Happy 12th Blogiversary to Us!

11.16.2011

November 16, 2011 marks the 12th anniversary of Voice Actors in the News since it began as a self-published fanzine.

To celebrate this occasion, we are pleased to announce…

After two years of planning, redesigning, upgrading, archiving and beta-testing (most of which I cannot take credit for), Voice Actors in the News has finally moved to its new home: VOICEACTORSNEWS.COM, graciously redesigned from scratch and hosted by toonzone.net.

Please update your bookmarks accordingly, and for our subscribers we do have an RSS feed available on the new site.

This plain white bread-looking version of the blog will no longer be updated, but will remain here for posterity. Our entire database here — more than 700 entries — has already been duplicated and archived on the new site.

Furthermore, The Voice Actors Appreciation Society — one of the web’s first communities for voice actor fans — also has a new home on toonzone’s forums.

Thanks to our fans for supporting us over the last 12 years. The new site will give us an opportunity to expand and grow far beyond what has been achieved here. And we will continue to provide daily entertainment news, info and resources related to voice actors and voice acting, as we strive to promote the work of and bring recognition to voice actors in all media.

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

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Moving Forward in 2011

01.06.2011

Although our Facebook and Twitter pages for the blog are updated almost daily with fresh content, I must apologize to our regulars for the lack of updates and new content here on WordPress.

I began a massive archive project last October in preparations for a major blog overhaul and some big news for the blog’s future which I’d hoped to announce in November 2010. A series of technical issues has caused continual delays in making that announcement, but we hope it will finally all be worked out shortly.

What I can say presently is that a high-traffic site and popular web community has offered to host Voice Actors in the News, but the transition is taking longer than anticipated.

We hope to publish an official announcement of the new host and upcoming expanded content and features in development before the end of January 2011.

In the meantime, please follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for daily news and content.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Happy Blogiversary to Us!

11.17.2010

November 16th, 2010 marks the 11th year since I first began publishing under the title Voice Actors in the News.

Over the course of a decade [you can read about the blog’s history here], it has progressed from a periodic newsletter focused on voice actors in animation to a blog covering entertainment news about voice actors in all forms of media.

It also used to be a newsletter that I self-published via The Voice Actors Appreciation Society, which even though the group had a few hundred members I didn’t even know if anyone was reading it since I rarely ever got any feedback on it. It was just something I did as a hobby.

After upgrading to a blog format in March 2009, I discovered that not only were others reading it, but within the few first months I was averaging around 100 readers per day.

And after seeing my readership triple in the first year, it became very clear to me that this was not a task I could continue to attempt on my own. I began reaching out to others in the fandom to assist as staff contributors and as of this posting we’re up to a staff of eight.

And just in this month of November, we have reached four more milestones with the blog:

– 150,000 blog views.
– 800 followers on Facebook.
– 500 followers on Twitter.
– And this wasn’t planned but it’s certainly appropriate that this marks my own 600th post on the blog since March 2009.

A very special thanks to my friends Brian and Harley at toonzone.net for being the first to give me a platform to publish my newsletter and for the continued years of friendship and support for my efforts.

Also special thanks to my longtime friends and fellow voice actor fans Kristy (Voicechasers.com), Doreen (Sites By Doreen), and Hillary (CultofCummings.com) — seeing their devotion to bring recognition to voice actors motivated me to spend the last 11 years writing about them.

And I attribute the incredible boost in blog traffic in 2010 to the addition of our staff contributors, whom I am most grateful that they have joined in this team effort: Doreen, Jeff, Mark, Kyle, Ashley, Sonia and Rosemary.

I’m very excited about some of the upcoming additions and expanded coverage for the blog, the first of which we will announce in the first quarter of 2011.

Thanks to all our readers out there — both the professional and fan community — for their support over the last 11 years. We will strive to continue and expand our efforts to serve the fandom and bring recognition to and appreciation for the work of voice actors.

Also thanks to my wife Joy being supportive of my non-profit hobby. She’s been very patient to wait for her chance to use the computer in little windows between the time I spend in service to the fandom online, and has tolerated my spending time blogging when I could have been doing other (and perhaps more important) things, and I love her for it.

~Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


‘Voice Actors in the News’ is Giving Away Free Stuff!

10.19.2010

To commemorate the 11th anniversary of Voice Actors in the News, we’re going to be doing weekly prize giveaways starting in November. But you must be following the blog on Facebook and/or Twitter to win:

http://www.facebook.com/voiceactorsnews

http://twitter.com/voiceactorsnews

http://twitter.com/voiceroy

We will also have several announcements regarding the blog in November — preparations are being made for them to go live starting on 11/11/10.

Update: 11.09.2010 — Due to some technical issues related to the big announcement we had planned for the blog starting 11.11.10, we’re having to delay the release date. We’re now targeting Thanksgiving weekend for the big news. The prize giveaways will begin immediately following the upcoming announcement.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Oh Blogger, Where Art Thou?

03.25.2010

I must apologize for my inactivity here over the last month. Besides being away from home for two weeks for a singing gig in Japan (which also included a few days in Southern California), I have needed to spend time with more urgent personal projects and haven’t been online much as a result.

In late February, I added my Twitter feed on the sidebar to the right so hopefully my faithful readers out there have taken note that I’ve been working on other things besides the blog. I’ll try to return to posting again soon with more regularity.

I’m sorry I missed out on promoting “International Talk Like William Shatner Day” (March 22), and I also missed mentioning that March marks a year since I began publishing with WordPress and already this niche blog has seen more than 93,000 views in a year’s time. Not too shabby.

I also have some important announcements regarding this blog which are forthcoming. But these things will have to wait until I can get more pressing projects completed.

Thank you for your patience with me in the meantime,

Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton


Temporary Hiatus

01.20.2010

I must apologize to my readers that fresh posts may be scarce here over the next few weeks due to a family tragedy.

My nephew Matthew died last Friday evening of a rare heart defect, on his 15th birthday.

Matt was a multi-talented and very special young man. He was much-loved and will be greatly missed.

My wife and I are headed to Arkansas for the funeral and it’s possible I may not return home to Atlanta until sometime next week. And even then, I may need some time to sort through things before I can be fully active here again. But I will post as I have time to do so since I’ve been told by so many of my readers that they enjoy the service I offer to the fandom, and knowing that has given me plenty of motivation to post regularly…in spite of whatever’s going on in my personal life.

In the meantime, I would encourage my readers to browse the blogroll on the menu to the right, to which I’ve made more than two dozen additions in the last month (if you count the “Twit-roll” too). I also recommended here (in one of the last paragraphs) several voice acting-related blogs I read regularly.

Speaking of the Twit-roll, I’ve fallen behind with new additions — so many voice actors have joined the site in recent months that it’s hard to keep up with them all. However, I did create a personal list tagged with “voiceactors” that you’re more than welcome to browse.

Again, my apologies for the temporary hiatus, but it cannot be helped.

Thanks so much to those of you who have posted your condolences via Facebook and Twitter. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.

– Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Craig’s Craigslist Guide for Performers

01.05.2010

The following article was originally published 1.05.2010 and has since been updated to include new info and updates on known scammers who troll for naive people to exploit via Craigslist.

I’ve been publishing this blog for 10 years as a service to my fellow voice actor fans, and I rarely post about my personal life to avoid appearing self-promotional. (If you actually have an interest in reading about me, click the “About the Blogger” tab above or visit my quirky and random VoxInSox personal blog.)

But I have been working solely as a performer since May 2008 (thanks to the “wonderful” U.S. economy) and one of my resources for finding work has been through Craigslist.org.

Now I realize that for some the mere mention of the site causes audible groans, acid reflux and possibly diarrhea too. I’ve heard some dismiss Craigslist outright as crap and/or say it’s nothing more than a giant cave where spammers and scammers lurk and try to lure the foolish and naive to their doom. And to a certain degree, I agree.

However, there is legitimate, paid work on Craigslist. You just have to learn how to filter through the crap, and I have plenty of experience with that… er, with Craigslist, that is. (I leave the physical handling of crap to trained professionals like Mike Rowe.)

The guide that follows was originally developed for performers in general, which I realize is not voice actor-specific and could be taken as somewhat “off-topic” for this blog. However, I know plenty of voice actors who scan Craigslist for VO work, as well as aspiring voice actors/beginners looking to gain more experience (and hopefully extra income). And the primary reason I took the time to write this guide is to help others avoid getting scammed, spammed or exploited via Craigslist.

This guide came about through years of personal experience scanning Craigslist ads to find work. It’s my misfortune that I learned through trial and error, but I’m the wiser for it and now you can benefit from my mistakes.

Craig’s Craigslist Guide for Performers

1. Avoid postings with obvious typos.

In my experience with Craigslist, posts which are full of typos, grammar errors and/or in ALLCAPS usually turn out to be crap. A minor typo or two is forgivable — mistakes do happen.

However, glaringly obvious and repeated errors in a casting notice on Craigslist are just plain tacky and unprofessional. They shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously if they can’t bother to proofread prior to posting.

AND NO ONE WANTS TO FEEL LIKE THEY’RE BEING YELLED AT WHEN THEY READ! Anything posted in ALLCAPS is not only hard on the eyes but to me says that the person who posted it is lazy and oblivious.

Ads with obvious errors like these tend to be common red flags for known scammers and spammers or projects produced by unprofessional people you don’t want to be involved with anyway.

2. Google Search is your friend.

If the post includes a phone number, physical location address, website, e-mail address, company/agency or individual’s full name, use Google Search to verify their legitimacy.

And on a related note: when researching phone numbers and e-mail addresses, if you note duplicate or similar listings in multiple regions, it’s often a sure sign of a spammer/scammer.

3. Do a background check.

If there is a company name and/or website listed, check with the Better Business Bureau — www.BBB.org — to make sure they don’t already have complaints filed against them before you submit. Other similar consumer-resource sites may also help, such as scam.com, ripoffreport.com, and easybackgroundcheck.com.

4. Check the link BEFORE you click.

If there is a website address in the ad, hold your cursor over the link before clicking to see what shows up as the actual URL in the bottom-left corner of your browser. This should work with both Firefox and Internet Explorer web browsers, or you can right-click on the link and scroll down to “Properties” to reveal the actual URL. Spammers and scammers are known to disguise URLs by encoding them with hidden elements or by using a redirect URL.

One site in particular is a repeat offender with this method of deceit: ExploreTalent.com. Just a quick Google search for “Explore Talent Scam” yields over 29,000 results with red flags galore: fraud reports with BBB.org, ripoffreport.com and many related sites and forums, including a well-researched blog report that was created just to warn others about this site and how to avoid getting ripped off by them.

Explore Talent masks their identity in Craigslist postings under many various domains they have registered and other redirect URLs (list compiled by Explore Talent Scam Fraud Reviews):

auditions.com
castingaudition.com
auditionsforfilms.com
actingauditions.net
casting-call.us
freecastingcall.com
explore-talent.net
exploretalent.info
exploretalent.org
explortalent.com
explore-talent.info
explore-talent.biz
exploretalent.mobi

In December 2009, Explore Talent appears to have launched a massive web marketing propaganda campaign via Twitter and every single blog service and social networking site available in attempt to discredit sources which have cited them for fraud and other unscrupulous practices, including BBB.org and ripoffreport.com.

Each “blog” contains the same exact post, and like the ads they post on Craigslist, they’re full of crap.

5. Check with your peeps.

Make inquiry with your fellow performers via message board/forum to verify whether a company/agency/website/casting notice is legitimate…or not. I recommend the following forums (which I am also a member of):

6. Dummy e-mail accounts protect you from dummies.

Create a separate e-mail address (like Gmail) just for submitting for projects via Craigslist, and thus keep your regular, personal e-mail account spam-free.

7. No pay? No duh!

If there’s no mention of pay yet it doesn’t specifically say “no pay,” don’t bother e-mailing them to ask because there probably isn’t any. Trust me on this. My theory is that most notices that don’t mention pay are doing so deliberately so you will contact them to ask, and then they own your contact info to use and abuse.

8. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Yes, I know how clichéd that sounds, but this is also Craigslist we’re talking about here and it’s the truth.

9. Better safe than sorry.

Another cliché, but you really cannot be too cautious submitting via Craigslist for anything. And not just in submitting, but auditioning as well. If the venue turns out to be someone’s home (as has happened with me a few times), ask to meet them first in a very public place like a local coffee shop or food court in a mall. And I’d even suggest taking a friend with you too, just to be safe.

Some ads you’ll I.D. immediately as crazy, like this “Drunk Santa” ad I shared on TSCC. But sometimes Craigslist posts may appear legitimate and turn out to be total wackos, like what members have posted on VO-BB.com here and here about “sneezing” audition scams where fetishists were exploiting female voice talents. No joke. It’s too weird to make this stuff up. Voice actor Bobbin Beam also blogged about this back in March 2008.

That said, looking for work on Craigslist requires lots of caution and a great deal of discernment. And even taking extra precautions, I’ve still gotten spammed on occasion. But I’ll tell you that using the above methods really does help cut through the crap…which is an appropriate transition to my final point.

10. Craigslist is full of crap.

Seriously. I even joke with others that looking for legit acting work on Craigslist is like looking for gold in the sewer: most of it’s crap, but every now and then you find a nugget…which still might turn out to be crap too, or it looks like gold but turns out to be fool’s gold.

Jokes aside, I have booked many paid gigs through Craigslist in the last few years: product demo jobs, event hosting gigs, some decent-paying voiceover work, background work for film/TV, and performing as an entertainer for live events.

Granted, there’s a small percentage of return on your investment of time spent browsing and submitting, but those who audition for projects regularly should be accustomed to those odds anyway. And over time (and using this guide), you’ll find you can filter the crap quickly, especially when you tweak your searches. You just have to decide if it’s worth your time to sort through the crap to find the work. And as my dad liked to say, “It’s not work unless your hands get dirty.”

Closing notes:

I first published a rough draft of this guide on The Southern Casting Call, though it was more like simple suggestions then. I later revised and expanded it for the Shofax Forum on ActorsAccess.com. Afterwards I was asked to make this guide available outside the forums as a linkable resource, so there you go.

Feel free to share this guide with others, and links and pingbacks are both welcome and greatly appreciated, but please do not copy/paste this guide verbatim elsewhere without requesting permission in advance.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News