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A Car Question...

Hi folks!  Lots has been going on here - including a brief trip to Atlanta for Anachrocon to sing with Play It With Moxie (w00t! Note our fantastic new logo - Thanks Brian!) and participate in a voice over UNconference :) called Faffcon (Faffcon3 is already being advertised - and I'm really looking forward to going to it. I was at Faffcon2).  I had a blast at both and spent time with folks I get WAY too little time to spend time with (darned geography).  

But I'm actually posting because I wanted to ask you all a question.  It's a car-related question.  Since my lease is coming up in June, I'm trying to decide what kind of car I'd like to finance.  And this time, it will be a finance.  Car companies don't seem to be offering as many leasing options as they used to, they don't seem to like leases, and interest rates are generally low enough that over 72 months, a finance rate is pretty decent.  

I'm looking at a mid-sized car - so a Mazda 3, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Elentra, Kia Forte Koup (they're pretty cute cars), or a Chevy Cruze (which I've heard very good things about).   My current car is a Mazda 3 - and it's ok ... but ... not great.  I'm certainly not loving it enough to purchase it at the end of the lease - mostly due to slightly cheap feeling interior stuff.  But maybe if I upgrade to a newer model?  Don't know.

So my questions are this:

1) Which car of these would you recommend?  Or do you have another recommendation?  And why?
2) What "luxury" features in a car do you find the most useful/fun?  

I'd love to hear your opinions.  Thanks so much!
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The Year In Review - and Happy New Year!

I know I don't write often... but today seems to be the perfect opportunity so here goes:

It's been an eventful year for me.  The singing remains as I want it to be - fun and rewarding (thanks in large part, to Allison and Debbie!  Really appreciate you two! :D) - and I'll be performing with Play It With Moxie at the upcoming GaFilk convention (hope to see a lot of you there!).  I've done some singing for various projects besides and I've been really happy with the results.

Voice overs are going better than ever and just this Wednesday, I did my first national US gig (for Gold Bond, actually) through my agent in L.A..  Look for that both on US TV and on their website, I believe, when they launch the product I'm voicing for.    New and big things happening for them!  I signed with a new agent in Atlanta about a month ago too.  Nothing much from them yet, but that's to be expected.  It takes time to build up a relationship.  That will mean I have an agent here in Toronto, one in L.A., one who is based in Hawaii and travels all over Indonesia (he was once in L.A., which is how I was working with him originally), and the one in Atlanta.  So not doing badly.  And of course, I do my best to get business of my own wherever and whenever possible.  I'm still on a bunch of online marketplace type websites and that does yield some business.  Though more often than not, it comes to me from my website rather than theirs.  Would LOVE to do more radio imaging ... but so far, that part of the business has eluded me. :)  I'm hopeful though.  2011 is a new year. :)

Oh - and I have new business cards. :D  This is something I'm actually kinda excited about as they finally actually match my website.  Branding is important, after all.  If you see me at GaFilk and would like one for your very own, feel free to ask. :)

My family is healthy, my husband is wonderful and incredibly supportive given that I can't always count on a paycheck - and in general, life is pretty darned good.  So when others are counting their blessings at Thanksgiving, I guess I'm doing it now. ;) 

I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.  May 2011 be the best one yet!
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Adventures in VO...

It's been a pretty busy couple of days!  Wednesday, I did a session with a client for Hood Sour Cream.  Anyone here heard of them?  They don't sell their product here in Canada, but I was told it was north east (it's only running for 13 weeks - a TV commercial).  The music they used behind it was "Do you love me" (folks would be familiar with that song from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack?  Though yes, I'm aware the song is far older than that. ;) )  I'd love to know if any of you see it. :) I believe it was being produced by a company in NYC.  

And I spent 4 hours today in a local studio being directed over the phone from Germany for a Ubisoft exercise game for the wii (those of you with PS3's will be able to buy it some time soon, I believe ...)  298 pages of an MS Word document.  Phew!  I surely needed some tea when *that* was done.  Had to be really *up* and excited/cheerful for the entire thing, too.  Those of you who know my exercise habits (or lack thereof) have my permission to enjoy a hearty guffaw now. ;) 

It was supposed to take 6 hours - so we got it done in record time.  I truly love these German clients.  They're professional while still maintaining a sense of humor.  It was a joy to work with them.   

In fact, I have to say, I'm a very lucky person.  I adore all my clients.  Every single one.  How fantastic (and rare!) is that??

And Monday, a bunch of us VO folks are getting together for lunch in Toronto - just to gab and see the world outside of our recording booths for a while.  It'll be fun. :) 

Then I have a practice with UT!  OVFF is fast approaching ... Really looking forward to seeing a lot of you guys there!! :D
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New vocal tracks - Moebius Cat

Serious coolness! A music project I did some vocals for has now gone live - with an *awesome* site. http://www.moebiuscat.com/ if you'd like to take a listen. All the songs are in mp3 format for listening and downloading - though donations would be appreciated if you download. :) (It's entirely voluntary.) Roman Bershadsky is a SERIOUSLY talented musician and artist (and a friend from here in the Toronto area). I hope you'll check it out!
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Adoration. :)

 I seriously appreciate my Toronto voice over agent.  I've had a bunch of auditions and jobs lately - auditions for jobs and then JOBS that I *didn't* have to audition for.  It's fantastic to actually be told "can you be here at this time for this job?" when the client chose me from my demo on their website and nothing else was required on my part.  That's kinda new to me.  I've been meeting a LOT of interesting people - not to mention other folks on his roster.   And I'm getting used to the idea of not having a script until I walk in the door.  It's actually a kind of fun challenge. ;) 

Then I found out that he'll be the guy doing the talk on the Friday luncheon at Voices of Vision - the one where I'm talking on Saturday at lunch.  Really cool that he's getting involved too - especially considering how busy he is.

So some major kudos for this guy.  I certainly appreciate the work!
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Voices of Vision - September 23-25, 2010 - Toronto, ON Canada

So you remember I mentioned that article I wrote about search engine optimization for voice actors?   Well, after Voice 2010, a friend of mine named Shawn Maroney decided he was going to put on a conference for voice actors.  It's September 23-25 this year in Toronto, at the Holiday Inn Toronto Airport.  There are some really *really* fantastic voice acting coaches coming to give workshops at this event - Pat Fraley is the keynote speaker (L.A.), M.J. Lallo (L.A.), Bill Holmes (Hollywood) & Deb Murno (Vancouver - I've mentioned her before and have taken a couple of workshops with her already).  All *stellar* talents and wonderful coaches.  Two days of learning from these folks is going to be just *amazing*.  And Elley-Ray Hennessy, a very talented performer and well-known voice acting coach here in Toronto is going to be the M.C.  So I'm kinda stoked already.

But Shawn has asked me to give a talk about my article (and other stuff along the same lines) on the Saturday of the conference during the luncheon.  (Our lunches are paid for on the Friday and Saturday of the conference - that's part of the membership fee.  Pretty cool.).

So you can hear an audio snipped about my upcoming talk on the Voices of Vision page where it displays the various coaches and presenters.  Pretty cool to be in such august company!  (Truthfully, I feel a bit out of place ... but I'm certainly not complaining! :-D)

So any of you who are interested in receiving voice acting instruction from some of the best in the business (I'm talking about the coaches now, not me. ;-) ), I hope you'll attend!  And those of you that do, please do say hello! :-)
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Some catch up ...

Wow.  It's been a while since I've posted.  Thought I'd give folks a bit of an update on what's been going on with me.  First off, I attended the Voice 2010 conference in L.A. - a conference specifically put on for voice over folks at all levels of their development.  It was an amazing time.  Truly fantastic.  But while I enjoyed all the workshops, it was meeting the *people* that was most rewarding for me.  A lot of the folks I'd been in touch with online were there - from all over the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and even folks from as far as Japan and Turkey!  I've mentioned it before, but I'll do so again: voice over folks are some of the *nicest* people you'll ever want to meet.  Generous with their time, FUN and encouraging - from the complete newbies to the well-known professionals.  I adore these people.  And I've never been more proud to be a part of the voice over community.  There are some friendships I made during the conference that I hope will last a lifetime.

It was an *expensive* conference, the hotel being in Century City.  And I'd have to consider whether or not I'd go again (they only have the conference every two years) if they had it at the same hotel ... but this once, it was well worth it for me.

When I got back, I had a project waiting for me (a commercial for Vistek, a high-end camera distributor here in Canada, in case any of you are familiar) from my new agent here in Toronto (thanks Roger!).  It's always wonderful to just have a job you've been called in to do without needing to audition.  Don't get me wrong - it isn't usual, from what I've experienced.  But when it happens, I definitely appreciate it.  Apparently, the client (and one other after that) heard my demos, liked what they heard, and that was all they needed to hire me.  W00t! :)

I've been keeping busy with regular clients, some e-learning stuff, corporate narration, commercials, web videos, etc.  That's what I love about this job - it hardly feels like a job.  Different stuff to do every day.  Sometimes I know what my next job is - sometimes not.  It's all a thrill and a surprise.  I do like surprises (GOOD surprises, that is. ;) ).  To be in a profession where that happens all the time?  What a blessing.  

Actually, to give back to the community before I went to the conference (that was at the beginning of June), I put together an article called Search Engine Optimization Tips for Voice Actors - calling upon my many years as an Internet Marketing professional to help out other voice actors starting up or wanting to further promote their websites.

I've also updated the Muse's News newsletter so that it's actually in html format now.  It only took me 13 years. ;)  If you're a songwriter and you're not subscribed, why not? :-)  Visit here to see the latest issue (I send only a portion of it in email and then have all the links go to the website so that your email isn't flooded.  It's a large newsletter!  Lots of stuff in it!).  The new format went out yesterday morning.  I'm very proud of how it worked out.  My friend Pauline is the designer on that.  If you need graphic design, she's very reasonably priced and does a fantastic job.  I highly recommend her services.

Had a practice with Allison and Debbie on Monday of this week too.  We're already starting to plan for our GOH spot at OVFF... Hope to see many of you there!

I think that's it for now ... For those of you in Canada, I hope you have a wonderful Canada Day tomorrow!  And for those of you in the US, I wish you the very happiest 4th of July.
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Some stuff to watch

Hi guys.  Thought I'd share this as I just got the DVD myself and I thought it turned out really well.  It's a documentary I did the narration for, about a very sick little girl who makes a wish with the Make A Wish Foundation to go to the Derby - and meets a horse with her own name (who goes on to win the Derby while she's there!  Pretty dramatic!).  Very emotional and well-written.  I was honored and pleased to be a part of it.  The documentary is called Rachel's Story and it aired on HRTV back at the end of March, I believe.   Please be patient with the ad that shows before the documentary begins. :) 

It's well worth watching - not just because I narrated it :) but because it's truly inspirational on a whole lot of levels.  And if you like horses?  Well.  I don't have to tell you. :)

I hope you enjoy it! 
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The good news :)

So there's good news!  First of all, I got my first job for the second agent I have in L.A. (actually, he now lives in Hawaii).  I have now proven I can get a job for him.  This is a very good thing. :)  It was for a short run (2 weeks or so, I think), :30 TV commercial in the Baltimore area, so those of you in Baltimore, if you see a TV commercial for Baltimore International College, yup.  That's my voice. :)   Sounds like a great college too!  They have an *Ireland* campus.  How cool is that??  (Did that session Tuesday in a studio here in downtown Toronto.  Great bunch of folks.)

Second, I now have representation in Toronto. W00t!  I'm officially with PNA as of last Thursday - and really happy about it.  Might mean some more local work, which would be awesome.  I've also gotten a job through that agency that's for a major telecommunications company here in Ontario, but I'm going to keep quiet about specifics since I haven't actually completed any projects for them yet and I'm not sure what their disclosure deal is.  I don't want to ruin things before they start. ;)  It looks like it might be two sessions a month or so ... Something like that.  Sometimes less, sometimes more.  But a somewhat regular gig.  We'll see how it goes.

The doubly great thing about that particular gig, is that there were two of us chosen for it - and I know the other woman (she's with a different agency).  I've taken a voice over workshop with her and she regularly attends the voice over social gatherings we have here in the city.  She's really sweet and very deserving and I'm really happy for her.  It'll be great to see her at the next gathering and congratulate her in person. :) 

Other than that, I'm getting ready for a voice over conference called Voice 2010 that'll be taking place in L.A. in early June ... I'll get a chance to meet one of my L.A. agents there and meet a lot of the people I've only met online since starting in this business.  I'm SO looking forward to that.  It's always great to put faces to the names and to get to know people better.  There are a ton of workshops and panels and such at this upcoming conference, but really - that's the reason I'm attending - to meet people face to face.  There are people attending this conference from as far away as Turkey!  :)

So that's the story, those of you who were waiting for an update from my last entry.  I didn't want to keep you hanging too long. ;)