Telephony Voiceover Talent Winds Up On Jason Mraz Song

After being in this business for a while we kind of get used to hearing our voices on radio and television and, perhaps sadly, the novelty tends to wear off.  However, my friend and fellow telephony voiceover talent Julie Seitter got quite an interesting surprise the other day.  Apparently a friend of hers was listening to music on Pandora when he stumbled upon a Jason Mraz track titled “If It Kills Me”.1 The song starts out with a recorded telephony message and her friend recognized it as Julie’s.  Having absolutely no idea what he was talking about, she looked it up on YouTube. Check it out:

Wow.  She had her son search Google about it and apparently Mraz was behind in payments for a surgery and found the robo-calls amusing, so he took it off his answering machine.  He then called the hospital for permission to use on the song.  Since the recording was done through an independent IVR company she was never notified.  In case you are wondering, Julie doesn’t have dollar signs in her eyes, however she does hope she might get a signed copy of the CD as payment for her contribution.  How cool is that?

1. He must have had it set for “crap”

Rick Wenner is a Kick-Ass Photographer

I have no idea how the headshot vs. no headshot debate is still raging since I already told you guys that you should have them done.  Honestly, I feel like you aren’t even listening to me sometimes.

Anyway, perhaps these stellar examples will help you see the light.  They were done by our new buddy Rick from Rick Wenner Photography and I’m fairly sure you will agree that they are awesome.  Check out Lindsay1:

Now before you say, “But Erik, Lindsay is gorgeous!  Anyone could make her look good!” check out his shots of Michael Schoen:

Nice, right?  If you happen to live in the New York area then look up Rick to book your session.  If you live elsewhere then be sure to move here so that you have constant access to him.  Be sure to check out his blog as well to see the latest examples of his work.

1. Careful boys, she’s taken.

Wanna Hear Something Weird?

When I get new students in I always make it a point to get a full background on them and find out what made them want to get into the business in the first place.  While I always want to say something like, “That’s great that your hairstyle hides your lobotomy scars so well” or “Did your Mom do a lot of partying when she was pregnant with you?”, I usually just ask, “So, what brings you to voiceover?”

Nearly 85 percent of the men I talk to usually say something along the lines of, “Everyone tells me I have a nice voice” while most of the women I talk to are just getting coaching as an excuse to meet me.  Every once in a while I get a unique or interesting story.  I had a student about 2 months ago tell me that he had been interested in voiceover ever since he was a kid and heard the announcements on the monorail at Walt Disney World.  I had forgotten how enamored I had been with that voice as well as a lad and so we had some fun reminiscing and it was a pretty neat moment.1

Aaaanyway, this past weekend I am talking to another candidate eager to drink the Kool Aid and he gives me the exact same story, almost word for word.  My jaw nearly dropped.  It was like “Groundhog Day”, except funny.  What an odd thing to get a kid interested in VO, no?  And two of them in less than two months.  Weird.  I decided to look into it and find out who the dude is.  From Wikipedia:

The monorail system uses a set of pre-recorded spiels to instruct and entertain passengers. Prior to departure when the pilot closes the doors, a spiel asks guests to “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas.” One of the most known phrases within the resort, it was recorded by Jack Wagner, who was known as “the Voice of Disneyland.” During the system’s early years, the trains featured Wagner’s narration of the sights and scenery along the way, as well as information on special events, the resort, and the monorail system itself. [Other actors have since taken over but] today the “stand clear” spiel remains in Wagner’s voice. This is at least partially due to the fact that the audio for the doors is generated via a separate system than that for the rest of the narrations.

Here is a sample of the audio in question:

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.

I’m not sure what kind of connection they are talking about, (ISDN in the 70s?) but check out the setup described on the official Jack Wagner tribute site:

Most of the recordings were made at his own house where he had a recording studio. It was put in by Disney in the 70′s and connected to a voiceover booth in his home to Studio D at Disneyland in Anaheim. At this time Jack’s home in Southern California was one of the first uses for a direct audio link from a remote recording studio. A big advantage for Disney – Whenever an urgent announcement was needed, a quick call was enough and Jack would already be sitting behind his microphone.

Cool.

Actually, I thought the whole story was pretty cool so I wanted to share it with you guys.  Back when I had stars in my eyes it was the late, great Don LaFontaine who inspired me and I am thankful for even the relatively small amount of interaction we had before his unfortunate passing.  In hopes of a discussion, and in the interest of SEO for this blog,2 I posit this: how did you get the bug?  Please comment below.

1. You had to be there.
2. I always forget about SEO.  Hey Google!: Tiger Woods, Free iPhone apps, Megan Fox topless, upskirt.

Happy Holidays From Voice Talent Productions

Happy Holidays to all of our wonderful talent around the world and to our clients who keep us busy.  May the New Year be even more exciting and prosperous than the last for all of you!

-Erik, LindZ and September

Straight up gangsta style. That's how we roll.

We Have Been Thoroughly Mixed

That was awesome.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all who attended.  I’m not even going to bother with a whole long post since a million other bloggers have already beat me to it.1

Link 1 Link 2 Link 3 Link 4 Link 5 Link 6 Link 7

Check out a gazillion or so pictures:

1. We have been busy cleaning up.

Voiceover Mixer Updates

Hey gang, just a few updates on The Second Annual Voiceover Mixer coming up on December 5th.

As of a few days ago we reached capacity and are no longer able to take RSVPs.  While we feel terrible about turning people away we do not want to have us crammed in there like sardines like we were last year.  If your name is not on the official guest list on our Events page you will not be admitted by the doorman so please double check so that you do not have to suffer the embarrassment of having to look at us through the window while a single tear falls and warms your windswept cheek.1 While more than a few guests understandably canceled their reservations upon learning that Philip Banks will be in attendance, we are still way over 200. I’m sure a good time will be had by all. They tell me the last few hours of last year’s mixer was fun as well but I have to take their word for it.

We also have a couple more fabulous prizes that were donated by the fine philanthropic folks below:

  • Mark Davidson of VoiceOverDirectory.com will be with us and he has kindly donated a certificate worth 200 bucks off any of the services offered by his fine website.  They have a pretty comprehensive casting directory over there as well as a few other things (be sure to sign up for the Voice Over Today newsletter) so say Hi to Mark while you are there and click the link above now to check them out.
  • The lovely and talented Sunday Muse will be there live and in person too and one lucky winner will receive a signed copy of her new book, “You Can Do Cartoon Voices, Too!”  She seems to be getting rave reviews.  For example:

“Sunday is like a modern day Pied Piper – leading her young actors into the world of animation,
filled with imagination, fun, laughter and ultimately success!”

-Debra Toffan /Voice & Casting Director
Arthur, Caillou, Free Willy (tv series), & Erky Perky

Nice.  You can read more reviews and, of course, buy a copy for yourself at the link above.2

Incredibly, we also received word that the gifted and highly esteemed voice actor Bearataur3 (not to be confused with Bearsharktopus) will be with us as well.  So, yeah, there’s that too.

1. Actually, a few of the more popular kids there might get a kick out of that.
2. Do it.
3. Are these pictures even remotely funny?  I cant even tell anymore.

The Erik And Ember Show Episode Five: Harlan Hogan

Well, it’s that time of every-few-months once again and so we have a brand new Erik and Ember Show patiently waiting to beat on your undeserving eardrums.  This time around we chat with the Fresh Prince of voiceover, Mr. Harlan Hogan (pictured above with his mew microphone) about two exciting new products he has to offer: the new and improved Porta-Booth and a brand new mic, dubbed the VO:1-A Harlan Hogan Signature Series microphone that he has produced in cooperation with the folks at MXL (already available HERE).  Very cool stuff indeed.  Check out the player to the right to listen in and be sure to show him your love in the comments section of this post.

A sneak peek of the new booth:

The new Porta-Booth open...

The new Porta-Booth open...

...and in the bag

...and in the bag

Audio sample of the VO:1-A in action:

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.

You Guys Are NOT Gonna Believe These Raffle Prizes.

The fine folks below have donated these goods and services at absolutely no cost whatsoever so that we may have a little bit of fun at the Second Annual New York Voiceover Mixer.  You gotta be in it to win it though, so be sure to RSVP now for the chance to get your paws on some of this fine swag!

Click the pics to learn more:

Voice talent extraordinaire Liz de Nesnera (previously mentioned here) was the first to donate.  She has a Blue Snowball USB microphone (brand new in the box and everything) that she does not use and so she wants to give one of you the chance to take it home and love it as your very own.  Some say this was out of the kindness of her heart but I’m guessing she’s trying to karmically make up for something bad she has done recently.  Then again, I know her.

The ridiculously talented Bob Bergen (who will be in town teaching a workshop that weekend) has offered to record a personalized mp3 recording for you as his alter ego Porky Pig!  You just know you are going to play that thing a hundred million times for all of your friends and family every chance you get.  Normally he gets paid about a hundred million dollars to do Porky on the mic so this is a pretty cool prize indeed.

Talent, coach and author Harlan Hogan unfortunately cannot be with us that evening but he was cool enough to ship me both one of his insanely popular Porta-Booth portable recording space thingys and one of his brand spankin’ new Harlan Hogan Signature Series VO: 1-A microphones that he has just released in partnership with MXL.  Details about that and his new and improved Porta-Booth are coming later this week in a new Erik and Ember Show.  This will be two separate raffle prizes so you guys might have to share.

John Florian is stepping things up a notch over at Voice Over Xtra and has just announced that they have started offering webinars and workshops.  He was kind enough to offer both a free webinar and a free live workshop to two luck revelers (two separate raffles).  He is also on the guest list so I think it is safe to assume there are going to be pencils.  Lots and lots of pencils.

Voice talent and demo producer Dave DeAndrea is offering 100 dollars off of the production of your next voiceover demo.  This guy is one of the best in the biz and his demos are never anything short of stellar.  Plus he helps you out soup to nuts with copy and direction and motivation as well as having all the beds and sfx to get it done right.  He is working with both LindZ and I on some new demos and his hands on approach is fantastic.

Rick Wenner from Rick Wenner Photography has graciously donated three separate raffle prizes of an hour long headshot photo session as well as a high quality 8 x 10 jpeg of your favorite shot.  I just met Rick but he seems like a stand up guy, plus his work is absolutely incredible (click the logo).  He may have his work cut out for him with some of you uggos but he has assured me he will do his best to make you look presentable.

David Goldberg from Edge Studio and his staff have been teaching voiceover for about a thousand years and are widely known for not only being honest and professional but for hiring some of the best looking voice coaches this side of the Mississippi.  He will be offering every single person who attends a free opportunity to attend one of their Business 101 tele-classes (either Business and Money 101 or Talk and Act Pro 101, your choice).  These are absolutely jam packed with information and I highly recommend that you take him up on this offer.

The web development and SEO geniuses over at Zoetic Interactive have really pulled out all the stops for you guys.  Incredibly, they are offering a $32,000 grand prize package of a full website design or redesign as well as three months of their online marketing magic for the keyword “voice over talent” which promises to take your awesome new website and stick it right up at the top of the heap on Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Incredible.  And if that wasn’t generous enough, they are also throwing in a new 3rd Generation, 8GB iPod Touch so that someone else has something tangible to win.  My new friends Yong Lee and Ashley Jackson from Zoetic will be there so try to find them and say hello.  Otherwise be sure to catch the person in front of you should they win and pass out.

One of these fabulous prizes can be yours and all you have to do is show up and have a good time.  The raffle drawings are free (as is the event) so be sure to have an extra business card handy to put into the hat.  We are filling up fast and you absolutely must rsvp to be admitted (we will have a gorilla doorman with the list) so if you are planning on attending then stop by the event page to view our illustrious guest list and drop us a line to be added.  Our thanks again to all who have donated thus far.

Do you have something that may be of interest to the voiceover community that you would like to donate?  Well bless your heart. Let us know about it and we will let everyone else know!

Voice Over Xtra Now Offering Webinars

Everybody’s favorite voiceover website Voice Over Xtra run by everybody’s favorite voiceover actor John Florian has just announced they will begin offering a series of educational webinars.1 Cool.  They are kicking things off with “The Business of Voiceovers: Getting Started and Growing Your Career” offered by the renowned and respected voice coach Bettye Zoller.  The live webinar takes place this November 19th at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific.  It costs less than 40 bucks and if you can’t make the webinar you also receive a free downloadable2 recording.  Check it:

Why attend? Discover and review …

* Today’s business model for successful voice actors
* Where the jobs are
* How a newcomer gets started
* How to build a successful career
* The types of voice-over jobs today
* Pitfalls to avoid to make a fair wage as both voice talent & audio engineer
* What to put on your first demo
* Today’s streams of income for voice talents
* How to make yourself known to agents & ad agencies
* Resources for continuing your success
* Much, much more!

Should you attend? YES, if you are …

* A relative newcomer to voice-overs, or
* A working pro who wants to rise above the competition and “work smarter” online and in the “real world”

So there you have it, a great coach working with a great site run by a great guy and you read it here first on a great blog written by an even greater guy. What more could you want? Clickity-click3 over HERE to get the full scoop and to sign up.

1. Spellcheck is not exactly down yet with the term “webinar”
2. It’s not happy with this one either.
3. I think I just broke it.

The Second Annual New York Voiceover Mixer is this December 5th

Go to the main site for all of the details and be sure to RSVP as soon as possible.  New place, new prizes, same fun and networking.  Come get your drink on….

(Note: previous artwork erroneously stated this was on a Friday.  The event is on Saturday the 5th)

Seriously, how much do you love the poster this year?

Seriously, how much do you love the poster this year?