It has been said that the best VoiceOverTalents come from the stage – not the radio – because the theater and acting is at the heart of the craft, not broadcasting.
But what if a talent could combine both?
Yes, this blog could perhaps be seen as self-serving, tooting one’s own horn … and sort of like ‘breaking the 4th wall’ in a Woody Allen movie where he addresses the camera directly, but here goes …
While I began my broadcasting career in the 1970s and worked on-air in some of America’s greatest cities (and was subsequently hired & fired from some of America’s greatest radio stations), for me… it all began on the stage!
The acting bug bit me early – and hard! In the 1960s it was civic Children’s Theater in Youngstown, Ohio that was my launch pad. Saturdays could find me on-stage re-creating the stories of Peter Pan, Tom Edison or Robin Hood.
I then went on, through high school, to become the President of the Thespian Club and had the leads in the Junior and Senior Class plays as well.
Using the human voice to arrest someone’s attention … and then motivate them to relate to a cause or sympathize with an issue seemed the stuff of magic. I was hooked.
Later on, as a broadcaster – and then as a voice over talent – I learned to call on these same skills, intuitive yet honed on a stage … and bring them to the microphone!
Shocking, Raw, Visceral – Adults Only ** Micheal reads from Pelican Publishing’s True Crime Drama “Murder in Coweta County”
So, again, what if the voice over artist – the person delivering the message at the microphone – could combine innate, yet trained, acting chops plus vast commercial broadcast experience and decades of technical, hands-on production experience?
OK, here comes the horn tooting part – that would be … me!
Do you want to book a voice talent with experience? With theater in his blood? With years of broadcasting & audio production thrown in ala carte?
“I listened to a lot of voices to represent Detective Lt. Robert (Robbo) Davidson for our audiobook version of “The Evil I Have Seen” and none quite fit. At last, I did a search for a commanding, seasoned, slightly Southern voice — and pulled up Airlift Productions of NOLA. I clicked on Micheal’s sample narrations of “Murder in Coweta County” then James Patterson’s “The Chef,” and I was hooked. No one else would do.
I was surprisingly delighted after speaking with Micheal to learn, he would not agree to narrate and produce the audiobook until he read it. He wasn’t in it just for money — he would only partner on material he believed to be worthwhile. It has been a delightful, rewarding experience and Robbo and I could not be more proud of the way he brought this book to life.” — Author PJ Jones
Truth be known, one of the biggest negative raps I encounter while marketing my VoiceOver talents is this: “Oh, but you’re a RADIO dude, and they always sound so ‘announce-ery’!”
What few realize today is that my skills at the microphone began over a decade before I ever went “on-air” as a disc jockey – ON THE STAGE!
From Civic Children’s Theater performances in 1960s Youngstown, Ohio to the starring leads in high school plays, I honed my acting chops while “pounding the boards” on-stage.
I went on to become the President of my high school ThespianClub (even performed as Jack Kennedy, with mimic skills, at PTA meetings), and found the role of ‘Stage Manager’ in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” as my most challenging performance ever. Perhaps it’s that Life/Death thing.
No doubt, at the heart of any outstanding VoiceOver gig is the art of acting & theater, not radio DJ patter & chatter.
** Airlift Mike gets seriously serious for The New Orleans Mission & “Desperate Reality” radio show, airing Saturday nights on WWL **
But, alas, as the Danish theologian & philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once opined, “Once you label me… you negate me.”
I guess it’s only human nature to label others, but make no mistake – this particular radio dude has acting chops honed through a half-century of study, practice & experience.
** With over 7,300 views on You Tube, it’s Airlift Mike gettin’ serious for the Oil & Gas Production Hub of America – Port Fourchon, LA **
So, what I learned from the stage, I then took to the radio … and what I learned from both of them, I then took to create what is now the longest continuously operating recording studio in New Orleans – Airlift Productions.
What an equation: Seriously serious acting chops + finely-tuned major market radio skills + decades of audio production & mixing experience = Airlift Productions.
** Airlift Mike AudioBook Demo, featuring excerpts from “Murder In Coweta County”, courtesy Pelican Publishing … a true-crime drama, dripping with murder, treachery & mystical powers in 1948 Georgia – oh, my! **
“Working with Airlift Mike in NOLA was an utter pleasure. I was in town for business for a month and needed to maintain my audiobook recording schedule. Mike was accommodating and a pure professional. He mastered the punch and roll technique in 24 hours to be ready for our first session, and over the course of the month we laid down 5 books and a number of auditions. His studio sounds great. The vibe & atmosphere can’t be beat. You’d be hard pressed to find a better recording studio in the southeast – no matter what your needs. I wish I could have stayed!” ~ AMY LANDON, Los Angeles-based actress & Audio Book Narrator