Balticon 48 provided a lot of tricks, tips, and topics for the blog. Due to my schedule, there were several panels that I wanted to attend but couldn’t due to my being on another panel at the same time. For the panels I was able to attend, I took a lot of notes and tried to figure out how to apply my unique situation to the advice offered. In some cases, it seemed to work rather well. In others, I realized that I was either too far along to implement some of the suggestions or that they didn’t really apply to me as a narrator and voice artist.
My “brand” as a creative has always been something of a question for me. Do I want to be known as a voice artist who just happens to write, or as a writer who coincidentally gives good voice? If I devote energy to one, how do I earn respect in the other field and demonstrate ability? What does the brand of “me” look like?
One of the panels I pegged to attend was “Author Branding, Multiple Platforms.” I confess, I ducked into the panel a little late due to some hallway conversation, and I missed a bit of the start. It was helpful to see a diverse representation of creatives from multiple venues, since not every person represented the traditional author persona for branding. The diverse representation of people and paths also led to a diverse presentation of different platforms where one’s brand could be shared; Allie Gamblin, PJ Schnyder, J.R. Blackwell, T. Jackson King, and Charles E. Gannon all had different experiences and foci for their creative platforms. For my part, I’ve considered YouTube as a possible branching-out point for live readings of work, and I have not used Google+ as much as others due to the challenge in maintaining another social media platform. And Tumblr… again, another “ooh, shiny” but I’m not sure what I could do with something that seems so visual when my main medium is so very aural.
There was a conversation of branding oneself and using pseudonyms. I confess, I missed the pseudonym boat several years ago; my real name is part of my brand, even my domain name. Although it could pose a problem in academia, I have yet to reach that point with my research or the work that I do with my students. If that day comes, I have to say that I’ll be more amused that folks considered my work a problem than anything… and I’ll hope that they listened to the story about the pussy spiders. Out with a bang and not a whimper, right?
Some of the advice hit home; JR’s comment about branding oneself to be at the center of the work made a lot of sense to me as a voice artist. Having multiple brands due to multiple series and titles can cause the person behind the work to get lost in the shuffle. For me especially, I want potential clients to know me and hire me… and so, the brand is Veronica, not the act of narration or the different titles. Charles brought up the important yet difficult truth of not overnetworking and considering the type of maintenance each platform requires. The idea of ‘work ecology’ when it comes to the act of building and promoting along a platform wasn’t completely new, but it certainly highlighted one of the reasons why trying to pick up a new social media platform while I’m finishing up different projects might not be the best idea now.
Conversations before and after that panel also helped me to realize that there are many crucial things that I haven’t done that I need to do. Maintaining a better record of the work that I do on the VbyV site is one of the big things; I do a lot of free narration for audio magazines, and I should list those on my site more frequently. I don’t have a demo reel, and three people have asked me for reels in the past month. The reel is what allows me to do work for bigger contracts, so getting to the next level means putting together the reel. And, as many people have reminded me, I need to have a master feed that allows people to know where my voice will show up next and what’s going on.
I’ve considered the short biweekly show… and it’s appealing. But, let’s face it, another weekly audio project? Is it really what I need to do?
… maybe? At the very least, it would provide me a way to practice the audio tricks that I need to hone my production skills. It wouldn’t have to be anything long or elaborate, just a way for me to provide folks with a quick update about what I’m doing, where they can find my voice on different projects, and maybe learn about upcoming projects.
Hmm. Might be on to something there. Now, where to find a microphone…