The Genius of Donald J. Trump

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The Genius of Donald J. Trump

Those of you who know me probably aren’t used to hearing anything positive about Trump.

However, there is something that he seems to do better than anyone else. His “Genius” trait.

Trump never explains anything he says or does. He lets others do it for him.

Can it be that simple? Is this the key to his success?

Republicans in government and his supporters constantly “explain” what he means when he does or says something stupid, ignorant, racist, weak, etc.

His detractors “explain” what is wrong with him. Mentally. Strategically. They even try to figure out if he’s “playing 3-dimensional chess”… and in doing so, freely give him his next move to make.

His lawyers “explain” away his legal problems.

His accountants “explain” away his money problem.

And behind it all, Trump explains nothing. Ever. No apologies. No explanations. No reason for his insane, bizarre, mental meltdowns and verbal diatribes. Nada.

And why should he explain anything he does or says? He’s got all of us doing it for him.

He is, in essence, the Schrödinger’s cat of politicians: simultaneously a “Stable Genius” and a “Babbling Imbecile”.

And so he shall remain until the box is flung open…

Trump Genius combo JoesDump

 

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

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America: Sorry For Your Loss

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America: Sorry For Your Loss

America: Sorry For Your Loss

America:
Sorry For Your Loss

(Morals, Intelligence, Fairness, Culture, Sanity, World Standing, Children, Laws, Soul, Planet, etc…)

Get Well Soon

I’ve decided this will be my new greeting to fellow Americans. I really hope I don’t need to use it for very long…

But to be honest, both sides of this horror story are losing so much. But the difference is that one side knows what it’s losing. And the other remains terribly clueless.

It would be easy to call names. Stupid. Conned. Racist. But many are just ignorant. And the cure for that is education. Another thing sadly lacking in our country.

And those who refuse to listen? Who don’t want to know?

“Willful Ignorance” is far worse than any amount of stupidity.

Time to get out of our bubbles. See ourselves and “the other”. Mend the wounds. Heal the divide.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Stay sane out there.

Joe

 

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

 

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June 25th Connections

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June 25th Connections

Opinion by Joe J Thomas

A great many things happened on this day in history, but these stood out to me:

  • 1798: US passes Alien Act allowing president to deport dangerous aliens
  • 1867: 1st barbed wire patented by Lucien B Smith of Ohio
  • 1943: Crematorium 3 at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp is finished
  • 1947: 1st version of Anne Frank’s diary “Het Achterhuis” published in The Netherlands

Coincidences? Almost certainly. But we humans assign meaning to many things, coincidental or not.

220 years ago, the USA was worried about “dangerous aliens”.

Now, we worry about “murderers and rapists” crossing our borders.

And want to enact bans against people based on their religion.

Over 150 years after the invention of barbed wire, we’re still locking men, women and children in cages.

Knowingly separating families.

75 years after Crematorium 3 at Auschwitz was finished, innocent men and women are still being killed in the streets.

And teachers and students fear for their lives in our schools.

Over 70 years after the Diary of Anne Frank was published, we still base our policies on a fear of “The Other”.

Anyone who doesn’t look like us, dress like us, speak like we do, or believe the same as us.

America can be “Great” again… But not if we stay on the the path we’re on.

And tolerate these evils… Or worse – support them.

Here’s one final event from 45 years ago that may give us some hope:

  • 1973: John Dean begins testifying before Senate Watergate Committee

45 … History is calling.

 

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

 

(Source: On This Day – June 25)

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The Union’s VO Problem (or not…)

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The Union’s VO Problem (or not…)

There’s been a lot of talk in the voice over community about where the industry is headed. Unions, Pay-to-Play sites, Casting.

To be fair, the industry is changing. But that’s to be expected. There are many questions this raises…

How will the change affect us? What can we do about it? Should I even be concerned?

In this post, I will give my thoughts on three different perspectives on the changing voice over landscape. Read on below:

Perspective 1: Voice Talent
The voice talent’s perspective may be the most complicated. There are a wide range of genres, markets, and opportunities for work. Opinions vary on benefits of union membership, the role of pay-to-play sites, how to market (or not), etc. Each person’s situation is different, and because of that, it’s hard to present a unified perspective.

This also gets to the heart of a related issue: As a group, we can’t get what we want unless we can agree on what exactly that is. Some would appear to be easy. Fair pay. Safe work environment. Professionalism on all sides.

But even on the agreed items, there is no clear consensus. What does “fair pay” mean to each person? In each market? Are some willing to do work others would consider unsafe or unprofessional?

Because of all of these factors, it may be more beneficial to look at perspectives outside our own.

After all, we are selling something. It may be better to focus on what the market wants, and how we can best deliver it to them.

Perspective 2: The Union
For The Union (Sag/Aftra in the USA), the view is much broader than for any individual.

I am grateful for the benefits and standards that the union offers. And I’m grateful that we have some union folks as advocates for us all, but it seems like they are fighting an uphill battle on many issues.

Voice Acting is only a small part of what the union’s business is about. And even then, the lion’s share of their focus will understandably be on the largest prizes. These are often big budget features and high power talent. For the average working Joe, this often means not being heard at all.

Think about it: if given the choice to focus on one $10,000,000 project or ten-thousand $1,000 projects, which would you choose?

This isn’t an excuse, but it is a reason. There’s only so much time in a day. In order to keep up, the union has to stay relevant in the bigger game.

We do benefit indirectly from this. There are always roles in the big projects for the average working Joe. But we’ve got to be honest with ourselves: If you’re not famous, the union is less focused on your concerns.

It is about business, after all. As is voice acting.

Perspective 3: The Client
Although individual clients may vary, there are many common things they all want.

A voice that matches their ideas for the product or service. Professional behavior. A good price.

In some cases, they may know exactly what they want and how much they’re willing to pay. Others may require a bit more work on our part. Customer service has to include discovering the customer’s needs and fulfilling them to the best of our ability.

All customer’s time is valuable. They don’t want it wasted with idle chatter or by having to track you down for the job.

Hiring union talent may be important to some. To others, it may represent a hassle. Knowing the difference is crucial to landing the job, and getting continuing work.

Overall, customers want the whole process to be as easy as possible. It’s up to us to find out what that means for each one.

So… What Can I Do?

  • Be professional.
  • Deliver a solid product.
  • Quote fair rates for the work, and stick to them.
  • Focus on the client’s needs.
  • Take direction well.
  • Be friendly and easy to work with.
  • Work with other voice actors on the larger issues. Together, we are stronger.

Other Perspectives
Below is a recent town hall event sponsored by the VO Agent Alliance, Global Voice Acting Academy, and WOVO.

Lots of great stuff discussed, and great groups to follow if you’d like to work together to make a difference. #VoiceStrong

Enjoy:

 

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

 

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America’s “Enough” Problem

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Amerca’s “Enough” Problem

America's "ENOUGH" Problem (logo)

Enough. It’s counter to much of the way America operates. We’re a country of excess… and it’s literally killing us. Here’s just a few examples:

Food
Obesity is a major health problem in the United States. It contributes to heart disease, diabetes, vascular issues, and more. Although we probably don’t get enough exercise, a large factor is the sheer amount and types of food we eat.

Processed foods. Excess salt, sugar, and fats. And the ridiculous portion sizes we’ve come to think of as normal. It doesn’t help that the cheaper food (dollar menu anyone?) is often not the best for you.

My wife and I will routinely split one (1) entree, and add a couple salads or an appetizer. That is where our “enough” is. Other things we do to avoid this food trap are cooking more at home, avoiding fast foods and overly processed foods, and of course plenty of exercise. Add in adequate water and sleep.

Money
It’s easiest to see our lust for money in the salaries of CEO’s compared to workers… and in Wall Street… and in our worship of billionaires.

But the problem is much more pervasive. People are working multiple jobs in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Granted, some of it is a necessity due to wealth inequality. But that too is caused by others hoarding the money for themselves. Where is enough? 1 million? 10 million? 10 billion? How many cars can you drive? How many houses can you live in?

Perhaps we don’t all need a house. Or a $50,000 car to show off our status. Maybe each of us can get by with less. Maybe our kids can fund their own way through college.

There has to be a work/family balance. Otherwise, what are you working for?

Money is also way too much of a factor in our election and elected officials. The way to “enough” there is to remove the money all together. Get corporations and billionaires out of our politics. Give it back to “We The People”.

Drugs
Drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription, definitely play a role in our overall health. But when is it too much?

With the rise of the opioid epidemic, drug-resistant bacteria, and general over-prescription, America has a legal drug problem.

I’ve had my share of pain, for example. But some amount should be tolerable without popping a pill. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong and needs attention. There are longer-term solutions to many of our problems, but all too often we just want a quick fix. It’s when we rely on it as a crutch that the chance of becoming addicted rises.

Guns
Some people in America like guns. Some don’t. I get it. I’ve shot guns for target practice and used them in outdoor shows. They’re fun. And for many, they use them for fun, or hunting, or feel that they need them to protect themselves and their loved ones.

But where is the line? When do we have enough? Enough guns. Enough firepower. Does anyone need a weapon that could take out a dozen people at the press of the trigger? If you live in an area where that’s needed, it’s a war-zone… and that’s a bigger problem.

Much of the “need” for the higher power guns, the semi-automatics, the illegally altered fully-automatics, the high capacity magazines… it all comes from one thing: Fear. People are afraid. Afraid of other people with guns. Afraid that the government will come and take their guns. Afraid of liberals and media and people who think differently, or look differently, of believe differently.

There are some simple paths to enough. Enforce the existing laws. Close the loopholes. Ban weapons that nobody needs for protection or hunting or target practice.

If most of America wants these things, and our representatives are not enacting them, then maybe our government isn’t much of a representative democracy.

Possesions
How many things do you need? Want? Have?

In our disposable society we often tire of things before their useful life is really spent. Smartphones are a prime example. As are clothes. Accessories. Electronics.

For those with even more money it may be houses, cars, motorcycles, boats, jewelry.

Even “essentials” are not that essential in truth.

Overall, we can be very wasteful. And that leads to a lack of appreciation for the things we have. And maybe a blurring of the understanding of what should really matter to us long term.

It may be difficult, but for anything you think you need – do you really *need* it?

Entertainment
How may channels can you watch? How many games can you play? How many movies need to be made (most of them in a handful of derivative series)?

With the rise of social networking came the competitive response. What’s popular? I have to see it! I have to play it! I don’t want to feel left out!

Pause. Take a break. In a year, a month, or even an hour, there’ll be something else you can miss out on instead. Maybe “enough” entertainment should be determined by what you want to spend your free time on. Not what’s popular with everyone else.

And On, And On, And On
… and the “enough” list goes on and on: Diets, Fads, Commemorative Plates.

But there’s one thing I’m certain I’ve had enough of. And that’s Fools.

 

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

 

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Murder on the Justice League Express

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Murder on the Justice League Express

Murder on the Justice League Express - Movie Poster
Today’s post is a two-for-one Movie Review.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and I went to see “Justice League” and “Murder on the Orient Express”.

Rather than review each on their own, here’s a side-by-side, blow-by-blow, step-by-step rundown of our opinions (no real spoilers, but avert your eyes if you feel the need):

(review section) Justice League Orient Express
Acting The main heroes should have been the best actors. That’s not what we got. Instead of Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, we got the Cardboard Knight, Wooden Woman, and the Man of Plastic.

I will say that many of the supporting characters were much better actors, and more interesting. These included Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman. Also Martha Kent, Lois Lane and Cyborg’s father.

A very balanced cast. All very good actors in their individual roles. Nobody stood out as markedly better than anyone else, and each shone in different ways.

Overall, a wonderfully cast ensemble movie.

 Plot The plot was pretty thin, but this is more of an action movie, so I’ll let that slide.  The movie version stays kind of close to the original book. I only wish they had more character interaction and less one-on-one vignettes. Made it seem like they had problems scheduling so many stars.
 Villain(s) Uh, yeah… Way too simplistic for my tastes. Felt like a placeholder for the real villain. Or maybe just a setup for the next in the series. Plenty of villainy to go around here, with some very complicated and implausible back-stories. So, suspend some of your beliefs…
 Ending No surprises here. It ends just like you’d suspect. I could even tell you and it wouldn’t be considered a spoiler.  … and this is where the train runs completely off the rails.

Rather than stick to the ending in the book, the movie goes for an extra twist. One that, in my opinion, doesn’t fit the plot or the characters at all.

Special FX Phenomenal special effects. Well done and seamless. Makeup could have used a bit of help, though. The special effects were invisible, which for this type of film is very important. I never felt like any of it knocked me out of the film’s reality.
 Final

Judgement!

Despite the above, it was a fun action movie. Worth seeing, but not worth paying full theater pricing for.

Plus, you’ll probably need to know the plot for the next one. And the next one. And the next…

Great acting, a mostly by-the-book plot, and interesting special effects.

So… why didn’t I like this movie more? In the end, it all didn’t flow very well or hold my interest throughout.

Wait until it comes to streaming or cable. And that’s a wrap!

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

 

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What’s Wrong (with everyone else)?

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What’s Wrong (with everyone else)?

Unaware.
That’s what’s wrong.
Unaware of others.
Of themselves.

Of their own needs, wants, drives.

Flaws and strengths.

Unaware of time…
And of time’s precious, fleeting nature.

Tragic.
Watching them led through life by those who are only slightly more aware.
Those with ill intent.

It’s time to wake the fuck up.

Own your life.
Own your future.

Become aware.

Maybe then you’ll stop bothering me.

~~~ end ~~~

 

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

 

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Trump Feelings via Dr Otto

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My Feelings on Trump, as Expressed by Dr. Otto

Only the amazing Jim Varney as Dr. Otto can truly sum up my feelings about Donald Trump:

Treat yourself! Be sure to Buy or Rent “Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam” on Amazon here!

Bonus!!! Watch my review of “Dr. Otto”, and “Captain Invincible” here:

 

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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