After giving myself a few days to digest my turkey dinner, I’m ready to fire up my keyboard again. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday, and that you enjoy the upcoming Christmas season, as well as that of the other holidays so prevalent in the next four or five weeks.
It’s been two weeks since I signed up to record weather forecasts on RadioForecastNetwork.com, and it has been a great learning tool. On my first day it took 3 and a half hours to record the forecast for ten radio stations – an average of 20 minutes per station. Considering most of the dry voiceover tracks ranged from 25 to 30 seconds, you can imagine how slow I was moving.
In addition, five of the stations have weather beds (music and SFX files) to mix in, so that slowed me down even more, mostly from the lack of familiarity with the material. But the difficult part for me was re-stating the forecast data, displayed on my monitor, in such a way as to be conversational, understandable, and listener-friendly. I was using a Word document to cut-and-paste the forecast data and then re-format it and edit it into a logical conversational tone. The RFN website has excellent instructions on recording do’s and don’t’s, including how to phrase certain things, so that the forecast sounds to the listener as if someone in the radio station is actually there, looking outside, and letting you know what they see up in the sky.
Yesterday I decided to not look at the Word document, and instead recorded my dry VO just looking at the actual forecast data, and translating it in my head to something a little sexier. Let’s just say it took me a few minutes. But the result was, I cut my time in half, and was done with all ten stations in an hour and 45 minutes. Better, but with lots of room to improve. My goal is to have it down to one hour by next week, and I’m pretty sure it’s within my grasp. I just have to train my brain. Once I do that, I may see if I can add a few more stations.
In addition to helping me streamline my recording and editing technique, I noticed today that I seem to be auditioning with more confidence and efficiency. It could be just a coincidence, but I did six on-line auditions today, felt very good about five of them, and was notified two hours later by one representative that he had selected my audition to along with a few others to be heard by the actual client for the final decision, and that he would add my name and profile to his “favorites” list for future direct invitations. Yes, that felt good when I read that. Who doesn’t like positive feedback?
And so, I’m in somewhat of a transition period. High school football is over for me, and college basketball has already started. I do have two more double-headers to work before Christmas, so that will keep me on my toes. The last game I worked was pretty exciting – one of the players went over the scorer’s table about five feet from me, actually leaping onto the table in mid-sprint, and jumping from there into the bleachers. Fortunately, he landed safely and made it back onto the court. The life of a PA announcer is always interesting.
In addition, the Thanksgiving holiday has past, and last night I officially ushered in the Christmas season by watching the “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” Claymation TV special. That show is near and dear to my heart. I remember watching its debut broadcast in 1964 as a first-grader, which is the perfect age to appreciate its magic. Last night, after Cornelius defeated the Abominable Snowman and Rudolph was able to keep Santa from cancelling Christmas that year, I reflected on the performance of the actors who voiced the various characters, and how iconic their representations have become.
One actor in particular is Paul Soles, who was the voice of Hermey the elf (“I want to be a den-tist!”), and was also the voice of the first Spiderman/Pete Parker in 1966 on Saturday morning cartoons. You can find a 2014 interview with Paul talking on Youtube by searching for “Paul Soles – Hermey the Elf”. He’s 86 now, and yes, he can still do a great Hermey.
For my readers out there, what are some of your favorite cartoon voices, both well-known and not? Feel free to Reply To This Post, I’d love to hear from you.
I’ll leave you to consider another iconic voice, one very familiar at Christmas – Andy Williams. I had the opportunity to see him perform his Christmas show live in 1986. He opened with the classic “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”, and I will make sure I listen to his classic medley “Happy Holiday/It’s The Holiday Season” several times between now and December 25.
Until next time, keep putting your best voice forward, and remember your voice may be providing magic and memories for someone else. Take care.