Voiceover Career Event in NYC on September 22nd

08.26.2010

For Immediate Release

That's Voiceover (banner coutesy Push Creative Entertainment)

THAT’S VOICEOVER – NATION’S TOP VOICEOVER ACTORS REVEAL CAREER SECRETS FOR CHARITY

In New York, NY on September 22, 2010, an expert panel of top voice-over actors, talent agents and ad executives will provide a crash course for those seeking careers in the exciting world of voiceover acting. And one lucky audience member will win a chance to become the voice of an on-air TV promo for a network station and win Hollywood representation with TGMD Talent Agency. Proceeds from the event benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Author of Secrets of Voice-Over Success, Joan Baker and Late Night with David Letterman announcer, Alan Kalter host an entertaining evening of information, an American Idol-styled audition (complete with industry executives as judges) and a chance for job seekers to meet the industry buyers who provide the jobs.

Attendees will also meet and hear from the talented voices behind TV and radio ads for THE E-TRADE BABY, THE SIMPSONS, LAW & ORDER, THE OSCARS and EMMYS, DEAL or NO DEAL, AMERICAN IDOL, the NBC OLYMPIC GAMES, HBO, SHOWTIME, VERIZON WIRELESS and many others. These consummate pros will separate the facts from the fictions about breaking into the voiceover biz. Even seasoned voiceover actors will find incredible guidance as the conversation will include best practices for enhancing careers in an industry of changing trends.

AFTRA, BACK STAGE Magazine, Neumann USA, Voicebank.Net, Dale Pro Audio, and TGMD Talent Agency are major sponsors in what has been a growing effort by Push Creative Advertising to expand employment opportunities in the exciting and often lucrative field of voiceover acting. And, as is the case with Joan Baker’s breakthrough book, Secrets of Voice-Over Success, proceeds from this event will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Voiceover acting has long been the most intriguing, anonymous and off-the-radar crafts in the entertainment industry. But the surprisingly large interest among people from all walks of life has been slowly encouraging industry insiders like Emmy Award-winning producer and CEO of Push Creative Advertising, Rudy Gaskins to respond to the need. Says GASKINS, “It pretty much began with Joan Baker’s Secrets of Voice-over Success (foreword by David Hyde Pierce). This book is the first to provide a practical, step by step guide through the eyes of numerous successful voiceover actors, including the late great DON LA FONTAINE, Tony Award-winner, JIM DALE, Emmy Award-winner RICHARD THOMAS, radio personality VALERIE SMALDONE and JOE CIPRIANO who took home the first annual 2010 DON LAFONTAINE LEGACY AWARD sponsored by PROMAX BDA.”

That's Voiceover (Banner coutesy Push Creative Entertainment)

Other panelists include Bill Ratner (voices on G.I. Joe, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Mass Effect), Tor Myhren, CCO of Grey Advertising, Miranda Patterson, Creative Director for NBC Universal, and Jeffrey Weinstock, SVP Creative Services for Disney. “In a historically challenging economy where jobs are scarce and people are seeking to diversify their options, we’re bringing together the industry insiders who know what it takes to succeed.” says Gaskins. Joan Baker adds, “THAT’S VOICEOVER is first and foremost a career event. The award of an actual job in this context is an industry first. It bolsters our mission to elevate the conversation and point people in the right direction.”

And this year, thanks to Lee Minard, director of creative services for KLAS CBS Las Vegas, one lucky attendee will win a chance to book an actual job voicing an on-air TV spot. “With top industry executives helming the judges table, attendees will get an unprecedented glimpse into how voices are selected and how to be ready when the call comes their way.” says Gaskins.

Complete event details are available at THATSVOICEOVER.COM and TheTimesCenter.com.

Thanks to Push Creative Entertainment for the press release and images. We previously mentioned this event 8.19.2010 via Twitter.

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News

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Voice Actor Spotlight: Jay Jennings

08.17.2010

Jay Jennings was mentored by Daws Butler, who felt Jay had the talent to do many of the classic Hanna-Barbera voices “spot on.” A meeting with Hanna-Barbera executives in Studio City was arranged so Daws could vouch for Jay’s talent, but before the meeting could take place Daws passed away and none of what he had hoped for Jay transpired. Unfortunately, Jay doesn’t have any photographs of himself with Daws, because they always went straight to work at Daws’ home studio in his garage and never posed for one.

Jay with Steve Allen

Jay Jennings’ speaking voice has been compared to a young Orson Welles, so to say he has been blessed vocally would be an understatement. Jay’s voice-over jobs have mostly been indie work: college radio station IDs, commercials, public service announcements, narrations, some horror movie trailers, and of course, his cartoon voices.

Jay is also a celebrity impressionist and has been fortunate enough throughout his career to be have been trained by two legendary entertainers: Frank Gorshin (The Riddler on the ’60s cult classic, Batman) and Steve Allen. Jay Jennings is now a film director and L.A. historian, and still does voiceovers. He is also known as “The Knott’s Guy” having written two books about Southern California’s oldest theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm.

Voice Actors in the News is pleased to present an interview with Jennings conducted by blog staffer Doreen Mulman:

DM: How old were you when you developed an interest in doing voices?

JJ: My love for doing voices probably started when I was very young. I instantly felt a connection to all the cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings such as Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss, Bullwinkle, Daffy Duck, and Tom Slick, to name but a few. I always tried to impersonate them during the week and at school. I also loved TV variety shows of the early 1970’s where voices and impressions were on display, such as The Jonathan Winters Show, The Red Skelton Show, and The Kopykats.

Interestingly enough, one of the first record albums I ever listened to was Rich Little’s Broadway, where I first learned to impersonate the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and President Nixon. As I got older and my voice matured, I was able to mimic voices and mannerisms by watching a lot of old movies on TV and listening to impressionists like Rich Little, Frank Gorshin, Will Jordan, Fred Travalena, and George Kirby.

DM: How did you meet Daws Butler?

JJ: My mother, who once worked for the head of the William Morris Agency, was always on the look-out for agents and mentors to help me hone my acting and voice talent. She called in a few favors and arranged an initial meeting with Daws Butler at his studio in 1982. In fact, he was the first person to tell me that my speaking voice sounded very much like a young Orson Welles (on the radio).

During that first meeting, I was in complete awe knowing I was in the presence of the man whose cartoon voices I grew up with. He asked me if I did anything special with my voice. I replied, “Matter of fact, I can do most of your voices.” He replied, “Oh really? Well, let’s see what you can do.” With that, I rattled off my versions of Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss, Hokey Wolf, Super Snooper, Mr. Jinx, and a few others. Daws grinned and said, “You know something, Jay? You have a great ear. I’d like to train you to make them even better.” So over the next five years, I was mentored by Daws to carry on his cartoon voice legacy after he retired. I’d say we had about twenty sessions in his studio. It was definitely magical.

In 1987, while Daws and I were preparing for an upcoming meeting at Hanna-Barbera headquarters in Studio City, California, Daws’ health took a turn for the worse and he passed away less than a year later, so we never got to meet with Hanna-Barbera’s head of voice talent. I then turned my sights mostly to filmmaking, as my voicework kind of took a backseat over the next 20 years.

Listen to Jay’s Hanna-Barbera Voice Reel:

DM: Were your sessions with Daws one-on-one or were other students of his (such as Nancy Cartwright) present?

JJ: My sessions with Daws were all one-on-one, which Daws decided after our first meeting. He was very impressed with the fact that I could do a lot of his cartoon voices before ever being trained by him, so his goal was to help me perfect them and to excel in reading cartoon and commercial “copy” for auditions and future voice jobs.

DM: Was Daws a fun person to be with? Considering his profession one might expect him to be a bit of an imp with a silly sense of humor, or did you find him to be more serious individual? Are there any anecdotes of your times with him that might illustrate?

JJ: Daws, to me, was like a gentle grandfather figure, whose laugh was very childlike and innocent. He was serious when you were trying to read copy or learn something new and we would repeat it over and over until I got it right. “He would say, “No, try that again with more enthusiasm. Good, now try it again while breathing out slowly.” Daws knew every technique in the book when it came to teaching acting, voices, and breathing properly while recording in the studio, which by the way, was my favorite part of our sessions, going into the recording booth and making magic with our voices.

By far, the most memorable session that we had in his studio was the time Daws suggested that we both take turns performing all the classic Hanna-Barbera voices as if we were at a big Hollywood party, commenting on the food and scenery. In essence, I would imitate Quickdraw McGraw, Lippy the Lion, and Snagglepuss, while Daws would answer back as Yogi Bear, Wally Gator, and Elroy Jetson. Unfortunately, I never asked Daws for a copy of this recording since I was too blown away at the time to realize the significance of this once-in-a-lifetime collaboration.

DM: Could you describe some of the teaching techniques Daws Butler, Frank Gorshin, and Steve Allen used when you were being mentored?

JJ: The main thing Daws pressed upon me during our sessions together, no matter what vocal technique we were working on, was to have correct pronunciation, cadence, and the right vocal audio level, not to mention, to have proper lip, mouth and teeth manipulation, which in turn, would make it easier to perform certain voices (i.e. an old man, a little boy, a British aristocrat, a gangster, or an Old West sheriff).

Jay with Frank Gorshin

I met Frank Gorshin at an autograph show in Hollywood, California in the early 2000’s. He took a liking to me after I told him I was a big fan and a celebrity impressionist myself. During our half dozen meetings, Frank taught me the importance of facial expressions and contorting my face and lips when doing an impression. Frank was an extremely nice and cordial man.

I met Steve Allen in 1990 while I was hosting a cable TV show in Beverly Hills. In the three meetings we had, Steve taught me the importance of sketch comedy and how to be generally funny, and how to make an audience laugh. He said, “You must always have a punch line that knocks the audience dead with laughter, otherwise you’ll simply drown, which is a comedian’s worst nightmare.”

DM: Which celebrities do you like to impersonate?

JJ: My favorite celebrities to impersonate are obviously the classic stars of yesteryear, such as Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, W.C. Fields, Groucho Marx, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Vincent Price, George Burns, Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan, Charles Bronson, George C. Scott, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, and countless others.

DM: What physical preparation do you find helps your throat/tongue/vocal cords to duplicate voices best? For example, warm/cold liquids, lemon, honey, gargling, clearing your sinuses, etc.

JJ: Before every voice session with Daws, he would offer me some hot chocolate to soothe my throat and voice and I’ve stuck with that vocal preparation ever since. If hot cocoa isn’t available, I find that hot tea with honey works very well.

DM: Are you still interested in a career in voice-overs?

JJ: I’ve been a film director since 1989 and it’s basically what I’m known for. I’ve made a name for myself in the amusement park genre by writing two books about Knott’s Berry Farm. With that said, it’s safe to say that I’ve never stopped working on my voice over endeavors, as I still perform the occasional narration, movie trailer, radio spot, and cartoon voice, always making myself available if called upon.

Watch Jay in a TV Appearance about Knott’s Berry Farm:

Thank you for your time and use of your photographs, Jay.  Voice Actors in the News wishes you much success in all that you do.

~ Doreen Mulman, Staff Contributor
Voice Actors in the News

Jay Jennings may be contacted at: jenningsfilms@gmail.com


‘Voices of Character’ Event in Beverly Hills

07.28.2010

The Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, CA will be hosting a unique event on August 19, 2010: The Marc Davis Celebration of Animation: Voices of Character with a “panel of experts” that includes prolific cartoon voice actor Jim Cummings, the “First Lady of Cartoon Voicing” June Foray, author/voice talent Yuri Lowenthal and Russi Taylor (voice of Minnie Mouse). Also on the panel will be animation director Bob Peterson (voice of Dug in Pixar’s “Up”) and animator James Baxter as well as casting executive Rick Dempsey and animation historian Charles Solomon as panel moderator. (It seems more special guests will be announced, and we’ll provide updates as they become available.)

Here’s a description of the event from Oscars.org:

While animators have been called “actors with pencils” who toil vigorously to create the “illusion of life,” animated characters equally depend on the unique talents of voice artists to breathe life into their visual components. Vocal range and consistency, comic timing, emotional impact, character definition and song styling are just a few of the very specific choices that can make or break a coordinated effort between picture and sound. Our panel of experts will discuss how they approach their work, what they admire in the work of others, and perhaps even “sound off” on why their work isn’t nearly as appreciated as it should be.

Tickets for this event are only $5, and full details are available through the link below:

http://www.oscars.org/events-exhibitions/events/2010/voices.html

Thanks to Deirdre for the heads-up via VO-BB.com.


Voice Acting Instructional Book is an Award-Winner

07.17.2010

For Immediate Release:

AWARD-WINNING WRITERS WITH A WHOLE LOT OF GEEK APPEAL

Voice-Over Superstars Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt’s “How-To” Book Is A Winner

Husband/wife voice actors Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal (undated publicity photo courtesy bugbotpress.com)

 

07.16.2010 – Hollywood, CA — Actor-authors Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt have been landing prestigious awards with their new book Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind the Mic, which was released earlier this year under indie publishing company Bug Bot Press. Since Voice-Over Voice Actor’s launch in March, it has won the 2010 Pinnacle Book Award and the National Indie Excellence Award as well as heading into a second print run to keep up with demand.

The book has taken the married celeb voice-acting couple on a world-tour this year with stops in Australia (Brisbane & Melbourne), the UK (London & Dublin), Canada (Montreal) as well as the US (Vegas, San Francisco, LA). Platt and Lowenthal’s huge fan base is actually one of the reasons that the duo credits the success of the book as well as the recent title of Nerdage’s “Fans’ Choice for Actor, Actress with Geek Appeal” by the on-line contest held by the Oklahoman NewsOK blog.

“It was fun to learn that we’d both won in our respective categories, beating out some really heavy hitters, but it’s entirely thanks to the fans,” Tara noted when asked about the recent nomination and win for Actress with Geek Appeal. Yuri added, “Yeah, we’re humbled by the fan response and kind of dumbfounded that we beat out names like Robert Downey Jr. and Megan Fox.” Lowenthal attributes it to fanbase crossover; his and Platt’s work includes roles in anime, videogames, animation, and genre webseries, TV, and film, including titles like Naruto, Afro Samurai, The Prince of Persia, Resident Evil, Ben 10: Alien Force, Legion of Superheroes, Absolution, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and the recently completed The Arcadian with Lance Henriksen.

And just in time to fly their geek colors, the pair will be headed later this month to San Diego for the 41st annual International San Diego Comic Con, July 22-25, a celebration and gathering of geek culture, movies, videogames and more, with attendance looking to top 125K at the San Diego Convention Center. Platt and Lowenthal will be selling their book, speaking on panels and signing autographs at SDCC.

Book cover image courtesy Spotlight PR

The book is distributed nationally through Emerald Book Group and is available on-line and in brick and mortar shops like Borders, Barnes & Noble and specialty theatre bookstores like Samuel French. Voice-Over Voice Actor also recently became available as an eBook on lulu.com and will be available for the iPad soon.

For more information on the book check out: www.VoiceOverVoiceActor.com

Related post: 7.25.2009 – Voice Actors Platt, Lowenthall Announce Voice-Over ‘How To’ Book


Animation Casting Director Interviewed

07.12.2010

BackStage.com has a feature article on “Actors Casting Directors Love” which mostly covers on-camera actors, but there’s an interesting quote from animation casting director Bernie Van De Yacht that I felt was worth repeating here:

[As] an animation casting director, I generally don’t try to narrow it down to whether they have voiceover experience or not. A good actor is a good actor, no matter what arena they’re acting in. Sometimes it’s a detriment if they’ve done too much voiceover work, because then they tend to sound a little bit cartoonish; sometimes the heart and soul is missing. And if somebody has never done it before and is just a really good actor and can create an entire world in a soundproof booth with a microphone, it’s amazing. It’s kind of like an actor on stage having to do a soliloquy, where they have to hold the interest of the audience by themselves and with nothing else and we have to be able to visualize what they’re saying. And I think that actors who are good at that tend to be very good voiceover actors. They’re the ones that excite us.


Adult Swim Voice Actor Performs in Atlanta Live Show

05.28.2010

Voice actor Scott Hilley (Adult Swim’s Squidbillies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force) is starring in and directing “The Golden Age Radio Show” at Expressions Theatre and Film in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, May 29th at 7:30 PM.

This family-friendly event — a live radio theatre-style production — will feature performances from episodes of two classic “old time radio” shows and showcase students from Scott’s voice acting workshops (which he teaches regularly in the Atlanta area).

And those of you who’ve been reading this blog for any length of time will know that outside of the “About” page above that I normally do not mention any projects I’m involved with. However, I’m both proud and honored to say that Scott cast me in this show and I’ll be performing a couple Frank Sinatra standards as part of the show’s live music as well.

Tickets are only $5 for this show. Seating is limited and tickets are not available for pre-order. They can only be purchased in person at Expressions Theatre the night of the event.

More details on this show are available via the show’s official Facebook page.

Note: This event is neither affiliated nor associated with Cartoon Network or Adult Swim.


Adventures in Voice Acting Offers Free Webinar

05.11.2010

On May 17th, Bang Zoom! Entertainement and Tony Oliver will host a free Adventures in Voice Acting webinar from 5:30-6:30 PM (EST). The press release follows:

A free webinar about breaking into and working in the Voice Acting business. We will cover some basics you need to learn, give some advice as to how to proceed and provide a chance for you to ask questions. We will also tell you about future webinars and how you can subscribe to them. This webinar will be conducted by veteran Voice Actor & Director Tony Oliver and is sponsored by Bang Zoom! Entertainment.

To register click the link below:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/551561433