Category Archives: Voiceover

Mr. Gravitas, Paul Frees

Okay, I’m double-dipping here, because we posted the same links on the Jabberwocky Audio Theater website today. However, it’s not only a busy week, but I’m coming off of recording the first season of Quorum, so I’ve got voiceover artists on my mind.

And really, when isn’t a good time to check out Paul Frees’ demo tape?

It feels wrong to call him “inimitable,” because not only do people imitate him, Frees was a master at imitating other when called upon to do so.

Voiceover Update: And (once again) Bjorn Munson as the Vorta

I mentioned this back in March when the prologue episode dropped, but I got a chance to play a Vorta, one of the villains of Star Trek, in an audio fan production last year.

The series, A Call to Unity, is now posted on iTunes so you can subscribe and get your post-Romulus destruction Trek fix.

Enjoy… maybe not as much as my character enjoys tormenting Starfleet captains, but, well, you know…

Escape Velocity Reached

In case anyone had any concerns, but I survived last weekend. I mean, the Nation’s Capital was demolished, but Jabberwocky Audio Theater had fun.

Cast & Crew of War of the Worlds, 2018

I even got a chance to look in on this guy who helped me with some timey-wimey stuff back in the day.

Also, Russia built a space battleship. It was an exciting weekend.

Voiceover Update: And Bjorn Munson as the Vorta

Last Fall, the launch of Jabberwocky Audio Theater was still over half a year away, so I decided to throw my hat in the ring to act in a Star Trek fan production. I got the opportunity to play a Vorta, one of the Dominion’s genetically engineered races. The Vorta might be described as the carrot to the Jem’Hadar‘s stick, but let’s be honest: Vorta are perfectly happy to abandon the carrot when they can make a veiled threat in a voice that would make Dolores Umbridge swoon.

Anyway, I naturally looked to the portrayal of Vorta in official Star Trek for guidance. The wonderful Jeffrey Combs, in his portrayal of the various versions of Weyoun sets the standard for Vorta and unctuous menace (seriously, how he comes across as both a people-pleaser and a pitiless martinet is marvelous). However, I also noted Gelnon (played by Leland Crooke), who first appeared in “One Little Ship” as a good model. He seems to take quiet satisfaction in furthering the Dominion’s ruthless goals — which, I guess, is my way of saying this Vorta is not a nice guy.

Ruthless Vorta aren’t the only familiar thing you’ll hear in this series. If you’ve heard or watched other Star Trek fan productions, this will ring true. Shields will go down. Evasive maneuvers will be made. Loyalties will be conflicted. And all of it will connect to events and characters you’ve seen in official Trek.

Enjoy!

Threat Alert Thursday: Bad Check Voiceover Scam

With great Internetting comes great scumbaggery.

Alas, just as email has allowed voiceover artists to connect with producers that much easier, it has allowed scammers to try make the world a worse place.

This article detailing a voiceover scam was written last year, but I understand that these delightful maggots have been hitting the DC area in recent weeks.

Be aware!

(thanks to Steve Ray and Diane Samuelson for alerting peeps in posts elsewhere).

Voiceover Update: Ripcoil (VR Game)

Since some of my previous voiceover updates either have no audio online or have audio that has been removed, I figured I’d point to another bit of voice work I’ve done in the past year.

Ripcoil is a game for Oculus Rift. I can’t help but think of Tron — and one reviewer deems it every college freshman’s dream come true.

I got to be the stadium announcer you hear during the matches, which required me to record roughly 147,000 different responses depending on whether the players triumph or fail. Here’s a video review with some game play. You can see the match and hear me at about 1:30 in the video, but he actually responds to one of my quips at 3:10 or so, which I love. It makes me feel like I did my job as a voice artist (NSFW Caution: the reviewer uses some profanity).

Those of you who find the announcer really annoying may be slightly gratified to know that my voice was bit hoarse after the multi-hour session needed to get every variant line laid down. Of course, that was only the case for this Sunday, SUNDAY, S U N D A Y ! ! !

Voiceover Update: Virginia Lottery (& Corvettes)

I grew up with all sorts of creative Virginia Lottery spots, so it was fun to be a part of one.

Much like my recent work for the highway safety spot, I can’t find a link to the specific ads I’m in online, but if you hear a Smithers-sounding flunky in the radio spots for Virginia Lottery’s Corvettes & CA$H scratchers… yes, that’s me. The radio spots started around June 6th and should still be going until the end of the month.

Voiceover Update: Our Roads, Our Safety

You may have heard my voice in a DOT spot last year for road safety. Well, the spot is hitting the airwaves again with a slight tweak.

Update: Dang it, they removed the video with the voiceover, but hopefully you’ll still be able to hear the spot on the airwaves.

You can learn more about the Our Roads, Our Safety campaign on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s web site.

Recommended Reading: Artistry & Entrepreneurship

A certain cavegirl reminded me of a long article in The Atlantic by William Deresiewicz charting the evolution of “the artist.”

I first read it a couple years ago, but it remains quite relevant in 2017 — perhaps more so. It delves into what it means to be “a creative” in the world today and even touches on the commodification of “being creative.”

Commodification isn’t the only concept in the article that triggered memories of my anthropology studies. There’s also the whole aspect of how institutions have grown and changed in respect to supporting artists — or, perhaps it would be better characterized as how institutions and their support have both shrunken in respect to artists. They’re hardly the only group in our modern economy where that’s the case — though that is one of the reasons reading the article was so relevant. How does one make a living as an artist? What’s the new paradigm?

The safe, if selective, employment of artists and artisans by institutions (such as it was) is now all too clearly being replaced by entrepreneurship (again, not something unique to creatives and something people have noted for some time). So unless universal basic income becomes a reality (an unlikely event anytime soon), we all must become our own “brand ambassadors.” And chief cook and bottle washers.

And that’s something I’m not altogether happy with, not just because the term “brand ambassador” makes me mildly nauseous. I mean, it’s not like I’m not painfully aware that brand management is important (hello! you’re reading this on BjornMunson.com). However, the entrepreneurial vision pitched is that now we must all manage our own brands, pump our own gas, and possibly be our own tax attorneys. I’m not always happy about doing two out of three of those things — and I’m often concerned about getting it wrong… or not right enough.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy being a jack-of-all-trades. Anyone who’s spent enough time in filmmaking has learned you need to know at least a little about a lot of things. But I’ve been at this for a while. So although I’m by no means terrible at either camerawork or editing, I’d be a fool to ignore that some of my peers have done both of those tasks for a few thousand more hours than I. So just because one can do it all, maybe they shouldn’t. This is not to say you might not use a project to improve a particular skill (e.g., I’m going to edit my next project to maintain/improve my mad editing skillz). At the same time, if one wants to use a given project to improve, say, their camerawork, maybe they shouldn’t try and also improve their editing, directing, acting, and screenwriting on that same project.

So that brings us back to our networks of people. That’s the part of the equation no one writes articles about… or I’m missing them (feel free to put suggestions in the comments). Luckily, there are certainly organizations and sites where one can find networks. There’s TIVA and WIFV here in DC as well as Facebook-based groups. If there’s others, let me know.

In the meantime, I need to go clean out some bottles…

So Long and Thanks for all the Lutefisk

This past weekend, while I was dealing with schoolkids and stormtroopers at Escape Velocity, Garrison Keillor hosted his last episode of A Prairie Home Companion, as described here and here (and countless other places on the web).

As mentioned in Chris Barton’s piece for the LA Times, the approach on one hand was that of simply another show. But so many of us would like that option for yet another show. After 40 years, you can be assured some people find you to be a “mainstay.”

“Nothing gold can stay,” notes Robert Frost… and Garrison Keillor will note him and many other poets on the Writer’s Almanac, the daily podcast which I believe he’ll voice for a while longer. He’ll also be working on some more writing… probably for the rest of his life frankly.

Between thoroughly Midwestern parents and a steady diet of folk music growing up, it’s hardly a surprise I enjoyed Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion (which, let’s just abbreviate to APHC for the rest of this). I came to appreciate APHC more as I got older, because by then I had traveled around and lived in a few more places than “home.” That’s when the small-town Americana and wry storytelling inherent within the Lake Wobegon tales came into greater focus. As Scott Simon notes in his remembrance/appreciation at NPR, having his final performance being on Independence Day weekend, a time of intense Americana, is entirely appropriate.

The fact that APHC was old-fashioned when it first debuted may explain some people’s ambivalence about it, which Robert Lloyd explores in the LA Times here (though this is the first I’ve ever heard the word “polarizing” applied to it). I’m curious how the new, younger host and the presumed new focus on music will affect APHC’s demographics. At the same time, I’m not sure how often I’ll tune in myself.

There’s one other element to APHC that theoretically could continue even with a music-centric version. For the past few years, my family has been able to see APHC when they come to Wolf Trap and be some of the “wolves on the lawn” that Keillor would always reference in the broadcast (which invariably elicited wolf howls from the lawn denizens). Keillor would warm up the audience before the broadcast started by walking around the audience –including up and through the lawn– leading everyone in song. Not a unique show tactic to be sure, but the particular 70-something in suit and red sneakers owned it. Lord only knows if my kids will remember any of this when they’re older, but I will.

And that’s one thing I’ll miss.

APHC_2016-05

Garrison Keillor at Wolf Trap, 2016