Thursday, June 24, 2010

The San Francisco Treat

I enjoy walking in San Francisco, especially on weekends when the streets are extra busy with tourists and locals. I live in East Bay, so I hop on BART (our rapid transit service), right near my studio, and zip on up to the city in about 30 minutes or so. Couldn't be more convenient. I like to get off at the Powell and Market cable car turnaround to start my walk. Such interesting characters! Street performers are always there, and the ever present line of tourists waiting patiently to take a cable car ride up Powell Street and down to Fisherman's Wharf. (The going rate is $5). If you're looking for exercise, there's no better place to walk than the hills of San Francisco. And they're not for the faint of heart. It's just a whole lot of fun to walk and people watch at the same time, plus the health benefits are obvious. After a good long walk up and down the streets, your legs will be screaming for relief.

If you ever plan to visit our great city, by all means, email or call in advance. I'd be happy to take you on a "leisurely stroll." (And I also know some terrific restaurants where we can take a momentary rest.).

UPDATE: Here's a link to a story just published in our San Francisco Chronicle about a man who walked every street, alley, cul-de-sac (you name it), in the city. It took him 500 hours over the course of seven years!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Interesting" direction I've seen on audition scripts

Like a good number of full-time voice actors, I audition on a daily basis in between paying voice jobs. I like to skip the morning comics section of my newspaper and instead look at the baffling direction that tops some audition scripts. Here are a few I found "interesting." I have not altered them in any way.

From a audition:

“Don't be afraid to add emphasis on certain words just as long as it sounds PROFESSIONAL.” (So glad you gave us that permission.)

And this one:

Male, 30-60 years old.

"Should sound intelligent, but not professorial. Non Announce sounding. Casual but not everyman. This person should sound as though they are smarter than the audience, but are still very approachable. The voice should carry a weight of understated intelligence." (I may be mistaken, but I think they want to hire Oprah. Oops, no their job spec says,"Male, 30-60 years old." My bad.)

And of course, I absolutely love the casting calls where they're looking for a James Earl Jones sound alike ("Voice of God") and they're budgeting $100 for the voice-over. I almost want to email them, tongue planted firmly in cheek, and tell them that instead of posting for a James Earl Jones sound alike, they might want to get in touch with him and see if he'll take a pay cut from the norm and voice their script for $50. I'm pretty sure I already know the answer.

In all fairness to accomplished producers and casting folks, the above are not typical of most audition notices I receive. But they do provide some much needed comedic relief in our often very stressful and time-line driven business.

If you're a voice talent, undoubtedly, you've had a few amusing job leads come your way. Feel free to post them in the comments section below.