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Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation

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Todd Terry
Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 19, 2012 at 3:16:04 pm

Hey kids...

Sometimes you have a good experience with someone and you like to pass it on.

Even though mine is a tiny company in a far-from-major city, I still like to hire really good national voice talent when I can, even for local productions.

One of my biggest regrets as a director and producer is that I never got to use Hal Riney's voice before he passed away four years ago, especially since I really wanted him for a commercial project we're working on right now. Don't remember Hal?... hear him again in one of my favorite spots he did at...





Well it finally occurred to me that Tim Russell is pretty much exactly replicating Hal's voice on "A Prairie Home Companion" during their "Ketchup Advisory Board" skits ("These are the good times, for Marge and me...").

So... we hired Tim and did the voice session yesterday. Man, it was like Hal had returned from the grave... I think Tim was actually channeling him. And what a nice guy, and just a peach to work with (and definitely worth jumping through the union hoops).

He's really versatile, too.... lots of voices. So, if ya need someone, Tim gets my highest recommendation.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Nick Griffin
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 19, 2012 at 8:32:15 pm

T2 -
Thanks for the lead on a Hal Riney sound-alike. How did Peter Coyote ever work out?


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Todd Terry
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 19, 2012 at 9:24:19 pm

Well Nick, as is often the case we (or rather the client) ended up goiing in a different direction before we actually booked/used Peter Coyote.

Still, I'm glad I was able to track him down and chat a bit with him... it wasn't wasted effort since I definitely want to use him someday for something... I'm just not sure what. Super nice guy, too.

Another "dream voice" I've always wanted to use is Ed Grover ("Visa... it's everywhere you want to be"). You don't really hear him much anymore so I'm wondering if he has retired... since he's at least pushing 80 or maybe even older. Then again Peter Thomas just turned 88 and we still used him a lot... he works every day. And can certainly afford to retire ten times over, if he wanted to.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 19, 2012 at 11:06:22 pm

Does Peter Thomas have a rate for just ripping out one 2-minute take of something goofy, like an answering machine message? Just curious, as I might have a vanity project in mind...


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Todd Terry
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 20, 2012 at 3:42:39 pm

I'll answer you off-forum, Mark... and if your answering machine message is two minutes long, you're missing calls!


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Herb Sevush
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 23, 2012 at 2:42:40 pm

[Todd Terry] "hen again Peter Thomas just turned 88 and we still used him a lot... he works every day."

I'm amazed Peter senior is still working. He was not young when I first worked with him over 30 years ago. Nicest guy in the world, would work all kinds of sessions - watching him do a medical narration hitting every multi-syllabic greek based medical term you could think of on a first take was something to see. Copy writers loved him because you heard the words, not his voice. Nice to hear he's still going strong.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Simon Roughan
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 20, 2012 at 1:06:19 pm

Hi Todd.
I was wondering. Here in Germany, I use an agency that has many well known Hollywood actors german "dub" voices on their books, like the german voice of George Clooney etc. But we always just send the script to them, and get a .wav file back. I always have a picture in my head of them standing at home in a small soundbooth (wardrobe)in their dressing gowns, scratching themselves while reading the lines.
When you book someone with a nationally known voice, do they come to your studio personally? Or do you do it over the telephone/internet? I would imagine that it would start costing a client mucho dolleros when you have to fly someone in for a day for a voice-over.
Curious as to how you do your stuff there...
Simon

A picture is only as good as the glass it comes through. And the person using the camera has something to do with it too.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:39:01 pm

Simon-
I'm not intending to answer for Todd, just to clarify our own common practices.

For us a lot of voice work can be produced/directed in person at local audio studios or in vocal booths at post-production houses. Greater Washington DC, where we are, is the third largest market for union actors in the United States -- well for voiceover work anyway. The order is New York at #1, Los Angeles #2, Washington/Baltimore #3, Chicago #4, then I have no idea where it goes from there, but assume it drops off rapidly.

The Washington market initially got this big for talent because of the many, many, many film, video and other forms of presentations produced by or for the US Government. Government contractors like the big defense contractors have been know to locally churn out a good deal of film and video. A huge number of political ads are also produced by agencies and consultants in and around greater Washington even though the majority are then run in local markets around the country. So, in essence producers like me have a plethora of local talent from which to select.

That said, when we want one of the truly unique New York or LA voices, its fairly routine for us to have the talent go to a studio in their own city and the engineer to provide a "phone patch" so I can listen in on the session and provide direction. Then the session is put up on an ftp site.

Many of Hollywood's better actors do a lot of voiceover work, usually for a single product or single brand. For example, national car spots these days use Tim Allen, Kevin Spacey, James Spader and several others. I've also heard George Clooney on something in recent years, but at the moment can't remember what it was for. Invariably these guys just go to a local studio in LA and spend an hour or two cutting a few spots. Even if they're just working for "union scale" a spot that runs nationally as well as in selected cities can pay tens of thousands of dollars during its run.

Also fairly common with high-end voiceover people are home studios where the talent has their own really good mic (usually a large capsule like the Neumann U-87) feeding into a pre-amp/compressor rig which records to a computer while also going to a phone line patch. In the pre-internet days almost all of the home studios of the serious voice talent fed ISDN phone lines which could link directly to conventional studios/post houses. (The internet has pretty much killed that.)

One of the better voices I use does so much work as the "booth announcer" for a dozen or more TV stations around the country all from his home studio that he doesn't want to, or have the time to, be directed. He just cuts multiple versions and happily will do "pick-ups" for anything his clients want changed. (As the "booth announcer" he's the voice that says in a station's news promo, "A massive fire sweeps through downtown San Francisco. Details tonight on KFOG News at 11." Minutes later he's cutting, "For the latest on today's shooting in the suburbs, stay tuned to Boston's news leader, WBZ-TV.") This guy has what we call "great pipes," a spectacular baritone with perfect inflection and the ability to swing between compassionate to hard sell and every point in between.

Hope this provides some perspective on the US voiceover market.


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Simon Roughan
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 20, 2012 at 3:02:17 pm

Cheers Nick,
thanks for tzhe info.
Great Pipes!






A picture is only as good as the glass it comes through. And the person using the camera has something to do with it too.


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Todd Terry
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 20, 2012 at 3:41:35 pm

Hey Simon...

Yes, Nick is right.... here, we never bring national talent in for VO work (maybe once or twice ever).

Most of the time we end up booking a studio in whatever city they live in, the talent goes there, and I direct the session via a phone patch. I'm usually talking to the engineer, and the talent can hear me as well... OR... just as likely, they have a home studio that they use.

In the past, the "mid level" talent generally had their own home studios, and then the "high level" talent expected you to book an outside studio. They still do, to a degree, but more and more even the top guys are now preferring to work from home studios. It's worth it to them to have the convenience of working from home verses the expense and having to do their own engineering. That's not true for "celebrity" voices you hear so much (Tim Allen, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Piven, Gene Hackman, and about 50 others). Those guys all go to outside studios.

When I use Peter Thomas, it's a mix. Sometimes I use his home studio... but often on a particular day he'll be doing national work for Burger King or Forensic Files or NOVA or whatever and he'll already be at a "real" studio that day, so generally we just have him record there if he's already in the booth.

The late great Don LaFontaine (God rest his soul) was one of the last studio holdouts. In his later years he had a limo driving him from studio to studio all day in L.A. (he averaged a dozen studios a day, or more). But in his last couple of years even he went to primarily a home-studio setup. I think I did one of the very last sessions with him before his untimely demise, if not the last. Great guy.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Nick Griffin
Re: Voiceover - Great experience and recommendation
on Jul 20, 2012 at 6:08:59 pm

All that I ever heard from Ted Williams' appearances on news clips sounded like the golden throated DJ and not much more. The really good announcers have a range of delivery. The truly GREAT announcers, like the late Don LaFontaine that Todd mentioned, had a range wide enough that when one of his warm, smiling movie trailers for a kid's comedy would run immediately adjacent to one of his growling trailers for an action movie it was virtually inconceivable that it was the same guy.


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