Category Archives: General

In Search of The Next Billy Mays

Tangentially related to voice over, the call has gone out to find a replacement for hyper-pitchman Billy Mays who unexpectedly passed away in 2009.  The joke around our house was that when one of  Mr. Mays’ TV spots came on, you could hit “mute” on the remote and still hear him.

Trade publication Advertising Age was invited to cover one of the auditions and columnist Larry Dobrow took a crack at the gig as you’ll see in the video.

Faux Audition Finalists Fronted

Voice over actor and fun guy Peter O’Connell has announced the finalists for the “just for fun” auditions for the voice of the ABC Evening News with Dianne Sawyer. Visit Peter’s blog and vote for your favorite finalists.

Remember, it’s all just for grins and aside from a little notoriety and maybe some link love, both you and the winner will receive bupkes.

Goodbye Mr. “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!”

It was (is) a read stitched into the fabric of America’s culture by Jan C. Gabriel of Chicago. Few of us knew his name, but most of us know the sound, the quintessential hard sell, in this case for drag strip racing that happened when? On “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!”

You’ll find a video story of his life here told by Chicago’s Bob Sirott.  At the end of the video Jan has a bit of useful advice. No matter what job you have on the stage of  life, always do it like “you’re on.”

Don’t miss the irony that Mr. Gabriel died last… Sunday.

Info Session for North Texas Actors

If you are an aspiring voice, stage or on-camera actor in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area there is an informational meeting coming up next Monday that you should consider taking. SAG’s Sheila Cooper emails with the details:


Have  you ever asked what is SAG, AEA, AFTRA or IATSE?  Have you ever thought what does the union do for me?  Have you ever wondered if you should join a union?  Do you have questions that can’t seem to be answered?  If you said yes to any of these questions then you need to attend the UNION PANEL ROUND TABLE event!



5601 Sears  Street
Dallas, Texas 75206

WHO CAN ATTEND:  Open to the public.

$5 off to any S.T.A.G.E. Member or current union member.
Equity Membership Candidates get in free. (Please be prepared to provide proof of your EMC status.)

There  will also be snack food, door prizes, and a cash bar and discounted S.T.A.G.E. memberships at $30 (regularly $80/year)!

RSVP to or call 214-630-7722.

Que the Announcer

A point of direction we see a lot in the voice over audition process is “no announcer” or “stay away from announcer sound” or “need real, genuine, no announcer” and 67 variations thereof. Why?

My voice-over coach has a theory: The classic announcer sound from the 50’s-70’s is representative of the generation of admen who lied to us. Can’t imagine what she means.

Photo of happy hardworking housewife

JC Penney Doghouse Part Deux

JC Penney is a locally based company that at one time ran a first class production facility where I had the pleasure of voicing non-broadcast projects for them. In fact it was one training piece I worked on for them where I learned just how long I could read before my voice started giving out.

Anyway, they are back with another installment of the Doghouse.  Guys, pay attention.
(Edited to change video servers)

Luck and The Voice Actor

I’m reading James A. Michener’s autobiography The World Is My Home.  In it he offers tips to would be writers and speaks of how simple luck played a huge role in his success.  Just change a few of the skills mentioned and you’ve got great advice for the voice over performer:

The only generalization I can offer is that in an irrational world if a prudent course has been followed, you make yourself eligible to capitalize on luck if it happens to strike. If you have not made yourself eligible, you may never be aware that luck is at hand.  By this I mean: learn typing, master math, learn to draft a convincing letter, broaden the mind, and do not evade challenges.  Making oneself eligible to seize the breaks if and when they come is the only sensible strategy I know. Be prepared to make full use of any stroke of luck, and even if it never comes, the preparation in itself will be a worthy effort.

What is the Context?

Been thinking about the word “context” this morning. It’s one of the lenses through which we should see the script as we prepare for the job or an audition. It helps us determine choices.

I think language scholar Oscar E. Nybakken has a very useful take on the word “context” for the voice actor:

Context not only casts a play of light and shadow on a word but frequently  suggests its primary meaning.

Adding light and shadow to the read is a wonderful thing as long as it serves the story.  There’s that “context” thing again.