ACX University 2016In Blog
The majority of my work is through ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) which offers an annual continuing education opportunity for narrators. For six weeks, Scott Jacobi, Hannah Wall, and Michael Stover hosted different panels of peer-experts on such topics as operating your audiobook business, genre-specific focus for your best performance, sweet gear, creating and maintaining your brand, a day in the life of an audiobook narrator, and improving your current situation.
It’s been cool to see the panelists learning from each other in real time, to see them get excited about things they’ll be doing differently as they return to their home office/studios.
Highlights (and only a few! You’ll want to watch the videos yourself!) of my takeaways are:
From Session 1: Your Audiobook Is Your Business: How to Make Great Decisions (featuring Jeffrey Kafer, Christa Lewis, and Andrew Tell; hosted by Scott Jacobi) Emphasized numbers—tracking the hours and minutes each task in the process takes you; also looking at the author’s following, sales ranking and “real” reviews—consider the first 10-20 reviews are friends and family. Also discuss marketing plan with author.
From Session 2: Now Hear This: A Closer Look at Performing Top Audiobook Genres (with actors Mark Boyett and Piper Goodeve and Audible Studios Kat Lambrix, hosted by Hannah Wall) Encouraged up-and-coming VOs to listen to those genres they want to get into themselves—listen to what their favorite and the most-lauded narrators do with … different genders, intimate settings, nonfiction, etc.. It was fun to listen to other VOs sit around in a diner setting and chat casually about their craft!
From Session 3: Studio Gear Review (Scott Jacobi was joined by three guys from Audible Studios—Andrew, Darrin, and Brett) Showed some minimum-to-mid-to-higher ranges of studio setups which was fun to see even though I’m pretty happy with my setup. I do need to step up to some professional software, though. I have PreSonus Studio One but am still using Audacity, having felt overwhelmed in a time-crunch to try and learn new software. Soooo, that’s a new goal for 2016!
From Session 4: Hey, I Know You! Creating and Maintaining Your Actor Brand (featuring Gabra Zackman—a “multidimensional storyteller;” Reed Armbruster and Robin T. Fink of Audible’s social media department; and hosted by Scott Jacobi) Enjoyed the enthusiasm and information from this session, as well as Gabra’s real-world current practices and her goals-in-the-making even as she learned from her co-panelists in the midst of the session! I am already revisiting how I present myself and evaluating what I do according to what they recommend– don’t vomit posts and thus dilute your message; is it shareable? Would I share it? If not, don’t post it!; new books come out on Tuesdays, have a calendar for your production schedule but leave some wiggle-room for the silly and the serious that comes up! They also made suggestions for testing posts and how to rework the post for another test to learn what works best for you and your followers.
From Session 5: Inside the Booth: A Day in the Life of an ACX Pro Producer (featuring Caitlin Kelly with host, Scott Jacobi) My first note from this session, after watching the clip from Caitlin’s home studio was, “I’m already inspired!” Her daily schedule and vocal care has me making small tweaks to my own day to improve the care of myself and my business and add more specific and intentional networking to my efforts. Thus far, my networking has been pretty broad and not so specific to VO folks.
From Session 6: Taking Your Career to the Next Level (with Kat Lambrix, Jayme Mattler, and John McElroy, moderated by Michael Stover) Just finished this one and my brain is full! I have a list of the narrators they think of as excellent examples, tips on taking direction (focus on your performance and be open to direction), networking (it’s about relationship-building and being “specific and brief” at mixers), social media, emailing potential clients, and highlighting your strengths on your demo reel. A great sound-bite comes from Kat Lambrix when she said, “the best narrators continue to learn all the time.”
And that’s why I attended ACX University 2016!
Anytime I missed a livestream, I was able to catch up in short order (even though they said it would be out by the next week, episodes were often out before that).
Consider joining everybody next year! You can find them at Audible ACX on YouTube or check them out further at ACX.com!