Every so often the internet gets a video that goes viral, and when it hits - it's like a California wild fire!
Just 5 days into the new year, a video of a homeless ex-radio personality, Ted Williams hit the net... and the snowball kept rolling! With more than 12 million views, by now many of you have seen the video, the interviews, reunions and have heard about the many clients "The Golden Voice" has garnered in just a matter of days.
What is the attraction?
For starters, Our voice is our indispensable PR agent, and its sound can decide whether we are admired or rejected. But it is also subject to fashion and social peculiarities (source). Most deep voices are the stamps of authority, and nothing is more appealing than an underdog, but with the gift of voice.
The 'underdog' story of redemption dates as far back as David & Goliath, and is seen on television, the silver screen and many Disney type animations. These are the types of 'feel good' endings that most people love, and Walt Disney knew best with his creation of Disney World that it would never go to waste as long as we have imagination and love a fairy tale ending. While many of our stories do not always end happily, the success of Ted Williams is like food for the soul.
On the other side if the track, there are a few that can not wrap their minds around why this is happening to him and not them. In fact, my first thought was, "Wow! I know alot of guys with this type of voice, and they're barely working!" Mostly because the deep guy had become recently extinct in the commercial industry when Don Lafontaine left us.
Whether you agree or not, Don started the job with his Geico commercial, and various appearances on network television after years of hiding in the booth.The story of Ted Williams has brought relevance and credence to our over looked industry, and has given the once shoned deep voiced announcer another shot at redemption.
Just a word of advice, a voiceover coach can separate one voice actor from the next.
To date, I have heard of two television reality shows geared toward the voice actor, and have already seen auditions looking for a voice actor with the Ted Williams voice.
Many of you may be down on your luck, but with prayer, hard work and a great attitude - doors will open for you too. As for Ted Williams, This is his time to shine.
Let's just hope he has the right people in his corner to keep him on the straight and narrow.
We're rootin' for ya, Ted!
I agree, Myron. It's sad to see people would rather believe in "luck," as opposed to a blessing. I do not call my success luck at all... when something of this magnitude happens, it's where blessings meet preparation.
Again, not to be a "stick in the mud", but at the end of the day, I don't think this Ted Williams story thus far lends more creedence OR crebility to the voiceover profession. Williams has a good voice, has some radio chops, advertised himself in a quirky and unique way, and was extremely fortunate, as well, I do wish him the best.
But I also wonder, about what happened to the regular Cleveland Cav's announcer? How about the guy they originally booked for the Kraft foods spots? Oprah's network? Were they any less talented- let along, deserving- of the job they are being replaced by a "flavor of the month" celebrity?
And two VO reality shows on the way?
Undoubtedly, this attention, and the forthcoming reality shows will bring more wannabees to try voicovers. That may bring some talented competition, sure, and a lot more less talented competition. What will that do? Put further downward pressure on rates clients will pay for non-union work. As one pointed out earlier, such publicity is a bonanza for the various "teachers" and "coaches" and "gurus" will sell more books and lessons and seminars. The pay to play sites will definitely profit.
But those already working in the business not already at the very top will be further squeezed.
Any flood of new, cheap "talent" is likely to overwhelm clients. How will they respond? Probably to restirct the field of voices they will listen to. Perhaps some will even revert to the old days, where they won't listen to anyone who doesn't have a NY or LA agent.
It's amazing how quickly folks have moved from "Good for Ted Williams" getting an opportunity to come in from the cold, to "It's not fair, I'm better than him and I'm not getting any breaks."
So we're all 'human' and prone to issue a wide range of opinions. For my humble observation, I don't feel threatened that Ted is going to take 'work' away from me. I say "Go for it, ride this thing into a respectable career.,.and honor your mother's demand to 'live right' from here on out."
For the rest of us, use what you have, manage your resources well, keep your eye on the prize. You may or may not get a 'big break' that you wish would happen. But you can prepare, working diligently to hone your craft. And treasure every opportunity that comes your way.
Do you remember the story of Don LaFontaine? He was the 'recording engineer' who stepped in to perform when the scheduled talent was a no-show. It changed his life but he probably would have made the move on his own if it hadn't happened.
The moral of the story: be prepared for a 'lucky break' and work hard enough to 'create' your own opportunities. And no matter what, don't be a jerk. Far better to build friendships than to alienate folks along the way.
alright, that annoying time limit on edit function cut me off(grrr !!!)
agreed Dan: Hone your craft; be ready for any breaks that come your way; don't be a jerk; be happy for the successes of others without resentment.
I just wish people would think these things through a bit more.
My only caveat is this: beware of those who think that 'spreading the word about the wonders of voiceovers' is necessarily an unqualified good thing.
Much of it is mostly pyramid scheme hype that will do little good- and could possibly negatively impact- those many of us who are dedicated to making a living in this business as voiceover artists, but not profiteering from others pursuing the same dream..
And I agree with you, Douglas! Trading on people's dreams is not a new idea. Particularly for those who wish to 'perform' in some manner. Remember the outfit that would come to town wanting kids and teens to 'try out' for a modeling/acting career? Only a limited number would be permitted to 'buy into a 'directory' of modeling talent. Of course, those selected had to pay for expensive photography, modeling classes as well as 'a listing' in the directory which would be provided to talent buyers.
Parents could easily be out several thousand dollars and the mathmatical odds of ever 'breaking even" were about as good as playing the lottery.
I say this not to 'steal someone's dream' of becoming a model, an actor, a musician, a dancer, or the greatest role of all, a major voice-over talent. Just go in with your eyes wide open.
There is no 'shortage' of voice actors. Just as a concert has never been cancelled due to a shortage of guitar players. Be fully aware of what it takes to be 'one of the chosen few' and make a committment to your goal. And don't quit your day job.
I'm a truly new person in VO -- while I've been pursuing Voice Over as a second career for over 4 years, my resume' is, in a few words - slim to none -- I have enjoyed interacting with the VO community through local gatherings, VO classes from local pros and those who get to come in from other places -- Rodney Saulsberry and Bettye Zoller to name a couple -- I have found everyone, without exception to be accommodating, friendly, warm and energetic about the industry and even my "potential".
Having bored you with that -- I think the Ted William's story is a positive one. And while I have a small bit of envy at his luck -- I think about what he's been through and what he will go through and I thank the God I worship that I have not been down that road.
I wouldn't trade places with him for an instant. As most of those in the industry have said to me on more than one occassion, "your time will come" as long as you keep working, keep learning, and keep up with the changes in the industry.
Its up to me to me to do all of that -- and when my door opens up -- I hope I'm ready to jump on it like a dog on a bone.
good for Ted -- but his road is not one I would have chosen to travel to get to where he is.