Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Talent Profiles: Bob Glavin

Today I sit down with the extremely talented Bob Glavin, he of multiple 2017 Voice Arts Awards nominations. Bob is one of the more interesting people you will ever meet, with an eclectic background as a performer, and a burgeoning career as a voice actor. Here we discuss his journey in the voiceover world.


You've got a big-league background as a DJ, isn't that right?


*laughs* Big-league? I don’t know about that. I did some radio work. And I have been fortunate to DJ (work) in some of the Best and Biggest clubs around the country. I had Great times for many years! Learned a lot about mixing re-mixing and speaking performing in front of live audiences. Memories to last a lifetime!


How did you get interested in voice acting?


 I’ve always been interested in Voice-Acting since I was very young. I would listen to old time radio dramas like War of the Worlds, The Shadow and when was a teenager I think CBS radio had a radio drama like that and more shows but with conventional today stars or at the time. I used to record and transcribe Promos from TV that Ernie Anderson, Don LaFontaine and Joe Cipriano would voice. Oh, Casey Kasem too! So I read a few books. My first was Take it from the Top by Alice Whitfield, the second was There’s Money Where Your Voice Is by Elaine Clark. After I read that book I said I’m going to make a demo tape. Now at the time demos were on tape. So I took a 6 week VO class in NYC. Now this was the early 90’s so it was much different from today a few commercials and a couple of promos on same demo tape. *laughs* I remember it now!

Anyway, after the class you get a produced demo tape and the opportunity for a major NYC agent listening to it. So I did it.
Also had the opportunity for my demo tape to be heard and critiqued by a number of professionals in the VO industry at the time at a panel put together by Backstage magazine which included another VO idol of mine Thurl Ravenscroft (voiced many commercials the voice of Tony the Tiger, Narrator of “You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”) The whole panel really liked it! You couldn’t say who you were though. It was just for critique. My demo tape was picked! Mr. Ravenscroft said “He should be working!” I remember one lady said actually I know who it was but I’m not saying “There is some regionalism though” but the panel all chimed in and said “that’s an easy fix!”
After the event I walked out and there he was getting in his limo. I had to tell him it was my demo tape. So I said “Mr. Ravenscroft that was my demo tape you just heard and critiqued. He said “Was it you young man”? I said “yes sir can you give me any advice about the voice-over business”? He said “Don’t stop learning, listen and follow your dream. You’ll be Great!” I really wanted to continue my voice-over career now!

Back to the agent she he listened to it and she really loved what I did.  She pulled me aside and said to me “I think you should move to NYC!” She kept in contact with me through a few weeks and sent me on a couple of auditions. Booked a couple of things. And I wanted to move to NYC like she suggested but didn’t because I was very much in love and getting married and my fiancĂ© was starting a career in television news as a television news editor and aspired to be a professional singer. So I chose to stay in New England and support her career while I DJ’d and remixed at nightclubs, because I was making good consistent money! And I said to myself and her, "Oh I’ll get back to my voice-over career in a few years." Probably when she transfers to a station or network in NYC. Well, years past and things changed. We got divorced for reasons I won’t go into. But it was amicable. Hmmm maybe that’s not the right word *laughs* Oh you know what I mean!
Why NYC? Because of Randy Thomas! You can quote me. I’ve been listening and following this woman's career for I don’t know 30 years or more! Her voice and delivery is simply perfect! I always knew that somehow our roads would connect!
Make no mistake NYC is fast! I’ve been on auditions all over the city! It takes time to get there so you have to leave very early because of the subway system, trust me! A couple of times my agent here sent me on auditions and I left my condo early enough and there were subway problems so I was literally two minutes late for my appointment and they wouldn't take me!
What genres of voice acting do you have a passion for?
I have a deep passion for Promo, Trailers, Radio Imaging, TV Affiliate oh and Live Announce. 
I know it’s my destiny! Many VO coaches actors I respect including yourself tell me I have got the talent for it. However, I know Promo always changes and I look forward and change with what read is popular or booking. So I continue to study and work with the best VO coaches. 
What's your dream VO job?
My dream job would be a few actually. The voice, or announcer of a network, TV stations, Radio stations promos or the voice of major TV show, game show, a lot of trailers. Live announce too!
Knowing what you do now about getting into the business, is there anything you would have done differently?


Oh yes there is. I wouldn’t have gotten married and would’ve I moved to NYC or LA sooner! So for anyone reading this and is in or close to a relationship similar to mine. Please listen to my advice. Do for yourself first! No matter what! Don’t let anything or anyone get in your way! Follow your passion! Follow your dream! Also, I don’t think that I would’ve done my demos quickly. Meaning one genre right after the other. I would’ve spaced them out a bit. It’s all about the voice acting isn’t it? 
Yes, it is!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Only Human: How to Use Service Recovery Effectively When You Let a Client Down

When things are going well, it's easy to start thinking you are a superhero, capable of handling Herculean tasks without breaking a sweat. Saying yes to every client request becomes second nature, until you have your day scheduled down to five minute blocks trying to maximize and monetize every second. It can be a rush, and greatly satisfying when hard work comes to fruition, but sometimes we ask too much of ourselves.

Recently, during my EURO VO Retreat in Barcelona, I had one of those moments where I overestimated my ability to handle everything at once, and it almost cost me a fantastic client.

With our beautiful Studiobricks booth set up at the villa, and having the occasional hour or two between presenting and hosting duties, I decided booking some client sessions wouldn't be a bad idea. The first couple went off without a hitch, but on Tuesday night I woke up restless at 2AM, knowing that I was well behind on email, administrative tasks, and other minutiae that probably could have waited. I tried falling back to sleep, but after thirty minutes abandoned the effort and went to the living room to work on my laptop. I figured I would work for an hour and then be able to crawl back in bed until 6; Fortunately, our son Tom had been sleeping well, so this sounded like a reasonable plan. Instead, I worked until sunrise, getting into marketing and demo editing after the emails. Before I knew it, breakfast-time rolled around and it was time to put my host hat on. Okay, I thought, I can do one night with no sleep. No problem.

I had scheduled a 90-minute live-directed session with a major new client for that afternoon. I presented on conversational reads in the morning and my energy was fine, but by lunchtime I was starting to fade. Nevertheless, the show must go on, so at the designated hour I set my laptop, 416, and travel preamp up in the booth, and opened a session awaiting the client. Connectivity at the villa was not the best, so the client was already a little irritated by the occasional mis-connects and drop outs. But, the session went well. We got through about a dozen scripts in a little over an hour, and everything seemed good to go. I had a quick listen to the raw file through the computer speakers, and not sensing anything amiss, (I'd done this a thousand times, right,) I endured the slow upload to Dropbox and fired that bad boy off.

Then the panicked email came. Something was wrong with the audio. I sounded off-mic and tinny. Impossible, I thought....I was on a 416 with a decent pre in a quality booth, and I like to think I know my way around a mic. Just to be sure, I grabbed my all-star audio engineer A.J. McKay to have a quick listen with me and tell me I wasn't nuts. Problem was....I screwed up. Rushing from hosting duties into the booth, on two hours of sleep, I had failed to do one simple but crucial thing.....change the input on my laptop from the computer mic to the preamp. The client had over an hour of audio recorded on the very high-end, industry-standard voiceover mic which Sony builds into every new Vaio. OMFG.

Not only that, I had training to do that afternoon and a dinner to host later. There was no fixing this until the next day. The client was understandably livid, having hired not just my voice but my credentials and experience as well. It was easily the biggest VO Fail I've had in the past decade, and I was about to lose the account.

I fell on my sword, dropped the bravado, and explained what had happened and why they would have to wait. I fully expected them to toss me out like a radioactive potato. But, I sincerely apologized, and I offered to comp them 100% of the work that would be done throughout the week, until I returned to my studio, regardless of whether they kept me on or not. This was several thousand dollars worth of spots. I also offered them schedule priority for the week I returned, and told them I would clear any times they needed since they were now behind on delivery.

When I stay at a hotel, and their laundry service ruins one of my shirts, I expect them not just to pay for the shirt but to make a gesture of apology as well. A smart hotel will do something that has a quantifiable value, like send up one of those $30 bottles of Champagne that they charge $100 for through room service, or offer a free dinner. It makes you forget their mistake, and builds trust through a show of good faith. You suddenly like them again, and not because they just threw money at the problem, but because they demonstrated contrition by taking something out of their own pocket that they didn't have to.

Smart companies engage in service recovery that delights the customer. Everyone screws up once in awhile. It's how you handle it that determines whether it ends the relationship, or gives you a chance to build new trust. In your VO business, when you fail, when you try to be super-human and realize you aren't, and when your clients suffer because of it, fix the problem, and then show them your sincerity by doing something they won't soon forget. You might just save the relationship.

Anyway, I've gotta run. I have another dozen spots to do for that client in just a few minutes.