Voiceovers by Gregory Houser
A man, a martini, and a lot of microphones.: April 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Allen Swift, RIP

I just read in the NY Times today that the voice over world had lost another one of it's greats, Allen Swift passed away at the age of 87.

Swift was the voice of Mighty Mouse, Dinky Duck and, for a brief period, Howdy Doody, not to mention a host of other characters in over 30,000 TV and radio commercials.

A link to his obituary can be found here.

What I enjoyed about Swift (and it's quoted in the article) is that he never minded being "unknown" in the public eye. “I’m perfectly willing to be the anonymous man of television.”, was his response in an interview for the NY Daily News. So long as he got to bring life to the characters in the copy, he was content.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Memorial Service for Carl Macek

I mentioned in an earlier blog post about the passing of Carl Macek. Since then, I've gotten an e-mail or two regarding whether or not I knew any information regarding a memorial service or an address to send condolences, flowers, etc.

From the Funimation Update Blog, I've got the following info:

Memorial Service for Carl Macek
Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 2pm

Congregational Church of the Chimes
14115 Magnolia Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

The service will be open to the public, but we ask well wishers to be mindful of Carl’s friends and family. In lieu of flowers, we request that donations to assist with memorial expenses be made out to Svea Macek and sent to the following address:

Carl Macek Memorial
c/o Harmony Gold USA
7655 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

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Aqua Teen Hunger Force on Tour

I just stumbled across this article on CNN.

'Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live' on Tour.

While I'm not a huge fan of the show, I find events like this to often be more than entertaining. There's really no way to quite describe it when you get people who make a living bringing some of the craziest stuff to life and toss them on stage to perform. At worst it's very entertaining, at best it can be riotous.

For those who are interested, the official page for the tour can be found here.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mark Hamill on Games

I recently stumbled upon an interview at Computer and Videogames, with Mark Hamill on his role in Arkham Asylum, and his myriad of voice over roles in animation and video games.

Not surprisingly, the article is entitled Mark Hamill on Games.

If you're a fan of Hamill's work, or just interested to get a bit more insight into one of the industry's most versatile and successful talents, it's worth the read.

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Article on Scott Pollak

The South Bend Tribune has an interesting article on Atlanta-area voice actor Scott Pollak, entitled Finding your Voice.

For those who frequent the usual VO boards, you've probably seen Scott's postings, comments, and musings. He brought that same wit and wisdom to a small class at Indiana University (which is the basis for the article).

As the descendant of a loyal Boilermaker, that's about as much praise as you'll get out of IU from me =-P

You can find out a bit more about Scott at his website, here.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Sign of the Zombie Apocaplyse, Perhaps?

I'm not quite sure what to file this one under, but fresh off the heels of Tiger Woods's less than spectacular Nike ad, we get this.

Orson Welles to narrate upcoming animation.

The interesting and exciting part for me is that the narration is considered to be the last professional recording of Welles, and literally sat on a shelf for over twenty-five years. Quite frankly, it was one of those little legends that turned out to be true.

On the other hand, the use of deceased celebrities in new media doesn't often end well. Just ask folks who thought it was a good idea to "resurrect" Orville Redenbacher and produce one of the creepiest commercials I've ever seen. From my own experience, the first national commercial I was ever in used this same technology to bring back Frank Sinatra from the grave for the NBA's "Live it Live" campaign back in 2002. I still shudder a bit whenever I see that one on YouTube. It was definitely a great PR campaign, but it was just a little too eerie for me.

I'm just thankful that Mr. Welles is merely providing a voiceover for the upcoming production.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's so great about voice over? You can literally be anything!

No, I'm serious. If you don't believe me, then you should check out the voice over recently performed by Werner Herzog. In Ramin Bahrani's most recent work, he is a plastic grocery bag.

One of the great things about voice over is the myriad array of characters and things a talented actor can play. Doesn't matter if it's a person (real or fictional), an animal, an inanimate object, or even an idea or feeling... if you have a talented voice actor in the studio, you'll get a story with pathos.

I can't speak for other voice actors, but for me, the opportunity, the challenge to stretch yourself into something you'd never have thought about before is simply exhilarating, exhausting, exasperating, entertaining, and yes, sometime a little scary. All wrapped up into this exuberant amalgamation, contained only by the copy in front of you.

Some people are lucky enough to dedicate their entire careers to the idea of bringing the unimaginable to life. For some actors, you only need one role. Herzog's portrayal of this character, this plastic bag, struggling with its own immortality against the nature of the world is both comical, and poignant as it endures on an epic journey in search of its lost Maker, wondering if there is any point to life without her.

You can find more information regarding the film here. And as you get wrapped into the story of Herzog's character, just remember this:

all the emotions you're feeling... are for a plastic bag.

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First Woman to Announce the NFL Draft

If you're familiar with Kat Cressida, then you know that she is a very talented actress who has performed in a variety of voiceover and live-action roles (my personal favorite was her character in Babylon 5). This year she has the honor of taking on the announcing duties for the NFL Draft.

The Beverley Hills Courier has a pretty nice article about it here if you're interested in learning more.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Carl Macek, RIP

As a long time otaku, I had to pull myself out of the booth, work, studies, etc. in order to make mention regarding the passing of Carl Macek.

If nothing else, the man was a controversial figure within the anime community, both for his manner of automatic dialogue replacement and editing of content, and for his pioneering spirit. Carl was one of the first people to take anime outside Japan and distribute it throughout the English-speaking world. His name was synonymous with several titles, but most will probably remember him for his redubbed and edited production of three separate anime series into Robotech. Most recently, Macek added his talents as a producer to titles such as Naruto and Bleach.

On an amusing note, he inspired the fan term "Macekre" (pronounced like "massacre") used to describe anime series which have been drastically "revised" to make them more attractive to Western viewers. While Macek never apologized for some of his more "famous" revisions, he did deter his detractors by pointing out those revisions he was not responsible for, yet were still attributed to him. One instance which stood out in my mind was an interview in which he acknowledged poor revisions within the Robotech franchise, and then explaining in the next sentence that major plot elements which were excluded from the Robotech VHS distribution were not intentional (it was later stated that the edits Macek referred to were done by a former home video distributor after the original broadcast in order to fit more episodes per VHS tape). None the less, Macek was never afraid of criticism or of the opinions of anime otaku. As time proved, he would use that feedback to better provide for future productions he was involved with, as his most recent works have shown. It is that aspect of his personality which made Macek both a loved, and controversial, figure within American anime fandom.

If you're interested in learning more about Carl Macek's life and career, the following articles offer a nice summary of his career.

American Anime Producer Carl Macek Passes Away
Carl Macek (1951-2010)
Carl Macek's IMDB page
Carl Macek Fan Interview

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