Voice Over Demos:

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Finally - Librarys and Kindles :)

Yes, finally, the day I was waiting for has come....Kindle eBooks are now able to be checked out from public libraries via Overdrive:

Kindle Library

Also in audio book news, I ran across this interesting comment thread from Yahoo Answers:  Why are audio books not as popular as regular books? I find it fascinating because these are "regular" people giving their opinions - not people in the industry.

When computers crash and burn

This week I got to my studio all vocally warmed up and ready to work, when I noticed my computer, an HP desktop, had apparently frozen in the midst of a start-up.  The keyboard was unresponsive, so there was nothing I could do but a hard-reboot, holding down the power button and then turning it back on.  Strangely, while the hard drive spun up and the power light came on, there was no signal to the monitors.  Completely baffled I tried a few other things and then had to give up - time to call in the experts.  I had seen a sign posted by my favorite coffee shop for a company called MyCrazyMachine.com and decided to give them a try.  To make a long story short, they traced the problem to a burnt out motherboard.

Yes - a pretty hardcore crash and burn, and this desktop was only 2 years old, a very fast quad core PC.  The fine folks at MyCrazyMachine bought a new, better, motherboard and new firewire card, installed them for me, and upgraded the operating system from Windows Vista to Windows 7.  All in all I was up and running again in about a day and a half, without losing a single file.  Here's the preemptive steps I took to do this!


SyncBack is a great, free little program that automates backups.  I have it installed on my home laptop and studio desktop.  Every night it backs up all local files to an external hard drive, which in the studio means all audio files, project files, etc...and at home all my personal stuff.


Shouldn't have to explain too much what this is :)  I have it on both computers, and store all invoices, marketing materials, voice over resources, etc...anything I would have to possibly access from anywhere.  SyncBack also backs this up, so all my important files are actually backed up in 5 places if you count the "cloud."

Remaining Problems

For some reason the fans on my desktop with the new motherboard are running extremely fast and loud - much louder than before.  More like a jet engine.  On steroids.  I can hear it inside my booth and it's picking up on the mic.  I'm researching some quieter PC fans and will probably have the tech folks out to install them.

A Few Things Learned

There were two key components of my system I didn't have backed up - settings files for two programs I use: Filezilla for FTP access/transfer, and AutoHotKey for system scripting and macros. The Filezilla settings stored all my FTP usernames and passwords for various clients and accounts.  I'm able to solve this for the future by backing up the XML settings file in the Program Files Folder.  Similarly, the AutoHotKey file that contains all my custom scripts resides in the program folder, and I now have a SyncBack profile backing this up.  Live and learn!

VO Oscar?

Recently I received an email with a request to sign a petition!  My first petition!  I think its long overdue - a voice over category for the Oscars.

VO Oscar Petition

Voice actors deserve just as much recognition for their acting as on-screen actors.  Sign it today!  I don't know if an online petition like this does any good - but surely it can't hurt :)

The Fuzzy Lines of "Voice Acting"

Recently I stumbled across a wonderful list of the "20 Greatest Voice Over Performances," courtesy of the site ListVerse.com.  The list is a fascinating look at some great voice actors, great characters, and indeed entire careers.  While I really appreciate the work John Miller put into compiling it, I wanted to highlight some areas I found interesting that may open up new conversation:

1. Where Be the Clips? This is the internet age, with just about every nostalgic node and related ephemera located a Google search away.  Someone needs to find a sample or YouTube link to each of these voices.  That someone could be me...just not right now :)

2. The meaning of "voice over performance." As noted in the comments by an astute reader, the #1 voice, Andy Serkis as Gollum, lives in the hazy new area of motion-captured CGI.  Was it really Andy acting on screen?  Or was Gollum just as animated as Bugs Bunny?  Where is the line between voice acting and "traditional" acting with a CGI costume?  More on this to follow...

3. Role vs. Career. One mistake I think this list makes is mixing the voice of one character (in a single movie or a franchise) along with a voice actor's entire career. That's like comparing oranges and apples!  How can you compare one performance to the entire oeuvre of Mel Blanc or Frank Oz?  I believe that should be a separate list...

The Meaning of "Voice Performance"

As CGI, motion-capture, and facial mapping grows ever better and more accurate, we will only find more and more gray areas.  A voice actor providing the voice to a traditionally animated character is "voice acting," I don't think anyone would argue with that.  But what about the type of motion capture utilized by WETA for Gollum, or by James Cameron for the characters in Avatar?  How close does the CGI costume have to be to reality to defined as "acting"?  Perhaps we just need a new genre or definition...

Another commenter brings up the interesting example of Octopus Face in Pirates of the Caribbean.  His voice was probably recorded in a studio, and the tentacles are CGI.  Since only part of his body is digital, and the voice is pre-recorded, is this acting or voice acting?

Let the discussion begin...

Dialect Resources

I posted this originally on the Audio Book Community site, but thought I'd re-post here to spread it around:

I ran across a great site featuring a map of the U.S. that delineates dialects and regionalisms spoken:

American English Dialects

Lots of people shared other resources in the thread, so check it out!
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