Wednesday, May 31, 2023

WGA Strike is Ka-booming...SAG/Aftra Strikes are Looming

 Special Strike Edition

(May 3rd, 2023) — WGA - The union represent-ing 11,500 writers of film, TV and other entertainment has launched a strike. For the first time in 15 years, as Hollywood girded for a walkout with potentially widespread ramifications in a fight over fair pay in the streaming era.

(May 26,2023) As the Writers Guild of America strike wraps up its fourth week today -- with no end in sight -- the strikers will break from the picketing script that's defined the first month of their walkout and will, instead, take part in what's expected to be a large, multi-union rally in downtown. 

The strike has been having an impact on television viewing, with late-night talk shows and "Saturday Night Live'' all forced into reruns. The walkout has also prompted numerous television and film productions to shut down as other union members refused to cross the picket lines. The last WGA strike lasted from November 2007 until February 2008.

SagAftra unions are marking our solidarity with WGA. On a project that continues production while the WGA is on strike, you are legally obligated to continue working  in any capacity covered ... and employed under both capacities on a production, such as writer/actor, you must continue working as an actor. 

Sag-Aftra is nearing the end of its contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the Hollywood studios, and last week, its leaders called for a strike authorization vote as labor negotiations approach. Watch Celeb Members ask to Vote

The AMPTP has pushed back against some of the WGA's demands, particularly around its calls for mandatory staffing and employment guarantees on programs. AMPTP has also pushed back against WGA demands around streaming residuals, saying the guild's offer would increase rates by 200%.

The use of artificial intelligence has emerged as a major topic as well. 

The WGA says it wants a ban on the use of AI, and contends the AMPTP has refused to even negotiate the issue. The AMPTP said the issue raises "important creative and legal questions" and requires "a lot more discussion, which we've committed to doing."

Fran Drescher (President Sag/Aftra) wrote: On June 7, Sag-Aftra will enter into negotiations with the trade association representing major studios, streamers and production companies

We are united in support of the WGA and I thank all of the Sag-Aftra members who are showing solidarity with their strike. For those who haven’t yet been able to do so, I hope you will join me and others in supporting the writers on a picket line. 

As a member of the WGA, I can say firsthand the contributions made by writers cannot be undermined, diminished or cheapened. I’ve said it a thousand times, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage!”

Even while we are showing strong public support to our sister union, we are privately finalizing and preparing for our own negotiations. Let me unpack that process briefly so you can feel confident that no stone has been left unturned. 

We must focus on modernizing our outdated and conservative contract. It is essential that we reshape our agreement to better reflect the new digital, A. I. ramifications and streaming business model that is rapidly changing our industry.

FaceBook Business Page

516.488.8840 Office
516.448.9900 Mobile

Friday, April 28, 2023

MetaVerse Immerses into 3-D Healthcare with TC and Company

Back again for their immer-sive new era medical know-how is  Boehringer Ingelheim. They wanted a voice, a sound that was hi-tech-ish to introduce the world to their 3D virtual iMetaVerse. I was told that this is real futuristic stuff for the medical field. You know ~ "You're traveling through time in a multi-sensory emotional connection with patients...Up ahead, it's the first live ILD use case  that allows clinicians to virtually live their patients symptoms vicariously"! 

Picture a holo-deck of sorts that unfolds into a virtual environ-ment where patients and caregivers can feel as though they are in the same space together. Alright, it ain't like living on the moon. But, this is the sort of thing the future looked like it would be, as a kid attending the '64/65 NY Worlds Fair. Which brings us to the voice-over character of Peter Thomas. Peter, for me, has always been associated with "That Fair" with his transitional narration on the Travelers Insurance Exhibit.

Peter's VO portrayal in Travelers "The Triumph of Man" Exhibit, typifies for me the voice of the future. Doug Rain's voice characterization of HAL in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, could very well have been fashioned after Peter's story-telling delivery in the Exhibit's dioramas. Peter's read could be described as sounding a bit lilting with a dash of that disembodied thing goin' on.  

He's the perfect sound to satisfy that hi-tech-ish direction we got from the agency, but with a small hitch. Why not make 'em a bit younger and pick up a little of the you'tz market.


The agency came back with a tightly cut video packed with holographic virtual environments that's accented with a cool electro-techno music track, plush animated graphics and actual ground breaking advancements in medicine. Considering the daily diet of A.I. these days, it's nice to be still working, even if it's moonlighting as the iconic Peter Thomas' younger self! 

Check it out below.



Oh, and if you're wondering what Tucker Carlson's doing these days for gainful employ...he's making the rounds on the cable networks and taking it all too seriously...and he ain't always gettin away with it. Watch as Tucker Gets Puckered by WWE's Kane! Circa '90's


FaceBook Business Page

516.488.8840 Office
516.448.9900 Mobile

Friday, March 31, 2023

Tinol Paints does Int'l Color Day with TC & Company

The fine folks over at Tinol Paints came-a-callin again...gratefully, the crickets were talkin' about puttin' the band back together. This time the creative team at Tinol wanted the performance to be inviting, motivating and catchy. You know, a break-thru-the-clutter sound to introduce the world to the International 'Color Day' Competition with the theme of "Tinol Colors Speak in a Thousand Ways".

They were putting a lot of effort to get as much splash as they could muster, mister. It was a fun gig and we just went with the flow. Click to Play

This was an entirely different campaign from when we first joined talents last year on the politically charged and the Pikasso Silver award winning "You Name It" campaign. Not that there's anything wrong with spreading the democratic word or trying to dismantle the political rhetoric ranging from the social liberal left and conservative right to ultra left/right and ultimately fanatic. How's that Blue and Red lookin' to ya.

We were proud to be representing a company that's taking a stand for the cause...for its country and its unity and freedom for all. 

What we're being asked to do for the competition spots is to simply call upon the public to submit their best colorful picture. All in an attempt to celebrate the colorful holidays ahead - Easter, May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, etc., with Tinol colors. We'll be auditioning Bugs for Easter if that's something that might have leggs for the coming holiday.

With the stormy winds startin' to be a'blowin here in Manhattan over the Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford -No Relation) hush money pay-out case, we thought a tribute video could be in order. Nothing too 'strongly' or badly in nature. Just a little good natured spoofing...before the world we know it.

We've been hearing Paul McCartney's "Let 'em In" tune in our collective heads and it seemed to be some sort of calling within this tune...but weren't sure just how. Then we wondered no more, those lyrics just needed some adjusting, that's all. Yes, that's the ticket. Then came the news...Trump is indicted! We were almost there!

Now came time for the re-wrapping of the lyrics...and achieving that high octave voice of Pauly. We made a few attempts and no dice. Too fake or strained. So, why not all-out satirical. We got a stanza outta some brain equity and pretty much went along with the original lyrics until some interchanges were made with today's narratives. 

The Stormy spoof can be off key in spots and Paul occasionally bleeds through, but it still manages to get-a-laugh when it lands on target (below). 

FaceBook Business Page

516.488.8840 Office
516.448.9900 Mobile

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Sag Awards Transformative on YouTube/Netflix

For the first time ever the SAG awards were being aired solely online this year...We were looking forward to something different and planned to be at a hotel out east on Long Island when we watched it. The awards are being carried by Youtube & Netflix. We weren't sure if signal issues were going to be something to consider for a seamless viewing, but we were game either way.


Well, the day started on a celebratory note to begin with. We were off to a 100th birthday party out on the eastern end of Long Island at the Sparkling Pointe Vineyards in Southold. 

Betty, the centenarian in all respects (she, after all, was a Marine, and has the official presidential commemorative White House letter from President 'Joe' Biden to prove it!) was in great centennial form and ate and drank wine as if she were 80. 

It was a rare and wonderful affair, on a terrific sunny unseasonably warm day in a interesting vineyard tasting house of Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Wines.

After, we retired to our hotel nearby and piped our Chrome-Book's HDMI port into our rooms Big-Screen TV...and we were transported into front row seats at the Fairmont Century Plaza. We were feeling kinda flush and ordered room service and felt right at home with all the other actors eating dinner. Couldn't get much cozier than Steve Martin's banjo pickin intro with Marty Short and Ms. Gomez' click for - Sag Awards Show 

Geez, by the looks of it, they seem to be eating from the same menu as we were. It could've been that we were watching the program in different surroundings, or that there weren't any commercials or host, just a roving camera that played the part of one for the evening. But, the best part of the show came from the actors who were so inviting to join them without an agenda or ulterior motive. 


It was difficult to make out at times what was going on in the background. Click the pic above to get a glimpse of Jeff Bridges helping out Michelle Yeoh to find her bearings after she unloaded the most innocent "F" bomb and said "I'm gonna walk away now"... without a dry eye in the house. And there were so many inspirational, genuine and sentimental journeys of when actors got their first SAG card. As an audience member...and as a SAG card holder, I got a strong sense of communal belonging and a ton of positive reinforcement. When you're in this business, it ain't such a bad thing to do the Susan Walker mantra of: I Believe every once in a while.

Oh, and there was no exit music played to signal actors to wrap-up their acceptance speeches. And because of it, fervent speeches like those of Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Coolidge and Sam Elliott wouldn't have happened. They didn't conform to the play book and what a difference to not feel the vicarious discomfort an actor must feel at a moment that is already a tad strenuous. 

These days, it goes with saying that our pal Stefan Nadelman (Master of the digital graphic environment) has been (in my best Keanu Reeves) prodigious these last 6 months and has a few award contenders he's worked on himself. Stefan did the graphics and animation for Sr. (a movie about the life story of Robert Downey Senior) as well as supplying the Main Title animation for Steve Carell's The Patient

Stefan, is also working on 100 ft. Wave 2,  a Hollywood grifter series, a WWE insider project and something about NFT's. This could be very inside track stuff... so, please as the Metropolitan Transit Authority has repeatedly advised; "if you see something well, you know, just keep it to yourself". (in my best Buddy Bizarre) Wrong!

FaceBook Business Page

516.488.8840 Office
516.448.9900 Mobile

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ai that voice-over ~ with Tom CliffordVO

While waiting to post the BLOG this month, we were presented with a second unveiling so-to-speak of a voice-over we did this past year.

Apparently, it was bandied about that if the sample rate on the VO was adjusted downward to a "Transformer" classification sound-a-like, it would enhance the engagement level. Check it out by clicking the video box below. 

Reminds us of a Twilight Zone episode featuring Lee Marvin as Steel Kelly, manager & handler to an android prize-fighter... a boxer. 

Things go south and Lee winds up the prize-fighter himself fighting his automaton's battle. After all, before becoming a second rate robot manager, Kelly was a professional fighter in the days when humans were allowed in the ring. Only this time, it's Human versus Machine.

This seems close-to-home while us voice actors are in the crux of an Ai versus real people battle for our livelihoods. Much like Lee's broken-down character 'Battling Maxo' does in the episode entitled "Steel"

So, too, do we go from organic human to robotic speech enhancement story-teller (listen below). And just like Mr. Marvin, we're not quite that sure we're all too happy about that. And if that isn't enough, it seems to be happening again just this side of...The Twilight Zone!

Got a forward of this Free-Think article about the In's & Outs of the Microsoft Ai program/app that can build a robo-clone of your voice after just 3 seconds. Microsoft's 'VALL-E' artificial intelligence is capable of mimicking anybody's voice after hearing just three seconds of speech. However, it's typically only as good as its training data, and Microsoft opted to use Meta’s LibriLight — an audio library containing 60,000 hours of speech from more than 7,000 English speakers — to train VALL-E.

This means the Ai’s training set was “hundreds of times larger” than those used to train existing voice cloning systems, according to the research paper.

When VALL-E is presented with a new voice to clone, it breaks the three second audio clip into bits Microsoft calls “acoustic tokens.” Using those tokens and its training data, it can then predict what the voice would sound like saying other phrases.

We posted in our July 2021, BLOG reports about Anthony Bourdain and Val Kilmer's voices being cloned. It was scratching the surface back then, but to a VO-Guy, this Ai stuff was going to be something taken seriously sooner rather than later. Also, every month we're confronted with voice Ai on our Medium (Twitter) page. That platform immediately transcribes the text into words...and at times, it be freaky close to human. And it's program platform is not all that sophisticated.

After listening along with Medium's Ai dude, a lot of the humanizing may come from punctuation. Comma's, ellipses, dashes could be the key to humanizing. What a fitting comeuppance to one's career of impersonations than to be impersonated by a Hal 9000 in the end. Well, you won't hear me singing D~A~I~S~Y anytime soon.

Perhaps that's just wishful thinking. For in last weeks Business section of the Sunday Times, Ai was getting some additional coverage as it applies to the print forum. It read "Bots can write sonnets and sometimes deceive people, but they're not upending our lives". It could be proffered that they meant to say - yet. Because the article went on to say that Ai is now a major player in the game called Diplomacy. It hearkens to such minds as Alan Turing and brain-trusts like Microsoft,  MIT and Meta. Excuse the pun, but we're talkin' Bots here...and not just to negotiate games, write sonnets and make dinner reservations, but a bot that'll leave people feeling as though they were chatting with a person. This particular bot is called: Chat GPT. It was released in November by Open AI, a San Francisco, California lab. They even gave the Bot a name: Franz Broseph. He's amongst a new wave of chatbots that are rapidly moving machines into new territory.      

In the meantime, why not cozy-up to a comfy resampled version of a relatively normal sounding human being's voice that's been Ai'd into a Transformer sounding character. To play, please click the triangle in the video box below.

FaceBook Business Page

516.488.8840 Office
516.448.9900 Mobile

Thursday, December 22, 2022

TC&Co's Year End Highlights

Looking back, 2022 was a pretty good year in many respects. I made a friend some money (sorta out of thin air...really thin, 45 years old thin), celebrated some milestones and it wasn't too shabinsky with the voice-overs either. 
But, was 2022 a banner year
? Wiktionary has it as; It was a banner year for the company; it produced a million widgets for the first time. Perhaps, it could be more than just a million or so widgets? Maybe 2022 never really had a chance to establish its own identity to have a banner year because, you know, it never had it's own - Catch-Phrase. Whereas, 2023 comes with its own Catch-Phrase built right in. Nice segue, huh. 
Besides, things right now are starting to look a little sketchy. Markets are diving for cover every other day. Interest rates are trying to plug things up and Joe's tellin people to "F" off about how he knew one of the guys on Mt. Rushmore. So, since 2023 already seems to have something going for it in the Catch-Phrase department, why not take it out for a spin. We're talking a phrase that's over a hundred years old and shrouded in analogue Black & White. Could "23 Skidoo" be ready for a come-back!

During the early 1900s, groups of men reportedly gathered on 23rd Street to watch women walking by have their skirts blown up, revealing legs, which were seldom seen publicly at that time. Local constables and transit police, where known to periodically disperse the group's congestion with hearty bellows of  "23 Skidoo...C'mon, let's Go, 23-Skidoo, let's move it along now". It was said that they were;  "Giving them the 23 Skidoo".
Perhaps, the most widely known story of the origin of the expression concerns the area around the triangular-shaped Flatiron Building at Madison Square in New York City. The building is located on 23rd Street at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the latter two of which intersect at an acute angle. Because of the shape of the building, winds swirl around it. "23 skidoo" quickly became a popular Catch-Phrase after its appearance in early 1906. It combines two earlier expressions. '23' (1899) and 'Skidoo' (1901), both of which refer to leaving, being kicked out or end of something.
 So, maybe "23-Skidoo" ain't such a bad Catch-Phrase for 2023. An anthem to Let's go...Let's move it along. Time to go past the teenage years and realize that this millennium is gonna be a quarter century old soon, be'Geezus! 

Below are some voice-over highlights from the 2022 Calendar year. Please take a look & listen.
The copy says it best; Go from design to industrial parts at the touch of Print! They didn't want a traditional voice or attitude insomuch that their printers were certainly not traditional. The production director initially contacted us in hopes of using the same tone of narrative voice we used in the Terminal Bar years back. We started the year off with a voice-over for their C3-D Metal printers.

April we did the video voice-over for Za’atar Road. What we tried to convey in the voice-over was the emotional aspect of the Levantine region and it's artisans, descendants, expatriates and enthusiasts with providing people around the world with access to the regions authentic goods they can't find locally. Check out their website as an alternate source.

Back in November, 2021 while watching CNN’s Original Series “The Story of Late Night" on HBO Max we noticed a clip of someone we know on a show that we booked them on, that featured a premise we cooked up...some 40 years ago! The clip featured George Willig (WTC climber) with reference to Morgan Brittany, the actress. We just saw her in a Perry Mason (movie) re-run from the 80's & 90's.

The MetaVerse stands more-than-ready to remind us of names, places and generally whom we and "our eyeballs" were a few months or years ago as we pass through the landscape of our lives. Boehringer Ingelheim's was to tap into this fountain by rolling out of their digitally transformed journey promo. The pacing's a bit enthusiastic towards the end to help build momentum and inspiration within the troops.

   This year marks the 15 anniversary (Circa 2007) featuring the Creepy-Guy voice so we've combined the best creeps from the bunch and put 'em on the below link. Oddly enough, this year also marks the 150 year anniversary of The Mortuary in NOLA. We began our journey thanks to a mutual acquaintance at Elswarro Productions. The Creepy-Guy voice became such an identifiable presence with The Mortuary, that they started using us directly and it became the beginning of a beautiful friendship ever since. Click to hear a few quick tags for the Mortuary's  'The House that Fear Built' 150 year Anniversary campaign. 
And, "in keep'in with the situation" as Mrs. Dilber would say at A Christmas Carol time, we leave a link to a minute version of:  'Twas the Nite Before Christmas - a cavalcade of wise-crackin old Celeb farts voices that will thrill and captivate the whole family. Click above link or graphic to play.
In closing, we end the year by giving tribute to the inimitable Mills (Let's Get It On) Lane, who passed away this December 6th, at 85.  Let's hope he's still gettin' it on in that heavenly ring in the sky. Mills was a real life boxing referee. His long career was punctuated when he ref 'd the Tyson/Holyfield fight. That's when Mike Tyson bit off a portion of Holyfield's e-a-r! In 1998, Lane hit the small screen as the star of the syndicated courtroom show Judge Mills Lane, deciding real-life cases with his razor-sharp judicial expertise and hard-nosed demeanor. He also appeared as himself in the MTV animated series Celebrity Death-Match where I often times appeared with him as a celebrity voice. The Mil'ster and I go way back. Yeah, right. Actually, Mr. Lane and I, although appearing together in many of the episodes, only met twice at the food court of Syn-Sound recording studio on the upper West-Side of Manhattan. Here's an episode that features Mills out of character as a contestant, almost. I played tough guy VJ Matt Pinfield against Zany VJ Jesse Camp. It's not pretty, but you can count on a-laugh-a-minute of side-splitting humor for an uproarious riot of comedy fun. 

FaceBook Business Page

516.488.8840 Office
516.448.9900 Mobile

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Tc & Company gets Vocal on Tinol's "You Name It" Campaign


For many years now, choosing a color in Lebanon has meant choosing a political side. You see it in branding, protests, on billboards, marking their territories and creating more divisions among the Lebanese population. The day after the last Parliamentary Elections in 2022, the Lebanese people woke up to an even darker political context and a country losing by the day its colorful spirit.


A tad close to home, but when I hear or read stuff like this, my mind flashes back to the Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" with Frank Gorshin, the impressionist. His character Commissioner Bele, questioned if Kirk and Spock weren't blind not to see the obvious distinction between right & left sided faces. One White. Ah, but on which side of the face are they white & black? Don't despair. There was a lot of pause-acting from Capt. Kirk for xenophobe Bele and the rest of us to get the message.

The Lebanese people continue to struggle with 'obvious distinctions'  while having to deal with extended power cuts, a growing bread crisis, water and fuel shortages, increases in poverty along with increased hunger rates and limited access to proper medications. All the Lebanese are living in the dark. The colorful spirit of Lebanon is sadly disappearing…leading the country to a total economic meltdown.

To revolt against this gloomy reality, Tinol a leading paint brand in Lebanon, stepped forward to contribute  “symbolically”. Aimed at disarming the political parties, by depriving them of their color appropriation, and giving back this right to the Lebanese citizens. Tinol launched a unique, initiative…A colorful revolution with a twist; in which RED claims to be BLUE, ORANGE to be GREEN and so on...You Name It!

Tinol wanted a distinctive roll-out for their outdoor media "You Name It" campaign all over Lebanon. The effort was ON to break the strong association that was being made between colors and the political parties - making a bold, disruptive, and colorful statement. Revealing your own color, became a sort of game to express differences in a peaceful manner and a reminder that colors can speak in a thousand ways.


Our job was to make the voice as emotive as the spirited music track. At least that's the direction from the advertising camp. The music is pretty intense with flourishes and serene moments and the wrap-up of course. And there was a template for additional guidance as to tone, approach-ability and a leave-no-question as to our trustworthiness. The voice, after all said & done, had developed into an assertive character. It was a cross between a newscaster and meaningful commentator...but, in a good way we hoped. We were feelin' the magic! Click below for an abbreviated pre-quel to the final.

Over on this side of the world, we were invited to attend some very hep sounds in NYC at the College of Performing Arts at The New School on the 20th. A good friend of ours has been singing her heart out in this choral society she's belonged to for quite a few years now. Our seats were reserved, brand spanking new and built for a clarinet. Masks weren't optional. Small price to pay (free) to be a part of this gala event of the season. We were about to hear a few hours of a rare staging of the New York Choral Society stylings against Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts. Check it out. It was in partnership with the College of Performing Arts. What a nice surprise of theater peeling back the rich layers of Ellington rap plus some rat-a-tat-tippy-top-tap to top it off!

Combining elements of jazz, classical music, choral music, spirituals, gospel, blues and (Tap) dance, Ellington’s three Sacred Concerts were first performed in 1965, 1968, and 1973. Ellington said it was the most important music he’d ever written. Because of the scale of the music and the number of artists needed to perform each work, Ellington’s Sacred Concerts have rarely been performed in their entirety since his death in 1974 and have not been performed in a concert hall setting in New York City in over 35 years.

The Sacred Concerts would not be possible without YOUR support. Your donation, in any amount, makes this historic production possible. DONATE HERE. Thank you!
                                                                    - New York Choral Society

The New York Choral Society and The New School Studio Orchestra will be joined by vocalists Brianna Thomas and Milton Suggs, dancer Daniel J. Watts,  artist James Little. David Hayes and Keller Coker conduct.

Click above pic for Utube link to watch replay of Nov. 20 Concert

FaceBook Business Page

516.488.8840 Office
516.448.9900 Mobile