The Improv Trick

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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

 

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Artistic Erosion

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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

 

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Sillyam Fakespeare

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Sillyam Fakespeare Yea, verily! Tis time for some newly minted sayings by the immortal bard’s third cousin, thrice removed… Odds bodkins! Milady most assuredly has a plethora of junk in thine trunk! Seldom is a man so forlorn than when … Continue reading

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Tiny Art Boxes

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Tiny Art Boxes

While cleaning out my garage, I kept running into lots of small collectibles and nonsense.

I also had a bunch of small, clear boxes (left over from chocolates!)

So… I combined the two to make some “Art Boxes”:
(click photo for large size)
Tiny Art Boxes - Joe's Dump

Contents:

  • 1) glow in the dark items
  • 2) black and white 1×1 lego bricks
  • 3) party popper with confetti
  • 4) lego weapons, flags, etc.
  • 5) finger monsters
  • 6) tiny rubber chickens, parrots, babies, monkeys
  • 7) six-sided dice
  • 8) lego mini-figs
  • 9) gaming dice

What kind of tiny art have you made?

 

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

 

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MET Public Domain Art

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MET Public Domain Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka. “The MET”) has an amazing collection of artwork. As of February 7th, 2017, thousands of these artworks have been made available online in the public domain. (full press release HERE) … Continue reading

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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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Inner Tattoos

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Inner Tattoos

Earlier this week, I saw a picture of someone who had their face and body covered in tattoos.

My reactions were many and varied. How did they find work? (they are a tattoo artist, btw) Did they get a lot of questions? Were they comfortable showing something so personal to the world? Was it painful?

Then I realized that in many ways, I have my own inner tattoos.

The most obvious one is acting. Whenever I’m in the booth or onstage, I’m displaying something very personal. Often times a lot of work and pain went into creating it. And when others find out what I do, there are always questions.

Maybe the only difference is that my tattoos are not on the outside. Just hidden beneath the surface.

I think we all have inner tattoos. And some are brave enough to get the real thing.

Hope all your uniqueness shines through 😉

Take care,
JoeActor

 

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

 

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Floating Head Without Green Screen

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Floating Head Without Green Screen

Hey gang!

While making my last song parody video (“The Hell of Diets“), I used a special video trick to make my head float:
The Hell of Diets! (title card)

Since I don’t own a Green Screen, I had to come up with another way.

Okay, rewind… “Green Screen? What the heck is that, Joe?”

Glad you asked! In simple terms, the actor is shot on a set that is all one color (usually green, but sometimes blue), then in the video production, the green is replaced with any other picture or video. The effect in video software is called “Chroma Key”. I’ve used Green Screen in my animation projects, such as the “Ban Ki-moon Tune!” – here’s a peek:
Ban Ki-moon Green Screen

No Green Screen? No Problem!

I realized that all I really needed was a way to ensure my face was lighted much brighter than the rest of the shot. Then I could use the Chroma Keyer in Sony’s Movie Studio software to remove everything else (the darker parts of the image).

Here are the steps (click on any image for a larger view):
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