1. How did you first get involved in the production side of audio?
I spent 15 years in radio and television. Mostly on air, but also held some management positions like Operations Manager. I was production director during the 1980’s. I wrote, recorded, edited, and produced radio commercials and programming. It was all on tape back then. You timed music, cued up sound effects and did it in one take. Then you dubbed it down to a cart machine. That, until a 1″ 4 track machine rolled into my studio one day. Then it was punch editing and multi-tracking. It seemed to be where I had the most creative flexibility and I really thrived on it.
2. What led you in to voice acting?
I was a stage actor in high school and college and did lots of community theater for many years after that. It was theater that actually led me to broadcasting.
Being on-air,producing thousands of commercials and of course voicing many of them was my everyday work. It always surprised me that some other jocks had no theater experience and were in it for reasons other than performance. It had to do with the sound of their voice. Those days are gone. I spent 10 years doing some other stuff like teaching, but I missed being able to create commercials and programming. Like many people, in the early 2000’s, I rediscovered it as the Internet based marketplace we have now was just evolving.
3. How did you come up with the name ‘home studio master?
When I started my home studio, having a background in radio and video production allowed me to instantly understand what was required. The new digital technologies made what used to be a lot of labor, more like drawing with crayons. I got lots of email from people who had seen a forum entry or something I would blog about home studios. They asked a lot of questions. I had a “Dear Abby” sort of column with Voices.com for a few years where I was dubbed “Master VO.” (a parody of Master Po from the TV show “Kung Fu”)(It was also borrowing from John Lovitt’s “Master Thespian.”) I would answer reader questions on VO recording technology. When I decided to break out and consult with people about their home voice over studios professionally, It was the first name that came to mind. Always go with your gut.
4. Okay, I have to ask, have you always had the trademark mustache?
Well, I’ve had facial hair in various configurations ever since I could. But, we had a family friend (Who was actually the brother of comedian and actor Dick Shawn) who had a magnificent handlebar mustache. He was so elegant and debonair and a really funny guy himself. I always wanted one. When I turned 50, I simply decided it was time. Amazing what you can find out how to do on the Internet. I really wear it to honor him.
5. Where and how did you come up with the ‘studio suit’?
I have a friend with an Army-Navy surplus business. He was showing me around the warehouse one day when he pointed out this special material used by the military. He thought it would be good for soundproofing basements for rehearsing rock bands. I took home a roll and experimented with it. I soon discovered that while it had limited sound proofing qualities, it was killer for a small VO booth. It absorbed sound at a wider range of frequencies than some other dampening materials thus eliminating the need for Bass traps and other dampening. It turns small walk-in closet into a complete dead space. I used it in my new booth that I built this summer in a closet, and the results were spectacular! Because it can be custom cut to fit any room and has grommets and ties built into it (for rapid deployment and bug-out) it is simple to install. Its available now in 5 X 8 foot sheets making it perfect for most wall heights. I’ll be making a few other sizes and am designing a simple booth that will solve the “not on our bedroom” recording argument.
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, Dylan Gamblin here, and Louanne Frederikson here.
Surfer, speed editor, audio guru and all around great guy Zak Miller is the subject of next week’s interview!