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Radio Imaging! And you can hear. :)

Well, I haven't posted here a lot lately... Mostly because I've been pretty busy and focused.  A great deal of my time is spent auditioning.  A LOT more time is spent auditioning than actually being behind the mic - but ask any voice over talent about that, and they'll tell you the same thing.  That's just a part of the biz.  I still love it. ;)  I've also been involved in working on a kind of large e-learning project which is going really well so far.

One of the reasons I love this job is because I can do radio imaging in AMMAN, JORDAN.  Yes.  Halfway around the world, they are using my voice to introduce the station's call letters and such.  I will go on record yet again as saying I LOVE TECHNOLOGY.  That I can produce audio here in my home studio, upload it to an Internet server, have a client download it and produce it on their end, and put it on their radio station in another country just blows my mind every time I think about it.  And I love it. :)

If you'd like to have a listen (right now, they're interspersing my voice with the previous woman who was doing the imaging, so it's still kind of mixed.  "The Sunny Feel Good Fact of the Day..." isn't me.  Though I do recall sending that audio to them.  They're still in the process of producing some of the imaging from the audio I sent them.  Radio Imaging is kind of an art form so it takes a bit of time) - feel free to visit sunny.jo and listen to their live streaming.  It's a great station, actually (English speaking - and kind of pop/slower rock music).  Oh - you need Internet Explorer to get the streaming working, unfortunately. 

I may shortly have some very good news to relate also ... Keeping my fingers crossed on that one ... Should have more news by the end of this week.  Feel free to add your finger-crossing to mine, if you'd like!  I'd appreciate it. :)

Rest In Peace, Muriel Cole

 I heard from my mom several hours ago.  Needed a bit of time to assimilate it.   

My grandmother passed away this afternoon - peacefully and with both her daughters at her side.  2 days ago, it was a her 91st birthday (I was off by a couple of years.  I thought she was the same age as my grandfather.) .  

The stroke had taken away most of her movement, but when my mom told her who was with her and asked if she knew them, she actually made the effort to nod.  Considering she was pretty much paralyzed and she's been living in a state of dementia for years now, I suppose it's debatable whether or not she truly recognized her two daughters ... but we like to think she did.  

Even though I didn't know the woman you became, nana, I'll always remember and love the woman you were.

May you rest, finally at peace.  Free to be yourself again.

Progress & Life Stuff

This userpic is a new head shot taken by ohiblather this summer in her gorgeous back yard.  I've been needing a new, more professional head shot for my voice over website and other voice over related applications.  Debbie did an awesome job and has been hugely generous with her very limited time.  We made an afternoon of it and it was a lot of fun.  I don't usually enjoy having my picture taken, but Deb has a way of making you feel comfortable (I'm sure many of you already know that. ;-)) .  It certainly helps that we've known one another for years.  (It amazes me how many years it's really been! :-) )

 I've been waiting a while to adopt one of the photos because I wasn't sure if there were more coming :-)  but having asked a few people's opinions, this shot was the clear winner.  Thanks so much, Deb!  You rock! 

Life continues with voice over work coming fairly regularly.  There are some good things in the works - and even if I don't actually get the projects, I've been up against some truly talented folks.  So you know how people say "it's an honor to be nominated"?  It really is.  No fooling.  One of the women I was up against for a job just recently, actually wrote a BOOK on the subject of voice overs (I own it, in fact) so losing out to her?  I mean, I didn't get the job so that sucks.  But being the other voice talent in consideration alongside her?  A HUGE honor.  It's encouragement when so much of this business can drag you down.  Repeatedly.  And then stamp on your corpse. *laugh*

I'm still looking for more agents... The more I have, the more opportunities I have.  So that search is ongoing. 

But there's some other not so great news too.  My grandmother (who is 93 and living in a Home in Florida) had a stroke on Friday.  This is actually *another* stroke as she's had one before, though it was a small one.  Originally, we were told this one wasn't so bad either.  But on Sunday, I got a call from my mom that she'd been advised by her sister and the Home that they needed to go out there ... That my grandmother's stroke was much more severe than they'd originally thought.  My mom and dad were on a plane to Florida on Monday morning.

Now I haven't seen my grandmother, really, since she came to my wedding (and I did desperately want her there.  She and my grandfather had been divorced many years before, so it was an iffy thing at the time.  And she came.  And I loved it that she came.) almost 20 years ago.  A year or two after that, she started developing signs of dementia and some time after that, she stopped being able to take care of herself.  Her life after that, has been a progression of gradually more supervised Homes, my mother and her sister doing their best to make her as comfortable as possible.  When I was younger, I would exchange many letters with my grandmother (part of the reason I really wanted her at my wedding).  We didn't talk about anything special.  Just filled one another in on our lives and such (she's lived in Sarasota Florida for as long as I can remember, so I never did see her on a regular basis, even when I was a kid).  But I have fond memories of that.  Those memories are old ones though.  I have no recent memories of her to speak of. 

I'm upset more for my mother than myself.  My mom was really broken up about it when we spoke on the phone on Sunday so she could tell me she and my dad were on their way to Florida the next day.  My mom's relationship with her mother has been a very complicated and difficult thing - for both of them, I think.  But there's always been a lot of love there.  And it's always hard to see someone you love suffering.  That goes for my mom and my grandmother - and for me and my mom too.

So at this point, I ask only that you send out prayers and good wishes for my grandmother's recovery, or her gentle passing, if that's what's to be.  Honestly, I think the latter might be a mercy ... but maybe that's a horrible thing to say.  :-/

Wow. Just ... Wow.

I received a lovely little usb drive in a lovely little gift box from Debbie and Allison today when we met for dinner.  

Thank you SO much for putting that together, guys.  All of you that participated ... I mean, wow.  That's just about the most special birthday gift I've ever received and I'll treasure it and the songs and birthday messages on it.

I'll also say that I have some of the most INCREDIBLY TALENTED friends on the PLANET.

Just sayin'.

;)

Love you all! 

It's about time ...

I FINALLY have a page up for The Muse's Muse on Facebook.  I don't know what I was waiting for.  Maybe the next ice age? ;)  But it's there now.  I hope you'll "become a fan" if you're interested in songwriting. :)  

My Video Voiceover Demo

Thought you guys might get a kick out of this.  It's put together by My Next Demo, a company run by a friend of mine and a fellow voice actor named Jason LeBlanc.   Let me know what you think.  Seems a different way to spread the word about my voiceover stuff.  And it certainly fits the theme of my website. ;) 


Here we go again ...

 Well, as with most voice actors, I'm constantly attempting to improve my demos. There were two spots in my commercial demo I wasn't *entirely* pleased with ... and today, Dave DeAndrea (a voice actor friend of mine in Oregon and an *extremely* talented performer) helped me update things so that those two spots are gone, and a couple of spots I'm much happier with, are in their place.

The cool thing about it is that the two I've added are actual jobs. :)  (In case you weren't aware, depending on the talent, a lot of voice demos are made up of pieces that aren't *actual* spots that particular talent has done - but spots that were "simulated" and directed by a professional voice coach so that their voice's best qualities could best shine through.  Unfortunately, some of the work we do for clients *isn't* what we might feel is our best work - but as long as the client is happy, that's what matters.  However, when it comes to a demo, the audio that's your calling card, you don't want to settle. ;)  So you can really tell a talent that's been in the business a *while* if he or she has enough spots they're happy with from actual clients to include in their demos. ;) ).

One was for 1800hotels.com , and the other was for a service offering from North State Communications in North Carolina (which is still going on and should be regularly heard in that area) called "Plex". You can hear the new demo here. If you feel like giving an opinion, feel free. :)
It's been a while since I've written anything about my voice over stuff, so I thought I'd post an update. :)  I've been keeping busy with a bunch of projects.  Panera Bread in Georgia, North State Communications in North Carolina (I'm the voice of "Plex"), the narration for an Entrepreneur of the Year award for Ernst & Young, some PSAs for the Alaska Tobacco Control board, along with various other spots of the lesser known variety (but still paying decently well) from some regular clients.   I'm really pleased with how things are going, even though the last couple of weeks have been a bit slow, overall.  I've been doing auditions, working on promoting myself (I've joined the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce and have a meeting there on Thursday morning to learn more about it.  Nothing like getting known for what you do in your own back yard!) and in general, not taking any time to rest on any laurels because if I don't continue to try and drum up business CONSTANTLY, I end up with lengthy dry spells after the busy spells ... I think that's just how this business goes.  But I'm loving every minute of it. 

Then just yesterday, I got some nice news ... One of the things I also do while I'm participating in teleclasses, reading about the business and craft of voice overs and marketing myself during the slow times, is take part in voice over contests - just for the fun of it.  This particular contest was put together by a woman named Marla Kirban over on a voice over social networking site I'm on called Voiceover Universe. There are actual prizes for first, second and third place.  And they judge folks on their interpretations of various scripts.  The first two were commercial reads.  The third one, was a TV Promo read (the sort of thing you'd hear in between television programs to advertise an upcoming program).   Yesterday, I was told that my entry received the second prize for the TV Promo category. :)  This is very exciting because there are a great many REALLY TALENTED voice over artists that entered this thing.  Plus, I was the only female chosen to be within the top three.   The cool thing about this is that the second place prize includes an hour consultation with Marla Kirban, who is well known as being a very knowlegeable person in the business. Talking with her will be HUGELY useful.

So all in all, things have been pretty good ... It could always be busier, but in general, I'm happy and enjoying my work.  There's a lot to be said for that. ;) 

I hope those of you reading this are doing well too (and enjoying your summer!)!
I was recovering from a cold right after FKO but luckily, I have wonderful music partners who are SO much better at con reports than I am.  Allison really picked up the slack and Debbie made heroic efforts even though she too, was sick.  (Thanks, guys!!)  I'll just say it was an awesome convention, FKO is like coming home, and I love you guys. :-D  I had a fantastic time and I (of course!) am really looking forward to next year's FKO which is probably the next time I'll see some of you.  (Though I will be at GAFilk, as per usual.)

The second part of my post is this:

Any of you have netbooks or are doing research into it?  I'd love to hear your opinions.  As some of you know already, I went and got myself a little 8.9" Acer Aspire One netbook recently when my Fujitsu Lifebook kicked the bucket (or had the bucket kicked FOR it ;-) ).  I'm loving it.  I really am.  About the only thing I wish it had was a larger screen (so I could edit audio on the actual unit.  It's really too small for that now) - and possibly an optical drive, though that really isn't all that necessary.  The keyboard is a little small for extended periods of typing too, though it's workable.  I don't have overly large hands so it's not a HUGE problem.

Still - I'm looking to find a netbook that is as *silent* as possible.  When I record in my little home studio, I have the netbook right next to me.  And I'm using a condenser mic.  That condenser mic (a Rode NT1-A - which I *love*, by the way) could pick up a neighbour coughing from down the street.  A computer with a noisy fan or lots of moving parts that makes the unit vibrate (yes, that sort of underlying hum can be heard on recordings), will definitely be a problem.

Netbooks are getting better by the *minute* though.  And there are now a number of 10" models coming out that are looking especially appealing - especially if I can get them with an SSD (a solid state drive - or a flash drive - not a spinning disk drive as the units have previously come with).  And SSDs are getting larger in storage size and cheaper in price all the time.

As I've mentioned before, I have $1300 in credit with Best Buy and they've told me they'll get in anything I want, even if they don't normally carry it.  So ... I've been thinking - and I'm wondering if any of you folks have any experience with any of the following (or their predecessors) and have any thoughts on whether or not you think they'd be as silent as possible and would suit my purposes otherwise:

Lenovo S10
Acer Aspire One D250
Asus PC S101
Samsung N110

All of these are fairly new units (some of them not even yet available to buy in stores) - but I'm curious about whether or not any of you have heard any news about them (yes, I've looked on the Internet and have read some of the review sites - which is how I even know their model names) or have had experience with the units before them.  If you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it!

Re: Cell Phone Plans - Can anyone help?

Hi folks.  I've been pondering this question for a while now, and I'm driving myself insane looking at all the plans and options and ... bleh.  So I thought I'd ask my friends what THEY thought.  (That's you guys.  Yeah.  You.  Really.  No, don't look around.  Well, I guess you could run for the hills if you want to, but I kinda hope you won't. ;-) )

Here's my dilemma.  My husband and I are currently with Rogers for our cell phones (we're in Canada - and there are relatively few well-known cell phone carries here.  I swear - Canada is a third world country when it comes to cell phones.  It's SO not funny!).  We're paying about $66 per month for both our phones on a plan that's about as low as we can get with them, but *still* is way more than we need.  100 minutes a month?  Yeah.  We don't even come CLOSE.  Neither of us use our cell phones for more than 50 minutes a month - if that.  (I used mine for *12* minutes last month, just to give you an idea - and James didn't use his for much longer).  Our 3 year contract (yes, Rogers makes you sign a *three year contract* with the inclusion of a phone - and ours are WAY old at this point) is up in May.  We're looking for a new option - probably not with Rogers.

We've been thinking of a pay as you go carrier.  But after doing quite a bit of research, here are the problems I've encountered.Collapse )

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

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