Archive for March, 2009

The Problem with Parties:

I had some people over to the house to watch basketball on Saturday.  I invited people over because I didn’t want to watch the NCAA tourney at a bar and have to pay 4 bucks a pint and have to drive after drinking.  So I said come over and I’ll grill out.  So I did.

That works out great for the most part, except I didn’t watch that much basketball.  I spent a lot of time outside cooking and not watching basketball.  Then I tended some to the guests…made sure everyone had what they needed.

Then if you invite people over, there are people you didn’t invite over.  They find out and wonder why.  I don’t mind that much; I keep about my things the same, and if they don’t invite me next time, I live on….but the point is:

I just wanted to watch the game and have a drink; I didn’t really succeed.  I think the best bet would be to watch it at home by myself…that sounds a little depressing, but yet liberating at the same time.

The “Scrubbing the Toilet Strategy”:

Otherwise I had a trip to Cuba coming up for vacation….3 weeks.  Sounds great.  I was getting excited.

Then work asked me if I was interested in going to S. Arabia for a on-site consultancy.  I don’t actually have to say yes.

But I think back to when I went to India with work a few years ago:  I was just a little over a year into my job (same place I’m at now), and was not chosen to go to India because other people had more experience.  But then one of those people backed out at the last second and I agreed to go.  So I got my opportunity basically because I agreed to do it when no one else would…its the scrubbing the toilet strategy.

Now is the same concept.  If the project was staffed in the US they’d never pick me.  There are lots of other more experienced consultants available, but most of those won’t agree to go to S. Arabia, so the pool dwindles.  I get my opportunity when the someone backs out at the last second and the pool dwindles to one…me.  So off I go to S. Arabia.  I better dust off my djellaba.

Who Watches the Watchers?

Everyone knows I’m apolitical…mainly because there is little difference between the Republicans and Democrats.  I believe that power corrupts…even the most well meaning people succumb.  I believe the best government/system is one that does not let too much power into any one set of hands.

I watched President W. Bush grab power like a king and ignore the Constitution.  Bush stripped civil liberties, ignored Congress, and basically ran the country like it was under martial law all in the name of the War on Terror (ever read 1984 by Orwell?).  He used a crisis to extend his power while claiming (and likely really believing) it was for our own good.

Now Obama takes office on a platform of change….and he grabs power too.  He uses the crisis of the economy to do things the Fed and the Dept of Treasury were never meant to do. (The Fed nor the Treasury Dept are meant to bail out the economy. By law they cannot invest in companies.  The proposal to tax the AIG bonuses 90% is likely unconstitutional.)

Ever heard of the 10th amendment?  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  To sum up:  All powers not explicitly granted to the Federal government in the Constitution are prohibited.  It is meant to limit power….crisis by damned.

In the end the issue is that the power is never returned.  Eventually it all sits with the overseers (the government)……but who watches the watchers?  That’s the question.

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So I was talking to Brian Allex at dinner the other night and he told me he almost got into a McDonalds commercial.  I mentioned (as I always do) that I wanted to be in a commercial too…as a voice talent.  He said he gets demos all the time from folks.  I said I need a demo too….thus I made one.

The Background: I thought I would re-do another movie trailer, maybe a Don Lafontaine classic.  Unfortunately, there is no website that catalogs movie trailer scripts.  There are also none that give away the music behind the trailer (although there are some that charge).  So I decided to make my own trailer, with my own music.

The Interview: As I was getting into the mindset, I started thinking about myself as voice actor.  I watched some interviews with Don L, and then decided my demo should also contain background info….my story as a voice actor.  So I wrote a self-interview too.  This was the funniest part to me.  It was actually much longer than made it onto the demo, but in the interest of time I cut my own interview short.

The Music:  Fortunately there is a lot of good info out there on suitable classical music for movie trailers.  The one that came up over and over was Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.

The Trailer: Surprisingly easy to write.  I did a little research, but they are pretty formulaic and easy to poke fun of.  “In a world..”, “On man…”, “Renegade…”….anything dire, immediate, short, and punchy.

I laughed my ass of watching this:

The Mix:  I use Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro) to mix audio.  I know something about that from my limited experience recording music, and I have a pretty decent microphone that picks up what little depth and richness I have in my voice.  I didn’t use alot of effects on the tracks (echo, or enhancing the bass of the vocals); its pretty much how I sound.

Here is a pic of clips:

You see I recorded the lines one at a time. The trailer definitely wasn’t all one take. The interview was though.

The Environment: I did drink a bottle of red wine in preparation.  Alcohol dries your throat out and deepens your voice.  I didn’t smoke any cigarettes.  I don’t like to smoke.  I assure you the wine was not enjoyed, but only drunk in pursuit of the art.

The Result: Here you go.

With the recession looming, I figure its time to diversify my interests.  You never know when you might be forced to consider a career change.


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