Gobs on Sticks

Thoughts mostly (but not always) about the voice-over business, from London Voiceover Artist, Mike Cooper

  • About the author

    My name is Mike Cooper. I'm a full time Voiceover Artist living and working in London, and this is my blog. Find out more about me on my main website (there's a link further down this column), or if you'd like to hear some of my work, check out the files below.
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Posts Tagged ‘PR’

A weekend in the country

Posted by MikeCooper on May 12, 2009

I spent last weekend with a couple of hundred other voiceover artists at the annual Vox conference in Warwickshire. It was my second Vox, but travelling with me were two good friends and “Vox Virgins”, Trish Bertram and David Vickery. Between them, they’ve been making a living at voiceovers for longer than I’ve been alive, but neither had ever been before.

It soon dawns on anyone who goes to a lot of conferences that Vox isn’t really a conference in the strictest sense. It’s actually more about catching up with mates you never see anymore and networking in a gentle fashion. (Anyone who goes into full-on sell mode – as some do – stands out like a sore thumb, and immediately meets with universal disdain.)

Mostly though, it’s about the drinking, which starts pretty much the moment everyone turns up. By half-way through the “Speed Networking” event at 4pm there were advanced signs of inebriation – mostly on the part of producers (caught light rabbits in the headlights, bless ’em) as eager VOs touted themselves shamelessly in sixty seconds. The Awards ceremony, however, revealed that there was far more to these guys’ artistry than drinking, with some excellent audio on show that made me realise just how creative some of our creatives are.

As well as reacquainting myself with some of the nice folks I met last year, I finally met up with several people I’d only ever spoken to online, including Bob Kingsley and Philip Banks, who turned up with two Americans in tow who’d landed just that morning especially for the occasion. I’m not sure that either Bob Souer or D B Cooper knew entirely what to make of it, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves nonetheless.

Unfortunately, I seemed to be coming down with something the moment we got off the train, and it got worse as the afternoon went on, until – irony of ironies – I lost my voice. That’s right, I lost my voice at a Voiceovers’ conference. You couldn’t make it up, could you? By halfway through dinner I was running a fever, and not long after that I took myself off to bed for a restless sleep.

The party, of course, went on without me. On Sunday morning I was regaled with tales of a certain Voiceover Man doing hilarious things with one of my friend Trish’s Manolo Blahniks, and one or two other stories I probably shouldn’t retell here.

Last year I foolishly turned up to Vox in the middle of a non-drinking period (it wasn’t a lot of fun on that basis) and this year had to retire hurt, so I’m hoping that Vox 2010 is going to be third time lucky! All the same, I came away with a neat little pile of business cards from interested producers, all of whom are on my list of people to contact this week. Despite my ill-timed collapse, I reckon I came out ahead, so I’m happy.


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London Oncology Clinic video now online

Posted by MikeCooper on April 20, 2009

The second of my medical video narrations for the London Oncology Clinic is now online.

The LOC, based in London’s world-famous Harley Street, wanted to give prospective patients an idea of what they might expect from the clinic, and the they created a first video “walk-through” in the virtual world of Second Life last year. This was so successful that they decided to make a second video, showing the different types of scan for patients. You can also see both videos and visit the London Oncology Clinic website here.

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I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers

Posted by MikeCooper on February 5, 2009

It’s always a nice boost when someone says something nice about you, isn’t it?

It’s especially lovely when it comes out of nowhere, without any prompting/arm-twisting/threats of blackmail. And it’s extremely welcome when you’re feeling as down-in-the-dumps and ill as I’ve been all this week.

So imagine my delight when my twitter feed filled up with messages from someone I’d never met and never worked with telling me that I posess:

“a voice that trickles you all over with chocolate sauce”

…that has:

“a tingling timbre”

…and that my voice is:

“fabulously sweet … like smouldering applewood”

She’s obviously not heard me in the last five days (it’s currently more like a crackling bonfire) but I’ll gloss over that.

This, friends, is one of the nice things about twitter. Whereas Facebook lets you stay in touch with your friends, however tenuous and tentative those connections may be, twitter encourages you to reach out and meet new people. Look at who your followers are, see who their friends are, check out who the friends of your friends are, and then follow them too! Of course, for this to happen, you’ll not want to be “Protecting” your updates, so switch that off in twitter’s preferences (what are you here for, if not to share?)

There are even services which help you find people to follow to enable you make those connections (here’s an article about some of them, and Grader, apart from telling you your “twitter grade” also does a good job).

The instantaneous nature of the response to twitter’s question “What are you doing?” begs more frequent updates than Facebook’s status updates, and keeps things moving along at a pace. Plus anyone who’s interested in following trends or finding out more on subjects that interest them is well-served by twitter’s in-built search facility. It’s hidden away at the bottom of the page, but it works very well.

Users can also “tag” their “tweets” with a useful word to make finding them easier for others – this week the tag #uksnow was a prime example for anyone following the story of a Britain caught in the worst snow for years.

I suppose this has really become that first post on social networking that I promised earlier, and I promise to write some more. But I also promise not to become a social networking “expert”, because those posts are already oversubscribed.

Back to the lady in question who prompted me into action. Her name is Anthea Bailey and she’s from somewhere in the North of England. She works in PR (hey, maybe I could use her?!) and her website is being constructed “as we speak”. So in the meantime you’ll just have to “follow” her, here

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