Recent Posts



    Recording Session Nightmares

    Dec/13/2010 | Posted by John Melley
    Last week I sent out an email to my newsletter subscribers and asked them to share some of their weirdest experiences, while recording or performing.

    The winner of the voted best story will win a $50 Starbucks gift card, or something of equal value if you're not a coffee drinker.

    I'm happy to say the stories I've received so far are great, so if you have a great recording session story, send me an email to: and share it with us. I'll post them and the story that receives the most votes will win the $50 Starbucks gift card, or something of equal value if you're not a coffee drinker.

    Read On!

    Hi John, good to hear from you

    I specialize in audiobook narration, and a big part of my enjoyment in doing this comes from volunteering at RFB&D.  I get to read/record all sorts of books for them, from technical instruction manuals, to medical textbooks, to fiction.  Recently I had a children's book by author Jon Seizka (sp?) called "Spaceheadz".  I was having great fun with it until I got to a chapter 4 pages long of the hamster speaking.  4 WHOLE PAGES of "eeek weeeeek eeeeek eeeeeee, weee eeek"! This one got me both laughing and out of breath.  I can now add a 3rd language to my capabilities..... hamster!

    Kind regards,


    Hey John,

    My nightmare has reoccurred a few times, recording my interviews over the phone and nothing on playback.

    Flipped the wrong switch.

    We’ve been caught saying some things with the mics open at the Meadowlands.

    Once I called an entire race with the mic off, or they didn’t record the race, so I had to improvise over the replay.

    Watched the replay show with bad edits inadvertently left in.

    I’ve done spots with the wrong dates or inserted words that weren’t in the script (Freudian slip)

    Ken Warkentin

    Dear John,

    The funniest and most embarrassing thing to ever happen to me was at a recording session in Berlin, Germany.  I was assigned to the American Forces Network and scheduled to do an interview with the incomparable Count Basie.   First of all, I was so doggone nervous meeting such a giant of a talent, and would you believe - the Count was in his
    underwear in his hotel room eating peanuts from a planters bag?

    He greeted me and asked me to take a seat.  In hooking up my Nagra Reel-to-Reel and plugging it into the wall socket as a safety precaution in case the battery failed I began my interview.  Half way through it, I happened to look down and notice that the mic cord was dangling.  The darn thing wasn't even connected to the recorder.  You talk about a red face. Whew!  By then Mr. Basie noticed it too and he began to laugh and laugh - then I began to laugh and laugh as tears rolled down my face.  Being the kind gentleman he was, he said don't worry sonny, we can start all over again whenever you're ready.

    Ed Tooma


    Hi John,

    About 25 years ago, I had a client who sounded like a sloth on downers, but insisted that he do his own tag line.  This was many years before digital manipulation would have allowed me to time compress him, so I used an old trick I learned years before.  Several wraps of tape around the capstan increased the speed of the tape slightly, speeding up the delivery but not so much that it distorted his voice.  Judicious splicing of the resulting tape made him sound a lot less like he was on Quaaludes.  What they say about multimedia these days was always true: it's all about the workarounds.

    Calvin B. Littlefield

    Dear John,

    Does singing the Ave Maria in church and swallowing a bug interest you?  I was singing a solo and straight out...... mouth open....bug in and gag, cough, gag! 

    It was difficult to explain to the congregation what had happened, so I continued and re-grouped. Maybe that's how you all got your show-biz genes.

    Elinor Melley A.K.A. “Mah!”

    So send YOUR  great recording session story to: and share it with us. I'll post them and the story that receives the most votes will win the $50 Starbucks gift card, or something of equal value if you're not a coffee drinker.

    Talk Like A Pirate Day

    Sep/16/2010 | Posted by John Melley
    Sunday, September 19th is National "Talk Like A Pirate Day"! Who Knew?

    What Voice Actor can't have some fun with this one. Fortunately, one of our advertisers is Pirate's Booty, a snack maker of healthy varieties of popcorn and chips, etc.

    I had the opportunity to put together a short 10 second promo for them to tie in "Talk Like A Pirate Day" with their brand. They loved it!

    The cool thing is they tied into a national "Awareness Day" and used it in their marketing efforts. As Robert Collier said, "Enter the conversation in your prospect's mind." I write about this frequently in my newsletter and each month provide you with a list of events and holidays to help you do so. It works!

    Here's the spot for your listening pleasure!

    Now go out and celebrate "Talk Like A Pirate Day"!

  • Talk Like A Pirate!
    Be sure to leave your feedback below, as well. I'd love to hear from you.

  • September is National Voice Over Month

    Sep/01/2010 | Posted by John Melley
    September is National Voice Over Month!

    How are YOU going to celebrate National Voice Over month and share it with your clients?

    Watch the video below and then Share your ideas by sending me an email to

    I'll put all the ideas together and post them on my blog so we can use it as a shared resource to market our businesses!

    Join the celebration and I hope to hear your ideas!

    What I'm Reading/Listening To

    Jul/14/2010 | Posted by John Melley
    People ask me what I'm reading/Listening to.

    I just finished listening to Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" performed by the author himself. Interesting theory in that he believes successful people take advantage of opportunities presented to them, but that the opportunities are available to them as a result of a series of events that may not be available to everyone.

    One example he gives is that most Hockey players from Canada have birthdays in the first 3 months of the year. The cut off date to enter a league is December 31st. This results in the players born in the first part of the year having at least a 9 month head start over the players born in December and therefore better developed skills which allows them to advance to higher levels in various leagues. This in turn weeds out folks born in the latter part of the year. That's how you wind up with about 60% of the players in the NHL celebrating birthdays in Jan. Feb. and March.

    Who knew?

    His question is: If there was another cut-off date, say June 30th in addition to the December 31st date, would you double the talent pool available for selection and give more people a shot at higher levels of training. Are the man-made cutoff dates prohibiting other talents from developing? Perhaps hockey teams would be even more competitive and reache higher levels of proficiency if there was more talent to choose from instead of one so heavily weighted by birthday.

    He also explores the opportunities that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the founder of Sun Microsystems enjoyed that propelled them to Billionaire status.

    I'm not sure I agree with all his theories, but there are some interesting questions raised.

    Now I'm listening to Harry Dent, Jr.'s "The Great Depression Ahead."

    This is a fascinating look at demographics, history and economic cycles. It may sound like dry stuff, but if you're a history buff in any way, you want to check this out. He does a nice job of presenting the information in an interesting way.

    Based on his theories that the largest sector of the Baby Boom Generation has shifted from Consumers to Savers since their kids have grown and they need to save for retirement he contends this last recession is nothing compared to what's ahead and the stimulus package just delayed the inevitable.

    He says watch for a major stock market crash later this month or by August/September this year. Yikes!

    I'm also reading a book about Walt Disney's life. More later.


    Sorry I Haven’t Been In Touch

    Jun/24/2008 | Posted by John Melley

    Here’s an interesting idea you can use to resurrect a client that you haven’t heard from in a while.

    Send them a note, or an email saying “You’re sorry you haven’t kept in touch with them.”

    It works.

    Below is an example of an email I sent last year to a client I hadn’t done any work for in over 3 years!

    This was a client who would previously contact me only twice a year and then they just stopped. I would reach out to them from time to time to see if we could resume producing the messages, but nothing ever really came of it until I tried this little gem.

    My Message:
    TO: Roxanne

    FROM: John

    SUBJECT: Sorry I Haven’t Been in Touch….

    Hi Roxanne-

    I wanted to apologize for not getting in touch with you sooner about updating ___’s Messages On Hold. I know we discussed it briefly during the party for Bridgette late last month, but I have been so busy I just let it slip.

    Anyway, I’ve had a little down time and thought I would send you a quick message to see where we stood on the updates. The next couple of weeks are good for me, but I’m going to be out of town early next month and want to put the project into my schedule as soon as possible.

    I’ll talk to you soon, and thanks!


    Roxanne’s Reply

    Hey John,

    You must be reading my mind. I’ve been meaning to get these things updated. They’re really sounding old, but it’s tough to find the time to get you new message scripts….

    Let me know what we need to do and how much it will cost and I’ll get back to you soon.



    What Happened Next?

    I solved her lack of time problem. I told Roxanne I would write the scripts myself, if she just provided me with her usual press releases and other information sources she regularly distributed. All she needed to do was put me on the email list and I would pull pieces of information and put the scripts together.

    I also recommended a schedule of 12 updates for the year. And I doubled the price of what I had charged them before per set of messages. I let her pre-pay the whole year in advance and offered her a small bookkeeping discount for doing so.

    She said she would get 5 updates for the year and would pre-pay for the year and take the bookkeeping discount.

    Fine. I had just increased the number of messages I produced for them from Zero to Five (In previous years I had produced 2 sets a year, at most) and doubled the revenue for each set of messages – a little less when you factor in the small bookkeeping discount.

    I could do THAT again.

    Why Did This Work?

    There are a lot of things going on in this communication and how I crafted my offer.

    By my saying I was “Sorry I hadn’t been in touch,” it took away any feelings of guilt she may have had about not contacting me. It shifted all the responsibility for any lack of communication away from her, so she didn’t have to avoid my emails, or other forms of contact. (It’s not your fault. Anytime you can say that to a client or prospect, you make them feel better.)

    It opened the door so we could solve the problems we had. She needed new messages. I wanted her back as a regular customer and at a price I was happy with.

    There are other things going on here as well, like creating a sense of urgency through my limited schedule. I also positioned myself with my offer – my price being a key component of that positioning (remember – I doubled it.)

    And I offered the concept of “Money at a discount” through the bookkeeping allowance. Most importantly, I developed an opportunity to conduct more business on a more regular basis, by developing a schedule for the messages.

    All these components add up to a successful series of transactions and all of these concepts/ideas/strategies are what I cover regularly in My “Renegade Voice Over Marketing Newsletter.”