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


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

The Grace Card - Movie Promo


One of the things on my bucket list is to voice movie trailers. I've always been drawn to them. The intensity - the drama is absolutely captivating to me. In fact, forget the movie, I go to the theater to hear the trailers! Really. I close my eyes and just listen.

Aside from some independent NGO productions I have not voiced a theatrical trailer yet. But this week I came closer. I produced this promo for the sneak preview of a movie that was filmed in Memphis, The Grace Card.