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January 30, 2008

Y'all are Fixin' to Git an Education.


Texas Flag. Photo by Krystle Fleming



There's a spot running on local radio here in Austin, with the VO delivering the business' address on Burnet Road (one of Austin's oldest and busiest thoroughfares). The only problem? He pronounces it "bur-NET" instead of using the first-syllable emphasis commonly known to Austinites. Clearly, our intrepid announcer has the misfortune not to live in our fine city. It doesn't happen often, and I'm surprised that the client, a local business, didn't catch it straight away and order a re-take.

In Texas, it's not just our capital's street names that are stepped on by non-native tongues; glance at a map of the Lone Star state and you'll fall into one of our traps in seconds. The "x" is silent in Bexar, and Manchaca, despite appearances, is a two-syllable name, not three.

Relax, pardner. The fine folks at TexasTripper.com have created an audio guide to Texas' most notoriously mangled monikers. The next time you find yourself reading copy and are unsure of names like Boerne, Elgin, or Gruene, just click Play on the audio sample. Genuine central Texas accent thrown in at no extra charge!  Y'all take care, now.


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January 28, 2008

We Knew That, but Thanks!





The folks at MovieMaker Magazine have named Austin, TX as the #1 city both for making movies and residing in, if you're in the film industry. (It's not half bad even if you're not in the entertainment biz, either.) MMM hasn't quite updated their online edition yet, so here's a link to the story.

Austin's status as a TV & film hotbed has been a not-so-well-kept secret for years, but it's nice to have a measure of "official" recognition.

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WGA Strike Update

Since my last post on the subject, I've done a good job of refraining from any reporting on the status of the WGA strike. This seemed a wise move, given that my optimism at the time proved a mistake. Still, those with their finger on the pulse --- or at least those who talk to people who also talk to those who are close to others with their finger on the pulse --- are reporting positive things from the current informal talks between the WGA (the writers) and the AMPTP (referred to as "producers" in most media reports, although in reality they're the CEOs and moguls of the major studios).

Even if this should prove to be another false alarm, I maintain that the mere fact of informal talks taking place at all is a positive step, given that just a couple of weeks prior, neither side seemed interested in talking. Cautious optimism from here on out.



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January 24, 2008

OmniTraderPro - Video Clip

Here's a TV Spot I did last year. Just now got the clip from the client.
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January 22, 2008

A Story.

She'd been weaned too early from her mother. The people found themselves going to sleep and waking in the middle of the night to find a kitten's scratchy tongue nursing their necks and earlobes.

Realizing this was bothering her new people, she found a substitute in the crook of her front left leg. "Nursing" that spot would be her security blanket for the rest of her life.

After she was a little older, she'd roam around the courtyard lawn of the apartment, just outside the door. Chowing down on grass blades and chasing butterflies, the latter pursuit unsuccessful --- so far as the people knew. When she was done, the people didn't have to call her inside. The whomp on the outside door frame meant she had leapt there, a good five feet of a jump, and was hanging on waiting to be brought inside. This became so common that they only checked on her if they didn't hear the whomp after a while.

Time brought a change of apartments and a second cat (Maggie), neither of which she was pleased with. She made sure her air of disdain was registered, but she was never petty about it. (Almost never. Once in a while, she'd walk by a resting Maggie, stop, growl lightly, and give her a quick flurry of unclawed single-paw bops to the head...then mosey off as if she'd said her piece, thank you. Maggie, for her part, remained apathetically still.)

Her people yelled at her when she found she couldn't stop doing her business on a particular patch of carpet, but even as they kvetched, they acknowledged that it had only happened in the first place to let that stray outside know just who the hell lived here.

Yet a third feline interloper arrived some time later. A huffy attitude again was the princess' response, but no violence ensued. She continued to take solace, at every opportunity, in blissfully suckling her arm while lounging on her people. Store-bought planters of grass had replaced her courtyard, as the new home was surrounded by a concrete jungle unfit for the dainty. She'd become a homebody, and seemed content in that role. She thanked the people for these comforts by speaking to them in their language. Not the actual words, of course, as they were unimportant. Tone of voice, rhythm and melody were at the heart of how the people really spoke to one another, and she knew she had these things in spades.

Days and years passed, and the people imposed yet another change of venue on her. Not, however, before they'd allowed a dog --- a dog, for God's sake --- into the home. She gave this dimwitted beast a wide berth during her stay, a blessedly brief one. Maggie had not made the new trip, having shuffled off her coil; in adjusting to another move, at her advancing age, the princess barely seemed to notice her younger sister's absence. Here, at least, she had a patio high above the ground to enjoy. The people shared the patio with her as often as possible, and had the good sense to ooh and ahh at her beauty as she rolled around on the cool surface. For some reason, they were just as amused when she'd inadvertently leave her tongue sticking out from her lips after a big yawn. She'd reward them with love and attention. They're good to me, they deserve it, she'd decide.

One chilly day, all the doors to the house were open. A scent came from outside --- outside! --- and beckoned. She followed it, down the steps and out into the concrete jungle. By the time the scent's source had escaped, she realized she was not where she should be. She searched for home's scent, the smell of her people, but it was nowhere near. She walked, then ran, hoping her nose would catch some hint of home. Tired and frightened, she rested by a large concrete pillar. The swift, terrible roar of the speeding machines surrounded her. Finally, one of the people stepped out of a machine --- not her people, her nose knew --- and picked her up. She could tell he meant no harm, and she had little fight left in her even if he had.

She mewed when her familiar people somehow came to pick her up from the strange ones, so bewildered she'd forgotten how to speak their language. Days passed as she settled back into her comforts, and picked up the human tongue again quickly; but even as she spoke sweetly to them, she knew her adventure had taken more out of her than she could ever have back. Her body began to fail her, slowly but surely. The language won't tell them the truth, she thought. My time is coming soon, and I need you to help me get there.

She thanked them one last time, in their language, for a good life. They spoke back to her, voices fading, as she left.


1997 - 2008

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January 17, 2008

Have You Hyrde?

Another pun? Mea culpa. Sometimes I just can't help myself. If we're still friends, though, let me tell you what's up:

In an earlier post, I mentioned the mobile-exclusive animated series The Hyrde. The first episode is now available for public consumption, no phone required. I confess to being a fan of the series, and happily admit my bias for its voice cast: DB Cooper brings the sassy to the role of Ghoul Gal, while Philip Banks is perfectly cast as the group's wizened leader, Inspector Spectre. Show creator Robert Feldman rounds out the cast. 

Check out Episide One for yourself:

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January 16, 2008

Xtra! Read All About It.

Many thanks are due to John Florian and the gang at VoiceOverXtra for a terrific write-up on the NBC Voice-Off contest.

While you're there, have a look at the Home Studio section, and check out the wealth of other excellent VO articles.

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January 13, 2008

And The Winner (of the NBC Nightly News Unofficial Voice-Off) Is...


...revealed in this episode of VoxMarketising.

No one could be more surprised than yours truly. Many thanks to all who voted!


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January 08, 2008

And This Little MI6 Agent Went...

Wii Wii Wii.

Okay. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me after that, take a look at the latest news in the 007 videogame saga:

Beenox Confirms Nintendo Wii Version


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January 07, 2008

Deep Thoughts on Attraction

I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this will be shocked to learn that among most humans, a deep male voice indicates greater masculinity; no doubt you'd be equally surprised to learn that water is wet. Still, this NPR article is of interest...

In the first phase of her research, Apicella invited a group of Hadza men into her Land Rover and recorded them saying "hello" in Swahili. Then she played some of the voices for a group of Hadza women, asking them which they preferred.

Apicella found the women preferred the men with the lower voices.

And that paralleled another of her findings. The Hadza men with deeper voices also had more children than their squeaky counterparts. But she says voice alone probably doesn't explain that.

...if only because of the twist on said conventional wisdom found in another article on the same study:

"We found that men with deep voices have more children than their high-pitched counterparts," Apicella told AFP.

"But those children were not necessarily healthier, so it doesn't seem like deep-voiced men are passing on good genes to their offspring, as has been hypothesized in the past, but probably has to do with them having greater access to women."

I'd be more worried about the implications of this question, except that I'm still struggling to figure out just what the heck the French babies pictured on the second article have to do with the Tanzanian men & women of the study...

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Final Week!

We're having a terrific run, but now it's crunch time.

Voting in the Unofficial NBC News Voice-Off ends on Friday, January 11, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. ET. If you haven't done so yet, click here and log a vote for your pal Dave Houston --- yes, that'd be me --- in the comments. Feel free to pick two other voices, but you know they don't love ya like I do. ;)

Once you're done, just do me one more teensy solid and pass this along...
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January 04, 2008

I Know, You're Sick of Me By Now. But...

...as long as we're in Massive Self-Promotion mode, I should announce that it's time for the Voicey Awards Nominations. Since I've officially got less than three years in the VO biz, I'm looking for a nod in the Best New Voice category. (Don't mind the "age 20 to 30" criterion; yes, that age range is fast becoming a fuzzy memory for me, but they've relaxed that criterion somewhat.)

Hey, it's not my fault that the contests fall so closely together...
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Don LaFontaine on the Mend

You may or may not have heard about Don LaFontaine’s recent health problems. Happy to report that the Voice of God is on the mend and itching to return to work. Thanks to Stephanie with Vox Daily for the update.
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January 02, 2008

Now that your New Year's euphoria has passed...

...you'll have an easier time going here and voting for your pal David Houston --- that'd be me --- to win the Unofficial NBC News Announcer contest. The cool thing is, you get to pick two other voices (so as not to feel guilty if you think my entry sucks.)

You have all year to call in the favor I'll owe ya, but voting ends soon. Snap to it! (Please.)



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