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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!)

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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.

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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.

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February 14, 2011

VO Scam Alert: Update

Voice talent Dave Courvoisier recently alerted the voiceover community about a scam artist, one who's been reportedly soliciting radio imaging liners and not paying for the work. Here's an update on the matter.

I had a minor exchange with this person last year. Ultimately, he didn't actually scam me out of anything (except the time taken to respond to his e-mail inquiries and provide a rate quote), but his behavior was suspicious to say the least. He contacted me requesting a quote for fully-produced liners to be used on his radio program; I gave him the quote and made it clear that partial payment up front would be required before any work was done. No reply. I followed up a month later asking if he was still interested. He replied saying he'd sent payment, which I knew was false (if for no other reason than a month had passed with no word from him). The reply was complete silence when I asked him to provide some kind of confirmation of the payment.

Dave's report seems to confirm that this guy is not to be trusted. This sort of thing is precisely the reason why, with some exceptions, several voice artists (myself included) request at least a partial payment up front for new clients.

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January 08, 2011

Publicity, Pipes, and Perilous Thinking

So much has been written about Ted Williams in the last few days that this entry certainly appears late to the party. But, hey, this is still a voiceover blog, and the formerly-homeless baritone's story continues to unfold and gain steam.

Paul Strikwerda has written a piece on Williams sufficiently insightful and thought-provoking (and ultimately about far more than the man himself) to warrant a more dignified label than “blog post”, and I won't be attempting to top his efforts here. Nevertheless, here are a few thoughts.

After the story broke --- even before the subsequent media reports detailing Williams' less-than-angelic past emerged --- VO artists filled up boatloads of bandwidth with reactions ranging from effusive praise to grapes oh-so-sour. To that latter group, I say: debate over the various aspects of his story is fine. However, regardless of how one feels about his talent or whether he deserves the announcing jobs he's been offered, spending even a moment worrying about any voiceover career other than your own is to get on a speedy treadmill to nowhere.

After Williams was offered an announcing job by the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was supposed by some that he'd taken the place of an existing employee, who was probably cast aside callously so that the franchise could garner a share of the growing publicity. I'm confident that, were this the case, ESPN and other sports media outlets would be all over it like the fatigues sported by Williams in that first viral video. So far, I haven't seen any such reports.

For any still concerned that Williams may have unjustly taken (or, if you prefer, been granted) any jobs that might have gone to a “more deserving” VO artist --- ones equipped with an agent, a home studio, lots of C-notes spent on training and coaching --- consider something for a moment. It's already happening. It's been happening. It's going to continue to happen. “It”, of course, is the hiring of voice talents who might just not necessarily be ideal for the job. “It” occurs at all levels of the industry, from small-market radio to multimillion-dollar TV campaigns. These jobs were already being “taken” by others, and not for a moment did it ever mean that there wasn't still work to be had.

I say, hate neither the game nor the player. Embrace both and see what happens.

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October 28, 2010

FaffCon2: Atlanta 2011!

The success of the first FaffCon event in Portland has led to FaffCon 2, coming to Atlanta in 2011. Early registration begins November 1st!

FaffCon is a voiceover "unconference"; instead of being locked in to seminar or workshop content dictated by others, you get to choose what aspect of voiceover work gets discussed/worked on/et cetera. Congrats to FaffCon's organizer, Amy Snively, on the success of the (un)conference!

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October 26, 2010

A Good Cause and a Great Voice

The concept and execution would be awesome even if it didn't feature my good friend George Washington III and his at-once-georgeous-and-authoritarian pipes. Luckily for all of us, it does. Read his blog post, then look & listen...


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October 25, 2010

JewelBeat - Free Music & Sound Effects

There aren't many dedicated sites featuring production music that's both free and royalty-free; JewelBeat.com is one such site, and there's a nice selection of short SFX as well. Definitely worth a visit if you need production elements for a quick job.

Free Music, Free Sound Effects - JewelBeat
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October 23, 2010

Political VO Demo - Updated


Click the Play button and give it a listen.

(If the Flash player doesn't work, you can download the mp3 here.)

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September 24, 2010

New Client: Learning House

Thanks and welcome to new client Learning House!

 

 

 

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September 20, 2010

New PSAs for National Voice Over Appreciation Month

Check out all three new PSAs for National Voice Over Appreciation Month! Dave Courvoisier put it together with 16 voice actors, including David Houston, Tricia Basanyi, Linda Ristig, Liz de Nesnera, Lee Gordon, Jody Krangle, Justin S. Barrett, Lindsay Martell, Ken Maxon, Rowell Gormon, Mike Coon, Doug Turkel, Melanie Haynes, and Daniel Wallace. Also included: David Atwood, Mahmoud Taji, Jay Sawyer, Jim Barton, Ken Maxon, Morgan Barnhart, Dan Roberts, Trish Basanyi, Andy Boyns, Bob Souer, Dave Courvoisier, Mike Roberts, Edo Peters, CC Petersen, Jodi Krangle, Ralph Hass, and Michael Schoen.

PSA 1

PSA 2

PSA 3


More info at http://www.nationalvoiceovermonth.com!

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August 28, 2010

New Client - Univision

Thanks and welcome to new client Univision!

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April 21, 2010

Voice Actor Voices Activism

Government Employees Insurance Company (doing ...Image via Wikipedia

Didn't expect to see this today:

Sometimes you have a headline that makes the rest of the story superfluous, but here's the background. Actor Lance Baxter, otherwise known as "D.C. Douglas," currently known as the man who informs you how much GEICO can save you on car insurance, left a message last month with FreedomWorks in which he asked the group how many "mentally retarded" people it had on staff and what it would do when a tea partyer "killed someone." On April 14, FreedomWorks put his voicemail online.voices.washingtonpost.com, GEICO voice actor fired after insulting tea parties, Apr 2010

However you feel about the issues raised here, I hope we can all agree that it's a good idea to spell-check your press release. "Achilles heal"?

 

UPDATE: In-depth discussion and commentary here, and that's putting it mildly. It is, as they say, on like Donkey Kong.
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March 27, 2010

Ro' Keeps the Faith

In a previous post about my experience working on the film "ExTerminators", I included a pic of my fellow 'police officer' Ro' Black with the caption "Smart, opinionated and funny. You saw her here first." After working with her and getting to know her a bit, I had a feeling that bigger and better things were not far away for my new friend, and I don't mind bragging that I was right.

Ro' takes the lead in Keepin' the Faith: Momma's Got a Boyfriend, an indie film from Lightyear Entertainment. Serious props to Ro' on this gig; with her work ethic, talent, and personality, I suspect she'll be going from DVD releases like this to the big screen with a quickness.

Keepin' the Faith: Momma's Got a Boyfriend, starring Ro' Black
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January 14, 2010

A Pioneer Passes

"Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!!!"

The style may be passé, but it set the standard for announcing car shows, monster truck events, and even concert promos for decades. Jan C. Gabriel, the originator of the high-energy voice delivery for those formats, passed away this past Sunday.

He couldn't have timed it better.

Story (Chicago Tribune)

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January 11, 2010

Objects in this Entry Less Evil Than They Appear

Voice-talker and tea-biscuit-dispenser extraordinaire Philip Banks is a lovely fellow, really. It's just that the news team putting together this story on Philip were in an incredible hurry, and managed to print a photo that would unnerve even a Bond villain.

At any rate, the piece talks up Philip's appearance at VOICE 2010, coming in June to a massive voiceover conference near you. Congrats on the press, Philip, and I promise I'LL TALK! I'LL TELL YOU WHERE THE MISSILES ARE!!!

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Jeffrey Kafer Talks VO on TV

My friend and VO colleague Jeffrey Kafer appeared on Mike Huckabee's cable show this past weekend, to talk about making the transition from day-job exile to full-time voiceover artist. He shares the segment with another guest, but Jeff is the far more telegenic and compelling of the two.

It's a great bit of self-promotion for Jeff, and it underscores the fact that working to market your VO business can pay off. Jeff had issued a press release on his blog about his jump from layoff-world to an audiobook career, and it caught the eye of the show's producers. Here's hoping it leads to more gigs for this talented voice-talker.

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November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, VO-BB!

 

 
Happy 5th Birthday to the VO-BB forum, from David Houston Voiceovers!
 

 

 

There aren't enough superlatives to describe what a tremendous online forum the VO-BB is (and nobody likes an overwritten script anyway). Therefore, I'll just ask you to join me in a hearty Congrats and Happy Birthday to the site, born five years ago today.

My pal (and creator & manager of the site) DB Cooper also deserves more thanks and salutations than I can adequately express here. Here's to many more!

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September 30, 2009

HearTheBill.Org Press Release

Voice Actors Record Senate Online Version of Health Care Reform

Unique, Non-Partisan Reading of Health Care Bills Brings Critical Issue Directly into American Homes   

A group of volunteer voice actors from across the country and around the world has now recorded the Senate version of health care reform legislation making its way through Congress. The recording, available at www.hearthebill.org, follows a successful recording of the House version that is fast approaching a million hits online.

The recordings are keeping pace with changes in Congress, and have now made it possible for voters to hear the Senate bill proposed by U.S. Senator Baucus (D-Montana). All modifications to the bill, including those adopted in the September 22 hearing by the Finance Committee, are updated on the site, as will subsequent changes in both the Senate and House versions.

The audio is free online at the site created last month as a public service for the visually impaired and those who prefer audio to text, such as the tens of millions of people who listen to audio books. Since its launch September 3 with the audio book version of HR3200, the House health care reform bill, the site has had nearly 1 million hits.

“We have made a firm commitment to track any health care reform legislation proposals and get them out there on audio as quickly as possible," said Keesling. "It’s important that as the country debates this issue that everyone – from those who are visually impaired to those who want to learn more while driving in their cars or folding their laundry – have the option to learn what’s in these bills."

The site is a nonpartisan, educational project. The 84 volunteer voice actors come from all across the country, and some from Canada, the UK and Australia. They come with diverse political viewpoints – but also with a commitment not to share those viewpoints on the site.

"There has been a lot of back-and-forth on this issue. While each of the voice actors who have participated have their own opinion, our goal is to provide information so people can make up their own minds based on what’s actually in the legislation,” Havens said. “We want to provide a starting point for a truly informed discourse on one of the most important issues of our time."

Contact: Diane Havens  (201) 819-6405
Contact: Kathleen Keesling (970) 769-0006
  


 

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September 14, 2009

Hear The (Health-Care) Bill - UPDATE

The HearTheBill.org project is getting more and more media attention, including this segment of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC:

 

 

I also added this quote to my download page:

"It's immensely gratifying to be part of a project that takes on an important political issue without taking sides or muddying the waters. In fact, it's my hope that this will help cut through much of the misinformation about health care reform legislation. While some have criticized the project for presenting an audio version of a bill that's likely to undergo changes, to my mind that makes it all the more important to allow people greater access to the political process in real-time."
~David Houston

You can hear my contribution here.

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September 04, 2009

Hear the (Health Care) Bill

 

 

 

It's complete! HR3200, also known as the health-care reform bill that's dominated the news of late, has been put into audio form with a little bit of help from yours truly. HearTheBill.org is a project started by voiceover artists Diane Havens and Kat Keesling, and it allows those interested in the debate to hear the entire bill word-for-word --- or even just the parts they're concerned about. It's a non-partisan project, and whatever your feelings are about the proposed legislation, it's a great resource for anyone interested.

You can hear my nine-page contribution here

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June 18, 2009

Joan Baker Endorses Neumann

 

Veteran voiceover artist Joan Baker
 

(from Voice Over Times)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 2009: As the manufacturer of the high-end vocal microphones that have been integral to the voiceover industry since its inception, Neumann is pleased to announce its endorsement of Joan Baker.

In an amazing career that now spans two decades, Joan Baker has been “the voice” for hundreds of programs, promos, and commercials in TV, film, and radio. Her clients include ABC News, American Express, and ESPN, among countless others of equally high profile.

Read More...

 

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May 22, 2009

Press Release: Professional Voiceover Talent David Houston Signs with Ryan Artists Talent Agency

Professional voice over talent David Houston has agreed to be represented by Ryan Artists talent agency.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


May 22, 2009 – Professional voice over talent David Houston has agreed to be represented by Ryan Artists talent agency, it was announced today.

Ryan Artists, Inc., is the only full-service union-franchised talent agency in Oregon, operating in the Pacific Northwest since 1981. In addition to voice over, the agency represents models and actors in the areas of fashion, lifestyle, and on-camera, working with numerous regional and national clients in a variety of markets.

With this new partnership, Mr. Houston adds to his representation in Texas, California, Louisiana and New Mexico by The Atherton Group (TAG) Talent Agency.

"I'm excited to be partnering with Ryan Artists. Already having the strongest and most active representation in the South and West regions of the country with TAG, I wanted to expand my marketing and business opportunities to other areas as well", said Houston. "With Ryan, I can rest assured that my representation in the Northwest is being handled by top-notch professionals."

David Houston (davidhoustonvoice.com) is a voiceover artist, actor, and audio producer based in Austin, TX. He has been heard on numerous national TV and radio commercials, and also performs voiceovers for animation, corporate narrations, documentaries, broadcast voice imaging, audio books, podcasts and messaging on-hold (MOH). Houston was originally cast as the voice of James Bond in Activision's "Quantum of Solace" videogame. Also an on-camera actor, David Houston has appeared in episodes of the network TV series "Friday Night Lights", and will also appear in the upcoming feature films "Ex-Terminators" and "Temple Grandin".

Media Contacts:
David Houston, David Houston Voiceovers, 512.659.0013
Liz Atherton, The Atherton Group, 512.930.9301
Sarah Catherine Sorensen, Ryan Artists, Inc., 503.274.1005

# # #

Actor and voiceover artist in Austin, TX. Warm and rich baritone/tenor, pleasant yet authoritative; from friendly, smooth, and sophisticated, to commanding and powerful, to hip and upbeat; from Guy-Next-Door to Voice-of-God.

Companies like Activision, Dell, Callaway Golf and OmniTrader have chosen David Houston Voiceovers to voice their projects.

Other clients include: Saberex, Kinetic Concepts, Inc., Powered, Inc., Rove Mobile, KFLW-FM Radio


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May 21, 2009

Wayne Allwine: R.I.P

I'm late in posting this, of course, but I'd be remiss in not mentioning the passing of Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse for the last 32 years. Our fondest wishes to his friends, family, and all whom he entertained as the thoughtful caretaker of an animation icon.

Allwine, voice of Mickey Mouse for 32 years, dies

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April 30, 2009

Number Ten With a Bullet

CNN's list of "10 jobs cooler than yours" places Voice Actor at the bottom. I personally think it belongs at least in the top five.

The article lists the average annual salary at $47,000. CNN would have done well to include a disclaimer; I'm not sure how they arrived at the figure, but it's a little misleading. These are just my own estimates: about 80% of union voice actors pull in a tenth of that amount (or less). Only 10 to 15% earn the $47K listed, and the six-figure range goes to an exclusive 2%. Plenty of non-union work is available, but I'd wager that the disparity is about the same --- and since most non-union work doesn't pay residuals, the overall pie is probably smaller.

All in all, I'd still take this gig over "Storm chaser" at number 8.

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April 13, 2009

Harry Kalas: 1936 - 2009

Harry Kalas 

 

Much of today's news coverage on the passing of Harry Kalas focuses on his longtime announcer gig with the Philadelphia Phillies. For this football fan, however, it's the NFL Films productions that will never quite be the same again. He turned the narratives of week-in week-out games into grand epics, all in that signature baritone that seemed as old as the game itself (but never lost its love of the sport).

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April 10, 2009

Callaway Spots

Here are the Callaway Golf TV commercials referenced eariler this week:

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April 09, 2009

Crispin Freeman Speaks at UT-Dallas

From Anime News Network:

 

Richardson, Texas (April 7, 2009) – The University of Texas at Dallas presents anime voiceover star Crispin Freeman, giving a lecture entitled “Mystics, Priestesses and Warrior Women,” at 7 p.m., Tues., April 14, in the Galaxy Rooms of the Student Union.

 

More info here.

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April 07, 2009

Press Release: Voiceover Artist David Houston Chosen for New Callaway Golf TV Spots

 

NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Austin, TX, United States, 04/07/2009 - Professional voice actor and audio producer David Houston provides voice in new TV spots for Callaway Golf's "Comparison" campaign.


   
 

Professional voice actor and audio producer David Houston was chosen to voice new TV spots for Callaway Golf's "Comparison" campaign.

Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY), a global manufacturer of professional-grade golf equipment, worked with Austin, TX-based multimedia company FG Squared to produce the spots. Voice actor David Houston was chosen to provide the voice for the campaign.

In the spots (which include a series of :15 and :30 second TV commercials), Houston's voiceover advises customers on Callaway's Buy-Back Guarantee and 12-month warranty when purchasing pre-owned Callaway clubs. The commercials will run on The Golf Channel™ and various outlets during the Masters Golf Tournament 2009.

Callaway Golf Company manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf accessories, under the Callaway Golf®, Odyssey®, Top-Flite®, Ben Hogan® and uPro™ brands in more than 110 countries worldwide.

David Houston (davidhoustonvoice.com) is a voiceover artist, actor, and audio producer based in Austin, TX. He has been heard on numerous national TV and radio commercials, and also performs voiceovers for animation, corporate narrations, documentaries, broadcast voice imaging, audio books, podcasts and messaging on-hold (MOH). Houston was originally cast as the voice of James Bond in Activision's "Quantum of Solace" videogame. Also an on-camera actor, David Houston has appeared in episodes of TV's "Friday Night Lights", and will also appear in the upcoming films "Ex-Terminators" and "Temple Grandin".



Link: http://www.newswiretoday.com/news/49102/
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February 06, 2009

A Top-Notch Audiobook Debut

 

 

Ten Mile River

available at Audible.com

 

Congratulations are in order for my friend and VO colleague Joe Rodriguez, whose debut audiobook performance is now available. Ten Mile River is also the first novel by author Paul Griffin, and Joe delivers a compelling reading of this gritty, realistic tale. Kudos to Joe, and I expect this will be the first of many terrific audiobook narrations from him.

(NOTE: The audio sample contains strong and potentially offensive language; it occurs within the context of the novel, of course, but be advised.)

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February 02, 2009

Mary C. McKitrick on PBS

 

 
National Broadcast Premiere of "Forgotten Ellis Island" by Lorie Conway, Filmmaker. Narrated by Elliott Gould, Historical voices by Mary C. McKitrick.  Tonight, February 2nd on PBS at 10 pm or check local listings

 

 

VO talent Mary C. McKitrick (MCM Voices), a friend and colleague of mine, provides "historical voices" alongside Elliot Gould's narration on tonight's premiere of Forgotten Ellis Island on PBS. Kudos for Mary on this outstanding and high-profile voice job!

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January 26, 2009

Press Release: Voiceover Artist David Houston Launches 'Do That Voice!' Podcast

 

 

 

Austin, TX, United States, 01/26/2009 - The first episode of a new podcast from David Houston Voiceovers is now available.
       
David Houston, actor, voiceover artist and producer, has launched the Do That Voice! podcast. He has appeared as a featured guest on podcasts by voiceover artists Terry Daniel and Peter O'Connell. Sharing the same name as his voiceover blog, the Do That Voice! podcast's first episode opens with several character voices performed by Houston; however, as he makes clear later on, the podcast focuses more on the broad world of voiceover than on "funny character voices".

Episode 1 also features the voice actor reporting on presidential inauguration parade announcer Charlie Brotman --- far from a household name, but decades-long holder of one the world's most prestigious voice announcing jobs --- and also covers Podcamp Toronto 2009, a free conference for all those interested in all things podcasting, blogging and new media. Future episodes will feature more news about voiceover and the entertainment/media industries, as well as interviews with prominent voiceover artists. Suggestions, comments, and other inquiries regarding the podcast can be sent to podcast [at] davidhoustonvoice.com.

The podcast is available on iTunes, as well as the Do That Voice! blog.


David Houston (davidhoustonvoice.com) is a voiceover artist, actor, and audio producer based in Austin, TX. He has been heard on numerous national TV and radio commercials, and also performs industrial narration. Houston was originally cast as the voice of James Bond in Activision's "Quantum of Solace" videogame. He has appeared on-camera in episodes of TV's "Friday Night Lights", and will appear in the upcoming HBO film "Temple Grandin".

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January 19, 2009

The President's Announcer

 

 

 

 

It becomes available every four years. It offers no pay. It's one of the most exclusive and prestigious voiceover gigs in the world.

For 52 years, Charlie Brotman has served as the president's announcer for the inaugural parade. tomorrow --- Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 ---  Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, at which point Charlie will extend his streak to 10 presidents and 14 parades.

He's had the job long enough to be a little fuzzy on the details of landing it, but even Charlie has to "audition" each time the gig comes up:

 

Brotman isn't sure how he got the announcing gig in the first place, although he believes Eisenhower remembered him as the announcer at Griffith Stadium when the president threw out the first pitch for the old Washington Senators in 1956.

By now, one would think that Brotman's selection for the job every four years would be automatic, but he has to break through layers of bureaucracy to make his pitch anew whenever there's a change in administration. Once he had persuaded Obama's workers that he was for real — "I'm sure they Googled me and asked references and that type of thing," Brotman said — they invited him on board and even started asking him for help with the parade script.

 

Here's a salute not only to our new Chief Executive, but to the voice of experience that will help usher him in tomorrow.

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January 09, 2009

Pre-Announcement Announcement

 

 
 

 

To be launched soon: Do That Voice! The David Houston Voiceovers Podcast.

It'll be available here and on iTunes. Keep watching!

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January 06, 2009

The Mugs on the Bus

...are downtown-bound. (And elsewhere, perhaps.)

 

 

Actor and voiceover artist David Houston is pictured with wife Carla on Austin's Capitol Metro bus system.
 

 

 

Here's a bit of background on how we ended up there in the first place. The judges liked her story, which has the benefit of being 100% true.

I just hope it goes for at least a few days before someone spray-paints a mustache and gap teeth on me.

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December 30, 2008

Voiceover Opportunites for the New Year

 

Report on the Voice Over Industry for 2009, from voices.com
 

 

David Ciccarelli of Voices.com has published Report on the Voice Over Industry : 2009, a comprehensive look at recent trends in media with an eye toward the upcoming effects --- and opportunities --- for the voiceover industry. It's a free PDF download, and it's highly recommended reading.

 

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December 20, 2008

Doc? It Hurts When I Go "Void Where Prohibited".

 

 

 

 

(From The Yorkshire Post:)

 

A doctor was sent confidential voiceover scripts for a top TV show and Hollywood blockbusters after a bizarre e-mail mix-up.

The 57-year-old medic jokingly replied that he was more used to treating patients than providing the soundtrack to various shows but was astonished to receive further mails from X-Factor asking him to grandly announce "Attention X-Factor Fans".

Dr Dickson then realised that he was accidentally being sent a deluge of offers meant for professional voiceover artist Peter Dickson – the instantly recognisable deep voice who introduces the Saturday evening talent show and countless movie trailers.

 

Now I'm fearful that my voiceover scripts will be sent to Hulk Hogan's attorney by mistake...

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December 19, 2008

Voice Actor Injured in Mumbai Terror Attacks Returns Home

(From IGN)

Actor Michael Rudder, who was shot three times in the Mumbai terror attacks, returned home to Montreal yesterday:

 

 

Montreal actor Michael Rudder, who was shot in last month's attacks in Mumbai, returned home late Wednesday after spending several weeks in an Indian hospital, saying he received a "great gift" from his experience.

Rudder was greeted by a cheering crowd of friends, fellow actors and supporters as he arrived at Montreal's Pierre Trudeau International Airport after travelling with the assistance of a nurse.

Speaking to reporters from a wheelchair, he said he owed a debt of gratitude for the "enormous outpouring of love" he received from people all over the world after the attacks.

"I'm going to get a sign that says 'World's luckiest guy,'" a beaming Rudder said.

He also offered a prayer for the people of India still reeling from the deadly series of attacks that rocked the country's financial capital and left more than 170 people dead.

"I hope they're protected," he said.

 

 

Rudder has voiced characters in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and several other videogames. He's also a TV and film actor.

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December 18, 2008

Majel Barrett Roddenberry: R.I.P.


Majel Barrett Roddenberry
1932 - 2008


From roddenberry.com:

Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away this morning, December 18, 2008, at 12:27 AM in her Bel Air home. She died peacefully, in her sleep, and was surrounded by family and loved ones.

"My mother truly acknowledged and appreciated the fact that Star Trek fans played a vital role in keeping the Roddenberry dream alive for the past 42 years. It was her love for the fans, and their love in return, that kept her going for so long after my father passed away." - Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, Jr.



Given her visibility as Nurse Chapel (on the original Star Trek series) and Lwaxana Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation) It's likely that most people --- even those in Hollywood and the VO industry --- didn't necessarily consider Majel to be a voice actor. However, for decades, she also provided the voice for one of the most iconic characters in film and TV history: the starship Enterprise itself. For that reason, her contribution not only to the Trek franchise but to the whole of the entertainment world should be held in high esteem.

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December 02, 2008

Survey Says...

 

 

 

John Florian at VoiceOverXtra has published the results of their “How’s Business Lately?” survey of voice talents, Conducted in late October 2008, the survey asked participants to compare their current job volume and income with what they experienced at the same time in 2007. 

There's a mixed bag of results, with many reporting an uptick in business but also expressing concerns about the future. Worth a look.

 

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November 16, 2008

Simon Vance Q&A

Library Journal launches a new "Behind the Mike" regular feature, with a piece on Audie Award-winning narrator Simon Vance. It's a short but informative interview; here's hoping future installments will go even deeper.

(Hat-tip to voiceover artist Karen Commins for finding this one. Thanks!)

 

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November 13, 2008

Howard Reig: 1921 - 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Longtime NBC Nightly News announcer Howard Reig has passed away in Venice, Florida. He was 87.

Howard was the voice of NBC Nightly News from John Chancellor to Brian Williams. More information on Howard's life and career is available at the links below.


Links:

TVNewser

Howard Reig official site

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November 10, 2008

Becoming Your Animation Characters At the Mic

 

 

 

 

John Florian of VoiceOverXtra reports on this MJ Lallo presentation from VOICE 2007. MJ gives several pointers for the voice actor on bringing life to animated characters on the spot; tips include thinking like an animator, taking control of your audition, and keeping an arsenal of voices at the ready. Recommended reading!

 

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August 25, 2008

The Voice of God: Silenced

 

 
Don LaFontaine
 

Don LaFontaine 

1940 - 2008

 

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July 10, 2008

Helium Happenings

 
 

 
My article on Getting Started in Voiceovers is featured today on Helium's home page. A hat-tip from me to the Helium team.

Also featured are excellent VO articles by Natalie Nicole Gilbert and Doc Phillips. Give those a look while you're there, and take a look at the larger Helium community; it's a terrific resource for articles on just about any topic imaginable.

 

UPDATE (7/11/08): I received a message from a Helium user after yesterday's front-page showing:

 

I read your article on voiceovers (congrats on making the front page of Helium) - you have an excellent writing style, phenomenal understanding of words and their use in the English language, and easily share your knowledge without sounding pompous. Thank you for bringing your talent to Helium.

C.M.Erickson
Coffee sub-channel steward

 

C.M. didn't leave an e-mail address, so I hope it's okay if I offer humble thanks here for those kind words. 

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June 12, 2008

Still Has That New-Car Scent...

The main site has a new look and feel.

It may yet get a few tweaks here and there, but I think it works. It was time for a change. 

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June 04, 2008

More D'oh! for Homer.

...and for his family, too.

 

 

 

 

Per their new deal with FOX, the lead actors on The Simpsons (Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria) will be paid nearly $400,000 per episode.

I haven't (and probably won't) check out the inevitable internet comments decrying them as overpaid, but I imagine they'll probably go something like this: 

"Voice acting is just talking into a mic! Besides, my brother's friend's cousin can do all the Simpsons voices perfectly and would be thrilled to do it for the low low fee of (A) a daily bag of Cheetos and (B) Jessica Alba's phone number."

Okay, I have to admit, I might do it just for the last item. 

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June 02, 2008

More Than Movie Memories Lost in Universal Fire

 

 

 

 

It's been widely reported that the recent blaze at Universal Studios Hollywood destroyed several well-known movie sets, including the town square from Back to the Future. The cause of the fire has been traced to an accidental spark from a blowtorch used on construction of a nearby set.

What hasn't been reported in the mainstream press is the loss of a veritable treasure trove of original music recordings. From Deadline Hollywood Daily:

 

...inside the video vault that was billowing thick black smoke were 1000's of original Decca, MCA, ABC recording masters from the last century including a wide range of music from Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters to Judy Garland and The Carpenters. "This is a tremendous loss in music history. A very sad day indeed. It's too bad they saved the videos that they have backups on instead of the master recordings in which they do not, although they may not have had a choice since the fire had already engulfed much of the music side of the vault," a source just told me. Universal Studios can't confirm what has been damaged or destroyed music-wise at this point because it doesn't yet know what exactly was housed in the storage rented to Universal Music.

 

It's a real tragedy, even in the digital age, that these master recordings weren't better protected. 

 

 

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May 07, 2008

'Quantum of Solace' Videogame Site Launched

From MI6:

Activision today officially confirmed the videogame adaptation of the upcoming James Bond film "Quantum of Solace", and launched a teaser website to promote the title.

[The website] gives fans access to some early concept artwork from the locations featured in the game, as well as the opportunity to sign-up to the community to vote on polls and ask the development team questions. This site will serve as the hub of activity for the game and will be updated on a regular basis.

Development studios are confirmed as Eurocom, Treyarch, Beenox and Vicarious Visions. The game will be released this Fall. Treyarch are understood to be heading up development on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, with Beenox producing the Nintendo Wii version, and Vicarious Visions working on the hand-held platforms. Eurocom are understood to be developing the PC version.

Speaking about Activision's direction with the 007 licence, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said "Bond is one of the great videogame franchises of all time and that really was a result of GoldenEye 64. I think the key to re-energising the Bond franchise is going to be ultimately the highest possible game quality."

Last November, Activision confirmed a second 007 title was also under development.

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May 05, 2008

New Client: Rove Mobile

Happy to have Rove Mobile as a new client; I'll be voicing an introductory video clip for their new application. Rove creates IT and business software for handheld devices.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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April 25, 2008

Engineered for Success


Since setting up a MySpace page a few years ago, I've pretty much made it a home for VO networking. It's worked pretty well in that regard for me, and I'd like to think that those MySpacers who've come to me for VO advice have found it worthwhile.

I can't take all of that credit, however. A few months back, a gentleman named Chris Doohan left a comment on my page asking for suggestions on breaking into the voiceover biz.

Given that Mr. Doohan is the son of the late, great James "Scotty" Doohan of Star Trek fame, I half-jokingly advised him that he had something of advantage in breaking into show business. Chris seems to have inherited his dad's good looks and upbeat personality, along with at least a fair measure of his talent, so I figured he could certainly make quick inroads if he wished. I then gave him some general information and wished him well.

Turns out I was right. It didn't take long for Chris to get his VO career going, and a more appropriate first gig I can't imagine: he'll be voicing various characters in a new animated Star Trek series produced by NEO f/x and Farragut Films. While it's not an official Paramount production, the series promises to be true to the style of the original animated adventures, and the voice cast is highlighted by Trek alums Tim Russ (Tuvok on Voyager) and Chase Masterson (Leeta on Deep Space Nine):



                                  




So, as I said, I can't take any real credit for Chris' gig. Still, I'm glad he thought highly enough of me to ask for some tips before getting underway.

More info on Starship Farragut, The Animated Episodes here:

NEO f/x and Farragut Films Journey to the Animated Frontier
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February 21, 2008

Voicey Awards 2008 Winners

Looks like I bet on the right horse, at least in one race; congrats to Jeffrey Kafer for his win in the Best New Voice category.

Jeff won, and deservedly so, but I get to keep the nifty new graphic (thanks, Stephanie!) on my web page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a complete list of all the winners. Kudos all!

Best Child Voice: Brandi Munro

Best Teen Voice: Jesse Springer

Best New Voice: Jeffrey Kafer

Best Male Voice: J.J. Wilson

Best Female Voice: Debbie Munro

Best Foreign Voice: Lili Wexu

Best Voice Team: Adam Fox and Kara Edwards

Best Personal Branding: David J. Lawrence

Life Time Achievement: Pat Fraley

 

To hear the awards presentation, go to the VOX Talk page. Bow tie optional. 

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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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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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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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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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December 26, 2007

Hi, NBC News? You've Got Mail.

Before I got into doing VO full-time, I spent many years as a guitarist and vocalist in rock bands. Of the many musician's jokes I've heard beat to death over the years, one sticks out:

How many guitarists does it take to screw in a light bulb? 12. One to screw in the bulb, and eleven to stand around arguing that they could have done it better. 

The irony is, sometimes at least one of them is right. This was the reaction among tons of VO artists upon hearing film star Michael Douglas' questionable work as the new voice of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Voiceover artist Peter O'Connell has taken the collective groans of the VO community and set up an absolutely unofficial audition for the job. Judging by the stellar quality of the entries, I'd say NBC would do well to make the auditions official. Head over to Peter's blog and judge for yourself.

In the meantime, here's my humble effort. (MP3)

 

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November 27, 2007

Progress in WGA Strike Talks?

Nothing is certain, of course, but there are reports that talks between the WGA and the producers have quietly resumed; and even if there aren't any major breakthroughs at the moment...at least both sides are talking without rancor. Here's hoping this is the start of a deal both sides can live with.

 


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November 22, 2007

Cat Officially Out of Bag.

Looks like the news is out elsewhere, so it might as well be out here as well:

 

MI6 News: David Houston to provide voice for James Bond in new videogame

According to several sources, voice-over actor David Houston will be providing the voice of James Bond in the upcoming 007 videogame from Activison. MI6 understands that Daniel Craig will be providing his likeness to the digital 007.  [More...]

 

 

Vox Daily has also published the news.

Seems there's some negative reaction among die-hard Bond fans at the MI6 forums. If I recall correctly, however, several fervent 007 fans were also dead certain that Daniel Craig was a terrible choice...before Casino Royale was released. He's now quite the fan favorite.

At any rate, I'm simply hoping the rest of the production comes off without a hitch --- according to the studio, the Bond 22 film won't be affected by the WGA strike as I indicated previously --- so that fans can judge the final product. Still very excited about the gig, and looking forward to the sessions.  

 

 

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November 02, 2007

Striking News

Looks like a Writer's Guild strike is imminent, with the most recent reports indicating only the slightest chance of last-minute talks to avert a crippling walkout. 

At first glance, the driving force behind this might simply appear to be a demand for wage increases. In fact, it's as much about the changing nature of entertainment delivery (DVD, streaming media, etc.) as it is about dollars and cents. From today's AdAge:

 

In the early '80s, the Hollywood's writers made what has become to be regarded as the worst deal since Manhattan was sold for some wampum and blankets: When the writers originally signed their pact with producers about how they would be compensated for work viewed on home video, they agreed that 80% of the revenue would immediately be kept aside for the studios, leaving only 20% of the revenue available for royalties. The upshot? While a film or TV show might sell for $19.99 on home video, a writer will typically receive less than a nickel from that sale.

"Welcome to class warfare," deadpanned Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer at Troy & Gould who specializes in internet law, and who formerly was associate counsel to the WGA from 1994-1995. "The home-video agreement doesn't even make sense for home video anymore, let alone the internet."

Mr. Handel explained that the 80/20 split of home-video spoils might have been tenable in 1982, when video cassettes were a costly media to produce and often subsidized by studios seeking to create a new revenue stream. But the cost of manufacturing a DVD is now pegged at 25 cents; digital distribution is, he argued, even cheaper, because there is no physical media to produce at all. [I'm reminded of the 80s, when the music industry charged more for the "brand-new" CD format, even though production costs had plummeted fairly quickly after the format became a hit. --- DH]

Moreover, the studios are making more than they ever had before: Last year, all-media revenue from filmed entertainment -- money from home video, TV, theatrical release and pay TV -- grew 8% to a record $42.6 billion.

 

This is 100% speculation on my part, but there's a slight possibility that a writers' strike could push back the previously-mentioned videogame project I'm booked for. The game ties in with a movie release lated for 2008, but that film has (reportedly) already been delayed by script rewrites. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and continue to work as much as possible in the meantime. 

UPDATE: Well, per some information in the link (provided in the comments by my good friend Mary), it looks like my speculation was probably correct. The strike is hitting home, even here in Texas...
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October 24, 2007

This Time, Free is Good.

 

If you've read any of this blog in the past, you'll know that I'm usually skeptical of things given away for free; in terms of value, one usually gets what one pays for. With that in mind, I'm pleased to be able to report a happy exception to that rule. (Many thanks to fellow VO artist Joe Rodriguez for finding this one first.)

Intuit, the makers of Quickbooks (you may have heard the name; it's the market leader in small business accounting software) has made their QuickBooks Simplestart 2008 accounting software available for free. While you'd be right in thinking that this package isn't as fully-featured as the paid editions, it's not a time-limited demo or a stripped-bare version either; it's a completely functional program that allows you to create professional-looking invoices and sales receipts, track customer and vendor contacts, and further organize your business expenses. I've started using it myself the past few days, and I'm glad to say it makes this aspect of the business less of a chore.

Oh, and while I wouldn't be opposed to the idea, I assure you that this isn't a paid endorsement. It's rare that "free" and "worthwhile" go together, so I'm more than happy to let everyone know when it does.

 

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July 03, 2007

SouthEast Film Association

The fine folks at SEFA, or SouthEast Film Association, were kind enough to list me as one of their featured Voice Talents, and even whipped up a nifty YouTube video featuring my demos.

If you don't mind staring at my mug for three minutes or so, go check it out...

 

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June 19, 2007

Snap Shots

Introducing Snap Shots from Snap.com

I just installed a nice little tool on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, excerpts of Wikipedia articles and IMDb profiles, inline videos, MP3s, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you “look ahead,” before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click “Disable” in the upper right corner of the Snap Shots bubble and opt-out.

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June 17, 2007

No Frogs were Harmed in the Posting of this Entry.

After reading a recent post* by Philip Banks on the VO-BB forum, I whipped up this graphic using an online logo generator:

 

VO-BB

 

 

To my surprise, several of the members demanded to have this emblem on a t-shirt. VO-BB Board Czar D.B. Cooper informed me that it's a done deal.

I now proudly (?) add "graphic designer" to my many hats.

(Said garment can be purchased here if you're so inclined...) 

 

 

 

*Since that part of the forum is closed to non-members: the phrase on the emblem was uttered by Mr. Banks, without any exlcamation or excitement, during a business phone call upon being prompted by his dog to play fetch with a favorite toy. The other party, according to Philip, laughed hysterically...

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April 03, 2007

News

Signed on with Ciao! Talent Agency this week, one of the most respected talent reps in Texas and elsewhere. (While I have nothing but love for my out-of-state representation, it's nice to have an agent I'll be able to see in person from time to time...)
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December 22, 2006

Turning the Tables on Fate

Opportunity does knock, but sometimes --- no, make that all the time --- you need to flip the script and go knocking on opportunity’s door.

I was looking through online job postings a short while back when I saw an ad looking for “freelance writers with an expertise in gaming”. Now, while I do fancy myself a decent writer and have played more than my share of videogames over the last, um, two decades or so, this wasn’t really the kind of gig I was looking for. However, one of the job duties in the ad caught my eye:

“…Drafting a script for our voice talent.”

I immediately drafted an email asking if that voice talent would be hired directly, and stating that if so, I’d be ready and available. I think my query took them by surprise, but it led immediately to an audition and --- one week later --- a gig. I’ll be voicing tutorials for a number of highly popular online games (including some MMORPGs, for those of you who speak “gamer”).

It just goes to prove the adage that you’ve got to go find the gigs; to sit around hoping that they’ll find you is to very nearly ensure that they won’t.

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October 24, 2006

I'm Just Too White & Nerdy

Many thanks to Stephanie at the VoxDaily blog for publishing my Getting Started piece. Visit the article over there, and you finally get to see a picture of yours truly:

 

VoxDaily-GettingStartedinVO

 

...Psyche. Not me. (I'm not that white and nerdy.)

I don't know who that is, but it looks like Clark Kent on a tipsy karaoke outing, or maybe Drew Carey after six months of Atkins. Take your pick. 

 

UPDATE: Part II is now on the VoxDaily blog as well, with a short add-on at the end.

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October 22, 2006

Changes in the Works

A big revamp of the site is coming soon. Stay tuned...
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October 06, 2006

Press Release

 

Voiceover Artist David Houston: A Quiet Guy Who Talks Up A Storm

Newswire Release 

 

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August 03, 2006

Have My People Call Your People...

Great news here at DHV: I'm now represented by Marla Dell Talent, located in San Francisco. Looking forward to working with them...
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January 09, 2006

And....Action.

Took advantage of a great opportunity; a one-time acting class with Van Brooks. Worked on monologues and met some terrific people, all of whom I have to say were far more photogenic (or "telegenic", if you like) than myself. I learned a great deal from that three-hour session, though, and I'll hopefully be able to take one of Van's full classes soon.

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October 29, 2005

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright...

Completed voicing various characters for the audio drama Tiger's Quest, produced by Everlasting Films. Great fun to work on, and it features other terrific voice talents like Phil Snyder and Peter O'Connell. Looking forward to the final product!
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