Monday, December 27, 2021

Another handy guide for your voice over toolbox

 As you record scripts for clients from your home studio, you may come across a proper name or foreign word that you can't find on You Tube for pronunciation help. A favorite audio pronunciation site I've been using for years is called "Forvo." There are many pronunciation guides online, but what I like about this one is you'll have many "real world folks" saying the word for comparison. As mentioned in another post on this blog, never go on just one person's pronunciation. Listen for multiple ones to make sure you'll be able to record it correctly and save time. 

Now, there are exceptions that you may encounter that can lead to frustration and confusion. I recently voiced a video narration for a large Mexican supermarket called "Chedraui." It's a very popular chain and they're expanding into the U.S. Ever heard of them? Me neither. So, I went online to check, and many of the pronunciations were being said in "mother tongue." Frankly, it was hard to understand, as the pronunciation varied. Many times it comes down to how the client wants it said. I found out Chedraui is a family name that goes way back in the supermarket's history. I went on You Tube and searched Chedraui videos and heard no less than 3 or 4 ways people were saying the name. So, checking with the person you're recording for and asking how they want the word pronounced may well be the way to go. Of course, if you're out of your home studio and being directed in a recording session, the director/producer should certainly be able to tell you on the spot how they want it said.

Forvo is quite extensive and useful--most of the time. And I find they often have pronunciations that other sites do not. Check them out here. Then bookmark them. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

My Dad the "voice over man"

 Christmas certainly brings back many fond memories; going out with family to a tree farm in the cold Ohio snow to find that just right one, and hauling it back home to set it up and put on tinsel, lights and decorations. The aroma of a freshly cut tree in the living room was wonderful. You knew Christmas had arrived.

I was thinking the other day, it's hard to believe, Dad has been gone for 12 years now. Gone... but certainly not forgotten. He was bigger than life, had boat loads of charisma, and enjoyed a good joke and cigar.  He  possessed mad, pro-level bowling skills (Once bowled a 299 in league competition! The alley gave him the pin that refused to fall) and despite all efforts, I could never beat him at pool. He was a master of the bank shot and showed no mercy to his opponents. 

Years ago, his brothers, sisters, and cousins, started a family tradition of getting together at Christmas time and having a nighttime "party for grownups." In other words, no children allowed. A big part of that was Dad's funny tape recording where he would mercilessly roast all those in attendance with bawdy, inside, family humor. He worked all year on recording funny bits, then played it at the party. (Think Dean Martin celebrity roast and you're on the right track). It drew big laughs, and those in attendance couldn't wait to hear what he had drummed up that year, even if the cringe factor was off the charts. I'm sure it was kind of an honor to have him roast you.

He had one of those old reel to reel tape recorders and a microphone set up year round in the bedroom, and when the inspiration hit him, he'd fire it up and use homemade sound effects, and his own devilish vocal delivery, to tell a funny story or joke about some unsuspecting family member. I remember him laughing hysterically as he put the whole thing together at home, and I could tell he truly enjoyed creating that year's comical masterpiece. It was, as they say, a labor of love. 

These days when we need a sound effect for a production, we can instantly find it online with the click of a mouse. Dad did it the old school way. And had a helluva good time doing it.



Saturday, December 4, 2021

A cool piece on the late VO legend Don LaFontaine (The movie trailer guy)

 I miss seeing Don LaFontaine on funny TV commercials and recording movie trailers as only he could. I didn't know him personally but heard he was extremely generous in helping others with career advice.  Here's a video of him talking about his rise to international fame as a movie trailer superstar, and how as a kid, his voice just changed one day to a deep "growl".This clip has over 5 million views on You Tube! A fun watch. Don's great sense of humor comes through loud and clear.

Five voice over stars in a limo heading to an awards show

 OK. OK. I know this clip is very dated but's a funny skit with 5 VO superstars from way back. Don LaFontaine, the late, great m...