On October 16, 2012 I was officially unemployed and figuring out what to do. Seven years later to the day I reflect back on what an amazing faith journey with God it has been and some background on how I got here. Thanks for watching!
Talking about my first live event/emcee gig.
On October 2 I did something completely outside my comfort zone – I emceed a live event in front of 300 people high atop the Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway. It was for an amazing elearning client – Energy Worldnet that I had done VO work for since 2016. Now that I’ve had a week to process and reflect here is a video that shares my thoughts and experience. Thanks for watching!
Approximately 75 completed projects of all genres; radio/tv commercials, online ads, narration, explainer videos, elearning, awards show announcements, small biz promotions, legal spots, healthcare enrollment spots, restaurant spots, instructional how-to’s, character voices… try saying all that in a single breath dude 🙂
Volunteer Activity with LearningAlly.org – wrapping up my 4th audiobook with them and 2 more in production. The opportunity to read not one but three stories in the “Here’s Hank” series by the amazing actor/author Henry Winkler is beyond cool!
If you’d like to volunteer with this organization I strongly recommend clicking the link above, learning more and jumping in – you don’t have to be a professional voice over artist, you can volunteer to be a listener and give feedback. I’ve heard from a friend on FB where this is used in her son’s school and it’s made a big difference in his reading comprehension. Hearing that made a big impact on me and at the end of the day telling kid stories is such fun, why not give back with the gifts that I have been blessed with.
I built and brought my VO mobile rig with me on a 5 day trip to Virginia Beach to visit my daughter and 18 month old granddaughter. This allowed me to visit and love on family and still produce 4 x high quality projects during some downtime. Blessed to live in a time when this is possible and affordable! Here is a short video from the setup on my FaceBook page.
I produced a green screen video where I played the part of a cool IT guy named Nicky for a VR game developer in the Netherlands. It involved being on camera and using all those studio lights, teleprompter and green screen background I invested in – fun and challenging and a lot more complicated than voice over work!
Continued my association with the team at BYP in Dallas producing radio/tv commercial tags for Jerry Seinfeld comedy events – the tour rolls on for year 2 and I’m thrilled to still be that guy who tells you how to get tix and where it’s happening!
Continued as the VO guy with the TopThink YouTube channel (that has over 800K subscribers) producing some very interesting explainer video style content – never fail to learn something new from the amazing and genteel Peter and the crew at TT!
Training/Career Development – Participated in an online WOG (workout group) for VO talent hosted by veteran VO super talent/instructor Nick Omana. A WOG is when a group of voice actors read for their peers and then get immediate feedback – great experience for learning how to break down scripts for different genres and auditioning. It’s also great for learning how to give direction – kind of like turning the tables and understanding the perspective of a client/director trying to pull something from a vo artist. This one was done via a Zoom Room – cool tech and great for this kind of learning!
Also audited an online class from Real Voice LA with the legendary promo guy Roger Leopardi – immersed myself over the course of a weekend for 8 hours of some of the most practical teaching I have ever soaked up! Thanks RLVA for the gold!
E-Learning is a favorite of mine and continues to occupy a large part of my production calendar. I enjoy working with clients that I have been working with for several years like EWN (Energy Worldnet), a world class company that produces safety/compliance training for the Gas Pipeline industry. Being the CBT (computer based training) and now VR voice for their training is an honor and I take it very seriously knowing that some of the content I deliver can have a huge impact on the safety/lives of the men and women who are in the field doing the work. I am blessed to partner with this team of professionals and in August will be making a special announcement about an event I will be involved in with their team that is taking me way out of my comfort zone – and it’s gonna be so cool (hush Troy and don’t give it away yet)!!!
Developing new business relationships is always exciting and I’m proud to now be working with the team at Kokosing Industrial producing elearning content for a number of companies. I get to work with a stellar team of instructional designers (those are the hard working, super-smart folks programming the visuals for the instructional content I voice).
- Got a call back from the Carolina Renaissance Festival for a second year of producing radio commercials in a fun UK character voice – I’m looking forward to visiting this wonderland and eating some of their great food again!
- A southern character voice for a series of tv commercials for a South Carolina based heating/ac company – yeah buddy!
- A character voice for a goat for a cashmere sweater company – not a baaaaad gig!
- I have a cool new Fred Rogers mug for the studio!
Okay that wraps it up – blessed and happy man who is very thankful to be able to do what I do by the Grace of God.
Until next month, take care and be blessed!
Here is how I produce a 30 second radio commercial from the notification to the delivery to the client.
Lightly edited and almost real time.
Here is a quick look at how I edit AudioBook projects in Adobe Audition.
I like to playback at 1.5 – 2 times normal speed. I use a clicker to make it easier to find retakes.
As a self employed professional voice over artist with a busy production schedule having unscheduled downtime is NEVER a good thing – can I get a witness!?! I am responsible for two things – maintaining good vocal health and my equipment. I am blessed to be healthy and haven’t had a cold or any throat issues for as long as I can remember. Equipment is another story.
Like so many other folks, I rely on technology and the BIG 3 working – 1. Computer 2. External hard drives and 3. Internet service. These always have to be working or my clients aren’t happy and I don’t get paid.
My day starts early with correspondence with clients from all over the world and quickly segues into back to back VO sessions/auditions and lots of retrieving scripts by email, music files, online directed sessions and of course delivering what I produce. All the electronic pieces and parts from the most expensive to the smallest all have to work right. Of course if you’ve worked with computers long enough you know inevitably the day will come when stuff breaks and you are faced with clients who still expect deliveries, deadlines that are unforgiving and then there’s that moment you begin to “talk” to your equipment – and I don’t mean into the mic
The only thing I can’t do anything about of the BIG 3 I have mentioned is ensuring reliable internet service. I am at the mercy of the cable company for my internet and I am blessed that my service is excellent so that leaves the other two.
I am not a “techie fixit guy” and never aspire to be. While I have been working with Mac computers in media production for over 25 years and have seen my share of breakdowns and even (clearing throat) broken a few, I understand when a machine or drive begins to act up there are only a couple of things I can do – run diagnostic software or take it to a repair shop. The other solution is to bring up my Amazon tab and order something that will be here in a couple of days – assuming I can wait that long. The key is being prepared as best I can for the inevitable so my clients don’t pay the price for my lack of preparation and foresight cause stuff breaks – and it always does it when you least need it to.
In January I learned the hard way that when stuff broke I was not prepared and was down for almost a week and swore I would never let it happen again – but it almost did this past weekend.
2018 started out rough when my one and only iMac went belly up and would not boot one morning, literally 5 minutes before a Skype directed VO session with a first time client that was paying very well for my time and voice over services. I had to use my phone to go online and contact them and tell them there were technical difficulties and we would have to reschedule and then began emailing other clients feverishly I had scheduled work for that day to request extensions since I had yet to call my local computer repair shop and box up my iMac and take it to the Apple ER. What should have been a day in and day out repair of a video card replacement turned into a week long triage and hospital stay that led to me missing several days of work and losing that new client whose patience ran out, understandably. On day 3 of the repair episode I decided I had to take action and do some shopping – for a new or refurbished iMac online. I actually found a local Mac store with a slightly used iMac that I walked out of the store with. I overnighted the RAM I needed and got my Time Machine backup transferred to it and was back in business – however, this took another 2 days. I did manage to get my older system back in service – bad RAM in addition to the video card.
It took a $1,000 repair and a $1,700 new computer purchase to cause me to realize how important having equipment backup is when you are operating your own business, a business that is driven by tight deadlines and delivery of excellent customer service. My stuff has to work with no excuses and I determined after that it would. I made the pledge to myself and on behalf of those clients who rely on me that this would not happen again. In addition I also purchased a new mic, a new audio interface for my voice recording studio and a new router thinking I had all the bases covered as best I could and a few weeks ago my emergency plan was tested. The new iMac would not boot up one morning so in less than 10 minutes I swapped out the older iMac into its place, hooked up the cables and was back in business – I made the appointment with the repair shop, but not in a panic and they replaced a bad RAM chip and I never missed a project because I had a plan in place to cover the inevitable breakdown. I was feeling pretty good until this past weekend…
I was running on all cylinders and things were working fine until late Saturday afternoon – then suddenly my mic output was garbled, things connected through my old faithful USB hub that I had been using for 7 years (yep that long) suddenly stopped working. I was able to diagnose quickly and knew my hub had finally played out and I didn’t have a backup hub, I was caught with my hub down! A $20 part was stopping me from getting my work done. I had a big audition on Monday that was suddenly in jeopardy. My backup plan had failed because I had forgotten the smallest and cheapest thing in the chain, a usb hub. So I calmly went on to Amazon and found a highly rated but inexpensive usb hub I knew would work and placed a 2 day delivery – since rush was not available.
Monday rolls around and the deadline for sending in the audition is approaching and still no hub. I get an email from an agent reminding me the deadline is approaching and still no hub and I sheepishly tell her that I am having technical difficulties and awaiting a part. Finally with less than an hour to go I hear the mailman and jump up, retrieve and unbox, hook it up and all is right with the system once again – I get the audition in with less than a half hour to spare. Later that day I get an email from the agent congratulating me and telling me she was glad I got things fixed because the client chose me for a very nice paying gig. I realized I had come within a half hour of losing a very good job – another lesson learned.
Take aways – be prepared cause stuff breaks and sometimes it’s the little stuff. Set aside funds and purchase a backup to every critical piece of equipment and be able to change it out in less than 10 minutes if you have to.
Don’t forget the smallest and cheapest components like your mouse, hubs, cables. Now that I am down to just one usb hub guess what I’m ordering when I get done with this article – hello Amazon, send me another hub!
Here is my backup stuff:
- Computer with identical operating system, software and plugins.
- A backup mic
- A backup audio interface
- Extra mic cables
- Mouse and Keyboard
- Backup Hard Drives
Troy W. Hudson is known as the “Voice Over with Personality”! In over 30 years, he has produced thousands of commercials, narrations, character voices and messages of all kinds for clients worldwide. Energetic commercial reads, the guy next door vibe, making complex elearning conversational and bringing to life a children’s story or audiobook with voice acting and characters. He delivers.
Since going full time in VO in 2012 I have researched and watched countless YouTube videos on the go-to industry mics for male voice over artists and had my sights on this mic for awhile now. I finally got one and just unboxed and hooked up my Sennheiser MKH416 microphone and sharing my observations and also my first quick VO project as well.