What? Summer's over?
Posted on 06 Oct 2009 by Todd Tolces
Wow! No sooner does Letterman get an extortion note in the back seat of his car (what is his car doing unlocked anyway?), than suddenly fall is screaming around the corner. As a voice actor, I always look forward to fall. The leaves are changing, the crisp nip in the morning air, the expectation of snow in the mountains, the....wait a minute. What the hell am I talking about? Fall is the gateway to the holiday season and the welcome mat for voiceover jobs as retailers frantically try to move product. Well...bring it on. PLEASE. But summer was filled with outrageous new projects I was thrilled to be involved in. First off, most excellent voice actor Sam Mowry and his Willamette Radio Workshop asked me to perform with fellow voice actors at the one and only UFO Festival in McMinnville, OR. This was a thrill. I have been dying to perform with these guys for years, and finally after bothering Sam incessantly after a recent voice job we did together, he gave me a call. There at the legendary McMenamin's Hotel Oregon in McMinnville...we performed Orson Welles' classic War of the Worlds...live onstage, exactly the way it was performed live on the radio by Welles' Mercury Radio Theatre back in 1938. Rehearsals were uniformly excellent...but the weekend long UFO fest was forecasting warm beautiful weather...and I was worried nobody would want to sit inside and miss the parade, other speakers, costume competition, and so forth. I was wrong. Our broadcast space which held 200 tops, was packed SRO and many more people were turned away because it was so crowded. It was a huge success and the performance was, well, out of this world. You can see some unbelievable photos of the parade, costume ball, UFO speakers, and much more at McMenamins Flickr page....and you can see a pic of the WRW performing WOTW here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcmenamins/3568153660/in/set-72157618833943802/ Better copy and paste that link...hyperlinks don't seem to work well on blogs! I'm on the far left onstage just left of the post. And the flying saucer news didn't stop there. Read the next entry!

Clients from Yonder
Posted on 26 Jan 2009 by Todd Tolces
How curious. America's economic woes have opened new doors in strange new places. While thousands of on-air, production, and voice professionals have suddenly found themselves out at the curb as large broadcast entities shed employees at a frantic clip, new opportunities for voice talents have popped up around the globe. In the last year, I have done imaging jobs for clients in Singapore, Trinidad, Luxembourg, and Brazil. In just the last week, I have auditioned for clients in Ghana and France. The list of out-of-the-country clients needing voices is bigger than ever...and ENGLISH is the language of choice. Travel around the world, and you'll find many people in foreign lands can speak a little English...although they'd prefer their native tongue. But English is becoming a universal language and many schools around the world, especially China and Japan are aggressively teaching school-age kids English. What does this mean for honey-toned but unemployed voices? Plenty. With the right, aggressive marketing, you may be able to access stations and clients in places you'd be hard-pressed to find on a map. And with a PayPal account, payment is fast and painless. You won't find these jobs in the classified section of your Sunday paper...but with a little sleuthing and dogged determination, you might be able to find yourself some clients from yonder.

The Inconvenient Truth
Posted on 12 Sep 2008 by Todd Tolces
Some of you may know I live in Washington state, just across the river from Portland, Oregon. I truly love it here...and although there might be more voiceover opportunities in larger markets, that landscape, like everything else about voiceovers, is changing. I've been doing voiceovers and voice imaging long enough to know that Portland used to be a union town. The best talents, and I humbly include myself in those ranks, could only be cast for AFTRA scale. The most respected agencies agreeably signed on as signators to the union contract, and the talent was paid fairly and on time. Young up-and-coming talent could be Taft-Hartley'd, paid union scale, and eventually find their way into union membership. Busy talent even qualified for the AFTRA health plan if they worked enough union jobs. That's the way it was when I moved here in 1980 from California. And it pretty much stayed that way until maybe 1995 or 1996. After that, the influx of the net completely reorganized the way talent was made available, marketed, cast, and paid. A flood of non-union voice over talents...some good, some not so good...made it all too easy for agencies to hire outside the union. And the price they were charging for voicing a spot was shameful. $50 for a spot? A crackhouse hooker has more pride than that. The net also made it easy to audition talent in other markets, even in other countries. Local union talent found themselves on the outside looking in. In 2001, I asked my agent how many auditions I was missing because I was union. He said "...about 90%." That was the wakeup call I didn't expect to get. But it came, and I've been resentful toward AFTRA for not being more proactive and not seeing the new technology emerging to completely pull the rug out from under thousands of union talents...many of whom have either since left the union, gone financial core, or stubbornly stick it out and continue to pay dues for nothing. Solidarity, sadly, my ass. I've had a lot of people ask me over the years whether they should join AFTRA or not. 20 years ago, if they were Taft-Hartley'd...they didn't have a choice. You get cast for your first good union job, you got paid scale. The next job you get cast for, you become obliged to join the union. That was a time people wanted to get into AFTRA. It was a union card you were proud to have in your wallet. Today, the union is on the ropes being pummeled by non-union talent, agencies that see no reason to be a signatory, and agents that know union talent isn't getting cast because union talent can't audition.

Welcome Aboard!
Posted on 31 Aug 2008 by Todd Tolces
My name is Todd Tolces and welcome to the Blog Dept. at Imagingvoice.com. I'm glad you stopped by. In the days and weeks ahead, I hope to generate a lively discussion about creative voicing, copywriting, theatre arts, and media in general. This is our Labor Day weekend and we're being bombarded with radio and TV ads for everything from mattresses to cars, to homes toplumbing fixtures. Do people really make Labor Day a shopping event second only to the Christmas holiday? I mean, if we're honoring "labor" shouldn't we be just kicking back in our Barcaloungers? Killing time before we fire up the grill? And shouldn't the most pressing point of the day be beer, wine, or straight shots? Honoring labor my butt. All these stores with gigantic sales and rock bottom prices mean people have to work longer hours on a day they should be spending with family...and that is no way to honor labor. Here's an idea. Stop the Labor Day sales. Send everyone home or the day. And celebrate labor by not laboring.

Blog will be running soon.
Posted on 18 Aug 2008 by Todd Tolces
Please check back for updates.

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