Friday, September 30, 2011

Part 14 of PML’s: How does a Voice Talent Prepare for a Session?

We asked some of our top 100 voice talents to find out how they get ready for a voice session. Here is what Kelli C. says...

“Preparing for a recording session first begins with the time of year we are
in! Considering that I work from my home studio and have children, I need to
make the proper adjustments when it's session time!  During the summer, that
consists of making sure my studio surroundings are nice and quiet!
Once that is accomplished, I get my recording equipment ready.  I always
have the script in hand before a session starts. I read over it and gear
myself up for the type of client/product it is and ready myself for the type
of read the client is most likely looking for. I have my water ready and a
smile on my face!”

More responses from other talents are coming soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Welcome to Who Wants to Be a Republican Candidate?

Republican Debate 2011
For anyone who has watched the recent Republican debates, you might have thought you were tuned into the Game Show Network rather than Fox News or CNN. From the crowd to the flashing lights to the witty intro music, it looks like Alex Trebek should be hosting these debates.

Former President Reagan at a debate
The debates open up with a long shot of the glowing red. white, and blue stage with the participants (contestants) at podiums and a cheering crowd. This atmosphere makes it undoubtedly better to watch debates, especially if you do not have much interest in politics, but want to keep informed as the election grows near.

 With the primary's starting at the beginning of 2012, debates are   critical to who will run against President Obama. Last presidential election, there was a mass effort to get young people to vote. It worked. Somewhere between 22 and 24 million Americans ages 18-29 voted for President in 2008. That was the highest turn out for this age group since 18 year-olds were first allowed to vote for president in 1972. These newly structured debates are another step in gaining the youths attention in politics.
Ratings for 2011 Rep. Debate

Look out for many more of these debates as November 6th, 2012 gets closer and come on down!

Written By:
Justin Kaufmann
Fall 2011 Intern
Temple University

Friday, September 23, 2011

Part 13 of PML’s: How does a Voice Talent Prepare for a Session?

We asked some of our top 100 voice talents to find out how they get ready for a voice session. Here is what Steve K. says...

“It really is a state of mind when you prepare.  In my 45 years of doing voice overs I have encountered many different types of spots that require a voice talent to be basically a chameleon.  I first look at the copy and see "what is the point"?  Then I look for a "turn"...something in the script that takes you in a completely different direction than what you first thought. These are scripts that are well written by good copy writers for image type advertising.

So I prepare by looking at the type of spot, is it a heavy voice truck spot or is it an image spot for Cadillac? Then I try to create a sound (character) that would fit that type of spot. You must be versatile and be able to create a character type voice, just like actors create characters. Gritting your teeth will create intensity, furrowing the brow creates yet another, talking out of the side of you mouth yet another and so on. There are many techniques to use.”

More responses from other talents are coming soon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's going on with the "NEW" Facebook?

It’s Wednesday morning, September 21.
Facebook has gone renegade.
Users are crying out for answers.
 “Ugh. Facebook is so stupid. I don’t want you to filter things for me. Geez!”   - Taylor R.

“STUPID FACEBOOK!!! i already have ENOUGH ppl creepin’ on my page without YOUR help. gosh i’m about to LEAVE.”      - Laura T.
“Facebook is destroying my life. What the **** is going on”    - Dave F.

這件事情已經過去3個月了,當初發現塑化劑的功臣,因為她本身非常低調、謙虛,大家只知其名”  - Ping Y.
With the Social Media World in such upheaval, we here at Propulsion Media Labs have turned to some of the leading experts in media and cutting-edge technology. Our very own Tom Trzesniowski, Andrew Kunkle, Michael Remp and Darren Exley have offered statements concerning Facebook’s new design. May their words comfort those who are still lost in the dark, searching for a beacon of hope and truth:
“Who cares.” - Darren
“What’s Facebook??” - Andrew
“There’s too much **** on the page now. Call it information overload.” -Tom
“I like it. I feel like my main feed is not as cluttered. I do not like the mini feed on the bugs me that I don’t know how to change that. Their privacy settings don’t help at all...” - Mike
“****’s all upside down and sideways now.” - Darren
Clearly, our experts here at PML have conflicting opinions on the new layout. Suffice it to say, we are all going to stick with it and see how everything pans out.
But we just COULDN’T let all this Facebook hype pass by without a blatant and shameless plug for our new Facebook page:
CLICK HERE and Like us now!

Emilie Eastman, Fall 2011 Intern, Eastern University

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Athletes in Advertisements

From sports drinks and sneakers to televisions and cable service, companies often choose athletes to promote their products.  Why not capitalize on the opportunity to associate a product or service with an athlete who has a built-in following of thousands or millions of people?  However, choosing an athlete to promote a product can have its issues.  Some athletes can be dynamic on-screen talents.  Others not so much.  Think of Peyton Manning vs. Eli Manning.  Peyton is charismatic and likeable as he explains how to throw a football for Gatorade, shows off NFL Sunday Ticket for DIRECTV, and cheers on the local butcher to “cut that meat” for Mastercard.  A recent Samsung commercial is just one example of Peyton’s brother falling short.  The words stiff and awkward come to mind when describing Eli’s performance.

What can a producer do to make an athlete look and sound better on screen?  The first thing is to tell the athlete to act natural and speak as they normally would.  The goal is for the athlete to be conversational, as opposed to the monotone delivery we often see.  If the athlete still sounds like a robot, you can tell him or her to pay attention to the enunciation of certain words, which will hopefully create some vocal variety.  The important thing to know is with the right direction, athletes can improve as television personalities.  While part of on-screen performance comes from natural ability, experience and comfort in front of the camera will greatly improve the sound and look of these athletes in advertisements.

Alex Campbell
Fall 2011 Intern
University of Delaware, Communication

Monday, September 19, 2011

Part 12 of PML’s: How does a Voice Talent Prepare for a Session?

We asked some of our top 100 voice talents to find out how they get ready for a voice session. Here is what Ed B. says...

“I usually prepare for a session by asking for the copy well in advance. It's always nice to read through it a few times before even turning on the mic. When it's a client directed session I also like to know the names of everyone before the session begins. If it's a big session I always have hot tea and water nearby as well. A hot tea always helps me to relax and it's good for the voice and throat. I always try to clear my mind before a session as well for better concentration.”

More responses from other talents are coming soon!

Friday, September 16, 2011

You wouldn't buy makeup from Mr. Clean...

No matter how often they tell you we live in a gender neutral society, don't believe them.
“A woman can do anything a man can do.”

“There’s no real difference between the sexes.”
“Gender stereotypes are a thing of the past.”
All lies.

How do I know? Well it’s in the advertising.

Gender-stereotypical marketing has been the most popular component of advertising since they created sliced bread. And then got a woman to sell it.
Why? Because women know more about bread....and cooking....and cleaning....and taking care of children.

“Men are more likely to be shown advertising cars or business products; women are mostly advertising domestic products. Men are more likely to be shown outdoors or in business settings; women in domestic settings.”
says Dr. Daniel Chandler, visual semiotician, in “Television and Gender Roles."
“The portrayal of both men and women on TV is largely traditional and stereotypical... [With femininity are associated traits such as emotionality, prudence, co-operation, a communal sense, and compliance. Masculinity tends to be associated with such traits as rationality, efficiency, competition, individualism and ruthlessness.]”

In general, the only time you’ll see a woman advertising power tools or a new motorcycle is if she’s lying naked on top of it.
Why? Because women are sexy. And sex sells.

Is there something wrong with this system? Not necessarily. You wouldn’t buy makeup from Mr. Clean, but you would from Drew Barrymore.

Even in today's “progressive”, postmodern culture, the majority of the population still clings to traditional gender roles and stereotypes. And advertisers know that if they want to appeal to the majority, they need to play into these stereotypes.

Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Men and women are different - thank God - and have different qualities. I don’t think women would have the patience to listen to men if they talked as much as we do.
Yes, I am making sweeping generalities. But think about it, generalities sell.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lighting 101

Lighting is one of the biggest ways to make an amateur film look professional! 

The most basic lighting set-up is called the 3-point system.  It consists of a key light, a fill light, and a back light.  The key light is your main source of light and should be placed in front of the subject off to the left.  The fill light supplements the key light, and fills out the shadows that the key light casts.  The fill light is usually about half the power of the key light, and is placed to the front right of the subject.  The final light is the back light which separates the subject from its background.  This light is placed behind the subject, or slightly off to the side.

Mood Lighting

Playing with the fill light can give the shot several different moods.  Having little or no fill light is known as “low-key lighting.”  It causes a dramatic effect with lots of shadows, and is often used in horror and suspense films; think holding a flashlight under your chin while telling a spooky story.  Having high fill light, or matching the intensity of the key light, is known as “high-key lighting.”  It eliminates most, or all, shadows and is often used to indicate futuristic or utopian places; think of how “heaven” is depicted as a blindingly bright place.

Working with what you have!

Sometimes the only lighting you need already exists at your location. Artificial light is not the only way!

    * Natural sunlight is a great tool when filming outdoor scenes.  It adds a realism to your shots that cannot be achieved in any studio, and it’s free!
    * Filming a scene with spies, criminals, or generally shady characters near allies at night?  The lights on the outside of buildings will cast shadows in all the right places.
    * Having lights visible in a shot is not always a bad thing.  You can make light sources like lamps, streetlights, flashlights, or even tiki torches do double duty as on-screen props.

Emily Levy 
Fall 2011 Intern
La Salle University, Communication and Art History 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Best Audio/Visual Apps for the iPhone

With many people carrying around iPhone’s or some sort of device in their pocket, the world today is fast moving and on the go. There are never ending possibilities to what can be done on that four inch screen; including the things we love to do here at Propulsion Media Labs. Listed below are just a few of the best Audio/Visual apps available on the iPhone.

Gorillacam: This is a great extension to the iPhone’s camera. It has many options Apple should have included and some that you would not expect, but prove to be very useful.  Gorillacam isn’t just a camera app for fun, but every available setting is one that can be very helpful. Price: FREE

Flixlab: Flixlab is a fun and easy video creation/editing application that can be linked directly to Facebook. You can shoot or use a previous video on your iPhone to make some cool and unique creations. Overall, Flixlab is great for putting together simple, enjoyable slide shows or videos that can be shared with family and friends. Price: FREE

CineCam: CineCam is a great easy app to shoot video with. While you cannot edit video with this application, it has some great shooting features. You can choose different lenses, films, and filters.Nevertheless, the video shooting combinations with CineCam are endless. Price: FREE
Splice: Unlike CineCam and Flixlab, Splice is a much more sophisticated video editing application for your Smartphone. Splice may take a little bit of time to get the hang of, but when you do you will be making great videos in the palm of your hand. Splice works great with videos that are filmed with CineCam. Price: FREE or there is an extended version for $3.99
Monle: This last app, Monle, is special for our audio guys here at Propulsion; Tom and Scott. Since they hate leaving the office everyday…they can now do what they love whenever, wherever. Monle is a four track, non linear portable audio recording and editing studio. It is truly unbelievable what this app is capable of. Price: $9.99

All of these apps are a great way to get started in the Audio/Visual field or just a fun tool to use on the go.

Written By:
Justin Kaufmann
Fall 2011 Intern
Temple University