Sunday, 22 December 2013

God Bless Us Everyone!

Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.   Anon.
Embracing the message, the meaning, you and The Holy Season.

Love, Peace + More Joyful Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah's!   XO,  Debby

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A Shot In The Arm

It’s always a mixed blessing to get a ‘shot-in-the-arm’ from someone like Tom Dheere. We want it, we know we need it, but it usually hurts so we don’t really want it. But 'embrace the pain' we must. And the thing is, Tom's so darn friendly, likeable, cued-up, well-meaning and wise that we’re compelled to believe he has our best VoiceOver business interests and success at heart. After all, he’s an experienced, multi-talented NYC Voice Over Pro + Business Expert who specializes in Business & Money, Marketing. Edge Studio loves him, so we do too. This is the reason his Edge Studio blog, ‘2014 Is Coming, Are You Ready?’ was a needed jab. He wants to keep us healthy. And it’s why I’m cheering him with a Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah! this week.

When I read his article on December 1st, I just knew it would stay with me throughout the month in the lead-up to the New Year. After staring at the first line of his blog, “2013 is almost gone.” I honestly felt I’d been slapped and told to snap-out-of-it. What a needed moment. The reality hit me. It was in black and white and I had to sit down, read it, stay there and absorb it. I certainly didn’t want to dwell on it, but he went on to ask an important question. One I couldn’t ignore. He didn’t stop there either. He asked four more important questions that begged to be considered.

Tom’s entire article asks us to take stock of what we have and haven’t accomplished this year. He asks us to define what we need to do in order to accomplish what we must do to be successful. He encourages us to, “Stop the vicious “I’ll do it tomorrow” cycle, and truly advance your voice over career.” And in order to woo us onto the right path, he offers us three concrete steps to get us there. (And steps help us climb, right?) He clarifies how to go about this and says: “Although it may be daunting, all these concerns must be dealt with for you to be a truly successful voice talent.”

In closing, he reminds us of how critical it is to have an Action Plan: “Your Action Plan should be task-oriented and designed to help you develop a regimen.” Okay then. It’s time for me to set aside some quality time and (…as Tom says) define my mission (...or re-define it) and craft my goals (...or re-craft them). It's also time for me to develop some more good habits.

You know, it’s easy to believe Tom's such a successful Explainer Video narrator because his explanations make a lot of sense. Read it below and Rah-Rah! Tom with me.

Click-into Tom's 2014 Prep here:

And FYI: Check-out more of Tom’s ‘Good Karma Network’ VO blogs and the Google+ ‘Voice Over CafĂ©’ community he just introduced.

Tom’s site:
Go Ahead, Comment & Share!  And stop, look + listen at:


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Quintessential VO Gardner

Okay, I’ve never actually met him. But I feel like I know him. (…a brother from a different mother, perhaps?) Not only does Jonathan Tilley slay me with his irresistible happy-clappy-bursting-with-love comedic personality, but he also wrote a smashing e-book called, 'Voice Over Garden: How to Create Abundance As A Global Online Voice Actor'. Needless to say, I’ve been eager to gush about what an effective sower he is. Our VO Community ‘garden’ looks even more lush because of this quintessential gardener. So you can obviously hear a Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah! now, right? Right.

When I first heard about his book, it brought about a want-it, need-it, must-have-it mentality that I couldn’t shake until I locked it into my trusty kindle. Well, I dig it. (…alongside so many other JT e-book fans who, no doubt agree.) Because he’s ( his words) a whole-hearted 'abundance creator', you can almost feel the love and good-will he radiates through-out his book. What he has to say is fun, fresh, witty, honest, current and helpful, especially because it comes from the heart of his own experience.
He also offers a free, weekly Voice Over Garden newsletter that's chock-full of generous VO tips and tricks. His recent blog, It’s Time To Break Down Some Barriers! Are You With Me? had me in fits (…when I wasn’t spouting Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah’s! all over the place, ofcourse.) Yes, I thought. Let’s do this.
Imagine reading: I know it may sound harsh, but it’s time! It’s time Debby to either grow some balls or put on your big girl panties and start taking action.” OML. My name is in that paragraph. Is he kidding me? No, he’s not. It’s an ingenious move. And he got my attention. JT’s not only brilliant at making his points through the written word, but he’s just as clever in the videos he produces to accompany each newsletter/blog. He’s always switched-on and he has a charming, quirky presence that leaves you feeling like you can rise to any challenge. Like this:  Today we break it down and talk about getting tested for I’m-Not-Sure-itis, the biggest action-sucking disease out there.” Yikes. I think I have this, or at least get attacks of it now and then. “…see if you have (even unwittingly) been placing some BS barriers around your business…” Oooh. This hurts. I need help.
Yep, it’s time to start pulling more unwanted weeds in my VO garden. Thank God I have a new gardener. Rah-Rah! Jonathan.
...and thank you for the kick in the big-girl pants.  
Click into it below:

...and Jonathan Tilley's popular e-book:

Voice Over Garden: How To Create Abundance As A Global Online Voice Actor [Kindle Edition]

                                           Go Ahead, Comment & Share!

                  And stop, look and listen if you dare!



Tuesday, 3 December 2013

What if?

Boy, could I identify with Frank James Bailey’s blog: ‘Calling In Sick?’ He ticks all the boxes I normally tick when I feel rough and my voice is compromised by a seasonal flu or a throat infection. Yuk. I was so sorry to hear he was ill at the time, but I was really pleased he set about writing his post, in spite of feeling under the weather. For that alone, he gets an encouraging Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah!, (Be well and stay well, FJB.) and another one for the guts of his message.

I was immediately drawn to his positive attitude and the five ideas he puts into practice during times like these. (I can honestly say I’ve acted-on every one of them myself, so we’re obviously using the same coping techniques.) I stand in agreement with how he responds to potential clients’ job invitations when he’s unwell. He wisely offers his clients two options; both of which I felt were kind, professional and generous. Bravo, brother.

Like Frank, I try to do whatever’s necessary to keep my head in the work even when my voice can’t be. But I confess, sometimes I get easily frustrated and overwhelmed when I'm hit with the odd flu or bout of laryngitis. I start feeling a bit rattled, especially when my imaginary ‘what-ifs’ creep-in. These are what I call my 'VO valley times'. These happen when my dark, mysterious and scary 'what-ifs' try to get the best of me. They also make me feel like I’m going to be walking (…or crawling) through the VO valley with them forever.

Hey, at the end of the day, anything that threatens our ability to be the best we can be needs to be dealt with, right? So we can at least try and summon the strength to keep on keeping on by doubling our efforts on other VO fronts (…like the ones Frank highlights.) His points are simple, clear and helpful. And he notes: “I’m sure there are a dozen more things you can do if you can’t voice anything. My point is, stay busy!” Rah-Rah! Frank.

We can stay busy getting well, and busy getting better at what we do well!

Read it here:

Comment & Share below!  And stop, look and listen at:




Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Rally Cry Guy

Derek Chappell. Besides being an Attorney and a die-hard Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan, he’s the ‘The Voice Of Your Business’; and definitely one of many talented Voice-Over professionals with a big online presence and a big heart. He’s known for bringing people together and ‘Using Social Media to Educate & Entertain about the Profession of VoiceOver'. He’s all about using his clear, comfortable and consistent  voice to successfully promote people's businesses. And he’s also what I call, a rally-cry guy. He rallies, encourages, motivates and supports people in order to build strong communities. He’s been doing this for quite a while now so it’s definitely time to hoot and holler over him with a Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah!

The Voiceover Blog Talk he curated in order to ‘Scoop’ other talent’s views about the Voice Over industry is chock-full of insightful information. It also gives myriad others an opportunity to share their lives and their stories with each other. He recently raised-up a Google+ Voiceover Blogs community that offers fellow VO bloggers yet another stimulating forum of exchange. (…and there’s nothing quite like ‘comparing notes’ on issues we’re all thinking and/or working through, is there?) Allow me to give him a special mention for compiling his 'All Top Voiceover Blog Posts' each week. What a boon. And his Guest Blogger posts are a must-read as well.
We're also grateful for the timely article he just wrote: ‘Cast of Global Voice Talent Produces PSA For Philippine Relief Effort’.  It's an enlightening, powerful and urgent donations appeal on behalf of those suffering in and through the devastation and aftermath of the Philippine’s, Typhoon Yolanda.
Derek writes about the life-changing affect this had on Pocholo De Leon Gonzales, in particular, (…one of our fellow Voice Over Talents). According to Derek, Pocholo felt compelled to help his people by using the resources he already had available to him through his VO community. So he and his VO ‘brothers’ (Herb Merriweather, Andy Boyns and Mehmet Onur) got busy as ‘The Voice Of Help’ in order to produce an effective Public Service Announcement (PSA) video  message. They were determined  to open the eyes of the world by informing them about the intensity of the destruction. Pocholo explains, "I believe that as a voice over artist in the Philippines and the only one who's doing this, I have the responsibility and the will to do such a PSA to inform the world about what happened in my country, how the worst typhoon in the world affects my countrymen, and how the other people can help.”
There’s nothing quite like a catastrophic event somewhere else to make us feel helpless where we are, is there? We don’t think we can make much of a difference either, but Derek reminds us, ‘…there’s also strength in numbers. And there’s strength in the VO community, which time and time again has shown the willingness to get involved, roll up the sleeves, and support those who need it, with the time, talent, and resources we’ve been blessed with.’
He’s spot-on when urges us to: ‘Encourage the people of the Philippines and the aid crews on the ground, by showing them there is a global community who cares, and is willing to do what it can with the resources it has, to spread the word and aid in the relief efforts.’ (Surely, it's never too late to spread the word, pray and give what we can.)
And so to our rally-cry guy, Derek; and to Pocholo, his VO buddies, and all of those who stay mindful of other peoples highest good. Rah-Rah!
Read it through the link below. See and share the PSA video as well.

Give his VO site a stop, look and listen.

Tell me what you think!
Comment & Share.




Tuesday, 19 November 2013


This week’s enthusiastic Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah! is for Rodney Saulsberry. Because we all need another kind reminder that blunders are okay. His October 1st, ‘Mistakes’ blog was not only encouraging, it was comforting as well.

I first ‘met’ this highly motivated, inspirational, gifted and upstanding guy through his bestselling books, ‘You Can Bank On Your Voice’ and ‘Step Up To The Mic’ He's a well-seasoned and successful premier Voice-Over Talent, so reading his proclamation, “I am declaring it in my life right here and now! It’s okay to make a mistake!” was almost palliative. I wholeheartedly agree with him when he states: “The fact is, you can’t succeed without failing.” (I’m actually counting on this one!) And he’s right, “Mistakes are our teachers.” 
He continues to make his welcome point by reminding us what the Jazz great, Miles Davis once said: "When you hit a wrong note, it's the next note that makes it good or bad."
It isn’t fun to relive my many faux pas’.  I’ve certainly stumbled and crawled through personal and professional slip-ups in life like everyone else. And it could’ve easily defeated me if I had let it. I still have to realign myself in order to remind myself that tripping-up isn’t the end of the world. In my humble opinion, it’s the beginning of more wisdom. In order to stay above and beyond my blunders I have to embrace this take-away. And Rodney’s right, "You're going to make mistakes from time to time, that is a part of life. How you handle them will be what matters most.” “The fact is, you can’t succeed without failing.”

So here’s to making mistakes and getting it right, inside and outside our studio walls. I think Rodney would agree with this affirmation. Rah-Rah!

Click the link below and scroll to Tuesday, October 1st, 2013  'It's Okay to Make a Mistake'

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Day In The Life Of...

I’ve been chomping at the bit to rave about Voicemaster International’s, Steve Hudson; the CEO and creator of the Hudson Voice Technique.  Why have I been especially excited? Because I got to spend some quality time with him recently after winning a Voices Pro / Facebook Competition Voice-Over contest. Steve was the vocal tutor who generously offered the coveted workshop prizes. 

Sipping tea with the dashing Mr. Hudson was a treat, as was the London Master Class I took part in. (…not to mention the Voicemaster e-learning home study course I walked away with.) He’s not kidding when he says: “Others tell you what to say, we teach you how to say it.” Steve's a savvy communicator who is also an international, award-winning Voice-Over Actor.  He’s also a BBC Trainer and a voice-consultant for major corporations and advertising agents. This charitable English gentleman is one that I felt honoured to get to know and learn from. He not only offers a sound technique, he works with you personally on it and follows-up with you afterwards. I was enriched by my experience with him. All this alone merits a huge Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah!, but wait, there’s more!

Steve has begun to post honest excerpts from his intended 2013 book about proper voice communication. These short, colourful and comical little stories are not only fascinating, they’re true.  (…and I’m an absolute sucker for people’s true stories.) His recent October 23 post, “The Most Beautiful Green Eyes I’ve Ever Seen” is choice.  He starts-off by making us aware that years ago he’d been cast as a leading man in an ultra-glam TV commercial for a brand of chocolates. (FYI: Steve’s done a wealth of work as an on-camera and off-camera Voice-Over Actor.)  This job was posh (...and yummy), to be sure. It was going to be shot in two locations – one on a speedboat in the West Indies and the other in Pinewood studios, London. (Green with envy, any one?!)

“I would rather be a live coward than a dead hero and although the panther looked cuddly, I thought it best to close the door.” He recounts his unique experience with humour and in a way that’s easy to visualise. And it’s one of the many tales he’s lived to tell; especially because this particular tale involves security men, diamonds, and a black panther!

It feels good to celebrate you, your life and your stories, Steve. Yes, and give you a hearty Rah-Rah!

Read it here:
And in case you're interested:



Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Winning Formula

I have no problem letting everyone know I’m a huge Bob Gass fan. (He pens the UCB – United Christian Broadcasters daily devotional: ‘Word For Today’.) I’ve been a devotional devotee for a long time. I read his soul-profitable words every morning. It starts my day like a sunrise. The truths he shares have a positive effect on me. I'm continually inspired by what I learn. And when I apply what I learn, it leads to personal and professional growth, plain and simple. In my life, this  is a winning formula. It encourages me to be more of who I’m called to be.

Well, in late September I sat down to read Bob's: ‘Keep Growing’ series. And three meaningful messages later, I felt like I was given some bone-meal fertilizer. I also felt compelled to give him an official Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah! 
You see, I consider every year of my life a growing season. Figuratively speaking, I’m always eager to ‘bloom where I’m planted’, so I can never get enough of the garden mulch that will improve me and my 'garden'. Bob Gass is one of those gracious ‘gardeners’ who freely offers rich 'mulch'!
The first truth Bob starts with is: “When you finish growing, you’re finished.” Too true. He also mentions what Robert Browning wrote, ‘Why stay on earth except to grow?’ Indeed. He continues into his second message by reminding us that we should, ‘Never stop learning.’ and ‘Never stop developing our talents.’ This really speaks to me as a growing Voice-Over Talent. In relation to developing our skills, he brings up a famous quote from one of the world’s best violinists. When asked as an old man why he still practiced six to eight hours every day, the violinist replied, ‘Because I think I’m getting better.’ Love it.
At the end of the day, practice makes perfect. Applying what we learn yields favourable results. So, my math will continue to look like this: Learning + Applying = Growing. And though it involves being stretched, challenged and a bit uncomfortable at times, this will ultimately produce the kind of results we need to see in order to accomplish the kind of things we need to do.

And lastly, Bob says...'Don't just grow in knowledge, grow in character.’ and ‘Always stay fresh.’ Rah-Rah! to that, brother. And ever let it be.
Read more here through the UCB site.

Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page for: Previous Word For Today.
Click: (Full Archive) - September 27, 28, 29





Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Control Issues

One grey and rainy day, instead of going jogging, I went blogging. I decided it was the perfect day to indulge in a private blog fest, of sorts. And while I was perusing various blogs, (...which Voice-Over Talent, Derek Chappell makes easy through his: 'Top Voiceover Blog Posts')  I found some of interest by Karl Littardi. I was pleased to read that his ‘Uncle Karl’s Voice Over Blog’ is the UK’s #1 Blog for the Earnest Voice Over. He's quite a multi-talented individual too. Besides having a deep, rich, trustworthy, story-teller’s voice, he’s a creative technologist and a publisher. Wow. Here I am, an (earnest) American Voice-Over Talent living in England and I haven’t heard of him yet? For shame.

Well, one blogpost in particular really struck me: “What Do You Control?” It’s surprisingly short, but the four reminders about what we can’t control, resonated with me. This was one of those posts you want to print, highlight and laminate so you can tack it somewhere visible in your studio. And it’s also one that gets a Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah! for sure.
One of my BFF’s once told me that she considers everything in life a control issue. (I giggle every time I recall her saying it. She has a way of saying things you never forget. She's also one of those people that always seems to be right.) Anyway, there’s a lot of truth to her opinion. Throughout our lives, there are always going to be things we can control and things we cannot control. This is a fact. Uncle Karl lists 4 of the cannots for the Voice-Over Professional, in particular. They are also facts. And as you finish his post reading this actuality: What you CAN control is how you handle your feelings, disappointments, failures and regrets.”, you’ll probably find yourself nodding in agreement with me. His healthy reminders can help us feel much more in control when we choose to stay above and beyond our own defeatist tendencies. So cheers, “Uncle Karl” and Rah-Rah!
Read it here:




Tuesday, 22 October 2013

JR's Usable Advice

Thanks to Google+ I met another groovy  Voice-Over colleague. He's beatnik cool, has a really marketable voice, a playful personality and funky sideburns. He’s Jordan Reynolds. And I just knew early-on he was going to be getting a Debby Barnes Voice-Over Rah-Rah! whether he wanted one or not.

After being drawn to his cartoonish VO mascot, I thought he was the kind of guy any one would love to have as their friend, colleague and/or next-door-neighbour. He seemed fun, helpful, encouraging, thoughtful, engaging and communicative.  And any guy who openly hashtags: “The gorgeous Downton Abbey theme song. #SongsIDontMindHavingStuckInMyHead” has got my vote! He’s also a gifted Voice Actor, Audio Engineer & Producer, Improv Theater Actor, Music Enthusiast, Tech Geek, and Professional Sideburn Grower. (He's obviously another over-achieving Creative, for sure.)
Well, after viewing his quirky vlog, ‘My latest video: Cheap and free ways to record #voiceover and #vocals in a crappy sounding room’, I was eager to read a, ‘Jordan’s Chopped Thoughts’ blog. His ‘Voice Acting Is Harrd’ entry is a good read. First of all, he’s very transparent and writes like he’s gettin’ real. This particular entry is about his reactions to the book he’s been reading and highly recommending: Acting in Commercials: A Guide to Auditioning and Performing on Camera. It details the importance of communication and how to communicate effectively. (…beneficial stuff for any/all VO Actor’s whether they want to do on-camera work or not, he reminds us.)
After he reads the scientific study they’ve conducted that states that, “…only 7% of interpersonal communication relies on the actual words, while 55% of communication results from facial expressions and 38% from the way in which people use their voices.”  He does some basic math and concludes with a sigh: “…essentially, our ability to communicate with our listener in a compelling and effective manner is twice as hard.” (Hence, the title of his blog.) So after reading the book’s suggestion that we must inject a feeling and/or an emotion into what we’re saying, he urges us to go further by asking ourselves a different question. And the question he asks is spot-on and effectual. It actually leads to a more enhanced technique for him and he finds it ‘…much easier to stay out of his head and just ACT!’ In any kind of VO genre this sounds like sage advice. (…and I’m using it.) He even goes a step further by offering us Soundcloud audio samples comparing his different VO copy reads. (…a blog bonus, of sorts.) He’s definitely hit on something that won’t make Voice Acting so HARRD! Rah-Rah! Jordan.
Read it here: