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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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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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January 23, 2009

The Mugs on the Bus, Part 2

I somehow missed it last week, but Cap Metro's blog has a better shot of the Carla & Dave-mobile:

Carla Houston is pictured with her husband, Austin actor and voiceover artist David Houston, on a Capital Metro bus. Carla is among the winners of Cap Metro's I-Ride contest.

Full post here.
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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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November 26, 2008

Have a Great Turkey and Football Weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving from David Houston Voiceovers


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November 12, 2008

Say Cheese

 

 

 

 

You may have noticed that, over the last few months, I've put more effort into including interesting photos with blog posts here at DTV. A hat-tip goes to stock.xchng, a free stock photography site. Tons of free (and royalty-free) images are available there, making it a great resource for blogs like this one.

 

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July 09, 2008

Spread the Word.

(Reposted from a friend. Feel free to post in your blog and elsewhere.)









Hi, all you animal lovers.

This is pretty simple... The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes about 20 seconds to go to their site and click on the purple box 'fund food for animals' for free. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.


P.S. You can even sign up for a daily email reminder. I did, and it makes it much easier when you see it in front of you.
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July 07, 2008

Austin Aztex 1 - 0 Mississippi Brilla


To take my mind off of, um, recent professional setbacks, I took in the Austin Aztex' final regular-season home game on Sunday. Though they're the under-23 team --- the full-fledged version of the Aztex begins USL First Division play in 2009 --- they looked like a squad ready to take on any bona fide pro team that comes along. They probably didn't win the possession battle, but their attacks didn't break down as much as Brilla's did, and the first-half goal was executed flawlessly. A low cross just into the six-yard box, right to an Aztex boot ready to tap it home. The win secures a Mid South Division Championship; not bad for your first year, lads.

Just a couple of notes:

  • Folks? If you can afford eight bucks for a ticket and three to park, you can probably afford soap and deodorant. If it's a choice, go with the Right Guard and watch MLS games on TV. Please.
  • As much as I like seeing a favorite team win...if I never, ever, see another soccer match --- at any level --- played on an American football gridiron, it'll be too soon.

Less-than stellar sports photography at your service:






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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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June 13, 2008

Ouch.

 

 

 

 

Turns out I have more in common with Daniel Craig than just a similar vocal quality:

 

Daniel Craig Injured While Filming Bond 

 

The report states that Craig "sliced the tip off of one of his fingers during the shooting of an action scene". As it happens, years ago I sliced the tip off of one of my fingers during the shaving of an action figure.

"Huh?" You're no doubt asking. Long story short: Once upon a time, customizing action figures was a hobby of mine. An attempt to slice away some excess plastic from one such superhero resulted an errant slip with an Exacto knife. (If you've never had the pleasure, I can guarantee you that a brand-new Exacto blade is sufficiently sharp as to cut flesh without any pain --- at least for a few seconds, after which the pain pretty much leaves no doubt you've been cut. I do not recommend the experience.) 

An ER doc managed to sew the disc-shaped piece of skin back where it belonged, but it would literally be one year before the nerves healed completely.  

I'm sure you'll agree that all this is further proof as to why I'm a perfect substitute for Daniel Craig.

/sarcasm off 

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May 31, 2008

Oh, Sure, NOW You Pass Through My Podunk Hometown.

Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart writes about his travels through my old neck of the woods.


(From neilpeart.net/news)





Riding north and east, putting in another 400-mile day (in 106° heat), we worked our way back toward the next show in Austin, stopping for the night in San Angelo. For the first time ever, in any of my day-off rambles, we had trouble getting rooms there. Most of the motels were filled with investigators, victims, and counselors dealing with that fundamentalist, polygamist Mormon sect in nearby El Dorado.

(Fun Fact: “Reformed” Mormons might not like it, but it could be said that those people --- however benighted, and unquestionably victims and perpetrators of what right-thinking people would call abuse --- were true Latter-Day Saints. They remained faithful to the divine revelations preached, and practised, by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young—that God commanded the men to have multiple, ever-younger wives. In order to achieve statehood, back in 1896, the “reformed” church put those inconvenient truths aside. Sometimes even divine revelations have to bow to good business.)



I want a motorcycle. I've been a homebody far too long, and I'm bordering on sedentary.

Truth is, though, my wife would kill me. If the bike didn't beat her to it.
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February 15, 2008

Cap Metro Romance


Here's a little story about a bus ride, co-starring me...


A little late for Hearts & Flowers day, but hey...we own that story every day.
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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.



Mindy

1997 - 2008









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