P2P Sites: Not For Practice

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P2P Sites: Not For Practice

I often see posts on social media where someone who is new to voice acting says that they’re using P2P (Pay-To-Play) sites to practice. Although I understand this line of thinking, that’s not the best way to practice… Here’s why:

The point of practicing is to improve your skills. For acting, a very important component is missing when practicing on your own: Feedback.

Constructive feedback helps to improve your acting ability. It can come in many forms. In an acting class, the teacher will provide feedback and guidance. Coaches perform a similar function, but in a more focused 1-on-1 manner. Performing on stage has many forms of feedback: the director, reactions from other actors in the scene, and the audience.

“So, Joe, what’s the harm in practicing on my own? It’s still practice, right?”

Although it may improve your reading skills and even the speed at which you can scan the copy, it may actually be a detriment to your skills as an actor. Instead of learning where your flaws and weaknesses are and addressing them to improve, you may be blind to the flaws you have. Continuing to practice without any feedback may reinforce your bad habits. Those can be even more difficult to un-learn in the future.

Let’s take the classic “You have a great voice! You should be doing voice acting!”. After hearing that, maybe you become enamored with the sound of your own voice. You join a P2P site “just for practice.” Reading one thing after another in a cool way, or an artificially deep voice, or a style that isn’t used in the industry. Spend enough time reinforcing the idea that this is the “right” way to read copy without any guidance can lead you down a path that will be difficult to correct in the future.

Other examples are speech impediments and thick accents. Learning about the issues that may impede your progress and correcting them early on will make your journey to become a voice actor that much easier.

In my opinion, the best way to a solid career as a Voice Actor is to learn acting first. And that requires training, direction, and real-world experience.

For now, due to the limitations of in-person opportunities, try to find some online ways to play. Improv Zoom groups. Classes. Audio drama (directed). There are even some VO reading groups that meet on a regular basis. These could provide a good start.

Once the pandemic is over and it is safe, get involved with a local theatre. Join a choir. Take some improv classes. Get training and direction and perform in front of live audiences. All of these will improve your acting skills and give you a solid foundation for voice acting.

Best of luck on your journey!
Joe

 

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

 

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Compound Words That Aren’t

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Compound Words That Aren’t

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “Compound Words” as follows:

Compound words
A compound word is two or more words linked together to produce a word with a new meaning:
tooth + brush = toothbrush eco + friendly = eco-friendly animal + lover = animal lover

However, there are some words that could be Compound Words… but aren’t.

Some examples are:

  • Furrow: (Fur + Row) a straight line of hair on an otherwise hairless area
  • Pigeon: (Pig + Eon) a really long time for a large pink farm animal
  • Legion: (Leg + Ion) one or more charged particles in a lower limb
  • Parking: (Par + King) when a person does really well at golf
  • Cooking: (Coo + King) the most powerful bird in the city

Can you come up with more examples?

If so, comment below and I’ll add them!

Cheers,
Joe

 

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

 

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Month Old Blender Donut

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Month Old Blender Donut

Why did it take me over a month to make a donut and coffee?

Because it’s not real!

Most of this scene was made in “Blender”, a 3-d modeling and animation software program. That includes the Donut, Coffee, Plates, Cup, Spoon, Wall and Counter.

The animation was also (partially) done in Blender. However, I’m only running on a laptop, and graphics processing takes a loooooooonnnnngggg time. It took my system 4 hours to generate one second of animation!

So, to make the final video a bit longer, I padded it out with other tricks.

  • It starts out with a static image of the coffee on the table.
  • The donut slides in (1 second of real animation).
  • Added steam to the coffee (green screen fx), and a glowing logo.
  • Used background audio and plate sliding sfx to finish the scene.

The logo was generated separately and added as an overlay in my video editor (Vegas). I also added a green screen movie of some steam for the coffee (found on YouTube). All of these embellishments make it *seem* that there’s 10 seconds of animation. But that would have taken 40 hours or more on my system.

Here’s the final still shot from my project (click for full-size):

Joe-Nut Donut (Blender)

Joe-Nut Donut (Blender)

So… Anyone else take the Donut challenge?

Joe

References:

Blender (program site): Blender.org
Donut Tutorial (Blender Guru): Blender Guru Donut Tutorial (YouTube)
Blender Guru (main site): BlenderGuru.com

 

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

 

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Zuzubaland!

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Zuzubaland!


I’m a Hot Dog… And I finally got to play a Hot Dog too!
Zuzubaland! Hot Dog - Joe J Thomas

Zuzubaland (official site) began as a children’s book in Brazil.
The author, Mariana Caltabiano, then turned it into a cartoon series for Latin American TV, and it was dubbed into English at Bang Zoom! Studios.

The story revolves around a bee named “Zuzu” and her friends in a kingdom of food. Every episode is a fun little adventure (there’s even a witch and her hench-spider!).

Here’s a sample episode from YouTube named “Food House” (I’m the Announcer and Hot Dog):

Zuzubaland’s official YouTube page, and all the episodes so far are here:
Zuzubaland! (YouTube Page)

Zuzubaland! full cast - Joe J Thomas

The show and characters were a ton of fun to record. I hope you enjoy watching… and really hope they make more 😉

Cheers,
Joe

 

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

 

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Have You Killed Me?

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Have You Killed Me?


(parody of “Have You Seen Her?” by the Chi-Lites)

The life of a video game voice actor isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

There’s a lot of dying… then there’s more dying…

So, with all the games you’ve played… Have you killed me?

Audio:

      Have You Killed Me? (Joe J Thomas)

Available on The FuMP at:
Click to buy or listen on The FuMP!

Video:

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

~~~ Lyrics ~~~
“Have You Killed Me?”
Parody: of “Have You Seen Her?” by the Chi-Lites
By Joe J Thomas

Ah…ah…ah…ah…ah…ah… Ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…
One year ago today, I was hired to play a part
My job as a voice actor, talkin’ to a mic, recording in the dark
Doin’ a character in a video game, the one the children play
For me, it was just another gig, but they play that shit every day
They all follow me online, They seem to know my name
I get likes and comments, But it still doesn’t ease my pain
There’s no way I can beat ‘em, They’ll play ‘til their brains are fried
I keep sayin’ I’ll win someday, Seems I’m just not qualified
Oh, they chase me down for my treasure hoard. Crack me on my skull like it was a gourd
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me?
Yeah they fight in groups on their tv screens. Isn’t fair when it’s one against a team.
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me?
Why, oh why did you have to stab me with a sword?
Oh…oh…oh…oh…oh…: I’ve been used for gamers’ entertainment
And I lost, baby, I lost!
ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow ow…
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me? [Tell me why’d you kill me?]
ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow ow…
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me? [Tell me why’d you kill me?]
Oh you cast a spell with your mystic art, Then you plunged a dagger in my heart
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me?
Yeah they slay me from the dusk till dawn, Don’t they know in this game that I just respawn
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me?
Why, oh why did you have to set my head aflame? Oh, no!
Oh…oh…oh…oh…oh…: I’ve been shot, and stabbed and hit with boulders
And I lost, baby, I lost!
ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow ow…
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me? [Tell me why’d you kill me?]
ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow… ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow ow…
Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me? [Tell me why’d you kill me?]
As another game comes to an end, I’m lookin’ for a potion or somethin’
Anything that would put me on the mend, With all the powers I have, hmm
I’m still a wounded man, You know it’s funny
Here I thought the bosses were the ones in command
3X: Have you killed me? Tell me why’d you kill me? [Tell me why’d you kill me?]
— original lyrics —
“Have You Seen Her” by the Chi-Lites
2X: Ah…ah…ah…ah…ah…ah… Ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…
One month ago today, I was happy as a lark
But now I go for walks, To the movies, maybe to the park
I have a seat on the same old bench, To watch the children play, huh
You know tomorrow is their future, But for me just another day
They all gather ’round me, huh, They seem to know my name
We laugh, tell a few jokes, But it still doesn’t ease my pain
I know I can’t hide from a memory, Though day after day I’ve tried
I keep sayin’ she’ll be back, But today again I’ve lied
Oh, I see her face everywhere I go, On the street and even at the picture show
Have you seen her, Tell me have you seen her
Oh, I hear her voice as the cold winds blow, In the sweet music on my radio
Have you seen her, Tell me have you seen her
Why, oh, why: Did she have to leave and go away?
Oh…oh…oh…oh…oh…: I’ve been used to havin’ someone to lean on
And I’m lost, baby, I’m lost
Oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo; Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Have you seen her; Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo; Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Have you seen her; Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Oh, she left her kiss upon my lips, But left that break within my heart
Have you seen her, Tell me have you seen her
Oh, I see her hand reaching out to me, Only she can set me free
Have you seen her, Tell me have you seen her
Why, oh, why; Did she have to leave and go away
Oh…oh…oh…oh…oh…, I’ve been used to havin’ someone to lean on
And I’m lost, baby, I’m lost
Oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
As another day comes to an end, I’m lookin’ for a letter or somethin’
Anything that she would send, With all the people I know, hmm
I’m still a lonely man, You know it’s funny
I thought I had her in the palm of my hand
Have you seen her; Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Oh (Oh, yeah…eah…eah…), doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
6X: Have you seen her – Tell me have you seen her (with echos)

 

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

 

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Voice Acting: 15 Years of JoeActor!

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Voice Acting: 15 Years of JoeActor!

After 15 years of voice acting gigs, it’s time for a little celebration!

Here’s a collage of a few of my roles so far… Looking forward to many more:

(click on the image for FULL-SIZE!)

Joe J Thomas: Characters (JoeActor.com)

Joe J Thomas: Characters (JoeActor.com)

Top Row: Loken & Krik’Thir & Arcurion (World of Warcraft), Leoric The Skeleton King (Diabol III & Heroes of the Storm), Professor X (X-Men Live!)
Middle: Raven/Schwann (Tales of Vesperia), Tibarn (Fire Emblem), Stormtrooper (Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge), (me!), Ch’Gren (Star Trek Online)
Bottom: Nobunaga (Hunter X Hunter), Professor Oak (Pokémon), Lex Luthor (Mortal Kombat vs. DCU), Namor The Sub-Mariner (Marvel Ultimate Alliance) Yodeling Pickle (Archie McPhee)

 

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

 

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Living through the Pandemic by San San Lee

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Living Through The Pandemic: A Journal


by San San Lee

Over the last year, my wife has written some insightful articles about the pandemic for the South Pasadena newspaper. Below you will find excerpts of each, from most recent to earliest, along with a link to read the full articles.

Living in a Loop
by San San Lee (pub. Feb 18, 2021)

The last 12 months have felt like a bad reality show, thanks to the onset of Covid-19, denials of its existence and gravity, quarantine, reopening, restriction, and shut-down cycles, topped off with the drama of the 2020 election. And now, just as we thought the end was in sight after a new administration and two approved vaccines, the discovery of the new variants has placed us in “A Race Against Time.” Vaccine shortage is real, and as more contagious variants emerge, current vaccines may lose their effectiveness. Reaching herd immunity and returning to “normalcy” appears as elusive and complicated as ever.

Click here for the full article…

Acceptance, Anticipation, and Hope
by San San Lee (pub. Dec 19, 2020)

This holiday season is particularly difficult. Being away during a pandemic has reintroduced the emotional wounds of my past. The loneliness and isolation from my childhood and the years abroad have follow me here. Even so, these holidays will need to be spent like other days during the COVID-19 era – staying put and distant from people. I am letting go of my traditions in exchange for something far more precious: a future, for myself and others.

Click here for the full article…

Coping with Uncertainty, an Unintended Gift
by San San Lee (pub. Dec 3, 2020)

From the lockdown and even after the reopening in May, we self-isolated in LA. We kept things in a holding pattern to maintain some “normalcy.” The virus was spreading and the inconsistent governmental responses left much to be desired. While we managed to adjust, it was far from ideal. I felt unsafe given the resistance to masks and other measures, not to mention the harsh political rhetoric.

Click here for the full article…

Corona Yo-Yo or Moderation
by San San Lee (pub. July 22, 2020)

As I live through the pandemic, I see a similar struggle. It was easier when the “rules” were clear, much like the weight loss rules. In March, the lockdown required us to stay at home, limit our contact with others, wash our hands, wear face coverings, and maintain social distancing. We reduced the infection rate and the curve flattened. We waited for the reopening, hoping that the lockdown would be short-lived and our lives would go back to “normal.”

Click here for the full article…

Reopening – A Good Time for Paranoia
by San San Lee (pub. July 9, 2020)

While my workload is much less than the pre-pandemic level, I’ve been able to work from home. With the stay-at-home order and its restrictions, and more importantly, the dedication of essential workers, I’ve had the luxury to “hide out” from the virus in the safety of my home. That will change as things open. The reopening does not mean the virus is gone or that it has lost its contagious might. Life may become more precarious. Without the restrictions, we are no longer as protected and isolated from the virus. Reopening would mean more exposure to others, and therefore, the virus.

Click here for the full article…

I Can’t Go Home Anymore
by San San Lee (pub. May 14, 2020)

“I want things to be normal again and just go back to the way they were.” That’s how I felt as the coronavirus spread and cases of death rose, followed by stay at home orders, business closures, job losses and changes to our lives. As things have begun to reopen and resumption of “normal” life begins, I’ve been reflecting. I keep on coming back to the same question – what does “normal” mean? What does “going back” mean, especially given what has happened?

Click here for the full article…

 

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

 

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Nail Clippers from Tokyo

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Nail Clippers from Tokyo

While traveling in Tokyo, I learned a valuable business lesson from a little store in the hotel… all while buying nail clippers.

This was many years ago when my wife and I were vacationing in Tokyo. While I was thinking back on the trip, I realized that one memory stood out.

One evening in our hotel room, my wife tasked me with going downstairs to buy some nail clippers. Seems we hadn’t brought any in our bags (it was allowed back then).

So, there I was, with only the most basic of Japanese language skills… on my own! After making my way downstairs, I found the tiny little in-hotel store. They had all the essentials that a traveler would need: toothpaste, band-aids, aspirin, etc. I couldn’t seem to find the nail clippers.

I walked up to the counter. An older woman sat patiently behind it. We had a short conversation… without words. Finally! My years of pantomime were useful!

She pointed to where the nail clippers were, and I retrieved a nice pink one for my wife.

When I went up to pay, I expected that the woman would just run my card, give me a receipt, and I’d take the clippers and go.

That is not what happened.

After ringing up the bill and giving me the receipt, she carefully took the packaged clippers and wrapped them – very neatly – in a nice paper. She then put this into a small bag, along with some hand-folded paper origami cranes (my wife later told me they were for luck). Then, she folded over the top of the bag and put a small bit of tape on it.

When she handed it to me, I knew enough to bow slightly and say “domo arigatou gozaimasu” and left the store to go back to my room.

It was a short, simple interaction, yet when I think back, there was a lot of meaning to unpack from it.

Here are a few of the lessons I learned that can apply to many businesses:

  • Be kind
  • Know your job
  • Be Helpful
  • Exceed Expectations
  • Have Good Intentions

In the end, it’s these things that people, and your customers, will remember.

The nail clippers were common.

The woman who sold them to me was special.

 

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

 

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Ballad of Big Jim McBob

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Ballad of Big Jim McBob

Parody of “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean

As heard on the Dr. Demento show!

The manliest man with the manliest of problems… It’s Big Jim McBob!

Audio

      BigJimMcBob_JoesDump

Written and Sung by Joe J Thomas
Copyright 2020 Joe J Thomas, Joe’s Dump, JoesDump.com
All Rights Reserved.
Not a Quinn-Martin Production

Runtime: 3:04

 

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

 

~~~ Lyrics ~~~
The Ballad of Big Jim McBob!
(to the tune of Big Bad John by Jimmy Dean)
/ Big Jim. McBob. Big Jim McBob!
Big Jim McBob was a legend they say
When men did wrong he’d make em pay
With fists of iron and a heart of stone
Manly as hell in a class of his own, that’s Jim
/ Big Jim. McBob. Big Jim McBob!
He could open a jar o’ pickles with one eyebrow
Bust into a bank cuz he’s got the know-how
Run cross country, go straight through a wall
Was the whole damn team when he played football… Yeah Jim
He’d scale a mountain with both hands tied
Kept a pack of wolves right by his side
Grown men would run from him in fear
His piercing eyes never shed a tear, not Jim
/ Big Jim. McBob. Big Jim McBob!
He was a Rhodes Scholar and a Shinto Priest
A blazing inferno didn’t worry him the least
Had a thundering voice that could split the sky
With a tone so lovely soothe a baby’s cry… He’s Jim
A lady’s man with a head full of hair
Kind as a puppy and tough as a bear
He’d jump into his pants like a raging bull
And everyone knew those pants were full… Of Jim
/ Big Jim. McBob. Big Jim McBob!
Now Jim had a woman who he loved strong
Way up in the mountains she done him wrong
She’d laid down a law that he couldn’t heed
And left Big Jim with an aching need… Oh, Jim
They cussed and they argued ’bout who was right
Kept the neighbors up till late in the night
She kicked him out in the cold and the dark
With nowhere to sleep he laid down in the park… poor Jim
/ Big Jim. McBob. Big Jim McBob!
Now you might wonder what was Jim’s sin
The horrible crime that done him in
It’s only one thing lost his castle and crown…
Big Jim just couldn’t put that toilet seat down. Damnit, Jim!
/ Big Jim. McBob. Big Jim McBob!

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Multi-Syllable Job Title

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Do you have a Multi-Syllable Job Title?

C’mon! They’re all the rage!

Here’s just a few examples I’ve heard on recent commercials:

  • Registered Nurse Case Manager
  • Certified Financial Planner Professional
  • Non Attorney Spokesperson
  • Knowledgeable Licensed Agent Producer
  • Friendly Knowledgeable Money-Saving Representative

My new title is:
Certifiable Executive Vocalization Engineering Professional!

… and you are???

 

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

 

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