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My First YouTube Video…Is a Viral Audio.

25 Mar

     With all the buzz about Aflac throwing open auditions for anyone to become rich and famous replacing Gilbert Gottfried as the annoying voice of the TV Commercial Duck, I’m probably the only voice talent in America that isn’t submitting an audition.

     Why not?

     Because if I did, it would probably go something like this.

    (Don’t expect any flashy pictures…except whatever pops into your mind as you listen in.)

— over and out —

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The Most Precious Gems Aren’t Always the BIGGEST.

21 Aug

…just stumbled upon a quote I wish I’d had all these years to fire back at those who thought I should be doing “something more important”:

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell

— over and out —

Why Keep On? One answer of many…

26 Jun

     This week has seen me working more for myself than anyone else.  In some ways it’s not as much fun:  the “boss” is a harder taskmaster, a perfectionist, can’t make up his mind, the hours are insane and the pay is lousy.

     Working on updating your own promotional material does have its rewards, though.  For one thing, you discover things you hadn’t thought of in awhile (“Gosh, was I ever this good?”).  This usually offsets the discovery of things it turns out you remember being better than they actually were (“Gosh, how do I ever get hired?”).

     Talking by phone with friend Bob Souer during this process, and getting some automatic encouragement by the mere fact of doing so, I wondered aloud about the reason for putting so much continuing effort into promotion this late in life.  Of course the obvious answer is twofold:  One – if I had known how to do this early in my career and had the tools we do now, I probably would be farther along.  Two  – the alternative now is to do nothing and quit (not an option). 

     Whenever I get a little envious of the younger, more energetic, more “with it” talent I see out there making the big splash, I temper my thoughts with the comfort that even one of my favorite character actors didn’t really hit it big until he was in his 60s.

     That would be Sydney Greenstreet,who became a star with his portrayal of the aptly-named Mr. Gutman in the definitive film version of “The Maltese Falcon”.  He was 62.  I often wonder what he thought about his career choices during his younger years.

     I know most people, if they have any knowledge of film and radio history, would rather think of themselves as another Orson Welles:  New York stage genius and network radio star in his early 20s, and creator of what many claim as the best motion picture of all time not long after that. 

     I can claim a small sliver of that Welles feeling with my own career highlights…on an admittedly much smaller scale.  Along the way, I’ve done regular on-air work in Radio, winning fans with what amounted to an unseen puppet character (Zoot) on a top-rated morning-show, collecting awards for creative writing/production in advertising, co-hosting a local kiddie show on TV doing the puppets and some on-camera cartooning (“Time for Uncle Paul“), enjoying favorable acclaim with local/regional onstage efforts (“Greater Tuna” and the It’s A Mystery troupe) and even snagging a slot somewhere between “extra” and “featured player” in two motion pictures with the Muppets.  If you’d asked me as a kid what I wanted to do with my life, these are the kinds of things you’d hear me mention.  They just didn’t take on quite the national prominence they might have done. 

     I’m cool with that.

     Meanwhile, with that experience, and what I’m gaining through resources never before available, and encouragement from other friends in the business, I see no reason why I couldn’t at some point hit my “Sydney Greenstreet” stage.

     I’ve still got a few years to get there.  Why stop now?

— over and out —

The Clue That Gives You The Clue

18 Jun

…or perhaps that should be “The Clue That Gives You The CUE”.

     I was just at lunch at a local eatery (family-owned Ole Time Barbeque) where they treat you like family in all the best ways.  Along with a relaxing break from the studio and some great banana puddin’ I got a quick example of how to be a better voice talent/audio producer.

     Overheard at the table behind me was the friendly voice of the waitress:  “Need some more tea?  I heard that sound.”

     What she had heard…and I hadn’t even noticed…was the rattle the ice makes in a drained glass as it is lowered back to the table.  Maybe she couldn’t tell just by listening where the cue came from, but it put her other faculties automatically at work to locate the need and supply the solution.  She was probably there before the customer even finished thinking whether he even  wanted a refill or not.

     So now I’m thinking about things I do in my own job which pick up on these “clues to the cues”.  It might be sensing where a read could be sped up when I know we’re over time.  It might be knowing a friendly, deserving client could use a break with a last-second rewrite that makes no sense (they have to be friendly and deserving…I don’t just give out my copywriting “gems”, nor does everyone consider it a favor when I do!). 

     But what else could I be automatically on the lookout/listenout for?

     What clues could you better be atuned to in order to make a client’s time spent with you more of a pleasure?

     Me?  I’m thinking about learning to make good banana puddin’.

— over and out —

the ‘treadmill’ that’s actually getting me somewhere.

9 Apr

photo: Chris Beach/flickr.com

It’s always nice to see an over-used word get a some literal meaning.  Around this place, it’s the word “Godsend”.

This week marked the One Year Anniversary of the first airing of the satellite radio series, “Billy Graham Presents An Evening At The Cove.”   Since April of last year, I’ve been editing, producing, and writing continuity for this five-day-a-week radio program on Sirius XM from my studio.

A slower than expected pre-production ramp-up meant the series started without a large backlog of finished programs, so it’s been a literal treadmill ever since.  Even the odd re-run needs re-editing and re-mixing.  That means 52 weeks worth…260 shows…and some much-appreciated work at a time when so many folks are without it.  And I at least  have lots of tangible progress to show for the constant work cycle…as well as a lot to be grateful for. 

Even nicer:  the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association decided earlier this year to continue the program (and me with it), meaning another guaranteed 12 months of production work.  This is in addition to other freelance jobs I field along the way. 

So when the blog lapses, or I sound a little sleepy on the phone, it just means there’s a flurry of activity going on here.  Sometimes, day and night.  And that is truly a Godsend!

— over and out —