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The Favorite Gig of My Career

                                    I’ve been in the talent business for over 25 years now and have thousands of jobs to my credit, but when I was recently asked “what was your favorite job of your career,” the answer was easy.  In 2005, I worked on a campaign for the Franciscan Skemp Health System in LaCrosse, WI.  Franciscan Skemp had recently sold 49% of its ownership to Mayo Clinic (who today owns them outright), and wanted to promote the fact that many of their specialists were also...
POSTED ON: May 16, 2016     CATEGORIES: Blog

My New Automotive Retail VO Demo

Tom Test New Automotive Retail VO Demo     In the 1990’s, I did some monthly VO for a local car dealer. It was all very hard sell stuff – “club ‘em over the head and grab their wallets” is how I described it. It was sort of a guilty pleasure for me to do that style of work and I was very good at it.   But then one day, another regular retail client of mine (a sporting goods chain) dropped me as his voice. He had heard my hard sell auto dealer work on the local AM news radio station and told me “I don’t want my client being associated with that sort of thing.” My work for his client was so...
POSTED ON: June 6, 2013     CATEGORIES: Blog, Demo

Revamped TomTest.com Now Features VoiceZam and Video

I’ve just completed some major changes on www.tomtest.com that I am very excited about.   First, I have decided to replace my “Featured Clients” graphic (with logos of my most famous clients) with a space to play featured videos that I have narrated. For quite some time I’ve been intrigued by the advantages of using video to show off my voice-over skill. I’ve read that most talent seekers who will come to a VO talent’s site are very likely to watch at least part of any video footage, even if only out of curiosity. I think that, quite simply, hearing a voice that is attached to interesting visual elements makes a deeper...
POSTED ON: February 25, 2013     CATEGORIES: Blog

Getting More Political Voice Work

With the Citizens United ruling, the floodgates have opened to even more spending on political campaigns. Whether or not this is good news for our democracy… it sure can be good news for voice talent! I did a fair amount of VO for campaigns across the country in the 2010 midterm elections – candidates in MI, CA, OH, SD, OR among others – and my biggest goal for 2012 is to get a lot more of this type of work.   Political voice-over work is a different animal from the usual radio/TV and corporate work that is always available. It is mostly seasonal, happening every two years (except for special elections). Also, I’ve come to...
POSTED ON: March 21, 2012     CATEGORIES: Blog

Armin Heirstetter interview, Part 2

Getting More Voice-over Work in Europe: Interview with Armin Hierstetter of Bodalgo.com, Part Two   TT: How can we tailor our demos to suit the needs and tastes of European talent buyers? Most American narration voice-over demos from the major markets (LA/NYC/Chicago) are about 60 seconds, have 4-8 clips of 6-12 seconds length each, usually with sophisticated music tracks and production values. Is this what your talent buyers need and want?   AH: Talking about non-custom demos I have one word for you: KISS. Keep It Short and Simple. In an ideal world you’d have a set of standard demos for different types of jobs, for...
POSTED ON: November 23, 2011     CATEGORIES: Blog

Getting More Voice-over Work in Europe – interview with Armin Hierstetter, Pt 1

At the recent FaffCon 3 “unconference” (Sept. 23-25 in Hershey, PA), I was spontaneously moved to lead a discussion on “How American Talent Can Find More Work Internationally.” It is not a topic I am an expert on, but there was enough collective wisdom in the room that a great deal of useful information was shared. It became apparent that there are real differences in business customs, etiquette, etc., between the U.S. market and global markets.   Hungry for more information, I realized that the perfect person to give advice on this issue was Armin Hierstetter, owner of bodalgo.com. This is a European P2P online voice over...
POSTED ON: October 27, 2011     CATEGORIES: Blog

FaffCon 3: the Voice-Over “Un-Conference”

This weekend, I attended the voice-over “unconference,” FaffCon 3 in Harrisburg, PA, along with 100 other professional voice talents from the US and Canada, plus Scotland, Tokyo, and Australia. Now, if you look at the dates of my blog posts you will notice that I haven’t posted since April. Honestly I have been very busy with work (I’m not complaining). FaffCon 3 was just what I needed to get myself “unstuck.” It was THE best thing I have done to improve my business in years.   An “unconference” is a relatively new concept. Rather than having paid guest speakers (who usually have a book and DVD set to hawk…),...
POSTED ON: September 28, 2011     CATEGORIES: Blog

Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt

Part of the stereotype of the actor is that they tend to have fragile egos. I like to think that I have a healthier ego than that stereotype, as a result of being a pretty secure person who is well-loved by his family and friends. Yeah, if you saw my collection of 750+ airplane models, you might conclude a mild case of OCD – and I wouldn’t argue – but I’m not a neurotic, narcissistic drama queen either. So I surprised myself when I recently had my own mini-crisis of fear and doubt.   It happened last week, when I started recording VO tracks for my new narrations demo. This major project is the last duck I need to get in a...
POSTED ON: April 5, 2011     CATEGORIES: Blog

Recording VO while on “vacation”

Last month I took a much-needed out-of-state family vacation. My wife also freelances, so we don’t get paid vacations, and it’s very difficult to take time off. And of course, whenever I do go away, I miss out on the jobs I would have had the week that I am gone – AND – I can’t audition while I’m away, so things are slow the week after I return. It’s a Double Whammy.   Or… it *used* to be. You see, with the advent of excellent quality portable gear, I can now take my studio on the road with me. I use a little 10-inch screen Acer netbook (don’t need much processing power for audio editing), a MicPort Pro (a tiny...
POSTED ON: March 18, 2011     CATEGORIES: Blog

Working on Long-Form Narration Projects

I’ve been extremely busy lately, working on three large long-form narration projects. One is Project Management training for a large construction firm, another is materials to help prepare students for college and their post-graduation job search, and the newest project is narrating World Book Encyclopedia materials for web use.   One of the cool things about doing narration projects like these is how much I learn about a huge variety of industries and occupations.  I’ve learned a lot about ladder safety, accounting, how large contractors do business, even how to spot all types of insurance fraud.  After doing this for 20...
POSTED ON: March 4, 2011     CATEGORIES: Blog, Voice-over
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