And In Other News….

While I am aware that most of you visit this blog exclusively for the latest on the VO scene, there is actually a big world out there.  Here are some of the highlights from the past month:

  • The ridiculously multi-talented Nikki Saco (previously mentioned here) has nailed it once again and created a stellar new logo for friend and voice talent Trish “The Dish” Basanyi.  Check out Trish’s VU blog post here to see it in all its awesome glory.  (via The Boblog)
  • Download approximately a zillion hours worth of audio including Shakespeare and a bunch of other classy highbrow stuff at Acting It Out, a stellar site from the awesome Diane Havens and the fairly tolerable Robert Jadah.
  • If you have not heard much yet about voice talent Kim White, you will.  Check out her new website and be sure to listen to her new kick-butt demo while you are there.  Great stuff.
  • Speaking of new sites, professional hitman and VTP talent Bruce Jacobson (previously mentioned here) just set up his new site as well.  Be sure to check out his extensive video collection and the envy worthy listing of accolades he has accumulated over his career.

  • The lovely and talented Caryn Clark has also reworked her site and gone from a “.net” to a “.com”.1 Be sure to check out her amazingly well put together site here.
  • The world’s best animation talent and all around freakin’ dream girl Kara Edwards has relocated to Florida.2 She fills us in and gives some great tips for you upwardly mobile types on her blog here.  (via Courvo)

  • Part Three of the series “Marketing: The Art and Science Of Self-Promotion” by Tom Dheere is up on Voice Over Xtra. Be sure to click the links at the top of the article to read parts one and two if you have not had the chance to yet.
  • If, for some reason, you would like to read posts from other VO bloggers4 then I suggest getting the feed from the new Voiceover Universe project Meet The Bloggerz.  You can find posts from yours truly as well as from Rick Party, Donna Reed, Dave DeAndrea and a few other superstars.

Seriously, I could not have made it any easier for you.  Clickety-click and learn something.  Slackers.

1. They grow up so fast!
2. She has a thing for alligators.
3. Hint, hint.
4. What, I’m not good enough for you now?

I Have An Opinion About Something!

Quick, call the kids in!  This is about as exciting as your day is going to get so enjoy it.

My friend Julie Williams of VoiceOver Insider (be sure to sign up) and forum fame was kind enough to send me a bottle of Entertainer’s Secret to evaluate for you people.  Thanks Julie!

From their website:

“Entertainer’s Secret Throat Relief is a spray formulated to resemble natural mucosal secretions and designed to moisturize, humidify and lubricate the mucous membranes of the throat and larynx.

This unique, easy to use, non-medicinal throat spray:

* Supplements the throat’s natural moisturizers
* Comforts, soothes
* Restores vocal quality Safely, Quickly, and Effectively

One can spray Entertainer’s Secret into the throat while saying “Ahh”, but a more effective way is to take a quick breath inward while spraying into the mouth.  To insure that the upper throat is reached, one should tilt the head back, aim the nozzle in the nostril and inhale sharply while spraying.”

There was no way I was going to spray this stuff up my nose so I opted for the “quick breath” method. In a word: Meh.

It does give you a slight tingling feeling, and I suppose it lubes up the pipes a bit but it really isn’t anything to write home1 about. Considering flames didn’t shoot out of the nozzle and I haven’t lost my voice it certainly isn’t harmful, so if you have dry scratchy throat problems go ahead and give it a try yourself, just don’t expect to see rainbows and unicorns.

It is advertised as tasting like honey and apples. To me it tasted like Windex and liquid pig shit,2 but I’m no Gordon Ramsay so what do I know? It is more convenient than brewing up some tea so it could have a place in your studio bag but for home I think I’ll stick with my Throat Coat and Marlboros.

I know this wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement but apparently some people swear by this stuff so if you would like to try it yourself contact Julie and she will hook you up with a good price.

1. or perhaps blog…
2. I mean that in the best possible way.

The Cool Kids

When I’m not busy water skiing over sharks in my leather jacket or starting jukeboxes with my fists, sometimes I hang out with the other cool kids just to see what kind of trouble we can get into.1 “The Man” is always trying to take away our microphones but they just better watch out who they’re messin with.

The gang, smoking behind the school after the Marice Tobias workshop on Sunday:

pictured: Bob “The Knife” Souer,2 Melissa “Ex-con” Exelberth, Trish “Stiletto” Basanyi, Diane “Spike” Havens, John “Brass Knuckles” Havens, Rick “Killer” Party.

1. Take that society!
2. Bob appears courtesy of The Bob Souer World Tour™

Julie Marcus Is Photogenic

Very sexy update: Since a few of you asked for it, I came out from the behind the bushes at Julie’s place and got the info for her photographer. Check them out here.

Holy freaking cow, these are probably the best headshots I have ever seen.  For crying out loud, I’m only human:

The debate has been raging for years over whether voice talent should use headshots or not.  The argument from one camp is that your voice should speak for itself and you should not allow seekers to come to a preconceived conclusion about your sound or delivery based on your appearance.  Others maintain that using a picture humanizes the talent and makes them seem more approachable.  Of course if you also do any kind of on-camera or print work, a headshot is absolutely necessary but what if you are just a VO?  What if you look strikingly different than you sound, as is the case with some talent in animation who bank on doing child voices but may be much older?  What if you are afraid that the photographer may not be able to Photoshop out your hunchback?

I know some of you may not be quite as genetically blessed as Julie or myself,1 but unless you have some gargoyle2 in your family tree, then I say go for it.  Go to Julie’s site and click on the gallery to see it done right and then decide if you think headshots are a good idea or not.  Also check out some of her fantastic demos below.  She might tap dance as well but I’m not sure.

Commercial Demo:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Animation Demo:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Where do you stand on the headshot issue?  Let us know in the comments.

On a completely unrelated note, I read somewhere the other day that in some cultures if you blog more than two pictures of someone you are then considered legally married.3

1. I’ve got my Mom’s cheekbones.
2. Or Slovenian.
3. I’m just saying.

Do Something Good For Once In Your Life

Hey guys, I know this is kind of last minute but please try to make some time to help this guy out. It really is a worthy cause:

Wanted: The finest and most generous voice actors and singers! GelderHead Productions is now accepting submissions for the sixth edition CD of Holiday Magic 2008, A Gift for Children of all Ages, a holiday recording to brighten the holidays of the children and their siblings at Children’s Hospitals. CD’s will be distributed in December. Please submit a song, story, riddle or rhyme, anything that welcomes Holiday time! Please make it less than four minutes. Character voices are encouraged. All entries must be complete and fully recorded for use. The top 15-20 will be selected based on creativity, generosity and theme and will receive artist exposure, be included on the CD with acknowledgments, receive a copy of the CD and receive the GelderHead Award of Excellence for Creativity and Generosity.

Holiday Magic 2007 was a huge success with great talent and 1500 copies going to five Children’s Hospitals in San Diego, Orange County, Milwaukee, Miami, and Albuquerque for the children spending their holidays in the hospital, and their siblings.

Deadline for submissions is Friday November 7th, 2008
Send e-mail to: [email protected] or call 619-795-1740.

So Jeff puts together and prints up a zillion of these CDs, then distributes them for free to sick kids stuck in the hospital during the Holidays, and you’re too busy to even record something for him?  What is wrong with you?  This is not how your mother and I raised you.

I was on last years CD and was given a copy and he really puts together a top notch product for the poor little sickos, so get off your duffs and produce something for this thing post haste. You could use the good karma after what you were up to last weekend.1

1. It was fun though, wasn’t it?

Size Doesn’t Matter

I was looking around my studio space and it struck me how many simple, relatively inexpensive little things I have around here that make my life easier.  Perhaps some of these will help you out as well.  Click the titles for links.

Index Card Box:

I am far from being a Luddite1 and I keep contact information in databases and spreadsheets on my computer, but I always make sure information about clients, actors, agents, coaches, etc. goes on old-school index cards.  They are easy to update with notes and are impervious to system crashes.  I have info on some of you in mine that would make the Department of Homeland Security jealous.2

Page-Up Copy Stand:

These little guys are rad.  Get a few.  I don’t read copy off of them but they come in real handy next to the computer and for keeping messages and reminders out in the open.  They are real unobtrusive and work just as well as those big ugly jobbers that attach to your monitor.  You can get them in bright colors too, but that’s just tacky.3

Stedman Headphone Hanger:

Simple but effective.  These things go for like 20 bucks, which is outlandish, but they are pretty slick.  Jam one on your mic stand and you always have a convenient place for your cans.  I suppose you could MacGyver up something that would work just as well but really, live a little.

Proscreen XL Pop Filter:

Also from Stedman, and also a bit pricey, but totally worth it.  Ember turned me on to this a while back and I promptly replaced my fabric mesh filters with this.  It is metal so it will last for approximately ever and just kills your plosives without changing your sound.  I’ll recite “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” any day with this thing.

Logitech Trackman Mouse:

These are a must for me and I have one for each computer I use.  I even bring one with me to use with my laptop on the road.  There is a slight learning curve if you are not used to it but everyone who tries it out for a day or two never goes back.  They are especially helpful for us because you get super fine control to really be precise when editing waveforms.  I can’t recommend these enough for anyone who edits audio.  They are great for graphics folks as well.

Well there you go.  Don’t say I never did anything for you.  Let me know if you buy any of these things and you like them.  If you don’t like them, go cry to someone else.  Jerk.

1. Since Rumspringa.  Sorry Ezekiel.
2. Did you know de Nesnera was born a man?
3. Have some class for God’s sake.