Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cartoonatics: Cast Members from "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Anim...

Just discovered Tom Ruegger's blog. If you are a cartoon fan, like I am, this is looks to provide lots of behind-the-scenes treasures! Check out Cartoonatics: Cast Members from "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Anim...: "In the mid-90's, we made a few 'Tiny Toon Adventures' primetime specials while we were producing the 'Animaniacs' series. This photo was ..."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

5 Early VO Influences

Happy Voice-Over Appreciation Month!

I thought I’d take a moment to showcase five voices that are probably responsible for the paths I’ve taken in life, be it radio or animation. Not that I knew it when I heard them, mind you. Let’s call them ‘early influences.’

Ernie Anderson
His voice was synonymous with ABC television for as long as I can remember. He was the personality of the network, which is the whole point of imaging. He had the voice of God and he made programs like the Love Boat sound like the most exciting show ever! You didn’t hop on board the “Love Boat.” You took a ride on the “Loooooooove Boat!” He almost made it sound dirty, which he claims was his intention in this terrific interview segment.


Wolfman Jack
That deep, raspy voice first came to my attention in a film favorite of mine, George Lucas’s “American Graffiti.” Although he wasn’t onscreen for long, his voice on the radio was as much a character in the movie as any of the young stars. There was a mystery about him. He sounded like a cartoon! What did he look like? Why does he call himself the Wolfman? Was he as hairy as a Werewolf? There’s a lesson in branding for you. I still enjoy his DJ bits on the (killer) soundtrack to this classic coming of age comedy. Jump to the :50 mark in the scene below to watch Wolfman Jack’s cameo with Richard Dreyfus.

Mel Blanc
No surprise here. The Man of a Thousand Voices! He’s on everybody’s list. Bugs Bunny, Barney Rubble, Speed Buggy. I’m sure Mel Blanc was the first animation voice I ever heard, and I’m positive he was the first voice-actor I ever saw in front of the camera. Seeing him onscreen in that famous American Express commercial didn’t break the illusion for me. I knew they were hand-drawn cartoons. But to think all of those voices came out of one man? I just thought he had the coolest job in the world! Apparently many folks felt that way as his requests for autographs jumped significantly as a result of the ad.

James Earl Jones
Another great mystery here. Two or three, in fact. And another George Lucas movie… Star Wars. David Prowse was tall enough to fill out the Darth Vader costume, but a British tenor was not what Lucas had in mind for the voice of filmdom’s most popular villain. He chose the deep, bass tones of James Earl Jones. And when the helmet came off in Return of the Jedi? It was neither of these guys. But “Luke, I am your father” is one of the most (mis)quoted lines in film history (he actually says ‘No. I am your father.’) And then there’s his great speech in “Field of Dreams.” And of course, the ID for CNN.

Rich Little
Rich Little was always on TV when I was growing up. Seemingly able to do an impression of anyone, he even had the targets of his satire laughing (as you’ll see in the clip below). Rich Little had me doing impressions of Rich Little doing impressions of celebrities. And we can still take a lesson from his fearlessness when performing… He’s not afraid to look silly. He commits to the role. And he really becomes the character in posture, mannerisms and facial expressions.

This is by no means a definitive list of my voice-over heroes, nor are they ranked by importance. But when I stop and think about it, they really are my earliest voice-over influences. They provided the catch-phrases of my youth.

Who influenced your VO career?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Toast for National Voice-Over Appreciation Month!

Photobucket September is National Voice-Over Appreciation Month. I’m lucky enough to be a part of the voice-over community, but I thought I’d take a moment to share with you the many ways that I interact with voice-over when I’m not the one on the microphone.

When I'm driving, a pleasant sounding British woman tells me where to turn. This makes for a total of two women in the car giving me directions.

When I shop, an

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Audio Editing 101

Photobucket In the freelance voice-over business, we all wear many hats. The acting hat, the marketing hat, the book-keeping hat… The John Deere hat, the dunce cap, and the one with the mouse ears…It’s possible that you are a voice-actor by choice, but an audio engineer by necessity. If you are new to slicing and dicing .wav files, this tutorial is for you.

The images and shortcuts provided in this article reference Pro-Tools, and are Mac-centric, but the methods can be applied to any audio-editing software that you may happen to use. Honestly, if you are strictly doing voice-work, a free program like Audacity is all that you need to record and edit a single track. If you have goals of producing your own multi-track commercials or demo songs, then I would suggest

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Pat Fraley/Brad Garrett Comedy Class

Pat Fraley has an upcoming class in Los Angeles called ‘Crafting Comedy under the Stars.’ The stars the title refers to are “Everybody Loves Raymond” alum Brad Garrett, stand-up-comedian/voice-over artist Vanessa Marshall and, of course, the great Pat Fraley himself.

If you were at Voice 2010 this past June, you were treated to an early morning surprise visit from Brad during Mr. Fraley’s opening day comedy class. What seemed to be a loud heckler somewhere in the audience turned out to be one of the most recognizable faces-and voices-in comedy today. Audience members were invited to read scripts alongside Pat and Brad, with hilarious results!

Pat has created a promo piece for his upcoming workshop using photos and audio from the Voice 2010 session. I think it's worth your time to watch it. It’s the rare promo video that actually dares to teach you something, instead of only offering hyperbole. For instance, I like the insight of NOT playing drunk, but rather playing an intoxicated person struggling to appear sober. Brilliant! And that’s not the only tip you’ll glean from this short video. Take a look.

Great stuff! Interested in taking the class? Visit

I wish I could be there. Take notes for me, huh?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Despicable Me (Celebrity Voice-acting with a Twist)


The hit film “Despicable Me” follows the trend of casting celebrities in animated features, but with a twist: the actors are doing character voices, rather than just lending their familiar pipes to a version of their on-screen personas.

Steve Carell headlines the villainous comedy as Gru, and he adds a very un-Steve Carell accent. Watch the clip below to see Steve in action and hear the results.

Jason Segel also stars in the film as a young, nerdy bad guy named Vector. In this interview from HitFix, Jason explains that the character designs came before he was cast, which influenced his approach to the voice of Vector.

“Despicable Me” has met with mostly favorable reviews, and done so well at the box-office ($195,373,890 as of this writing) that, according to, we can expect a sequel by 2013.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stephanie Ciccarelli Guest Blog

Dave Courvosier's blog just featured a great guest column from's Stephanie Ciccarelli. It deals with understanding your brand, and how in these days of online social-networking, the face you show your friends and family is inevitably the same face you show your clients. Whether you mean to or not! Your best bet is to be careful about what you put out there, while being true to who you are.

Okay, that's the teaser. Click over to the Stephanie Ciccarelli Guest Blog for the full meal deal.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Voice Over Historical Landmark - The Voicecaster Demo Wall

The days of reel-to-reel may be gone, but this wall-of-demos is worth preserving. Check out the star-studded collage at Voicecaster studios in Burbank, California. Great blog post from Some Audio Guy!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Go, Speed Racer, Go. Godspeed.

Peter Fernandez, the voice of Speed Racer, has passed away. He was 83 years old. Learn more about Peter's interesting career in radio, on broadway and in the military at Animation World Network.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Demo this advice

I'm not sure where I heard this advice recently, but it makes so much sense that I had to share it with you (in an illustration no less)!
Demo Evolution
What does this mean? It means that if you're doing audio book narration, and you want to do commercial work, you should include some commercial examples on your demo! Nobody is going to listen to your genre demo and think to themselves, 'this guy (or gal) should really be doing this other genre.' No one is going to discover you that way. You have to make them see you! Find a few scripts in the genres you want to tackle, and start recording. Good luck!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Will the real Donald Duck please stand up?

I was searching Twitter for other voice-actor "tweets" when I stumbled across a gentleman calling himself VActor4Disney. It caught my attention. As it turns out VActor4Disney is actually the page of an aspiring Disney voice-actor. Still intrigued, I gave one of his videos a looksee. You know what? He's good! Check out his impression of

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Dice" TV commercial for Northern Quest Casino

Here are a trio of commercials from Hanna & Associates for the Northern Quest Casino in Eastern Washington. I think they did a terrific job with the creative, and I'm proud to play one of the die in the second spot. I'm the guy who gets the last punchline in.

Keep an eye out for the ad during Mariner games on FSN.

By the way, if you ever find yourself near Spokane, check out the Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights. Among other things, it's got a sportsbar with the games projected onto the biggest screen I've ever seen in a sportsbar!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

John Wayne: Voice Actor

Is there any other actor that is more closely associated with America and her ideals? John Wayne had a great career, and an interesting voice... Often imitated, never duplicated. In honor of our Independence Day, I give you the Duke himself, reading the Pledge of Allegiance as only he can.

God bless the U.S.A!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Real Life Story of a Disney Princess

Obituary: Ilene Woods dies at 81; voice of Disney's Cinderella -

FREE! Comic Books for Actors

PhotobucketWhen I was a kid, I loved book-and-records; especially those Power Records releases that included a comic book, with a fully produced drama. Music, sound effects, and voice actors told the stories of Spiderman, Superman, and other childhood heroes.

My favorite of these was an adaptation of Planet of the Apes. I had the whole thing memorized.

My dad loves to tell the story of our long car rides and how I would keep myself entertained in the back-seat by re-enacting the entire Planet of the Apes script-sound effects and all! This was pre-in car DVD, pre-iPod. We kids had to have a little more ingenuity in those days! Looking back, this was my first experience as a voice-actor.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Smurf Justice Hits the Airwaves!

Yesterday I spoke to Seattle’s KOMO 1000 News about Bob Bergen’s “Smurf Justice for June Foray” campaign on Facebook. Here’s the story as it aired in drive-time yesterday afternoon…

Since the story is somewhat ‘evergreen,’ they tell me that it will probably be repeated over the 4th of July weekend. This is good news! That’s 3 or 4 days of on-air exposure for the campaign. Hopefully we’ll get a little traction and see the numbers go up on the ‘Smurf Justice’ Facebook page.
If you’d like to help us grow those numbers, here are a few suggestions:

  • share and re-share the Facebook page with your friends
  • post a fun June Foray trivia fact or video and link to the Facebook page
  • use your other social media sites, like Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace. Again, including some interesting content so that you are not just spamming people.
  • E-mail the story to your friends and family who may not be using social media. You are welcome to forward this page. Animation Magazine also did a nice piece which you can view here.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
It's important to note that this isn't a protest of anything or anyone. We just think it would be cool for June-and for Smurf fans-if the filmmakers included the voice of the original Jokey Smurf in some capacity.

Thanks in advance for your help. Have a Smurf-tastic day!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Branding Your Voiceover Business

There isn't enough talk on the voice-over sites about branding. Branding is who you are, and how you're percieved. It's so important to your voice-over business that I am going to explore the subject from time to time on this blog. We'll start with this short slide-show I found online.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Porky Pig Swearing Blooper

I remember hearing this as a teen. Never saw the video before now. Not sure if this is legit or not. Sure sounds like Mel Blanc. Can't imagine this playing in theaters, though.
Nonetheless, it is quick and funny! (And Rated PG)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The A-Team of Cartoon Voices

I was searching YouTube for the June Foray video that was shown at Voice 2010. I found it-and a couple of other fun voice reels! Enjoy.

Animation Magazine keeps Smurf Justice for June Foray moving

Animation Magazine picked up the story of our Facebook campaign to get June Foray a role in the upcoming Smurfs movie. You can read the story here.

Invasion of the Headphone Snatchers! (Uncut, unrated, extended edition)!

Last week I was priveleged to have my blog featured in VOX Daily at But the kind folks there have much better taste than I do, and know their audience better than I do, so a colorful analogy from Ashton Smith was omitted. I understand and respect their decision to keep things family friendly. But I feel that Ashton's comparison is so spot on-and funny-that it may provide that "a-ha" moment of clarity for some readers. I've got a one word anaology for acting while wearing headphones that is even more abrasive. But I'll stick with Ashton's PG version to get the point across.

Along with that, I am adding in a comment from Marice Tobias that a reader shared in repsonse to the article.

Now, without further ado, I present: INVASION OF THE HEADPHONE SNATCHERS! Uncut! Unrated! Extended edition!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Invasion of the Headphone Snatchers!

I am honored to say that todays blog has actually been published on

It's about my belief, and people much smarter and more experienced than I, that headphones get in the way of the performance.

Not everyone agrees! Read the blog for yourself on Vox Daily at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Smurf Justice for June Foray!

PhotobucketIf you grew up watching cartoons, you grew up listening to June Foray. When I was a kid, I would get up at o’dark-thirty each weekday morning to watch Rocky & Bullwinkle before school. For the uninitiated, June was both Rocky the Flying Squirrel and femme fatale Natasha.


June was also

Monday, June 7, 2010

VOICE 2010 Photo Album

My head is still reeling from information overload at VOICE 2010. I promise to filter those thoughts soon and share them with you. Until then, here are a select few photos from the event.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

VOICE 2010: Blog 6 (a quick testimonial)

Hello again,

I can't stress enough what a fantastic education and inspiration VOICE 2010 has been. Entertaining, too! I liken it to an accelerated college course for voice-actors. I told this to VOICE co-founder James Alburger, who said

Friday, June 4, 2010

VOICE 2010: Blog 5 (F'ing FUN companion to f'ing NANCY WOLFSON'S f'ing CLASS!))

This blog is R-rated, but very fun. You have been warned.

VOICE 2010: Blog 4 (Why you should be all over the internet)

VOICE 2010: Blog 3 (Game changing voice-acting tip)

VOICE 2010 is definitely proving its worth as a career investment.  The instructors a dynamic, informative and generous with their time and advice. If you aren’t here this year, start saving for the next one.  But if you did miss it, I have what I feel is game-changing advice. It comes, again, from Marc Cashman. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing.

Marc reminds us that the reason film actors are so good in a role that they ‘become the character’ is memorization.  Relying on the printed page is a crutch. Does that mean you need to start memorizing your scripts? No. You can use a technique called ‘lifting the copy.’ That is, read the line to yourself, then look away from the script and speak the line without reading. The difference this made with one of the volunteers was amazing! A real transformation!

One side-effect: lifting copy makes for a lot of breaks in your read. But you can edit, can’t you? If not, you should learn. But that’s a topic for another time. For now just give this a try and hear the difference!

VOICE 2010: Blog 2 (That elevator voice & the sound of words)

Do you find yourself repeating what the Hyatt elevator is telling you? Me too! Especially ‘lobby.’  I even caught the hotel staff doing it.  I think it’s because the female voice-actor says ‘lobby’ the way you or I might say ‘delicious’ or ‘sexy!’

Those words have definite meaning and corresponding sounds.

One of the many great tips Marc Cashman shared in his session was

Thursday, June 3, 2010

VOICE 2010: Blog 1 (Comedy, Online career, Networking)

Wow! Welcome to VOICE 2010! This is my first year in attendance at what is so far a great conference. 

If you were unable to attend, I hope you’ll gain a sense of the experience here in sunny L.A., and get some valuable information as we go-along. Normally I like to give you the full story when I blog, but as I’m between classes and gobbling down a quick lunch, I’ll give you some fortune-cookie sized tid-bits with a promise to elaborate later on.

Pat Fraley’s class on comedy was amazing. Upon calling for volunteers to act out scripts, a very loud voice started heckling Mr. Fraley from the back of the room.  An outgoing v.o. student? A belligerent party guest who never made it home last night? As it turns out, Pat brought along surprise guest Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond, ‘Til Death)! What a way to start the morning!

Important tips from Pat Fraley’s class on comedy:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Rob Paulsen/Maurice LaMarche Primer

Photobucket Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, sometimes known as Pinky and the Brain, are guests of honor at the Voice 2010 Celebrity Banquet on Saturday evening, June 5th. I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at their work, as kind of a primer for the uninitiated, and a refresher for the rest of us.

Rob Paulsen has won

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mighty Mouse Silenced

Allen Swift passed away recently. He was the voice of Terrytoons' Mighty Mouse, Underdog villain Simon Bar Sinister, and General Patton in the film 'the Longest Day.' The New York Times wrote a nice piece about him, which you can read here.

Swift filled in as the voice of Howdy Doody,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Bosses

A couple of weekends ago Larry Miller was performing stand-up at the Parlor Live, a killer comedy club in Bellevue, Washington. Bellevue is a suburb of Seattle, but they’d probably string me up by their money belts if they heard me say that.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Voice 2010 (June 2nd thru the 5th in L.A.)

VOICE 2010, an international conference for voice-over professionals, is fast approaching. The red-carpet rolls out on Wednesday, June 2nd at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Classes begin the next day. It doesn’t matter if your niche is voicing

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Allow me to introduce...myself.

Hi! Thanks for checking out my blog. I figure an introduction is in order before we get started with the fuel-injected, caffeine-enriched good stuff. My name is Dan Roberts. I’m a voice-actor, writer and producer working in radio, animation and video.