May 2008

Big Wheel Clients

First it was the OTC safety video for heavy equipment tire service people (see the Feb.08 newsletter.) Then it was a promotional narration for "Street Smart Parts & Service", a McNeilus company featuring the nation's largest and most comprehensive network of support for garbage and concrete truck fleets!

Now, it's the "300 pound gorrilla" of monster vehicles, Caterpillar, that is using MrVO's pipes to pump their products in a year-long campaign of broadcast spots in the US and Canada!. My testosterone levels must have been off the charts after all this thunderous voice work!

So, when I got the call that a toy company wanted me to promote one of their toys for Saturday morning kid's shows, I started getting all warm and fuzzy.

It was Mattell. And the product, a SpeedRacer spin-off (pun intended), called for growling, punchy, super-hyped, ubermasculinity. It made the Cat spots sound wimpy! <sigh>

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Perfect Drink Recipe:

2 oz. 12-yr. old Scotch
1 rocks glass (clean)
4 oz shaved ice
2 sprigs fresh mint
1 slice lemon peel
4 oz Pellegrino

Pour Scotch into glass. Throw the rest of the crap in the trash, and drink!

Carbon Footprint:

What your wife finds on the carpet after you finish cleaning the fireplace!

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Studio of the Month

To be honest about it, I haven't done a lot of stuff for these guys in a while, but they still stand out as a pretty remarkable member of my client base. I've done work with Babe Williamson and this Greenville, SC, studio since the early 80's, when it was known as "Sundown Sound".

Some partership changes took place and Duane Evans joined Babe to create Williamson Evans"... a studio that literally does it all!

Babe is the production genius, while Duane is the music man. But both are very familiar with both halves of the business, and have added visual media to create a true multi-media powerhouse capable of handling anything from internet sound to television to radio to industrial DVDs to... I don't know... podcasts, maybe? The clever, complex animation I watched before every movie in one particular chain of theaters, telling me where the popcorn and Skittles were sold, was done by these guys.

Years ago, I used to spend hours on the highway driving to Greenville, SC, to work with them. Now, they are just a speed-dial away on an ISDN codec. But the end result is the same... really, really good audio!

I must say, though, that I miss doing lunch at one of the trendy, upscale bistros that are peppered all over the charming renovated downtown area of
Greenville. And I liked the pool table in the break area for relaxing between sessions.

See What I'm Sayin'?

When I first left Charlotte in 2005 to move to Philly, I talked about an idea I had for setting up some kind of video link so clients could still watch me as I work, as if through the old "studio window". I could never get anything to work that was worth a damn.

But after moving back to Charlotte, that day arrived when Wally Hayman (of Wallabee Studios in Philly) and I started playiing with Skype... the new kid on the internet block with free communication. It is the brainchild of a couple of North Europeans, and will probably shake things up on the web. Wally and I had set up web cams and signed up for free membership in Skype to check it out. The rest just worked too smoothly to believe!

We went through a nearly two hour long session with audio going through ISDN (Wally recording at his end in Philly) while simultaneously viewing each other on our monitors through Skype!

The quality was great... not too jerkey. We could also have used "iChat" if we wished, and included up to 7 other locations as an audio/video conference with clients, other talent, etc. Only one drawback... Wally and I have never met each other in person, and have had only our voices and personalities as references.

Now we both know what the other looks like.... old, gray, and typically unglamorous. So much for high-tech!

And I guess I shouldn't work in my pajamas anymore...

DIY Car Repair...

As prices soar on everything from gas to food, everyone is looking for ways to shave a few bucks off the budget. Well, as my contract has been renewed as the national advertising spokesperson for Federated Auto Parts for the tenth consecutive year, I'm proud to suggest learning how to do simple tune-ups, oil chages, and lube jobs on the family car. You'd be surprised at how much you can save, and how simple some of these jobs really can be (if you use Federated Auto Parts, of course.)

Just try to avoid getting crushed, electrocuted, dismembered, or scarred for life by using good safety practices. Can you find any potential safety threats in this photo?

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