork that is part and parcel of running a professional service. Yet, it needs to be done.
But if there’s one thing many voice-overs are very uncomfortable with, it is this: selling themselves. They’d rather spend hours in a dark booth recording an obscure historic novel, than having to talk a client into hiring them.
If you’re experienced enough to have a couple of agents, they will do the talking for you. Quite often though, a potential client will approach you directly because they’ve been on your website. In that case you have to do the negotiations yourself. Inevitably, you have to answer the following client questions:
1. Why should I hire a professional voice?
2. Why should I pay that much money, if all you’re going to do is talk?
In the end there are three ways to answer these questions. You can highlight the benefits of what you have to offer, or you can tell some horror stories of clients who went with a cheap, unprofessional voice… or you can use a combination of positives and negatives.
Now, for some clients that’s not enough. Maybe they’re new at hiring a VO, and they simply can’t imagine what effect a bad voice-over could have on a good script. Those people need to see, in order to believe.
One guy started talking to me about text-to-speech software, and how advanced things were getting in that area. His boss had suggested he buy some software, and use it for the next video, instead of a real voice. The TTS-software would pay for itself in no time, he told me.
“Well,” I said, “I’m not sure your company could afford the kind of artificial voices that are developed and used by Google or Apple. But let me send you a link to a video that was uploaded not so long ago. This is an affordable product you could buy right now. Take a look, and let me know if this is what you had in mind?” Here it is:
Some things just speak for themselves, don’t they? A few weeks later I spoke to a Head of Internal Training who wanted to “explore his options.” He was producing a tutorial, and he said:
“I’ll be honest with you. Keith from IT has a decent voice, and he said he’s willing to put this thing together for a six-pack and a pizza. That would save me a lot of money. Give me one reason why I should hire you.”
“I’d be happy to,” I said, and I sent him this educational YouTube masterpiece:
Let me share one of my other favorite tutorials. It’s not a corporate presentation, but if you’re interested in baking banana bread, this is a must-see (but you might want to turn the volume up a bit…).
Are you hungry yet? Don’t be fooled though. This is a so-called ASMR video (autonomous sensory meridian response) and there are currently about 5.2 million ASMR videos on YouTube. It’s the biggest YouTube trend you’ve never heard of.
The most popular tutorials on YouTube have to be the ones of girls teaching you how to put on make-up. Why do I bring this up? A year or so ago I was approached by a cosmetics brand. Their creative team was coming up with a new campaign, and they had two directions they wanted to explore. One was a more sophisticated approach for which they had my voice and accent in mind.
“The other idea,” said the account manager, “is to let real people tell their story. After all, that’s what our clients can relate to. We want someone who sounds like the friend they never knew they always wanted. Someone who can demonstrate our product, rather than sell it in a commercial.”
“Do you mean someone like this?” I asked? (and you might want to turn your volume down again…)
Most potential clients I talk to aren’t the creative types. They’ve already decided they want to hire me based on my demos, but they want me to give them my “best price.” That’s client speak for: “I think your rates are ridiculous, so let’s see how desperate you are.”
Last week I had a very interesting experience. A woman I was talking to about a voice-over project did something crazy.
She used the F-word!
We were talking about what I would charge, and all of a sudden she said: “But what about all these guys on Fiverr?”
“What about them?” I asked.
“Well,” she continued, “if I were to go with one of them I’d pay a lot less. In the end it’s all about the bottom line, you know.”
“Listen,” I said. “This video you’re putting together is going to be on the world wide web forever, and I hope thousands and thousands of people are going to watch it. For many, this is how they will learn about what your family business has to offer.
In most cases, you’ll get one chance to make your pitch. One chance. People have become extremely critical and impatient. If they don’t like what they see and what they hear, they’ll have millions of other things to watch. So, it’s up to you how you want to present the company your grandfather built. If your video looks unprofessional or sounds unprofessional, your company looks unprofessional.
Do you honestly want to put the reputation of your business in the mouth of this Fiverr guy?”
I think she got the point. Now, let me be clear.
This blog post is not about bashing people who are trying to make a few bucks with a dynamic microphone, or who want to share their knowledge, passion, and whispery voice with the online community. I used the above examples to provide some perspective, and because these videos are in the public domain.
One thing I’m sure you’ve picked up on, is that voice-over narration is very different from giving a running commentary of whatever you’re doing, using the cheapest device in the house. It’s not as easy as it seems, and it’s not true that anyone can do it.
The difference between a pro and an amateur is this: a pro makes it seem easy and effortless. Amateurs are often hard to understand, and clumsy. Their presentation distracts from the message. A professional voice allows the viewer or listener to focus on the message.
This blog post started as a story about selling, so let’s get back to that.
Some clients are sold on benefits. They need to know what good things will happen when they hire you. Other clients are motivated by fear. They want to avoid disaster. Sometimes it really helps to give those people a flavor of what’s in store for them, should they go cheap. My message to them is this:
Cheap is always more expensive.
Some things in life are just too important to leave to hobbyists or stupid software.
If you need a builder, a car mechanic, or an electrician, would you go to someone who charges five dollars for his or her service?
Would you pick your OB/GYN based on whomever has the lowest rate?
Would you want to get your teeth fixed by an amateur dentist?
Then why on earth would you trust a Bottom Dollar voice talent with your promotional message? Why would you allow a babbling dabbler to take a shot at your training course that took a fortune to develop? Do you want your employees to be distracted by Keith from IT, or do you want them to actually retain some information?
And to the creators of the Text to Speech video, the software tutorial, the banana bread lady, the make-up girl, and Mr. Fiverr I want to say this:
I’m not going to take away your right to post anything on YouTube you believe is worthwhile watching. But honestly:
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