Spock’s Pen

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Spock’s Pen

Leonard Nimoy - Spock - Autograph - Ticket

April 2nd, 1975. I was 11 years old, and my Mom got us tickets to see Leonard Nimoy speak at a nearby community college. I was a fan of Star Trek, and of Mr. Nimoy’s work, so… Whoa! How cool is that!

After his talk, he took questions, and I stood in line.

When my turn came, I had a simple one: “Can I have your autograph?”

After a short chuckle he motioned for me to come over to the podium.
He signed, and I walked back to my seat.

With a pen. Oh, it was my Mom’s pen, but a bit of confusion happened and things moved on.

… but it did get written up in the article below: (click for full size)

Leonard Nimoy - Spock - Article

Fast forward to 2013. Although I never did get to see Mr. Nimoy in person again, I did get the chance to work with him. It turns out we’re both in the “Star Trek Online” game. He is Mr. Spock, of course, and I am a Klingon named Ch’Gren.

Pretty cool…

Almost as good as when I took his pen 😉
LLAP,

Joe

 

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

 

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Google Pixel and Project Fi

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Google Pixel and Project Fi

My wife and I recently got 2 new Pixel phones from Google. The phones are pretty amazing, and have lots of hands-free features thanks to Google’s assistant. It’s only gonna get better. Information, texting, dialing, directions, translation (both verbal and visual signs), etc.

The other really amazing thing about them that’s been a bit under-reported is “Project Fi”. It’s Google’s cellular service. The pricing’s good, but what’s really interesting is the technology behind it.

Rather than being tied to a single carrier, Project Fi’s sim card can connect to multiple carriers. US Cellular, T-Mobile and Sprint are in the US, and there are foreign carriers too. Even though the networks use different tech for phone calls, that doesn’t matter. Project Fi treats all calls as data, and only uses the 4g and 3g networks (and WiFi when available). Fi automatically switches to the best carrier or wifi signal. Call quality is excellent and all of the switching is seamlessly handled behind the scenes.

For pricing, unlimited calls and texts are $20 per month for the first line, and $15 per month for additional phones on the same plan. Data is $10 per GB each month for each phone. When you setup the plan you choose how much data you’d like. The service is charged in advance for the next month with no long-term contract. If you haven’t used all the data by the end of the month, Google refunds the unused portion. Or if you used more, it just charges you for the extra at the same $10/GB rate. Very simple.

Right now there are only a limited number of phone models that are supported on Project Fi. If you choose a Pixel, you can either pay full price up front, or pay in monthly installments interest free.

Since this is just a cursory overview (and details may have changed), I suggest you visit the following links for more detailed information:

Google Pixel

Project Fi

 

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

 

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Creativity Farm

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Creativity Farm

Animation, music, business, poetry and utter nonsense…

How do I come up with a new Joe’s Dump post most every Monday?

I use a Creativity Farm!
Joe's Dump Creativity Farm!

Whenever I have an idea for Joe’s Dump, I jot down a short title and a few notes in a Google doc. These are the “Seeds” on my farm.

I use a Google doc because it lets me edit my ideas on my phone, tablet or computer. When the muse inspires, I’m ready.

Next, I cultivate the Seeds by choosing a promising one and giving it my time and focus. This is like sunlight and water. The promising Seeds then grow into mature Plants, ready for posting to the blog!

Of course, along the way, some weeding must also be done. Not all ideas will bear fruit.

Once I’ve posted the finished crop, it’s moved to another Google doc for archive.

Here are just a few samples from my current batch of Seeds (who knows which will grow?):

  • A rap song about Jimmy Durante
  • Fake movie trailers
  • A noir novella set in Cleveland
  • Poetry for pets
  • Designs for a personal hovercraft
  • Learning Tuvan throat-singing

If you’ve got the time and inclination, maybe you can start your own Creativity Farm!

What do you do to keep your creativity flowing?

 

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

 

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Bacon and You!

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Bacon and You!

Bacon and You! Joe's Dump

Ever wonder who you’ve worked with in the entertainment biz? If you’re on IMdB, then the Oracle of Bacon can tell you that and much more…

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
It all begins with Kevin Bacon. The idea is that everyone on the planet is somehow only six steps away from Kevin Bacon. For example, if I know Kevin Bacon, I’m one step away. If I know someone who knows Kevin Bacon, I’m two steps away… and so on. By the time you get to six steps away, that’s a lot of people – maybe even everyone on Earth!

The Oracle of Bacon
The Oracle of Bacon web site finds the shortest connection between any two people listed on IMdB. The default is Kevin Bacon and whoever you type in. As an example, my Bacon Number is 2. I’ve worked with someone who’s worked with Kevin Bacon. But the site has some other very useful tools…

3 Ways To Use The Oracle of Bacon

Be sure to play around with the advanced search options. They’ll let you include things like video games and TV series.

Once you’ve found your Bacon Number, be sure to post it in the comments below.

Have fun!
Joe

 

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

 

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Stapler in the High Castle?

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Stephen Root: Character Actor

Stephen Root - Milton + Abendsen

While watching season 2 of “The Man in the High Castle” on Amazon, we finally got to see the man himself. Abendson is his name, but I immediately recognized him as the same actor who played Milton in “Office Space”… Whoa! Mind blown!

So, I looked him up on IMDB. This guy has an admirable career. He’s voiced Bill and Buck on “King of the Hill”, was Chode in “Tripping the Rift”, and Killer Croc and Penguin on “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”. And that’s just his VO work.

He was also in “O Brother, Where Art Thou” as the Radio Station Man. Plus many many more roles…

Amazing work, and worth a look. If you don’t know Stephen Root, take a look at his IMDB page here:
IMDB: Stephen Root

 

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

 

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Pebble and Palm

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Pebble and Palm

What happens when companies disappear?
Pebble and Palm
On Dec 7, Pebble (trailblazer in smartwatches) made the announcement that they were closing shop and had been bought out by Fitbit (maker of fitness bands).

It seems they were leaving their loyal KickStarter supporters and customers out in the cold. No more Pebble watches would be sold, and all support and warranties were null and void.

Quite a slap in the face.

Don’t get me wrong – I own a Pebble Time and a Fitbit Charge. Wearing one on each wrist has always been kind of a pain. I was secretly hoping that the technologies would merge, but really didn’t expect it to happen like this. At this point it’s completely up in the air as to what Fitbit will do with the intellectual property they’ve purchased.

Although I hope for the best, it’s also good to learn from experience.

Palm was another company that I had been a loyal customer to since nearly their start. I owned their innovative PDA products, and even bought the phones when they seemed to be evolving. The last phone they made was truly an elegant thing of beauty. Small, stylish, functional.

Then Palm was bought out by HP. HP proceeded to fumble the ball for a few months before scrapping everything that was Palm. Hardware, Software – Everything. Another disappointing end to a very promising start-up.

I’m not really sure what the lesson is here, if any. But it is interesting to note that innovation by itself is not always rewarded with success. For that matter, hard work isn’t any guarantee either.

Perhaps the key is in The Round Table Club‘s motto: “Adapt, Adopt, Improve

 

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

 

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Singing Impressions

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Singing Impressions


A new demo from Joe J Thomas

13 Voices in 60 Seconds: Singing Impressions by Joe J Thomas

… and the LP Audio Version for those that want to hear more:

      Joe_J_Thomas-Singing_Impressions(long)

More information at: JoeActor.com
Singer: Joe J Thomas
Audio Producer: Mike Finkel
Voice Coach: Charles Ion

Copyright Joe J Thomas (JoeActor.com) 2016
All Rights Reserved
Not a Quinn-Martin Production

How This Demo Came To Be…

As a bit of background, I’ve been singing for several decades. Musical theatre, choir, stage performances with bands… Even traveled with an Elvis impersonator. All of it laid a great foundation. However, it had been a while since my last public performance. Most of my singing now is in the car or for the occasional animation audition.

So, I’d decided to brush up on my singing early in the year, and sought out a new vocal coach. Turns out there is a great guy who teaches at a local college and also gives private lessons.

After getting some of the cobwebs off and learning some new techniques, it was time to put my training to work.

In early August, 2016, I started working with my voice coach and an audio producer on the tracks for the finished demo. The idea had been rattling around in my head for quite some time, and I was already adept at several singing impressions. My voice coach was crucial in getting me to find the right placement for each singer and song.

I recorded a full or partial take of each song (vocal only), and sent the voice track and backing track to the audio producer. We’d also worked together in the past, so he was familiar with my voice and able to give precise feedback on what needed to be tweaked.

Once the base tracks were in a rough edit phase, I enlisted the ears of my wife, and several of my good friends. Each of their feedback went into my decision on which tracks made the final cut.

The last step was for my audio producer to assemble the tracks into a balanced, finished demo.

As a side benefit, I also picked up a lot of new knowledge and techniques.

Now… On to the next challenge!

See you in the booth,
Joe

 

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

 

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Mimicry To Money

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Mimicry To Money

Here’s follow-up to my post “Comedy to Cash“, where I did a mock NPR show and was later cast in “This American Life” on NPR…

This time the job came from my learning to do a Vincent Price Impression for Halloween.

The impression came in handy when I got an audition for Luna Park in Sydney. Here’s the finished spot:

… and here’s my impression of Vincent Price from “Thriller”

      JoeActor_VincentPrice_Impression_Thriller

Happy Halloween!
Joe

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VO Workout

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VO Workout

VO Workout Banner

How staying fit can help you in your voiceover career.

When most of us hear the term “VO Workout”, we imagine a group of fellow voice actors gathering to read copy and get feedback. But there’s another kind of workout you should be adding to boost your VO career.

Keeping physically fit, mentally healthy, and getting proper nutrition all contribute to our bodies, minds and spirits working at peak levels. All of these factors can affect the sound of your voice, mood of your delivery, and how you interact with other people in the biz. Breathing, core strength, mobility, relaxation – all can come from maintaining good health. Below are some of the key factors I consider every day…
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The Nothing

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The Nothing

The Nothing” is an unusual villain from the German fantasy book “The NeverEnding Story” (a film version was made in 1984)

(*** spoilers below ***)

I use the word “villain” in a loose way, as it’s more of a force of nature. In the story, it is slowly destroying Fantasia, a land of wonder, imagination, and endless variety. In the movie version, “The Nothing” is represented by an ominous storm, and by a large black wolf:
The Nothing from The NeverEnding Story

The book is not as concrete, but much more frightening in it’s portrayal. “The Nothing” represents all of the worst of humankind. Apathy, cynicism, despair, and all the darkest aspects of our nature.

In the end, it’s a boy’s imagination and willingness to believe that saves Fantasia from “The Nothing”.

The Nothing: It’s At Work On Our World

Beyond the simple story lies a chilling truth: “The Nothing” is quite real. And it’s been growing. We feed it by giving into our greed, anger, and small-mindedness. Where is it? How can we identify it? And what can be done to stop it? I’ve provided some examples below, and I’m sure once you see it too, you’ll be able to find many more…

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