There's a particular aroma in an arena. It's cool air, and steel. Polishing fluid, and cement. Fill it up with thousands of screaming fans, and the arena comes alive. The essence is replaced by a feeling of energy, excitement, and anticipation.
Being a live announcer is the greatest rush I have ever felt. You get to be a part of something bigger than you, but still lend a hand (or voice), to help it become an experience the audience will never forget. Each time I'm honored to live announce a show, I cherish it.
Back in 2002, I went to my first Timberwolves game, shortly after moving to Minneapolis fresh out of college. Starting in a new city was hard, but people all across Minnesota made me feel at home, and a group of my new friends and I went to see a game in the Target Center.
While this wasn't my first professional sports event, there was something different about this game. The late and great Flip Saunders was head coach. Kevin Garnett was in top form. The atmosphere was just perfect. While they lost to the Spurs that night, I walked away knowing this team, city, and arena were something special.
Last month, the Timberwolves announced that their long time (and awesome) PA Announcer, Rod Johnson, was stepping down. The Timberwolves decided to hold open castings to find their new voice. When I saw this, it brought back a flood of memories, and a drive to bring my years of live announcing and show production experience to an organization that's rapidly changing.
The Timberwolves are moving in the right direction, both as a team and as an organization. To be a part of this movement would be an honor.
It's really is a New Era.
Isn't it amazing how the landscape of television has changed over the last few years. Now we can stream, consume, record, store, and access virtually an unlimited amount of content. Promaxdba and their conferences outlines some of the new challenges tv is facing.
With ever-morphing (or mighty morphing, whichever is your preference) marketing efforts, and the amount of original content coming out; I knew it was time for a new promo demo. This came after a lot of work with my promo coach Marice Tobias. It showcases some new, fresh, and original sounds that anyone looking to stand out in a crowded space can utilize.
When you're ready to take your promos to the next level; hit me up.
I love cooking! It's a hobby, passion, and something that is just inside me. I grew up in a restaurant, so my folks instilled in me a love of food and those that prepare it.
Now, for most home cooks, you'll find an assortment of gadgets and tools at their disposal. However, the one standard we can all must have, is the KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It's so versatile, well designed, and ever expanding.
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to start narrating tutorials on how to use different KitchenAid products! Their lineup is incredible! And it's helped make me a better cook! One of my favorites is the Spiralizer attachment! Makes awesome "vegetable spaghetti".
Check it out and get yourself one! If you're cutting carbs it's a no brainer. If you want to add some cool new dishes, then this it the attachment! Yay food!!!
Need a corporate narrator/foodie on your next project? Drop me a line! Or hit me up and we'll exchange recipes.
Have you ever cleaned out your closet and thought, "That was so satisfying!"? It's like starting with a clean slate. A fresh outlook. And you discover that shirt from college that you thought you lost, but totally still looks great on you (it's a little tight and there's no more "Mario's Cantina" but it's still yours).
That's how I felt collaborating with Eric Romanowski at Ear Blowing Audio on mynew commercial demo. You'll hear ads that I've done over the past year, as well as some new spots that are sure to be a surprise! In fact, I put it in video form. Because, well, I like visual stuff. *virtual high five*
Check it out and share with friends! If you're ready for an audition on your project, hit me up here.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL...TECH???
"Hey Tony! Where can you be found every Saturday?" Well that's a weird question, but a simple answer...watching college football!!! It's my love! Everything about it is an experience! The fans, the pageantry, the history, and the tradition. It's as pure as the sport will (can) be.
So if you're like me, you were glued to the tv last Saturday as the Alabama Crimson Tide laid waste to the USC Trojans. The game was played on a neutral site at "Jerry World", better known as AT&T Stadium. While it's the home of the Dallas Cowboys, this stadium opened up it's doors to a sea of crimson.
A while back I was hired to narrate the tech highlights at the stadium. And it is AWESOME! Any fan would be totally immersed in this world. Big shout-out to Heard City on the mix. Sound is solid.
If you're ready to get started on your project, drop me a line!
It's been a summer of UPGRADES! Check out what's new in the studio.
Alright I have a confession...I LOVE AUDIO GEAR! True story. But while some of my purchases might be frivolous (looking at you all white microphone stand), some are very important.
Upgrading gear can become a necessity to help stay current, as well as consistently deliver badass voice over tracks quickly and efficiently. Plus, since my brain thinks in workflow, that's how I attacked what I'm calling "TonyVO.com's Great Studio Upgrade of 2016."
Below is a video highlighting all the recent upgrades, they include a Universal Audio Apollo 8, Avalon M5, and the legendary Neumann U87. Everything was recorded with that chain. Sounds pretty...
If you're ready to get a sample, drop me a line and I'd be happy to use my new toys.
Anyone who has ever spent time in a recording studio knows all too well how difficult it can be to capture a great performance, especially on the first take. There are so many variables during the recording process in a creative endeavor that you are bound to make some mistakes. And oftentimes, it will require more time than you expected in order to get the perfect delivery.
Hog Butcher: No Other Way to Say It
With performers and producers working toward the same goal, but with different processes (acting versus recording and direction), there are bound to be some minor obstacles in the beginning until you settle into a productive groove.
This is true whether it is for a commercial, movie, TV show or any other project that needs voice acting and voiceover work. You may flub a line, something technical might come up, or the tone may just not be what the producers and advertisers need. The last thing you want is performers worrying about how long it will take to finish the session or if they are in danger of exceeding the budget for recording time.
Versatile voice actors develop many different techniques for expressing the dialog they get from their directors. They build up a repertoire of characters, from children to the elderly, polish their various regional accents and continue to work on and improve their acting ability overall. The more options that performers can give to the creative director, the more effective the project will wind up being in the end.
Plus, when money is on the line, you want to get in and out of the recording studio as soon as possible...but only with the best possible voiceover work. That’s a tall order, as illustrated by a recent video from Hog Butcher called “No Other Way to Say It.”
About Hog Butcher
Hog Butcher consists of improvisers from Chicago’s IO, the Annoyance Theater and The Second City and is led by Ron Lazzeretti, an advertising professional and independent filmmaker.
Hog Butcher meets with clients to discuss a project and then the group develops funny, fresh and informative material to record, whether it’s for commercials, online content or movies. They’ve made commercials for a variety of prominent clients, including KFC, Coors and Kmart.
Hog Butcher: No Other Way to Say It
The video, which was posted on YouTube via Hog Butcher’s official channel, paints an all-too-real and funny scenario that is very accurate portrayal of a voiceover session.
It's a familiar scene set inside a recording studio. A voiceover artist named Jen wears headphones while standing in front of a microphone, with a script in front of her, waiting to be read. In the meanwhile, the recording crew is checking the levels as she warms up her voice.
One of the producers tells Jen that they loved her audition and now they just want to repeat that performance as they make a recording. Once they get the sound levels right, it’s time to begin.
The creatives immediately get into some excruciatingly fine details. For example, one of them mentions that “Larry is again concerned about these exclamation points” in the copy.
They ask Jen to deliver the first line three times in a row. However, this beginning line is a bit of a tongue twister and it’s for a product with an amusing name: “Dumpers Young Dumb Ice Cream,” followed by the catchphrase, “There’s just no other way to say it. They’re good!”
The producers decide to mark the first take for consideration and ask the actor to give them another reading, while talking about getting a more optimistic tone. They’re so engrossed in their discussion, they forget to press their microphone button so that Jen can hear the comments. They awkwardly repeat the request to make her voice more “optimistic.”
After take 2, the producers confer and say Jen shouldn’t be optimistic after all, but instead her voice should convey “cheerfulness” and request another take to get that tone. They get even more into the weeds at this point, asking the actor to give them an ambivalent yet confident approach, where she invites listeners to get the ice cream but that she won’t have her feelings hurt if they don’t try the treat.
Most amusingly, the producers actually admit that they are already giving her too many notes but press on with their requests to change the tone again! In the meantime, as the team continues to discuss the line readings they want with their microphone turned off, Jen turns to her cellphone.
She is reading text messages from her mom about some bad news as she awaits the next instruction from the producers. Now they want her to speak the lines as if she has never eaten ice cream before in her life.
Then, they debate whether “young” is the same as “hip” as they ask for additional changes in tone. After even more suggestions, the recording team wonders how they can get Jen back to the original approach as the credits roll.
Written and directed by Tim Mason, the video shows what really can happen behind the scenes in the “glamorous world of advertising” and how voiceover actors must work hard to get the right tone for the advertising creatives in the studio.
The communication issues that can arise in a recording session as seen in the “No Other Way to Say It” video from Hog Butcher underscore how hard it is to be a creative director on a commercial project. Creative directors who request multiple takes should never feel like it’s their fault or that they are being too indecisive. And the actors also should know that they aren’t to blame just because the recording session isn’t starting out perfect.
Getting the recording right often means exploring different approaches, such as slowing down or talking much faster or varying the line reading to emphasize a word at the beginning, middle or end. Then there is the issue of emotion and tone. Is it supposed to be a dramatic situation, or is a funny and lighthearted voice what the project really needs? When voice actors and creative directors come into a project with mutual respect and a shared goal to deliver the best possible recording, the results will be much better.
Over 10,000 words and more than 250 projects in 10 countries...so far!
It has been an AMAZING advertising year! I love all the collaboration, innovation, and risks that the creative landscape is taking. To be a small part of a much larger journey is humbling, and inspiring.
So far this year, I've been the voice on national campaigns, e-learnings, on-hold messages, product launches, explainer videos...became an astronaut, a teaching avatar, an insurance agent, a play-by-play announcer, and a circus ring master.
Creative partners have trusted me to sell coffee grinders, software, cars, new tv shows, tires, financial products, mobile phones, new platforms, communications, and even ice cream!
While this is just a small sampling, check out some of my favs below. Maybe you'll get inspired. Or at least take a break for a bit. You've earned it ;)
National TV campaign for VistaPrint. Watch for the promo code and get you some new cards!
TV ad for Subway. Mmmmmm subs...
Passionate TV ad for Memorial Hermann. Wonderfully produced!
Falken Tires! Get some!
Ever wondered if you can patent something? Wonder no more! Great animation and cause.
Don't have a KitchenAid stand mixer in your kitchen? You're missing out. They do a great job of tutorials!
This is a great platform for meeting planners!
LET'S RUMBLE!!! Play-by-play announcer!
Beer man. F&*^%ING BEER!!! #craftoutloud
This is a fav. It's for Brightcove, but come on...who doesn't want to see a show called "Night Boat"?
CapitalOne & Taylor did a great job connecting to millennials.
"Life is like the Star Wars movies. Some of it is great, some of it sucks, but you have no choice but to sit through all of it..." Comic Book Guy
Do I still watch The Simpsons? Yes? Am I grown man that also watches other cartoons? GET OUT OF MY ROOM!!!
Anyway, imagine how excited I was when, while perusing the internet, I happened upon this GQ post featuring the most epic commencement speech of this year (if not all time). Along with the entire Simpsons cast, Hank Azaria is a vocal force to be reckoned with! Just seeing how effortlessly he moves from one character to the other is pure mastery. The actor best known for his plethora of character voices on The Simpsons, treated the Tufts graduating class of 2016 to the sage wisdom of Moe the Bartender, Apu, Chief Wiggum and The Comic Book Guy. And it's everything. Enjoy.
According to Wikipedia, “sonic branding is the use of sound to reinforce brand identity. Sound branding is increasingly becoming a vehicle for conveying a memorable message to targeted consumers, taking advantage of the powerful memory sense of sound."
As we evolve into a society of mobile users who bank on earbuds and head phones to procure our information, it's no wonder that Doug Sterne, VP of Audio Development at Pandora, claims we "are in the midst of an audio renaissance."
In a recent article for Adweek, Sterne points out that radio broadcast advertising is a $17 billion dollar business and statistics show that radio is the second most powerful medium in the United States reaching 59 percent of the country’s population daily. According to Edison Research, consumers spend an average of four hours per day with audio.
Sterne goes on to say that "personalized platforms feature brands sonically in a one-to-one environment". A persistently logged-in user can be targeted at deep, granular levels, and personalized messages are served at a time most likely to resonate." You pretty quickly realize taking advantage of opportunities for audio advertising is something marketers can't overlook. Advertiser now have the capacity to send messages to consumers across multiple channels in a targeted way never before seen in the industry.
So what does this mean for you? Is should start the conversation. Ask yourself this...in all your media outlets, platforms, and consumer exposures; are you using sonic branding to it's full potential? If you aren't sure where to start, comment below or drop me a line. Let's collaborate on some epic sounds.
A Voice Over blog
Tips, Tricks and Insights for casting, producers, agents, managers, creatives, and talent in the voice over industry.
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