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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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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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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