Tag Archives: James Carville

New Orleans TV News Drops Anchor(s) at Airlift Productions

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(L-R) Airlift’s Micheal Ziants, Norman Robinson, Heath Allen, Rich Lenz at the WDSU-TV Studios for the CMN Telethon

Norman Robinson. Lee Zurik. Camille Whitworth. Rich Lenz. Heath Allen. Rachel Wulff.

Round up the usual suspects.

I have –  to record various voice-over projects here in New Orleans at Airlift Productions.

I first met and recorded Norman Robinson in 1991. He was fresh back in NOLA from the White House CBS-TV Network news beat, and was the newly-ordained anchor man at our WDSU.

Little did we then realize, or even think about future days, but the fact is, 28 years later, we’re still at it!

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Anchor man NORMAN ROBINSON brushing-up his VoiceOver skills at Airlift Productions NOLA

Our most recent project? Recording and compiling every electronic message for every streetcar and bus – even the ferries – in the city of New Orleans.

“Senior citizens ride the bus for only 40 cents”… “Please look around you for any personal items you may have left behind before exiting the vehicle/next stop, Canal Street.”

NORTA – the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority – tagged Norman and me to record well over 1,500 wav files for use in their system citywide.

** Norman narrates NORTA’s ‘Go Mobile’ App Tutorial **

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L-R, Heath Allen, Theresa Andersson, Micheal Ziants, Rich Lenz – during a break from the original HEALING HOUSE sessions, Airlift Productions 2004

Rich Lenz now calls  Tulsa, OK home, a gone pecan from NOLA for over ten years now (gee, Thanks, Katrina), but he served for 16 years as sports director/anchor at WDSU.

Richie and I’ve recorded countless tunes together, including epic anthems to herald the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon fund-raising year-after-year to benefit and support our Children’s Hospital’s life saving efforts for our kids.

** the 1st, of many, Telethon Tunes for Children’s Hospital **

 

Rachel Wulff records her VoiceOver Demo at Airlift Productions NOLA

After meeting WWL/WDSU anchor gal Rachel Wulff around the aisles of our local Lowe’s Home Improvement store, I helped Rachel improve her post-anchor life and UP her game by producing a VoiceOver demo for her.

Very nice.

** Rachel’s VO Demo, with her daughter’s cutesy intro **

Fox-8/WVUE’s solid anchor dude – and award-winning investigative reporter – Lee Zurik and I work together on projects for video ace Paul Atkinson.

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Airlift Mike, Lee Zurik, Paul Atkinson – “Glory Days” sessions

The latest project? VoiceOver for “Glory Days”, an homage to the passions and victories of Newman High School’s football program.

As it turns out, Lee was on the same team at Newman with a local boy-made-good you may have heard of – the NFL’s Peyton Manning.

** Lee Zurik narrates “Glory Days” with Airlift Mike **

Man, that must’ve been some wild locker room, huh?

(BTW,  Lee, do you wanna send that sassy Kim Holden over for a recording session sometime?)

L-R. Micheal Ziants, Heath Allen, Rich Lenz, Brian Landry, making music at Airlift Productions NOLA

The Airlift Productions studio doors are always open to Heath Allen, veteran reporter for decades at WDSU.  Heath carved-out his reputation in the early days all over Baton Rouge TV.

His compassionate, and knowledgeable in-the-field reporting is always incisive and spot-on. And he picks quite a guitar, at that.

2019 continues to see local NOLA news veteran Camille Whitworth drop by from time to time for various VO commercial and industrial projects.

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Camille Whitworth sets the VO mood at Airlift Productions NOLA

Camille dedicated years to  the anchor chair at WDSU, and today fills her days public speaking, doing on-camera work for our East Jefferson Hospital, and recording various VoiceOver projects for clients in and around NOLA.

Dependable, personable, and experienced, Camille is always fun to have around the Airlift Studios.

There is simply no reason or need for news anchors to walk away from their skills & finely-honed talents when they walk away from the nightly news anchor desk.

Norman, Rich, Heath, Rachel, Lee & Camille are all exceptionally fine and experienced talents with, as the expression goes, ‘ a lot of good miles left on their tires’.

It has also been said, and rightly so, that journalism, as well as the nightly news, is ‘History – the first draft’.

I am so gratified – and humbled – that these remarkable ladies and gentlemen have all chosen to work with me and Airlift Productions to write new chapters.

And, as Paul Harvey used to intone, tell ‘the rest of the story’.

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Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants shoulder-to-shoulder with JAMES CARVILLE at the Airlift Studios

“I’ve been in studios from the Bayou to the Beltway and I can say after recording my last two audio books with Mike that there is no better place than Airlift Productions. The quality of the production, the studio, and frankly the comfort make it the only place I want to record now or in the future”— JAMES CARVILLE, Political commentator, Tulane professor & Campaign Strategist behind the most dramatic political victories of our generation

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Airlift Productions – where the warmth of analogue lives. And the lightning speed of digital delivers.

 

 

V/O Marketing 101.1: An S.O.S. On S.E.O… What?!?

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Boy, just when you thought you had all the answers … they changed all the questions!
 
Watching ‘Mad Men’ re-runs on Netflix the other night, it hit me again as to how completely flipped and upside/down marketing & advertising has become from the 20th to the 21st century.
 
We’ve transitioned rather dramatically from ‘interruption’ marketing to ‘permission’ marketing.
 
Think about it, from the local disc jockey hitting a commercial and joking about the station ‘paying the light bill’ to the network newscaster ‘interrupting’ the news stories to sell you stuff … ‘interruption marketing/advertising’ was, last century, THE way to get your message across.
 
Today – in 2019 – even the 7 year old child skillfully navigates the remote control fast-forwarding the DVR box through the commercials … and then turns around and price-comparison-shops from a smart phone in the aisles at Target or Best Buy!
 
search_engine_marketing_ser‘Permission marketing’ in the 21st century ‘allows’ the buyer into your world when he is ready to buy.  It gives the buyer all the pertinent information needed UPON REQUEST via the device they have on-hand – in many cases IN their hand – to make the buying decision.
 
So, telling your compelling story on-line, making yourself available 24-7-365, and letting the potential buyer know about your satisfied customers  while on-line has indeed become the 21st century marketing challenge.
 
And no matter the century, it’s just plain human nature that people/buyers will put more trust and faith in what other people have to say about you … than anything you have to say about yourself.
 
The power of a well worded, sincere testimonial – let alone from someone already known and trusted – speaks volumes about one’s service rendered or product offered. 
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An Airlift Productions’ VO session in progress, with legendary Lillian Axe front-man Steve Blaze at the hot mic

In a virtual world where, in many cases, the entire transaction is done without human interaction, smiles, winks or handshakes, and across miles and state lines – the testimonial creates trust!

 
And this is precisely why I’ve just recently dedicated many hours to revamping the Airlift Productions website’s Testimonial Page.
 
From local New Orleans television personalities to New York producers, from iconic horror movie host Morgus the Magnificent to the Discovery Studios in Hollywood … from the mouth of James Carville at the Airlift mics to former Sirius/XM satellite talk show host Mike Church‘s opinion – all in their words!
 
1407-nighttime-pomonacrateFrom VoiceOver jobs, music recording sessions & audio books… to telephone systems & educational software – Airlift Productions & I have delivered. Time and time again.  From the last century to this one.
 

So go ahead, tap the 21st-century-brakes for just a second,  hit the pause button on the DVR box, and visit the Airlift Productions~Ziants Testimonial page here – when YOU are ready, 24-7-365 – and we’ll be there for you! 


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Airlift Productions ~ Delivering the Goods from NOLA since 1984!
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Rhiannon Boulger & Airlift Mike at the Airlift Studios NOLA 1-6-17

“Thank you Michael for being so accommodating, and making my job truly enjoyable. I’ve recorded in many professional studios all around Australia throughout the years, but I felt right at home and was really impressed with the huge Airlift Productions recording space & booth you built. Recording with you was as easy as if I were in my own studio back in Australia – and that really makes for a successful session. All your wonderful compliments didn’t hurt the vibe either! My ego appreciates your generous, kind words. Thanks again for being such a gentleman.”

~ Rhiannon Boulger, VO Artist, Melbourne, Australia

Woof! Airlift Productions Goes To The Dogs

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Airlift Productions NOLA’s Micheal & Ben Ziants along with The Shadeaux – his first Christmas 2006
The only problem with dogs is … that they don’t live forever!
 
And spelled either frontwards or backwards … Dog is still man’s best friend.
 
The Shadeaux, with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal dogs, came to the Airlift Productions Studios and became our official mascot and ‘talent herder’ over Christmas 2006.
 
Near as we can tell, he’s twelve years old today and, truth be known, he picked us out at the SPCA that day.  Kind of like the Ziants boyz – a mutt; part German Shepherd, part Chow, part Border Collie … and all Love.
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Airlift Mike and The Shadeaux – ears back – after a long walk. Gee, this totally Zen dog doesn’t even return a bark for a bark! But he loves to give that mailman hell. 🙂
No, this is not his obituary (and even he’d appreciate the humor that the word ‘bitch’ is in that word), it’s more like a mid-life opus and testament to his otherworldly powers.
 
After all, the recording process can be somewhat intimidating to some, and capturing a stellar on-mic performance can feel a bit daunting at times – even to the pro!
And the Shadeaux has an uncanny way of throwing a ‘chill-out’ factor into the entire equation.
 
Little Quvenzhane Wallis (of ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ fame) wanted to take him home with her (no chance), and James Carville’s ‘missus’ – Mary Matalin – could hardly tear herself away to get back to work on her audio book.
 
With a woof, a lick, and an appreciative tail wag – coupled with more fur than Liz Taylor at a pre-PETA-days holiday bash – the Shadeaux  has an amazing talent for making anyone feel comfortable, relaxed and right at home.
 
And when trying to record a stunning on-mic, on-point performance … what more could you ask for?
 
Except maybe that he’d live forever.
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  Airlift Productions … where EVERY day is ‘Take Your Doggie to Work Day’…  Airlift Mike with his fave, furry four-footed friend – and uncharacteristically shy, The Shadeaux  

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“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ~ Will Rogers
 
“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog & cat are not the better for it.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
 
“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” ~ Andy Rooney

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Micheal Ziants & Sean O’Shea, navigating the twists & turns of AudioBook production, Airlift Productions New Orleans, June 2017

“Airlift Mike was a saint, and ridiculously patient and supportive (and helpful!!) for this audio book virgin. In another environment, without the support, and with pressure to perform “right”, I probably would have completely fallen apart. So the MVP for this getting done goes 100% to Mike and the chilled out environment he’s cultivated…personally and within his studio.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to get this audio book out to you guys!! As challenging as it all was, the end result, I think, is amazing! 

Once again, a big heartfelt thanks to Mike and the years of expertise he brought to this project to ensure I sounded my very best. If you’re ever in Nola and need the best audio dude, and the best dude dude, holler at my man Mike with www.airliftproductions.com

Thanks for the great week my friend! :)”

— SEAN O’SHEA, Los Angeles-based Dog Trainer & AudioBook Producer

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Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984  … and going to the dogs since 2006

President George H W Bush, Mary Matalin… and Me

Mary Matalin, husband James Carville, along with the president and his Barbara in 2012

With the passing of President George H W Bush this weekend, allow me to tap the brakes just a second, and pause for some rather remarkable personal reflection.

Hired by AudioBook producer John F. McElroy in October 2013 to record Mary Matalin & James Carville’s “Love & War” for Penguin Audio in Manhattan, it fell on me to host James & Mary for a few weeks at the Airlift Productions Studios here in New Orleans.

That October morning Mary showed up to record –  and dressed to thrill – little did I know at first but, after the session, she was off to the French Quarter with hubby James for dinner and drinks with Bill Clinton!

Mary Matalin on-phone in the Bush Oval Office, along with Karl Rove and the “Think Tank”

Really.

Her tireless on-mic performance that day was really something… one bathroom break in four straight hours of recording.

Through that session Mary was a real firecracker!

LISTEN as she details her love for the president, while she vehemently defends a then-maligned one-term George Herbert Walker Bush at the Airlift microphones

** Mary Matalin “Love & War” excerpt, courtesy Penguin Audio **

Yes, indeed, Mary, along with her kids, always called and referred to this president as “Poppy”. A term he enjoyed and relished.

And this recording was but Day 1!

In Mary’s subsequent Airlift recording sessions we had many a laugh and bonded, at least as much as an audio engineer and a highly-respected and quoted public figure can.

One of my favorite memories from those October days was Mary’s nickname for me – “Zen Master”.

Of course, the goatee I was sporting at the time, along with some of my coaching tips & philosophical ramblings, probably contributed to that cutesy moniker.

But what a thrill and honor it was for me to play a part, however small, in capturing this now-classic part of America’s oral history, with the audiobook recording of “Love & War”.

As Mary got her opportunity to set a few records straight, while shedding some light on the warm, genuine side of George Herbert Walker Bush that but few would ever really know.

Rest in Paradise, President Bush, and, on behalf of all of America, we thank you for your unending and tireless devotion and service to the USA.

The final words Mary had for me on her last day of recording as she walked to her car?

“Til next time, Zen Master!”

You got it, Mary.

In the meantime, tell James “Howdy” from Airlift Mike, the studio mics are always open to you… and let’s not make it too long until ‘next time’, OK?

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JamesCarvilleRecordsAtAirliftProductionsNOLA
Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants shoulder-to-shoulder with JAMES CARVILLE at the Airlift Studios

“I’ve been in studios from the Bayou to the Beltway and I can say after recording my last two audio books with Mike that there is no better place than Airlift Productions. The quality of the production, the studio, and frankly the comfort make it the only place I want to record now or in the future”​ ~JAMES CARVILLE, Political Commentator, Tulane Professor & Campaign Strategist behind the most dramatic political victories of our generation

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Airlift Productions – we’ll leave the mics hot… and the light on for you.

Airlift PROductions, telling America’s Greatest Stories from New Orleans since 1984

 

 

Airlift Productions: A Life Lived In The Hurricane’s Eye

AirliftProductionsInTheHurricanesEyeThe National Weather Service defines the “Eye” as the region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones.

Metaphorically, the ever-changing media & technology would be the tropical cyclones/hurricanes, and  Airlift Productions & I would be the ones who have for over thirty years resided… calmly, persistent & steady, in the hurricane’s eye.

Airlift Productions New Orleans Logo Re-boot 2012 by Ethan Anderson
The Airlift Productions logo, conceived & trademarked in 1984, and re-imagined for the 21st century

In 1984, the needs of my first full-time client – WGNO-TV/Tribune Broadcasting – gave birth to the Airlift Productions Studios. That very year Ronald Reagan sat in the Oval Office, the compact disc was brand new, and top-rated  CBS affiliates WWL-TV WWL radio here in New Orleans were owned by Loyola University (“World Wide Loyola”) and… the Catholic Church.

From the changing complexion of the White House to digital music distribution (and piracy), TV/radio deregulation and consolidation,  and from Loyola’s WWL ownership to Gannett, Tegna & Entercom … my, how the media and technological winds have blown!

Meanwhile, through all the changes and through all the years, Airlift Productions and I have resided calmly and ever-persistent in the Hurricane’s Eye.

A recent Search Engine request for just two words “Airlift Productions” yielded the most remarkable result – in the Images section was an internet-search-generated montage of a Life lived in the Hurricane’s Eye…

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a Google image search for ‘Airlift Productions’

There was every studio I’d ever built – from the closet at Rock Creek Apartments to Iberville to Pomona.  There was Norman Robinson, Rich Lenz, Heath Allen, the Blue Angels, Morgus, Greg DiLeo, Sister Thecla,  Quvenzhane Wallis, even James Carville’s feet on my ping pong table.

From radio commercials, TV voice-overs, music projects & audio books, to educational software, industrial training & safety videos,  from cathode ray tubes to flat screens and broadcast to podcast – the Airlift Studios & I have shifted and tacked into the winds of change … while remaining calm & steady in the Hurricane’s Eye.

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A recent Google Search for “VoiceOver Production Blogs” – of over 7-Million possibilities, Airlift Productions resides on page One.

 

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence & Determination alone are omnipotent.” ~ Coolidge/Ziants

 

                    *** Micheal Ziants AUDIO BOOK Demo ***

 

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Airlift Productions proprietor Micheal Ziants putting in another day at the office ~ along with studio mascot ‘The Shadeaux’

And the winds continue to blow! My grandfather John was born before the radio, my father Charlie was born before the television, and I was born before the internet & digital.

What’s next?

Well, whatever it is, you can rest assured that Airlift Productions and I will be there … in the Hurricane’s Eye.

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Airlift’s Micheal Ziants (Right) with actor Joe Renier, On-Camera with TLW Productions for Seacor Marine … deep in the Gulf of Mexico

“We’ve worked with Mike for almost 15 years, both as voice over and on-camera talent in more than 50 films.  Not only is he a great guy and a super talent,  but he has the coolest recording studio in the South.” ~ TIM WESTON, President TLW Productions, NOLA 

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Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984

… we’ll leave the light on for you.

What Does John F McElroy Know That You Don’t?

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New York-based Award-Winning Audio Book Producer John F McElroy records with Airlift Mike at Airlift Productions

If a thirty second radio ad is a sprint, audio book recording would have to be the marathon.

To capture the spirit, essence & dedication of an author is without question a meticulous, pain-staking and arduous ( do you like these words? ) task.

With four Grammy awards on the shelf – for  Best Spoken Word (3X) as well as Best Comedy Album –  Audio Book producer John F. McElroy knows the task well.

John has personally worked with and recorded ( for hours on end ) Jon Stewart, Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jason Alexander,  Stephen Colbert, along with scores of other notables.

And just imagine, if you can, working with, directing & producing President Bill Clinton through his personal reading of his triumphs & tribulations in the Grammy Award winning autobiography “My Life”.  I mean, really.

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James Carville Mouths-Off at Airlift Productions, New Orleans

Now, all that being said, Airlift Productions & I are honored and thrilled to count this guy among our clients. Together, hour after hour, John & I steered  James Carville through two entire audio book recordings.  “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” and “Love & War”, along with his lovely wife, Mary Matalin.

The amazing thing?  All of our work was conducted via Skype and a Symetrix phone patch. John & I have never personally met.  Similar to the set-up of a radio talk show host, we did all of this work, every second of every hour with John F. coaching and directing long distance from New York!

JamesCarvilleAndMaryMatalinRecordLoveAndWarAtAirliftProductionsQuite a remarkable feat.  Quite amazing sessions.  Quite a Marathon indeed.

Mr. McElroy, thanks for the vote of confidence, sir.  I’m certainly gratified to know that Airlift and I did not misplace your trust.

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“Micheal Ziants and I have worked on a number of celebrity productions together. He’s a cool head in tight spots, keeping the talent moving ahead happily.  He has a wealth of experience at the controls and behind the mic and knows what he can and can’t get–a valuable and rare sense of proportion. Working at Airlift remotely via Skype or phone patch is seamless. It’s like being in the next room.”

~ John F. McElroy, New York based Grammy Award winning Audio Book Producer                       

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Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants shoulder-to-shoulder with JAMES CARVILLE at the Airlift Studios during the “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” sessions, 2012

                    To communicate is the beginning of understanding.

                                   Airlift Productions communicates.

Christmas 2016 Reflections & What Most Don’t Get About Airlift Mike

frenchquarterfogWith Christmastime in New Orleans, together with all its trappings and sentiment in everyone’s windows and on their minds, allow me to tap the brakes for a second, reflect, and unpack a few things.

As a lifelong learner, and student of philosophy, world religions, and mystical thought, it would be safe to say that I’ve lived  what could best be termed an unconventional and totally unorthodox lifestyle.

While most of my peers have chased money and jobs, I learned years ago to instead pursue passion and purpose. And simply allow the dollars and opportunities to then fall in line. 

1407-nighttime-pomonacrateOne illustrative case in point is this one I share with you here: In my 32 years of owning and operating Airlift Productions here in New Orleans, I have NEVER commuted!

Ever.

As the great souls Emerson & Thoreau taught me, “Build a better mousetrap – and the world will beat a path to your door.”

They have.

Imagine, if you can, the colorful characters, historical heroes, fascinating personalities and captivating individuals who’ve knocked at the Airlift Studio doors to come “work” with me.

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The Airlift Productions Studios on Pomona in 2016

I’ve been fortunate enough to have recorded and worked closely together with (deep breath) and in no particular order….

Archie Manning, Dr. John, Chef John Besh, Quvenzhane Wallis, Deuce McAllister,  Charles Guggenheim, Mayor Marc Morial, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Stacy Head, David Menasche, Carrie Nye, Bo Walker, Buddy Stall, John Lee, Luno Bordelon, Jerry Christopher, Ronnie Lamarque, Anders Osborne, Theresa Andersson, Lee Zurik, Zak George, James Carville, Mary Matalin,  Alden Ehrenreich, Toby Kebbell, John “Spud” McConnell, Morris Bart, P.H. Fred, Mike Weldon, Reverend Avery C. Alexander, Brad Edelman, Rich Lenz, Norman Robinson, Heath Allen, Greg DiLeo, Donald Surtain, the Right Lane Bandits, Bishop Paul Morton, Senator Jon Johnson, Congressman Bill Jefferson, Edoardo Ballerini, Oliver Thomas, Morgus the Magnificent, and… well, a host of multi-talented voice-over artists.

Not up to speed on some of these folks? Let the Googling begin.

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Airlift Productions Studio’s custom-designed Mayan “Gift of Life” Stained Glass Window

Point being? Through all the crazy weather – storms, hurricanes, blisteringly brutal summers – each and everyone of these folks came to me, to Airlift Productions, to “the better mousetrap”.

Mind you, this is no brag, no empty boasting, but simply an observation as to a much richer and fulfilling way to live one’s life.

And what a life.

Marching to the beat of one’s own Walkman, instead of following the crowd, has always led to experiences few will ever get to taste.

Having discovered my first tape recorder at age 12, and after many years of stage-acting and then a rewarding radio career, how cool is this?

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Micheal Ziants and the new “Annie” Quvenzhane Wallis, recording for Chrysler and sharing a few laughs at Airlift Productions in 2014

I now get to live out the rest of my life here in NOLA from what was once only a dream in my head, from my Airlift Productions… and I now get to spend the rest of my days dancing with the muse that first brought me to the party!

My hopes and prayers during this Christmastime in 2016 is that you, the reader of these words, one day, find … yours.

Merry Christmas & Feliz Navidad from way down yonder in New Orleans – and Airlift Mike.

AirliftProductionsNewOrleansColorLogoAirlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans… since 1984

Airlift Productions Goes to the Dogs! Arf-Arf!

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Zak George records his audio book “Dog Training rEvolution” @ Airlift Productions New Orleans

The email came into the Airlift Studios, innocently enough, just a couple weeks back.

It was a referral (my favorite kind of email) from the Studio Director at Blackstone Audio, the largest independent audio book publisher in America.

Bryan had been referred to Airlift Productions & me by the same audio book producer who’d hired me to record James Carville for the first time. And the second time. And the third time.

The job?

Taking the words of America’s preeminent ‘dog whisperer’ and making them leap off the page in a new audio book treatment, in an effort to help dog lovers across the world wake up to a more ethical and nurturing approach to raising their little canine cuties.

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Zak George articulates his humane – and human – approach to dog training at Airlift Productions NOLA

If you haven’t already, meet ZAK GEORGE!

Zak has simply stolen the dog training stage – from shows on the Animal Planet to the BBC, and from the late-night forums of Letterman to Fallon, Zak has 130, 895 Likes & Followers on his Facebook page and 1.5 million views PER MONTH on You Tube!

Whew!

Zak & I first met and went to work (?) on Thursday, October 6th, recording the audio book treatment of his destined-to-be bestseller for Blackstone, along with hot-shot producer Jared Garcia on the Airlift Studio’s phone-patch setup.

Together, we plowed through the introduction and chapter after chapter, while bonding and laughing, and creating the doggie lover’s ultimate tome – “Dog Training rEvolution”.

Sample just a taste of Zak’s genuine love & compassion for our favorite four footed furry friends in his most recent You Tube blast here ….

Monday and Tuesday we’ll be back at it – giving LIFE to words on paper… making Audio Book Magic!

Recording and mastering wave files into computers, and at the same time delivering sincere, honest emotion into headphones and speakers.

zakgeorgedogrevolutionbookcoverDon’t you just love people who’ve found a way to make life work?

I mean, a job is one thing … but when one has found a way to live life at the intersection of passion/compassion and opportunity/luck … well, that’s quite another.

I would say, “Zak, go fetch!”

But, apparently, he’s already caught it.

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JohnFMcElroyRecordsWithAirliftProductionsNOLA
New York-based Award-Winning Audio Book Producer records with Airlift Productions

“Micheal Ziants & I have worked on a number of celebrity productions together.  He’s a cool head in tight spots, keeping the talent moving ahead happily.  He has a wealth of experience at the controls and behind the mic, and knows what he can and can’t get — a valuable and rare sense of proportion.  Working at Airlift Productions remotely via Skype or phone patch is seamless.  It’s like being in the next room.”

— JOHN F. McELROY, New York based Grammy Award Winning Audio Book Producer

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Airlift Productions ~ Telling America’s Great Stories from New Orleans since 1984

Notes On Recording James Carville at Airlift Productions

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James Carville & Mary Matalin on Meet the Press, along with former BFF Tim Russert

In my thirty-plus years of recording voice overs & musicians at Airlift Productions in America’s most fascinating and interesting city, you could say that I’ve encountered quite a few characters.

 
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Dr. John ‘da Nite Tripper records at Airlift Productions NOLA

Doctor John (aka Mac Rebennack) has spent hours with me, recording voice-over tracks for awards shows, and even cartoon voice tracks for Quincy Jones’ Take it Back Foundation.

I still can’t get over that, not even asking if he could smoke, at the Airlift Productions Iberville location, he pulled out a cheroot at the mic and lit it up! (We rushed an ash tray in to his rescue.)
** Dr. John at the Airlift mics telling the story of N’awlins’ bawdy, infamous Red-Light District, known as  “Storyville” **
Archie Manning records with Airlift Productions
Archie Manning recorded  radio spots with Airlift Productions

For several years in the 90s, Peyton & Eli’s dad Archie Manning had the Gold’s Gym franchise here just outside NOLA in Metairie, and I served as a one-man ad agency, writing, voicing & producing all the radio ads for the gym, which brought Archie & his partners regularly into the Airlift Productions Studios.

** Archie Manning’s Golds Gym Christmas Radio :60 Classic  – with Airlift  Mike as Santa, along with Archie, at the Airlift mics **

 
The cast of characters – from the mayors (both Morial & Landrieu), to all the city council members, Morgus the Magnificent, stand-up/fall-down comics, radio rebels, misfits, in-laws and outlaws  – has become the stuff of legend.
 
JamesCarvilleAndMaryMatalinRecordLoveAndWarAtAirliftProductionsBut I would have to say the most memorable and colorful of them all is none other than James Carville!
 
We’ve spent dozens of hours together one-on-one – with only a producer, long distance on a phone-patch Skype connection – recording two separate audio books, ‘It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!’ and, along with wife Mary, ‘Love & War’.
 
Now, by his own admission, James has untreated ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  He’s tried the drugs but didn’t like how they made him feel, so he and Mary just ‘deal with it’.  Add (ADHD) me to the list.
 
Imagine working through hour-after-hour with someone in this situation and condition.  Add to that, someone very highly opinionated (ya think?), outspoken, given to tantrums … and ‘caged’ for an extended length of time!  Yowza & Yikes!
**  Airlift Mike reflects on 1st sessions, along with classic James Carville musings and rants, captured at Airlift Productions NOLA **
MichealZiantsAndJamesCarvilleAirliftProductions2012
Micheal Ziants and Political Firebrand James Carville at the Airlift Productions Studios 

But we worked through it all and laughed, bonded, and created two very memorable and collectible audio books, now available from that amazon crowd.

James’ take on his experiences at Airlift?

“I’ve been in studios from the Bayou to the Beltway and I can say after recording my last two audio books with Mike that there is no better place than Airlift Productions.  The quality of the production, the studio, and quite frankly, the comfort, make it the only place I want to record now or in the future” ~ James Carville
And, needless to say, but I will anyway, the out-takes are simply priceless!  Perhaps a tale for a blog for yet another day.
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JamesCarvilleRecordsAtAirliftProductionsA candid shot – through the studio door into the Airlift ‘green room’ – of Carville on the cell, taking a needed break, talking to George Stephanopolous in DC, with his feet ON my ping-pong table! Really, James?

 

Tour Airlift Productions NOLA – Now!

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Broadcast Veteran – and Actor – Micheal Ziants, plying his trade at the Airlift Studios

Exactly how DOES one capture 30+ Years of Passion & Purpose – and, at the same time, project into the future?

Experience, quality work, testimonials, client lists, dogged determination & persistence are but words on paper.

Or digital characters displayed on a flat screen.

But America loves its videos. Oh, how we watch videos.

Cats falling off sofas, dogs that talk, folks falling off diving boards and couches caught unaware…

Well, take your own personally guided tour of my Airlift Productions Studios here in New Orleans via YouTube here, now.

And, what exactly will 2016 – and Beyond – hold  for Airlift Productions & me?

Well, as they say in the advertising world, “Watch this space”.

We’ll keep the studio cookin’ and  make sure that the mics all warmed up for you.

Oh, and be watching for that totally excellent shadow-doggie-on-mic video!

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  i-can-learn_cd“Mike is a craftsman.  You don’t often hear that word when describing digital media, but it most certainly applies to work done at AIRLIFT PRODUCTIONS.  Mike’s  produced literally thousands of audio segments for me,  and they’ve all sounded perfect.  He also understands how to get things done!  I wish all of my contractors were as responsive and committed to meeting deadlines.  You’re in good hands with AIRLIFT PRODUCTIONS.” ~ Ethan Anderson, Former Manager of Multi-Media Development for JRL Enterprises, Creators of the “I CAN Learn” Mathematics Educational Software
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          – – – ETHAN ANERSON,  Manager of Multimedia Developm