Other Than Me… Joe

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Other Than Me… Joe

“Joe Thomas” is a fairly common name.

When I first moved to LA, I even had a producer look at my headshot and ask me “Hmmm… Joe Thomas – What’s your real name?”

So, I was wondering how many other notable Joes there are out there.

(thankfully, Google ranks my pages first for “Joe J Thomas” or “Joe Thomas Voice”)

Here’s a short list of some of the other Joes out there:
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Singing For VO

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Singing for Voice Over

Singing offers a lot of tangible advantages to anyone in Voice Acting.
For those of you who sing, I know I’m preaching to the choir! (rim shot)

But how long has it been since you’ve had a refresher?
And if you’re in VO and don’t sing, why not?

Although I’ve been in many musicals, sung with choral groups, and even performed musical improv, it had been a few years since I really sang.

Time for a tune-up!
I recently started taking lessons with a new teacher, and it’s given me a renewed sense of confidence in my vocal abilities.

Here are just a few of the areas singing can help with:

  • Tone:
    The pitch of your voice… high, medium, low (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone Bass)
  • Breathing:
    Proper breathing allows you to better control your sound.
  • Timing:
    Learning musical rhythm can help in setting your pace for both segments of the copy and for the overall read.
  • Vocal Placement:
    Chest voice, Head voice, Throat, etc. Placement is especially useful in creating characters and accents.
  • Core Support and Strengthening:
    A strong core is related to your breathing, and can give you more power and energy in your voice.
  • Volume Control:
    Knowing when to sing soft is just as important as being able to belt out a tune. Having a solid control of your volume takes practice.
  • Conveying Emotion:
    Even in a language you may not understand, songs can elicit a great deal of emotion. Learning how to deliver that to your audience is directly applicable to VO work.
  • Communication of Ideas:
    Clear communication is another win for any voice work. Knowing how to form your words and phrases so that they convey ideas is the core of it all.

My friend Marc Cashman even has a chapter in his book “V-Oh! Tips, Tricks, Tools and Techniques to Start and Sustain Your Voiceover Career” dedicated to the concept of “Finding the Music in Copy”. Here’s a short excerpt:

“Copy or text is musical. It has ebb and flow and different keys. It has sharps, flats, rests, words that are held, chopped off, high or low, soft or loud, all the same emphasis or wild ups and downs, with dynamics and crescendos. Copy reads (or plays) like a story/song, with a beginning, middle and end.”

(Marc’s book is available on Amazon, or click here to order an autographed copy)

Sometimes, I’ll even sing the copy just to get a different feel for the way it flows.

Do you sing? If so, how long has it been since you performed or had lessons? It might be time for a refresher to tune-up your instrument!

To close, here’s a number that I’ve been working on.
It’s called “I Won’t Send Roses” from the musical “Mack and Mabel” – Enjoy!

      I Won't Send Roses (Joe J Thomas)

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Celebrity Superpower

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Celebrity Superpower

In many ways, being a celebrity can be like having a superpower. It makes them larger than life. It can be used for good or for evil. People will follow them for a whole host of reasons. And, on a personal level, it can be healthy for them, or cause them harm. Or both.

It also has many parallels to the Greek Gods. They were larger versions of humans, with all the emotions, flaws and drama. Just writ bigger on the heavens.

In the end, what strikes me most about celebrity is the difficulty it must bring in leading a normal life.

Though we associate celebrity with the performing arts, many professions have celebrities. Politics, law, medicine, science, restaurants, etc.

Perhaps it’s best for us and the celebrities if we can think of them more as just human beings. They have the same needs, wants and desires. Since I’m in Los Angeles, it’s pretty common to run into a celebrity when you’re out and about. I try to respect their privacy. They deserve to have a private life… just like a secret identity.

In the wake of all the recent celebrities who have passed on, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Feel free to comment below.

Yours,
Joe

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Strange Music

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Strange Music

Music can connect on a deep level with us. And getting a song out to the masses today seems easy, even though the competition is greater.

Back in the days of pressed vinyl, you’d need some chops, some luck, and a lot of work to get an album made. That’s why when I stumbled on some rare music years ago, I squirreled it away – not knowing when I’d use it, but just because it seemed special.

The site it came from was called “Belly Bongo”, and was up from 2004 to 2007. Whoever ran the site decided to take some rare albums and upload them for all to enjoy.
(You can still see the remnants of Belly Bongo by clicking here to visit it on the Internet Archive)

Below are eight (8) samples from a variety of albums. Standard songs with beautiful voices, ballads, jazz, and my personal fave “The Polyphonics”… an all Harmonica group.

Some links to additional info are there too – Give a listen!

Artist: Aidan McNally and his Aidanaires
Album: At The Burmudiana Hotel
Released: 1960’s?
Song: Crystal Caves
(click for more info)
Aidan_Mcnally-Bermudiana_Hotel
      Aidan_Mcnally-11-crystal_caves

Seven more songs below! Continue reading

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How Do I Get Into Voice Over?

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How Do I Get Into Voice Over?

We hear it all the time… It seems like a simple enough question, but in truth it may as well say “How do I build a house?”

The answer depends on many things, including:

  • Who’s asking the question?
  • What genre of VO are they pursuing?
  • Do they have prior skills?

Here’s three possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: Albert
Background: Professional name screen actor in movies and tv. Would like to get into animated features.
Advice: Ask your agent or manager to start focusing on VO. Take some classes in mic technique if needed.

Scenario 2: Betty
Background: Was in radio for years, now retired. Wants to get into narration.
Advice: Take some acting or improv classes, along with coaching for a more natural VO delivery. Get a VO demo made when ready, and find an agent to represent you.

Scenario 3: Charles
Background: No prior acting experience, but can do some voices. Loves anime and would like to be an ADR VO.
Advice: Start with the basics. Take acting, improv and singing. Learn to build fully-fleshed characters, not just voices. Then move on to VO classes and find a trusted coach. They can lead you from there.

Too often, we rush into answering the question “How Do I Get Into VO?” without considering who’s asking or what they mean. In order for the advice to be truly useful, it must be targeted to the person asking the question.

In many ways, this is related to a prior post that you may also wish to read:
Joe’s Dump – Advice on Advice

So, next time you hear this question, maybe take a step back and consider before answering. It could be much more valuable to the person who’s asking.

Cheers,
Joe

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Cut The Cord!

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Cut The Cord!

After years of paying way too much for cable tv, and watching only a fraction of the channels, we decided to cut the cord and go for streaming.

Here’s our main setup:

Hardware: Roku 3 box (connects to tv, streams content)

Paid Streaming:
* Sling TV (20 channels live, including CNN, AMC, History, Food Network, etc.)
* Netflix (movies and original series)
* Hulu (TV series, some movies)
* Amazon Prime (movies, rentals, plus free shipping, etc.)
* HBO Now (most HBO content on demand)
* CBS (most CBS content on demand)
* Google movies (rentals, purchases)

Free Streaming:
* Pluto TV
* Crackle
* PBS
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Bad Business

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Bad Business

What a horrible dessert can tell you about running a good business

After a recent sushi dinner, my wife and I decided we wanted to grab a little dessert… something other than green tea or mochi ice cream.

We chose a new branch of an iconic LA eatery known for good pancakes, pies, etc.

It did not turn out as we had hoped.

But from the ashes of this nasty experience rose some truths about customer service and quality products.

The Dessert Debacle

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I Wanna Be A Moose

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I Wanna Be A Moose

poetry by Joe J Thomas

I wanna be a moose
And wander through the woods
I’d munch on marshy grasses
And do what mooses should
With my moose wife at my side
A couple kids in tow
We’d amble in the forest
Until the evening glow
The lure of lights would call us
To visit your backyard
To nibble at your gardens
Without the slightest regard
After a dip into the pool
Your kitchen is our aim
There’s leftovers in the fridge
And a dog that we can blame
In the morning you awake
To find us in your den
The families are asleep
All the mooses and the men
I see you standing on the stairs
And give a moosey “Hello!”
But you don’t speak our language
So out the door we go
Back to the woods with kids behind
Reluctantly we leave
But don’t despair; we will return
Some other summer’s eve

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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