Voiceovers by Gregory Houser
A man, a martini, and a lot of microphones.: June 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Audio Herpetology

It's a term I like to use every so often... especially when dealing with these:

studio audio cable snake
Vicious critters... the cable snake

These days, these are the only snakes I've got in my house (if for no other reason than my fiancee would kill me, but not before leaving a hole in the front door that was approximately shaped like her as she fled for her life).  I'm good with that, as there's enough going on right now that I'm more than busy with things.  The snakes in the picture above 

Back in the day I happened to work with a Herpetologist.  Why would I do such a thing you ask?  Simple... I was not the biggest fan of snakes.  I wouldn't say abject terror at the sight of one, but if I could get out of the same room as one, I would do so, and do so quickly (much as I do when near a cast member from "Jersey Shore").

Now it may not make sense to you to directly confront something you dislike, or even fear, but the truth of the matter is this.  What you do when faced with an unpleasant situation goes a large way towards defining the type of person you are, and the type of person you want to be.  Too many of us never choose to face things, or to do what's hard (duh!  That's because it's hard).  When you take the time to think about it, it usually doesn't speak well to the type of people they are.  Seriously, how many people do we as a society look to and associate with true greatness?  Not many, right?  When you take a look at nearly all of them, what made them a great person wasn't so much their success... but the obstacles they had to overcome in order to make that journey.

Think about it...

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From the "Shooting yourself in the Foot" files - FreePlay Music suing Voice Over Talent

I kind of wondered when someone would just start tossing lawsuits out there against voice talent who were less than careful in choosing their background FX (I usually see this habit with people who choose not to use an experienced demo producer... it's just another reason that you want to use a professional when creating a professional voice over demo).

Well, I had to say that I didn't expect FreePlay to be the first one to do it, but apparently they did.  Thanks boys!  If you wanted to convince voice over talent to not use or recommend your products, this was quite the way to do it.  You know, because people really enjoy a heavy-handed and threatening notice that you think that they *might* be infringing upon their IP.

I remember the last time I heard these words from an organization it was with Penn State University.  It didn't turn out that well for the company making the claim.  And, IIRC, due to the heavy handed nature of how PSU and the RIAA treated the students and university employees, there were more than a few lawsuits coming out of that blunder.

THAT SAID, if you're using copyrighted music and not paying for it... guess what?  You're stealing!  Knock it the hell off, because we all know that you'd be the first person to holler if someone used your VO for a product without paying for it, right?

Voice Over Xtra has a nice article about this, including information on what to do if you get a nastygram from FreePlay.  I think the best advice comes from the article's author Robert J. Sciglimpaglia Jr. when he states "all voice talent and those who display voice talent demos [...] ensure that no unauthorized music appears on the demos."

While I may not agree with FreePlay's tactics, I can understand their motivations.  Best thing to do is follow Robert's advice.  Decent music beds aren't that expensive, and there's an industry of people who create background music who need support just like VO talent does.  Use a bit a common sense and you won't end up shooting yourself in the foot (much as FreePlay seems to be doing by being over-zealous in their desire to protect their IP).

'nuff said.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cool Beans!!!

Every once in a while you stumble across something, doesn't have to be big, doesn't have to be small, but something that gets your attention and reminds you that you're on the right track.

Today I found one.  And then I remembered another.  Cool stuff, and I'll be honest in that I love the nerd cred.

That said, does it change anything for me?  Nope.  In life it's not about the destination, it's the journey which defines us.  In any career you need to approach things as they were a marathon instead of a sprint.

I can use all the platitudes and self-motivational catchphrases I want to but it comes down to this - it's a small acknowledgement of what's been accomplished in an area of voice over which I do not normally get to perform.  One step.

...and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

About Damn Time!!! June Foray wins an Emmy!

If there's one thing that gets me, it's the lack of love (or so it seems) that the industry has for voice actors.

Bob Bergen makes a very strong viewpoint on this, and frankly I'm inclined to agree with it.

So it gives me great pleasure when I hear about the entertainment industry recognizes one of our own.  It doesn't happen often enough from outside of the VO ranks, so when it does I think it's worth lauding.

Voice over legend June Foray took home her first Emmy for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for her performance as Mrs. Cauldron in "The Garfield Show" on Cartoon Network.  This is one role in Ms. Foray's prolific voice over career (she's still rocking the mic at 94 years young), and to me this is an award that's been long overdue to her.

Congrats June!!!  For those who are interested, there's more info here.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quick Review of a Few Ribbon Microphones

First off, there aren't a lot of things out there which get my attention more than new technologies and microphones (there's a reason for the name of the blog... you'll find all three in the studio).  So when I stumble across an article reviewing a few microphones, you have my attention.  Ribbon mics?  Oh hell yes!!!

So it was great aplomb that I stumbled across this article from Sonic Scoop.  It's a bit of an engineer's guide to their favorite ribbon mics.  It doesn't take the point of view from a VO side, but it doesn't take much to figure out how an enterprising voice talent can put one of these to use in their own work (the Coles has been a mainstay of British VO for decades).

Overall, it's about as good an into into modern ribbons that you'll find in about one page of text, but in reality it's rather limited (seriously, how much info can you relate about microphones in a single page?), and some of the choices aren't even produced any more (though the SF-1 is still readily available).  Of course, no discussion of ribbon microphones would be complete without mentioning Wes Dooley and his work at AEA.

But if you've been thinking about using a ribbon mic, this article is a good place to start.

PS: IMO, any list fails without mention of this little beauty below (or the original microphone that it's based upon).

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Trailer for Tales of Vesperia - First Strike

I didn't know this was out there... very glad to stumble upon it.

I only had a small bit in this one, but I swear that I'm in it.  See?

Enjoy the clip!  I had a blast being a small part of it (thanks so much for letting me be a part of it, Mike!).

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Bill Rogers - A Tribute

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of finally attending AnimeNEXT.  It's one of those conventions that I've been wanting to attend for quite some time, but aside from having dinner with the awesome Adam Sheehan back in 2008 while he was attending, I'd never attended.

While at Zenkaikon this year, Marcellus Swint introduced me to some people at the convention, and convinced me to  attend (who is the voice behind the viral Toonami videos used to re-start the programming block; yeah, that's not Steve Blum you're hearing and I'll bet you couldn't tell the difference).

Long story short, I had a blast!  It was nice to meet Leah Clark, and even more so to see Michele Knotz, Kyle Hebert, and Kara Edwards again (and spending so much time with Sully and Marc).  Why the heck hadn't I been to this convention before?  I'm going to have to add this one to the calendar...

I would have to say that that this was the highlight of the weekend for me.  It seems that it was assumed that Bill Rogers would be attending the convention this year (he's been a regular guest for years).  Here's the problem with assumptions, they end up at OMGcon, as did Bill.

It really hit people hard that Bill couldn't make it to the convention.  So much so that they made a tribute video to let Bill know just how much his was missed.  As you can see by the interviews with the attendees, he was truly missed.

Please note: some parts are NSFW.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not Dead Yet...

Seems appropriate given the events of the past two years... some things I can speak of, others are best left unsaid for now.  The point though is this - I'm not dead yet...


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