Do Your F-ing Job!

Share

Do Your F-ing Job!

*** Warning: This is an official rant. If you were looking for something non-ranty, please click elsewhere… You have been warned! ***

Maybe it’s too much time on hold with customer service.

Maybe it’s too much time in traffic with incompetent drivers.

Maybe it’s unqualified people in public office.

Whatever it is, I really just want people to Do Your F-ing Job!

Seriously, how hard is it?

If you’re sitting in the front of a line of cars at a red light, your job is to go when the light turns green. If you’re anywhere else in the line, your job is to go when the car in front of you moves. Do Your F-ing Job!

If you’re working in government, your job is to represent the needs and wants of your constituents, and to keep the country as your top priority. Do Your F-ing Job!

If you’re a customer service person, your job is have a deep understanding of the subject your’re supposed to be helping with, and to answer promptly and courteously. Do Your F-ing Job!

If you’re an actor, your job is to know your character, script and to show up on time and be professional. Do Your F-ing Job!

Writers… Write! Plumbers… Plumb! Painters… Paint! Creatives… Create!

I’m convinced the world would be a much better place and we’d all be happier if only You and I would…

Do Your F-ing Job!

(steps off soapbox. decompresses from rant.)

 

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

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

Creativity Farm

Share

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

 

Share

VO Workout

Share

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…
Continue reading

Share

Singing For VO

Share

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

 

Share

How Do I Get Into Voice Over?

Share

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

 

Share

Bad Business

Share

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

Continue reading

Share

Calloused Attitude

Share

Calloused Attitude

40+ miles. Every week.

That’s how much I walk and hike.

JoeActor FitBit Stats 2016-02

With that much mileage, you’re bound to build up some callouses. And I had some doosies. The bottoms of my feet were like leather.

Callouses have their purpose. They build up to protect your skin and the tissue beneath. But, in excess, they can cause other issues.

Calloused Attitude


The same process happens with our attitudes. Over time, and given enough exposure to the friction with others, we build up our defenses. Become resistant. Protect ourselves.

Removal by Erosion


For callouses on my feet, the process is pretty simple: buy a pumice stone or one of those rotary foot sanders, then spend a little time every day buffing down my feet.

For a calloused attitude, the process is also simple: catch yourself when you’re angry or resistant to hearing others, then remove a little of those biases every day.

Results


With most of the callouses removed from my feet, they’ve become more flexible and my balance has also improved. Of course they’re also more sensitive, but that’s the trade-off.

As for attitude, with fewer emotional callouses I’m more open to hearing others, and able to respond with less anger. I don’t have to agree, but I can disagree cordially.

How do you deal with your callouses?

 

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

 

Share

Problem. Solution.

Share
Problem Solution - Joe's Dump

Quote: Joe J Thomas
Cartoon: Gary Larson

Problem.

Sometimes when I’m feeling frustrated and it’s like I’m banging my head against the wall, the best thing I can do is…

Stop.

Take a break. Breathe. Push back from the issue. Get a wider view.

Consider.

Think about why I’m feeling anger or frustration. What’s causing it?

Identify.

Dig deep and try to find the real problem. Pull it from the depths and stare it in the face.

Source.

Sometimes the source of the issue is me. Sometimes it’s someone else. Or nobody. Or miscommunication. Or just a random event.

Solution.

Once you know what the issue is, the answer might be contained in the problem itself. Or it may take time to work out a good answer. Maybe there are no answers for some problems.

Either way…

If you can’t see the problem,
No solution is possible.

 

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

 

Share