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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 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.

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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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December 01, 2010

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays from David Houston Voiceovers!


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November 25, 2010

Have a Great Turkey and Football Weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving from David Houston Voiceovers


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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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April 30, 2010

They Call Me the Working Man

I'm not going to call out anyone by name or dwell on it, nor am I going to go into any great detail about what prompted this post; still, it must be said:

If you're a voice actor who's landed several high-profile gigs, that's great.

If you're proud of the feeling that you've become your own boss in the process, that's good as well.

If you want to use those things to extol the virtues of self-employment to others, more power to you.

However, when you go about that pursuit by maligning everyone who still works a regular job for a regular paycheck --- by labeling them as morons and failures --- then you've crossed the line that separates confidence from arrogance. (That's about as politely as I can put it.)

Not only are some people simply unsuited for a life spent walking the tightrope sans net, they're also undesiring of the accompanying spotlight. The vast majority of people are content to perform the kinds of unglamorous work that keeps the engine of society moving --- cooking meals, repairing roads and bridges, explaining long division to young minds, stabilizing an injured patient, et cetera. Without these people, there'd be very little for ambitious voice-talkers to jabber about in front of a microphone. Denigrating the former reveals a stunning callousness and lack of empathy from the latter.

To recognize the value of those peoples' work is also to realize that true "self-employment" is something of a chimera: it exists as an ideal, and while it can certainly be realized to varying degrees, the truth is that we all have bosses. When I take on the job of voicing a medical narration, I'm the employee of the talent buyer. Sure, I can call myself an "independent contractor", and I'm not going to be listed on the employee rolls of that company's Human Resources department, but the simple fact is that I'm performing a service in exchange for monetary compensation. No matter how you finesse it, that's employment --- and by definition, no employee exists without an employer.

I'm reminded of a line from comedian Stephen Colbert's recent book I Am America (And So Can You): "I won't be satisfied until every American is in the top one percent".

It's a joke. Written by a comedian. Its irony is evident. Yet, it seems there are those who not only sincerely espouse it as a philosophy, but are willing to unapologetically insult those who remain in the ninety-nine percent.

For those of us with aspirations toward independence, escaping the drudgery of the day job can be a great feeling --- and I speak from experience. I remain astonished that anyone who's made that transition can somehow look back with derision and scorn at those who remain in the workaday world. Indeed, we who are possessed of the need to leave that realm should have a healthy respect and admiration for those not so cursed. To have no more complex or far-reaching a desire than to do what's needed to take care of oneself and one's family is not a condition to be mocked or ridiculed.

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January 20, 2010

Help Stock20 Raise Funds for Haiti

Some readers of this blog may have seen my posts touting the virtues of Stock20.com, a great production music resource for media professionals. Now I've got an even better reason to give them a plug.

Site owner Daniel Rudd is donating $40 directly to the efforts of the Red Cross in Haiti for every "Complete Production Library" that is sold. If you're in the market for a broadcast-quality production library, now's the time to pick one up; not only is it a terrific deal for you, it will help give the people of Haiti the assistance they desperately need right now.

Stock20 will run this until Monday morning (Jan. 25th), so as not to delay the donation. Feel free to repost, share and/or blog this yourself to spread the word.

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January 12, 2010

This Bond Thing Just Won't Go Away

Just when I started to think my near-gig experience with the 007 franchise had firmly settled into the archives, a funny thing happened.

Without going into details that can't be revealed (for various official purposes): a good friend of mine and his wife were in London recently on a mini-vacation. There, she met up with a friend who works in the same rather important line of business. The talk somehow turns to my Bond near-gig, and it's learned that the London friend's boss communicates directly with Daniel Craig on a fairly regular basis.

My friend, tongue firmly in cheek, asked that Mr. Craig be informed of his inadvertent burgling of a nifty gig from a poor, hungry actor. While I have no doubt that he delivered the request properly, the way these things go, by the time it gets to Mr. Craig --- if and when it actually does --- he's likely to have been told that some sod named Davis in the city of Houston has invited him to go on a dig.

That would be in keeping with my luck regarding the whole affair.

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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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May 27, 2009

Deliverin' the Funny

The 2nd episode of Mutha Mae's Bringin' the Funny is up! The miracle of childbirth probably shouldn't be NSFW, but we made sure of it this time. Hold your applause, please.

Like our comics? Check out Brad Meehan and Kurt Ramos at their sites.

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November 26, 2008

Have a Great Turkey and Football Weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving from David Houston Voiceovers


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November 02, 2008

FNL: Background Report II

Mark your calendars.

Friday Night Lights



Thirsty? Well, that's a shame.

Friday Night Lights


You can tell that funds for the Dillon Independent School District go to football, and not the facilities.

Friday Night Lights


I may have some face time in this one. They gave me a very pretty TV wife, then took her away. Kyle Chandler remains a pretty cool guy.

Look for this episode in about a month, if you have DirecTV; sometime next year on NBC if not.


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June 15, 2008

Not a bad Father's Day at all.

Wife and kiddo took me out for steak & eggs, then to see Iron Man. Apart from a plot hole or two, a highly entertaining film.

(It also had the added benefit of showing this trailer. Check out the opening gag and see if you can name that non-Don LaFontaine trailer voice.)
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February 28, 2008

Brilliant!

Nope, not a Guinness ad, but a PSA for a decidedly less decadent idea. (Courtesy of Cape Town-based advertising blog Cherryflava.)



Ta da - the winner of The Times Young Creatives Competition held at Design Indaba has been announced...and here's the winning ad.

No T&A, no unnecessary stunts, no excessive Photoshop work...in fact no electricity-using computer generated design at all, just a pencil and a simple sheet of paper, all of which took 2 hours from brief to final ad to create.

Jennifer Macfarlane, art director, and Cuan Cronwright, copy writer, of Ogilvy Cape Town who won the competition created their hand-drawn ad without using a computer or any other electrical equipment. The ad was stylishly hand-crafted with a simple pencil and the copy highlighted that 350 watts of electricity was saved by switching the computer off for two hours.

Simple, but thought provoking. The winners head to Zanzibar, and Ogilvy score a full-page in The Times for another pro bono client.

(Link)


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