Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blue Moon

Fruit Roll-Ups® Wicked Witch Hats Courtesy of

I toyed with the idea of pursuing voice over for a long time. As a kid I loved commercials. I’d memorize them and record myself on my Strawberry Shortcake Cassette Recorder. A few of my personal faves? Fruit Roll Ups® TV Spots and Zips. Yes, as in the super cool Velcro Shoe's commercials from the 80’s. I knew I was destined to do creative things. When I was 16, I auditioned to sing for a 20-piece big band in the Chicago suburbs where I grew up. I showed up knowing one tune: Blue Moon. To my surprise, I was hired on the spot to be their lead singer. Let’s just say I had many songs to learn. After high school I became a cruise director and singer on a few different cruise ships. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot while seeing the world and meeting so many interesting people. 

As a new bride, my next move was to Las Vegas, where I could sing on the infamous Vegas Strip, but still come home each night. After many late nights and smoky lounges I revisited my childhood dream: voice over. This idea kept popping into my head. But how? I found out about a voice over class, and decided to check it out. You know how they say when you meet 'the one' you just know? Well, after my first class I 'just knew'. Voice over was my true love, aside from my amazing husband of course. So I dug in. I listened. I studied. I read... and read... and read. I was dedicated to developing my skills and my understanding of this unique craft. I did the work, and I couldn't get enough of it. After two years of working with a coach on a weekly basis I cut my demo tape. Yeah, I said tape. My demo was on a cassette, but unfortunately I’d lost Strawberry Shortcake by this point. 

Because this is a blog and not a novel I have get to my point. And my point is, if you’re interested in pursuing voice over work, or opening up a doughnut shop, or anything at all, just take that first step. Check it out. Be true to yourself. What did you want to be when you were a kid? What does your 'inner child' want to be when it grows up right now? I’m really glad I knew the song Blue Moon and that I had people around me who said I could do anything. But mostly I’m really thankful that I have a chance to inspire people to follow their dreams. It does require work, but you owe it to yourself to take that first step. 

P.S. Thanks Mom and Dad for good ole’ Strawberry Shortcake. I was manifesting my dreams and didn't even know it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Workout

I’d like to dedicate this blog entry to my workout group, The Vegas Voicers.I absolutely love this group of people. Not only are each and every one of you super-duper talented, but you’re amazing human beings. First, let me describe what our “Voice Over Workout Group” is all about, and let me tell ya, every voice talent out there should jump into a local group or start one of your own. Twice a month about 20 local talent come together in my home studio. It’s kind of a big deal because we all take showers, actually put on clothes, and spruce up. After all, we’re talking about real human contact! It gets lonely in our home studios, so coming out of isolation is step one. The evening is divided into a few segments. We talk about stuff we need to talk about. Like technology, the latest-greatest gear, marketing tips and ideas, cool blogs everyone should check out, questions, concerns, sometimes we need a pep talk.

Whatever needs to happen happens. We then move into phase two: we workout. We don’t do Jazzercise or Buns of Steel, nope. We read for each other. Sometimes it’s recorded. Sometimes we read in a circle, other times we do a mock audition round. That’s when everyone reads the same piece of copy with the same direction, but I kick everyone out into my backyard so the reads are fresh and no one can hear one another. It’s so interesting during playback. It’s a rare treat to hear what everyone did with the exact same copy and the exact same direction. We all learn a lot from this exercise. We share constructive feedback. Sometimes people want to branch out and try a new genre. What better place to do it than in a peer group where you have professionals who voice so many different styles? Maybe you recently did an audition and you'd like to get some feedback on it because you struggled with interpreting the direction. Or maybe you do hundreds of explainer videos and you want to try commercial VO. You get the idea. The key is: we help, we share. It’s a safe environment to grow and try new things on for size. The goal is to make it a very positive experience for everyone. Listening and observing fellow talent work their own personal magic is such a huge part of the process.

Oh, and I can’t forget about our special guests. I often invite local producers to join us. We do helpful Q & A’s with them, and it’s nice to get new local talent on their radars. I also invite agents, out-of-town producers, vocal coaches, top talent from across the country, etc. to Skype with us. This is extremely cool. We ask the tough questions. We go straight to the source. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s helpful. I’m super thankful that so many knowledgeable people are happy to do this with us. You’d be surprised. When you ask people for help, they’re usually happy to. 

Last but not least, the fourth segment is crucial. We eat. Highly important. Voicing totally requires nourishment. We usually have some great snacks and some quality social time. It doesn't hurt if a member of your group is a gourmet chef hobbyist. (thank you Daniel Dorse). The roar of laughter during our break is one of my favorite parts of the night. It’s really special to spend time with people who do what you do, wear the many hats that you wear, and sing the song that you sing. I love bringing people together. One of my favorite quotes is, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Share, share, share. I bet you've got some great stuff to share and some talented folks in your zip code. Ask around. Come together. It’s powerful. 

I’ll leave you with this “We push each other to get better. We could never be as good alone as we are together” Ryan Wittman. Thank You Vegas Voicers, for becoming and continuing to be my voice over family.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yes vs. No

The Booth

I’m sure I get rejected 50 times a day without even knowing it. And I’m sure I submit auditions that are never heard by a decision maker. That, my friends, is A-okay with me. I’m not worried about the no’s. I prefer to put all of my energy and focus on the yes’s. After I submit an audition I never think about it again. Submit and forget. It’s very freeing, actually. And it helps me continue moving forward. Wondering about what happened to this one or that one can mess with your confidence and your creative mojo. So submit, forget, and when they do call you to book you, it’s like connecting with an old friend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One Little Word

Melissa Moats and Dad Joe Krippelz Sr.

My Dad is my hero. He’s taught me a lot of things. One day I asked him what he believed it took to be successful at anything. He didn't even hesitate. He smiled and said one word. Consistency. Wow, one powerful little word. I really took it to heart. It is definitely easier said than done, and I remember that word every day. I stay consistent with auditioning. Consistent with organizing all of the junk that piles up on my desk or in my inbox. Consistent with giving my clients my very best work, and very best attitude. Always. I also consistently treat every client I work with like they are my ONLY client. No matter what it is you're going after: Voice Over, weight loss, or getting to the top of that mountain, you gotta keep at it. Every. Day. So, consistency. Yep. One little word. I hope it helps you get to your mountaintop. Thanks, Dad.