Talent and Training vs Tools

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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

 

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Political Opinions

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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 😉 )

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

 

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Talent, Effort, and Desire

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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

 

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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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