Archive for March 2013

Louanne Frederickson Interview

MyPhoto66122902Louanne and I met at Faffcon 3 in Hershey, PA and immediately started chatting since we are both professional editors. When I was thinking about this interview series, she immediately came to mind, and she and I had a great conversation!

1. How did you get started in audio editing?

I worked for Holdcom, a company that produces on hold messages, voice prompts and a variety of other audio.   I was one of two producers – we were responsible for recording talent in the studio and mixing vo with music for the on hold messages, file separating for large numbers of voice prompt files, etc.  Eventually, the talent began to work online and we started working with “virtual voices” – coming from a variety of different at-home recording situations, so the challenge became double checking their audio against the scripts, matching audio quality between a male and female VO who recorded in different places, etc.   I made quite a few friends and contacts with the online talent!

2. Is there a particular type of audio you prefer to work on?

I really enjoy the on-hold messages, because they are fun and entertaining, working with the music, etc. along with the voiceovers.  E-learning narratives can be interesting if the subject is appealing — I’m not a big fan of audiobook work, because I like to finish projects quickly.  I’d rather do a lot of smaller projects than one big one!

3. What led you to create your company “Moments in Media”?

When I moved to Pennsylvania, I had a few voiceover talent friends who were starting to send me freelance work, and I began working out of my house.  I created the website and business cards to legitimize the business, but the majority of my work has been through referrals from my voiceover clients.  I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of steady clients who have been awesome, referred me to others, and have allowed me to continue making a good living working at home!

4. Do you have a project that was a particular favorite?

I like to work on projects that have a creative aspect – writing, picking the music for background, etc. as opposed to just cleanup editing.  I’m very task-oriented – I prefer to work on projects that can be completed in a short period of time, rather than projects that go on for days or weeks.

5. Do you think outsourcing editing is a service that could benefit more voice talent?

I think most talent can spend their time more profitably by doing the voicing rather than editing their own work, if they can afford the extra help.  It’s nice to have a team aspect to what you are doing, and in this business of working at home, it does help to have another set of ears and eyes on what you are doing before the client receives the finished product.

As a post script, if you know anyone who you think would fit in to my ‘techie’ interview series please email me at [email protected] Also, you can check out previous interviews with Morgan Barhart of SociableBoost.com here, Dan Friedman here, Jeff Kafer here, Eric Souer here, George Whittam here, and Dylan Gamblin here.

Next week I’ll be sitting down with the mustachioed audio wizard himself, Dan Lenard.

Faffcamp!

It probably won’t surprise anyone that I feel the need to write about Faffcamp. I’m going to Faffcamptake a break from my interview series this week, and tell you about this awesome event. So, Faffcon got bigger than anyone expected. Therefore, to keep up with the need and desire for more Faffing, Amy came up with Faffcamp. There’s been some great buzz about it already (EWABS and Courvo, plus awesome Aussie explainer video) but I particularly wanted to highlight the post of the always great, never late Peter O’Connell. He discusses the event itself and the sponsors that are the lifeblood of all things Faff.

The talents and mind of our Faff-mama-creator-amazing-director, Amy Snively, and the Faff-get-everything-organized-and-done-er, Lauren McCullough have a great event in store for everyone who has been looking for some Faff and hasn’t been able to get some. I’ve written about Faffcon a lot (One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, times plus my Faffcon Session.) in the past, and I won’t be able to attend Faffcamp, but I know all of you people will have a fantastic time and learn lots! My Dad and Sign Master Eric will be there to make sure that this Faff has some Souer too. So, read, register, and Faff on folks!

If you’re wondering about the interview series I mentioned above, you can catch up here:

And next week I’ll be continuing with Louanne Frederickson, editor and fellow Faffer!

 

Dylan Gamblin Interview

HeadshotBWDylan was introduced to me by his awesome Mom, Moe Egan. Dylan and I exchanged a few emails, and I was impressed by his attitude and desire to expand the work that he does. I knew he’d be a great addition to my interview series.

1. Tell us about how you got started in editing.

I was actually introduced to the business by my mother, Moe Egan. She taught me how to edit & proof in order to help her with her long-form narration so she could focus on voicing, invoicing etc. After editing multible books for her, I found that I really enjoyed the “behind the scenes” aspect of things and have been plugging along since.

2. What was a favorite project you worked on?

Brimstone Angels. In full disclosure, I’m a bit of a nerd. So, working on a Dungeons and Dragons audiobook was rather fantastic.

3. What is your favorite type of audio to edit?

I really enjoy audiobooks because you get to enjoy a storyteller do what they do; as well as help them deliver the best story they can. Also, it’s usually a decent time commitment, which is a good thing.

4. Do you feel the service you offer is helpful to all voice talent?

I’d say so. As a voice talent, there are many things on your plate (voicing, invoicing, auditioning etc) as an editor/ proofer, I alleviate at least one aspect of the daily grind for you (the aspect which some voice talent find to be the most tedious).

5. How should people contact you if they want to work with you?

The best way to get in contact would be via email at [email protected]

As a post script, if you know anyone who you think would fit in to my ‘techie’ interview series please email me at [email protected] Also, you can check out previous interviews with Morgan Barhart of SociableBoost.com here, Dan Friedman here, Jeff Kafer here, Eric Souer here, and George Whittam here.

Next week, Faffcamp will be making an appearance, as I interrupt myself to talk about the latest Faff-related awesomeness.

George Whittam Interview

George LogoIf you’ve been around the industry for a while, you’ve probably seen someone mention George Whittam in the context of how he helped them, or seen him and Dan Lenard on the weekly EWABS show. He’s got an amazing set of stories and a well of experience that any voice over professional would be lucky to draw on.

1. Tell us about how you got involved in audio production.

It’s a longggg story, but I first became interested in audio recording as a kid, recording anything I could with an old Sony reporter cassette recorder my Dad gave me.  As a teenager my Dad got us a Tascam Portastudio  One to have fun with and record live music performances.  At Virginia Tech I studied Music & Audio Technology with a minor in communications, spending most of my waking hours in the state of the art (of it’s time) digital recording studio.  After graduating in 1997 I interned at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia for a brief time, just long enough to get a taste of the commercial studio world and decide I didn’t want to go the usual career route.  My wonderful Dad helped me start ElDorado Recording Services, which I based out of a RV so I could bring the studio to the music.  It was a lot of fun, a real challenge, but never very lucrative.

Throughout my post college years, to support myself and supplement meager earnings from ERS, I worked as a bicycle mechanic, a sales person at a music store, a freelance audio technician installing sound systems in fitness clubs, and a remote broadcasting engineer at WYSP in Philadelphia traveling with the Eagles NFL team.      While working at WYSP I met Howard Parker, who needed to install a studio in his apartment in New York City, having recently left his position as a producer at the station to pursue his voiceover career.  My friend Lane Massey, a station technician and I did the installation, which involved Pro Tools, a WhisperRoom and ISDN.  At the time I lived with my girlfriend in Philadelphia, who pined to be back in Southern California again, where she had worked in the telecommunications industry.  In 2004 I decided to take a chance and move out with her to Los Angeles, feeling a need for a change and seeing opportunities for audio production abound on Craigslist.

With a fresh start in LA, I pursued production sound mixing, learning anything I could from others in the industry I meant online in forums and through purchasing used equipment on Craigslist.  Meanwhile, Howard Parker was also in the Los Angeles area by this time, and I had assisted him with some studio maintenance a few times.  I got serious about the soundmixing craft, and worked hard on advancing in the industry, with the next step signing on with the Local 695 Union.  Howard had referred me to his manager in NYC, who in turn referred me to some other voice actors who needed tech help.  Now I had two distinct areas of audio I was juggling, along with a stint as a sales technician for a boutique pro audio retailer.

Then one day I was referred by audio engineer to the VO stars Steve Nafshun to help out a successful voice actor with his aging home studio.  That’s when I met Don LaFontaine.  Everything changed after that, and I became his on-call tech, among a small but growing list of other busy promo voices in LA.  Two films that the were promised to “flip union” I was booked on lost funding last minute, and I decided this industry wasn’t for me, and shifted focus 100% to serving the voiceover actor in 2007.

2. Where did VOStudioTech (formerly known as El Dorado Recording Services) come from?

Looks like I answered that one already, huh!

3. Your business has gone some recent updates, going from El Dorado Recording to VO Studio Tech, bringing in your wife to help, and changing your service offerings. What prompted these changes?

VOStudioTech came out of a need to better brand myself for the industry I serve.  I also had a small identity conflict with an ElDorado Recording Studios, established in Los Angeles many years before I arrived.  I’ve worked to scale my business to handle an ever growing onslaught of voice talent that seems to be flooding the market.  But I also decided to diversify the service offerings we provide so that I wasn’t pigeonholed as an on-call technician.

I began to offer “virtual engineering” services to those who need help with perfecting their audio quality and processing.  At the same time in 2012 the audiobook production industry started to balloon quickly, and the percentage of clients working on audiobooks who were seeking help multiplied quickly.  I adapted to the demand and started to not only offer tech help, but audiobook services narrators need to be productive and meet their deadlines, such as editing, proofing, and mastering.

Another offering I developed is our Membership program, a service contract of sorts for those who want on-going and preventative maintenance for their home studios for a flat monthly or discounted yearly fee.  It really caters to the busy professional VO who can’t afford any downtime, or to the growing voiceover business that wants access to help whenever needed for one predictable monthly fee.

4. You’ve worked with a great variety of talent and projects. Do you have a favorite or a funny story?

One of my favorite stories, as it should come as no surprise, is about working with Don LaFontaine.  Over the few years I worked with him in his home studio, leading up to his untimely death in 2008, I would sometimes help him with some creative aspects of his favorite hobby, producing home videos of his children.  Howard didn’t do ANYTHING without going “all the way”, and his home video productions were no exception.  Throughout 2008 his illness kept him from working a full schedule as a voice actor, and eventually curtailed his ability to work at all.  All the while though he kept himself active working on projects of his own.

The last production we worked on was a video of an amazing theatrical performance his daughters Lisi and Skye were cast in with their Silverlake Children’s Theater Group, Teatro Della Morte.  It was theatre under a big-top, with live musicians on stage, over 20 different production numbers, a fire-breather in the parking lot, the whole nine yards.  Don decided to enlist the help of a few friends, including VO’s Paul Pape and Josh Daugherty, myself, my wife, a few camera operators, and a video crew to capture the event in style:  5 HD cameras and a multitrack audio capture!  I was the sound engineer, my wife Amy was the technical director, and Don called the shots.  It was surreal, and a lot of fun.

Don and I worked on the post of the video over the course of a month or two that summer.  In his studio we sat back to back, he at the Avid workstation I built for him, and I at the Pro Tools system.  He would put the finishing touches on the edit of a number, ask me for my final mix of the audio, and manually sync up the audio to the picture.  It was the beginning of what he had hoped would become a new video production company, and I was having a blast working alongside him, not as a boss or a client, but as a partner.  That August his vision for new business frontiers, including voiceover recording packages with training material developed by Don himself, came to a sad end as he succumbed to his illness.

The video post for Teatro Della Morte wasn’t completed, but by some miracle Don had managed to lock the edit for the entire 2 hour show.  I hired an Avid expert to help me lock the remaining audio mixes to picture, and we exported a the final cut of the video.  I was so happy I could deliver that DVD to his wife Nita to share with their children and their theatre group.  It was just one of so many ways Don went beyond the call of duty for his kids and anyone around him he cared about.

When I was approached two years later by Don’s old friends Paul Pape and Joe Cipriano to voluntarily help design and build a recording and teaching lab in Don’s name for the SAG Foundation, dubbed the Don LaFontaine Voice Over Lab, I couldn’t possibly say no.  You can see why…

5. How did you and Dan Lenard come together to create East West Audio Body Shop?

Dan and I met at VOICE 2008 as I was about to hit the stage presenting on the topic of home studio technology.  It was my first public speaking engagement, first time presenting on the subject, first time attending VOICE, and I was brought in at the last minute to fill a hole in the program left by someone else.  Dan gave me some sage words of advice about who I was going to be speaking for and advised I tone back the “geeky” side of my presentation so I wouldn’t lose to many in the audience.  Thanks in part to him my presentation went off great, and we stayed in touch after that.

In 2011 Dan and I were Skyping and blabbing out the state of the technical VO industry, as we did from time to time.  We often discussed how so many where getting bad advice, as evidenced by what we read in the VO forums.  It came to mind that perhaps people would be interested in what we had to say.  I am a big fan of Car Talk on NPR, as well as Leo LaPorte’s TWIT.TV network of webcasts, so our format was heavily influenced by these shows.  Car Talk for the dueling hosts and our initial format of answering tech questions live on the show, and TWIT for the technical side of how we bring the show to our audience.  Time lapsed from conception to Episode 1 was only about one month!

Now we’re past the 80 episode mark, going live most every Sunday at 6PM PST via Ustream on our website EWABS.com.  We’ve opened up the topics of discussion to the VO industry in general, and started creating our own original content, in hopes more would tune in each week.  Our guests continue to amaze us, which luminaries ranging from animation voice super-stars June Foray, Tom Kenny and Bob Bergen, to respected industry colleagues including Dave Courvoisier, Pat Fraley, and Marice Tobias.

As a post script, if you know anyone who you think would fit in to my ‘techie’ interview series please email me at [email protected] Also, you can check out previous interviews with Morgan Barhart of SociableBoost.com here, Dan Friedman here, Jeff Kafer here, and Eric Souer here.

Next week I’ll be sitting down with the son of another ‘voiceover family’, Dylan Gamblin.

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