…no, I don’t mean “Hire Me” or “Pay Me”.

They’re simple words, easy to use, often neglected or thrown about as an afterthought.  But I’ve come to think they’re two words that don’t get used enough:

“Thank You.”

I’m not sure when I started including a “thank you” in nearly all my emails, but during the past year it’s been one of my more commendable habits.

No matter what I’m writing about, there’s almost always a way to work in a “thank you”.  And really, who doesn’t want to be thanked?

Of course it’s easy to use those two magic words when you’re sending out a request for information, or acknowledgement of winning a job…or sending an invoice.

I think I started noticing it had crept into my “stylebook” as I shot out more mundane things, like auditions.  Granted, you never know whether a person or a piece of software is handling your latest vocal gem, but what’s the harm of saying “thank you” for even the chance to participate?  …of being invited to the call, cattle or otherwise?

A “thank you” always looks good when acknowledging receipt of a script, or even requests for advice from someone who’s been told he/she “has a great voice”.

And while it’s merely my own choice, I opt for the full two words, rather than a quick “thanks”, which is a little less personal but probably just as effective.

If nothing else, you can use it to reward someone for taking time to read your whole message and not just deleting it after the first few words.

Kind of like this blog post.

So…”Thank You!”

 

 

 

— over and out —

     I promised to update the earlier post about my brief brush with the Star Wars galaxy when Lego’s “Quest for R2D2” using my opening narration was finished.  The animators did a knock-out job with some really cute gags and some spectacular action.  Have a look!

     I’ve been a die-hard Star Wars fan since well before that June 1977 story in Time Magazine put the rest of the world on alert as to what was coming.

     So you can imagine the thrill I got at becoming even a small part of that much larger world. 

     The people at Lego have created a new online gameIntro Screen Image for Online Clone Wars game using the characters from the Clone Wars animated series.  To promote it, they’re producing a “mini-movie” about “The Quest for R2D2” which will run on their website (and possibly on Cartoon Network).   I auditioned for / and was cast as the sound-alike for the series’ dramatic narrator. 

     With just a few short lines, I’ve now secured a place (albeit a tiny one) in the Star Wars universe!  It’s fulfilled another seemingly impossible ambition of mine…and greatly enhanced my standing with my 11-year-old son and his buddies!

      My thanks to TapeWorks for recommending me, and to my friend Wendy Zier for introducing me to Doug and the studio.   A link to the finished video will be provided once the project is completed.

—  over and out —

I’ve done voice work for computer companies, science labs, autoparts manufacturers, pharmaceuticals , escalator repair teams, accounting departments…explaining things to people who actually know the business I’m supposedly the “authority” for. Fortunately for me, I’m evidently a good actor.
Add one more to my list of know-nothing spokespersons:   GOLF.

Yup, for the next full year, I’ll be extolling the virtues and excitement of the PGA Tour on radio and television, in what has turned out to be the single highest-paying one hour booth session I’ve ever done.

And to add to my sense of humility: after spending close to two years and mucho dinero seeking out self-promotion knowledge, this job came gift wrapped. I had been cast before I even knew about the gig, through the good offices of someone who had my demo and put me forward for the job (thank you, Joe at Procomm!).

Sounds backwards, but sometimes it works better when I stop trying to make it happen!

Excuse me now while I get back to studying this “golf ” stuff. I may need to know how many strikes you get before you’re out.

— over and…uh…out —

Rubber-faced frustration in my first print ad (back when i had hair to pull).

Rubber-faced frustration in my first print ad (back when i had hair to pull) about bank service.

 

…if you can just survive long enough to use it!

Happy New Year, by the way.  And it appears as though that may be more than just a generic greeting, the way work is shaping up for 2009.  But more on that in another post.

Some of us believe “everything happens for a reason”.  Some of us believe that reason is because the Universe hates us.  But even cynical ol’ me had to admit today that a number of downright annoying experiences actually have a silver lining (and a paycheck), if only because…I’m a Voice Actor.

Case in point:  a job doing some audio character work for a multi-media presentation produced for Days Inn on customer satisfaction.  And dis-satisfaction.  They gave me a range of scenarios where I was the same guy with a problem which needed resolving.  The directors guided me through positive moods like “above and beyond”, to “neutral reaction”, to “slightly aggravated”, to “highly aggravated”. 

The scenes involved a tired traveler with a fouled-up hotel stay made worse by a broken air conditioner.

Those who know me have already guessed that I nailed the “highly aggravated” scene in one take.  It was the upbeat and appreciative guy I had to work on (but it still only took about three takes for him). 

Honestly, I do try to hold my temper with individuals who are trying to help solve a problem they themselves had no fault in creating.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have that invective-laden tirade formulating in the back of my frazzled mind all the while.

Mere mortals must either give vent to their frustrations in the moment, or stifle the urge and compound their frustration by supressing it.

But we…!  We fortunate actors (including voice actors) can at least take some small comfort in knowing that if we can file the experience away for future use, those feelings can be channeled back into a script at some future time, adding a welcome element of truth to a performance. 

And it can literally provide a “payoff” to life’s rich pageant of frustrations, which most people are never able to enjoy.

…the trick is not to burst a blood vessel or die of a monster ulcer before that payday arrives!

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I phone tech support to find out why those #*@%!! morons haven’t fixed the problem with my *$!@%** DVR yet!

— over and out —

It’s not too difficult to make a monkey out of me.  But never has it been done so creatively.

Tom Morse and the crew at SAS in Cary, NC came up with some clever ways to liven up the product demo to their new data management software.  I don’t pretend to understand what it does, but that doesn’t matter.  SAS only needed me to provide some voices, which they then put into animation.  The style is akin to the Jib-Jab folks…or as my friend and webmaster Lou Dalmaso pointed out, even more like the Terry Gilliam animations for Monty Python.  I play both the super-intelligent chimp here (Dr. Peabody, aka Bobo), and the not-so-bright reporter.  See if you can guess which looks more like the real RG. 

Here’s a second “interview” with the starship’s computer.

Many thanks to Tom (and SAS) for permission to share.

“Uncle” Sam…I am.

I’ve done voices for animated projects before, but have never been featured to this degree.  Thanks to animator/creator/voice talent Josh Faure-Brac for fitting me out in Red, White, and Blue as his “Uncle Sam” in this segment of his “SuperNews” for CurrentTV!  It’s also my first booking through voices.com…so double the celebration at the ol’ home studio.  Pray for sequels!  (CurrentTV LLC copyright 2008 – Used with permission.)

— over and out —