Friday, December 28, 2007

Now that everyone now knows, I thought I'd share it with the world, This was originally to be sent in a card to all my family members as their Christmas Gift from my wife and I, but we didn't quite get that done and it was all done either in person here in KC or by phone to my immediate family members. This is the greatest gift ever to given to Kiki and I and we look forward to August 18th, 2008 when we'll welcome a new addition to the Larson home.
Happy New Year,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What a Christmas!

I'm going to be a father!. I'll post a pic later of the test, and my wife and I couldn't be more excited as it's been a 10 year struggle with infertility that the miracles of medicine and faith in the Creator of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ has bestowed this blessing upon us. The most exciting part of it really, was telling our relatives, brothers, sisters, Grandparents and friends. It is the very best Christmas present I have ever received or probably will ever recieve. Happy Holidays to one and all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Christmas Blog

As I wind down 2007 it has been a difficult year for both my freelance business and my personal life, but there is good news. If you look back at my first post in Life 101, I explained that my wife Christen and I were trying to conceive a child... I'll let you know the results on Christmas Day when we take the test again.

In January of this year, I resolved to find better paying freelance voice over jobs, pay off some debt, and continue to not to smoke cigarettes. Well.. at least I don't smoke anymore. Christmas will mean more to me this year than any other for a lot of reasons, I have a home, I have a job, I have family and I live in the greatest country in the world. Life 101 is getting better and better. In 2008 I resolve to once again try and market myself and my services better, I'll be a better Christian, I will do my level best to provide for my family and I'll do everything I can to make this world a better place for you and I. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Voice of the Holidays

It's that time of the year, the hustle and bustle of the rude, the obnoxious, yes, the holiday shopper. Voice work is at a premium here, everyone wants to advertise their wares and most want to do it without sounding "Christmasy"( is that even a word?). A lot of potential advertisers are writing their own scripts, badly of course and they want you to sell their product in the most conversational way possible. But here's the caveat; the commercial copy is written in bullet points and you are to "ad-lib" the delivery.

Tough call, do you turn it down and risk losing a potential client forever, or do you try and read through it a couple of times to get the feel of the copy and then try to have a conversation with your imaginary muse. Hmmm, the latter would probably drive you crazy with multiple takes but... just imagine how imaginative you can become when you get to improvise and "sell" the product.

Here's an easy way to get into that mode of delivery. If you have children, make up stories and use that to "ad-lib" your way through it, if you don't try volunteering at the local library or you can talk to yourself, (at the risk of people looking at you weird) .

I have found that on more than one occasion, telling a story to a 4 year old is great practice, it's fun and you'll find yourself able to converse in an ad-lib type format for just about any product. Now, as far as the copy is concerned, well, you'll just have to live with that one.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Has it come to this?

The Dalai Lama has an audience with GW, the Turks want to invade N. Iraq to kill Kurdish terrorists, China has said in essence, (and in my best Tony Soprano VO) ' You do this and we gotta problem wit youse guys'.

There's approximately 20 wars going on throughout the world, anarchists in San Fransisco, defiling the Catholic Faith by accepting communion and what Catholics consider the body and blood of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Al Gore gets a Noble Peace Prize for telling the world that it's climate is changing, which, by the way, the world has been doing since it was created, tell me something I don't already know.

My house is not ever going to be worth what I'm paying for it, because mortgage companies and banks gave loans to people who knowingly will never repay them. I think I understand what my grandmother was trying to tell me about the Great Depression, we're headed that way, and probably sooner than later.

Is this the apocalypse? Are the 4 Horseman just about ready to saddle up and bring the wrath of GOD to the masses?

Is there any GOOD news in our world? I've been reading blogs, listening to the news media, both left, right and and fair and balanced, but I get discouraged when all I hear, read, is death and destruction. When is it going to stop?

I think I'll just turn up Mudhoney and fall deeper into analytical thought

Monday, September 24, 2007

Growing pains

Well, it's been awhile since the last blog, and quite frankly a busy last couple of months. Not so much in the voice over business, but Life in general, I DID get an agent, no paying gig yet, but some great auditions. I dropped because I wasn't getting any gigs, I have contacted several agencies outside my region and sent demos for inclusion, found some great sites for networking and getting my "voice" out there. Took a part time job cleaning a cancer research center to try and get our bills under control, what else.. oh yeah, worked my ass off at my regular job. But maybe things will start to get better in the coming year, but then again, I say that every year. There just isn't enough time in the day to get the things done that I need to get done. 'Nuff complaining, back to work. Write soon, wish you were here (;D)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Do I need an Agent?

I wondered aloud as I haven't gotten but one job from a Voices company. Over 200+ auditions and only one job. Hardly justifies what I spent to "join" this outfit. Perhaps I should get a voice coach, and pay them 150 bucks an hour in the hopes that I may or may not get a voice over gig that will help pay my mortgages. I'll explore it, but I don't have that kind of cash available, do you? Nah,, didn't think so.

So what IS the deal with agencies?,, I'm a non-union freelance voice over artist and there in lies the problem. I believe that agencies hire union talent because they can negotiate higher rates from the client and still pay the talent their scale fees. It's B.S. but that's the nature of the beast.

I'll make some inquiries into it and get back to you. In the mean time, just keep doing what you're doing.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lots of Hats

I love hats, I have about 100 hats in my closet, and my wife will do just about anything to get rid of them, but each hat holds a memory, a point in time where it was received, purchased or found that brings about an emotional response.

Think about that when you're voice acting, or narrating a piece, invoke emotional responses to what you're speaking about. Whether it's cars or cracked foundations, you're ability to tell the story with an emotion in your voice will convey to the listener the one thing that emotionally connects them to the idea, product or story.

I find that telling stories to children is a great way to tune up character voices, or work on delivering an emotion. It's great practice, and its fun for kids too. Try it, volunteer at your local library, or read to your own kids, or grand kids for that matter. You'll find that when you tell the story, and it's just you doing all the characters in the story you'll find ways to emotionally connect to the story, and the audience is just as emotionally connected as you are.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Finding you niche' is probably going to be hard! No, really, it's going to be the hardest thing about voice work/production. Finding out what you're good at took me 19 years,, well not that long, about 15 years actually. I always wanted to be a radio superstar.. like Lujack, or Mancow, or Dare, or Imus. But,, that never happened, and it probably never will.

So I had to find out what I was good at. Let's see, I can tell good stories, (especially to 3 and 4 year olds) with character voices and mouth made sound effects. Ok, I'll put that on my check list. Let's see what else.. hmm, ok, I have a knack for creating imaging that cuts through, with the use of sfx, drops, conversational pieces.. Ok,, that goes on it too.. but what do I do the best?

I create commercials that sell! But I didn't do that by myself, I had a little help from a creative director who writes.. OH,, you can do that too.. fan-freakin-tastic! You're well on your way to finding that niche' I've been talking about.

Marketing yourself and your niche'?

.. well, let me do some research and I'll get back to you

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July WHEW!

Been a while since the last time we chatted. I've been through so much in the last month it's mind boggling. My father had quadruple bypass surgery and is still in the hospital with rehab issues, a family member had the most extravagant wedding I've ever been to or will go to, and I've been dealing with some personal issues that I think I've worked out.

I started this blog to catalogue my life and how it relates to life, sort of a "how to" book online, but it's mostly becoming a place where I can vent, and post my thoughts on all kinds of stuff.

But enough about me, let's talk about Voice work, imaging and what needs to happen to make it "sound" right. I've worked with a lot of great voice over people in my career, and they've all got great advice on how to get work in this cut throat business. But let's face it, unless you've got kahunas the size of grapefruit, or a voice so unique it's really hard to get business. I'm a member of several online communities, but I've only gotten a few jobs and it's extremely rare that I get a substantial amount of money for the work that I do.

That being said, do not be disheartened by it, and most certainly don't take what I say as gospel. But do try and find your niche' and then follow it. Tomorrow, I'll share how to create some cool effects with software and mic technique.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Now what?

I received information that my father is to undergo an angiogram on Tuesday. "No big deal" you might say.. but the rub is that my father wouldn't have even told us that he was going to have this procedure if had his way.. Mom is the one who told us and even she didn't know much beyond that as Dad wouldn't let her go with him to the doctor.

What kind of logic is that, is my father so bitter or uncaring that he won't even tell his children that he is having, in my opinion a major surgery (ok, I'm stretching and overstating it a bit) but I'm concerned for the welfare of my parents. I think it's rather selfish of him.

In this wonderful world we live in, the marvels of modern medicine make it possible for doctors to insert a piece of fiberoptics, and look around my dads heart valves. Amazing isn't it! Now for the hard part, they will force him to sign documents specifying that "if needed" we (the medical professional) may need to preform bypass surgery to correct any obstructions that may or may not be found. Isn't that just a way for them to garnish their already depleted Medicare Plans?

Here's the irony, my dad really could care less whether he lives or dies. He's lived a great life. I just wish he would "LOVE" life even more.. There's lots of life to live.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Everything is for sale

I can buy Paris Hilton's prison jumpsuit for a billion dollars. Ok, so that's a slight exaggeration, but is it?.. Why would I want something like that, and what possesses anyone to buy crap like that. I heard you can buy serial killer John Wayne Gacy's shoes, or perhaps Sirhan Sirhans toothbrush. People will buy anything as long as there is controversy or celebrity attached to it. I had my picture taken with Mancow at a friend of mines wedding, maybe in 300 years it will be worth something.

Which brings me to another observation.

Why do people hate you or are disappointed in you if you like or admire another person. I am who I am, and I'll have anyone I want to as my hero's and who I admire is my business and none of your concern, if it bothers you that much then get a therapist. Ok, enough of that, back to my original thought. If I can buy Paris' jumpsuit, what's next. Brittany's shredded locks, or perhaps Lindsey's puke stained shoes. No thanks, I'm saving my money for something worthwhile.. gasoline

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fallen Hero

Memorial Day 2007, what did you do?.. I watched Band of Brothers unfortunately with commercials.. good thing for TiVo. There are lots of things that can make a grown man cry, the birth of his first child (I'm still waiting on that one), the singing of the Star Spangled Banner at ANY sporting event, Ol' Yeller, getting a great deal on pizza, Ok, not so much that one, but you get the general idea..

I happened across a documentary on some obscure channel and cried,, it told the story of 5 men and their families and how Iraq has changed them. The soldiers were from a National Guard unit based in Iowa and they're families stories put tears in my eyes, not because of their situation, but because as an American, I'm moved by such dedication to the security of our way life, they had been told that their tours of duty were extended by 12o days. That may not seem like a lot to you and I, but for the soldiers and their families it's a lifetime. Imagine the look on the 8 year old's face when his mother tells him that his Daddy is not coming home in April like they planned, but maybe in August. It brings the salt filled tears of emotion right back to the front.

The fallen hero's of this conflict, will never be forgotten, they'll take their rightful places next to veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Afghanistan. Remember them the next time you're bitching about gas prices, your job, the weather, the price that's paid out weighs all of that.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What can be learned from a 4 year old

I'm in a Target store yesterday, buying some Green Tea because someone told me it's good for you., that's a different story.. anyway.. a young mother and her charges.. an infant in her arms, a two year old in a stroller and the 4 year old are meandering through the store. She's frantically trying to herd her brood through the winding aisles of the Super Target, when I came up on them.

The 4 year old, I think his name tag from day care said "Hi I'm Bobbie", walks up to me and without missing a beat, points to his name tag and say's "Hi" and immediatly crams his index finger into his nose to dig for that ever elusive CogMollie. Before I could muster a "Hello", his mother yanks him by the arm, glares at me like I'm a serial killer and berates the lad for talking to strangers.

While I admire the mother for taking charge, I must admit, I was taken aback by what her attitude was towards me. I can remember as a child, not much older than Bobbie, when my elders were quick with the hellos, and the pull my fingers. You can't find that kind of friendliness any longer.. at least not here in the city, maybe in small towns across the country. Wouldn't it be great if we could walk up to people we don't know, with name tags that say 'Hi I'm____" and stick our fingers in our nose, regardless of how tacky and un-PC it is. With the world the way it is.. I think I'll try it and see

Monday, May 21, 2007

Why Plants make you smile

Have you ever noticed how plants and flowers make you smile,, c'mon, admit it.. even if you aren't an avid green thumber, you have to admit that gardens seem to switch on the emotional light inside you. Kiki and I have had to create a small garden,by necessity really, because the air-conditioner is about to roll down the hill in my backyard.

We've gone to the HD and picked out flowers and grasses we think will add beauty and intrigue to our outdoor spaces.. Our backyard is horrible.. it's slope is steep and grass won't grow, so when it rains,, it washes everything away. Now, if I happen to get a win in the lottery, or a windfall of some sort, I won't be creating a retaining wall to keep all that in, but I digress. We now have created this wall around the AC and are in the process of creating a small flower and plant garden.

The smile part comes when your garden, that you created by actually getting your hands in the dirt and playing like your 5 again , comes together and looks like those you see in the magazines. Living everyday to the fullest,, another part of Life 101

Friday, May 18, 2007

Looking for work?

What not to do if you're looking for a new job? Don't do it on your current employers time.. C'mon we all do it,, admit it, you're tired of your job and you want a new one, one that pays more, has more benefits, is closer to your home. But really, be honest, you've looked at Monster, Career Builder and other job sites while you're supposed to be working for your current employer.

I've done it, I'm not proud of it, but I've done it. If you are looking for a new job, do it on your own time. If you're reading this while you're at work. You're not doing your job. Oh, I'm sorry, you're on break, or at lunch, or just getting ready to leave your office. Well then, that's OK.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why jail is bad for celebrities

Well, let's see, I read today where Paris Hilton's jail term has been reduced by half, and she'll be spending it away from the general population of the prison. Why?.. she's no better than any other criminal who broke the terms of their probation. Why does she deserve preferential treatment? Because she's a silver spoon fed, pouty faced brat? and why do I care?. I care because the judges who preside over our justice system are more worried about how they'll fare in their next general election than to administer the punishment fairly. You know the old saying "Do the crime, Do the time"? But I guess it's just Hollyhood.. you're a celebrity, you are seen and heard and the world follows you're every move because they want to be like you. What a waste of my tax money. Here's what I suggest they do instead, put her in Watts or anywhere in East L.A and let the real 'hood take care of it.

I'm not bitter am I?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Help me understand

Ok, Casey Serin (an immigrant) has racked up millions in debt to mortgage companies and banks, refuses to get a job, insists on trying to find a way to get rich quick. Yet, his blog is making money. Shouldn't his creditors garnish those Yahoo and Google accounts to help pay back that fraudulent waste of my money? Seriously, I've been trying to find ways to increase my financial worth for years, perhaps I should have taken the Casey Serin School of Money Management and with a little better luck I could have been in the Black instead of the Red. You have to give the guy a little credit though,, at least he's manipulated the system enough to get putz' like me to examine my life's goals.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Why potholes are a good thing

Without potholes, You wouldn't have to maintain your expert driving techniques, you save money on tires, shocks, brakes, and that, in turn saves gasoline. With gas now at 3.09 in my neighborhood, I've noticed that a lot more people have started to get their vehicles ready for sale or trade for one of those new Nissans or Toyota's that remind me of a really cool golf cart. I will miss the day's of filling up the car and just going for a drive, anywhere... anytime...

That being said, our children will really never know the pleasure of just cruising the neighborhoods, dirt roads in the country, or the main drag ( if you don't know what a main drag is.. you're too young). Now, back to the whole pot hole thing.. I have a huge one beginning to develop right where it irritates me most.. the driveway. I have to come in at a steep angle every night and when I leave in the morning I must navigate out of my flat driveway at such an angle that NYC cab drivers would be extremely proud. Oh, I've called the city, I've called the HOA,I've called just about everyone except my congressperson, and you ALL know how that's going to go.

So, what to do, I COULD fix it myself with a bag of cement and a trowel, but that's not the point, I should be able to get this fixed with just a phone call to the City Street department. Not gonna happen, I've added this to my summer list of 10 things I'm going to get done this season, and none of those will probably get done anyway.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Life 101 is launched

Ok, so I've got a myspace page, a twitter page, a regular website, and I've posted all other places in the world. So now.. I've started my own blog and I'll post my random thoughts on Life 101 and how to get a degree in Life.. It's really quite simple. Just live your life the way you think you should. Don't kill anything you don't plan to eat. Love your spouse as you would love yourself, appreciate the small things in life.. like Twinkies.. More of Life 101 is coming to a blogosphere near you.. Thanks for reading