The VO Meter Episode 45, Jim Kennelly and Sam Ufret of Lotas Productions
[00:00:00] The VO meter, measuring your voiceover progress. The VO Meter is brought to you by voice actor websites. Vocal booth to go, podcast demos.com global voice acting Academy, JMC demos and IPDTL
and now your host, Paul Stefano and Sean Daeley.
Paul Stefano: Hello everybody, and welcome to episode 45 of the boo meter.
Sean Daeley: Measuring your voice over progress
Paul Stefano: today is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge. We’re doing things a little bit differently. We’re going to be featuring an interview with Jim Kennelly, Sam Ufret from Lotas productions in New York city, and I met them as part of my trip to the vocation conference a couple of weeks ago, and we’re gonna talk about my experiences.
They are in play some audio from the shell, and Sean’s going to speak a little bit about his experience at vio North and play some audio from that show. So before we [00:01:00] do any of that, we to tell you about one of our sponsors. So let me tell you about podcasts. Demos. Tim’s team has produced over 1000 podcast intros for some of the biggest podcasts on the planet.
Sean Daeley: Each demo includes custom written scripts and hand-selected music, and is guaranteed to showcase your voice and talent in the best light possible. With a finger on the pulse of what podcast producers want. You can be sure your podcast demo will sound professional, current, and competitive. Now, we talked about this a lot, but Tim actually produced Paul’s in my podcast demos and all we can say is that he and his team were absolutely amazing.
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Thank you, Tim and podcast demos. All right, so as promised, we’re going to talk a little bit about our experiences at the two [00:02:00] conferences we went to over the last couple of weeks. Before I get to that, let’s talk about another one of our sponsors. So VOCA booth Diego has been, actually, they’re our first sponsor of the show, and they’ve been with us for several years now.
Vocal booth two goes patented acoustic blankets aren’t effective. Alternative to expensive soundproofing. It’s often used by vocal and voiceover professionals, engineers and studios. As an affordable soundproofing and absorption solution. We make your environment quieter for less. So I was representing this show as both a podcast correspondent, I think is what we called it, and also a was there as a guest speaker.
At vocation and YC, which took place on September 13th through the 15th on the upper West side of New York city at the Leonard Nimoy Talia symphony center. It was a small venue that’s actually a working theater. In fact, the first night I was conducting an interview with Jamie, I think it was Jimmy Muff, it was, that was one of the co organizers as well as Karen Guilford.
So I was talking to Jamie backstage and [00:03:00] this lady came up with a couple of hangers in her hand and said, where’s the the. After entrance, uh, I’m about to go on and I said, there’s no show here tonight. We’re, we’re having, uh, an event. And she said, Oh, there’s a show going on. So there was actually in the theater portion, which obviously I wasn’t aware of giving bad information, uh, an actual performance going on that night.
And we were just in the, the back part of the theater doing our, our pre party. And then. Eventually moved to the restaurant for a preregistration event of the conference. So it was kind of interesting that the, in a working theater in New York city having this event. So anyway, it was called vocation, and it was because it was all about the business of voiceover.
In fact, that was their, their tagline for the show. And it was all the things that are involved in running a business as a voice over talent. Things you may not think about, like marketing, um, business planning. Networking, which is what I was speaking about. Negotiating prices and contracts, all the things that are [00:04:00] so important to the business, but a lot of people don’t think about or get exposed to when they go to some of the conferences that are more, let’s say, performance or acting based, or maybe even technical, talking about setting up a studio or those types of things.
And I’ve talked to Gerald Griffin via Atlanta about this. Hell, the most popular courses whenever somebody has a conference are the ones that are performance based because everybody wants to learn how to do characters with Bob Bergen. Everybody wants to go learn how to do promo with Joe Supriano. It’s much less sort of fashionable to want to go talk about business planning.
It’s just the way it works. It’s human nature. You want to go to the exciting things. So that’s why this conference was so great because. All of the sessions were around business making and how to, how to run your business as an entrepreneur. And I really appreciated that. So as I said, I was a presenter and my session was on networking.
It’s a presentation I developed kind of out of a blog post I wrote a couple of months [00:05:00] ago, or sorry, years ago now, called everything you learned about networking. You actually learned in high school, and I equate going to meet people at an event. Uh, two things that you did at either a high school dance or, or a pep rally or a homecoming dance where you had to be in an uncomfortable situation and make the best out of it by meeting people.
So I’m not going to spill all of my secrets because I’m actually doing the same presentation at another event coming up in the spring we talked about. So go register for that if you want to see it. But. That was my spiel. And I had a pretty full room, actually. People were standing in the back and some sitting on the floor because there was not enough room.
So the turnout was great and I really was appreciative of the people that were there to sort of experience and cheer me on. And I, especially in grateful, I might mention this, a past episode to the volunteers. I called out in, in the, um, in the room. So some of my old friends, like most of the actual birth.
And Tracy Lindley, who was on the show, both [00:06:00] jumped up and were eager to volunteer. So I really appreciate their help. So then other sessions that I really enjoyed, um, Karen Guilford, who was one of the hosts that I mentioned, she’s a voice talent based in New York city. She had a session on pay to play marketing and all the things she does to maximize her.
Time on paid uphill on a pay to play sites and how she books them. Still majority of her work from there. And that was really eye opening. And then Maria Pendolino, who is a, a voice talent, a out of New York city had a fabulous session on negotiation tactics. And, uh, what she called the, Oh, I think it was the Terrordome.
Yeah. So she did this presentation and then welcomed everybody to jump in on these case studies, uh, where we, she presented a list of possible. Job specs and then ask someone to come up and volunteer what they would charge for that job based on the specs or lack thereof. And then two people at a time. So she called it the Terrordome where one person would, would offer their, their [00:07:00] pricing and usage structure, and another person did the same.
And if they were different, we talk about why they. Why one person shows one set of usage rules, why one person said a certain number of spots, and it was really eyeopening because a lot of things you don’t think about going into a quote. You really should. And it’ll help you from the beginning of your business, learn how to not price yourself out of the market and also earn a good living.
So all those things were fantastic. Jamie was a moderator for a lot of the, the, uh, sessions as was Caren. And they both did a great job and the cast of characters there that were just there to attend. Was was really impressive and it was the inaugural conference, but I think it’s going to happen again because it seemed like it was a rousing success.
So congratulations to Jamie and Caryn, and I look forward to seeing you next year. Awesome. I’m so happy to hear that. And like you’re saying with your conversation with Gerald, I remember even him and, um, some people on the, the GVA staff were kind of lamenting. It’s like everyone says they want [00:08:00] more, more business and marketing education, but when the proof is in the pudding, you know, or people are just putting all of their conference dollars towards the performance stuff.
So it was really good, like you said, to have everyone be all on the same page from the get go and just have a. Conference that’s completely devoted to those aspects that are as important, if not more important than the performance stuff, because. Like we’ve constantly talked about before and we actually talked about at a workout, uh, yesterday with, with, uh, animation actor Brian summer.
Having being an extremely talented actor is still only one piece of the puzzle. You still need to be a consummate professional in like in how you conduct your business, because that is what’s going to get people to remember you. Cause they’re like, Oh, I remember who was super easy to work with. Paul. You know, who always gets his stuff on in, on time.
Sean, you know, always does this. They want to work with likeminded people who are going to get the job done quickly and are going to have fun doing it. So if you ever have an opportunity to either do [00:09:00] a do a marketing class or to do an event dedicated to it, like this conference, then I highly recommend it.
Yeah, and two other things I want to mention. Two other panels. There was a casting panel, which included our upcoming guests, CMU for it from Lotus, and there was a panel on. AI hosted by our other guests, Jim Connelley, and they talked about, well, specifically the AI AI panel was all about how the computers are not coming to steal our jobs in spite of the latest Terminator movie coming out, how there is still a future in boy sober.
And you’ll hear some audio from both Jim and Hugh Edwards from gravy for the brain who was also on that panel about how things aren’t as doom and gloom as you may think. So listen to that audio coming up in the show. And as our good friend of the podcast, Pat Fraley says, until they computer gets as good at acting as an actual actor, we still have a job.
So once that happens, though, I must salute and praise our new robot overlord. But [00:10:00] anyways, until that happens, we’re going to be merrily talking to ourselves in our padded cells for a little bit longer. I hope so. Sean, tell us about your time North of the border. So before I talk about Veo North, I just wanted to talk about one of our great sponsors, Kevin Leach over at IP DTL.
So IP DTL in case you didn’t know, is the cost effective ISD and replacement. It’s perfect for interviews outside broadcast, and of course voiceover. There’s no special hardware or software required. It works anywhere with an internet connection. It has a wonderful monthly or annual subscription plans, and it runs right in the Chrome web browser.
And the best part is it just works. So thank you, Kevin Leach and IPD TL for continuing to sponsor and power the podcast. Well, I had a wonderful time. So first off, let me preface it this by saying that, um, I was sicker than a dog when I went there. I had a horrible case of the flu and it definitely like kind of, and I felt so guilty [00:11:00] about going to a voiceover conference cause I did not want to get anyone else.
Sick. I did not want to be patient zero at a voice over conference, but anyways, so I, I tried to be, I tried to avoid physical contact with anyone. I would just do like fist or elbow bumps if people wanted to shake my hand. Uh, I had like hand sanitizer and like a whole cocktail of a whole pharmacy of cold meds and stuff like that to keep my symptoms at Bay.
So despite being sicker than a dog, I still had a wonderful time. And I, there’s just so many things that I really appreciated about the conference. I mean, first off. The size, it was much smaller. It was about, I think, 200 talent in a guests total. Definitely about half the size is something is like VO Atlanta and, um, it all took place in one building.
So, uh, there wasn’t a whole lot of like running around and uh, and stuff like that. I thought it was pretty well organized. And what I really loved is that a lot of the guests were some of the big names that we’ve seen at say, some of the larger conferences, like, uh, VO [00:12:00] Atlanta or Mevo. But this was a much more accessible, caused and accessible location for people in the East coast, people in Canada.
And so I just love that durable a trainer and Tanya Buchanan were knowledgeable and accommodating enough to try and bring these wonderful resources to talent who might not otherwise have access to it. They had a wonderful little studio space where I got to drool over some mikes and some cool acoustic products like they asked in halo.
They had a number of popular microphones set up like the NOI, min TLM one Oh three in the Sennheiser, four 16 the road and T one the 80 40 40 the Heartland Hogan via one a. So they really kind of, they gave you a very fair representation of different mikes at different price points that were definitely serviceable for, for VO.
And I believe that that was sponsored by long and McQuade and Steinberg. Uh, our Yamaha Steinberg Glasgow had some of their cool products, some of their interfaces and preamps that we were [00:13:00] able to look at. And it was really funny. Uh, there was a number of talent in there who are asking the engineers, uh, questions about the mix.
And I could tell one of them was getting a little swamped. So I totally took over and I was like, well, you see the TLM one Oh three is like milk chocolate. It’s great, man. This is why. It’s like, you know, and so the guy at the table was about to stand up and he’s like, mash John’s. Got it. So I mean, so that was fun.
And then a GVA or global voice acting Academy had a great presence there. David Rosenthal led a number of workshops on how to find the fun and auditioning and how to bring your best self and your best performances to it because that will just increase your chances of booking. And, uh, really just coming from a point of positivity and, and having fun with it because bringing your unique self to every audition you do is what is most likely to get you booked for that job.
So we talked about that and then David tow back. What was part of two panels. One was sort of on vio essentials, the things that you need to [00:14:00] focus on if you want to do well in your career. Like for example, the, the sort of, the order of operations, right? Getting training, getting your marketing materials in order, having a professionally made demo and website before you even pursue clients.
So the, the sort of, the, uh, the essential steps required to get to a place of success right from the beginning. And so I was very proud of both of them. And I kind of, I was attending their panels and taking video and audio for the event and of course, promoting GVA at our booth in the exhibit hall. And there were a number of great presentations.
I, myself personally benefited from the, uh, we had a wonderful presentation on sort of. E-learning and telephony that was led by some great talent like Liz Donnez, Nora. And so we learned about some of the technical requirements for telephony and IVR work, as well as some of the performance requirements for more like e-learning based content.
And sort of finding that, finding that middle ground where it’s like instructional, [00:15:00] but with personality and not over the top, things like that. And I got to spend a lot of great downtime with some of these guests. Like, uh, our good buddy George Widom, he was telling me, but he’s been up to some of his exciting projects.
We talked to gear and he gave me some great encouragement about my own voiceover progress, and he took me out to my first vegan junk food joint. So that was really fun. Um, had a junk food. Now it’s, I mean, Hey, I had a vegan bacon. Double cheeseburger and it was delicious. I don’t, it could be made from magic and fairy dust for all I care, but it was delicious.
And so thank you. I told you this already, George, but thank you for getting me to expand my horizons in that regard. I had a lot of fun with you and Graham Spicer at that restaurant. So then that was pretty much like that large diatribe was pretty much everything that I did. It’d be Oh, North and I, I think it’s great.
Like it’s. We’ve gotten to this point where some, a lot of people are actually complaining about the number of voiceover conferences. [00:16:00] I admit there’s a lot to keep track of, but the important thing is you don’t have to go to all of them. I highly don’t recommend that at all. There’s going to be a lot of crossover in repeated information if you do that, and you might not get a full return on your investment if that’s where you’re spending all of your VO business dollars.
But I do think it is important to make a point to go to maybe one or even two very different conferences each year just to learn more about industry trends and of course to kind of get out of the booth and reconnect. With your, your colleagues and peers because that, I mean, honestly, that experience can motivate you to do well in your business for an entire year.
So if nothing else, if you can afford it and it makes sense with your business plan, I highly recommend going to a conference. Well, at this point, it’s almost hard not to be able to find one within driving distance to between the AU Atlanta, between mid Atlantic voiceover and be on North. Vocation, the various mini Wobo [00:17:00] cons.
Wobo con itself. Um, Sovos, there’s so many that there’s probably one within a six hour drive or five hour drive of you. If you look hard enough. Yeah, I mean, I know they’ve, like you said, they’ve got him on, on the East and the West coast now. Like you’ve got one in the North. We’ve got one in the South. So pretty much do your research.
If you’re curious. Paul and I have presented at a number of them, so we could probably give you the low down on whether it’s worth your time. But yeah, don’t be afraid to go there. So much fun and you will reap rewards. It may not be immediate, but it comes, I just got an audition from somebody I met at a conference five minutes ago.
Absolutely. I’ve gotten on, I’ve gotten on casting rosters this way. I’ve gotten one off projects this way, and it’s funny, Paul and I have a bit of like, it’s the only time we really feel like celebrities because everyone tells us how great the vio meter is, but we really do appreciate it. And it’s the whole reason why we do this, right?
Because we want to help people and help them make or avoid some of the [00:18:00] mistakes that we’ve made or that we’ve seen others make. And. This is actually the last point that I want to make before we move on, is that at these conferences, one thing that agents, that demo producers, that casting directors all talked about again and again and again, is do not shortchange yourself by taking shortcuts, okay?
Invest in your training. Invest in professional demos and marketing materials because until you are to that point, they do not want to work with you. Okay, so and you are just shooting yourself in the foot and you are not going to get the results that you want if you try to take shortcuts. Granted, there are ways that you can save money.
For example, building a relationship with, with coaches and producers and stuff like that, and perhaps working out an agreement like payment agreements or. Getting, uh, or getting used to equipment or discounted equipment, things like that. There are ways to save money, but don’t go for [00:19:00] the most, the cheapest solution just because that’s easiest in the short term because you’re just shortchanging your progress.
So as promised, we’re going to play some audio from both of our trips, the two various conferences, and then we’ll get back to our interview with Jim and Sam from Lotus productions. Walgreens,
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Sean Daeley: All right. So we are live at vocation 2019 at the inaugural conference, and I’m here with co-founder Jamie
Jamie, how are you feeling going into the conference? So have you gotten over the pregame jitters? Are you still getting things together?
Jim Kennelly: Yes, yes. Um, the pregame Jesus
Sean Daeley: would probably every day leading up
Jim Kennelly: to today. And I think today, now I’m in the city, now we’re in the venue. I ended up getting all the bags were ready to go,
Sean Daeley: and there’s pretty much nothing else you can do at this point.
If you’re not ready by now, you never will be. Right,
Jim Kennelly: right, exactly. Yeah, so there’s nothing I can do. Even if I was
Sean Daeley: not to jinx you. I’d imagine it’s kind of like, I haven’t organized a conference myself, but [00:21:00] imagine it’s kind of like your own wedding. I know you’re married as well, just like me and people say, stop and make sure you look around it and pushing things, but until you get to that position that the things we’re actually rolling, it’s hard to get.
That point is,
Jim Kennelly: yeah, everything is anticipation. Up until this point and now people are arriving. We have very early, like
Sean Daeley: five 35
Jim Kennelly: 30 years or so where people are here. And now everything is set, there’s not as much to do, which is great, you know? But, uh, it’s hard to get out of that mindset of, Oh, I’ve got 6 million things to do.
You know, like now we’re being gritty now. Now I can come down or in the South have working registration table. So she’s busy. Um, yeah, it’s exciting. And, uh, I guess I have to just look around and appreciate what. What would put in see the fruits.
Sean Daeley: We are back at vocation 2019 with a East coast talent again, Keith Norton.
Keith, welcome back to the East coast. How are things progressing for you?
Keith Norton: Things are good. It’s been a quick two months since I’ve been back in California.
Sean Daeley: So you, you lived in California doing VO for awhile. Yup. And how did that come about and then why you [00:22:00] back? So
Keith Norton: I started in VO in San Francisco. I went to voice one.
She’s a really good training program in San Francisco, and I took as many classes as I possibly could and got really comfy, really excited, and fell in love with it and started my career out there. Uh, got some agents, got some work,
Sean Daeley: uh, did things with Google, with the warriors,
Keith Norton: uh, with Dunlop guitars and collected a bunch of startups and small companies like that.
Um, my day job actually brought me back to the East coast. I actually was a professional fundraiser for Stanford university, so they wanted me out here. I happily said, yes,
Sean Daeley: I’m actually from here,
Jim Kennelly: so I get to Kim, I got to come home.
Sean Daeley: Fantastic. And now you’re here, the inaugural vocation conference. What are you hoping to get out of this, this conference?
Jim Kennelly: A couple things. There are still some elements of the tech side of the business that I am a little fuzzy on and I want it to be able to go and focus on that. Um, some reminders, you know, we get a lot of. Really good habits that lasts
Sean Daeley: a little,
Jim Kennelly: little while and then they kind of [00:23:00] go away. And so I want to be reminded that some of those good habits and then try to go on and build a network, a community within New York.
One of the things I loved about San Francisco is a terrific community within the voice acting space. And being a new guy, you know, I don’t have many friends out here that are in the VO business, and so I want to be able to
Sean Daeley: build that into here too. Okay. We are now back live at vocation 2019 and we just finished the presentation by Maria Pendolino on negotiation tactics.
Was it actually called negotiation Ninja
Jim Kennelly: a? No. A negotiation for voice actors. Okay. I said that I’m a negotiation and I have not trademarked that yet.
Sean Daeley: Well, you should get on that right away. You talked to Rob, he was in the audience, wasn’t it? Yeah. So I really enjoyed the session. What were your takeaways from it?
Jim Kennelly: took away that, I think there were a lot of times that I heard people in the audience kind of saying like, Ooh, or, ah, like it was something that they hadn’t thought about. So, you know, if I can help people think about things that they hadn’t thought
about before or something
Jim Kennelly: that they didn’t know about or they didn’t know that that was a question they should have asked.
I’m really glad to, you know, bring that ounce of enlightenment to someone as they’re building their [00:24:00] business. But also, I think it benefits all of us. Like I really truly believe that. The more that we all work together, um, and share this kind of information, like it truly does benefit the entire industry.
Sean Daeley: And I liked the way you said, even if you’re a stone cold beginner, and we sent, we saw at the end where they’re giving us some, some door prizes that somebody. Just start it on Friday. The first job. Yes. It really makes sense to get with this from the get go, right? Yes. If you think about
Jim Kennelly: it as a business person and think of your voice over career as a business from day one, you can
make decisions today
Jim Kennelly: and in your first day as a voiceover actor that help protect the interests of the voice actor business that you want to run the voice after that you want to be.
So if you’re thinking smart today, even if you’re not booking yet, or you’re auditioning or whatever. You know, you can be protecting the interests of your career of where it would be at three years, five years, 10 years, 20 years, and make decisions today that will give you the longevity that you need.
Sean Daeley: That’s really what it’s all about because you really don’t know at this point what you don’t know. I know I’ve been burned because I didn’t have this kind of information when I first started, there wasn’t a vocation [00:25:00] 2014 yes, and I got, I’ve been burned and I wish I had known the information that you put out today,
Jim Kennelly: online rate guys in 2014 so if you didn’t know or trust someone that you could ask to bounce an idea off of, or three people, you know, if you didn’t have your own voiceover actor focus group, there weren’t resources out there.
Now. There are resources. We’re talking about it at conferences. I think as a voice actor day today, if you’re educating yourself, there’s no excuse to not. Take the time to educate yourself with the resources that are out there so that you can be making good decisions.
Sean Daeley: Okay. We’re back at the vocation 2019 floor.
We’re at the main hall getting ready for Jay Michael Collins keynote speech. I’m here with bill Larsen, who was the VO talent, and also. Public address announcer for my Philadelphia Eagle. So go birds, go birds, E. a. G. L. E. S. Eagles. Welcome. Thank
Jim Kennelly: you very much. I appreciate you
Sean Daeley: having me. So you were here last night with me at, at, at the pre-party.
Oh, he’s been your favorite part of the conference so far. And what are you looking forward to next?
Jim Kennelly: So my favorite part so far has just been [00:26:00] meeting people from all over. And what I’ve gotten out of it most is the globalization of what we do. No, you know, no longer is it just having an agent and getting what they feed you.
Sean Daeley: It’s going all over, finding your own thing, whether it’s
Jim Kennelly: in this country or even abroad.
Sean Daeley: So I dig that very much. And then are you going to any breakout sessions or what? What’s your vagina for the rest of the weekend?
Jim Kennelly: So the rest of the weekend definitely pay to play. I’m going to do that. Audio books is something I really want to look into.
Uh, and then the agent,
Sean Daeley: uh, my agent panel, the agent. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. That’ll be exciting. That’s right. You hear, um, all the way through tomorrow night. I am
Jim Kennelly: fantastic. I am in it to
Sean Daeley: win it. Okay. So we’re back live at vocation 2019. We’re at the picnic at Riverside park and I’m joined by Jim Connelley and Hugh Edwards.
Jim Kennelly: Thanks guys. Happy to be here.
Hugh Edwards: Yeah, me too.
Sean Daeley: So tell me a little bit about what you’re enjoying about the conference so far, Jim, on just start
Jim Kennelly: for me, uh, we’re always interested in meeting new talents. So having a one-on-one [00:27:00] experience has given me as a producer and as someone who cast every day an opportunity to get to know talent a little closer.
And I think that, uh, when I cast specifically, that’s to my advantage.
Paul Stefano: Thank you.
Hugh Edwards: Yeah. This is a really intimate conference. Um, unlike a lot of them that are really massive and kind of slightly impersonal, this one, you can see the whites of people’s eyes and there’s a lot of personal relationships going on and, um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s been quite special actually.
Um, and because the focus is just about business, it doesn’t feel like there’s been any kind of pattern going on. You know, there’s, people are here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to help their businesses grow. And I think they’re getting voted for their money here.
Paul Stefano: That’s great. So both of you were part of the AI panel last night.
Jimmy, you were the moderator and Q. You’re one of the panelists. What was, uh, what was surprising about either questions from the audience or that came up from the other panelists?
Jim Kennelly: What did you think you, well, I mean, the future of AI, I think we should [00:28:00] clarify that we’re really talking about voice and TTS in AI as opposed to AI in general.
But the general feeling of the, the voiceover public, I think is that people are a bit scared because there’s a lack of knowledge and the unknown is always a bit scary. And I think one of the things that the panel did pretty well actually was reassure them that this isn’t the end of the world. You know, it may change and we may have to adapt a little bit.
But as human beings, we’re always going to evolve. You know? I mean, you look at, look at Uber and what happened there. The taxi industry went crazy for about a year and then Lyft came along and everything rebalanced. And you know, it will be the same when driverless cars come along and it’ll be the same when TTS properly takes off.
Humans will readdress the balance somehow. So I think people don’t need to be as scared as they feel. You know, the robots aren’t coming to take all our jobs, basically. It’s going to evolve and it will be different. But that, that was my main thing that I felt. What happened in that panel. Yep. That was the goal of the panel was to educate people that the future of voiceovers is bright, that [00:29:00] AI is a standalone industry, and that the voiceover industry will still exist and evolve, but we’re going to integrate or augment your voiceover career with synthetic voices, with new opportunities and new platforms to work on.
So we really wanted to get across that it’s good news, may and rip out how to idea. For like a mid Andre talking about afterwards about how we can actually commoditize our own voices with TTS, you know, and become less of a service industry while still doing the jobs that we want. So
Paul Stefano: might show to the us patent office and it right away.
Jim Kennelly: Sure. Yeah, I’ve got, I’ve got someone doing that right now. Um, but no, I mean, it’s, there aren’t that many people who can do it. Um, in terms of building the tech to be able to go and do it. But because we’re at the very start of the industry, no one can see what potential opportunities there are yet. And I promise you there will be some, because there’s loads of break cookies around, there’s a platform shift of voice, and it’s, the story is just beginning.
So it’s important to get educated about what’s happening, the people who are the players, and then in time introduce yourself to [00:30:00] them and build on your career.
Paul Stefano: I really like your analogy here that the taxi reference, because I’ve taken a taxi four times. Are on this trip and you know, every time I looked at Uber and the taxi was cheaper, so they’re still surviving.
Jim Kennelly: Exactly. I mean, all the different areas of AI, not just voice, are going to change things radically, but these things are supplemental to our life. They’re not core to our life and human voice. It’s something that is core to our life, you know? And even if TTS takes over in a big way for a little while, there will be a reaction to it.
And people will want humans to do things again. So we may end up, you know, changing the types of jobs or the approach of jobs or the way we get jobs or whatever. But the voice industry will still be, their voice is all going to be about choice. The personalization of apps is going to create new opportunities for talents.
It’s going to be great.
Paul Stefano: All right. So I’m here with Tim Walsh from Atlas, just finished the representation panel. How was that for you and were there any surprises?
Tim Walsh: Uh, [00:31:00] it was really good. Uh, I was surprised that the amount of people making demos that are not necessary, and especially when you’re starting out, you know, I think that you need to really, and this is just my opinion, uh, focus on one genre and then build.
Because if you, if you’re putting
your. You know, you
have many hats and different arenas, you’re not going to be good at one thing. So I always say, you know, focus on commercials, do well there. Then focus on promo or focus on narration. So baby steps move on. If you’re making a demo right off the bat when you don’t even know where your instrument sounds like, you don’t have representation in that area.
I think it’s still kind of a bit of a waste of money.
Paul Stefano: So do you feel like people. In general, even experienced talent are to demo happy. And because of the trend now, and from least demo producers is make a demo for everything, every fricking genre there feel
Tim Walsh: represented. By an agency, talk to the [00:32:00] agent first and say, do you need me to have a demo in the commercial world for me?
I don’t need a demo. I just
need pieces of work.
So I have booked many talent off of just auditions that I’ve had that somebody wanted to hear something. I sent that in. A demo is a way to get you in the door.
so, but if you have a good booth and you can make a demo, sure. Do that. Just don’t lie about it.
Just say, I made this myself. It’s not produced. I know in the promo world and in our racial world, you do need a demo to kind of break in, but most agents are not just going to sign somebody that doesn’t have the background already on it and starting out just to do narrations or animation or documentaries.
Paul Stefano: Okay. Something I asked Phil a second ago I stuff and we were talking about how the audience seemed to have a lot of the same questions that you probably hear all the time every day anyway. Do you think talent, especially new talent, get into this paralysis by analysis where like they’re really overthinking things?
Tim Walsh: Uh, I do. Especially in Newtown that I signed. I think that the [00:33:00] biggest thing they have to do is, I didn’t book yet. I haven’t booked yet. I haven’t booked yet. You know? We understand. If you’re new to this, it’s gonna take a hot second before you book. We’re trying to work with you. You’re trying to get, we’re trying to get to know you.
You’re trying to get to know us. You’re also trying to get know the casting directors, the producers, the different auditions that you’re doing. So we, I always tell talent when I’m signing them, first off, I’m like, I don’t expect you to book within the first year, so take that off the plate. I’m not going to drop you as long as you’re doing the auditions.
If you’re sending them back on time, they respectable, you know, all that kind of jazz. And the biggest question I always get to is have to get an agent. It’s, it’s luck. It really is luck. And being in the right place, the right time, or knowing the right people
Sean Daeley: right. Something that I thought was really opening about what you said was how you like droppings and people trying to not necessarily contact you every day, but at least remind you that they’re there.
Correct. Can that go too far?
Tim Walsh: It can go too far, but you know, a drop in to me is not a meeting. It’s, [00:34:00] you know, coming up seeing me in the office wave like, Hey Tim, how was your weekend? How was your day? I’m like, great, how was yours? It’s not coming down, sitting down with me. You know that if you want to have that, you have every right to.
You have to set up a meeting time with me, you know, you don’t know if I’m in the middle of five other things, I’d have to do line due dates and stuff like that. Um. Pop in, you know, if it’s just the whole up, hop in as often as you want, you know? Um, there are times when I’m like, all right, I know you’re here, you know, so use your discretion.
Paul Stefano: What about baked goods? I know you mentioned not for submissions, but if it’s someone you represent and they’d come with it
Tim Walsh: as a, um, I’m a healthy eater now. Um, but yeah, baked goods, always good to keep your, you know, especially if you represent it. It don’t send big goods if you’re not, no. I’m terrified somebody’s going to poison me.
Um, so yeah, if you’re doing baked goods or drop by with Dunkin donuts or a low
Paul Stefano: coffee Popeye’s chicken sandwich,
Tim Walsh: if you can get a, you can drop it by, but yeah, something that like, then the [00:35:00] company knows like lane client dropped this off, please help yourself. And that’s the way for that. Everyone in the agency to be like, Oh yeah, yeah, they’re around.
Paul Stefano: Okay, we’re back live and vocation 2019 amount joined by joy. Shalia say it right. You said it totally right. When is the garage door? Hi. Oh, you’re both presenters here, Joe, you part of the working pros panel. Yes. And Xero part of the AI panel. What was your experience like on those, on those panels?
Jim Kennelly: had a great time. I was on the panel with two of my also working pro friends. Um, so like we already know each other like each other, love each other. Um, so we were just, you know, speaking our truth of our experience and our. Our careers, um, to an audience in a very kind of authentic way of, from our experience.
And, you know, I was amongst peers and, uh, it just felt very, very odd. It was awesome. It was fun. It was, it was authentic.
Sean Daeley: Yeah. Yeah. They do that a lot out of that. And I think they appreciated everyone’s honesty.
Jim Kennelly: Honesty, not only how we run our business, but also our journey, right? Like, it’s, it’s not a straight up trajectory.
There’s ups and [00:36:00] downs, ebbs and flows. And I think all of us were very honest about.
Sean Daeley: Our experiences with that. They’ll get a little weird today when Jamie just immediately Maria under the bus during his
Jim Kennelly: path
Sean Daeley: and she’s like, thanks Jamie. So Sarah was your experience like
Jim Kennelly: I missed that panel. Yeah, it was those yesterday morning.
Oh no, I know. I saw your panel. I came, I came to the pros cause I knew because we went, we went to grad school together and a couple years apart, and I’ve known Maria for forever, so I made it a point to be down here. Super helpful to hear what you had to say, both as a performer and as a business person and as someone who’s going to get on that stage.
It was, that panel was amazing. The it was, it was fantastic to hear everything that you guys had to say and then to come back in the evening and and meet, like to meet RuPaul, who I watched her Ted talk multiple times because I’m so fascinated by her business and her, her study, and to meet Freddie and Hugh is superb and it was really fun to have a conversation.
From so many like adjacent, but not totally aligned perspectives. Um, it was fun for all [00:37:00] of us, I think. I hope it was valuable for everybody around. It was cool. It was really awesome. Awesome. Yeah,
Sean Daeley: I just chatted with you and Jim also right before we got back from lunch, and. Talk about how things are positive, which is, which is the tank where they wanted to get across.
I think they do a good job. And you did as well, and getting that point across.
Jim Kennelly: Yeah, I think, I mean, I come from the content perspective more than like the TTS perspective, but I do understand that world a bit and I think we’re at this really big, the big takeaway was like, we’re at this inflection point where like it’s super important for voice artists.
To educate themselves on the voice first space, meaning like the voice computing space. But it also, um, it’s a real opportunity because this, the segment of the industry is so new to like educate people who
Jim Kennelly: making the jobs, unions, all of that and like what Fairplay looks like. That sort of how we teach people that artists want to be treated now is going to set a standard.
Sean Daeley: Yeah, absolutely. Well, we’re almost at a time, but there’s still some conference stuff. What does it [00:38:00] something, what’s something I’d love, you’re still looking forward to?
Jim Kennelly: Um, I’m looking forward to, uh, Maria Pendolino, um, session later today about negotiation. Um, she is someone who I would call an expert at it.
Um, and so I’m, I’m looking forward to what she has to say. I’m also hoping to make that because she is. Amazing. Yeah. I’m popping out of of this chat and going to hear about turning nonunion jobs union, which is something, it’s part, it was part of a barrier for me to entry. Like I never could figure out what that was about or how to do it.
Sean Daeley: So I started start actually. So why don’t we wrap up. I appreciate you both taking time to get involved and also during your time with the conference. We really enjoyed it. Yeah, our
Jim Kennelly: pleasure. Thank you.
Sean Daeley: Welcome back to live at vocation occasion, sorry, vocation 2019 I’ve been corrected several times by Jamie and Karen already because I like to call it vocation.
It’s not correct, apparently. No, it’s vocation. And now I’m here with Brad Newman, who’s presenting today. I’m good, man. How are you? I’m fantastic. We’ve had a nice lunch at ed Riverside park.
Jim Kennelly: Oh, I laid down on a towel. It was nice. I had pizza just [00:39:00] fed to me. It was delicious.
Sean Daeley: Yeah, and I’m not sure. Not from New York.
So anytime I can get my hands on some legit New York pizza, I’m happy, man. I’m just happy
Jim Kennelly: that you fed me. I mean, I was laying down and you just kept serving it right in. It was amazing.
Sean Daeley: It was a little weird. I didn’t know you serve that way. It was good. But anyway, you’re presenting today. Tell us a little bit about your presentation and what you’re hoping to gain from the conference.
Jim Kennelly: it’s organizational marketing,
Sean Daeley: but. Really, it’s about
Jim Kennelly: marketing in a way that gets you out of a VO Headspace. Voiceover. People
Sean Daeley: always look at it with a VO
Jim Kennelly: angle, and I’m encouraging people to look at it from the angle of their buyers
Sean Daeley: instead, as fellow VO talent,
Jim Kennelly: look for ways that you can engage the buyers
Sean Daeley: where you can meet
Jim Kennelly: them
Sean Daeley: and solve their needs and remove their pain.
Jim Kennelly: So that’s the marketing aspect of it. So it’s literally stepping away. From voiceover
Sean Daeley: marketing as a voice talent
Jim Kennelly: and thinking of the ways that you would solve other problems in the world,
Sean Daeley: because that helps you
Jim Kennelly: see, see it from a different perspective, a different view, or a different angle.
Sean Daeley: Okay. So without giving away your whole presentation, for those that didn’t pay to come to the conference, give me a one or two key points.
[00:40:00] So, um,
Jim Kennelly: surround yourself around other people that have what you want. Um, that is a will. Prove to be a tremendous value over and over and over because they can pick you up
Sean Daeley: when they’re down. They can help you through
Jim Kennelly: problems.
Sean Daeley: Uh, everybody has, uh, that’s done
Jim Kennelly: via, or most people that’s done VO has done something different in their life.
So we all have these unique problems. Maybe they help you
Sean Daeley: edit a blog or
Jim Kennelly: they’re, uh, an amazing wizard and audition to edit something. And so we all have these talents that we can help. One another. I call that favor debt. I put people into favor debt
Sean Daeley: and I leverage that
Jim Kennelly: favor debt when I need for either more exposure or opportunities that I need help on.
And so I’m going to
Sean Daeley: tell everybody about how
Jim Kennelly: to bring those two things together and look at this world of VO that we do in a different way
Sean Daeley: than I ever did. And I like that a lot. Yeah,
Jim Kennelly: I registered the domain.
Sean Daeley: You can’t have it done. Well, there goes that idea. Favorite debt.com
Jim Kennelly: there’s nothing there, but I own it.
Sean Daeley: It’s good to know. So in addition to being a presenter today, most people hopefully know you’re also a voiceover talent. What are you looking for? What are you hoping to get at the conference personally as a VO talent?
Jim Kennelly: You know, um, I think every time you approach one of these conferences, you go in with an agenda of, Oh, [00:41:00] I would like to learn this.
And what ends up happening is you sit down and you hear something that totally rocks your world and becomes
Sean Daeley: that aha moment
Jim Kennelly: and you didn’t realize that that’s
Sean Daeley: what you’re going to walk away
Jim Kennelly: with from, I’ve already seen that this morning.
Sean Daeley: Um,
Jim Kennelly: with the, uh, the, the pro panel, Maria Pendolino was on that.
And I was literally sending her chat messages via Facebook while she was talking and how much of a rock star she is with the way that she was able to answer questions, remove
Sean Daeley: people’s roadblocks. She is like a a a VO
Jim Kennelly: whisperer or therapist to VO talent to identify and find problems and
Sean Daeley: fix it.
Jim Kennelly: I
Sean Daeley: didn’t come here expecting that rocked my world.
Jim Kennelly: That’s going to be my takeaway so far. It was amazing.
Sean Daeley: I can vocation 2019 I’m here with Melissa Xcel berth who presented. All right. How to convert non union work to union work. Tell me a little bit about your session and how that that went
Jim Kennelly: really, really well. I’d see every time I talk about this I, I’m not surprised to find out that.
More [00:42:00] people are surprised that you can actually do this. You know, it’s, it’s something that doesn’t seem to be widely known, and it’s just very gratifying when people say, Hey, I never knew that I can do this. I can see all of these possibilities now. So it’s, it went well.
Sean Daeley: What was that response like from the, from the crowd.
It was good. I didn’t get a chance to sit down cause I was in another session. But how was the response?
Jim Kennelly: It was good. Again, it was, you know, people weren’t aware that they could do this. They weren’t aware that they could take nonunion work under that. The corporate work non-broadcast
Sean Daeley: work
Jim Kennelly: things like IVR and explain your videos and e-learning and museum narration.
Yeah. And make that a union job, you know, and have a pay into your health insurance and your pension and all of that. So that’s really gratifying. Cause one thing I really hate seeing is union actors
Sean Daeley: who
Jim Kennelly: are working at Starbucks or wherever, um, because they can’t. Make enough money. They can’t make a living, you know, and they can’t [00:43:00] make health insurance and they don’t realize that you can convert work and there’s so much work that you can do.
You know, they just say, I can’t even look for it on union work because it’s against the rules
and you can look
Jim Kennelly: for it and convert it. And another thing with non union talent, it’s a good way to kind of structure your career. Because you can, if you can make a career on corporate work, and some of the other things that we spoke about aside from corporate work is then that stuff that you don’t really have to give up when you finally do join the union.
So it’s a good, good kind of career path, but it’s nice to see people’s
Sean Daeley: eyes go, Whoa. That was good. That’s great. Well, unfortunately, we’re near the end of the conference. What has been your favorite part, aside from your own presentation? What have you enjoyed or what did you take away?
Jim Kennelly: I’ve enjoyed everything.
I thought every, every session that I went to that I stopped it on was phenomenal. I thought it was really, really, I thought yours was fantastic.
Sean Daeley: Oh, thank you. No,
Jim Kennelly: seriously. I was, I was, um, it was just great. I [00:44:00] thought everybody spoke really well and ideas. People came up with so many ideas that I hadn’t thought of and
Sean Daeley: I thought, just put voices right.
We can all get all contributes to the business
Jim Kennelly: brains that go along with it. Well, sometimes. No, I thought the whole conference was fantastic. The panels were great, super, super informative. It was just a wonderful, wonderful conference. Jamie and Karen did a phenomenal job on this. Okay, so everyone here is.
Rabid to find out how to get signed to a great agency. So we’re going to dig into that little, we’re going to reduce the amount of questions that I’m going to be asking today, so that we’re going to give you guys opportunities to ask. But I want to start out now by finding out how you choose talent to work on your rosters and to work with.
Um, so how important is experience for a talent coming to you
Sean Daeley: when you
Jim Kennelly: are deciding whether to add them to your roster?
Sean Daeley: Eileen.
Jim Kennelly: I think for me
Jim Kennelly: yes, experience is good. I think [00:45:00] that, um, work ethic, personality,
Sean Daeley: how easy you are to work with
Jim Kennelly: is much more important. Uh, obviously if I am taking you onto my roster, then I believe in you.
So, you know, there is a reason why, and I know that maybe you don’t have the experience yet, but I can definitely get you there. Okay. Um, we’re in a little different scenario. Um, I, I’ve said for years that our business in general used to be a talent business, and I really feel like it’s a service business now.
So what Eileen was saying about, you know, being able to work with people, it’s so crucial. We also, as managers, really focus on people who can perpetuate jobs as opposed to just getting jobs. So we really look for track records for everyone we work with. And you know, we unfortunately don’t have the bandwidth to focus on younger talent and [00:46:00] getting them off the ground.
Um, we’re focusing much more on established
Sean Daeley: talent.
Jim Kennelly: Yeah. Um, so my favorite thing is I love to work with people just right out of college, um, and kind of prepare them for the VO world since really no colleges offer or you don’t learn how to do voiceover. Um, so I really take the 20 year olds under my wing and I will sign somebody that I just believe in.
I don’t need a demo. I just need you to be able to work and go to auditions. Um, we’re also a kind of a boutique agency, so I only take on people that I don’t already have two or three of that type.
Sean Daeley: So
Jim Kennelly: I do turn down a lot of people, but that’s because I don’t think I can get you the opportunities that
Sean Daeley: I could without
Jim Kennelly: hurting my signed clients
Sean Daeley: already.
Jim Kennelly: so I love working with new talent. If I have space, it’s difficult. Like we sit up here and, and it’s great and like, Oh, that’s awesome. [00:47:00] But
it’s not easy for us
Jim Kennelly: either. We still have to work really hard
Jim Kennelly: yes, we have laid a lot of groundwork. But there are days that we think we suck. There are days when we think we’re not going to be able to pay our mortgage next month or next year.
I worry every single day that I won’t make enough to get my health insurance. You know, when’s that going to happen? So it’s, and that’s a lot of times what drives me in those, uh, in those moments. When I’m exhausted and I just want to take it out. Uh, I’m like, no, I have to. I have to build my business. I have to succeed because I’m never going back to waiting tables and, uh, and I have to take care of my family.
And so that drive alone is, is what in those times when I have a spare moment, that’s what gets me into my office and gets me doing things for my business. How many times has this happened to you? You’re listening to the radio when this commercial comes on, not unlike this one, and this guy starts talking, not unlike myself.
[00:48:00] Maybe it’s a woman that starts talking, not unlike myself.
Sean Daeley: And you think to yourself,
Jim Kennelly: jeez, I could do that. Will mr. well, Missy, you just got one step closer to realizing your dream as a voiceover artist because now there’s global voice acting Academy. All the tools and straight from the hip, honest information you need to get on a fast track to doing this commercial yourself.
Well, not this one. Exactly.
Jim Kennelly: Pluses, private coaching, webinars, home studio setup, marketing and branding. Help members only benefits like workouts, rate, negotiation, advice, practice scripts, and more. Oh, without the kind of hype you’re listening to right now. Go ahead. Take our jobs from us. We dare you. Speak for yourself, buddy.
I like what I do. And you will too when you’re learning your craft at global voice acting Academy. Find firstname.lastname@example.org because you like to have fun.
Sean Daeley: Sorry.
Jim Kennelly: So, uh, when we first started putting the guide [00:49:00] together, uh, we reached out to the community . You know, uh, the voiceover community at large asked them what they were making for various jobs. Found ranges, found what the professionals were charging. Re understand that there are two, there are two very clear, uh, areas of voiceover.
And there is, there’s the, there’s that whole world of, eh, it’s good enough. And then there’s the world of excellence. And that’s where we worked. We worked within, that’s what our rate guide is, is very much towards the, the world of excellence because we want to keep that integrity of the industry alive.
Right? So we are not, we are not concerned with the other side that is going to exist no matter what. Don’t try to kill it. I’m trying to slap them. Don’t let them do their thing. We need to find that road on there. So we have talked to so many different people gotten that range, worked with that range, talked to agencies, worked that into [00:50:00] our guides.
And it’s always changing as we get more information. Oh, you know what? I just got for this tag. I got this much for this now. And we add all that information together, which is why we’re constantly updating that. I was tired of my lady. We’d been together too long. Like a worn out recording of a favorite song.
So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed and in the personals column there was this letter I read, if you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, if you’re not into yoga. If you have half a brain, if you like making love at midnight in the boons of the Cape, I’m the love that you’ve looked for right to me and escape.
Lots of research. I think it was really important to get, uh, a lot of varied [00:51:00] opinions. There’s a lot of Facebook groups. There’s a lot of organizations like his and your voice acts Academy. There’s coaches out there that are putting out information and doing your research and understanding, you know, what’s really going on in the market, and you can really learn a lot on your own.
A lot of people. Well, not to that step. They really miss out a lot of getting, gaining information from their peers. And I think the voiceover industry is very unique in the fact that we stick together and we help each other out, but there’s not a, there’s not a blueprint on how to do it. And I think that’s why we help each other out so much.
So there’s a lot you can learn from your peers as well. Second is, you know, understanding that it’s a business and then you need to have investments to coach and train and run a business and understand that it is a business. I think a lot of people don’t understand that when they first get started. And, uh, there’s the fantasy of being a kicked, a character voice or an animation and a video game.
And we see like, like the glam of it, but there’s a lot of hard work and dedication and struggle that goes behind it. And so understanding that the reality of the business is number one. [00:52:00] And a lot of times people come to us and we tell the straight talk, like, look, you’re going to, it’s going to take years before you get to where you think you want to be.
It’s going to take a lot of time and effort and money. This is a business. It’s not fun. It can vary. It’s obviously a lot of fun, but it can like, cannot be fun too. There’s a lot of . We all know there’s a lot of rejection involved. We tell them how it is so that you’re prepared. And a lot of people say, I’ll exit stage left, and if they’re not prepared to, to run a business.
So that’s really important, the first step. And then you really have to just engage in coaching, uh, doing it the right way, finding the right people, finding the right organizations to help you to get there. And, uh, number one, just keep
Sean Daeley: going.
Jim Kennelly: You know, it’s, it’s a long road that can be really high. So gonna can some really lows.
So it’s a matter of. Trusting yourself and pushing forward. Sam, that’s it. So there’s some keys. We can talk more about it all. But yeah, those are some of the main things I, I like to tell people when they’re first getting started. So this is
Sean Daeley: dueling McKellen’s,
[00:53:00] Jim Kennelly: uh, to, uh, the mystical words of Elton John. Oh, so good Gretchen, but Huck quote him tobacco backdrop, if I get fresh baby knocked back, breaking by, you take away her name when you cut my toe off.
Ooh, I gave her the cane. Nope. I didn’t know. Nobody knows. When I was stopped.
Sean Daeley: Y’all was no cow.
Jim Kennelly: Nobody knows. Nobody know.
Sean Daeley: Like
Jim Kennelly: from the snow.
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Sean Daeley: That pretty much wraps up our recap of these two wonderful voiceover conferences. So now without further ado. It’s time to do our interview with Jim Connelley and Sam from Lotus productions. Okay, [00:55:00] everybody. Welcome to the interview portion of this episode of the boo meter. We’re really pleased to welcome Lotus productions.
Lotus is based in New York city, and they’re an audio and post production studio providing voiceover recording for commercials. Narration, political animation, and more. They’re high production values and easily accessible Manhattan studio facilities have contributed to a reputation for award winning excellence in recordings heard round the world.
We’re pleased to welcome owner, producer, and director Jim Connelley. Welcome, Jim.
Jim Kennelly: Thank you, Paul. Thank you, Sean. I’m very happy to be here today. It’s great to join you guys. Well,
Sean Daeley: thank you very much, Jim. So tell us a little bit about the history of Lotus and how you both came to be involved.
Jim Kennelly: Sure. Uh, Lotus production is actually has been around a very long time.
It, it goes back to the 1970s actually, there was a gentleman, his name was John Lotus, and he was a voice actor here in New York city. And he, at those days in the early day seventies and eight, early eighties, a lot of big time [00:56:00] voiceover agents didn’t really worry about out of market. Production or radio or TV spots.
There was so much work in New York and LA and certainly a smaller number of talents that the agents weren’t really concerned with the work that came from out of town. And John had the idea that like, Hey, I’ll build my own studio in New York city. I’ll do my work out of it. And because the. Agents and the number of talents.
We’re such a small group. He was able to say to them like, Hey, if you get phone calls from out of town agencies or companies, send them to me. I’ll become a union signator we can produce the jobs in my studio and then we’ll just, in those days, we would do it on reel-to-reel and we would cut the, cut the tape off and make a dub, put it in a box and mail it back to our clients.
So. That’s the roots of Lotus productions. It comes from, uh, that’s where I think we like to think we’re so talent oriented because we were originally founded by a voice talent and who was trying to find a new and innovative way [00:57:00] to hire talents and help them be successful and, and fulfill their goals to whatever they are in their lives to make their lives better.
Sean Daeley: Okay. And how did you come to this situation?
Jim Kennelly: Sure. Well, I started out as a location sound man. When I came out of school, I had the wonderful Syracuse university, the Harvard of central New York. When I came out of the new house school, uh, I wanted to, I was a location sound man. And so I traveled around the world about three times, uh, working on documentary films, which is something that I definitely wanted to do.
Uh, we worked on, uh, like a world peace and hunger initiatives, or, uh, if there are earthquakes, we’ve made those types of documentaries and that experience was great. But when I wanted to get married and start my family, I realized that wasn’t the type of adventurous life that would fit into what I wanted for myself.
To see my sons grow up and go to their plays and coach their teams. So I took a studio job and the studio job that I took was with John Lotus productions. At that point, John was much older than I was. So [00:58:00] basically I ran the studio, but he kind of showed me the ropes. And then eventually, as time moved on, you went from being the studio boy in the chair and the, uh.
Studio gremlin or something like that, and then a booth gremlin. And then I moved up to being a, obviously the director and then the producer, and eventually I became the owner. So we get to know it all. So that’s how I got involved.
Sean Daeley: That’s fantastic. I love that. That story is similar to my story about why I initially wanted to go into voiceover because I wanted to be around for the family, and I know it’s on your profile, Jim, that says you love coaching youth sports, and I do a ton of that myself.
I coach right now I’m doing two soccer teams and a fall baseball team. In fact, my wife just got back from, from. Uh, overnighting the materials to the Cooperstown people. So my son’s 12, you team can go to Cooperstown, New York and visit the hall of fame December.
Jim Kennelly: Yeah. That’s exciting. That’s always a great trip.
The kids love it. Uh, yeah, I do. I enjoyed coaching. My sons obviously are much older. They’re men now than if you’re in [00:59:00] New York, but in that moment, it’s exactly where I want it to be. I think it’s important, uh, that, uh, boys and girls have important, you know, mature role models, whether it’s a man or a woman that also, uh, who are like, you know, level headed, not the crazy coach mode.
And, uh, I think that, uh, you know, the sports are fun and children deserve to get out and run around and have, and be together, but it has to be a safe, positive environment too. So, you know, time, my time spent as a coach was a really a pleasure. That’s great.
Sean Daeley: So tell us what kinds of work does Lotus specialize in and maybe what makes Lotus different from other studios.
Jim Kennelly: Sure. Well, obviously we record voices for any platform, all platforms. Uh, we came from, like most places, we were a com radio and TV commercial shop. We always did narrations. Uh, but we’re, we’re big, we’re proud of innovation. We like to look forward to three years down the road where the industry is going to be.
So besides following technology, which we always follow the, the advances in technology that had that effect. Voiceovers, I, one of the things we [01:00:00] specialize in is the globalization of spots where we take one, uh, either one video, one explainer video, or a TV or radio commercial, and then we turn that into like 15 different languages.
So that interested me, my experience of going around the world always made me appreciate that. Like, Hey, voiceover is, is a global business too. So we hire announcers, men and women all around the world and studios all around the world. To me, that makes it fun. Uh, what makes Lotus productions maybe a little different.
Is the, I always talk about that patients creates trust and trust creates speed. We really, because we come from roots of an announcer, created this company, we really try to get to know the talents that we work with. Like you’re suggesting that you happen to be involved in coaching. That’s important to me.
Uh, someone else may have been a lobbyist or worked as a nurse or their mom and dad might be a police officer. These things that make us unique, we bring to our voices when we perform. I also think it helps talents sometimes relate to the script in a certain way. [01:01:00] So we may have, we had a project last week that was like, Oh, we need like a wacky female science voice for a, for a medical thing.
So I know that a certain group of talents, they worked as teachers or they worked as science teachers. So we may audition a variety of people, but I will say to our client, Hey, you know, these three or four women. They actually are science teachers or these people did work in like middle schools. So if you think that’s interesting for your project, you might give them a little more specific lesson.
So we take the time to be patient and really get to know talent, understand who they are, what’s going on in their lives. And I think that creates an element of trust. And once you have. The trust established between producer and talent, then you actually start to pick up speed. And certainly speed is a very important element in the voiceover industry.
How quickly you can get projects done, how quickly you can turn them over. That’s just has always been a part of voiceovers and it’s just the industry itself is just going to get quicker and quicker as we look at the next two, three, five years. So a [01:02:00] patient’s creates trust and trust builds in speed. Uh, that’s one of our slogans.
Sean Daeley: Very cool. Well, you’re obviously a talent centric business and a lot of our audience are newer talent, new to the business. So aside from background experience and speed, what other performance skills or qualities do you look for in the talent you work with?
Jim Kennelly: That’s a great question, Shauna. One of the things we always talk about is the first thing is talent.
You have to have talent, and once you get past talent, so you’ve got to work with coaches, you’ve got to practice, you’ve got to get out in groups and, and show yourself, get better slowly. And then you really need to have your tech together to be in the voiceover industry right now and going forward. You got to have your tech, you gotta have a.
Good audition space or a good production space or relationships with a studio that you can get to quickly. So it’s talent tech, and then there’s marketing. You really have to learn how to market yourself. Uh, we’re just coming off a conference, a voice conference where it was all about the business of voiceovers.
And, uh, you have to look at yourself [01:03:00] as an entrepreneur. You have to look at yourself as a small business. So once you get your talent tech and marketing down the, in that order. Then you can maybe start to really get in the flow of the voiceover business, but obviously each of those steps are important and each one takes time.
Sean Daeley: Now, a lot of talent these days are recording from home, and some people may have never had the pleasure of coming to a place like Lotus. What are some things talent should be aware of when coming to a studio for a session? Maybe even for the first time?
Jim Kennelly: Oh, also important. Uh, our background. It comes from a world where the talent came in and auditioned in studio all the time.
That was the New York city experience. Obviously that’s changed a lot. Like you guys are pointing out now. We auditioned and hire people in home studios all day long. We, uh, or we did a session this morning with a woman down in South Carolina for JP Morgan chase. You know, we connected over IP DTL and that’s the, you know, that’s the reality
Sean Daeley: of the show, by the way.
Jim Kennelly: Yes, they are very good. They small plug. We love Kevin. [01:04:00] He’s a genius and a, yes, he is. And then the other day actually as to spin off IP DTL, I was talking to a gentleman down in Miami who in charge of doing a new podcast about a sports with a sports anchor, and he just. Needed to figure out how am I going to connect to the other talents that I have to interview a sports celebrities.
So we suggested to him, you should use IP DTL it’s very simple. You’ll like it. Uh, but back to a, what should talents do in the, uh, when they come to a studio, obviously the, the. You gotta be on time, you gotta be on time and ready to work. You’re here to work. When you get in front of the microphone, you’re not here to, you know, goof around or, you know, tell me your life story.
We can do that later, but when you come and it’s, you’re booked at one o’clock Eastern, you gotta be ready to work. Maybe you have read through the copy. We usually send the copy in advance to people, and then I think you need to. Well, just like I talked about before, you need to be patient. You need to listen.
Trust your engineer. He or she, they may be giving you clues. Uh, the director [01:05:00] may know the client better, may have produced many other jobs with this, with the person who’s directing you. So take the clues from the studio producer like myself. Uh, you may be thinking you’re not doing a good job, but then I can tell you, Hey, you’re doing a great job.
Just relax. This is the way this guy directs. Everybody directs differently. Everybody has a different, okay. Attack it, how they want to get the read out of the voice talent. So I think you just need to be patient, trust in your team, trust your talent, uh, and uh, really be focused that you’re there to work.
Sean Daeley: Wonderful. So focusing on studio do’s and don’ts a little bit more, do you have any scary stories of talent misbehaving in the studio or even any good stories about a talent who exceptionally impressed you with what they were doing.
Jim Kennelly: Sure. No, that, that, that’s, that’s a fun one. Uh, because my experience is a little longer, uh, the days of the talents being premadonnas really kind of ended, and that’s really good.
There was a moment, it was a moment back in the 90s and two [01:06:00] thousands where these very successful, very well paid men and women, not all of them. A number of them would just come in and be . Rotten. They would just treat the, the GTE, the engineer’s rotten. They would treat your clients rotten. They’d say like, they don’t like the copy.
And it’s like, what are you talking about? You know, you’re just hired to do this. But that moment really ended. So that’s good. The new generation of like the people who will listen to your podcast and show your podcasts, that’s really not part of the industry anymore because a, people are much more controlled in this, in the session, uh, we’ve had, uh, guys, uh.
Come in, hung over, have to sleep in the booth. Green takes, that’s a bad one. I wouldn’t go for that. Uh, that’s happened twice. Different guys. Uh, so there, there’s things like that. There’s never a story where like somebody walked out or like did an Orson Welles kind of thing, but, uh, you know, we kind of keep a calm, you know, it is a pick and choose business.
So the people that we bring in to help our clients and do voiceovers for our clients are. [01:07:00] People who are pretty normal. Uh, on the positive side, we were doing a friend doing the job with a client of ours in Paris, and, uh, they had hired a certain talent and she was reading in English, uh, and they were struggling a little bit communicating, trying to communicate their direction.
Uh, obviously English was their second language, and then. Out of the blue, I didn’t know it. The talent spoke French. And also she starts speaking in French and I’m like, Oh, this is great. So I’m like, you know what? You know, she did a lovely job and she brought a, you know, really nice read to it. But, uh, you know, in the moment I was like, you are really saving the show.
You are making me look fantastic and I appreciate it. So, uh, even though I didn’t know it, you know, those things that you can bring as a talent in the studio in the moment of the session. Can really, you know, make you pop out and make, maybe have people come back to you or send you more auditions. Because I think people just remember when they have good experiences with the talent.
Certainly we do. And they’re like, Oh, he’s a great guy. Or, Oh, she’s super, you know, she really brings something else to it. Even if it’s just, you know, politely [01:08:00] suggesting, Hey, could I do another read? Or, you know, maybe this phrasing would work better for me. Or do you, do you like it? You don’t have to use it.
Uh, that’s the way we always presented. Like, Hey, I have an idea. W would you like to hear it? You don’t have to use it. We’re just recording it. If you don’t like it, tell us. It won’t make us feel bad. Uh, I think if you have that attitude, that can help in a session. So those were maybe two kind of up and down kind of scenarios.
Sean Daeley: That’s great,
Jim Kennelly: but it’s fun. You know, like a, I’ll say the voiceover business and working with actors is absolutely a gas. I’ve loved it my whole life. It’s, it’s, it’s really, you know, I always say work is fun. I always say love my job. You know, if you follow us online, you’ll see that I say that every day, every session.
It’s really a fun business.
Sean Daeley: Agreed. So when we talk about how much you like working with talent, I’m wondering how has Lotus been affected by the explosion of home studios over the last 10 12 years?
Jim Kennelly: 10 12 years is right. When this first started to be a phenomena, uh, we embraced it right away. We [01:09:00] are big believers in a level playing field.
Uh, it does not matter to me at all where you are. Uh, we always again followed the technology. So whether it’s, I, you know, ISD, when we did beta, I’m so old, we did beta testing on ISD N and we’re kind of known as a place where you can test new software out. So certainly, whether it was a source connect or IP TTL and some of the other ones that have come out, uh, we’re always involved on the ground.
Ground floor. I tried to keep my geek side on the down low, but it’s there. Uh, so we were always happy to say that like, Hey, we have technology now that I can work with somebody in Miami beach, or I can work with somebody in Idaho, South Carolina, Harpers ferry. It doesn’t matter where you are. If you’re the talent, the best talent that I and someone I can bring to my client, that’s all I’m looking for.
So. And again, we expanded that into Europe world. We work with talents in their studios and in Italy and up and up in Sweden, we have a lot of guys, we, there’s a lot of work that comes out of Germany and Barcelona, so they’re, you know, talents just like you. [01:10:00] All around the world. Same as there are producers and talent agents, just like the ones in New York and LA all around the world.
So we always look at it as a positive that you can reach out through the modern, you know, through technology and bring these people to our clients, bring the best talent to our
Sean Daeley: clients. Wonderful. So we touched on it a little bit earlier in the interview, but I’m curious about what kinds of clients and companies that you work with and you and how you go about finding our marketing to them.
Jim Kennelly: Oh, that’s, yeah, that’s good. That’s a question I get asked a lot. Uh, how do we find our clients? Obviously we’ve been around a long time, so we have a reputation. People do know us. Uh, we get a lot of, uh, you know, recommendations. People do come to us. Uh, being friendly to talent also brings clients to us.
Cause people say like, Oh, I got this job and I need to record it. Could, will you help me? So talents actually bring us some gigs. It’s sort of a tip that, that I do. Like, we don’t really have a lot of laws at Lotus with. You know, love to everybody, but if there ever is a low, all I [01:11:00] do is I kind of go back and look at where we were a year ago and see who we were working with.
And I always first go back to people who have already hired us. You know, maybe somebody moved on or they, you know, they went to another agency or they’re at another company now. Or maybe they lost that account. You know, these are things that happen in the ed world, but we always go back to somebody who has had an experience with us and just sort of reintroduce ourselves and that sort of energy usually generates something.
Something comes up, a muscle, big positive thinker, guys. I always think like, Oh, it’s slow today. That’s all right. Somebody’s going to call us, something’s going to happen. But me. You can’t rely on that. Uh, so that would be my tip is like, go back to people who know you. Uh, I am a big believer in, uh, you know, social media platforms.
You know, we were on Twitter and Instagram, uh, right away I have found talent on Twitter. I see talent on Instagram, and if they’re doing things in a certain way, and it’s the right moment. You know, I, I commute in and out of New York. I have like an hour train ride to get back to the burbs in New Jersey.
And I use that time. I always use that [01:12:00] time to look for talent and uh, follow, like, or listen to podcasts like yours to learn more about the business and kind of opened myself up to things. So. I think another way for talent to find, to find work is to a new join groups to get involved in, like, listen to podcast, join groups, get out and be involved in like some like community theater.
Uh, if you’re in New York or a bigger market, you could really get involved in maybe some amateur filmmaking. Uh, and just so you make contacts, the more contacts you have, you could let it like ripples out. Uh, we had Henry Winkler in here doing a podcast for backstage and, uh. You know, you can’t be more famous than the Fonz.
And all he said was when, when he, when he was a young actor, and even today as, as big as celebrity he is, he still says yes to everything. He’s like, I’ll say yes, I’ll get involved. I’ll go down, check it out. If I like it, great. If I don’t. It was just a, you know, one experience. So Henry Winkler’s advice was get involved.
Say, yes, give your time. And you just [01:13:00] never know where those, those Baskin leads you.
Sean Daeley: That’s great advice. So Jim, you and I were both at the vocation conference you talked about earlier, and I thought you did a fantastic job on the panel as the moderator of the, the AI, uh, and how it affects voiceover. So I’m curious, overall, where do you think the future of voiceover is going?
Do you think we’ll have status quo for much longer or you think things are going to sort of. Turn it on its head pretty soon, right?
Jim Kennelly: Well, the industry is always, the voiceover industry is always evolving and that’s good news. It should evolve. It can’t stay stagnant. I think one of the points of the panel that we talked on AI and the future of voiceovers and voice, first as it has it affects actors, is that there’ll be two standalone industries.
There will be the voiceover industry that we all know and love. Then are a part of, or want to be a part of, and that’ll exist. You know, the TV and radio world, the narration world, they phone promp world, and then there’ll be another new industry that’s emerging. And that’s the artificial intelligence voice [01:14:00] first world.
Uh, we see it already with obviously Google and Alexa, this smart speaker platforms. And there’s a moment coming, and that’s why we had this conversation at the a, at a vocation. I see the moment coming when the two industries are going to start to overlap. The AI industry voice first industry has done a lot of development over the last, you know, eight, 10 years, and they’re at the moment right now where they know they need voice actors and they need to create synthesize versions of voice actors.
So I think it’s really gonna augment a voice, talents life. That’s the way I’ve presenting. I’m presenting it. If you are, say Paul or Sean, your voice was synthesize for our client. A brand Synthes pays to have your voice synthesizer. It might be a. Two, three, four hour experience in the studio, where are you going to read like 2000 or 3000 sentences?
And then they’re able to basically create your speech pattern. And what you’ll see is that synthetic version of you will be used for the pitches and the [01:15:00] demos and the scratch tracks. But when the real session comes, of course, the creative director or the writer, he or she, they’re going to want to work with you.
They really want to have a, an actor at the base of it. So then they’ll direct you. They’ll have a normal session like we have in the voiceover industry. But then down the road, after they got what they like, or they have a product that they like, like the, you know, the industry, eventually everything’s done.
And then a week later it’s like, you know, when you said 18 it really should have been 22 so can we, you know, you have those pickup sessions, but with a synthetic version of you, they can make that simple adjustment without having to bring you back into a studio. They can make it immediately. And, or.
Importantly, they can start to personalize, uh, a product instead of, you know, cause in some markets it might be 18, but in some markets might be 22, it might be 25, and they can make all that adjustments. Deal as a sidebar, you’re going to start to see the personalization of apps, the personalization of products.
Uh, this. And all these brands are going to want their own voice [01:16:00] identity. So you’ll see yourselves, the synthesize version of yourselves for different brands. Uh, now how we negotiate that is a bigger story, but there are people, absolutely like myself, there are people involved in this discussion right now.
How are we going to, you know, we’re involved in synthesizing voices. Next week, we’re going to have some voice actors in the studio. We’re going to start to synthesize, synthesize their voices, uh, and start to have ability to pitch them to clients. But then we are aggressively negotiating how talents will be paid.
Uh, how we’re going to involve either revenue sharing or, uh. How are we going to watermark the voices so they don’t get misused? There’s a, it’s a brand new industry. Uh, you know, I make the P I made the parallel at the conference that, you know, in the late twenties early thirties radio came into being.
Everybody loved the radio. Everybody knew it worked, but there wasn’t an industry around it. But there are men and women who created an industry. Some people became celebrities, and some people just went to work every day [01:17:00] and went home and had a normal life. So I think you’ll see the same thing happen.
The same thing is happening right now with what we call voice first. Maybe the third wave of audio. That’s because it’s happening right now. You and I, Paul, Sean, Sam, myself, my sister Marian, who works here. We all have this unique opportunity to be at the base, the start of a new industry, and really start to, and really start to create it.
Uh, to me that’s exciting and that’s, I really feel that’s going to happen in the next 10 years. We have this opportunity. It’s a great time to be in the voiceover business because I see nothing but it totally expanding. It’s, it’s only good
Sean Daeley: news. Well, that’s wonderful. I mean, that’s such a fresh perspective because I mean, almost everywhere else it’s like this guy is falling doom and gloom
Jim Kennelly: and the robots are coming, run for the Hills.
Sean Daeley: I for one, like, what’s the word? Swear fail T to our new robot masters. Anyways. No.
Jim Kennelly: Cause in the end they always need a voice actor. They need the voice, the nuances that only actors can bring. [01:18:00] That has to be at the root of everything they do and voice first in AI. So they’re always going to need actors.
That’s it. That’s not going to happen. Particularly as you look at new platforms like podcasts and acting on podcasts, apps have gaming on them now. They all, they all require actors. So there’s a big future waiting for everyone.
Sean Daeley: Wonderful. I love this idea of thinking of it as more of a symbiotic relationship than a full replacement and actually making it more convenient for everyone involved.
Jim Kennelly: To me, that’s exactly how Lotus production season.
Sean Daeley: Well, Jim, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you so much for telling us about yourself and Lotus. I think you guys have a wonderful establishment. So how can people find out more about you guys.
Jim Kennelly: Sure. Well, obviously we advise you or recommend following us online.
Uh, there’s Lotus productions on Twitter. There’s Lotus productions on Instagram. Uh, on Twitter. I tend to talk about my vision of the future of the industry. Uh, so you’ll see a lot about voice first and AI. It’s sort of like [01:19:00] my tips and recommendations, uh, on Instagram. We really use it to show people what we’re doing in the studio.
One of the. Parts of the industry and new parts of the industry is that you audition alone. It’s sort of a close to inexperience. So you may get a script from me for JP Morgan chase for like we, the one we did today, it was about JP Morgan chase and women’s initiatives. A number of women read for me. They were all fantastic, but obviously only one person got picked.
So I’m able to put a photograph of that woman doing the job and it, I think for the talents, it shows them that like, okay. Yeah, I read through, I read for that thing at Lotus and my friend got it. Good for her, but at least you know that the project was closed. And so we’re trying to use Instagram to, you know, reassure people that Hey, jobs are going out.
People are getting them. And again, the other part I use Instagram too for is to show that we have fun here. That like our jobs fun. We enjoy our work here. And, uh, you know, we’re trying to encourage people, we’re trying to encourage talent to come to us. So follow us on [01:20:00] Twitter. Look for us on Instagram. Uh.
I always say to people that we’re, you know, we don’t sell anything here. Uh, you know, I’m not a coach. We don’t make demos, but we’re always looking for new talent. And so I’m happy to be on your podcast because we’re always looking for new voices. And you know, I never feel bad if you reach out to me and send me your demos and say, you want to be on our team because.
I know you just want to be successful. You know, when the, when the three of us would work at load with productions, come to work every day, we want to be successful. So we don’t hold it against anyone that they reach out to us and say, Hey, we want to be involved. Send me some scripts. Uh, let me show you what I can do.
We’re always looking for new voices.
Sean Daeley: Amazing. And just to make sure people know that’s Lotus productions. L O, T, a, S as in John, Lotus, not the flower. So Lotus productions on Twitter, Facebook, and all the other social medias.
Jim Kennelly: Yeah. When, uh, we’ll look forward to meeting you. We hope we can get together and work on that scenario of patient’s trust and speed.
It’s really important,
Sean Daeley: Jim. Thanks again. It was a pleasure,
Jim Kennelly: Paul. Sean, my [01:21:00] pleasure. Good luck with the podcast. Uh, good luck going forward with your careers and, uh, I’m sure we’ll meet again.
Sean Daeley: Welcome to part two of our session with Lotus productions. We’re pleased to be joined by Sam UWF right now who is director, engineer and audio guru.
Hi, how are you doing?
Sean Daeley: We’re fantastic. So Sam, tell us a little bit about how you came to work with Lotus.
I will try not to make it long and convoluted, but, uh, what happened was I graduated college in 2015 I lived down in Washington DC. I was freelancing with a radio station down there called w, T O P and their sister station w fed.
So I was on their production side. I was in the war room. I was helping with the live shows. And. You know, I was hoping to do stuff in production with them, but then they reorg and it became apparent after a couple of months that they didn’t really have any production. Um, production positions available left.
So after about a year and a half, um, I decided to come back up this way up North. Uh, [01:22:00] I grew up in New Jersey, so for about four months afterwards, I was looking for jobs in anything related to radio or advertising because I had experience at the radio station. So, you know, me and Jim and Marian ended up connecting.
And then I’ve been here ever since.
Sean Daeley: Well, our listeners know this, but I don’t know if you and I had a chance to talk. I actually live just outside Baltimore and I listen to WTO Bay quite a bit. So, and, uh, I worked for the oils for awhile too, so they, they carry the oils games before the nationals were a thing.
So a lot of experience with that station. Love it. Great. So Sam, I was curious, what kinds of work does Lotus specialize in? And since you’ve worked at a variety of different studios, what do you feel makes Lotus different.
So first off the bat, the thing that makes Lotus different is the fact that they are very warm, open, and welcoming.
That is, I would definitely say coming from a radio background, extremely rare to find, you know, it could be pretty cutthroat for radio, even if you’re not in New York, like there are plenty of markets that are just a little gritty. [01:23:00] So you know, to come here in a place where I get to produce and be creative and be me.
It’s really appreciated. And I love being able to come here to work every day for that reason. And I know that talent’s love leather for that reason
Sean Daeley: too. That’s amazing. So, speaking of the talent, um, our listeners are new talent, new to the business, and you work with a lot of talent, like both remotely and in studio.
So what are some things that they should be aware of, or what kind of qualities are you looking for in the talent you work with? I
would say probably. The two most important, in my opinion, are a solid home studio and you have to be responsive. So, you know, I understand there are newer people in the industry.
There are a lot of gatekeepers in this industry and a lot of confusion and honestly probably fear of technology and trying to set up your own studio. Um, yeah, it’s like I personally, I try to break down walls. I don’t like gatekeepers, so I am [01:24:00] always constantly just giving out information. Just email me.
I will give you as much information as you need to set up a home studio and you know, just making sure that you get it on point and.
Sean Daeley: No, that’s fine. I mean, and I understand completely cause I actually have a number of YouTube videos and things like that. Demystifying the studio tech and just using accessible language that doesn’t make it intimidating.
Yeah, that’s, that’s a big thing. I feel like everybody’s like, Oh, well, what’s your audio chain? How’s your pre-amp? It’s like, you know that that really
Sean Daeley: scares me sometimes.
Yeah. Yeah. That really kind of scares people and I don’t like that. I try to really make it in such a way that somebody can understand like saying, Oh yeah, your interfaces, the your translator between your XLR mic and your computer.
This is how they talk to each other. So I just try to make it really easy for people to understand. So obviously getting a home studio on point, uh, doing your research, not getting sucked into fads and crazes with microphones that then put you in a money pit. And then that’s a
Sean Daeley: big problem.
[01:25:00] Yeah. So not getting sucked into the crazes I’m doing your research.
And then probably the other half of that was being responsive. So you know, people are like, Hey, I really want to audition for you. I really want to start booking with you guys, so we send you an audition. But then we never hear from you, or you send it to us three days late. That’s not the best way to kind of put yourself out there.
So just make sure that if you’re really vested in this, you’re actually putting your energy into
Sean Daeley: it. So we asked Jim this question, but what about from your point of view in in the studio? Have you ever had a talent? Have an example of behaving badly. Or has there ever been a talent that really surprised you by, I don’t know, showing up with a box of donuts or,
um, I will probably like, let me get the bad one out of the way first.
Um, so Townley comes in. And he’s, you know, I go by Sam, um, I don’t go by Samantha. So I do that on purpose because honestly, a lot of people don’t get to see me face to face until they actually come into [01:26:00] the studio. So there’s a level of respect I get right off the bat, which would be weird for them to pull back once they see me.
So somebody was meeting me for the first time and they go, Oh, I didn’t know they let females engineer.
Sean Daeley: Oh my God.
Yeah. That was fun. That was a good time. Yeah. That was the one. Yeah. That’s not the first one. Nor will I. Will it be the last, I am quite sure of that, but um, so that was a bad one. The good one is that everybody knows I love food, so they know I’m a pushover.
If you just like get me cha-cha macho or like a bunch of donuts or cookies and just get
Sean Daeley: me baked goods,
the way to my heart is to my stomach. Just bring me food
Jim Kennelly: and
constantly keep people constantly like bring me. Food and snacks and things like that. And I always appreciate it, especially because if they know me well enough, they know what to get me.
So that’s the best part. And also, you know, obviously being nice, being respectful, I try to be friendly with people. Um, I try to make friends with the people who are talented here. So as long as you’re just open and you’re willing to have a relationship, let’s just [01:27:00] do that. It’ll be
Sean Daeley: great. So how much interaction do you do you want from the talent you’re working with and when is it too far?
So can I count, for instance, offer suggestions on Mike to use or would that be something you frowned upon?
You mean like asking me for advice on what to do for tech?
Sean Daeley: No, I mean, in the studio, like if someone says, Hey, I’d really like to use a for instance. Or is that something you’d frown upon having suggestions on your job and the talent, or do you like a cooperative relationship.
Well, I mean, let’s say if there’s an out of town talent that it’s like, Hey, I’m bringing my Mike with me. Do you mind if I just hook it up at the studio? Um, we say, Hey, these are the mics we have. But they, but if they say, Oh no, because it’s with a client, it’s like, yeah, it’s no problem. Bring your mic here.
Um, we have professional grade Mike’s here. We never really have to worry about anything. And I think people trust us enough to never. Worrying about our setups, but, um, you know, and in terms of interaction, if somebody needs to get in touch, like, Hey, I’m redoing my home studio. I don’t know what to do from my microphone.
I’m trying to upgrade my tech. What should I do? You know, I’m always [01:28:00] really open, you know, keep in mind, we are kind of busy. We are doing production work. We are doing mixing and mastering here as well. So that does take up time. But if I have a little free time, I’m more than happy to answer questions. I’m not trying to shun anybody.
It never bothers me.
Sean Daeley: So basically if you’re the talent, read the air and know when you’re taking too much of your time.
I mean, yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t even say that if it’s more along the lines of, you know, just understand that we also have to do this because this is our job. But more along the lines of just be respectful.
That’s all I could say. Just like respect me, respect my time and respect my energy and my output. That’s all I say.
Sean Daeley: So Sam, with your, uh, time in the business, obviously not as much as Jim. Where do you see the, where do you see the future of voiceover going from your perspective?
Well. Um, voiceover I think is very healthy in terms of, you know, it’s not going away.
It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Um, you know, I’m also a gigantic nerd. You could talk to me about video games, animate cartoons all day long, and I’m not going to shut up [01:29:00] so I could get on and on about that. And, you know, that’s, that’s definitely alive and well. Um, there are plenty of shows out there, and especially since there are platforms that.
I would say DVO deviate away from like regular cable. Um, you know, uh, like subscriptions, like Verve, crunchy roll, anything online, Hulu, they’re all creating their own original content. They need voice actors for this stuff. You guys are fine. Just keep booking. Just, just keep auditioning. You’re going to get there.
It’s like, especially if there’s a lot of independent animators, they’re going to need people to do voices for their stuff. And you know, video games are more than alive and well, so that’s going to be great. And then in terms of, um, you know, other stuff voiceover is great because especially with AI and voice first and things like that, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity for talents here.
This is a good time to start doing your research and seeing how you can put yourself in this new emerging market, this new emerging industry. You can’t be afraid of the technology. You just gotta go for it.
Sean Daeley: So it’s [01:30:00] something you might be able to help, but it’s, I’ve been kicking around a, I have a 11 year old son who does nothing but watch videos of either people playing video games, which has a voiceover or people doing, or people doing unscripted.
Basically, radio plays in just their house with their friends, and a lot of the times they’re their kids. Do you think there’ll be a time where the amateur voiceovers. People, I guess is the best way to describe them, would take over the jobs of what was traditionally a professionally done video.
I don’t think it’s going to surpass it as much as it’s going to help further it and develop it.
Because if you look into podcasts and you look at what’s popular now, you kind of see who shaped. Um, you know, especially serialized fiction podcasts initially, like one of the podcasts companies that I constantly recommend to people is, um, Nightvale presents because they did welcome tonight. Vale. Alice isn’t dead, uh, within the wires.
Um, uh, orbiting sir, uh, is a floating, orbiting circus. Uh, [01:31:00] no. Human circles. I can’t remember the name that someone going, something, something, something, something circus in the air. Um, they’re also doing, Oh God, what was that other one that just came out of ventures and new America? So they were one of the first indie serialized fiction podcast networks out there.
And look at how much they actually shaped serialized fiction. It’s like that. They’re going to help. You know, augment trends? I would say so, you know, podcasts are still very loose. There’s a lot more structure to it than I would say, like five years ago. Um, but they’re gonna just only help you like, it’s not like, Oh, the amateurs are going to take our job.
No, they’re going to help you further yours and hopefully become professionals themselves if that’s what they aspire to.
Sean Daeley: Oh, that’s amazing. And I feel like as you were, you were hinting earlier, so first off, it’s the orbiting human circus of their ego, the air. Um, but anyways, I feel like they’re going to kind of branch off and expand into their own niche areas as opposed to, I know, enveloping the [01:32:00] current trends of voiceover.
Yeah. I mean, they may, yeah. They’re going to help. FAPE, it, they’re going to help lead a direction. Maybe they might even help bring order to the chaos that is certain areas of podcasting at this moment. So it would be nice to see, like I, I love podcasts. I’m religious listener of them. I have so many that I need to catch up on.
Um, but it’s kind of great because it gives power to the people. It’s like everybody can have a radio station. Again, it’s not just owned by one conglomerate anymore. We have a lot of freedom right now, and hopefully it stays that way. That’s the way I like to see it.
Sean Daeley: I love that. And one thing that you touched upon that really stuck with me is the, the inspiring or S or the aspiration to create professional level content.
And like you said, you don’t, you kind of want to remove the gatekeepers and give people the confidence to produce on that level.
Yeah. Um, I always, I, anybody who knows me at this point knows that I despise gatekeepers. They are just such [01:33:00] an G, they’re just the bore on this livelihood, on this, you know, existence as we know it.
So. The only way that anything’s ever going to change is if stuff becomes free and accessible. One reason why I love the internet, everything’s free and accessible. You have the ability to kind of go out there and do your research and find what you need to find. And you know, it allows people to connect.
It allows people to come together to, you know, build and create these amazing things. So for that reason, I always try my best to give what information I can and I hope other people do as well, because what’s the point of. You’re not trying to work together in this industry. If you’re just hiding secrets from each other, it doesn’t make sense.
Sean Daeley: So Sam, we talked a lot about the future, a new media and ways that might affect the voiceover industry. What’s the future for
Lotus. Um, so there is a very bright future. I am very excited and looking forward to what we do with voice first. That’s one big thing that Jim has always talked about and I’m kind of seeing how it’s shaping now and I’m seeing all of the [01:34:00] relationships that we’re starting to build.
So, um, we really are at the cusp of creating a partnership with a brand. New industry. This is, you know, been in the works for a while, but now it’s kind of coming to a point where this is going to develop into something big. So I’m looking forward to seeing what we could do with that aspect. Also with working with more podcasts, which I’m going to be thrilled if you can’t tell.
I love podcasts. So working with podcasts, working production, working in mystery, mixing and mastering. Um, and there’s just a lot for us here, and I’m more than happy to see what comes out of it.
Sean Daeley: Before you go, tell people where they can find you.
Okay. So you could find, um, you’ve probably heard it from the last episode, but you can find Lotus productions at L O T a S productions at Instagram, and then it’s Lotus lot a S prods V O on Instagram under, sorry, on Twitter.
And then you can find me on a Femgineer, Sam. I’ll spell it. It’s F, E, M, M, E, G, I, N, E, R. [01:35:00] Sam, all one word, and it’s the same for Instagram and Twitter.
Sean Daeley: All right. Fantastic. Look forward to connecting with you.
All right. Thanks so much. You have a great one.
Sean Daeley: That’s great. Well, we can’t thank you enough for joining us today.
Really appreciate your insight and good luck with the future.
Jim Kennelly: All right. Thanks so much.
Sean Daeley: Thanks again to Jim and Sam from Lotus for speaking with us. Really great insight, and they’re just two great people. You had a chance to talk to both of them at vocation and really enjoyed their company both during the conference and then, uh, for a few adult beverages and dessert with Jim, particularly it, one of the, one of the evening, one of the evenings after the conference.
I’m so jealous. I’ve, um, I never got to meet Jim in person, but, um, before. Or long before you went to vocation? My, the Puget sound voiceover meetup group that I practice with kind of regularly, they actually had him as a guest director one time, and he was just such a pleasure to work with and he needs a real actor’s director and he just gets it, you know?
I mean, he’s just such a, I mean, him and his production team are such a pleasure to work [01:36:00] with. Agreed. Absolutely. So that pretty much wraps up this episode of the BL meter, measuring your voiceover progress. Coming up. Stay tuned for an episode with Tracy Lindley, LinkedIn master who is program LinkedIn edge, has helped hundreds of voice actors grow their business using that social media network.
And if you tune into that episode, we might have a way that you can get a discount on our wonderful LinkedIn edge product. So definitely give that a listen if you’re interested. So thanks for listening guys. We’ll see you in the next episode. Thanks for listening to the VO meter, measuring your voiceover progress.
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