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    Video! - New Studio Day ONE!

    Aug/03/2009 | Posted by John Melley

    VIDEO - Studio Buildout Part 4!

    Jul/29/2009 | Posted by John Melley

    VIDEO - Studio Buildout Part 5!

    Jul/29/2009 | Posted by John Melley

    Staying Healthy In Cold & Flu Season Part 1

    Jan/12/2009 | Posted by John Melley

    How were your Holidays? Mine were a little less hectic than I expected which had its merits on one hand and some disappointments on the other.

    We had what we call up here in Boston a “Wicked Stahm (Storm)” a couple of weeks before Christmas. I had taken that week off to use up the remainder of some vacation before the end of the year. We were invited to a couple of Christmas parties, but couldn’t make them because it basically snowed for 3 days straight.
    Ann and I shoveled a few times and then stayed in and watched DVD’s of our favorite TV shows—”Buffy The Vampire Slayer” for Ann and “The Sopranos” for me. I absolutely love that show and have all the seasons on DVD.

    I also spent some time writing some letters about my new Audio Interview Program and organizing our home office.

    We had a lot of clutter around and I’m pleased to say that as I am writing this Newsletter to you, we have 3 recycle bins placed next to the snow bank at the end of my driveway just LOADED with paper, boxes and more that will no longer be occupying my space… and be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
    We also caught the tummy bug that’s been going around so we had to cut short our visits with family over Christmas and New Years, which was a real bummer. My birthday is a couple of days before Christmas and I basically spent it in bed. Fortunately, it wasn’t a head-cold, so I’m pleased to say I was able to do the voice session I had for EMC Corp. that day.

    I haven’t had a cold in 3 years and I can’t afford to get that kind of sick.
    This all leads to a question I get asked all the time from voice talent: “How do you stay healthy or get rid of a cold quickly?”

    That’s the subject of this month’s tip pulled directly from my Exclusive Voice Over Training Manual that I use with my In Studio and Tele-Coaching Voice Over Students.
    I hope you find it helpful. Stay healthy!
    John

    Staying Healthy in Cold & Flu Season

    Jan/12/2009 | Posted by John Melley

    If you’re in Voice Over and use your voice to earn money and entertain people, taking care of it should be your number one priority. I’ve lost out on voice gigs and had to skip auditions due to colds and laryngitis. As a voice talent, nothing is more frustrating. Who knows the lost opportunity as a result of not having a chance at being cast for a part?

    The best thing you can do for your voice is to drink plenty of water. Keeping hydrated is critical to keeping your voice in good working order. Try to stay away from drinks with a lot of sugar in them as it coats the vocal folds and they have to work just a little harder. This extra effort is multiplied over the course of a day and your voice can tire out more quickly. Also minimize your intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can dehydrate you.

    Some say you need to have an intolerance for dairy to have it affect you, but I have found that milk, cream and other dairy products increase and thicken mucous. I find it’s best to minimize my intake of these items at least a few hours before a voice session.

    You should also get plenty of rest. Tension and fatigue can be heard in the voice. Over the course of the day we naturally get tense in response to various events and activities. Even mundane tasks add tension throughout the day. This tension is felt throughout the body, your neck and shoulders. It affects your ability to breathe and translates into tension in your vocal folds affecting the quality and pitch of your voice. Relaxation exercises will help with this.

    Before I share my tips on preventing colds, I need to prevent a dumb lawsuit by saying I am NOT a doctor. I am a Voice Actor and producer. These are things I do to prevent and shorten colds. I am NOT giving medical advise. I am sharing what I do with you. If you are under the care of a doctor for any condition, please consult them prior to taking anything that may adversely impact your health or condition.

    Having said that, here are some things I do to minimize my risk of getting sick. As I mentioned before I drink plenty of water. I probably drink about 2 and a half liters a day. I also get sufficient rest and exercise fairly regularly. I don’t drink any coffee or caffeine of any kind. I stay away from soda but I drink carbonated water like it’s going out of style.

    I wash my hands regularly. People don’t think about where their hands have been when they shake hands with you. I remember showing up for a voice session during the crew’s lunch break and one of the engineers was eating his lunch. As I was being introduced to him he put down his sandwich and licked the tips of about 3 or 4 of his fingers and stuck out his hand to shake mine. I can remember the dialogue playing inside my head, “Oh my God, he’s just licked his fingers and now I’m going to have to shake those hands. How am I going to get out of this?” I pretty much said “Aw, don’t get up. I’m interrupting your lunch. Nice to meet you.” It worked.
    I really try to make a habit of not touching my face with my hands, or eating without washing my hands first. If I have to rub my eyes I avoid using my fingers and try to use the back of my hand or forearm. I always open bathroom doors with a paper towel in my hand and will usually head straight to the restroom or a sink to wash my hands after I’ve shaken hands with several people. Also wash your hands after tying your shoes. Just think about what those laces and shoes have been tromping through all day.

    If you’re traveling, wipe down the telephone and remote control for the TV with a alcohol-wipe, or other similar product. They’re never cleaned by hotel staff and they’re covered with germs. I never put a phone receiver directly against my mouth or chin. I also frequently wipe down my computer keyboard and mouse if I know others have been using it.

    You may think I’m a bit paranoid, but I don’t need the hassle of getting sick. It puts me out of business for about a week!

    You should consult your doctor or other care-giver before taking any medication, but other things I do to minimize my risk of getting a cold is to take a multi-vitamin, a B-Complex vitamin and vitamin C. I also take a Zinc lozenge at the first sign of a sniffle and have found them to be most effective in keeping colds away.

    2009 New Year’s Voice Over Resolutions Starter Kit!!!

    Jan/12/2009 | Posted by John Melley

    Hi-

    I have a special package of materials that I made exclusively available only to my hardcopy newsletter recipients. But now that I have my blog up and running again, I’m going to offer it to you too.

    The offer was included in the December 2008 issue. If you’re at all interested in jump-starting your voice over career in 2009, I’ve put together 3 incredible packages loaded with information about Voice Overs.

    One includes an hour consult with me.

    Another includes a fantastic bundle of audio CD’s where I’ve interviewed agents, nationally recognized voice talent, a videogame voice over casting director and the owner of a Moving Media Production company.

    These CD’s are L-O-A-D-E-D with so much useful information, you’ll want to keep listening to them over and over.

    Finally, I’ve put together a Combo pack where you can get both of these terrific offers at an unbelievable price.

    If you are at all interested, I urge you to take action now as this offer will expire at midnight on January 31st, 2009.

    Here’s a link to learn more:
    http://www.johnmelley.com/resolution2009.php

    Sound Masking

    Jan/11/2009 | Posted by John Melley

    Have you ever recorded a voice track and it sounded terrific, only to have it lose some of its “punch” after you added music and sound effects? You shouldn’t always just reach for the volume control to make one track louder or softer. There are ways to make it “POP!” and sound great. Who wants to learn more about it?

    Video Game Voice Over

    Aug/05/2008 | Posted by John Melley

    I had a voice session for a video game yesterday. It’s probably the 10th or so session that I’ve done for various video games. They’re a lot of fun. One of the surprising things that I’ve found, at least with the games that I’ve worked on is that the performance is very physically demanding. You’re by yourself in a soundbooth with people directing you in your headphones.

    You need to be able to act as if the character you’re interacting with is there with you. Also there can be pages and pages of dialogue for these characters.

    If you are performing a character with an accent you need to maintain consistency with the characters voice throughout the dialogue and you need it to sound as fresh at the end as it was at the beginning of the session. This is takes a lot of practice.

    Yesterday’s session was one of the few times I really felt I was in “The Zone” with this. I really felt good about how well the session went for this particular character that I’ve been working on for close to a year now. (These games take a long time to develop).

    Also, some of the lines are expressing anger, or strong emotion. Expressing those emotions is more than just yelling, or sounding angry. Think about how you physically feel when you really get angry. You need to somehow put yourself in that place and pour it out through your character… and then you need to be able to do several takes of it. You’ll hear things like this in your headphones….

    (”click” Yeah… John, really good emotion… just like that, but back off the mic a couple of inches ‘cuz we’re overmodulating a bit. Also raise the pitch a bit. We don’t want him to sound “dark and angry” just angry. Couple more like that and we’ll go on to the next line. ‘Kay? “click” )

    (”click” Great!… now do a couple more like that, but a little slower… just to give us some options. Cool. “click” )

    I’m not complaining. This is how these things go. They are fun, but they can take something out of you.

    I could go on, but I need to get a couple of things finished up here.

    More later.

    John

    My First Post

    Jun/19/2008 | Posted by John Melley

    Well, here it is, my very first “blog” posting. Technically, I guess it’s really my second. Wordpress put the first one up for me automatically.

    Thanks Wordpress.

    I must admit I am joining this new form of communication with more than a little resistance. Some would say I am going into it “kicking and screaming.”

    I’ve been told it’s going to revolutionize the way I communicate with current clients and with people who are interested in learning more about what I do as a Voice Talent. My question has always been “How?”

    People have explained it to me in various ways, but I still don’t “get it.”

    Getting the Wordpress software up and running on my website has been a bit of a challenge. I wanted to do it myself so I would know what’s involved – have a little “backstory” on my own blog, if you will.

    What a pain. Next time, I’m hiring someone to do this for me.

    Anyway, several people whose opinion I respect have told me I should start a “blog” and I am reading a lot more about them, so I am venturing forth. As I said to a colleague of mine: “I’m open to being pleasantly surprised by the experience.” Having said that, I hope you all will pleasantly surprise me and post something up here as well.

    I’ll be putting stuff up here on a fairly regular basis to keep you informed about what’s going on in my Voice Over World. I also hope to share some insight on the projects I’m working on to the extent possible.

    If you have any thoughts, comments, suggestions or questions about what I’m doing or topics you’d like me to explore, please fire away. I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible.

    “Blogfully” Yours,

    John