Saturday, December 28, 2019

The passing of Don Imus

As a former radio deejay, I have been keenly aware of the  long, storied, often controversial career of Don Imus. He spent 50 years on the air which in and of itself is unheard of. He said something once that stuck with me. It had to do with the idea of mentally editing what you are going to say on the air before you open the microphone. A sort of "mental rehearsal." Know what you're going to say. Get to the point. I tried to do that throughout my career. Good advice.

He was fired 4 times. There's an old saying in radio, "If you haven't been fired a time or two, you ain't doing it right."He got fired from a station once out in Stockton, California not far from me because he said the word "hell" on the air.  Can you imagine? That was at the very start of his career before he hit the bigtime in New York. My Dad enjoyed Imus because toward the end of his career he got into frequent political chit chat on his show and would often have well known political figures in the studio. Senator Bob Dole comes to mind. My Dad loved to read about and talk politics. Things often got heated at our house.

Imus could be grouchy, mean, angry, and often funny on his show, but through it all, he was always himself.  Listeners knew what to expect when they tuned in.  At the height of his career, he was making around 4 million dollars a year. He became a very rich man, but he gave back with his charity work and "Imus Ranch" for children in need. Just recently, I saw him being interviewed on CBS Sunday morning with Jane Pauley and he became quite emotional as he mentioned he had regrets about  some things he said or did on air that were hurtful to others. Teary eyed, it was a very rare moment indeed where he showed a side of himself others had never seen.  It was like he was reviewing his life and he looked rather frail. He was without a doubt one of a kind and there will never be another Don Imus.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Seller beware on Craigslist!

It's been quite the week here in my studio. I have a decent collection of voice over books that I'm looking to hand down to an aspiring voice actor. They're all in very good shape and on Craigslist under the "For Sale" books section. Last night around midnight, I was in bed and received a text message wanting to know if the books were still available. I replied they were and not hearing back from the individual, I went back to sleep. Next morning, I received another text saying he wanted to buy them and would pay me with a money order  PLUS pay me an extra $40 for them and he needed my name and address. I had been through a similar thing on Craigslist and a huge red flag went up on this.  I texted back and told him to stop trying to scam people. He disappeared. I'm in the Bay Area and his phone number was from New Jersey. In my ad, I specifically stated "Cash Only" and "Must pick up at my place." A variation of this scam involves a bogus check he or she gives you that you can deposit at your bank's ATM, but the bank will discover it's a fraud and you will be on the hook to make good on it.

And earlier this week, I responded to a voice over ad for a job out of L.A posted on Craigslist. A few days later, I received a reply from an "Alex" who said he had a $992 voice over job for me and they were making arrangements to find a recording studio near me so I could record there and they could direct from L.A.. There was some other weird wording about "I must be of a good mind" and other strange stuff having nothing to do with voice over. I emailed him back and said I would not be able to do the job because I had seen this scam outlined before on a voice over forum I frequent. There are a lot more details to this particular scam.  Just Google "Voice over scam" and you'll see lots of links.

So, just be very careful. There are some low lifes that for some time have been trying to dupe unsuspecting voice over talents. One final thing. When I listed my stuff on Craigslist, there was this information below. A good and timely reminder.

Avoiding Scams

Deal locally, face-to-face —follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
  • Do not provide payment to anyone you have not met in person.
  • Beware offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person.
  • Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union) - anyone who asks you to is a scammer.
  • Don't accept cashier/certified checks or money orders - banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible.
  • Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a "guarantee".
  • Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, paypal account, etc).
  • Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing "deal" may not exist.
  • Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.
  • "craigslist voicemails" - Any message asking you to access or check "craigslist voicemails" or "craigslist voice messages" is fraudulent - no such service exists.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Her million dollar voice is SO familiar

If you watch live awards shows you have heard her voice announcing the presenters, guests and such.
In the voice over world she began her voice acting career in, women were largely pushed to the side.
Men ruled and women played second fiddle. But Randy broke those barriers years ago. If you're a female voice actor, you have Randy to thank as she kicked in the door for those to follow after her.
Live announcing a huge event like the Oscars (as she has done many times) one would think would rattle the nerves a bit. But she's got it down-a real voice actor pro. Very inspiring.
Here's a link to a brief piece with her I found on YouTube. (Hey, if you're a guy voice actor, I think you'll enjoy it too!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HipvVuObC7c