Monday, August 20, 2018

Tom Clifford Strikes-12 for NOLA's Mortuary & Scout Island

It's that time again in the Haunt Industry. Actually, the season has lengthened by about 2 weeks in the last few years. Originally, we'd start voice recording for the Halloween Season in Mid September. We started this season in late July with the Mortuary's newest event attraction - "Strikes 12"
Cue: The Creepy-Guy voice: As darkness spreads across the land - Lawlessness reigns. Chaos runs amok.
And at the heart of it lies...The Mortuary.

As the clock strikes 12, we hear that murder becomes legal! People need a release... a page from the PURGE films franchise.

Here are the Rules for Survival; At Midnight, The Mortuary gives the average person the opportunity to vent their frustrations by hunting their fellow man. When you and your friends enter The Mortuary, look to your left… then look to your right…

Do you really know who your friends are? Someone isn’t who they pretend to be.
Did your friends invite you to go to The Mortuary to have a good time or were their intentions more sinister than you could have ever imagined? Oh NOOoooooooo!

We continue with; Will you be an unknowing participant in a beat-the-clock to survive death game? Thrill-killers are amongst you. You ARE the hunted. Oh, My - Just Horror-able isn't IT!

Also, New for the Mortuary is Scout Island Scream Park coming to New Orleans City Park. Fun for the entire family with Scare Free Kid Zones and Zombie Outbreak Battlefield  - a live combat Zombie survival experience that thrusts guests into an apocalyptic world with military style Laser-Tag weapons. Guests get a chance to shoot their way with video game-like infrared bolts of light on a “fight or die” survival mission through the living-dead. Oh Goodness... I'm hoping they have a few exploding Zombies along the way for that added gooey splatter of Zombie protoplasm!

Here's something you may not have known about the songwriter Paul Vance, who co-wrote the 1960 pop hit “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” which, BTW appeared in "Love Actually" and by IMDb count 30 other movies and commercials.

Paul was stunned to learn that another person was claiming authorship of the song. But, only after the impersonator had died did he and the world get wind of it.

It was the result of a not so Teenie Winnie story the Associated Press ran about the death of Paul Vance on Sept. 6, 2006, citing his wife as its primary source.
The actual obituary, was for Paul Van Valkenburgh, a native of New Milford, Conn. It was reported that Mr. Van Valkenburgh wrote the song under the name Paul Vance.
The 'real' Mr. Vance, who was 76 at the time and had moved from Long Island to Coral Springs, Fla., said he was “kind of shook up” over reports of his demise. Mr. Vance also wrote the song "Catch a Falling Star" that was made famous by Perry Como.

Itsy Bitsy... co-written by Lee Pockriss, was recorded by the teenage heartthrob Brian Hyland and rose to No. 1 on the Billboard chart in 1960. It has survived as a novelty single and was rerecorded by the eclectic rock act Devo for the soundtrack to the film “Revenge of the Nerds II.”

John Castaldo, chief financial officer of the Music Sales Corporation, the publisher representing Mr. Vance, said there was no question that the living Paul Vance was the co-writer of the tune, and added that his company had been collecting royalties for Mr. Vance since at least the late 1980’s.

Mr. Vance said he was particularly concerned that companies outside the United States who license his songs would be confused by the reports and would not make payments. “Believe me, if they think you’re dead, they ain’t going to send the money,” he said.

As it was explained to us first hand by Paul himself, he's made an enormous sum every year from the royalty usage of - IBTWYPB. When we met him, it was under entirely incongruous circumstances to the music business when he just so happened to divulge who he was and that he was responsible for writing or co-writing various hit tunes. It struck us as a bit unbelievable.

Here's Paul talking about his early days (in a Utube video) as a junk yard owner (get-the-picture) and at the same time...a songwriter of: Itsy Bitsy & Catch a Falling Star. The 'real' down-to-earth character of Paul shines thru like a glimmering light on a Rainy Day...albeit a bitzy rough around the edges!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

TC & Company goes International with Brit Deals

Working with various IVR companies has its merits, one of which is to be recommended as the voice to represent the companies they do business with. This means more than just being good talent...they're trusting you to play nice with their bread-N-butter as well.

The latest is a company across the pond based in the United Kingdom, called Brit Deals.  Brit Deals Limited is an Amazon-like online retailer with elements of Ebay. BDL offers wholesale & closeout deals on all sorts of merchandise in more than thirty different categories. The ONE particular category they wanted was a believable English accent. (soon to link)
This is not as easy as it sometimes sounds, and that's the key to believability. How it sounds...not just the accent, but the pronouncement of certain key words. British pronouncements of key words like 'simultaneously', 'aluminum', 'process' and quite a few others, can trip-up your delivery from having it sound as though one is trying to do an accent to one that sounds authentic & believable. 

As a new addition to the Blog, it was suggested, is a section on "Influencers" of the business. A behind the scenes look at industry stuff like - who wrote that jingle, or revealing hidden info on creative & commercial content.  



Being it's certainly at the Top of the Topical List...this month it's The Gong Show...hummm, kinda. No, not Mike's, but Chuck's. Still, it could be about West Side Story. A TCM Fav, seemingly slated to air every other Tuesday at 8:00 PM.

Wait just a second, it could also be about the subject of the movie George Clooney made his directorial debut with: 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind'. Based on a story about Chuck Barris, who passed away earlier this year in March.

Chuck was the common denominator to all of 'em. But, what many people don't know - is that Chuck Barris was also a song-writer. Back in the early-sixties, he wrote the song "Palisades Park" named after the amusement park in New Jersey. Click the RED link and hear Chuck talk about how it came to be. It was one of those Time-Stamps back then  - that summer was in full bloom when you heard it. Freddy (Boom-Boom) Cannon sang the toe tappin' finger snappin' tune.

He also created & produced The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. BTW, the reference to West Side Story is because Palisades Amusement Park is featured prominently throughout the movie as a poster ad on a brick wall they shot scenes against.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is a 2002 biographical spy comedy film depicting the life of a popular game show host and producer of The Gong Show, Chuck Barris. He claimed to have also been an assassin for the CIA (NOT actually the case). The film was George Clooney's directorial debut and was written by Charlie Kaufman, and starred Sam Rockwell, Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, and Clooney.
The film opens guessed it, the sound track  A Palisade State of Mind.

Tune-In next month where we shed some larger-than-life light on the song:
"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" 

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I'll have a G-I-F please! TC & Company's path to more Eyeballs

That's animated G-I-F! You've seen 'em for a long time now. And Now you see 'em on most all social media...Incl: here!

It became a proprietary concern for so long that most platforms refused to ignite a GIF, Flash or whatever else was Not-Their-Source. But with more of the recent mind-set that "it's OK to play in my sandbox" from the likes of Big Name here and Big Name there, it might be time to hop on the animated GIF bandwagon to E-Y-E-B-A-L-L Central. It's become much easier to find and apply GIF mechanics with all the free and quasi-free software to make your own animated GIF.
(That's - Jif to some or hard 'g' to others) I like 'crunchy' style.

Here are a few sites that are free and according to Google "Safe" (or so they say) - I have personally tried (2) without glitches;  and I used EZ gif to make an animated GIF with one of my spots for Lycos search engines, featuring Claudia Schiffer. Now here's the rub...there ain't no sound to these guys! Yeah, sorta anti-usable for any voice-over artist wouldn't you think? Well, in a (2) dimensional world - sure. But the whole idea behind the internet - is to get seen by those Eye-Balls behind all the 'bells and whistles' ... the code!
So, when you post animated GIFs, it's one more way to get seen by the likes of Google. It's a reel-them-in sorta time as with a teaser. And it's always playing so there's no 'click bait' consequences.

AND, you can re-name the GIF anything you want. So, it'll get picked up by Google bots...depending how precise you are with titling keywords. I chose TomCliffordLycosVoiceOver.
P. S I also used the default Windows video editor to edit the original spot from 30 to 6 seconds. Here's the entire spot with sound at our FB page.

Thing is: Can there be too many GIFs floating around on one screen or one part of the screen? Below is an animated GIF I made from the Arm & Hammer Tv spot featuring the "Shaker" character I voiced. This one is a little bit longer with a bit more weight at (8 Mb's). Also, it takes a little bit of creative talent to make 'em seamless...just a matter of time before sound is gonna be added. Things might start looking & sounding an awful bit like 'Max Headroom' re-visited around the neighborhood soon...Mr Rogers!

Here's the full spot on Youtube with sound, including the Shaker Character voice I did for Arm & Hammer's new roll-out baking soda shaker dispenser. Just another proof of a happier life through television or...the internet.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Netflix's " The Week Of " premieres 'This Week 0f April' featuring - TC and Company's home town

The Week Of - has Netflix Premiere.

The movie is about the parents of an engaged couple who are in the final week of preparations for their wedding. Despite their differences, the two clans surprisingly get along, all while witnessing the drama and chaos unfolding between Rock and Sandler.

It was in late July of 2017 that the movie crew for "The Week Of " came into our fair town as they've been oft to do these days. Check it Out. That's Steve Buscemi with Chris & Adam at one of our classic Italian restaurants in town where they finished for the week. It's Steve's 11th pairing with Adam. Dare we say a charter member of Adam's posse?

Here's a link to the Netflix Trailer

Shortly afterward, we had another film crew set up here to film scenes of - SyFy's 'Happy" with Patton Oswalt. No, he wasn't on set as the character is pretty much the disembodied voice of Patton, as the rest of him...a blue unicorned-horse w/wings, is compliments of - CGI. And at years beginning, we had Killer Films come in for several days in February and shoot scenes for the film "Vox Lux" with Natalie Portman, who's also Exec. Prod'r. Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Raffey Cassidy share starring roles. The story-line highlights the highs & lows of pop star "Celeste's" 15-year career.

Going back to The Week Of - just realized that Robert Smigel is the director and is co-writer on that with Adam Sandler. Robert is also represented by the same casting director as - Our Cartoon President, who I had pitched last month on the political/celeb voices front. They have a steady troupe, but wanted to be considered for when & if their 'regularly' scheduled talent may not be! She also represents: Triumph (TICDog)...AKA Robert Smigel. I had emailed her that Stefan Nadelman worked with Robert on an SNL skit. Talk about being connected.

Now, all I have to do is work that into my next hello and somehow get on the 'who-ya-gonna-call' list for when Reagan's ghost needs to be summoned up!


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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Escape Rooms taking Front & Center with Tom Clifford Unraveling the Clues!

Escape rooms are taking the country by storm. The Mystere Escape Rooms are Year-Round and are live-action team-based where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in order to escape from the room(s) in 60 minutes.
Just did two radio spots for the Mystere folks in NOLA and the demand is for more...they already have a bunch!
Up to 12 participants per themed adventure including a Treasure Hunt Pirate Adventure, an “Indiana Jones” type adventure called The Game Room, capture a Poltergeist in The Ghost Lab, or escape from a “live” zombie in the Embalming Room. The question is whether you can beat the clock? It may be the most intense hour you and your posse will ever experience. Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…

Playing on Social Media with the ubiquitous need to display everyone's activities to the world is another avenue most escape rooms follow. What better way than by capturing the moment with a 'group-photo' for posterity. Claiming success can be a badge of honor in some of these circles. So, imagination has no limits with as many features to provide all the ingredients for celebrations! Targeting private parties complete with catering, entertainment, and the creatures of the night pays off well!

Around these parts of Long Island, N.Y., you can Escape in a Cool-ass..Big-ass Bus. Or L.I.'s *NEW* mobile (multi-concept) escape room...'cause it's the perfect form of entertainment for your Long Island event. They bring their #1-rated escape room challenge to your choice of location – for hours of on-site fun! Of course they offer all kinds of packages at all sorts of budgets with events that have multiple rounds for all guests to have a chance to play. The ride that travels to the burbs.

Or a modern day version of the W-H-I-P ride that would make the rounds of neighborhoods of yore. It was basically about 6 rusty barrel seats that were crunched on the back of a truck. They were connected with a chain on a track that would go around in a circle. At one point it would heave (whip) a row of seats into the stratosphere with a wall of steal mesh to prevent kids from falling out onto the street...or chopped up in the mechanism. One of those 'when we were kids' stories.

Click for Mystere Radio Spot 

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mysteries at the Museum uncovers Willig's Wager with some sleuthing from TC & Company...

Ya'll remember a post about the Travel Channel being interested in George Willig for their Mysteries at the Museum Show. It's sort of a docu-enacted History Channel feel that revolves around an artifact of a person or persons history making.

I was approached last August about the possibility of the Show using George's 1977 climb as a vehicle for an episode featuring Don Wildman as the host.

The producer had called and emailed after he had heard clips of the YouTube video "Unclimbable" . He had caught the Blog Talk Radio show Bob Brown & I did for the 40th Anniversary of the climb. He wanted to get in touch with George with the idea for the show. Depending on a few factors that can sometimes be a tall order. But as luck (and Good Timing) would have it, was able to get a good deal of interest from George, who offered some creative suggestions no less.  He said, how 'bout having the "artifact" hand off at the Explorers Club in New York... which he's a member!

The idea behind using George's climb would be for George to donate an artifact from the climb to a museum of his choice. The Show would re-enact his feat of climbing One of the WTC Towers and offer some back-end unique tale about how it was done.

Well, just did the infamous "checkin In" call and it seems there's been a 'development'. The producer says that it's just one of those "things" that the project has been passed to a different team. They'll do another reach-out if anything should develop. But here's the kicker, not to be one to ignore an opportunity, I asked the the producer if he and the team might be receptive to having some samples of my vo work, since all the teams DO actually talk to each other and from time-to-time. Sent 'em a series of links to voice demos and hope for some interest. 

But wait! Stop the presses! Due to a few glitches and an admiration for the Mysteries at the Museum show and concept, we just received news that MM had its YouTube release of the episode featuring George Willig's historic climb. Watch the entire show episode at this link: The Great Panjandrum and More. Pictured right is the actor portraying George in the April 6th episode segment called: Willig's Wager.

We couldn't be happier and the list goes on; from actors and story-tellers to production people - all just as happy to retell George's saga. It was shear happenstance that a BLOG reader had informed us of seeing the episode back in early April. We did our due diligence tracking down where we could find the episode online and had two choices: itunes & YouTube. And please remember these two channels impose fees for the privilege of viewing the editions after air. But, we were eager to see how they pieced things together. Of course it would've been of benefit to know when the episode was airing. Just for the social media blitz and 'Premier' party alone. But, Mysteries at the Museum unfolds in great detail and with realistic production values the when, where and how's of that day. We're working on getting a quick clip to convey the pacing, the landscape and a time that was much different than it is today.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

TC & Company's Year End Round-Up continues Upward

Last year's focus seemed to hinge on M-O-R-E.

Give the client more and see what develops. Now I don't know if it's a direct outcome of that practice, but there were at least (3) clients that had me on retainer this year...or so it felt. Could be because, right from the get go, k-e-p-t things completely upfront as to what it would take and how much we were willing to give discounts or above & beyonds.

Also, this year on the VoIP fronts, telecommuting as a standard was introduced. Less face-to-face. Most, if not all the other categories have been up-to-speed in that department for a good number of years. But, this is a completely different sector. More Main Street. All's you can do is try and keep the casualty count to a minimum. Still, there are some that are clingin to that "old school" belief that it's cool Not-to-know-Nutin about computers. And interpret digitally informed tasks as too much to be considered. There's only (5) words for that - Too Late in the Game.

I remember, back when we were doing live auditions at my agents recording booth at Abrams Artists, spit-balling about doing auditions from our home studios. Sure, that'll be the day! There was a time when it was generally thought by some agents and talent alike, that knowing about tech stuff or for that matter too much left hemisphere activity lessened your acting cred.
Enter the Smartphone and a whole new mentality that followed.

All in all, not such a bad year...considering such changes in leadership landscapes we won't mention.
Even had some fun ala (Reagan takes a Knee) with our Celeb-Death (The Donald) taking the helm as president this year. Hoping your year was a good ONE... and here's to another that has everyone & everything you need.  Happy New Year!

Axial finished up it's 2 year run cycle this September on CBS Sports Network. The company has switched from vo based branded imaging to sound-effect/special effect brand imaging. Costs being cited as an issue, I've been replaced by a slight K-Boom & muffled earthquake shake. Kinda cool actually. Here's the latest spot that's very much still online at:
Axial Trophy Truck Score International Spot.
We continued local, regional and international spots. There was (NOLA) & (Salem, New Hampshire) for the Haunt industry. This year marked a national breakout for The Mortuary featured prominently on CBS's NCIS late October for their Halloween 'Dead Man Calling' episode. OmniTrans, Metro Bus Service in San Bernardino Valley, Ca. updated their "slowest man" radio spot based on the Bill Lyman PBS docu-character theme. And voicing with a movie trailer'esque style, Lebanon's nationally themed TV campaign - entitled: "We Dream Lebanon" via Plan-A Advertising.

Reached into the MTV Celebrity DeathMatch vault to unearth an episode I voiced of Rodney Dangerfield as he was pitted against Don Rickles. Don passed away earlier this year and Mr. Warmth's presence is still very much felt with tons of SEO dividends. The last scene had pieces of Don Rickles on a BBQ spit to signify he was thoroughly roasted. You'll find a link to fan clubs and episode info at the above link.

The folks at: Futurama came-a-callin with a read for their Game-of-Drones mobile game app teaser trailers. Some last minute casting to the tunes of Benders voice variations. The show's been off the air for a few years, but has good enough recall for a roll-out of promo teasers to spark some interest in the mobile markets. Bender's tuned to a bit of extreme type-A multiple personalities that we were sparking on all fours...'hyper-cylinders' that is.
There was also some buzz this year from the folks over at the Travel Channel to have George (The Human Fly) Willig appear on their Mysteries-at-the-Museum show.
More on that as it becomes available.

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