Time Warner Cable - Moments of Joy Holiday

http://youtu.be/7XSuJbgMfEA TWCChristmas came early for me this season when I was cast as the VO for Time-Warner Cable's holiday ad campaign. This is another example of the "less is more" approach to VO. During the session the director asked me to "dial it back" a few notches. It "felt" subdued in the studio but it works wonderfully well with the video. It's great when you get to work with pros.

Vocal Exercise - Civil War Letter

A few months ago my friend Jack Parnell shared with me how he likes to record poetry and song lyrics as a vocal workout. This might explain why he sounds just as good and performs just as well today as he did 30 years ago. While I am fairly diligent with my physical exercise, I sheepishly admit that I have room for improvement when it comes to my vocal exercise.

So, I was watching Ken Burns: The Civil War on Netflix where I heard an excerpt from a letter written by a Union officer that captured my attention. I found the full letter on Wikipedia and thought I would try my hand at recording it.

Union Officer - Major Sullivan BallouIt was written by Major Sullivan Ballou at the very beginning of the War Between The States, or as some like to call it: The War of Northern Aggression!

Major Ballou's letter is all the more moving when you learn that he was killed one week later at the 1st Battle of Bull Run. (July 1861)

Thanks for listening.



The "Less Is More" Voice-over

A couple of years ago, while attending a Bob Bergen (aka Porky Pig) workshop, I was instructed to pull way back on my delivery in order to have stronger impact. It's sometimes easy to forget in a world of high energy car commercials. But here is a car ad which proves the point ... less is definitely more.


Okay so Michael C Hall is borderline creepy. Did I say "borderline"?

So, here's one that gets my MAN chromosomes revved up'


Remember, less is more... unless of course you're selling


Memphis Summer Sounds

Cicadas in MemphisUsually when you think of Memphis Sounds you think of the blues and rock riffs emanating from the clubs along Beale Street. But this morning I captured some Memphis sounds that you usually only hear in the dog days of summer. I'm not sure if these are cicadas, crickets or tree frogs. It maybe all of the above. They make quite a racket.  

Grab a Mint Julip and enjoy.

The Art Of Voice Acting

From time to time I am asked to give advice or pointers to someone who is interested in doing voice-over work. Sometimes I will have coffee or lunch with this person and give them my thoughts for an hour or so. I'm always happy to talk about something that I care about, namely radio production and voice work. The Art Of Voice Acting by James Alburger

The first thing I always recommend is that people purchase James Alburger's book The Art Of Voice Acting. In fact, I need to order the forth edition and take a refresher myself. If I ever start a voice class this will be my textbook of choice.

DISCLAIMER: You can order the book by clicking on the picture and I'll make parking meter money.

Last week I received an email from someone who is still in college and interested in doing voice-overs. I will withhold the person's name but here is the email along with my reply.



Currently I am in my last year of college at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. My major is Broadcast Media and I hope to obtain a job somewhere in television production. Recently, I have been attempting to explore the world of voice acting. I do not know where to start or what to look for as far as auditions, however. Most of the information I find online are for voice acting lessons and subscriptions to online talent companies. It is difficult to find reliable information. My friends all have told me that I had a great voice for cartoons or disney and I was wondering if you could advise me on where to start. I would greatly appreciate any words of wisdom you may give.

Thank You, ********** Hello (). Good to hear from you. I agree with you, there is so much stuff out there it is difficult to know who is shooting straight.

The first thing I would recommend is a book called The Art of Voice Acting. I have worked with the gentleman who wrote the book as well as attended conferences that he has produced and he is the real deal.

When it comes to cartoons and animation one name comes to mind... Bob Bergen. I have attended his animation workshops and while I haven't found much call for animation voices here in Memphis I did feel that I learned a lot from him. To my knowledge, he hasn't written any books but here is a link to his website.


There are good coaches and workshops but I would caution against throwing too much money around too quickly. Read the book, do the exercises, practice reading copy everyday. Get some honest feedback from people in the know. Don't put yourself out into the marketplace too early. At the same time don't wait years just going to classes. At some point you do have to put yourself out there.

I may have only confused you more but those are my initial thoughts.

Oh yes, one more thing...

Good luck.

~ Rick

"The one to call for voice-over / audio production" ~ Rick Tarrant Productions 714-VOX-RICK 714-869-7425

Staying Cool In My Home Studio

I hope you are managing to stay cool during this incredibly hot summer. Here in Memphis we are faring much better than other parts of the country. Today's summer rain is much welcomed. Most days I have to keep a fan blowing in my studio or I wouldn't make it. Last week I did a phone patch session that lasted over an hour during which I turned off all fans and AC. By the end of that session I was working up a sweat. The joys of working from home. As it turned out the producers put music behind the VO track which would have masked any noise that my AC might have made. Here is one of the videos that came out of that session. The producer in me can't help but notice that YouTube dumbs down the audio quality of the voice over a bit.

In an ideal setting I would have an HVAC with large enough ductwork and vents so that the flow of air did not make noise. Also the attic AC unit would be far enough away so that you would not hear any mechanical noise. In previous studios that I designed and built that was the case. The work around in this location is to turn down the AC an hour before the VO session. Cool things down first and then it's not so bad.

This week I did a corporate narration for a client in England who will not be putting any music behind the voice. That is when the shortcomings of your studio can be exposed. That is why I went to a great deal of effort when I first moved in to build a dozen sound absorption panels. These are filled with mineral wool insulation that is acoustically rated. While these don't control outside noises they do dampen and control the sound inside the studio.

Here is an excerpt from that session. You'll notice that even though I am using a high quality condenser mic (U-87) which picks up everything the room is pretty quite. A noise gate also helps.


That's all for now. Stay cool. And stay quiet.

Cayerio Cast As Voice Talent for Franklin Graham Event

I have produced promotional spots for hundreds of concert events over the years. This year my friends at Billy Graham called me again to create something to run on urban stations in the Milwaukee area.

Here is how Memphis hip-hop musician Cayerio sounds as the voice talent for this Franklin Graham/concert promotion.

It's really dope! :-)

Download here

Listen on your iPhone:

Rick Tarrant with Jack Parnell on Elvis Radio

Here's another radio blast from the past, although not too distant past. This was captured a few years ago when I was program director at Sirius Satellite Radio's ELVIS Channel. My guest this Sunday afternoon was voice actor Jack Parnell. This is a short edited aircheck. If I can find the original it would be fun to hear the long form conversation.

Listen on your iPhone:

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare A Voice-Over?

Rick With Cardboard Sign I’ve watched with piqued interest the Ted Williams story that broke about two weeks ago. You know, the homeless man with the “golden pipes” story.

One day he’s homeless on a street corner selling his voice for a “dollar a holler” and the next he’s appearing on network radio and television and being offered big time voice-over gigs that many voice actors will never live long enough to see.

When I first saw his video my heart really went out to him. I thought, “there but for the grace of God...” and said a prayer for him.

I went through a tough time a few years ago and I’ve often thought that had it not been for my loving wife I might have ended up carrying a cardboard sign. I began to understand why the hobos of the Great Depression hit the road.

Unknown Blues Singer

In your pocket not one penny and as for friends you don't have any...

If I get my hands on a dollar again I’ll hang on to it till that old eagle grins

“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.” - Jimmie Cox (1923)

When you are down and out, whether through poor choices or life circumstances, it can be hard to get back up without a helping hand.

I was happy to see people offering Mr. Williams an opportunity to use his God-given gifts. I hope that he can parlay that help into a successful second, third or fourth chance.

Everybody should get another chance, especially in America.