A well-crafted VoiceOver Demo should do for one’s voice what a model’s portfolio does for one’s body.
Show it off! Showcase it! Highlight it!
Just as a photographer uses lighting, sets, makeup, and wardrobe to capture its subject, the voice demo audio produceruses compression, reverberation, equalization, the just-right music, sound effects and editing to properly capture/record his subject.
From compassion and pathos … to angst-filled attitude. Sly and seductive … to bold & brassy! Demure … to confident.
A captivating VoiceOver Demo captures every trick the actor has in his/her bag, and is edited in such a way as to showcase versatility and cast-ability.
“Many filmmakers portray teenagers as immoral and ignorant, with pursuits that are pretty base… But I haven’t found that to be the case. I listen to kids. I respect them… Some of them are as bright as any of the adults I’ve met.” ~ the late film director John Hughes
“Micheal Ziants is a great voice talent who is generous with his time and energy. I have worked in TV for years, but needed the guidance of a professional to create my radio reel and found it with Ziants. He made me feel comfortable in studio and encouraged creativity, coaching me to a reel I hope will bring many job opportunities. “ ~ California-bound, Former WWL/WDSU Anchor/Reporter, Mom, Realtor – RACHEL WULFF
With Christmastime in New Orleans, together with all its trappings and sentiment in everyone’s windows and 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 then simply allow the dollars and opportunities to fall in line.
As the great souls Emerson & Thoreau taught me, “Build a better mousetrap – and the world will beat a path to your door.”
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.
I’ve been fortunate and blessed to have recorded and worked hours on end closely together with (deep breath) and in no particular order….
Archie Manning, Dr. John, Chef John Besh, Quvenzhane Wallis, Deuce McAllister, Charles Guggenheim, Necar Zadegan, Mayor Marc Morial, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Stacy Head, Nathan J. Robinson, David Menasche, Carrie Nye, Bo Walker, Buddy Stall, John Lee, Luno Bordelon, Jerry Christopher, Steve Blaze, Ronnie Lamarque, Anders Osborne, Theresa Andersson, Rachel Wulff, Scott Walker, Lee Zurik, Zak George, Congressman Steve Scalise, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Alden Ehrenreich, Toby Kebbell, The Krewe of Nyx, John “Spud” McConnell, Morris Bart, P.H. Fred, Mike Weldon, Reverend Avery C. Alexander, Brad Edelman, Rich Lenz, Norman Robinson, Heath Allen, Anne Gisleson, Sean O’Shea, Lewis Johnson, Greg DiLeo, Nathan Ales, 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, stand-up comics & radio rebels.
Not up to speed on some of these folks? Let the Googling begin.
The Punchline? Through all New Orleans’ intense weather – storms, hurricanes, blisteringly brutal summers, icy winters – 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?
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 very same muse that first brought me to the party!
During this Christmastime 2019, my holiday hope and prayer is that you, the reader of these words, if you haven’t yet… one day… find … yours.
Merry Christmas & Feliz Navidad from way down yonder in New Orleans – and Airlift Mike.
“Micheal Ziants is a great voice talent who is generous with his time and energy. I have worked in TV for years, but needed the guidance of a professional to create my radio reel and found it with Ziants. He made me feel comfortable in studio and encouraged creativity, coaching me to a reel I hope will bring many job opportunities. “ — RACHEL WULFF, Former WWL & WDSU-TV Anchor/Reporter
When Denney first rang my phone, he’d found my website in a Google search, had experience behind a microphone – he founded the Weirdos, an LA-based punk band in the ’80s – had moved here to NOLA, and had never done a commercial in his life.
I said, “Well, John, we’ll change all that!”
And change it we did. It began with a commercial demo (heard here); after he landed his first job within two weeks of production, he subsequently returned to produce an animation demo… and a medical demo.
A longtime television news anchor and reporter, Rachel had moved to New Orleans just about ten years ago, and was, in 2017, looking to exit the TV scene and begin self-employment as a VoiceOver artist.
Again, like John Denney, she had a lot of on-camera and on-mic experience, but Rachel had no commercial background.
“For voice over actors, the demo serves as a calling card and is unquestionably the most important tool in the pursuit of voice over work. Mike Ziants and Airlift PROductions produced my first VO demo and within weeks I landed my first job in the industry. Airlift’s state-of-the-art recording studio combined with Mike’s wisdom and expertise provided me with an excellent demo as well as the confidence needed to achieve success.” ~ JOHN DENNEY, Founder/Lead Singer of the notorious LA-based punk band The Weirdos … and relatively new VoiceOver Artist
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!
Our most recent project? Recording and compiling every electronic message for every streetcar and bus – even the ferries – in the cityof 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 **
Rich Lenznow 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 atWDSU.
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 **
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.
** Rachel’s VO Demo, with her daughter’s cutesy intro **
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 Whitworthdrop by from time to time for various VO commercial and industrial projects.
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 forclients 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’.
“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
And with roots in the great state of Pennsylvania, now firmly re-planted for over thirty years in the bayou state of Louisiana, it’s kind of strange to say but, here in 2018, I feel a stranger to both.
I don’t talk like your average N’awlins folks (“Wherey’at, dawlin’?”), I have a growing disdain for the yearly bacchanal called the “Mardi Gras”, and yet I have no desire to return to the ice-packed, snow-covered northeast.
A man without a country.
But I do have one thing most don’t – a vocation that is also my vacation. And there’s solace in that.
On top of that, it’s a vocation that due to technological and digital advances affords me the opportunity to be heard by – and work for – anyone, anytime, and anywhere on planet Earth!
While the VoiceOver arena is today an incredibly competitive and increasingly overcrowded field, it’s an honor to throw my headphones into the ring every day from America’s most fascinating city, New Orleans, warm-up the Airlift Productionsmicrophones, and create compellingly convincing audio for clients near and far.
And the challenges and obstacles are far more daunting than shooting deer, flushing-out ducks, or spending weekends chasing a little white ball around a golf course.
** Airlift Miketaking a “shot” at Movie Trailer V-O – “Gladiator” **
Outcast? Rebel? Well, sort of, I guess.
But in the meantime, life in Louisiana certainly has its upside, too – cargo shorts & flip-flops year-round, I haven’t bought snow tires in years, and I sure have become a Saints fan. Who Dat?!?
“Micheal Ziants is a great voice talent who is generous with his time and energy. I have worked in TV for years, but needed the guidance of a professional to create my radio reel and found it with Ziants. He made me feel comfortable in studio and encouraged creativity, coaching me to a reel I hope will bring many job opportunities. “ – RACHEL WULFF, former WWL/WDSU-TV Anchor & Reporter
I first met Rachel Wulff innocently enough around the aisles of our local Lowes Home Improvement store on Veterans in Metairie.
After our brief introductions, she confessed that, together with her husband, she was looking forward to the birth of her second child come the summer and had plans to take some time off from the grueling grind of television news.
My story was somewhat less dramatic.
I filled Rachel in on my thirty-plus-years run owning and operating a recording studio here in NOLA, and told her all about the decidedly un-glamorous world of VoiceOver ~ and Airlift Productions.
She seemed intrigued, agreed to a meeting at my studio, and last month we went to work.
If you want to call it that.
After all, for a guy who’s played with tape recorders and sound for fun since he was a pre-teen, I still marvel at the fact that people will pay me for what amounts to playing with my train set!
Rachel Wulff is as accomplished as they come. With seasoned, measured, articulate and compassionate tones, she’s reported in the field and anchored at the desk on TVs across America.
The folks of New Orleans have been fortunate to have her around delivering ‘the good, the bad & the ugly’, locally on WDSU & WWL, since 2007.
But, perhaps, it’s time for a different chapter in this reporter/anchor/realtor/mother’s life.
A chapter that I’m proud to help her write.
Last month, in early February, Rachel laid-down the tracks for a VoiceOver Demo – no news, no body count, no tragedy – an opportunity for her to str-e-t-ch, bust-out, and showcase her remarkable skill-set at the microphone.
I was somewhat surprised when she left the production end of things (music, sound effects, editing) entirely up to me!
And it all comes out of your digital device’s speakers like this…
Playful. Up-Tempo. Seductive. Versatile. And, yeah, that’s her little girl, “S.B.” on the intro.
While we’ll sure miss her news-filled contributions, in the future, if that voice coming out of your radio or TV speakers sounds a bit familiar, but you’re not quite sure – now you know the rest of the story.
Go get ’em, Rachel!
Here’s to a healthy delivery this early summer, and allow me & the Airlift Productions krewe to raise a glass to toast your new addition to the Wulff-pack.
“For voice over actors, the demo serves as a calling card and is unquestionably the most important tool in the pursuit of voice over work. Mike Ziants and Airlift PROductions produced my first VO demo and within weeks I landed my first job in the industry. Airlift’s state-of-the-art recording studio combined with Mike’s wisdom and expertise provided me with an excellent demo as well as the confidence needed to achieve success.”
~ JOHN DENNEY, Founder & Lead Singer of the Los Angeles-based, ’80s Punk Band “The Weirdos”…and newbie VoiceOver dude