Friday, September 17, 2010

"The voice of Bart"

The voice of Bart Simpson-Nancy Cartwright
In the San Francisco Bay Area, if you were to ask someone who does the voice of Bart, he or she might ask you for clarification. Here, B.A.R.T. stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit. And as you wait on the platform for the train to come, you'll hear several voices announcing departure and arrival times. They're actually synthesized voices called, "George and Gracie." The history behind them is kind of fascinating. Read about them and hear a sample of their voices here.

Another suitable answer would be Nancy Cartwright. She's the voice of Bart Simpson. When the series first became a hit, many were surprised that Bart's voice was being done by a woman.

Years ago, Nancy took a big chance, packed up her beat up car in Dayton, Ohio, and headed to California. She was lucky enough to study under the legendary Daws Butler, a master of animation voices. He originated the voices of many famous cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound. What an education she got from Mr. Butler. Not to mention landing  the gig of a lifetime. Her book, "My Life as a Ten Year Old Boy" is a fun and informative read.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"What the heck is VO imaging ? "

From time to time, someone will ask me what I mean by imaging, as it applies to the voice over world. The short answer is that it's the pre-recorded voice you hear promoting the upcoming newscast on your TV station ("Tonight at 10-find out where to buy the cheapest gas in your area!"). Or, the voice you hear between songs on your local radio station ("We play the most music! Star 104.7!"). It's what program directors use to "brand" their stations. There are many voice over talents who specialize in this type of work, and their voices are heard across the country on many stations or across networks. The money can be very good for exceptional talents in this niche of voice over.

One of the best  to ever come down the pike was Ernie Anderson. I grew up on the west side of Cleveland (Insert joke here) , and as a kid, use to watch Ernie on TV 8 as he hosted a scary/corny horror flick. He was "Hot in Cleveland" long before the current hit TV series with Betty White. Ernie went by the character name of Ghoulardi, and to say that his comedy bits were a bit strange and unpredictable is a huge understatement.

What's cool is, he used that local TV show as a springboard to launch an incredibly successful imaging career on national TV networks when he made the move to L.A. His voice would truly rattle your speakers. And believe it or not, some of his pre-recorded, generic, imaging liners are still being used by radio stations today, even though he died back in 1997. Many will remember him as the deep voiced "Love Boat" announcer.

Click on this link and then the other links you'll see to hear his amazing take on copy. Also, check out the video link you'll see to watch him and several other VO talents at work. The clip is very dated from an old L.A. TV magazine show, but still fun and interesting to watch.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My quiet haven

I enjoy walking in San Francisco, most often on weekends. But when I don't want to take our rapid transit up there and am looking for something closer to home, I hop in the car and head to this beauty of a lake a few miles from my studio. Here's a pic of Lake Chabot with wonderful walking paths on each side here in Castro Valley, California. You often see folks either fishing or boating on the lake, as well.