There are a lot of balls to juggle in running your own business as a voice over artist. Staying on top of industry trends and learning from others who are doing well in the the voice arts is one of those spheres. I regularly check out blogs (and podcasts & vlogs) of some of the cream of the crop in our industry. Now anyone can talk can blog, but not everyone creates insightful content worthy of my (or your time). Earlier this year, I began my Top Ten Voice Over Blogs to Follow list and released interviews with people on the list.
Released in alphabetical order, we’ve so far heard from J Michael Collins, Dave Courvoisier, Bill DeWees, Anne Ganguzza and Debbie Grattan. Next is the incomparable Paul Strikwerda and his blog “Nethervoice.” Another heart-of-gold voiceover industry gem, Paul works in his native Dutch, English (as an ex-pat European living in the US) and occasionally German. He is the author of “Making Money in your PJs” a book rich with insight about freelancing as a voiceover artist, geared for beginners and industry veterans alike.
Voice Over Artist Paul Strikwerda
Paul, why do you blog about voice over?
I blog to stir the pot and push the envelope by pointing out what others see but are too afraid to address: mistreatment by clients, the cheapening of the industry, and willful ignorance and laziness from newbies. I realize that I cannot change people’s minds, but I can entice my readers to think.
Do you have a theme to your blogs?
My ultimate goal is to enhance professionalism and critical thinking in our field. Many things inspire me. I draw from personal experience as a voice talent, life coach, and former journalist. I follow discussions in our community closely, and add my voice whenever I feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, or excited. Because my blog has a huge following and people trust me, I receive tips from colleagues that can lead to stories.
Do you plan it out or wait for inspiration to strike?
Throughout the week I keep notes on everything that strikes me, and usually a theme appears on Wednesday when I start writing. I love writing about what goes on between our ears. The psychology of success. About what moves and motivates people. What holds them back? What helps them overcome obstacles? Those topic are relevant to any freelancer, and that’s why I have many subscribers who are creative professionals, but not necessarily voice talents.
What are your favorite kinds of blogs to write about?
The controversial ones. Those are the stories where I take a stand and rock the boat of an established voice casting site, or I criticize an awards show. It’s the articles where I take on the establishment and ruffle a few feathers. Many emperors in voiceoverland are wearing very little clothes, and I’m the little kid watching the parade pointing that out. Sometimes I get spanked for opening my mouth.
What kinds of blogs have you noticed get the most attention or feedback?
Some people say I’m always critical and I only tell people what not to do. I disagree. Obviously. I rarely tell people what they should do or how they should think. I tell stories, I give suggestions, and then it’s up to the readers. A lot of my blogs posts are about how to be a successful independent contractor in a tough economy, about communication with colleagues and customers, and about the fun of being in business.
Do you have anything else you’d like us to know about your blog in particular?
I don’t have a favorite VO blog. I trust John Florian of VoiceOverXtra to find the best of the bunch and send them to my inbox. He really knows how to pick ‘em. ! I think it is very useful to look outside of my VO-bubble. I read blogs and articles about advertising, marketing, optimizing one’s online presence, negotiating fair rates, about writing, personal growth, spirituality and psychology. I want to incorporate all these resources to become a better and more interesting blogger!