Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I Know That Voice

Thanks to Terry Beatty and his FB friends for pointing out that this documentary I had been looking forward to is now on Netflix. This is a look at the history, craft and art of voice acting made by a voice actor and featuring dozens of voice actors, directors and producers. 

A writer is what I've wanted to be since I was a child but voice acting has been my dream job for almost as long. In 1979 I took an acting course that concentrated on voice acting for commercials. A year later, I was able to use some of what I had learned when I joined a local comedy troupe as a writer and performer. I ran in those circles for a couple of years, performing on stage and on TV while simultaneously doing some unrelated radio work including actually co-hosting one two hour call-in show. 

In 1988, I co-formed a group that did Old Time Radio re-creations at various functions around Cincinnati and I directed, acted in and did sound effects for our first (and only as it turned out) show, RESULTS, INC. This led to my then-fiancee and I becoming a major part of the repertory company doing re-creations annually at Cincinnati's Old-Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention for the next 27 years! Every year, I appeared opposite both professionals and talented amateurs, playing roles such as  a number of teenage boys, a ghost, a frog, a robot, an old man, an alien, a talking mouse, a crow, various ethnic roles, a little kid, a wisecracking photographer, a detective, a mob boss, a cowboy, a hit man and a dog. I got a brief but nice write-up in a national magazine for the latter, calling it a "spirited performance!" Legendary OTR soundman Barney Beck once told me I was born too late and had missed my calling.

All the while, I had to earn a living, though, so I stayed essentially in the same field for nearly 3 decades. At one point in 2006, when I was working at the Public Library, I was finally given the chance to do an actual television voiceover, albeit in a straight announcer voice. The really interesting part is that the footage I was narrating had yet to be shot! When it was, they had to edit it to one of my several takes done at slightly different speeds. 

My dream of maybe someday actually becoming a voice actor went away for good when, in 2008, I had to have a couple of teeth removed that now make me sound, well, like I've had a couple of teeth removed. I got fakes which look great for photo ops but I sound even worse with them in. 

Still, it remains an area of great fascination and here one can easily see why. At least if that "one" is me.

By the way, I KNOW THAT VOICE is also on YouTube in its entirety where its been for nearly a  year, unbeknownst to me, so if you don't have NF, go there.

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