01 Jan 2015

Happy New Year!

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Instead of resolutions this year that focus on things I’d like to fix, I was inspired by a friends blog post to reconsider the best ways that I can grow personally. Instead of growth that focuses on the negative, for 2015 I want to focus on the best parts of 2014 and think of ways that I can replicate and build on that success. Numerous studies of shown that we are happier and more successful overall if we focus on building our strengths instead of trying to overcome our weaknesses. Now clearly some issues/weaknesses need to be addressed in order for us to move forward (that’d we timely accounting and invoicing for me)but a lot of growth can best be served by appreciating what’s going well and building on that instead of focusing on the negative and looking around desperately for things to fix.

So what were the highlights of 2014? What were the things that I hope to build on or repeating 2015?

2014 was one of my most successful years financially. Almost all that is due to three key clients. Making a conscious effort to understand these client’s needs and build relationships was critical.

2014 was the first year that I did over 30 audiobooks and more importantly when I feel I really got a handle on the audiobook workflow.

With the help and support of family and friends I developed and performed a full length original story.

Family and friends were also a big highlight. Not only was our first child born but my wife and I made time for a number of small trips to visit family and friends. We even had some “unforgettable” garlic peach cobbler!

Photography is my third passion (following voice over and storytelling) and I created some of my favorite images last year.

Those are my “discoveries” of 2014. Next I’ll take these positive aspects and create a dream for 2015 and some plans to get there. In the meantime, what were your 2014 highlights? What strengths will you be building on in the new year?

08 Dec 2014

Announcing our newest team member!

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Our first child, Jacqueline Rosemary Richards, was born December 1st, 2014. Both she and her mother are healthy and happy.

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02 Nov 2013

Ender’s Game: Already Waiting for the Remake

out-and-about, Personal 3 Comments

Do you remember those advertisements in the 80’s & 90’s for greatest hits albums? $19.99 buys you *all* the best songs of the 50’s, 60’s AND 70’s! But it turns out everything has been redone by a passable but far from stellar cover band? That’s Ender’s Game the movie. To be fair, despite its size, Ender’s Game the book actually covers the same amount of ground as all seven of JK Rowlings Harry Potter books (a prepubescent boy with remarkable potential starts, survives, and saves the world by growing up and graduating from a special school) and Harry had almost 20 hours of screen time to tell his story. Imagine Daniel Ratcliff trying to condense his entire character arch into less than two hours.

The problem is that Ender’s Game the movie takes a scatter shot approach to cutting down the story. Instead of showing Ender’s entire childhood consumed by his training this movie seems to take place in an afternoon. For a visual medium this movie is a lot of telling and very little showing. We are told at several points that months have passed but we don’t see it. . . Most of the memorable lines are there but none of the action made it. . . The battle school scenes are cut down to a few dramatic training flights and … that’s it. Oh, we get bits of the last battle but it makes no sense if you haven’t read the book . . . Graff says Ender should be isolated and then Ender spends most of the movie surrounded by friends. . . The shower scene is there but the death is an accident.

What was good? Ben Kingsley. I had *huge* misgivings about him in that role but he was awesome. In fact most of the acting–given the terrible script and direction–wasn’t bad but Kingsley (despite having the smallest role of anyone with top billing) was the only character with a clear arch. I actually wanted to see more of his strange maori mashup.

So Hollywood you messed this one up but after all the endless failed Superman reboots maybe could you redo this movie again in say five years? Only next time get Fernando Meirelles to direct it.

 

 

Oh, and what happened to calling them “buggers”?!

29 Aug 2013

“A Great Voice”

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(video)

08 Aug 2013

“Holy Motors” or “My Life as a Voice-over Artist”

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This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. If you’re a voice-over talent and you haven’t seen the French surrealist film Holy Motors you should. Also, stop reading now because I’m about to let loose some spoilers.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The film is set in the near/alternate future and follows an actor around as he performs in various “roles” each of which require him to create elaborate disguises and act out touching, violent, or bizarre scenes in public. At one point he says something to the effect “the cameras are so small you can hardly see them” and as the film progresses the line between reality and fiction blurs so completely it is hard to tell them apart. Is the final love scene “real” or is some kind of Woody Allen-esque industry insider story? Does the jumper really die? Who is the actor when he is not acting?

I think it is that final question the filmmaker wants us to really ponder. However, as a voice-talent I couldn’t get my mind away from the lonely and frenetic rides through Paris in actor’s white limo where he prepares for his various roles. It reminded me so completely of the life of the modern voice talent. While most of us sit at home or in a private studio we may travel to a half dozen different “locales” through out our day and become a dozen different characters. Also like the actor in Holy Motors this is no support staff to do our make-up (engineering) and hardly any time to prepare.

So in a way I found this film particularly haunting. Seen it yet? Thoughts? Will all acting go the way of the voice-talent–democratized the point of almost lonely obscurity?

22 Jul 2013

Computer Voices Are Still Playing Catchup

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(video)

The Socialmatic instant comera is an interesting product that could extend the life of the dying point-and-shoot market. However, the marketing video is a disaster. If the creators had hired a real voice-over artist the rudimentary CGI might seem a little tongue-in-cheek and purposeful. As it is I can’t help but wonder if someone leaked a very early rough-draft.

20 Jun 2013

Thunder Rise by G. Wayne Miller

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“Thunder Rise” a new audiobook written by G. Wayne Miller and narrated by Joel Richards

Audible has now released the audiobook version G. Wayne Miller’s Thunder Rise. The book takes place in a sleepy hollow of Berkshire county Massachusetts that is slowly torn apart by a mysterious disease. When the disease begins slowly sucking the life out of the children in town one man believes he knows the true cause, but will anyone believe him? An unlikely set of heroes must overcome personal differences and failings if they hope to save the children before the evil lurking under Thunder Rise escapes. Set in the shadow of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s G. Wayne Miller captures the latent fears and distrust of a generation emerging from the Cold War only to find themselves facing more insidious and faceless evils.

The audiobooks is available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

 

 

10 Apr 2013

Now an Audible Approved Producer

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Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 1.31.21 PMI received an email today informing that I had been chosen as an Audible Approved producer. It is designed to help rights holders looking for qualified and proven professionals to produce audiobook on Audible’s ACX platform. To be honest, while I feel qualified, I had not yet gotten around to applying for the program so the award came as a pleasant surprise.

I do have several great nonfiction titles that were recently released on Audible. So if you haven’t had a chance to check out The Brain Fix, Ask Your Science Teacher, or The Angel and the Frog please do!

15 Mar 2013

Guess What Came in the Mail?!

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My diploma recently arrived in the mail. I have officially received my Master of Arts in Storytelling and now I have the piece of paper to prove it!

25 Sep 2012

“Dinner and a Ramp” story featured on Ashevegas website

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My wife just pointed out to me that a story I told at the Synergy Storyslam in Asheville is now featured on the Ashevegas article about the slam! Ashevegas is a guide to everything cool, hip, and fun in Asheville, NC. Synergy is great story slam start hosted by the Magnetic Field several Mondays a month. Check it out if you’re ever in the area.