Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Voice in the Wilderness

Link to A Line in the Sand on Vimeo

Sometimes, You Get to Play One of Your Personal Heroes.
A Line in the Sand, an animated film featuring quotes from beloved and irreverent environmentalist Edward Abbey, was produced and directed by Justin Clifton for Our Canyonlands and the Grand Canyon Trust in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act by President Lyndon Johnson. In the film, I represent the voice of the late Edward Abbey whose works helped formulate my own environmental perspectivesThe film, which draws attention to imminent threats to the fragile beauty of public lands in the Canyonlands of Utah, the Colorado Plateau and the Desert Southwest as well as the elemental place of wilderness in the American psyche, personifies the kind of work on which I focus my talents.

(Edward Abbey was noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novels The Monkey Wrench Gang and Heyduke Lives, which have been cited as inspiration by radical environmental groups, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire.)

Credits: My audition for the role came through my dear friend and voice talent agent Carol Rathe of Go Voices in Denver. The audition was recorded by Anthony Stubelek of Rock Studio Recording and Mastering in Brunswick, Georgia, and the final recording session took place at PRC Digital Media in Jacksonville, Florida, Chris Linke recording engineer. The session was remotely directed from Flagstaff, Arizona by the film's producer/director, Justin Clifton, and co-director, Chris Cresci.

Monday, October 6, 2014

One-Minute Voice Demo

It's temporary—I'm waiting for some other work to hit before I include it in the demo—but here's an example of some relatively recent voice work.

One-Minute Voice Demo from My Soundcloud Page

Friday, October 3, 2014

Shooting the Prodigal - "Movie Trailer" Voice Project

Link to Shooting the Prodigal promo on my Vimeo Channel.

When my earliest and closest friend from childhood, David Powers, President of Belltower Pictures, approached me to perform a "movie trailer" voice over in a promo for his upcoming motion picture Shooting the Prodigal, I enthusiastically agreed. I'd read the quirky and uncanny script, and found it to be laugh-out-loud funny and inspiring. As the promo states, Shooting the Prodigal is "a breath of fresh air in a world of thou shalt not."

David and I began in radio, television and motion pictures at the same time—10 years old—when we built an in-all-likelihood illegal pirate radio station from which we would broadcast to the neighborhood each afternoon. Later, in high school, we simultaneously started our careers in earnest working together at the local radio station and writing and recording music together. From there, our paths diverged a bit—I became a sailor; David entered seminary—but we have maintained our close friendship across the miles, marriages and the years. I was honored to again work with my life-long friend and to play a modest role in bringing his work to fruition.

Now, if I can just convince David to cast me in the role of the old geezer with the goat. The goat!? You'll just have to see the movie.

(Principal filming of Shooting the Prodigal is slated to begin in May, 2015 in Virginia.)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Irreplaceable


The sharp sound of shattering ceramic echoes through the room. A spinning shard comes to rest. Then all is silent. I close my eyes and drop my head forward for a few breathless moments, allowing the memories to sweep over me.

Even in a whisper, my voice echoes, “Do you want to kiss her good-bye?”

The tow-headed, eight-year-old boy, his blue eyes open wide, remains silent, bowing his head to one side and slightly shaking it “no."



“This may be our last time alone with her.”

He remains motionless.

The young woman lying before us in the soft light is peaceful in her repose. Crisp, white sheet pulled up under her arms, golden-brown hair spilling away from her serene, unmade face. Eyes softly closed, arms at her sides, palms open, slender, ringless fingers relaxed.

I stroke her hair, then lean over and kiss her. Though my lips linger on hers, she does not respond. I touch her cheek. It is cold, as cold as the ceramic tile walls, as cold as the stainless steel IV pole with its dangling, disconnected tubes, as cold as the now-silent vital signs machine and the crash cart carrying the deactivated defibrillator.

I slowly step back, take a deep breath and close my eyes. I hear my own heartbeat.

With my hand on his shoulder, I lead the little boy beyond the blue surgical curtain and into the doorway where a nurse is silently waiting. She whispers that she is so terribly sorry.

I ask if my son can have a lock of his mother’s hair. We sit on the blue plastic seats of the sad, square metal frame waiting room chairs until she returns with a white envelope. Inside is a long, golden-brown swirl of hair. I thank her. We leave. Just the two of us.

Among the images that recall themselves from the summer that followed, many of them caught on home video, all bereft of a mother's touch, is a grainy video of my son standing alone on the sidewalk, sparklers sizzling and scintillating in each hand on a July Fourth night and, when they burn out, he drops them to the sidewalk and shrugs his shoulders as the scene fades to black.

In the fall, his elementary school class visits Disney World on a day trip. I have to work and am unable to chaperon, but I give him money to spend on food and souvenirs. That evening when I return from work, he hands me a small shopping bag imprinted with a Disney World logo. Inside is the black Donald Duck ceramic coffee mug. The money I have given him for himself, he has spent on me.

The cup has accompanied me ever since, for nineteen years, treasured and protected, a constant reminder of my son’s unselfish gesture.

As I am rearranging a book and some papers, the cup has fallen from the stool where it always rests as I sit drinking my morning coffee while reading. Despite my desperate attempt to grasp it in its seemingly-slow-motion fall, it has crashed to the terrazzo floor and shattered.

I weep. I weep, not for the loss of the cup. There will be others. I weep for what is irreplaceable.

Then, I raise my head, shrug my shoulders, pick up the pieces, and breathe into life's next moments.

Morning coffee about to brew in my Donald Duck cup
  on the tailgate of a 4X4 high up in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The MED - "Baby" - 30-Second TV Voice Over

 Link to The Med "Baby" Commercial on Vimeo
Link to The Med "Baby" Commercial on my Vimeo Channel.

There's a link in the right-hand side bar to my Vimeo and YouTube channels, but this one deserves some attention. This commercial is for The MED (Regional Medical Center) of Memphis and is one element of a three-part campaign.

I especially like that, even though it was not part of the original project, the producer wanted to try to keep my voice for the sake of continuity, so he requested that I retain the gravely quality of my delivery, but with a warmer, more gentle approach. This was the result.

It's always a pleasure to be part of excellent production, and these spots produced by Peter Zavadil of Taillight TV are exquisite. My thanks to Peter for his excellent direction, to Anthony Stubelek of Rock Studio in Brunswick, Georgia for his thoughtful expertise in recording the voice overs, and to my good friend and agent Carol Rathe of Go Voices in Denver.

If it's true that "you're only as good as your most recent work," then I'm kind of proud of this and the other spots for The MED, but I'm always up for the next opportunity.

(You can click on the mother and baby image to view the video.)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don't let the sound of your own weasels drive you crazy.

"The Corner" in Winslow, Arizona. Photographed 08/07/2012.

When he was three years old, my son John would join his older sisters in singing every popular or obscure song they knew. Both girls were in honors choruses and choirs and musical productions from an early age and John was drawn in by the joy and exuberance of their musicality.

At the time, the Eagles must have recently reissued their first hit, Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey's Take It Easy. Perhaps the girls discovered my LP of the Eagles' Greatest Hits or Jackson Browne's album For Everyman. I just remember the song's pervasive presence in our home.

From the outset, little John was drawn in by the song's rollicking beat, and he easily learned the lyrics... except for one line which he sang with such delight and abandon that we lacked the heart to correct:

"Don't let the sound of your own weasels drive you crazy."

Little John must have unwittingly known a truth even at that early age: Sometimes the sound of your own weasels can indeed drive you crazy. We come to see our weasels as reality and we want to alter it, to fix it.

As I proceed along this figurative and literal path, I have learned that the "me" to which I object, and which I wish to transform, does not even exist. That it isn't at all real.

What is "real?" As John Lennon wrote, "Love is Real."

More on that as I stumble along. In the meantime, however, don't let the sound of your own weasels drive you crazy.

~ Sedona, Arizona - August 8, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Into the Senyas Ashrama


As a writer, producer and director with eighteen years in an advertising agency environment, as well as at least as many years in film and video production and the performing arts, I chose to depart from traditional consumer product marketing.

While there will always be a place for conscientious and creative marketing of useful products, I was burned out on trying to sell more stuff to people who neither needed nor could afford more stuff, stuff that seldom made any contribution to anyone's quality of life. Instead, I have committed my talents, vision and mindfulness to working with people and organizations involved in the products, practices and services that enhance spiritual awareness, enrich the human experience, and perhaps help save us from extinction.

While I do not pretend to be enlightened, I have awakened to the knowledge that we humans are the conscious expression of Creation, the Universe becoming aware of its self. We stand upon a mountaintop of evolution and from this lofty place in the middle of eternity, we have the sole purpose of kindling a light in the darkness of mere being.
What I do...

I am a voice and on-camera talent with exceptional professional representation and an international clientele.
  
 I conceive, write and execute award-winning, strategic marketing campaigns for organizations involved in environmental preservation, adventure travel and self-exploration and spiritual growth.
  
 I write, produce and direct video and film projects, particularly those which focus on environmental preservation, sustainable products and practices, and tourism.
  
 I am an outdoor photographer and writer of indefatigable energy and adventurous spirit. My work has been purchased and published by Kodak and licensed by National Geographic.
  
 Being drawn to wide, wild, windswept and mountainous places, I recently completed a six-month assignment with the National Outdoor Leadership School, the largest outdoor education institution in the world. NOLS' classroom is the wilderness and it is committed to sustainable practices, both in the field and throughout the organization.
  
 In my work for NOLS, I attained a CDL with passenger and air brake endorsements, and I drove over 10,000 miles, safely transporting students, provisions and gear over dusty desert roads, winding mountain passes and rocky one-lane tracks high above the snow line to wilderness trail heads. Through that experience, combined with my lifelong work as a producer of major video productions and live events, and as a voice and on-camera talent, I now possess a singularly unique logistics and live production skill set.

In moving into this senyas ashrama of life, I believe that our best hope of survival as a species begins, not only with practical skills, but with mindfulness and personal awareness. Toward enhancing that awareness and accompanying others on the path toward enlightenment is where I wish to focus whatever light I may kindle.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Images from a Western Odyssey

The Rockies at Sunset - From Raton Pass on the Colorado-New Mexico Border.

In May 2011, I accepted a six-month assignment with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming and the Teton Valley of Idaho. NOLS is the largest outdoor education institution in the world, it's classroom is the wilderness, and the school is committed to sustainable practices in every aspect of its operations. I immeasurably benefited from my six-month immersion into that culture and came away with significant new skills in my armamentarium of abilities.

While driving nearly 10,000 miles across the wide, wild, windswept, mountainous places where NOLS conducts its mission, I had a few opportunities to make photos. A collection of images from my travels with NOLS, the return journey across America and images from other travels can be seen on Panoramio, the Google Earth image repository featuring over three hundred of my photos -
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http://www.panoramio.com/user/290665

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Conversation with God


This still shot of me was taken during filming of the 2010 season promo for Bone Collector on the Outdoor Channel. In the promo, I played a homeless man who is taught to fend for himself with a bow and arrow. During a lull in the filming, however--in a few moments that seemed surreally suspended in time--I had an encounter with an actual homeless person that is indelibly etched in my memory.

The director and crew were across the street, discussing the next scene with the three principals of Bone Collector who were in a large, black truck with tinted windows. They were obscured by the truck and, because we were mostly using natural light, there wasn't a lot of production equipment in view.

From where I was sitting by myself on an overturned milk crate, next to my stereotypical shopping cart prop, waiting for the shooting to resume, I watched the old, bedraggled man come around the corner and make his way along the sidewalk toward me, pushing a two-wheeled cart loaded with all his belongings. I confess my discomfort that he would ask me for money or engage me in conversation. Instead, he walked past me without speaking.

Then, as he was crossing the street, he turned back and asked, "Are you hungry? I have some food that you can have." I told him that I was fine, but he persisted, "It's okay. If you're hungry, I'll feed you." Again, I told him that I would be okay. He reluctantly said, "Well, if you're sure," and started to walk away. Then, turning back again, he called out, "You need to get out of this town. They don't give a damn about homeless people here." With that said, he turned away, walked off down the street and disappeared around a corner. A moment later, the director emerged from behind the truck, the crew reappeared and shooting resumed as if nothing had happened.
 

What does that say? Here was the outcast, untouchable, unseen man possessing almost none of the things with which our society measures itself, yet he was prepared to share his modest food supply with me while unknowingly admonishing me for my own lack of mindfulness.

 
It was a conversation with God that I will never forget. It altered my perceptions and my life’s path.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
                                                                              ~ Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TV and Radio Commercials Demo