Monday, December 26, 2016

As the year comes to a close...what have we learned, earned...and never Burned

As the year is coming to an end...
you look back and try to digest, celebrate...even project maybe.

It was a good year even though there was a bit of compromise and learning curve with the flipping of those 'you-gotta-be-kiddin-me' situations into positive opportunities. Doing a Spock mind-meld sorta helped with the reversal. 'Please sir or madame, may I have another' is the anthem. In other words, even tho you might feel you've given away the store already, offer m-o-r-e and see what develops. People pay a lot of money for our service. Product, to some can be measured as a mere mp3 file...an intangible. A willingness to give more without lessening your 'value' puts you into a new frame of mind and can have a cathartic effect. It also avoids any semblance of bridge burning! You've done everything you could possibly do...and then some. I felt better for not having the "dwell" factor. And sometimes you get the real skinny if there was a situation in the first place. Life must be bright and bubbling with cham-pag-nee, don't you think? (Love Affair's, Irene Dunne thinks so anyway).

So, from now on, I'm trying to be more perceptive to any question of what's expected or if there's something a bit off kilter. Then, effort to put it back on the table and make clear. All-in-all, it was a respectable year...for a multi or inter-disciplinarian (phrase-of-the-year).

Got a national voice-over gig with Axial RC Yeti Trophy Truck vehicles airing on CBS Sports Network... which was a flip from almost nothing to full union scale. Axial, is a stand-up company and towers over their 1/10th sized vehicles with Full-Sized integrity.


Did more VoIP programs than ever and had the good fortune of producing a few with the FaBo- September Day Carter...



Continued regional & local spots for the haunt industry ala The Scary Voice for the likes of; The Mortuary, in New Orleans, Louisiana and Canobie Lake Park's ScreemFest, in Salem, New Hampshire.




Got a bit of Xtra SEO with the use of a vintage Celebrity Death-Match episode I did of Donald Trump back in the '90's. The Donald went toe-to-toe with CNN's Megyn Kelly after opting out of the latest presidential debate almost a year ago. The Celeb Death episode has The Donald pitted against Don King the fight promoter. My Don was OK with a half-way decent "You're Fired".




Top-it-off with the best for last - With the Family Guy's producer come-a-knockin in August. Did a back-up for a six worded Denis Leary line. Been a little quiet for any residual work and played it cool with the follow-up nagging...tho, might be a good time for a little year-end reach out. 



Take a scroll down and see for yourself the posts and links to all the years work.

516.488.8840

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Mortuary Scares-Up Shocking Results with Tom Clifford for their 10th Anniversary

That time of year again for the Scary-Voice. This time, it's down southern way for The Mortuary. Where they again have put that signature Scary-Voice to good use for their 10th year Anniversary and Coca~Cola's Fanta tie-in campaign.


The Mortuary Haunted Mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana has been the fright venue for many creepy experiences; The Paraplex, Cirque De Fear, Zombie Outbreak, The Mystere Escape Rooms, Se7en Deadly Sins and is by far one-of-the-most thrill packed haunt venues in the country. Now, they're pullin out all the stops with their 10th year anniversary Tv campaign. Taken all in good fun, there's lots of room to go over the top to the point of the ridiculous...and audiences sometimes don't know whether to s-c-r-e-a-m or laugh their heads off. But, watch out...or it could catch you off guard!                           Click to Play Spot

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Oscar Brand's "Fun & Games" Front & Center this Election Season upon his Passing

As I'm listening to WNYC the NPR affiliate in New York, this morning, it was announced that one of their alum, Oscar Brand has passed away at age 96, on Friday 9/30/16. WNYC, will be doing special tributes to him throughout the day. Mr Brand has had a show (Folk Song Festival) on NPR as far back as 1945.
He also maintains honors from the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world's longest-running radio show with the same host.

As a matter of fact, when Oscar started his shows, announcers always introduced him as "WNYC's shoeless troubadour." It's rumored that Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch was named after him! Take that Bert & Ernie who owe their namesakes to characters in "It's A Wonderful Life"!


I had the pleasure of meeting & working with Mr. Brand in the early eighties.
Oscar had authored a little known play, Fun & Games, that was inspired from 'outtakes' from "How to Steal an Election" which was sub-titled "A Dirty Politics Musical" with score & music by Oscar Brand. To the right, is a pic from the article about the play, its author and cast, that appeared in the Sunday New York Times on June 24th, 1984. That's bearded Dave Van Ronk, the folk legend (pictured left) with Oscar Brand (on the right).

I had the good fortune to be cast In Fun & Games as political voice for such politicians as: FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and Lincoln. This was a script-in-hand showcase production and received full Equity code support.

It just happens that Fun & Games...is a smart and timely story about a political campaign manager (the Fallen Angel - Dave Van Ronk) who has been steadily degrading the political process for two centuries. For the latest election he tries much of the same but with (2) of the worst possible candidate choices in election history (I sh-- you not). Well, the voters revolt and send Dave back to heaven with instructions to bring back Abe Lincoln. These days there'd be little resistance to maybe having Mary come down.

There's 17 musical numbers that were performed. A revisit of some 32 years later doesn't hurt the charm of this neat little yarn. Very proud to have had the pleasure of performing with other talented actors & singers and be able to work with some of music's legacy's.

As an extra treat, Oscar had sent a quick note of appreciation to me and had called about another show he and his company was staging. He was constantly on my case to stop smoking. I think he'd be glad to know that I did...many times since then...as Reagan, Bush, Gore, Perot, Clinton and Trump. 1984 had quite a few similarities with today's line up of candidates. The Republicans had Reagan & Bush. And the Dems had Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro (as the 1st woman VP running mate).  


Here's a bit of info on Dave. David Kenneth Ritz "Dave" Van Ronk was an American folk singer. An important figure in the American folk music revival and New York City's Greenwich Village scene in the 1960s, he was nicknamed the "Mayor of MacDougal Street".
Died: February 10, 2002, New York City, NY

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Hampshire is Scaring Up some Shocking Results with Tom Clifford


Once again it's creepy voice time for Canobie Lake Park's  Halloween Season as it creeps along with an even earlier start this year. They've got a series of radio spots that need that distinctive creepy sound as the season's window has again been stretched...to about 6 weeks, eclipsing the Yuletide season.

 

This is our seventh year together as Canobie's Family Theme Park rocks into another season with their ScreemFest venue of Horror! And we're still the voice of choice, that will be sandwiched between Female/Male announcers. After 7 years you're sorta obliged to maintain the consistency of 2009's original. One of the ways I help that along is to lift portions (that never change - name, address, etc.) of my original and early succeeding voices, onto the new voice track. If the newer takes don't measure-up (seamless, side-by-side) you know you'll have to redo. 


video

The agency on record is Collage Advertising and they were good enuf to supply the final mix sound track of the finished (60 second) spot. I then put together a 'Quick Cut' video with Canobie website slides, an edited (re-mixed 30 second) sound track and voila...a 30 second V-I-D-E-O spot - where all your uploads will catch that Xtra SEO. Because now as a video as opposed to an audio Mp3, it can be Titled, Described and Tagged within your Blog, Utube, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, etc. posts.


516.488.8840
 


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Family Guy comes knockin

Got a call from the casting director of the Family Guy last week and was asked to do a 6 worded line as Denis Leary.


Problem is...I don't do Denis well enough to include him in my repertoire. I mean, I'm constantly working out voices and he's one of 'em.


The line was; "I smoke, do you believe it". Simple right. Not really. 'Cause, it's sorta limited without some of his nuances. It also wasn't his signature ratta-tat-tat phrasing. Six words is hard enough to establish a character, let alone if you're wrestling with it.
But the casting director was so cool about all that. She liked my imitation demo and thought enough of it for me to give it a try. And she needed a safety in case the only other candidate didn't come through and I got lucky and nailed it. I appreciated the chance & confidence. Oh shit, oh shit, O'shit! Now I gotta produce...within the hour!

Had a lot of f-u-n puttin down a ton of possibles. Accenting different areas with & without sarcasm and sent in the usual; three takes in a row. The next day she asked for another set, only this time with a slower pace and deeper register.
Ok, I can do that.

Well, it's been a week now (in V/O chronology; six months) and haven't heard back yet. It's customary NOT to call to find out how one fared in an audition. Hey, if they want you...you'll know it. Of course I did do the just-in-case-you-might-need-more-contact-info-for-the-future email. I included my cell number with an invite to text me anytime.

You can only hope that we made a good enough impression, in one way or another that I'll hear again from those - like, totally cool, most triumphant even - folks over at TFG!

516.488.8840



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Message-On-Hold programming takes Center Stage

Although not as glamorous as say a voice-over for a National TV spot (Axial Trophy Trucks) On-Hold program voicing has become a tangible adjunct for making money and keeping a hand in the local & regional markets. And I've always enjoyed the 'real' aspect of dealing with Main Street and one-on-one with people who own companies.


In the case of some clients that need hardware, there are sure fire devices that can be the difference between working or not if you have a handle on where to purchase the player units. But mostly, it's just a matter of sending an mp3 file via email as we do with any other job. Below are a few clients that in the last few months requested Message-On-Hold programs from TC & Company with variations of Male/Female voices and in English as well as Spanish.




I remember when I was represented by Abrams Artist Agency, one of my agents had called a dermatological practice and heard me on hold. Well, it was almost tantamount to having my career in the dumper for such civilian work creativity. Back then, there was actually client contact and maybe on site facilitating of a machine! As time & tech went on... a CD disk could be mailed for program updates. Nowadays, I send an mp3 via email and they simply drag & drop it onto a memory stick that gets placed into a digital player...cheque please. 
By the way, that same agent just a few years later took me aside and asked me how to produce and service a Message-On-Hold client; were there any audio programs I preferred using, what were the costs and what does an announcer/on-hold program producer charge for a program and updates. It seemed legitimized when he heard the fees and ease of doing the programs...that sometimes lead into other more respectable prospects. AND, with the residual feature of eventual updates that merely get emailed, On-Hold programs resemble the same arena as radio & tv spots.


516.488.8840

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Axial... Keeps-On-Truckin on CBS Sports Network with Tom Clifford as VoiceOver


Here comes the second wave of Axial RC Truck spots to hit CBS Sports Network with this Sunday's coverage of the San Felipe 250 race. I had voiced their initial television campaign back in November of 2015 with the Baja 1000 race. It's always a nice pat-on-the-back when asked to stay on with the imaging.






The new spot features the best of - Trophy, Bomber, Deadbolt and Yeti Score Trucks slo-mo tail spinning, wheel spinning, jump spinning and just basically spinning Up..Down and all around. All with electric 4WD and at 1/10th scale.

Click to play TV spot:    Here




We’ve always wanted to build a Trophy Truck®, but we first had to build a successful platform. For authenticity, it had to be solid rear axle versus the commonly accepted independent suspension all the way around. Some would consider this “going backwards.” But Axial didn’t just accept what the establishment said was the only way, we wanted true scale looks with the functionality to match. When we delivered the Yeti™ Rock Racer with its IFS front end and solid rear axle, we knew then we had the key ingredients to deliver the vehicle of our dreams - our very own solid rear axle trophy truck!


516.488.8840

Friday, February 12, 2016

Always wanted to get a website Favicon for More Polish

It's the beginning of a new year and not such a bad idea to get a little more polish for the website, even if it's just a tiny measure of prominence on a Tab bar when someone pulls up the site.

These days to say you just discovered something on the web that's new & improved can come as no surprise to an already savvy audience. So apologies to those who already know about how to generate a favicon for their websites. I happened upon Favic-O-Matic while in the mind-set and it's one of the better resources that's easy to grasp and free...with an option of donation that's strictly voluntary.

I used the 16 x 16 px demensions and eliminated the PNG selection from the "images" folder name. The hardest part is coming up with an Icon that'll tell the whole story of your company, business...or you. It's tough enuf to stand out and break thru the clutter. A favicon not only gives a website identity, authenticity a more professional and finished look, but it also gives it some Xtra added SEO (with the provided simple string of coding). So, that's a win win situation all way 'round. Here's Tc & Company's favicon to the right...still could use some tweaking. Ah, and there lies the rub.

516.488.8840


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Trump's firey Fox Battle with Megyn Kelly reaches back to Mid-August...And then some!


The ongoing hoopla with Fox New's presidential debate moderator, Megyn  Kelly and "The Donald" has reached into Trump Opting Out of the latest Debate!  This is not the first time Trump has gone toe-to-toe with a celebrity counter-part.


Back in the 1990's I was fortunate enough to be a regular on MTV's Celebrity DeathMatch animated Claymation series. The show was a comedy that pitted the days Celebrity's against each other in a ring and had them fight it out to the d-e-a-t-h of one of 'em...sometimes both were squished, stabbed, bludgeoned, shot, or any other manner of outlandish demise. It was pretty popular at the time and is still a favorite among today's young set. Figured when we 1st dipped into the archives in August, for a little Throw-Back Thursday, it could've been with the caveat of having Megyn & "The Donald" duke-it-out at some point before the Iowa Caucus.

Click to Play DeathMatch

 

 I do a pretty convincing Trump "You're Fired". But, now it's 20 years into the future...and the voice is sorta so-so for today's Trump. As a matter-O-fact, there ain't too much out there right now for the 'Stump-Trump' sound. I can't help but think of an old board member's speech I'm reminded of when listening to today's Trump voice. It's a variation of a 'dems and doe's thick New York accent and perhaps a bit of a Yiddish thing going on as well. From the podium, he spoke the same. Whereas, Trump may opt for the stentorian thing. Maybe, it's a wait & see approach.


Here it is 2 1/2 months later and am writing to update and announce the "right stuff" for the Trump Stump sound. It's a Dead-On impression of The Donald...and for that matter, the Bernie Sanders is right there as well. The Stump Trump projection was maybe the key all along. With an almost whispering Nelson Rockerfeller-esque rasp and that halting cartoonish delivery just made it come together perfectly. WoW, hats off to both of these dudes... and of course the writers. My God, I haven't heard set-ups and rat-a-tat deliveries that were as funny and 'snappy' since the early days of SNL. 

  Watch as : James Adomian and Anthony Atamanuik’s ‘Trump vs. Bernie’ CNN Interview


By: +Tom Clifford, VoiceOver & Creative Services