This is a very old voiceover website and the one you see here today, is the third incarnation of toddschick.com.
On the right, is my first logo, composed by my friend and a great illustrator Neil Stewart. He did the new logo as well.
Below the logo, there’s a screen shot of the homepage as it looked a few days before I moved over to WordPress.
Many people over the years have asked why I chose “toddschick.com” for a URL; not a great choice for voiceover website for a professional voice talent.
Back in 1995 it didn’t matter.
Yahoo! was the go-to search engine and having keywords in your URL specific to your business didn’t matter that much. This concept has now come full circle, where Google doesn’t really pay attention to the URL like it used to.
Even still, I often get notes from people dumbfounded by how good my search engine rankings are for many search terms related to the voiceover industry.
I usually tell them,
“Well….when you invent the business model and write 100 pages of content on a voiceover website – that’s what happens…..”
A Voiceover Website History
To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
The funny thing is, the site remained on page 1 for “all things voiceover” for almost 2 decades – without Social Media integration of any kind. Oh, people laughed at me and my crappy website, calling me a “dinosaur.”
Once a week I would check the rankings and there it stood – my voiceover website was on Page Numero Uno.
Then it started tanking near the end of 2015. Google had decided that ye olde HTML 1.0 toddschick.com wasn’t looking great on mobile devices. That was the kick in the butt I need to get the old girl back up to speed.
Looking back, I feel that the key to this website’s success has more to do with Karma than anything else.
Thus, the name of the WordPress theme I chose for the site as it appears today.
You see, back in 1998 – and still today – everything regarding information on voiceover is for sale. What “free” information you can find on the subject is either generic, useless, for sale….or all three.
“In a world….”
Especially at the beginning, everybody was holding their cards very close to the chest for fear someone might benefit their knowledge….become competition.
From Day #1, I made the conscious decision to share everything I knew about voiceover freely and openly to anyone interested in the subject.
Since I was the only knowledgable and seemingly generous VO talent to do this, all my intellectual property was stolen.
I recall getting an e-mail one day from a VO talent in Calgary, Alberta. He wanted to exchange links with me. I went to his website, only to find that he had cut and pasted the text from my homepage and placed it on his own voiceover website.
Sound effects and transitions from my voiceover demos were stolen. People would send me their demos for review and I’d be listening to my own content.
The worst was the P2P sites, Voice123 and Voices.com. They stole the concept of the custom audition, my quote form and every last character of content they could pick from the carcass that is toddschick.com.
The sad part is, these people created business models that today, basically turn voice talent into slaves. I suppose I should expect nothing less from common thieves.
What’s a “voiceover studio..?”
An interesting tidbit is the story about the list of my studio gear.
Along with all the other information I shared on the subject of voiceover, I thought it would be a good idea to have a list of the gear I used in my studio; you know, for reference for audio engineers and clients.
It turns out, that information was far more valuable to talent.
When Voice123 launched and started selling subscriptions (translation: Entitlement) to anyone who wanted to be a VO talent – they were all faced with the conundrum of what to buy for studio gear.
Of course, a search on Yahoo! for “Voiceover Recording Studio” (whatever) ultimately showed my site at the top of page 1.
Suddenly, just about every VO talent on the V123 roster was out buying a dbx286a, a Rode NT1000, a Mackie 1202 VLZ, a Delta 44 Soundcard…etc.
They couldn’t afford my Telos One…….and I got tons and tons of e-mails from people asking me what a “phone patch” was.
So great was the demand for this specific equipment, that I actually got a note from dbx, thanking me for placing the name of their unit on my website. They also went on to inform me that – because of such great demand – they decided to put the unit back into production!
Apparently, the dbx286a had been discontinued!
“With Great Power comes…..”
Duh. Great responsibility. Because my site was ranked so high and I wrote so much content; it became a powerful force to be reckoned with.
In being very outspoken and vocal about P2P sites – viewpoints shared by virtually everyone in the VO world – I was banned from both Voices.com and Voice123. A testament to just how nasty the people behind those websites are.
A VO guy, voicing his own content.
“What? You’re crazy…”
In 2005, I decided to start recording my content. In doing so, I turned toddschick.com into a “talking” website; something at the time unheard of.
Still to this day, I don’t hear many VO talent doing this. Truth be told, most VO talent lack the ability to read a script and still sound “natural.”
To my pleasant surprise, my talking website became a learning tool. E-mail after e-mail after e-mail, people would write to me, telling me that they had “learned through osmosis” how to perform a natural voiceover – simply by listening to my voice.
I think the greatest compliment I ever got was from my friend and colleague Bill. He told me that whenever he had to audition a “natural” style of read….he’d listen to something on my website to “get in the zone.”
The aforementioned has led me to the decision to write a series of books. At first, I struggled with the idea, as I was cautious about revealing information to competitors.
Then one day, a publisher contacted me after visiting my website and suggested that I write a book & voice it. He argued that anyone interested in the subject would be starting at a level so far below me that the word “competition” is moot.
So, the first of three books should be released this year.
As for this website, it will always hold a special place in my heart. From its humble HTML 1.0 beginnings, it survived plagiarism and remains a search engine force to be reckoned with.
It’s history alone is more than worthy of my due diligence to keep it well.
And updated….. 😉