After 10 years of voicing the Geico Gecko, Jake Wood has been replaced...
Do you know how sacred job security is? Think about it...how many people do you know that have new jobs every 3 - 5 years (or sometimes every year)? Probably a lot! It's not uncommon in our "gig-economy" to be job hopping every few years. In fact, consistent longevity is more of an anomaly.
Last fall, actor Jake Wood was let go as the familiar voice of the Geico Gecko. What ensued was a bit of a shit-storm of Twitter feuding, backlash from "policyholders", and ad lovers upset that something they loved was different.
Wood took to twitter in mid-November to voice his opinion, tweeting he was "sacked... because [he] refused a huge pay cut. Nice huh?” His fans were "seriously bummed" and let GEICO know that the new voice for the lovable reptile "SUCKS." Some even threatened to cancel their policies.
Now, as a voice actor, I can see this both sides. Reports have come out that this was all about money (which it normally is). But that's a vague answer to a much larger problem. Did Wood's agent not advise him properly on his market rate? Did Geico strong-arm them into a reduced rate? Did Wood shoot the moon? Who knows?!?! However only Wood, his agent, and Geico know for sure what really happened.
Here's the bottom line; after a 10 year run with one company something happened, someone got upset, and now he is no longer voicing the lizard. But from the padded room I sit in, having 1 consistent job for 10 years, is a pretty good run.
The above video has the new voice over talent. You be the judge. As for Jake...he's getting on just fine...
Crafting a story that's relatable is hard work. If you don't think it is, just try to tell people about your last vacation and watch eyes get heavy.
When I'm in the booth during a voice recording session, normally the copywriter (sometimes the producer) directs me. I can't tell you how much I LOVE being directed in the voice over booth! Seriously! It helps me get inside the head of those that crafted the message and know exactly how the tone, inflection, and pacing should sound.
More and more, I'm getting the dreaded "email voice over direction". For me, that's like nails on a chalkboard...while scraping your teeth on a block of ice. Email messages are hard to decipher, and can be quickly misinterpreted. A note that says "make it sound like your commercial demo", doesn't help. There's 5 spots on there that each have their own flavor. Plus, the script that's in front of me might not be best for those styles of reads. It's like being told to make a sandwich and the only instructions is...make sure it's delicious...???
It's like being told to make a sandwich and the only instruction is..make sure it's delicious...???
So where do you start? The good folks at Lifehack have put together a list of 7 Tips for Giving Clear Instructions. While the list is fairly general, it definitely applies to giving good creative direction as well. Taking the time to chat for 10 minutes will save you hours of back and forth, reduce costs, and get any creative project done faster!
Alright, just seeing that headline, you're thinking one of two things:
While the truth of using certain advertising "tricks" probably sticks somewhere in the middle, here's what I tell you after working 15 years in the advertising space...it's only a trick if you are fooled by it. Did I just call you dumb? Uh...no. It really comes down to being an informed consumer.
Good advertising does an incredible job of being honest, real, relatable, and generally as transparent as possible. The advertisers that work hard at crafting solid campaigns that impact a potential buyer, have truly mastered an art form. It's not a trick if you relate to a message, or feel emotion when you see an ad that reminds you Grandma. The storytellers have done their job. It's up to you as a consumer to decide whether or not to spend your money. It's not a trick. It's a story, a message, and an idea. Enjoy the ride. There are some great ads out there.
Respect the advertising craft.
Sound designers are in constant need of solid elements in their digital tool bag. The folks over at VideoHelper just created some insane vocal elements on their new Modules 9 collection. I'll admit, listening to some of these tracks gave me chills. And also felt like I was being hunted through a forest by a hatchet wielding maniac! But those sounds are badass!
VideoHelper says that this is part of their "Narration Sound Design" library. While it's not a replacement for a professional voice actor, they do have really cool vocal effects to help your next project.
What I appreciate most about VideoHelper, is the way they organize their catalog by mood, genre, type, etc... Their online shop is well organized and really helps you narrow down exactly what you need for sound design and post-production.
Over here at TonyVO.com, I'm a big fan of the folks at Wistia. Not only do I use it to organize, promote, and host my video, but they do an amazing job of cultivating solid tutorials and content. Being a former creative director, I'm always on the lookout to do things, better, faster, and more cost effective.
Wistia put together a great piece on not only selecting the best video editor, but also how to workflow it properly. They even continue to shot selection, b-roll, and music.
If you're looking to take the video editing plunge in 2016, head over to Wistia and get your learn on. Drop me a line if you want to chat about workflows or software. Or leave a comment below and tell me about your favorite video editor.
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Tips, Tricks and Insights for casting, producers, agents, managers, creatives, and talent in the voice over industry.
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