Persistence

Share

Persistence by Joe's Dump

Persistence:
We Aspire to it in Ourselves,
Admire it in Our Friends,
and Abhor it in Our Foes.

But when is it appropriate?

As the saying goes, nothing feels better than when you stop banging your head against the wall.

Sometimes, knowing when to quit can be just as important as knowing when to push on in spite of the odds.

Only you can make the decision on if you should persevere or throw in the towel. Take the advice of trusted loved ones, friends and mentors into account. If they’re all saying the same thing, maybe it’s time to listen.

If you’re stubborn like me, that can be the hardest part.

Besides, that wall will always be there. Maybe just a bit of a break to clear your head…

Adapt, Adopt and Improve,
Joe

 

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

 

Share

The Path of the (Yodeling) Pickle

Share

The Path of the (Yodeling) Pickle

Yodelling Pickle by Archie McPhee

      Joe's Yodel (Joe J Thomas)

How did learning to yodel lead to Weird Al, George Takei, The Today Show and Gorillaz?

It all began in 2006, with a contest by the Seattle novelty company Archie McPhee.

They were searching for a yodel.

I was a singer, but had never yodeled. So I consulted the internet and found YodelCourse.org

After some free lessons, I submitted my contest entry and forgot about it.

… until 100 rubber chickens showed up on my doorstep!
Archie McPhee - Deluxe Rubber Chicken

I’d won the contest, and the prize was 100 rubber chickens, plus my yodel in a toy.

Now, the first toy (Feb, 2007) was not the Yodeling Pickle, but instead was the “Remote Control Hopping Yodeling Lederhosen” (with a knockwurst remote, of course):
Remote Control, Hopping, Yodeling Lederhosen

Then in April of 2007 came the now famous “Yodeling Pickle”:
Yodelling Pickle by Archie McPhee

In December of 2008, the Today Show with Cathy Lee and Hoda reviewed the pickle:
Yodeling Pickle - Kathy Lee Gifford
Kathy Lee Gifford sang with it and said “Nothin’ beats the Singin’ Pickle!”

Sales of the Yodeling Pickle were great, and soon they came out with other yodeling products (more on those below).

On December 26, 2010, the Grammy winning band “Gorillaz” album “The Fall” featured the yodel on track 15: “Seattle Yodel”:
Gorillaz - The Fall - Front Cover

You can download the whole album for free at: Gorillaz – The Fall (at Archive.Org)

      Gorillaz - Seattle Yodel

 
On August 5, 2011, Archie McPhee released their own video of the track:

On March 26, 2013: Archie McPhee announced “International Yodeling Pickle Day“!!!

On May 22, 2013: George Takei posted his comedic review of the Yodeling Pickle on Amazon:

My latest Wednsday Weview. This item was NOT what I thought it was. At all. http://amzn.to/14Rz5aU

Posted by George Takei on Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yodeling Pickle - George Takei + Weird Al Reviews

And on June 17, 2015: Weird Al Yankovic tweeted this (along with a review on Amazon)
“You can have my electronic yodeling pickle WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD, DEAD FINGERS.”
Yodeling Pickle - Weird Al Yankovic

On June 2, 2017: Gizmodo posted an article on Gorillaz and the Seattle Yodel Track:

On July 16, 2017, George Takei included the Yodeling Pickle in a video review from Knowable:

Weird Products From Amazon

Because who couldn't use a yodeling pickle? via Knowable

Posted by George Takei on Sunday, July 16, 2017

 
My friends still report in when the Yodeling Pickle is on the local news… Expect more yodel in the future!

Other Yodeling products from Archie McPhee:

Gerkin for a living,
Joe “Yodelling Pickle” Thomas

 

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

 

Share

The Power of Voice Over

Share

The Power of Voice Over

As voice actors, we often get caught up in the process, and forget the impact that our voices can have on a production.

Recently, I saw a car commercial from Lincoln named “Olivia’s Wish List”. It was a very cute spot featuring a girl in a car who makes wishes on a snow globe. She wishes for snow, toys, dancing. The audio track is only music (The Philadelphia Orchestra “Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: VII. Waltz No. 2”).

I wondered how much the feel of the commercial could be changed by adding a voice over track. I chose a more sinister take than the original, but everything else (video, music) is the same.

Here’s my take on the commercial: “Olivia’s Evil Wish”

… and for your reference, the original is here:

What other ways could you interpret this spot? How can your voice breath life into the productions you’re involved in?

Stay creative, my friends!
Joe

 

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

 

Share

Additional Voices

Share

Additional Voices

If you look through my IMdB page you might notice a couple of roles that just say “Additional Voices”. Believe it or not, those are some of my favorite gigs. The other cast members on these productions usually tend toward the stellar. Here’s a few examples where you’ll only see “Additional Voices” in the credits:

  • Walla Work
    When movies and TV shows need filler voices and miscellaneous noises in the background, that’s called Walla. A group of people known as a “Loop Group” are all in one session and become all of the people in a restaurant, or at a county fair, or even running from a Kaiju. (Yeah… It’s a lot of fun!)
  • Minor Characters
    These may be characters in the script with only a handful of lines. They interact with the main characters and move the story along. The shopkeeper. The waiter. Old artist at the park. It’s a great way to play a variety of roles in one session.
  • Voice Matching
    When the original actor is not available for pickups in the post-production phase of movies and TV, an impersonator may be hired to fill in. This also happens when studios want to try a variety of different dialog as scratch tracks before calling in the star to record. It is a very niche field, to be sure. Always a challenge and really exciting to perform. Since the original actor gets the credit for the main role, the impersonator is often credited as “Additional Voices”

So… I’m proud to be “Mr Additional Voices”!

 

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

 

Share

The Improv Trick

Share

The Improv Trick

Hey Voice Actor gang!

I’m always recommending Improv as a great tool for voice acting. It helps you to quickly interpret copy, build characters, react to situations and more.

So, if you’re near Los Angeles, check out “The Improv Trick“. It’s run by Second City alum Bill Chott (IMDB page here), and has classes in Sherman Oaks and Pasadena.

Anyone can take the sample class for $20 to try it out. PLUS! If you sign up for the Lifetime class and showcase you can take it again whenever you’d like FREE!

They also have periodic Improv Jam sessions that you can jump in on to practice.

Check out the website for more info at: www.TheImprovTrick.com

… and if you’re not in LA, be sure to look into Rebecca’s Improv for VO (ImproVO), run via Skype at: LoveThatImproVO.com

 

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

 

Share

Artistic Erosion

Share

Artistic Erosion

Voices.com recently acquired VoiceBank.net.
Now, if you’re not in the voiceover industry, that probably doesn’t mean anything. The upshot is that VoiceBank was a professional clearing house for VO demos and gigs through agencies, whereas Voices is a Pay-To-Play service with questionable business practices that will let anyone with the yearly fee in the door. Not exactly the news a professional VO wants to wake up to.

But let me spell out how it is the continuation of a disturbing trend. Not only in the US, but in many Western cultures around the globe.

One of humanity’s greatest traits is our adaptability… But it can also be our greatest pitfall. It allows us to change when adverse scenarios are thrust upon us. We normalize to them. And that allows us to continue with our lives. However, when presented with a series of ever worsening scenarios, we may adapt so well that we lose the big picture. We forget what it was like when things were better. Therein lies the danger… (more about adaptability here)

In this case, we’ve allowed art, in many forms, to be eroded in our culture. From the defunding of artistic institutions, foundations and museums, to the devaluation of arts in our schools and communities. As a people, it seems we value money, objects, sports, and junk food much more than artistic pursuits.

So, why does this matter? After all, we can get along without the arts, can’t we?

I would argue that arts and science are essential to the continued well-being of any civilization. Art feeds the soul, and science fuels the mind. Both are tied together to create innovation and advancement in society.

By stripping Art and Science out of our culture, we’re left with a teeming mass of consumers… ones who will rely on others to innovate, create, and produce what they are buying. They are easily controlled and ripe for being conned into whatever those in power want them to believe.

The solution lies in our own hands. Create. Innovate. Stand up for yourselves as artists or scientists. Don’t bow to the cut-rate offers and five-dollar sites that are growing like mold online. Have some pride and self-respect for your talents and creations. Spread Art and Science where you can. Dispel hoaxes and nay-sayers.

Becoming a “Great Country” depends on the citizens and what they value. Time to be the change you want to see…

There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art, science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science, art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.
— “Great Thought” (19 February 1938), published in The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler (1976)

 

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

 

Share

Vacation Time

Share

Vacation Time

When’s the last time you took a real vacation?

I know it’s been way too long for me. But based on my history, that’s par for the course. I’ve never been one to regularly take weeks off. Just the occasional long weekend.

So, I’ve got a real vacation coming up in a short while add thought it would be good to think about it in advance…

How much work? That’s a tough question when you are an independent contractor. I work whenever there is work to do. That being said, I also need balance. Time to relax. I’ll be letting anyone I regularly work with when I’ll be off, and when they can expect me back. I’ll also limit my work time to twice per day. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, to check emails, record and reply. If possible, auditions only. Work can wait!

What to do on vacay? I’ll look into local sites and restaurants in case there are a few I really want to go to, but overall I’ll relax and play it by ear. Go with the flow, baby!

Other plans? I do have a few appointments setup to handle some personal business at my destination. Most of these will be planned well in advance. This will allow for the maximum amount of free time between, and avoid any rushing around. I hope!

Equipment? For your VO Pros, you’re probably wondering what I take along for recording. Well, I’ll be reviewing a great mic choice and software for your phone in a future post. As for room noise and echo, it’s the pillow fort or rental car for me. No need to cart around an expensive extra piece of luggage, IMO.

So, how do you handle your vacation time?

Joe

 

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

 

Share

Talent and Training vs Tools

Share

Talent and Training vs Tools

I’ve seen way too many newbies to the world of Voice Acting ask the following questions:

  • “Which microphone should I buy?”
  • “Do I need ISDN?”
  • “What’s the best porta-booth?”
  • “How can I make my first VO demo?”
  • “Who knows a good agency looking for new talent?”

Arrrrggghhh!!!

First things first: Know the capabilities and limits of your own talents.

Second things second: Get the training need to fully utilize all your skills.

Before you spend a dime on tools, booths, mics, mixers, demos, etc… Put in the work needed to be an excellent Voice Actor. Theatre. Improv. Singing. Coaches, classes and even conferences.

Many people find that the answers to many questions will reveal themselves if you’re​ on the right path.

Shortcuts are extremely rare. Take the time to build a solid foundation and you’ll greatly increase your odds of success.

Measure Twice, Cut Once.

Joe

PS: here are all the answers…

  • The one that works best for your voice and space.
  • No.
  • Pillow fort, or rental car.
  • Hire a pro… Only when you’re ready.
  • All agencies want new talent, if you have something they need.

 

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

 

Share

Political Opinions

Share

Political Opinions

In a recent Facebook post, people were debating the merits and issues with stating your political views on a public forum. The primary concern seemed to be how it might affect their business. Here is my posted reply:

Now is not the time to remain silent. No job, paycheck or client is worth giving up our freedoms. And that’s what’s at stake. Everyone must do what they’re comfortable with, but I will not stand idly by while the underpinnings of our nation are eroded. If anyone, including a client, doesn’t like my stance on issues of this importance then I wouldn’t want them anyway. So far, I’ve only lost one connection here, and he went way off the deep end. My two cents. Your mileage may vary.

After all, what good is having the right to freedom of speech if you never exercise it?

The Role of the Jester
Although I do speak my mind plainly at times, I also often use humor to convey messages. Like the King’s Jester, some truths are easier to deliver with a bit of comedy. The laughter (or lack thereof) can tell you a lot about the audience. And make no mistake – I’ve mocked both sides of the political aisle (but one side is usually a lot more of a comedy gold mine πŸ˜‰ )

Here are my latest set of short historical propaganda films – Enjoy!

Join The Republican Party: The Party of THE FUTURE!

Dead Presidents on Trump (5 short videos)
What would dead presidents have to say about Donald J. Trump?
Wonder no more!
Here’s 10-15 seconds each of alternative history for you!




Copyright 2017 Joe’s Dump
www.JoesDump.com
Not a Quinn-Martin Production

 

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

 

Share

Talent, Effort, and Desire

Share

Talent, Effort, and Desire

A successful business in the arts requires all three. But how much of each? And how can you tell if you’re on the right path to succeed?

Let’s start with an analogy: Imagine your career is a car.
The engine is your talent.
The fuel is your effort.
And the steering wheel is your desire.

Talent: Your Career’s Engine

The engine of your career is your raw talent. We’re each born with a certain amount, but that can be improved some through training. Just as the engine moves the car forward, so does your talent help move your career. Some may move faster, some may be stronger, and others able to shift better. Knowing the capabilities and the limitations of your own talent can help you to better utilize it to its fullest potential.

Effort: Your Career’s Fuel

Talent alone isn’t enough, though. Just as a car needs fuel to run, your career needs effort to succeed. In some cases, effort can even augment other qualities you may lack. Persistence and hard work can accomplish a lot on their own. However, it is equally important to know when your effort isn’t paying off. More fuel won’t make the car go faster, or run better. Pause. Take a step back occasionally to assess how your doing, and if you’re working way too hard.

Desire: Your Career’s Steering

The final ingredient needed for the car is a way to steer it in the direction you’d like to go. Knowing what you want at each stage of your career, and being honest about your desires, will assure you’re headed down the right road. Without the steering, you may end up somewhere, or you might just land in the ditch.

Talent, effort, and desire: to succeed, you’ll need all three. The combination is unique to each of us, and finding the best balance is often a difficult challenge.

Good luck!

 

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

 

Share