Barcelona Booth

Share

Barcelona Booth

Last week, my wife and I relocated to Barcelona.
(how we did it is at the bottom of this post 😉 )

Since we may be here for a while, I needed a new studio setup.

Here’s some photos (click for full size), and the details on the equipment:
JoeActor Barcelona BoothJoeActor Barcelona Booth doorJoeActor Barcelona Booth insideJoeActor Barcelona Booth bling

The Booth: StudioBricks One Plus (VO Edition)

Comes with lighting, ventilation unit, extra sound dampening, bass trap, table, mic arm, and copy arm.
Overall… Stellar! Super quiet inside. Door handle turns up to seal the booth, down to open. Ventilation has several modes, the lowest of which is inaudible. Lighting and copy arm fit the bill nicely. Can always add more lighting easily.
One added perk: Since they’re made in Barcelona, the manufacturer came out and assembled it (for a very low fee)!
Another added perk: the acoustic foam on the walls has built-in channels for cable runs. So. Damn. Cool.
The only thing I’m not sold on is the Yellowtec mic arm. I’ve adjusted the spring, but it’s a bit hard to get it to stay where I want it to. I’d also prefer something a bit smaller. Might replace it in time…

The Mic: AKG C214

Excellent microphone. Very low self-noise. Picks up every nuance of my voice. Some reviews peg this as being “too bright”, but in my opinion it captures a true representation of my voice. Of course every voice is different, and you may not get the same feel from this mic. But for me, it’s a step up.

The Interface: Motu M2

Beautifully designed. Very low self-noise. Works like a dream. Really like the built-in meters. Also has an on/off switch on the back, and a monitor switch on each mic input for direct monitoring. Recommended!

The Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm

What everyone says about these… yeah, they’re right. Solid choice.

The Cloud: Google Drive (Google One)

A final piece of the puzzle: Inside the Booth vs. Outside.
Google One gives you 2Tb storage for $99/yr.
My fanless laptop inside the booth shares files with my computer at my desk. Everything is backed up in the cloud and available everywhere I need it. Easy.

… And How We Got Into Spain During A Pandemic Lockdown!

At the time of this post (for those in the future), the Covid-19 pandemic is raging. Due to the horrible handling of… well… everything in the US-of-A, most of the world doesn’t want US citizens traveling to their countries. The exception is if you are a national of that country, or happen to have a visa.

My wife and I have what is known as a “Golden Visa” for Spain (mostly thanks to her). It allows us to live and work in Spain and the EU. Getting one is no easy feat, however.

So…

Step 1) Build a time machine.
Step 2) Go back to 2016. Be horrified by the results of the election.
Step 3) Jump through all the hoops needed for a “Golden Visa” (buy property, get health insurance, background checks, bank account, paperwork, visa, residence card, travel to Spain every time something is needed)
Step 4) It’s now 2-3 years later (yeah, lots of hoops)
Step 5) Due to the pandemic, jump through lots more hoops (call the embassy, consulate, lawyers, travel agents, airlines, etc.)
Step 6) Get an impossible Covid-19 test (nasal swab, must have results within 72 hours before flight)
Step 7) Discover Step 6 wasn’t needed (what?!?!?!?)
Step 8) Get baggage opened and everything touched by security to make you feel insecure.
Step 9) Congratulations! You’ve arrived in Spain!

Easy, right?

The take-away: It’s better here. I’m glad I followed my wife’s instincts.

See you in the (remote-er) booth!
Joe J Thomas
www.JoeActor.com

Share

WordPress: One Week to a New Website

Share

WordPress: One Week to a New Website

My old website had been neglected for a while. I needed a new, fresh look. And I needed the content to be easier to update. Maybe even have it automatically update!
JoeActor.com New and Old
One week ago I installed WordPress onto a sub-domain of my JoeActor site. This allowed me to work on the new site without disturbing the old one. Installation of WordPress was a breeze.

If you’re thinking “But, Joe, WordPress is only for blogging!” Well, yes and no. It has two types of content: Posts (used for blog entries) and Pages (static web pages). When you build a site using only Pages, it’s just another website. The advantages are it’s easier to maintain and updates automatically. Plus if you’d like to add a blog later on, it’s already built in.

Choosing a theme for my new site was next. For those of you new to WordPress, the theme is the look and feel of the site. Fonts, menus, etc. I selected the “OceanWP” theme. Very flexible, clean look, and adaptable to all devices (computers, tablets and phones).

The old site was a bit too complicated and required frequent content updates to stay relevant. To get around that, I decided to eliminate the “News” page. I also changed my “Resume” page to automatically display my IMDb information instead (there’s a plug-in for that!). This means that my new site will always be up-to-date on the resume and news, and it’s less complicated for visitors.

My final and most difficult task was to rewrite the home page. This is the first thing that visitors will see, so it’s very important. I worked with my wife and some friends for the “About” text. I also included my contact information and main demos. One new element is a rotating slide-show at the bottom. This shows companies I’ve worked with, projects, and major roles. New slides can be easily added as I land more work.

So, that’s it! The new site is up and can be viewed at JoeActor.com – take a peek and feel free to comment if you’d like.

And if you’re considering WordPress for your site, let me know in the comments as well. I’ll try to answer any questions here.

Cheers,
Joe J Thomas
JoeActor.com

 

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

 

Share

IMDb Study: Nearly 70% of Actors Have Careers That Last Only One Year

Share

IMDb Study: Nearly 70% of Actors Have Careers That Last Only One Year

IMDb Stats
A recent study in the journal “Nature Communications” provides some eye-opening statistics into the careers of actors and actresses in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com).

Data was collected from IMDb on the careers of 1,512,472 actors and 896,029 actresses as recorded as of January 16th, 2016, including careers stretching back to the first recorded movie in 1888.

Their model predicts with up to 85% accuracy whether an actor or actress is likely to have a brighter future, or if the best days are, unfortunately, behind them.

Some of the key findings:

  • 69% of Actors and 68% Actresses have careers that only last one year.
  • The unemployment rate for Actors/Actresses hovers around 90%
  • Acting careers run in hot and cold streaks.
  • Cold streaks tend to fade more quickly for Actors than for Actresses.

For a more detailed look at this study, please follow the links below…

Relevant Links:

 

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

 

Share

Doctor Who: Big Stompy Robots (part 2)

Share

Doctor Who: Big Stompy Robots (part 2)

Afternoon Tea Adventures presents a brand new Doctor Who audio drama in 2 parts.
Afternoon Tea Adventures: Big Stompy Robots

(if you missed part one, click here: Big Stompy Robots Part 1)

Listen to part two here:

More Afternoon Tea Adventures available on iTunes (click here)

Or on YouTube:
Afternoon Tea Adventures on YouTube

Doctor Who: Big Stompy Robots – A sci-fi romp.
Every week (or as broadcasting schedules permit) the fictional Xenos Coverage Crew from Star Newz reports the latest in the ongoing battles against an invading force of cruel lizard aggressors. Leading the charge in this low-budget sci-fi production are an amiably dim news anchor and a headstrong field reporter. Neither of them have a hair out of place…

…not even when real Big Stompy Robots come down from the skies, and Star Newz and their studio find themselves in need of desperate help from one of their biggest fans – The Doctor! As reality becomes stranger than fiction, the stakes get raised and soon a whole planet faces imminent destruction!

What shadowy secrets are locked away in a state-of-the-art production office?

What juicy role will star actress Connie London play in the ongoing adventures of The Doctor and Julia?

And at the end of the world, just what use are a tourist map and a smug canary?

Chapter Two: Plan D from Outer Space!
Last we left our heroes, the planet was under attack by a fleet of war-mongering lizards! As a giant robot sentry counts down the remaining hours until the end of the world, the Doctor, Julia, and Connie must devise a plan to save everyone, with a just little dash of cinematographic magic sprinkled in for fun.

CAST
The Doctor … K. Woo
Julia Shahid … Fazia Rizvi
Connie London … Valina Cutler
Brick Thrustjaw … Joe J. Thomas
Stroheimberg … Justin Fife
DAVE… Alan Gordon
Warlord Kruger … Kayla Gill
Newton … Lisa Michaud
Tech … Justin Fife
Extra …. Kyle Borcz
Agamidae Sentry … Vince Stadon

Written by K. Woo & Vince Stadon
Directed by Kyle Borcz
Music by Kevin MacLeod
Doctor Who logo by John Callaghan
Art by K. Woo
Many thanks to freesound.org

Afternoon Tea Adventures‘ Doctor Who series is a free, not-for-profit fan production and is in no way associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was created as a celebration of the series, without intent to supersede or infringe on existing copyrights or intellectual property. Doctor Who, the TARDIS, and other registered sounds and concepts remain property of the BBC.

Share

VO Business Posts! (New Menu)

Share

VO Business Posts! (New Menu)

All of the Business, Voice Acting, Studio, and Voice-Over advice onJoe’s Dump, in one place! See the top menu on the site for the new “VO Business” option!

Find out:

  • How to get into Voice Over
  • What equipment I use in the studio
  • Tricks in the Voice Acting world
  • Advice on running your VO Business
  • Funny Voice Acting stories
  • … And Much, Much More!!!

Over 80 posts to help you find your path in the amazing world of Voice Acting!!!

So, what are you waiting for? Just click the link below, or get there any time from the “VO Business” option on the top menu!

Joe’s Dump: VO Business Posts! (clicky clicky…)

 

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

 

Share

VO and Tablets

Share

VO and Tablets

Many voice actors take a tablet into the booth to read and markup their copy.

But what if you could run your entire studio on a tablet?

Samsung S5E Tablet and Monitor: Joe's Dump

What you see in the above picture may be the future for home studios. At the bottom is a 10″ Android tablet. It’s connected to the top screen, a mouse, keyboard, external drive, microphones interface, mic and speakers.

It could run everything you need for a home recording studio. And it costs around $400.

In this test, I was running a Chrome browser with two tabs, a Google spreadsheet, a Microsoft Word document, and Lexis audio recording/editing software. Recording quality was the same as on my laptop.

So, what exactly makes this possible?

The tablet is a Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e – here are the specs:
OS: Android 9.0.
Display: 10.5in WQXGA Super AMOLED, 287ppi.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Octa-core processor (2×2.0 GHz & 6×1.7 GHz)
Memory: 4/6GB.
Storage: 64/128GB + microSD up to 512GB.
Cameras: 13Mp rear, 8Mp front.
Ports: USB3.1 (Type C)
Plus! Very thin and light: just 5.5 mm thick, and weighs only 399 g (0.88 lb)

The USB-C port is an OTG (On-The-Go) type. This means it allows USB devices, such as USB flash drives, digital cameras, mice or keyboards, to be attached. Also microphones and speakers and screens. No drivers to install, or software to update. All I did was plug in a USB-C hub and everything worked.

The processor has 8 cores, and is pretty fast. The new version of this tablet (the S5) is expected to be even faster.

Battery life is 14+ hours, but you can also have it plugged in while you’re using it.

The final piece of the puzzle is the windows like interface on the big screen. That comes from Samsung. It’s called “Dex”, and is one of 4 modes on this tablet:

  1. Normal Tablet Mode (one app takes up the whole screen)
  2. Split-screen Mode (two apps share the screen equally)
  3. Pop-up Mode (one app appears in a pop-up window; any second app appears behind it, full screen)
  4. Dex Mode (full window and icon interface)

When you put all of this together, you can easily see the potential… and where we all may be headed.

I used the setup exclusively over the weekend, just to see how easy it was. It’s definitely good enough for auditions, or for the central component of a travel rig. To run a full home studio, I’d probably want better recording/editing software available. It may already be out there…

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

Share

Doctor Who: Big Stompy Robots (part 1)

Share

Doctor Who: Big Stompy Robots (part 1)

Afternoon Tea Adventures presents a brand new Doctor Who audio drama in 2 parts.
Afternoon Tea Adventures: Big Stompy Robots

Listen to part one here:

More Afternoon Tea Adventures available on iTunes (click here)

Or on YouTube:
Afternoon Tea Adventures on YouTube

Doctor Who: Big Stompy Robots – A sci-fi romp.
Every week (or as broadcasting schedules permit) the fictional Xenos Coverage Crew from Star Newz reports the latest in the ongoing battles against an invading force of cruel lizard aggressors. Leading the charge in this low-budget sci-fi production are an amiably dim news anchor and a headstrong field reporter. Neither of them have a hair out of place…

…not even when real Big Stompy Robots come down from the skies, and Star Newz and their studio find themselves in need of desperate help from one of their biggest fans – The Doctor! As reality becomes stranger than fiction, the stakes get raised and soon a whole planet faces imminent destruction!

What shadowy secrets are locked away in a state-of-the-art production office?

What juicy role will star actress Connie London play in the ongoing adventures of The Doctor and Julia?

And at the end of the world, just what use are a tourist map and a smug canary?

Chapter One: Call The Medic!
Lights! Camera! Action! The Doctor and Julia accidentally make a scene, as force-of-nature leading actress Connie London makes her big entrance, and all hell breaks loose…

CAST
The Doctor … K. Woo
Julia Shahid … Fazia Rizvi
Connie London … Valina Cutler
Brick Thrustjaw … Joe J. Thomas
Stroheimberg … Justin Fife
Peter/Marjorie … Lisa Michaud
Agamadae Warrior … Kayla Gill
Trainer …. Kyle Borcz

Written by K. Woo & Vince Stadon
Directed by Kyle Borcz
Music by Kevin MacLeod
Doctor Who logo by John Callaghan
Art by K. Woo
Many thanks to freesound.org

Afternoon Tea Adventures‘ Doctor Who series is a free, not-for-profit fan production and is in no way associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was created as a celebration of the series, without intent to supersede or infringe on existing copyrights or intellectual property. Doctor Who, the TARDIS, and other registered sounds and concepts remain property of the BBC.

Share

Top 10 VO Scam Signs

Share

Top 10 VO Scam Signs

Scams are rampant in the Voice Over industry. So how can you spot one?

Here are my “Top 10” signs for VO Scams (in no particular order):

  • Promises you’ll make millions (or even billions)
  • Gives you a “professional” demo at the end of a very expensive class
  • Tells you all you need is a microphone and their exclusive secret method
  • Claims to be famous but only has 1 IMDB credit (and it’s a short film where they’re the director/producer/star/etc.)
  • Runs a “Pay-To-Play” site
  • Their website has misspellings.. a *lot* of misspellings.
  • Lists student success stories, but you can’t find any of the students online
  • Has their own demos on a free Wix site, Soundcloud, or V123
  • All of their “insider industry connections” are pictures of them with famous people at conventions
  • You can’t find anyone who admits being trained by them

The best protection against being scammed: Do your research. Ask around. Be cautious.

It’s your responsibility to protect your money, career and reputation.

Good luck out there!
Joe

 

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

 

Share

The Union’s VO Problem (or not…)

Share

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

 

Share

Doctor Who: Widen Your Gaze (part 3)

Share

Doctor Who: Widen Your Gaze (part 3)

Afternoon Tea Adventures presents a brand new Doctor Who audio drama in 3 parts.

Chapter Three: Marching as to War
Welcott prepares to march his undead army to 1950’s England, to wage war against the Establishment. VTI Security Forces have been ordered to destroy The Space, and all the colonists living there. Julia Shahid is losing her mind. And the Doctor is finally opening her eyes to what’s going on.

Doctor Who - Widen Your Gaze - chapter 3

Listen to part two here:

Also available on iTunes (click here)

And on YouTube:

(did you miss part one or two? here they are 😉

Doctor Who: Widen Your Gaze (part 1)

Doctor Who: Widen Your Gaze (part 2)

Doctor Who: Widen Your Gaze – a science fiction ghost story.

“The mind is its own place, and in its self
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
–John Milton, Paradise Lost.

Palestine 1975: The Doctor’s companion, under surveillance by CIA agents, writes a letter to her younger sister in New York City.

England, 1955: a grieving father obsessively searches for the ghost of his dead son.

Hyperspace, the 22nd Century: Something is threatening a community in thrall to an ancient alien technology, shrouded in myth and legend.

As all three events collide, the Doctor finds herself in a bloodied life-or-death race to piece together an inter-dimensional mystery that threatens to tear open the divide between sanity and madness and the living and the dead.

In a spectral, hostile darkness, sometimes the best thing you can do to survive is to widen your gaze.

Chapter Three: Marching as to War
Welcott prepares to march his undead army to 1950’s England, to wage war against the Establishment. VTI Security Forces have been ordered to destroy The Space, and all the colonists living there. Julia Shahid is losing her mind. And the Doctor is finally opening her eyes to what’s going on.

CAST
The Doctor … K. Woo
Julia Shahid … Valina Cutler
Welcott … Joe J. Thomas
Fair Hair/Soul … Justin Fife
Lupez … Lisa Michaud
Selina … Fazia Rizvi
Cruz … Al Gordon

Written by Vince Stadon
Doctor Who logo by John Callaghan
Art by Valina Cutler
Many thanks to freesound.org

Afternoon Tea Adventures‘ Doctor Who series is a free, not-for-profit fan production and is in no way associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was created as a celebration of the series, without intent to supersede or infringe on existing copyrights or intellectual property. Doctor Who, the TARDIS, and other registered sounds and concepts remain property of the BBC.

Share