** Any blog comments are welcomed, in the RED section, near the bottom of the main BLOG page. **

What if...

there were some enterprising folks, ...who put together a company which matched voice over artists with clients who were looking for voice overs (OK, hold on just a little bit more, before you click back to YouTube's 'Car Accidents In Russia') ...and when the winning voice over was delivered, the company would send that waveform file to all who had auditioned. Those who hadn't won would then be able to see (and hear) what was chosen; what was seen as being the best; what was actually meant by the client's delivery descriptives given with the auditions.

..And Now, Here's This Month's Version of:
"WHAT IF!!!"

just dreaming!


jAN. 17,2018

What might be the possible outcome of this????? Maybe, ....just maybe, ...everyone would learn and improve, by (in my opinion) a great amount. They would get a taste and feel of where the industry seemed to be going, in regard to trends and what was seen as 'professional'. The quality of voice, weighed against the performance, weighed against the quality of recording.... could be assessed, to see the balance needed.
Me thinks the whole industry would benefit, since as the voice over artists got better, the clients would be receiving better quality, on all levels.

 Maybe I haven't thought through all the ramifications of this, but on the surface it sure sounds logical to me, and it sure might spawn some interesting replies.
Also, there's the fact that.......Oh, gawd, ...that truck driver didn't even see that rich-ass teenager...What a mess!!!!!

"Why didn't you just 'buy' one?  They're not expensive! " (I thought I'd head off the usual reply to this type of blog, by stating it first.)
I wanted/needed to isolate my mic from the floorstand I had.  Sometimes my headphone curly-cable would touch the stand while I enacted out with some gesticulation, prompted by the script.  A shock-mount prevents noise and/or vibrations from reaching the mic, so why can't I come up with a very cheap but functional solution without resorting to the purchase of an expensive unit, or a $20.00 dubious one?  All I needed was a strong, light ring big enough to suspend the mic within it, allowing for a good half-inch of air around the mic.

..And Now, Here's This Month's Version of:
"JUST BUY IT!!!"

or improvise.


FEB. 07,2018

​I hit the local used/value outlet and strolled around, just to get ideas.  Ah-HA!!!  And there it was:  the stainless-steel metal ring which you placed in a frypan, and cracked an egg in, to…..ahhhhh….get a round fried egg.  (I guess there are other shapes that folks like their eggs to be, but I only saw ‘round’.)

​​Now all I needed was something elastic.
HAIRBANDS!   YES!
I bought a pack of 18 (Made in China.  4mm thick.  “No Snag”.  WARNING: Choking hazard)  I then loped around the egg ring thingy (seriously, I don’t know what it’s called) and around the mic base.  I kept adding these in the same way until the mic was suspended equally in the centre of the (frack) ‘egg ring’.  Being infinitely adjustable, you can play with it until it suits you. I added one extra elastic around the mic and over the top of the egg ring, to counteract the pull of gravity of the mic. It centred it nicely and didn't obstruct the mic controls.

​​I borrowed a proper, regulation, “Just buy it” shock mount from a friend (the Heil PR40…$105.00 USD) and recorded a waveform of me tapping the mic stand.  I did the same for my improvised, cheap-ass one and compared.  Not the tiniest bit of difference. (Hey, even before I used hair elastics, I used regular elastic bands on my first effort and although there were many more used, the sonic result was the same as the above two…exactly!)  The first one just looked too ‘spidery’ for me.  BTW, it's attached to the stand using the egg thing handle.

It does the job.  I did have to lay out the $7.00 CDN for the hair bands, but that was just the loose change from the Altoids tin in my car.  You can judge from my photos whether it looks ‘elegant’ or not, but it was a small learning experience and a ‘hoot’ to think through and make.
I would not use this ….if it didn’t work!!!
 
(and if I’m ever in a real spot, …and absolutely NEED a round fried egg……………………)

I'm just dreaming here, so don't judge me on my 'wishbook'.  WHAT IF ....sorry...  What if a few well positioned, well known voice artists, or those in the business who don't voice but want to start a business....were to create their own company which links up voice talent with voice-in-need clients.  Yes, there are a few already, ...but what if, along with the usual features, they would send the auditioners a copy of the voice that won the audition.  This could easily be automated, and I don't see any legal problems (although I'm pretty blind to leagalize) with it.  Imagine....just imagine how helpful this would be to the rest of us.  

..And Now, Here's This Month's Version of:
"WHAT IF!!!"

just dreaming.


MAR. 03,2018

We'd be able to see where we misinterpreted the client's 'artistic direction'.  We would all get smarter, faster.  The knowledge would influence the next read we did, and could result in stretching us out, ...challenging us.  I can see us gaining expert advice, while not hindering our normal reads.  I have heard the frustration in the voices of those who thought they had "nailed this one" and didn't get it.  I am sure 99% of us would count this feature as 'A BLESSING!'

I really believe that we would all get much better, much faster, ...and provide a higher level of talent, in the long run, in the direction of current needs in this medium.  The whole voice over need not be sent out either, ...just a few lines,....in case there is some legal caveat about releasing the whole thing.
​  Yes, it's just a dream, Virginia, but I thought I'd lay it out here, to either cause someone to say "Why not?", or to cement my induction into the 'Dreamer Hall of Fame'.

Did I Just Invent 
A New Phrase?:

"IN MOUTH TRAINING"

probably not!


MAR. 16,2018

​Anyone who is truly interested in this exciting and ever-changing medium, has spent time in VO forums and in the miriad of related FB sites. They've seen, read and digested so many questions and frustrations regarding how to eliminate or lessen the unwanted noises our mouths makes when transmitting our vocal sounds to our waiting microphones. The 'plosives pose the major problems: the P's, T's, F's, K's, etc.  Mouth clicks, in all their ugly forms, seem to come second in priority.  

 The queries on equipment, software and proper lubrication repeat over & over, in various forms.  You can hear the pleadings, searching and sometimes anger, in the writings and vids.   The focus on software, tricks and 'post' production is emphasized, where prevention takes a back seat...and it shouldn't.  

The skill or learned talent to lessen or eliminate these DURING the read, is being overlooked.  There are techniques to be learned in our work that are hinted at as being tedious, old-school or obsolite.  I disagree!

​​Part of our 'skillset' should be the ability to soften these problem consonants .....WHILE recording, not just by using fancy software...after the fact.  Just imagine if you practised enough to eliminate them beforehand.  

 'P's can be tamed by smiling through them, whereby the lips are pulled taught and the 'polsive is drastically reduced.  'T's are lessened by biting them off or by opening the mouth wider.  'F's (or 'ph's) are diminished by making big, high cheeks.  'K's are smaller if you make the room in your mouth greater.  I'm sure there are more and maybe better methods, ...but my point is:  Shouldn't we study and practise this, as an important part of our VO abilities?  Shouldn't this be an integral part of our warm-ups?  It just may save you hours of editing and, therefore, earn you more $$$. 

One guarantee is that it will make you look a whole lot funnier to those watching you.

Money:

"WELL $PENT."

Ya' gotta do it!


APR. 06,2018

​​Thirty bucks…for two days of experimentation, testing,  use, deciding and enjoyment?   I’d say it was well worth it!
 
Long & McQuade, once again, allowed a momentary dream to manifest in my little studio.  I walked out their doors with a Neumann TLM-103, and my wallet wasn’t even empty.  They just let me go.  Strange, trusting, amazing folk…to be sure.

​​Mounting this mic onto my stand was a slow pleasure.  The solid *click* from the XLR was satisfying, at both ends.  My UR12 interface said: “WTF?”, but handled the intrusion faithfully.  There it was!…a Neumann, just waiting to process my vocal vibrations.  I snapped on my headphones and heard NOTHING.  No hiss.  No noise.  Just my heart beating.
 
I proceeded to voice a few spots, and bathed in the smooth, clear, warm character of this mic.  A lower voice seems to revel in the slight upper mid bump, offering clarity, presence and something I couldn’t describe.  It was probably just the damn name staring me in the face, influencing my inner ear and brain. 

​​Noisefloor tests were done.  The dynamics were measured.  All the ‘plosives were tried.  I even threw on the 20 foot XLR cord provided, compared to the 3 foot one I use normally.  (The long cord added three bursts of highs into the roomnoise frequency spectrum, way up near the top…but I couldn’t actually hear anything different.)  Know what?….It’s easier to keep a smile in your read when using a Neumann.

​​The very expensive Neumann shock mount was well-made, but didn’t come close to the hand-made one I constructed for my Aston Origin.  (See blog for Feb. 07, 2018 here: http://www.elevenwheeldrive.com/2018-blogs) Using the ole ‘thump’ test, my own shock mount was easily two-thirds quieter. [See (hear) to the left...TLM is the first series of 9 thumps on the mic stand. The Origin is the second series.]

​​Returning the TLM-103 was about as sad as running out of beer, but it was an honest trial and I’d do it again.  I’m still looking to rent a Sennheiser MKH 416 too, but that’s a rare animal in this area.
 
Adult fun!….without removing any clothing.
I love this VO business.  
Keeps my mind active.    
Satisfies that nagging creative urge.   
Keeps me learning new stuff…..30 bucks at a time.