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Social Capital and Voiceovers – The GKN Weekly Update 7/29/14

Hello and Happy Lasagna Day! Need I say more…?

For the past two weeks I’ve had the pleasure of recording “Freemasons for Dummies” at Audible Studios in Newark. The facility is wonderful, everyone there is super-friendly, and even the food is good! One really cool thing they have in the lobby is a digital slide show that shows who is narrating there that week, Audible news, even what they’re serving in the cafeteria.

Cool, right? That made me feel really welcome.

This Friday I have my last session. The first chapter I’ll narrate that day talks about whether fraternal organizations like the Freemasons are still relevant in this day and age. The book describes how disconnected people are nowadays socially, politically, and technologically:

Just since 1980, 58 percent fewer people attend some kind of club meeting, 45 percent fewer people say they invite friends over to their homes, and an incredible 33 percent fewer people say they have family dinners together. Robert Putnam calls these connections social capital, and he argues that social capital is every bit as important as the monetary kind. It’s important to the community and to the individual to interconnect, communicate, and participate with each other. Study after study shows that communities that fail to interconnect have higher crime rates, worse drug abuse, poorer health, and more suicides. Business types are fond of the term networking, as if friendships only exist for business purposes, and whether they come right out and say it or not, networking comes down to believing that someone you actually know might actually do you a favor. Or as Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t go to somebody’s funeral, they won’t come to yours.” Networks you may not think about — like sports clubs, neighborhood associations, political action groups, or just a friendship with another couple —are all essential types of social capital, and the fewer of these connections, the less likely it is that members of a community will cooperate and work for their mutual well-being. Friends and family cheer you up, bring you chicken soup when you’re sick, help you find jobs when you’re laid off, baby-sit the kids for you when you’re away, buy you a drink at the bar, loan you $20 when you’re broke, and remember your birthday. And you do it for them in return. Life without these connections is pretty bleak, and believe it or not, having fewer of these connections actually reduces your life expectancy.

When you sit in a padded closet all day talking to no one, it really give you some perspective on the value of social capital, doesn’t it?

TIP OF THE WEEK: Did the part about networking catch your eye? Yeah, me too. I’ve talked time and time again about how so many people approach the industry from a social perspective Ala networking and “fail”. They’re the same people who believe you gotta have “connections” to get anywhere. Excrement, my friends.

The principles I quoted in the Freemasons book are the same principles that will help you succeed as both a voice talent and a human being. Be an active, contributing part of your voiceover community. Think about how you can give, not just take. Get out there and meet people to make friends, not connections. Invest in others and the world around you!


STUFF!: Like the Jim Valvano quote? Watch his ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award acceptance speech. BTW have some tissues handy.

From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere: GKN News…


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