August 29, 2008

Cool Tools: Digital Photography Review

Deciding on a camera to purchase can be a daunting task. The types of cameras out there are numerous and the plethora of features available for them are intimidating. And then there are the questions of performance, reliability, and compatibility. If only you had a really smart friend that could tell you all this information. Well now you do, sort of. Digital Photography Review is a website that has in-depth reviews of nearly every major camera.

Heading to the site’s homepage, you’ll be provided with the latest updates to the site which include reviews of the newest camera models by the most familiar brands. In addition the new reviews listed, there are also news items relating to digital photography that give you early word on key features being implanted into future cameras.

If you know what camera you want, you can head to the archive of reviews and look it up by brand name. If you have no idea what you’re doing then there is a handy buying guide which lets you choose your preferences on things such as format, pixels, flash, and storage types. Enter various attributes and you will get matches which you can then compare against each other. It’s a helpful tool if you know which attributes in a camera you absolutely need and you know attributes that you don’t.

The discussion form at DPR is kind of a big deal. The forum is a thriving and vibrant community of photography professionals and amateurs who like to talk about all things photography. In addition to learning about the brands, the forum can also teach you about various aspects of photography production.

If you’re looking to purchase new equipment, DPR is a great place to start your research.

August 19, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Voice Actor: Interview with Peter Drew

Peter Drew is a voiceover actor, a copywriter, and an audio producer. His company is Peter Drew Voiceovers and can be found at

How do you explain your job to your mother?

I've been in the business for 35 years, so she pretty much gets what I do.

How did you get started?

I got started at my college radio station and then I landed a job in commercial radio while going to school.

What's your educational background?

I received a BA in Political Science (What? And I'm not a lawyer? What happened?)

How did you get experience?

I started doing voiceovers part-time after getting into commercial radio in 1976. I continued voiceovers as a sideline while working in Creative Services at various radio stations until 2001 when I became self-employed.

How do you sharpen your skills and/or stay motivated?

Lots o' reading: books; magazines; online forums, blogs, websites, newsletters. Listen to other voice talents and actors. I need to get a voiceover coach to take me to the next level of skill.

What advice do you give to those who want to join your profession?

I get this question all the time from people looking to get into the business. They call or send emails. I direct these inquiring minds to the articles I've written about the voiceover business on my website, Lots of good info for the VO newbie!

What was your first job in the industry?

My first freelance voiceover gig was narrating a slide show for a commercial photographer.
What was the last project you worked on?

Every day I get new voiceover, copywriting, and audio projects to do, so it's an ongoing series of projects, if you will. Specific voiceovers I've recently done include national commercials for Sunny D, Verizon Wireless, Destroy All Humans video game, Stimorol Senses chewing gum, Ted Nugent DVD, Bob Dylan DVD, among others. Readers can see a couple of these on the demo page of my website.Describe a typical day (or week) in your life when you're working?
Typical day is checking email for voiceover gigs, handling phone calls, doing voiceovers, writing copy if I have a copywriting job, sending invoices (yea!), depositing checks (double yea!), paying bills (boo!), etc, etc. I'm self-employed, so I do everything it takes to run a small business.

Where do you hope to be (career-wise) in another year?

Still doing what I'm doing, but with an increase of at least 20% increase in revenue.

A Series of Questions:

What’s the best thing about your job?

Most people get paid to work. I get paid to play. Literally.

What major job annoyance would you eliminate forever?

Collecting from deadbeats.

Where do you find inspiration?

From simple things like a kid laughing, a cat sleeping in the sun, or colorful wildflowers growing along the side of the road. A bit sentimental, yeah, but that's what makes my day and picks me up. And the occasional compliment I get from clients helps inspire me to continue doing well and getting better.

What’s your personal motto/slogan?

The Golden Rule pretty much does it for me.
If you could go back in time and meet to your pre-professional self, what would you tell him?

"When you're all grown up and out of school, don't spend 25 years in radio. Go to work for yourself full time as soon as you can!"