May 30, 2011

New (Old) Music

For any readers who didn't know, I'm a musician as well as a voiceover talent. Here's a new recording of an acoustic instrumental I wrote years ago. Hope you like!




(It's available for download, too, for only $0.99. In the player above, just click "Options", then "Store". Thanks!)

May 03, 2011

Cipher Complex

Get a gander at this great clip of a game I gabbed on, as a guard, grunter, and groaner. Got it? Good.



Cipher Complex isn't a fully developed game; in fact, it unfortunately didn't make its way into full production. This clip is a vertical slice, or a gameplay demo for the early development stage. I did my work under the direction of the fabulous DB Cooper.

Even though this title didn't see store shelves, I'm still thrilled to be in the company of great voice talents like Anthony Mendez (Cipher), Philip Banks (bad guy General Kim), and DB, who appropriately voices Mission Control. Kevin Genus also gets guard and grunt duty here.

April 17, 2011

Neil Gaiman Audiobook Contest


Harper-Collins Publishers are sponsoring a contest to award a speaking role in the upcoming American Gods: 10th Anniversary Edition audiobook. The first round of finalists will be selected by user votes; I've thrown my hat into the ring and, apart from simply announcing the news, I'm rather shamelessly asking for your vote!

There are hundreds of entrants, so to hear my audition and cast a vote for me, just click here and do the following:

  1. Click the 'Vote' tab.
  2. Type "dhvoice" in the Search field and go.
  3. Vote!

Also, you can vote once a day, so I hope you'll return and give me a nod again. Thanks!

March 31, 2011

That's Easy For *You* To Say.

This segment from Wednesday's The Rachel Maddow Show serves to remind that, even (especially?) for those of us who talk for a living, some words and names are more problematic than others:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


I have to say, it's oddly comforting to know that I'm not alone in my regionally-specific social requirement to willfully mispronounce certain names and places: In Austin alone, "Manchaca" is "man-shack" and "Guadalupe" is "gwad-a-loop" (yes, even those who speak Spanish properly are compelled to use the "incorrect" but more common forms). I have fond memories of a novice newsman at a radio station getting his hand figuratively slapped over saying "Bexar County" just as it appears --- which is incorrect, as Bexar is properly said "Bay-er".

Rachel, I thoroughly and completely feel your pain regarding "procurement". I can say it easily and quickly now, but that's because it once gave me the same fits, prompting me to practice it over and over again until it sounded natural. (Yes, folks, this is what voiceover performers do. All of us have the occupational hazard of our own collection of a few relatively basic English words that mangle our tongues and make us sound like we're still learning the language.)

I use the Merriam-Webster pronunciation guide myself quite a bit; it's not only a lifesaver for tricky "everyday" words, but the handy "Medical" tab seems tailor-made for those of us who do a lot of medical narration.

(Voice talents --- and anyone else interested --- here's the link to the Voice of America pronunciation guide.)

RELATED POST: Y'all are Fixin' to Git an Education.

March 25, 2011

A Compact Lifespan

I still remember vividly when CDs were introduced as a sonic savior for music, promising to obliterate forever the crackle-and-pop of the vinyl album, and along with it the hiss and limited frequency range of the cassette tape.

I'm dating myself, to be sure, but my first introduction to the new format was on MTV in 1983, when Martha Quinn held up a prototype shiny disc and touted its promise. At the time, CD players weren't readily available in my area --- and those that were cost hundreds of dollars. I could be wrong, but as I remember it, there weren't even any commercial titles that I could go and buy.

Here's a promotional video, likely from '84 or '85, produced by Philips.


Before I got into VO as a career, I worked for a few years at a CD production company. We didn't manufacture the actual disc, but we did take spindles of pre-produced artists' discs and assembed them with the cover art and jewel boxes --- a mostly automated process that required a large robotic machine that I babysat and occasionally had to fix. (It's probably why I can't get enough of TV shows like How It's Made and Factory Made. But I digress.)

Billboard reports that In 2010, sales of compact discs fell by nearly 20 percent. This takes me back to about 1987, by which time CDs had already taken hold in the marketplace, and also by which time the recording industry was well on its way to burying the vinyl album --- citing simlar sales drops.

The parallels of these stories, however, are only skin-deep. Vinyl was readily ditched by the industry not only because they could market the CD as sonically superior, but because the latter took up less space in shipping trucks and in retail stores (true enough if one forgets the brief existence of the CD longbox). The higher price of the CD ---usually at least double that of the LP and cassette --- was defended by the industry as owing to higher production costs, which they promised would fall and take retail prices with them. As the 90s rolled on, they made good on the first part of the promise but not the second.

These days, CD sales are diminishing because the price was kept high, not because the industry was in love with the mp3 --- an audio format that didn't have its own dedicated physical conveyance (at least, not one they could directly control) and which the industry was slow to figure out how to monetize.

This history lesson is brought to you by my own melancholy, and also the assumption that you find this as interesting as I do. Even if only mildly so.

March 15, 2011

PSA - Red Cross Japanese Tsunami/Earthquake Relief


Broadcasters / media producers / webmasters: Here's a free Red Cross - Japan tsunami/quake relief PSA from Peter O'Connell.

From the audioconnell site:

The American Red Cross is now taking donations on behalf of the Japanese Red Cross – helping those people impacted by the earthquake in Japan and the subsequent tsunami in the Pacific.

This PSA, written and produced by audio’connell Voice Over Talent from content taken directly from the American Red Cross web site, is available here from audio’connell Voice Over Talent for free download and general public use at no charge by any media outlet wishing to rebroadcast this audio clip only in its entirety.

March 12, 2011

Getting Inside the Script


When presented with a VO script, it doesn't have to be Shakespeare to warrant bringing your best acting skills to the table. In my article Getting Started in Voiceovers, I pointed out: "Whether it's a ketchup commercial, an instructional tech video, or an animated Pixar blockbuster, the skills you need to bring to the mic are those of an actor."

Dan O'Day shares this clip of Christine Coyle demonstrating just what I referred to, teaching the kind of text analysis skills needed to get inside any script. (My friend Bob Souer is one of the participants.)

March 08, 2011

New Tools (And a Warning Label)


Having quick access to handy tools is a must for any profession, no less so for VO artists. Voice talent J. Christopher Dunn has compiled a list of Five Must-Have Online Gizmos for Your Voice-over Toolbox that you'll want to check out.

I'm no lawyer (and I won't even play one here), but I would like to add a caveat regarding item # 4, "Save the Video". It's true that services like the one mentioned can grab online video, giving you the flexibility to post it to your site/blog/YouTube etc. However, just because you can grab it doesn't mean you should. Moreover, one shouldn't assume that a client's lack of response equals a "yes" when requesting a copy of the finished item. There is some debate about this; YouTube's own user agreement essentially states that once a video is uploaded, that clip is fair game for anyone's use. However, many of the content providers have legal decrees stating quite clearly the opposite. Unless you want to be potentially caught in a legal crossfire, your best move is to stick with content for which your client has given you the go-ahead.

Okay, enough finger-wagging. Go check out the toolbox and enjoy.

March 07, 2011

Choosing the Right Talent


While they erroneously left hiring Yours Truly off the list (*ahem*), this article does contain some excellent tips for businesses looking to hire voice talent for their projects.

Additionally, Paul Strikwerda adds comments addressing the real value of hiring a genuine VO pro; it's required reading along with the main piece. (To paraphrase Paul here: to suppose that having a nice voice can make one a voice actor is to suppose that having an attractive pair of hands qualifies one to be a concert pianist.)

February 20, 2011

Getting Started: Another Take



Wondering what it takes to get started on the right path to a career in voiceovers?

I've gotten a lot of nice feedback on my article about getting one's feet wet in the voiceover biz. Voice actor Smith Harrison has written his own superb piece on the subject of getting started in voiceovers, so I recommend you add it to your reading list if you're interested in laying the groundwork.


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