Career Vampires

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Career Vampires

They skulk in the shadows… sucking the very life blood from your fledgling VO career.

Your time, money and energy… are theirs to consume.

But this is a tale with a twist: You give them all of these, willingly.

Who are these “Career Vampires”?

Even though they disguise themselves, they will mesmerize you into spending more money, giving more time, wasting your vital energy.

How can you avoid these monsters and save your career?

Do the work.
Research each one before you waste your precious resources.
Ask some trusted friends in the industry.
If you have a coach or mentor, they can help you too.
And always weigh what you’re getting out of the deal.
Everyone is different – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to crafting your career.

Without further ado, BEWARE!!! Horrors lurk below:

The Three Wraiths: Conventions, Classes, Coaches

Each of these wily wraiths will lure you with promises of easy money, contests, prizes, fame and followers. There are a lot of good ones mixed in with a few bad ones. But it only takes one to set you back in your plans. False hope is the bait for their trap… your money is what they hunger for!

Sirens of Social Media (FrankenBook, InstaGolem, TweetZilla)

Like the labyrinth of old, social media sirens will draw you in. Stealing your time. Filling your mind with misinformation. Distracting you from the real work that needs to be done to build the foundation needed for a career. Cast them aside! Or, if you have the strength, be very selective where you roam. Despair lines the cold stone walls of this maddening maze.

Zombies of Your Mind

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Overconfidence and self-doubt are two sides of the same devil’s coin. One will lead you to believe you already know the way forward. The other will cause you to freeze in a downward spiral. We’ve all had these thoughts from time-to-time. Pause… Breathe… Take the hand of a trusted comrade when you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Video Ghouls

There’s a trap waiting for you… The idea that the internet can teach you anything! Sure, you can find video tutorials and binge watch until your eyes glaze over. But are you really learning what you need? There is no substitute for real-world experience. Go outside. Get involved with a theatre, improv troupe, or choir. These types of productions will teach you things you can never learn by simply watching videos non-stop. How to be directed. Working with others. Building real characters instead of funny voices. Acting and reacting with other actors. Feeling the audience reaction and feedback. Only the light of day can banish the dark reaches of the Video Ghouls!

Have you encountered any of these?
Perhaps you’ve run into some I haven’t mentioned here.
Help me to warn others with a career saving comment below!

 

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

 

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High Speed Thinkin’ (parody of “Hot Rod Lincoln”)

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High Speed Thinkin’


Parody of “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Dedicated to the memory of George Frayne, aka Commander Cody (1944-2021)

Available for purchase on The FuMP! (clicky-clicky)

*** soon to be heard on Dr. Demento! ***

A song about a guy obsessed with energy drinks.

A comedy parody of a non-parody comedy… song.

Audio:

      HighSpeedThinkin_JoesDump

Video (with Closed Captions):

Singing and lyrics by Joe J Thomas
Copyright 2021, Joe J Thomas, Joe’s Dump, JoesDump.com
All Rights Reserved.
Not A Quinn-Martin Production.

~~~ Lyrics: ~~~
High Speed Thinkin’
Lyrics and Singing by Joe J Thomas
~~~
My doctor said “Son, I don’t know what you’re drinkin’,
But you gotta stop doin’ that high speed thinkin'”
(music)
Started in college just before an exam; My brain’s overheatin’ in a mental jam
That coffee was goin’ down real smooth; Got all them neurons startin’ to move
(sting)
Followed it up with a Jolt or two; Heart was racin’, blood was too
Answers were comin’ hard and fast; Not sure how long that buzz would last
(sting)
Had a Monster stuck to both my hands; Five-Hour Energy joined the band
Was writin’ so fast, that pen got tired; The page below just caught fire
(sting)
Well I put that test in the rear-view mirror; My life ahead was filled with terror
Only one cure would ease my core; I had to go get more, more, more
(music)
Got a job to make them energy drinks; A constant supply to help me think
The boss looked me right in the eye; Go out and make them customers buy
(sting)
So I drove around and stocked the stores; Walked the streets and banged on doors
But the chief told me to hit the road; Seems that I drank more than I sold
(sting)
I started a company in my garage; Mixed up some stuff with an entourage
We sold it north, we sold it south; Them folks wanted more in their mouth
(sting)
I named my stuff Nuclear Fuel; You drank too much you’d act the fool
Guzzled that stuff, kept me smokin’; My brain grew larger, that’s no jokin’
(sting)
The stuff I made gave me the jitters; Thoughts were random little skitters
Friends and family looked concerned; That’s one more lesson I didn’t learn
(music)
I felt myself expand in space; Mind and body not held in place
Shot straight out away from earth; I was the soul of my own rebirth
(sting)
Looking down from way on high; Planets and stars whizzing by
Up ahead I saw a light; Way in the distance clear and bright
(sting)
Inside that light, well I met god; He looked at me like I was odd
It only took a flick of his hand; To send me back down to the earthly land
(sting)
Well it landed me in a hospital ward; Without my juice I just got bored
My doctor said “Son, I don’t know what you’re drinkin’,
But you gotta stop doin’ that high speed thinkin'”
~~~

 

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

 

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De Pronto Seymour

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De Pronto Seymour

This week I’m posting a cover version of “Suddenly Seymour” from the musical Little Shop of Horrors… but in Spanish!

Here’s the song, with my Audrey voice pitch-shifted up by an octave (yes, I sound like Miss Piggy):

      De Pronto Seymour (pitch-shift cover song by Joe J Thomas)

… and one with just my original singing:
      De Pronto Seymour (cover song by Joe J Thomas)

There were several challenges that went into this song:

  • Transcribing the Lyrics (couldn’t find an official version online)
  • Singing in Spanish, with correct pronunciation and emphasis
  • Harmonizing with myself
  • Pitch shifting my voice for Audrey’s part

I got a lot out of the exercise. Learned some new Spanish words, a new song, and some new production techniques. More tools for the toolbox. Or at least toys for the toybox.

Hope you enjoy it!
Joe

~~~ Lyrics: ~~~
“De Pronto Seymour”
Spanish version of “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors
(transcribed from a version performed in Buenos Aires)

SEYMOUR
No estés así. Toma mi pañuelo. Limpiate el rimmel, los labios también.
Quiero mirar el alba en tus ojos. Estamos muy juntos, ya todo está bien.

De pronto Seymour está a tu lado. No más maquillaje, no más que esconder.
De pronto Seymour llegó para darte dulces palabras. Cuenta con él.

AUDREY
Yo a la ternura no conocía. Mamí era pobre, papá se nos fue.
Y cualquier hombre que aparecía; “vení” me decía y yo qué iba a hacer?
De pronto Seymour está a mi lado. A nada me obliga. Me sabe entender.
De pronto Seymour llegó para darme dulce consuelo, cuento con él.

SEYMOUR
Dime que esto que siento es eterno. Que ya ha pasado mi tiempo infeliz.

AUDREY
Seymour comprende que a los perdedores. No les es fácil gritar: “soy feliz”

AUDREY
De pronto Seymour
SEYMOUR, CRYSTAL, RONNETTE, CHIFFON
De pronto Seymour

AUDREY
Me purifica
SEYMOUR, CRYSTAL, RONNETTE, CHIFFON
Te purifica

AUDREY
De pronto Seymour
SEYMOUR, CRYSTAL, RONNETTE, CHIFFON
De pronto Seymour

AUDREY
Dice Podés
SEYMOUR, CRYSTAL, RONNETTE, CHIFFON
Sí, Podés!

AUDREY
Ser esa…
TODOS
Chica!

TODOS
La que soy por dentro

SEYMOUR
Él te comprende
AUDREY
Él me comprende

SEYMOUR
Muy tiernamente
AUDREY
Muy tiernamente

TODOS
Muy tiernamente

AUDREY
Mi hombre es Él!
OTROS
Tu hombre es Él!

 

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

 

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Is This Scalpel Good For Brain Surgery?

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Is This Scalpel Good For Brain Surgery?

(When questions and answers go awry…)

I often find myself frustrated by many of the questions and answers posted about Voice Acting on online forums.

What’s this got to do with Scalpels and Brain Surgery? Everything!

There are 4 parts to what I consider a good, helpful Q+A:

  • The person asking the question (background, experience, etc.)
  • The person answering (background, experience, etc.)
  • The question itself (researched, specific, unambiguous, etc.)
  • The answer (takes into account all of the above and addresses the issues, possibly raising new questions)

Based on these 4 parts, here are some general thoughts on how we can all do better asking and answering questions (based on the “Scalpels for Brain Surgery” example):

  • Before you ask a question, do some research.
    Many of the questions being asked have been asked and answered. Try searching professional forums on the topic you’re interested in. Look for instructional videos or reviews. Ask a trusted teacher or a professional in the industry. A side benefit of this may mean that you’ll find other answers to questions you hadn’t even considered.
  • Give people some background before asking the question.
    It’s impossible to answer a question if you don’t know who you’re speaking to, or what their experience is. For our Scalpels example, are they a med student? Practicing doctor? Surgeon? Or just an interested non-medical person? Knowing this will make it easier for people to give helpful answers.
  • Be as specific as possible when asking for advice.
    I’ve seen newbies and pros make the same mistake: broad, non-specific questions. Try to narrow down the question before posting it. If you’re not sure how to narrow it, that may mean you don’t know what you’re really after. In that case, go back and do some more digging and research. If you ask a wide open question, you’re likely to get a wide range of useless answers.
  • Find out who you’re talking to.
    This is really important for both the person asking the question (see “Background” above), and for the person answering. After all, if you’re a qualified brain surgeon looking for a real answer about scalpels, you probably don’t want the advice of a med student, veterinarian, or failed top-chef contestant. Beware of newbies answering other newbie questions!
  • Don’t answer questions if you’re not qualified.
    Lots of people are more than willing to jump in with their opinion on any topic posted online. This doesn’t mean they’re qualified to answer. I know it’s difficult, but try to know the limits of your own knowledge. Too much misleading and downright horrible information is being shared as if it’s the truth. Before answering, ask yourself how much you really know about the question being asked. If the answer is “I watched a YouTube once about Do-It-Yourself Brain Surgery”, maybe you should sit this one out…

BTW, this advice is a follow-up to a prior post:
Advice on Advice

So, can we all do better? Yes!

Will we? That’s up to you…

 

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

 

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He Put Cheese On (parody of The Band Played On)

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He Put Cheese On (parody of The Band Played On)

Last and only promotional from The Wearable Cheese Council of Northern America (1892-1893)

–> CLICK HERE! to buy it on The FuMP! <--

*** as heard on the Dr. Demento Show! ***

(Audio version)

      He Put Cheese On (Joe J Thomas)

Lyrics and Singing by Joe J Thomas

Copyright 2021, Joe J Thomas, Joe’s Dump, JoesDump.com
All Rights Reserved.
Not A Quinn-Martin Production.

~~~ Lyrics: ~~~
He Put Cheese On
(to the tune of “And The Band Played On”)
Lyrics and Singing by Joe J Thomas

Charlie wore cheddar cause he wanted to bed her
Yes he put cheese on
With a collar of Swiss he would woo a young miss
When he put cheese on
The ladies paid homage to his clothes made of fromage
His cheesy demeanor was sharp
The dapper young suitor with a vest made of Goudah
He had put cheese on

He used camembert for a flair in his hair
Oh he combed cheese on
There was brie on his shoulder, for his shoes gorgonzola
Sure he put cheese on
She knew that he’d get her with his tie made from feta
Mozzarella suspenders he’d donned
They left out the back in a Monterey Jack
How they put cheese on

They’ve a gooey liaison on his couch of parmesan
And they got cheese on
As she fumbled and felt him his socks started melting
Oh they had cheese on
While removing their clothing she stopped with a loathing
His underwear caused her to turn
With that limburger smell she could certainly tell
That he put cheese on!

 

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

 

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Wakey, Wakey! Dump On Breaky! Two!

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Wakey, Wakey! Dump On Breaky! Two!

After eleventy quadmillion weekly posts, I’m gonna take a vacation!
(wheeeee!)

I’ll be back soon with more Songs, Comedy, Animation and Business advice.
(though, you might get a visit from Henderson while I’m out…)

You can also search our archives to find rubber chickens, future tales, and tons of other nonsense!

Or, click here for something completely Random 😉

So, behave yourselves while I’m away…

And I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday Season!

Yakatchasoon,
Joe

image

P.S. Don’t start with me… You know how I get.

 

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

 

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The Song Is You (cover song)

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The Song Is You

This week I’m posting a cover version of “The Song Is You”, as made popular by Frank Sinatra.

The song was composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II for their musical “Music in the Air”

I like to keep my singing chops on par, so I try to challenge myself with new material.

Hope you enjoy it!

      The Song Is You (Sinatra cover song by Joe J Thomas)

More info at: The Song Is You (Wikipedia)

~~~ Lyrics: ~~~
“The Song Is You”

I hear music when I look at you
A beautiful theme of every dream I ever knew
Down deep in my heart I hear it play
I can feel it start, then it melts away

I hear music when I touch your hand
A beautiful melody from some enchanted land
Down deep in my heart, I hear it say
“Is this the day?”

I alone have heard this lovely strain
I alone have heard this glad refrain
Must it be forever inside of me?
Why can’t I let it go? Why can’t I let you know?

Why can’t I let you know the song my heart would sing?
Beautiful rhapsody of love and youth and spring
The music is sweet, and the words are true
The song is you
[instrumental]
Why can’t I let you know the song my heart would sing?
That beautiful rhapsody of love and youth and spring
The music is sweet, and the words are true
The song is you

 

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

 

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Spain: Witness Protection Program

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Spain: Witness Protection Program

Since I’ve been in Spain, I’ve uncovered a deep plot to relocate mascots from the USA. I suspect the CIA is involved, in cooperation with local Spanish government officials.

For decades, the USA and Spain have been hiding mascots in their Witness Protection Program. Joe’s Dump blows the lid on this exclusive story!

The evidence is sparse, but here’s what I have so far…

Mr. Clean aka “Don Limpio

Mr. Clean

Mr. Clean

Don Limpio

Don Limpio

This guy’s pretty bold. Same line of work, same look. I’m surprised he hasn’t been apprehended yet, but it seems his record is squeaky clean. To his credit, he’s changed a bunch of times: aka “Mr. Proper” aka “Maestro Limpio” aka “Mastro Lindo” aka “Meister Proper” aka “Pan Proper” aka “Mister Proper” aka “M. Net” aka “Monsieur Propre”

Laughing Cow aka “La Vaca Que Ríe

Laughing Cow

Laughing Cow

La Vaca Que Ríe

La Vaca Que Ríe

You’d be laughing too if you got to be pampered like this cow. A little hard to spot, but I think she got a nose job with the relocation.

Spongebob Squarepants aka “Bob Esponja

Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob Squarepants

Bob Esponja

Bob Esponja

Evidence is a bit sketchy. Could only find an artist’s rendering on SBSP.

Buzz “Honeynut” Bee aka “(Abeja) Miel Pops

Buzz "Honeynut" Bee

Buzz “Honeynut” Bee

(Abeja) Miel Pops

(Abeja) Miel Pops

Easily the best disguise of the bunch. Plastic surgery, new outfit, plus… glasses. Even moved from one company to another. Top notch work by the operatives on this one.

Conclusion:
… I’m not sure where this rabbit hole will eventually lead, but if you tell anyone I told you, I’ll deny everything.

You’ve been warned.

— José Basurero

 

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

 

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Authentic AI Voices

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Authentic AI Voices


(random thoughts from a voice actor)

If you’re a voice actor, I’ll wager you’ve read or been a part of a discussion about AI Voices taking our jobs. Or one about casting for “Authentic” voices for a gig. What follows is some of my thoughts on both topics.

“Authentic” (and other meaningless words)
So, what exactly does “Authentic” mean to you when you see it in a casting notice? The people casting obviously have a reason to ask for “Authentic”. Sometimes it may be that the intended audience is from a particular region and they want to ensure it sounds right to them. Other times, the character is written for a particular ethnicity or sexual preference, etc.

But does that really *mean* anything?!?!? I’m in my 50’s, of Lebanese descent, and was raised in the Midwest. Does this mean I can only play Lebanese guys in their 50’s who are from Cleveland? I worked with a Japanese guy who was raised in Mexico and has a Mexican accent, and a South African who went to school in the UK and has a perfect RP dialect. Are they only limited to their ethnicity or to their childhood accents? And what about anyone with a multi-cultural origin or upbringing?

What is the point of acting? To fully inhabit a character, with all their traits, mannerisms, quirks, etc. To be believable to the audience. For me, that includes the vocal qualities like accent, tone, emotion, etc.

Bottom Line: as a voice actor, who isn’t seen on camera, I should be able to be cast for any role that I can convincingly portray. And so should everyone else.

For those who bring up the very real issue of under-representation for a particular group, I’d say that stems from a lack of opportunity. From the writing, to the casting, and even the funding for projects, whole groups are excluded from even auditioning.

Second Bottom Line: Leveling the playing field means being more inclusive, not less. More opportunity for all, not limiting who can play what. (Shakespeare, anyone? Hamilton?)

AI VOICES (COMING TO STEAL YOUR JOBS!)
AI voices have definitely improved in the 15 years that I’ve been a professional voice actor. They are now good enough to take some of the less demanding jobs. Ones that are just straight information. Phone system prompts. Tech manuals for vision impaired. Voices on trains.

As we move forward into the future, it’s inevitable that AI voices will be doing more VO work. But how much? Will they eventually replace us entirely? I don’t think so. For roles in animation, games, audio books, commercials, etc., where a human voice with emotion and the ability to interpret the subtleties of human interaction in the script is needed, AI will have trouble being believable.

Bottom Line: If you’re doing work that could easily be replaced by an AI voice, now’s a good time to improve your acting skills and make a move to a different genre of VO.

To be honest, I’ve heard my share of really bad Voice Acting… by humans. I don’t know how they got the job in the first place, but if the client sees that AI is cheaper and better, then that’s where they’ll go.

Second Bottom Line: Don’t suck at your job.

Authentic AI Voices
Authentic AI VO Voice Acting

I know AI will eventually replace me as a Voice Actor… but the real question is: Will it have the correct skin color, ethnic origin, religious affiliation, gender designation and sexual preference for the role?

 

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

 

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Converting the Inverted (a poem)

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Converting the Inverted (a poem)


written by Joe J Thomas

While converting the inverted
When a comma was inserted
The professor took a step back and he paused
The result was so insulting
That he went to go consulting
With a colleague who just simple hemmed and hawed
There is something in this figure
That will simply zag or zig your
Mind into an itty bitty little loop
The scientists continued late
Their discourse did insinuate
The logic wrapped their brains up in a hoop
When the answer finally hit them
It was far too late to get them
To the publisher in time to be renowned
So they ended at an eatery
To imbibe and have some meatery
On the morrow it is likely they’ll rebound!

 

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

 

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