DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #32: Remember What Matters

Feel Free To Listen:
Typically whenever I do an audioblog entry it’s written out ahead of time and then I read off of that script. But as a gesture of sincerity towards the words that I’m about to say, this time around I just decided to speak first and then transcribe later for those who prefer to read.

The reason there won’t be a regular audioblog entry this week is because I don’t feel that me talking about VO-related matters, in light of what happened with the “Dark Knight Rises” incident would be appropriate, basically. But for however little my words mean, there is something that I’d like to say to anybody who follows me on a regular basis, and that’d be this:

Remember what matters in life.

Somebody once told me that, “You can’t do VO for money, ’cause you’ll never be happy. The only way you’re truly gonna be happy is if you find personal happiness in the experiences you share with your loved ones.”

So take a moment to think about that, is all I’ll say. Think about the people who are important in your life. If they’re friends, give them a call and ask to hang out for a bit. If they’re family members, take an opportunity to give them a call this weekend and tell them you love them. Or, better yet, if you can reach out to them in person, give them a big hug and tell them you love them. ‘Cause when you really get down to it I do believe that it’s the people in your life that matter the most.

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DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #27: Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

LOVE YA, DAD!

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Among the people who get automatic email notification for whenever I post a new audioblog entry, my mother is one of them…but since I already wrote an audioblog entry for my mother on Mother’s Day, it only makes sense that I’d make one for my father on Father’s Day! Like before, there will undoubtedly be some people who cringe or roll their eyes at the fact that I’m using my audioblog for “mushy stuff”…and like before, I will say to those people…too bad, it’s my blog!

For those who don’t know, my name is actually Dave Wallace Jr. Dave Wallace Sr. is a brilliant man, and while I don’t think I inherited my dad’s brain power, I like to believe I inherited his determination (which is a nicer word for “stubbornness,” as I inherited that from him too). To put it lightly, he’s good at what he does, and if I can turn into just as successful a voice actor as he is a lawyer, that’ll be quite the feat…but it’s for his compassion that I am most proud to be his son. I’m not the best at returning phone calls, but that has never stopped him from calling me all the time to ask how I’m doing, and I’m grateful for every single time.

So Dad, I’m not sure whether you’ll read this first or see me first come Sunday morning–well, I suppose “today” might be the more appropriate word, but I’m recording this in advance–but either way…I love you!

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #26: Why I’m Not Adventurous…no, I mean why I stick to my specialties in VO. What did you think I meant?

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The guy featured in the opening clip is an enormously talented (as in he makes seven figures) VO talent by the name of Ben Patrick Johnson. He most certainly does have a great voice, and his talent is enough to justify the money he makes (and, by all accounts, he’s a really nice guy). Here’s the thing, though…this particular audioblog entry is about why I’m not really intimidated by him, nor am I worried about him–because we’re not competing for the same jobs.

The five words that are probably some of the most harmful words to people entering the VO business (or, at the very least, those who are thinkin’ about it) are, “You have a great voice.” I’ve said it many times, and people who have been doing it for much longer than I have said it even more times: it takes much more than a great voice to succeed in this business. So I was inspired to write this audioblog entry when someone was nice enough to give me that “great voice” compliment some time ago after visiting my website and looking at some of the projects I’ve done. My response? “Well, I’m glad you think so, but honestly, I only have a good voice–at best–for the things they use my voice for.”

What do I mean by that? I mean that I only get hired for jobs where my voice and acting ability can add something to a particular VO project–be it credibility, youth, reassurance, excitement, sincerity, what have you. Knowing what your vocal specialty is in this business is a necessity if you intend to compete. For me, that’s the “young, hip, cool” sound. Whenever I get an audition that requests a “deep, gritty, movie trailer voice”…than I won’t even audition for it. ‘Cause that just ain’t my voice (or, to use the metaphor recently employed by my online VO buddy Derek Chappell, it ain’t my make and model). Unless, of course, the client is intentionally looking for a humorously fakey-sounding parody of the typical movie trailer voice style perfected by the late Don LaFontaine, Hal Douglas, and Ben Patrick Johnson…but they usually aren’t.

Weird thing, though…in many ways, this goes against what I was taught in high school and in college, where I was educated in acting. There, they emphasized versatility above all else. They emphasized the ability to adapt to any character whatsoever…anything from a neurotic teenager to a grizzly old man. They wanted you to get inside the character’s head, no matter who the character was. Whether or not you’d realistically be cast in this role in a real-life situation was irrelevant.

As well-intentioned as that may have been (hey, education is about allowing someone to flex their creative muscles and think outside the box), there’s a bit of a disconnect between the art of acting and the business of acting. In the art of acting, we’re supposed to be as versatile an actor as possible so that we can take on as many roles as possible. In the business of acting, though, the most successful actors are the ones who can market themselves effectively by telling all potential clients, “Hey–here’s how you can use me.” Casting nowadays–not just in VO, but in all forms of acting–is typecasting. “Typecasting” used to be an evil word that meant the end of an actor’s career, but now it’s simply a wise business practice.

Discouraged that you can’t do whatever you want in VO? Don’t be. The good thing about this is that I don’t have to worry about the deep-voiced movie trailer guys. Why? Because, as enormously talented as these guys are, their voices sound nothing like mine, and are so far separated from mine that I don’t have to wonder if I’m losing jobs to them. I’m not. The jobs that they’re getting are jobs that I never had any chance of getting, because my specialty is different than theirs. Similarly, they’re not getting jobs that demand voices of the “young, hip, cool” variety. VO is competitive, sure, but you’re never competing against everyone.

VO is a tough job, but there’s one universal benefit–it requires a lot of introspection about what your talents are. Remember, you are enough! Don LaFontaine once said, “The best voice actors I know are the voice actors who understand their relationship with words.” So really, I know that few people talk this way, but if you really want to compliment a voice actor, the best thing you can possibly say is not, “You have a great voice”…but rather, “You really know how to use your voice.”

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #24: Why I’m Confused…no, I mean why I’m confused on how personal I should make my audioblog entries. What did you think I meant?

C’mon…that’s not how it works.

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When I set first set out to make a bog late last year, I asked the VO community for advice on what makes a good blog. The most interesting thing, to me, was how consistently I received two particular pieces of advice that were completely contradictory! The first one was, “Personalize your blog, so you can make sure it’s unique.” The other piece of advice was, “Don’t talk about yourself.”

…Umm…wait, what? Am I, like, the only one who was confused when I read that?

And I friggin’ heard it over and over again, too!

“Make sure that your blog is unique to you.”

“Don’t talk about yourself.”

“Personalize your blog.”

“Don’t write ‘ME-ME-ME’ Stories, no one will read them.”

“The best voice actors are the voice actors who let their unique experiences and relationship with words guide the delivery of their copy, and it’s the same thing with a blog.”

“Nobody cares about your personal trials and tribulations, they’ve got their own to worry about, especially since it’s mostly other VO talent who will read it.”

“Only by making your blog personal can you make it stand out among the cluttered blogosphere.”

“Don’t talk about yourself, that’s just advertising.”

The best conclusion I could come to was that good blogs were blogs where the authors kept their personal experiences brief, and then used them to talk about a larger point that was relevant to the VO community at large. So there were personal experiences, sure, but they were usually summed up in a sentence or two before moving on to talk about the bigger picture. For that reason, there is a line that divides blogging and advertising, but it’s pretty razor-thin if you think about it.

For example, here’s something I’ve been really conflicted about. Recently, I got a new website and a spiffy new logo created for me, and–

Wai-wai-wait, hold on, hold on! I’m getting to a broader point, I promise!

Anyway. I was thinking about writing an audioblog entry about the process behind its conception, and why I like my new website so much. The idea, of course, being that I would be starting a conversation about the larger, broader topic of what I think makes a good website (unique design, downloadable demos, easily-accessed contact info, stuff like that). The thing is, every time I sat down to write that entry, I kept thinking to myself, “Hold on…am I advertising? I don’t mean to…how do I make that last sentence sound more helpful and less like the copy for an infomercial…?”

There are a few audioblog entries that I simply never went through with for that exact reason. They just sat in my draft folder, and never saw the light of day. I started from scratch, because I couldn’t help but think, “Hold on…of what use is this to someone else? Not much at all, really.”

I set out, long ago, to divide my blog and my website as distinctly as I possibly could with regard to its goals. I’m not saying I don’t advertise myself. I have to. Go to my website, or my Facebook page (page, not profile), my Tumblr account, or a couple other social media profiles that aren’t particularly conversation-centered…and you’ll find that I advertise the living hell out of myself. Like I said, we have to, it’s the nature of our business. If no one is aware we exist, we can’t expect to get work. My goal, though, was to make sure, to the extent that I could, that my blog would be an open conversation, for anyone, on all things VO. My audience, after all, is mostly other VO talent. I’d have to imagine that if I just turned my blog into a long rant about myself, that the immediate reaction’s just gonna be, “Uh-huh, that’s nice Dave, we don’t care.”

So, for however little it’s worth, here are a few ways I tried to make my blog personal without turning it into a glorified ad.

1) Keep your personal experiences brief. A sentence or two, but a paragraph at the most. One of my earliest blog entries, entry #4, was an entry in which I talked about why I got into acting–namely, because I’m autistic, and wanted to get to understand people better. Personal, sure, but not very relevant to the vast majority of my other readers. Not surprisingly, it’s one of my least shared entries.

2) Add a (somewhat) unique feature to it. For me, that was the narration feature. I figured, I’m in voice-over, so it only makes sense for me to narrate my own entries, right? I figured it would give a personal touch. Sure, many people won’t listen and would prefer just to read, but the narration feature is there if they want it.

3) Add a blogroll, or a list of other blogs people can check out. It’s a nice little way of sayin’, “Hey, I’m not the center of the universe.”

4) Link to other social media in general. I post my audioblog entries in a number of forums on Linkedin, and whenever I find that good discussion has arisen on a particular thread, I go back and edit my audioblog entries to include links to those discussion threads. I think other people bring up great points about my entries and further the discussion to the point where I want future readers to know about it.

5) Acknowledge that it’s partially impossible. My website is for advertising, and my blog is for discussion, and I try to keep the two separate…but there’s no denying that my blog will help me a little bit on the advertising end. Each blog entry makes me a tad more Google-friendly (something we ALL want, let’s be honest), and while I don’t claim myself to be a VO superstar by any means, it did help my internet presence–more people knew who I was after I started blogging than before.

I guess a funny way to end this entry would be a sentence with some sort of “wink-wink” humor to the effect of, “So remember, make your posts relevant, and don’t advertise yourself…like placing videos to projects you did, such as this one I recently completed for Miken Accu-Flex 2.0 hockey sticks.” However, I’m not going to do that. I would never, ever, EVER post videos of VO projects I recently completed below this paragraph.

Okay, sorry, now I backed myself into an uncomfortable position where I have to post the video to make the joke work–you don’t have to watch it, go ahead and ignore it if you want!

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #23: Why Nobody Wants To Listen To Me…no, I mean why sometimes it’s important to keep our egos in check. What did you think I meant?

It’s great to have pride in your job…just remember what your job is.

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Times are tough in this economy. So, in an attempt to keep our business strong, I think many of us, as a natural reaction, have come to uphold VO as a sacred art. An irreplaceable one. One that only we can do! One in which we, as sacred keepers of our god-like voices, stand atop Mt. Olympus and declare to the heavens, “GOD, I ROCK!!!” So imagine how much of a reality check it was when a respected colleague of mine posted this in one of my favorite forums (voice-overs.com–I highly recommend it!). By all means, go check it out for yourself, but here’s the most important part of it: he quoted another (successful) voice actor who said, “I think some people are taking our jobs waaaay too seriously. We say words for money. That’s it. And we should be grateful we were given nice voices and the ability to learn how to act.”

Ho. Ly. CRAP. Considering all the talk about the “infestation of newbies,” the “rates crisis,” and the “devaluing of VO services” that takes place today, this was a very brave thing of them to say…and, in my opinion, so desperately needed!

I love what I do. At the same time, I feel like it’s important to be realistic about what my job is really worth. I think it’s important to take criticism, to laugh at myself, and to keep my real-life priorities in check. Heresy, I know, but it’s a heresy that we all need to take to heart a bit.

Think about it. Sure, as VO talent, for the sake of our business, we want as much exposure as we can get. We all want that national spot for McDonald’s. We all want to dethrone Robert Downey Jr. as the voice of Nissan. We all want to be recognized as serious, competent VO talent so that we can command a respectable business. Because if we command a respectable business, we command respect, right?

Nope. C’mon, guys. Most people don’t want to listen to us…and “us” includes Robert Downey Jr., for that matter–most of the people I talk to have no idea that he does the Nissan commercials! The average person doesn’t watch TV for advertisements, they watch it for their favorite TV shows. In fact, I don’t think it would be such a stretch for me to say that there are people out there who hate ads. Think of it this way. Y’know when you’re watching a YouTube video with a lot of hits, and an ad pops up, and the “Skip To Video” button becomes available after five seconds? How many of you just have your cursor hovering over that skip button, rapidly clicking, just begging to get to your video and not caring at all about whatever ad is being shoved in your face?

Yup. That’s what I thought!

For that matter, businesses are catching on to the fact that people don’t like ads…most notably, DVR makers. According to an article* in the Wall Street Journal by Shalini Ramachandran, Dish Network unveiled a new DVR feature back in March that’s slowly gaining more prominence called “Auto Hop” which allows watchers to automatically skip the ads of their recorded programs. Apparently, some networks aren’t too happy about this.

To be fair, clearly advertising on TV has some value, or else it wouldn’t cost anything. By “some,” I mean that the same article noted that CBS brings in $4.9 billion in advertising revenue from “Two and a Half Men”‘s time slot alone. NBC brings in $4.7 billion from ads that air during “Smash,” ABC brings in $3.9 billion from ads that air during “Modern Family,” and Fox gets a nice $3.1 billion from ads that air during “American Idol.” So, yeah, not exactly chump change. Still, the fact that there’s a demand for something like Auto-Hop is proof enough of what our job is in the grand scheme of things: we speak words for money.

Sure, there’s acting involved. Sure, it’s more difficult than it looks (well, sounds). Sure, one has to make sure they can do the best job they can do with their audio equipment and their recording environment. Sure, it takes a consistent marketing effort. Sure, not everyone can do this. Sure, being successful at this business–at any business–involves taking ourselves seriously to a degree. I won’t ever say, argue, or imply that this is a skill-less, thankless, meaningless job. It most certainly isn’t! My point, and the point of the person quoted above, is merely that there is such a thing as taking one’s job too seriously sometimes. Remember, we speak words for money. Words that, even when spoken by Iron Man, people generally aren’t interested in hearing.

PS: Sorry for plugging them again, but…well, actually, no, I’m not sorry. 😀 The voice-overs.com forum, which I linked to early in the entry, is a forum that everybody should sign up for and join. It was immensely helpful for me, and unlike other forums, egos are checked at the door there!

*Source: “Zap! New DVR Wipes Out Ads” by Shalini Ramachandran, Wall Street Journal, May 11.

Some great discussion about this topic took place at…

1. The “Voice-Over Professionals” Linkedin Group

2. The “Voice-Over Vision” Linkedin Group

3. The “Working Voice Actor” Linkedin Group

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #22: Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

I’m talented at certain things. Photoshop isn’t one of ’em.

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Among the people who get automatic email notification for whenever I post a new audioblog entry, my mother is one of them…so I figured, Mom, that this might be a good thing for you to wake up to! Undoubtedly there will be some people who cringe or roll their eyes at the fact that I’m using my audioblog for “mushy stuff.” To those people, I will simply say this: too bad, it’s my blog!

Nothing voice acting-related will be found in this particular entry. Well, kinda. Other than my public proclamation that, as moronic of me as it was to decide to pursue voice acting (half-joking…I’m referencing an earlier audioblog entry), a career with very little in the way of job security, my mother always been one of my biggest supporters. I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly hope that you have a mother who has been as supportive as mine has. As time goes on, I have come to realize just how much my parents want me to be happy and to succeed–

–On that note, thanks Dad, I love you so much too, I’m just making this one to Mom seeing as it’s Mother’s Day. :)–

–and I could not be more grateful. So Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #20: Why I’m Uneducated…no, I mean why I feel it was absurd that I was never taught voice-over in an academic setting. What did you think I meant?

Okay, not entirely accurate, but that’s how I envisioned myself when I found out that colleges don’t teach voice acting.

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As a relatively recent college graduate, I can tell you that there were certain things I wish I had learned in college that I never did. Not because I didn’t pursue them, but because the opportunity just wasn’t available. I have a degree in theater, and I concentrated on acting. I was taught stage acting, mask acting, and camera acting…but never, at any point, was I taught voice acting. Whatever I know now, I had to pick up on my own (well, and with some coaches). So imagine the reaction I had when I found out that, apparently, some obscure college that no one’s ever heard of called “Yale,” does indeed have a VO class!

Here’s how I found out. In surfin’ around a few Linkedin forums, Jake Foushee, the kid who I mentioned in Entry #19, was brought up. I screwed up the pronunciation of his last name in that entry, but I can no longer permit myself to do that ’cause…Jake now has agency representation through Abrams Creative Artists! So it sounds like we’re gonna be hearing this guy a lot more! Still, he’s been quite the talk of a few VO forums, and in one of those forums, one voice-over talent expressed some concern that he’ll be competing against other VO talent who have much more experience and training than he does. Then, one of the replies said…

“…As a professor who teaches voiceovers at Yale, I can assure you that Jake will have the proper training and mentoring.”

However, that’s how the rest of the world read that sentence. Here’s how I read that sentence:

“…As a professor who teaches voiceovers at Yale–”

*sound of record scratching*

“WHAT!? They TEACH voice-overs? AT FREAKIN’ YALE!? I CANNOT BELIEVE–”

I then proceeded to rant, but it lasted for three hours, twelve minutes, and forty-six seconds so I’ll stop there. To summarize the rant, I was just cursing the fact that a college actually teaches VO!

To me, it’s something that no longer has an excuse not to be taught in an academic setting! I knew I wanted to get into voice acting when I was 12, so I remember back when I was 17 and looking at colleges, their acting curriculum was top of mind for me. Most had a good theater acting program, some even had a TV/camera acting program, but VO? Whenever I said, “Well, I really wanna do voice acting, do you guys have anything like that here?” The only response I would ever get back was, “Um…I mean, like, we have a campus radio station. Is that…is that what you meant, or…?”

Fast-forward a few years, the situation evolved to the point where I ended up teaching a one-day VO class. I don’t exactly mean that in a good way, though. Y’see, back when I was in the OSU theater department, it was mentioned by somebody that I did voice-overs. I’m not one to gossip, but many actors generally are, so the word quickly spread. For the next year, whenever I introduced myself to a fellow student at the theater department as “Dave Wallace,” their next immediate response would be, “Oh wai–I’ve heard of you, you’re the, the voice-over guy, right?” To which I would always respond, “Well I wouldn’t exactly put that as my legal name on my tax returns, but I do voice-overs, yes.” So eventually, I get hit with this bombshell from one of my acting professors–

“Would you mind making a one-day presentation to the class on voice-overs?”

Don’t get me wrong, it was nice of my professor to ask me that, but I was very reluctant to do that. I said to her…

“Well, I mean…y’know, I’ll be happy to do that, but I don’t know that I’m the best guy for the job. I’m not a newbie by any means, but I’m not exactly a veteran, either. My experience just isn’t up to the level that I would consider ‘professor-like.’ We’ve got some acting professors here who have been doing acting for decades and hell, we’re OSU–we’re THE biggest college in the U.S.! Isn’t there somebody here who’s more knowledgeable than I am?”

Their immediate reply was, “Nope.” So I, a kid who, at the time, had only been doing VO for three years, gave as best a lecture I could about VO. I tried to cover all that I could–the importance of acting ability, having a brand, knowing how to run a small business, utilizing various marketing methods, where to go to get one’s demo done…I answered any questions I could.

As glad as I was to help out, though…the academic world deserves better than me.

The now-common nature of home studios, combined with the fact that I’m one of the closest things that a major university had to someone knowledgeable in VO, is all the evidence we need that VO has to have an academic presence. Why are there not more professors teaching VO? Why aren’t colleges setting up a cheap booth with a USB mic just to give students a feel for how their voice sounds on a microphone? Why aren’t field trips being arranged to VO recording studios? Why are colleges giving prospective students blank stares when they ask to learn about a rapidly-growing medium of acting? I can’t think of good answers to these questions, so the excuses are up as far as I’m concerned!

So congrats to that one professor I saw who’s teaching VO at Yale. He’s teaching something that, as a kid, I wanted to learn so, so, so badly!

Some great discussion took place on this topic at…

1) The “Voice-Over Professionals” Linkedin Group

2) The “Working Voice Actor” Linkedin Group

3) The “SaVoa” Linkedin Group

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #18: Why I Shu–actually, you know what, screw it, I’m just gonna get to the point

Seriously, get to the point!

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You only have so much time to read or listen to my audioblog. Especially if you have other emails to answer, other auditions to do, live in a busy market, have other projects to edit…you gut stuff to do. I get it. However, over the weekend, I was reminded of just how busy our world is, and I was grateful for the reminder.

Over the past weekend, I had the pleasure of corresponding with a family friend, an actor who lives in Los Angeles and has lived there for quite some time. I’m moving there (late this year or early next year, there are a few x factors involved), and he was extremely kind and generous with all of the info that he provided. It started out with an in-person meeting, progressed to some back-and-forth emails, and culminated in a phone call. In my opinion, though, the most interesting part of the whole conversation I had with him on the phone was towards the end. He said…

“Also, Dave, just one last quick thing…the emails that you sent me…they were long. Really, REALLY long. I totally get it, ’cause I’m the same way, I love to include as many details as I can to give people a complete understanding of the situation, so I don’t mind it personally, but…send those emails to the average person in LA, and you will overwhelm them. The acting business in LA operates on a lightning-fast business model, so you need to get to the point and quick. I’m not saying you should change who you are, or anything like that, I’m just telling you that, in LA…you got to get to the point, and quick, because on their best days, the main bullet points are all the people in LA have time for. Often they don’t even have time for those. Less is more.”

Okay, sorry for puttin’ that cheesy reverb effect on the “less is more” bit, but I did that for the sake of emphasis. “Less is more,” in case you didn’t notice, has become the defacto principle of communication. I noticed it myself even before he pointed it out, but the fact that I went ahead with super-lengthy emails despite knowing how overwhelming they can be demonstrated that this principle can be easy to forget. I’ve mentioned before that, while I’m a humble person, if you ever see me boast about one thing, it’ll be my kung-fu typing speed. That, combined with the fact that I like to talk, usually results in really lengthy emails, audioblog entries, and forum posts.

Well, the forum posts aren’t going to be shortened. Or the audioblog entries (except for this one, for the sake of thematic consistency). Emails, though? Less is more. The very fact that a social network like Twitter exists proves that people are less and less interested in long details, they just want to get to the point. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if eventually they’re just gonna create a social network where all of your posts are limited to one letter, with every letter meant to be shorthand for something. Like…

O.

Which will eventually be short-hand for, “Of course, good sir, I will gladly attend your party this evening after making the proper transportation arrangements.”

All of that to say…be polite, tell people what they want to know…but get to the point. In fact, I apologize if you listened to this, considering how busy our schedules are. As an act of repentance, if you’re listening to the audio narration of this entry, I will now speed up the speed of the audioblog entry so that you can get it in a more time-appropriate format.

FOR THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE A TON OF TIME:

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #15: Blatant Cheating

What were you expecting?

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Hey, I didn’t say this was gonna be detailed, I just said I was gonna make another audioblog entry. Here it is.

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #14: Why I Failed…no, I mean why I failed to keep my New Year’s Resolution along with other goals. What did you think I meant?

Papa John’s–AKA THE BEST PIZZA EVER, BAR NONE!!!!

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I LOVE Papa John’s pizza, which is partially why I’m eating it while I record this audioblog entry. It’s been my favorite pizza chain ever since I was in the seventh grade. Back when I was a kid and talked about maybe doing voice acting one day, the first suggestion from my family was that I do a Pappa John’s commercial (which I totally would do if the opportunity presented itself). Having said that, one could say I love Papa John’s a bit too much. It got to the point where I was eating it about five times a week. For some reason, my metabolism is such that I never gain an ounce of weight no matter what I eat, but that’s besides the point. It’s still not the healthiest thing in the world, so I made a New Year’s Resolution to only eat three a week at most…already failed. Much like most of our New Year’s Resolutions.

Some of you may be thinking, “Dave, it’s late in March, shouldn’t New Year’s Resolutions be saved for December?” Well, lest my ears deceive me, the term “year” usually encompasses 365 days. Of those 365 days, December constitutes 31 of them. This mind-boggling phenomenon ultimately leads me to conclude that when someone makes a “New Year’s Resolution,” they intend to keep it for–ahem–an entire year. To that end, I’d like to ask all my readers and listeners…c’mon now…how many of your New Year’s Resolutions have you actually kept? Or did your New Year’s Resolutions turn into a, “Minimal Effort That Lasts For A Week Or Two Before Gradually Returning To The Normal Routine” Resolution?

Hey, I’m not judging. I can tell you without hesitation that I kept some and didn’t keep some. Because I want to end on a positive note, let’s talk about the ones I didn’t keep first.

New Year’s Resolution #1: Limit yourself to three Papa John’s pizzas a week. Failed. Right out the gate.

New Year’s Resolution #2: One new blog entry a week. Already failed. I certainly don’t believe I’m indispensable to the internet’s existence, and I’m sure the world continued to operate just fine when I didn’t post one last week, but I began writing (and voicing) my audioblog late last year with a mere three posts and, while I created it and continue to maintain it with the sole intention of public reflection and discussion, the response was nice enough to encourage me to write more. That, and I’ve always had something of a passion for writing. So I thought, ya know what–GOD, this is good pizza–I thought, ya know what, I’m gonna write one a week. Last Sunday ended up being too busy, sure, but I knew it was gonna be busy, and should have planned ahead of time, like we all should when we know a particular day will be busy. And I didn’t.

New Year’s Resolution #3: Revamp my website. Eh. Half-failed. I’m entering talks with a web-designer to organize my stuff a bit more by combining my audioblog with my main site, I’m workin’ on a long-overdue video reel, and re-designing my logo. So…half-failed in that I haven’t done it yet, but I’m in the process. Still, I’m weary of phrases like “in the process,” and “workin’ on it,”…because you know as well as I do, those usually get changed to “no longer in the process,” and “not workin’ on it,” soon enough.

Okay, that’s the failed stuff. I did manage to get some stuff done, though! Well, actually, first, let me grab a drink of water. Hold on.

(after getting a drink)

Okay. What, did you think I was gonna edit that out?

(belch)

‘Scuse me.

New Year’s Resolution #4: Find more efficient ways to keep in contact with my clients. Since I’m a VO talent, I think about my VO business 24/7. When we think like that, though, we have a tendency to forget that we’re but a cog in the machine that is someone else’s business. When we get hired to do a commercial or an internet video, the client is primarily concerned with selling the content on that commercial or video. They’re not launching a manhunt for A GLOWING, DEFINITIVE VOICE…rather, they’re just listening through auditions and going, “Um….yeah, that one guy sounds good.” We’re just one step in a bigger process, so it’s easy for us to not be “top of mind” when our clients launch a new project. So there has to be a good way of keeping in touch with them and politely reminding them that we exist, right?

Yup. Enter Happy Grasshopper.

I gotta say, I love this service. You load a contact list into it which you can update at will, and twice a month, it generates three different possible emails that you can send to your clients, usually containing fun little factoids. I’ve never cared for stock messages, though (as evidenced in “Dave’s Audioblog Entry #8” ), which is why I usually change the wording of the messages and add some more stuff to put my own spin on it–and yes, you can do that with Happy Grasshopper. So, mission accomplished there!

…And, um….that’s it.

That’s not to say that I don’t have other goals, but I didn’t have other goals in the context of New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s face it guys, almost nobody follows through on these things, because it–

(swallow)

–because it’s hard to keep stuff up for a year. For that reason, I normally don’t prefer to make New Year’s Resolutions. However, I do find it helpful in accomplishing goals if there is some sort of looming pressure to accomplish  them. So, take a moment to think about the goals you set out to do, whether or not you actually did them, and what you would need to change in order to correct that.

In fact, I know what I can do! I’ll do two audioblog entries in one day, that way I can make up for the one I missed! Here’s a link to it!