Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cute and funny are my favorite

I'm a sucker for click bait just like the rest of you. Much as I try to avoid or ignore it, I'm constantly sucked in by stupid stuff on Facebook with "30 things not to say to your girlfriend" ... or whatever. And after the first page of four items, each moderately funny, you're treated to one item per page for another 26 pages. I usually bow out after that first page of four. But I do like me some funny.

Today I've got some videos to share with you -- things I've voiced in the past few days. One of them is a mix of clever and funny (my favorite) and another has the most adorable baby squirrel. Plus there's a whole whack of other things because not everything can be cute or funny.

Let's start with the most recent offering from Econ Cow, "More Ways to Break Tied Elections (Voting #6)." I've mentioned this series before, which I enjoy for a couple reasons: 1) Politics, yay! 2) It's put together in a very amusing manner.

Next up is the cute baby squirrel video from Did You Know. Just look at all the cute:

I'm not sure that the last picture really hit me like a bag of bricks ... but that's how marketing is done these days. I just read words out loud. Did You Know features three new videos each and every day -- all voiced by yours truly.

Defense Updates also has a couple new videos up, including this one about the tense peace between Russia and China:

Of course, much of what I do never lands in a place when I see it. But it's out there. Somewhere. If you run across something that I voiced in a weird place, do me a favor and tell me about it.

Eight minutes until Monday and I'm about to settle in for a long night of reading words out loud. But thought I'd share a few recent ones with you -- it seems like it's been a while since I've done that.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sometimes saving money isn't worth it

I love Five Below. It's a discount store in the Walmart plaza on Military Road in Niagara Falls. It has everything from t-shirts to toys to books to electronics. It's where I get my cheap headphones and occasionally grab something else that looks like it might be worth more than $5.

That was the case the other day when I ran across the Shaper Image Visual Charge Wall Plate Charger and Power Outlet. I've concluded recently that I have more things* that charge (or are powered) via USB cords than via actual electric plugs. And I've been looking at outlets with USB plugs built in on Amazon. But when I ran into this option for just $5, I had to try it! And it's from Sharper Image so it should be decent quality, right?

My review of the unit, which I posted to Amazon, indicates that I was mistaken. It's not worth $5. In fact, I'm not sure I'd use it if it were free.

Oh well. This is the risk of buying $5 products. Try, try again.

Maybe you'd rather spend your money differently ... like on this KickStarter for Misery Loves Company that I did a voiceover for. Or not. Whatever. It's your money.

A few other things I've voiced recently:

Defense Updates: Why North Korea Won't Last Even a Few Days in War with U.S.?

The guys from Did You Know seem to be really keen on three topics: death, abandoned places, and dogs. Today covers all three:

1) This Guy Went Into A Town That Was Abandoned In 1982. What He Found Is As Stunning As It Is Eerie.

2) What This Village Does With Their Dead Is So Bizarre… But Somehow Kind Of Sweet !

3) 16-Year-Old Dog Dies Saving His Owner’s Life From A Wolf Attack

And there were, of course, other items -- including a series of phrases for a children's video game in which I play the role of a surfer dog. Yay, surfer dog.

Okay. Now I'm off to record another piece for the city of Constanta, Romania. Then maybe sleep. Maybe.

*May be a slight exaggeration

Monday, July 17, 2017

Quitting while I'm behind

Today (or yesterday, depending on how your calendar works) started out mildly frustrating.

I had worked for several hours on a relatively small (3,500-word) voice-over for a client. I had done about half a dozen takes on his scripts, which he wanted to be "authentic" but "energetic." After several discussions back and forth of what he wanted and numerous re-cuts on his script, I decided I had to cut him loose. It was better to forfeit the previous work than to risk wasting further time on a client who didn't seem to *really* know what he wanted.

I should have known earlier that it wasn't going to work when he gave me a 700-word script and wanted it squeezed into 2:30. I told him what he wanted just wasn't possible but I was able to get it into 3:30. That's 200 words per minute. (The average American speaks 110-150 words per minute.) He wanted to know why I was talking so fast. *blinks*

Anyway, I cut ties with him and refunded the money he had paid. But again, I'd rather be out cash than continue to waste my time.

I decided to take a break and catch up on Twin Peaks, as well as watch the Game of Thrones season premiere. Both were excellent uses of my time and I returned to work refreshed -- and maybe a little twisted. (Watch the shows, you'll understand.)

Three scripts from Did You Know put me back on the right path. Then I did a script that's part of a series I'm doing for the city of Constanta, Romania. I really enjoy these scripts ... but they're a lot more work than some of the other things I voice. For one thing, they're about half in Latin. But it's history and culture, so I get to learn while I work. One funny take away from that script: I had to say the phrase "by the barbarians" and, for the life of me, couldn't get it right. "Tabula Peutingeriana?" No problem. "By the barbarians?" Nope. So when this happens, I just say the phrase over and over until it clicks. I found it funny so I posted it to Soundcloud:

After that, I had a couple other small bits to record and then, this blog post.

After this, I return to a long-term project for the students of You Lin You Ke -- an English-learning class in Beijing.

Oh! And Doctor Who is a woman now. 'bout damn time.

- Scott

Friday, July 14, 2017

Allen Burger Venture ... yes, please

Out on the town Thursday, following my first visit to Hotel Henry, sustenance was required.

I've heard so many good things about Allen Burger Venture but hadn't had the opportunity to venture there yet. (See what I did there?) Let me just start by saying that Thursday may have been my first trip there but it will NOT be my last.

Walking up, the place is packed -- inside and out -- and there's a bit of a line at the door. Nothing overwhelming, mind you. And it moved quickly. I think we waited maybe all of 10 minutes to get a table. It was, after all, 7 o'clock on a Thursday. Busy was to be expected.

There's tater tots in there. And they were awesome.
Since we had drinks at 100 Acres at Hotel Henry, we switched to good old-fashioned pop at ABV. RC Cola. She had root beer. And we ordered: Loaded tater tots to start, followed by a #2 for her (Beef on Weck Burger) and a Chimichurri Burger for me.

The tots came first and we kind of regretted ordering burgers. Seriously, these were both awesome and awesomely filling. They had what appeared to be homemade tater tots with pulled pork, jalapeno peppers and other tasty bits, with melty Monterey Jack cheese on top. There's also a version that has two sunnyside-up eggs on top.

Just as we finished the loaded tater tots and decided that neither of us could ever eat another bite of food again, the burgers came. And ... we didn't want to disappoint the staff by not eating them. I mean, the staff had been so nice and helpful. So ...

Chimichurri Burger from ABV. On their special menu. 
So I had ordered the Chimichurri Burger, in part, because +Juda Nevadomski had posted a Grilled Dinner And Chimichurri recipe to All WNY News about a year ago and we had a discussion about me needing more chimichurri in my life. It having been nearly 12 months since and me not having added said chimichurri, I felt it was almost an obligation, really.

Imagine the ingredients from the aforementioned tater tots (minus the tots themselves) on a burger ... with chimichurri sauce. Yeah. That was my burger. And it was delish.

Her burger included New York state cheddar, caraway seeds and horseradish aioli. It came with au jus for dipping. It looked brilliant. I can't say how it tasted.

All burgers come with fries. They were salted -- but I added more, of course.

In all, the bill came to $54 -- which is a bit more than I'm used to paying for a couple burgers. But totally worth it.

And in the end, the YouTubers below actually paid for them. Here's a roundup of some videos that popped in the past 24 hours or so ... voiced by yours truly:

First up, we've got a pair of videos by Did You Know. I was voicing videos for them here and there. I had mentioned previously that one of the videos I'd voiced had 1,000,000 views. The rest of their videos used a computer generated voice. Going forward, I'll be voicing all their videos -- three per day. Their channel is growing really rapidly and I expect to see them get their first 10,000,000-view video soon.

1) This Elephant Survived A Poaching Attempt. Then Vets Noticed Something Weird:

2) North Brother is an Abandoned New York Island Nobody Knows about

We also have a new entry from Defense Updates:

And finally, the latest from Econ Cow:

Okay. That's my life in a nutshell. Now get out there and live yours!

- Scott

Abandoned / Reclaimed

I may be one of the few residents of Western New York who hadn't broken into Buffalo's former Richardson Complex near Buff State. I've seen photos and heard stories about the former psychiatric center -- or "insane asylum," if you prefer. But I'd never been inside and didn't really care to -- until Thursday.

Recently refurbished and now open as "Hotel Henry," the former Richardson Complex -- or at least a large part of it -- is now far from abandoned. An Art Walk held there on Thursday showcased the fact that while the building hasn't been remade plank by plank, there is once again hope residing there.

As the top photo shows, the designers took great pains to retain some of the "urban decay" that intrigued so many about the building. That carpeting, while having the appearance of falling apart, is brand new -- and likely quite expensive. The photo at right, meanwhile, shows some of the more modern amenities.

There's a whole bunch more photos available here.

Kudos to the architects, contractors, and all involved in re-opening the portions of the Richardson Complex that have opened thus far. It's gorgeous.

Now, let's contrast this with a "Did You Know" video (below) that popped today showing 52 abandoned places. I voiced the intro on this, but honestly, the part I love is the part after I stop talking. (I have a feeling there may be others out there who also love when I stop talking.)

Obviously, some of these abandoned places are beyond repair. Fortunately, they still hold their own intrinsic beauty.

Thursday also included a trip to Allen Burger Venture. More on that later. For right now, I gotta voice some things.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Smoked ancestors ... it's what's for dinner

Okay, so maybe the headline here is a bit misleading. But ... dude. The guys from Did You Know sure have a way of finding (and asking me to voice) some unique things. Take for example today's latest update from Papua New Guinea:

I'm not sure what I want to happen to my body after I die, but I'm pretty sure that making me into what looks like "Scott-jerky" and setting me on a mound in the middle of the village ranks pretty low on my list of options.

There's no one like Poe

I've long been a fan or Edgar Allen Poe. I mean ... how can you not?

So when a potential client asked for a voice sample for a horror/thriller story they're looking to have voiced, I did a quick take on one of Poe's shorter pieces, "Eldorado," which is now in the public domain, as it was originally published in 1949.

The image, meanwhile, is courtesy of

A much-needed day off ... (with tacos)

I mentioned in my earlier post that this blog is NOT just about voice-overs. For those who have followed for a while, you may know I post all sorts of things: columns, thoughts, commentary, insane drivel, whatever. But lately, I've had a lot of v-o related stuff to share.

On Friday, though, I took the day off from voice-overs to do some much-desired shopping, eat some much-craved Mexican food, and engage in some much-needed sleeping.

First of all, it should be noted that while the majority of the day was spent at the Walden Galleria, that was the shopping destination of choice largely due to its proximity to El Agave, which came highly recommended from those who eat tacos.

Arriving at the mall, the first (obvious) stop is World of Beer for a pint and some fried macaroni and cheese bites. The pint (Brooklyn Blast) was tasty. As were the mac and cheese bites. But at $7.50 for six of them, I'm not sure about the value. That said, I've never left WoB disappointed. (There's a reason it won an All WNY Award) And that didn't change on Friday, either.

From WoB, it was on to the shopping part of the adventure. My hope was to snag a deal on a pair of pants, maybe a shirt, and maaaaybe a Windows 10 tablet. Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. So ... I found some pants I liked. But I forgot that I'm two inches smaller than I was. So the pants I liked weren't in the size I wear. The shirts I liked were not in prices I liked (I just can't spend $40 on a shirt.) And as much as I WANT to like the Win10 tablets, they just leave me feeling ... wanting. So ... Oh well. I did, however, pick up a couple decent pairs of cheap sunglasses, some new shoes, and cookie dough. I also ogled bikes at Dicks. But I JUST bought a new bike a couple months ago so... no on the new bike.

I don't think I've ever spent eight hours at the Galleria ... until Friday. Needless to say, after so much shopping (even if there wasn't that much buying), I wanted to eat ALL the tacos. Thank God for El Agave.

Pretty much, as a rule, if I have Mexican, I want the staff to barely speak any English. This was clearly the case at El Agave. Not only did most of the staff not speak English, neither did the vast majority of the patrons. I took this as a good sign in my first visit to the eatery. I wasn't wrong.

I ordered two tacos -- beef, and a chimichanga -- shredded beef, as well as a guacamole salad ... and an order of fries. Cuz I'm "that guy." The ground beef tacos could have been better, to be honest, and not just because they were hard-shell (I didn't specify, so that's on me). But it seemed like the meat was overcooked? Or something. Something was off. They weren't BAD, mind you. They just could have been better. The chimichanga was fantastic, though, as was the guac salad, which I basically dumped on top of the fries and ate the pair as a combo. (Don't mock it until you've tried it).

Finally, with a full tummy, I went home to sleep for nearly seven hours, which is almost a day and a half's worth. I also took a nap "today" (Saturday), which is why I'm posting this at 3:30 in the morning. That, and I've been working on voiceovers for my favorite Ukranian client almost all day. But ... more on that later.

Oh, I also spent some time catching up on Twin Peaks and preparing for Prime Day on Amazon, which is Tuesday, in case you didn't know. Maybe I'll write more on that later, too. For now, I need some sleep.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Two more YouTube entries

I promise this blog is not going to JUST be about voice-overs. In fact, later I think I might post a little something about my trip yesterday to the Walden Galleria and El Agave Mexican Restaurant. But for now, it's more YouTube videos.

First up is "Does Your Vote Matter in Real-World Elections? (Voting #4)" from Econ Cow. I've said before that these are literally my favorite things to voice, largely because I genuinely enjoy the topic. I also really appreciate the style of the finished product.

For those of you who say voting is pointless, I give you some ammo:

Second is a current events video from Defense Updates: "How Powerful is North Korean Latest ICBM & Is It A Threat to U.S.?"

I like the fact that I genuinely learn from Defense Updates' videos. Foreign policy was never my strong point. Military matters is probably my weakest point, politically speaking. I also like the fact that these videos are pretty consistent and the check always clears. :)

Okay. Later, I promise I'll post something a bit more personal.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The music is the hardest part

Considering my love for music, it's somewhat ironic that I make efforts to avoid client requests to add music beds to my voice-overs. Or maybe that's exactly why I make those efforts.

For a commercial, a YouTube video, whiteboard, etc., if the music bed -- or background music, if you prefer -- doesn't match what's being said (or seen), it detracts from the piece.

As such, I often spend a lot more time looking for music for a commercial than I do voicing the commercial. A 30-second spot, for example, might take 5 minutes to record, re-record, re-record that one part again, and then edit. But finding music for that spot? Might take 30 minutes. Maybe more.

So I'd rather not do it.

Now you could, if you were cynical, call that laziness on my part. I prefer to refer to it as an effort towards efficiency. I could record six commercials in the time it takes to find one music bed. And since it's my voice I'm selling, it makes sense to avoid music beds.

But the guys from Did You Know really wanted music. So my deal with them is to add music to the voiceovers I do for them. This is further complicated due to the length of the pieces. The last one I did for them was 6:40. I needed TWO music beds (and had to loop one of them) just to make it work.

So? Did it work? A couple comments on the YouTube video would suggest it didn't. Personally, I liked it.

I also found that I really like the musical style of Kevin MacLeod who created both beds I used: Deep Noise and Chee Zee Jungle - Primal Drive and offered them for use under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Defense Updates: Why should China fear the USS Stethem?

One of my most consistent clients is Defense Updates, which offers three videos per week on global military operations, often focusing on the United States' dealings with China. This morning's video is about the USS Stethem, a guided missile destroyer hanging out in the Pacific Rim.

Here's the video:

Need a voice for your YouTube channel? That's what I do! Check out the basics here and get let's discuss specifics by email.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

See you downtown!

More than half of the voiceovers I do are for people overseas. In fact, sometimes it seems like the vast majority of them are. So it makes me happy to see some from right here in the U.S. of A. -- especially today, it being July 4th and all.

Here's a promo video for a family-friendly concert series in downtown Morgan Hill, Calif. Look at that amphitheater! I know a few people who would love to see that here in WNY.

The Morgan Hill Friday Night Music Series from 111TH AERIAL PHOTO & VIDEO on Vimeo.

-- Scott

This is Kosta

I don't think of Instagram as a video service but one of my clients Alvin Dang, seems to use it quite effectively.

I give you, "This is Kosta:"

Personally, I think the audio's a little too "hot." But maybe the kids like it that way.

- Scott

A few more things I've voiced

Yesterday, I noted that I'd been doing freelance voice-over work for the past few months and pointed out that one of the videos I'd voiced reached a major milestone: 1,000,000 views on YouTube. I'm happy to announce that the views continue to roll as it reached 1.5 million today. I also thought I'd point out a few other pieces I'd voiced, as I promised I would.

This first one is from a YouTube channel called "Strangeish." It features scientific and paranormal anomalies. The one I voiced was about something called the Baltic Sea Anomaly, which looks like a crashed space ship. Or maybe it's just some rocks. Who knows.

I've done several videos for Defense Updates, which offers three new videos per week dealing with US defense, mostly, it would appear, in the Asian rim. Some of these have really tested my pronunciation as the following example shows:

I've learned a lot voicing these and they try to be very current when it comes to military issues.

Another client I've worked with somewhat regularly is Econ Cow. The few videos I've voiced for them have been political in nature, which makes them particularly enjoyable for me. Also, the video style itself is a lot of fun.

An example:

Going forward, I'll try to share videos as I learn about them. In the spirit of that intention, what follows is a new video from Did You Know, about 10 Roads You Would Never Want to Drive On:

If you're a YouTube content creator looking for a voice, I'd be happy to discuss with you the options for my voicing your videos. Just head over to the Voice-Overs page on this site for more details and then shoot me an email to get the ball rolling.

- Scott

Sunday, July 02, 2017

1 Million is not a very lonely number

I recently started doing freelance voice over work because I like money and everyone tells me I have a face for radio. To the best of my knowledge, the below video is the most far-reaching of anything I've voiced, getting over 1,000,000 views in just two days.

I've voiced literally hundreds of other things in the past few months. I'll tell you more about some of them later ... and share links to the ones I've seen. (Most I have no idea what happens to them).

Oh, and I changed the look of the website so you know it's 2017 and not whatever year I originally designed it in.

More soon. I promise.