Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Season to be Thankful

Christmas is always a magic time for me. The memories of the season never fail to conjure warmth, peace, and the love of family and friends. It is a time to reflect on a year gone by, and to dream of the blessings of the year to come. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon all of the things and people you are grateful for, and to let them know how you feel.

My list is too large to enumerate in in its entirety, and no accounting can ever cover all of those who have contributed to a rewarding and fulfilling 2015. Here, at least, is a partial attempt.

The Voiceover Community

To all of you, my colleagues and friends, thank you for being the kind, supporting, and genuinely decent people you are. I cannot think of another profession where those who compete with one another for work are so genuinely supportive of one another. It never fails to take my breath away when I see how helpful, warm-hearted, and deeply good voiceover people are. It is a privilege to belong to this community, and I am grateful to all of you.

Those Who Make My Job Easier

Jenn Henry, Michelle Falzon, Steve Black, Tony Mack, I'm looking at you. Thank you for being there when I need you, always reliable, and always delivering quality.....I'm honored to have you as colleagues and friends.

My Coaching and Demo Clients

I wish I had more time to coach. I love teaching this business to new talent, and working with established pros to increase their bookings. To all of you who have put your trust in my coaching and demo production services in the last year, you mean so much more to me than you can possibly know. I eat, sleep, and breathe your success, and I feel every up and down in your career as acutely as I feel my own. You break up days spent in the solitude of the studio, and your progress always re-ignites my passion for the business. Many of you have become good friends, and fierce competitors. It sounds contrary to common sense, but few things bring me more joy than seeing you book a job that I've also auditioned for. Thank you all for your brilliance, diligence, and your incredible talent. You are each one a blessing.

The Conference Organizers

Gerald Griffith, James Minter, Randy Thomas, and all the others out there.......what a service you are providing to our community. In 2015 I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting at VO Atlanta, The Midwest Voiceover Conference, and The VO Mastery Event. These gatherings, and the others out there like them, offer so very much to new and seasoned talent alike. I have personally watched people build careers from the information learned and contacts made at these events. Moreover, the chance to commune with people who live and breathe the lives we all share allows us to build friendships and professional relationships that will be with us throughout our careers. I'm looking forward to doing it all again in 2016, and adding WoVO Con to my list next April! To those of you who make these events happen, your hard work does not go unnoticed, and you have my deepest appreciation for all you contribute.

The Society of Voice Arts and Sciences

This young organization, of which I am proudly a member, has brought style, flash, and substance to the voiceover industry in a manner the industry has never enjoyed before. Under the capable leadership of Rudy Gaskins and Joan Baker, SOVAS has created the Voice Arts Awards; an unprecedented celebration of the hard work we all do every day. It was a joy to attend this year's gala in Hollywood, featuring industry leaders from every side of the business, along with luminaries like William Shatner and Malcolm Jamal-Warner. The chance to spend time with so many of my most talented colleagues was a wonderful gift, and the excitement of everyone who won brought home what a value this event is to our business.

The World Voices Organization

This year saw WoVO begin to come into its own with growing membership numbers and more involvement in the greater community. As a non-union talent, I believe we need an organization to stand up for the value of the hard work we do, and to educate new and experienced talent alike about how to preserve our worth. I'm a proud WoVO member, and look forward to watching the group continue to expand its presence under the strong guidance of its President, Dave Courvoisier.

My Agents

To those who represent me, thank you for another year of your hard work, and our shared returns. Thank you also for the work that you do to preserve rates and standards within our industry, in spite of unprecedented pressure. Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like an agency audition, and each one of you is instrumental in my success.

Online Casting Sites

Despite the continuing controversy in this segment of the business, there is no disputing its ever growing relevance to how we do our jobs. This year saw the big two continue to present well over a hundred opportunities daily to their membership bases between public jobs, private jobs, different genders, and different languages. There is simply nowhere else where talent can go to access such an abundance of work, and while commercial rates continue to be generally less than desirable, this year saw in stark relief what I have been long predicting: The increase of quality narration jobs across online casting platforms, often at rates well higher than union scale. We also saw quality smaller sites begin to stake out a larger footprint for the first time, offering more and more options to the talent base. I'm thankful for these sites, and I'm grateful for the people who work for them and support their members.

My Clients

To all of my clients......thank you for putting your faith in my ability to bring your scripts to life. You put the food on my table, and allow me to live a life that still feels like a dream sometimes. I am honored to have your business.

My Wife, Anna

Perhaps not VO related, (yet,) but without you, I would be nothing. Thank you for your love, your support, and your tolerance. You are my whole world.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and a very Happy New Year to all. Thank you for all the blessings.

-J. Michael

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