Tag Archives: Toby Kebbell

Judah Ben-Hur’s Messala Drops The Mic – With Airlift Mike

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Ben-Hur 2016 Star Toby Kebbell records national TV Sony Tablet Commercial VoiceOvers at Airlift Productions NOLA

I didn’t know quite what to expect the morning TOBY KEBBELL showed up at my Airlift Productions Studios to record VoiceOver for Sony Corporation and it’s new Xperia Z tablet.

“Ben-Hur 2016” wasn’t even on the drawing boards yet,  he was in New Orleans to film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, and tagged by Tag-Europe (a huge London-based ad agency) as the voice for Sony Products, he needed a studio to record a few V-O patches.

The UK's TOBY KEBBELL drops the mic - with Airlift Mike, on behalf of Sony
The UK’s TOBY KEBBELL drops the mic – with Airlift Mike, on behalf of Sony

So, Toby and his brother arrived at Airlift that morning … Toby was unshaven, in flip-flops & cargo shorts – hey, it WAS for a VoiceOver session, after all; at 6’1″, we stood eye-to-eye – I set-up the phone-patch to connect us with Europe and we went to work.

As the fates would have it, in the UK the letter ‘Z’ is pronounced ‘Zed’, and in order to introduce this new tablet here in the states, the tag lines had to be re-recorded with the Yank’s sound.

Toby talks for Sony on the Airlift microphones like this…

The tracks were coached and directed by Louise at Tag, with her agency contact for Sony piggy-backed in on the call – from Tokyo!

I then relayed the wave files via an FTP site into the computers at the editing bays in London, England … and the finished commercial  – along with some help from David Bowie – appeared here in the United States like this…

And I love the exchange as he exited the studios that day. With Ziants being my last name, I’ve got a welcome mat at the front door with a ‘Z’ on it. Toby pointed it out and chuckled at the irony as he headed back to the rent-a-car.

Toby Kebbell all decked-out for the premiere
Toby Kebbell all decked-out for the premiere

The girls (or ‘birds’ as they call them there) in the UK are just gaga over this dude, and the ladies in on the phone-patch session that morning echoed that excitement.

Studly. Easy on the eyes. Soft-spoken. Ultra talented.

But from his appearance as Doctor Doom in the ill-fated “Fantastic Four” to the apparent miscues, in the eyes of some critics, with “Ben-Hur 2016”, I just wish Toby could find his footing in a true star-making role, one that could seriously catapult him into the stratosphere.

In the meantime, I’ll be the one catching Kebbell’s magic via Netflix on the flat screen in the den, remembering my morning recording Toby before his days with Judah Ben-Hur,  popcorn in-hand, smiling – and shaking the dust off my sandals.

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TobyRickettsVoiceOverAirliftProductionsNOLA“Working on the road can be a pain for voice artists – I was so glad to find Airlift studios on my travels, just outside NOLA CBD! What a beautiful, cozy, and quiet space to work in. Micheal was an absolute pleasure to work with, being 100% professional and 100% nice guy! If I’m ever in the Big Easy again, I’ll be sure to stop in and see Mike at Airlift Productions.” ~ TOBY RICKETTS, Award-Winning, World-Class, New Zealand-based VoiceOver Talent

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Airlift Productions ~ Where the warmth of analogue lives … and the lightning speed of digital delivers!

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

Fantastic-4 Fearsome Foe Records At Airlift Productions?

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The UK’s TOBY KEBBELL – Dr. Doom – Records V/O for Sony Corporation At Airlift Productions

When ‘Fantastic Four’ opens today down at the mall cineplex , Airlift Productions & I will be watching it quite a bit differently than most.  Let me tell you why. 

I almost didn’t take the call that morning because it in no way looked familiar on my caller ID.  Turns out it was a ‘Louise’ calling from Tag/Europe in London. She’d found my website in a google search, and was wondering if I had the time to help her on ‘a project’.

As it turns out, Tag’s client is Sony Corporation in Japan, and they’d hand-picked TOBY KEBBELL as VoiceOver spokesperson for all their Xperia-Z tablet computer TV ad campaigns.

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Fantastic-4’s TOBY KEBBELL records V/O with Airlift Mike at Airlift Productions NOLA

Now, the problem was that in the UK the letter ‘Z’ is pronounced ‘Zed’, and their entire TV campaign – now destined for the US – needed re-voiced with the Yank’s sound … Toby was in NOLA at the time, and the call came in for some HELP!

Perhaps you’ve seen Toby already in ‘War Horse’, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’,’Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’, or ‘Prince of Persia : Sands of Time’.  Today, he’s cast as Victor Von Doom in Marvel’s ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot.  He’s a product of Nottingamshire, England, quite studly, easy on the eyes –  and the ‘birds’ in the UK are just gaga over this dude.

 

TobyKebbellRecordsAtAirliftProductionsNOLAIn any event, Toby shows up at the Airlift Studios in a rent-a-car driven by his brother that morning… relaxed, unshaven, in shorts and flip-flops – hey, it IS a voice over session after all.  And via the Airlift phone-patch, we joined forces with Louise in London … and her associate/client – in Japan!

Hey, all’s well that ends well (didn’t Shakespeare say that?), the session went splendidly – Toby laid down the tracks, they were approved by all the powers-that-be, and Airlift Productions & I delivered the big fat aif files into the mac computers at the edit bays within Tag/Europe in London within minutes.

LISTEN to just one track, destined for United States TV, and how well my new pal Toby says the letter ‘Z’ right here …

** Toby Kebbell speaks for Sony Corp at the Airlift microphones **

fantastic-four-trailer-features-the-terrifying-dr-doom-ftrNot bad, huh?  So when Toby – as Victor Von Doom – terrorizes and spreads mayhem versus those Fantastic Four dudes down at the theater during this smoking-hot summer of 2015, at least now you know what’s going on under the hood … of Doctor Doom!

Save some popcorn for me, stay safe out there, and I’ll see y’all at the movies!

Airlift Productions NOLA ~ where the warmth of analogue lives … and the lightning speed of digital delivers! 

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JohnDenneyRecordsVoiceOverAtAirliftProductionsNOLA“For Voice Actors, the demo serves as a calling card and is unquestionably the most important tool in the pursuit of voice over work.  Micheal 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 for the notorious LA-based 80s Punk Rock band THE WEIRDOS, and aspiring Voice-Over Talent

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