Tag Archives: Nathan Ales

UFO Sighting in Louisiana Skies? Well, sort of…

Laser Tag of Baton Rouge latest TV spot searches for Intelligent Life - and Laser Tag Fun - elsewhere in the Universe
Laser Tag of Baton Rouge latest TV spot searches for Intelligent Life – and Laser Tag Fun – elsewhere in the Universe

As one who’s written and produced countless thousands of radio & TV commercials through the years, I’ve come up with some pretty strange spots and approaches, but none stranger than the subject of this blog.

Imagine a TV spot with NO dialogue until the final seconds, all sound effects and undecipherable alien tongues … a commercial that rewards repeated viewings and definitely arrests attention.

Imagine all that and you can begin to get your imagination around the latest :30 TV creation for Laser Tag of Baton Rouge.

Mastermind Nathan Ales
Mastermind Nathan Ales

Running partner Nathan Ales threw down the gauntlet of challenge back in late July, the germ of an idea originally conceived by Laser Tag management that sounded, well, pretty crazy!

A teen alien doing an ‘Oogle search’ for the Best Laser Tag arena in the universe, who then cajoles his mama into letting him go, they do, he then scares the pants off the staff as he enters to play! 


Video Magician Todd Schmidt and I then went to work. 

I laid-out a rough storyboard concept and began an exhaustive sound effect hunt; it had to be cartoon-ish, outlandish and in-your-face Looney Toons fun!

Todd Schmidt, Video Wizard
Todd Schmidt, Video Wizard

The finished audio track was then relayed over to Todd, who did all the ‘Heavy Lifting’, as he waved his magic wand and created all the animation and edited video.

Frankly, I’ve worked with many a video dude through all these years, but this guy is hands-down the Best!

The end result of all these efforts? 

A :30 belly laugh for the folks of Baton Rouge – who after the rains & high waters of August could sure use one!

In living rooms, dens, and bars around the state capital flat screens this late summer, it looks – and sounds – like this —-

** Laser Tag of Baton Rouge “Alien Encounter” TV :30 spot **

At last check, Davor & his Baton Rouge crew were still re-stocking their supply of Reese’s Pieces.

Oh, and E.T., if you just so happen to be reading this one … PHONE HOME, little dude!


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984


harlon miller“Airlift is THE place to go for a top quality demo. With Mike behind the board you are in very capable hands. His vast knowledge and command of all things audio blends with his laid-back fun environment to bring out the best in any voice.  Airlift Productions has the experience and all the tools necessary to make a voice-over reel that is on par with anything you would find in New York or LA!”

– – – HARLON MILLER, Voice-Over Actor

(Hear Harlon’s most bodacious demo on his website at  www.harlonmiller.com)

Napoleon Hill, Star Wars & Airlift Mike

"Think and Grow Rich" Author, a young NAPOLEON HILL
“Think and Grow Rich” Author, a young NAPOLEON HILL

As the great 20th century American thinker Napoleon Hill so eloquently reminded us all – the IMAGINATION is the Workshop of the Soul! And therein, I use power tools.

You see, one of the many things that separates me from the one-thousand-and-one other guys who offer VoiceOver services on the internet today is that I not only operate a genuine, bonafide, tricked-out full recording studio, but, in many cases, I also get the opportunity to WRITE and CREATE – from the ground up – the V-O copy I read. 

How thrilling to put my OWN words into my OWN mouth!

Airlift Productions’ Micheal Ziants putting in another day at the office.

The power tools? Well, those would be meditation and exercise. Properly focused and fine-tuned, these two aid and assist in the entire creative pursuit, as they feed the imagination from the deep wells of the subconscious, which then directly grease the wheels of the entire writing process.

Too deep? A classic case in point would be the exercise of this past week. 

Tasked by running partner Nathan Ales to create, write, voice, and produce thirty seconds of audio for Baton Rouge, La. television & radio to promote a Laser Tag outfit … I went to work. And can we make it “Star-Wars-y”?!?

Oh, sure.

*** Airlift Mike’s “Star-Wars-y” Laser Tag of Baton Rouge ***

1401389338528328800Working within the 29.5 seconds ‘Goalposts’, that’s a lot to accomplish: Cop a James-Earl-Jones-ish attitude & pitch, grab some cinematic french horns, make ‘Sky-walk’ into a verb,  draw an analogy to paintball challenges, state a very direct call to action, and finish with an ‘out-of-this-world’ tag – literally.

** Laser Tag of Baton Rouge :30 Television, along with running partners Video Wizard Todd Schmidt & Sales Ace Nathan Ales **

Now, how much fun is that?

From the ‘Workshop of the Soul’ – to countless tens of thousands of ears and eyes via the magic of technologies (radio, TV & the Internet) that weren’t even on the radar when Napoleon Hill was born.

Now, how magical is that?

Airlift Productions, New Orleans


Work? Excuse me? That’s what my coal miner brothers have been doing their entire lives, not me. For I have made my vacation … my vocation! The only ‘mining’ I do is within the ‘mind’ ~ and the ‘Workshop of the Soul’.


The late David Menasche, author of “The Priority List” (soon to be a major motion picture from Warner Bros), recording with Micheal Ziants at Airlift Productions NOLA in 2012

” I would like to thank Micheal Ziants & Airlift Productions for making the recording of the audio version of my book such a pleasure.  Not only is Micheal an incredible audio engineer, he is my new best friend.  This guy is one of the coolest cats I have ever had the honor of meeting.  He made me comfortable, he made me feel talented, and he actually made my book into a product I can actually imagine people enjoying listening to.  So far, the opportunity to work with Micheal on a future project is my best incentive to write another book.  If any of you out there ever need a professional to help you with sound recordings, contact Micheal Ziants at Airlift Productions immediately!”

— the late DAVID MENASCHE, Author, Educator of Young Minds, Brain Cancer Activist, Major Mensch


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984


Yin~Yang & Early Fall Around The Airlift Productions Studios

imagesYin me, Yang me. From the ridiculous to the sublime, and everything in between, it sure has been a rather interesting late summer and early fall around the Airlift Studios here in NOLA.


Airlift Mike – like the local fireman down at the firehouse – ready to take the call

As footballs fly, leaves fall, and political mud gets slung, far be it from Airlift & me to not get a little on us.  And just as the time-honored Yin~Yang symbol reminds us:  Every Thing contains it’s opposite! We’ll never have the concepts of Heat without Cold, Up without Down, or a Hero without a Villain.

Recording studios and VoiceOver dudes and dudesses walk the same path… especially in 2015.  Welcome to my ‘Silver Linings Playbook’.

Working alongside Nathan Ales and Todd Schmidt, lately we’ve tackled some pretty attention-grabbing television, for clients as diverse as high-end furniture outlets … 

** Georgian Furnishing & Berger Home Labor Day Sale, asking the question “What will the Future Look Like?”  ~ Ziants/Schmidt **

… to one-stop-shopping for plumbing, lighting & generators.  And with the Louisiana State University Tigers having to cancel their home-opener last weekend on account of lightning & rain for the first time in nearly a hundred years, and sending over 100, 000 home early, the boys and I were almost prescient with this one ….

** Southland Plumbing’s ‘Best Seat in the House’ TV :30 ~ voiced by Micheal Ziants, Video Wizardry by Todd Schmidt **

Nathan Ales, Sales Dude Extraordinaire
Nathan Ales, Sales Dude Extraordinaire
Todd Schmidt, Video Wizard
Todd Schmidt, Video Wizard

I just LOVE working with these characters. Nathan Ales and I go way back to radio days at Q-93 here in NOLA, I was afternoon air personality and he was super sales dude.  Todd and I met only last year, but that meeting was on the common ground where creative sparks fly and alchemy & magic live. This guy just gets it. He’ll go into the field with camera in-hand and then edit, imagineer, and cut ‘n paste masterpieces! 

But as they say in the advertising field – “That’s not all!”

The Yin~Yang continues.

The call came in from Manhattan about another job slated to air in California – San Francisco, to be precise. Andy would write the copy, cast the talent (four separate actors), the agency is in Boston – are you following so far – and yours truly, sitting here in NOLA at the Airlift Productions Studios would merely be the button-pusher engineer to make it all happen. 

Sixteen edits in a :30 spot? Really. Airing now in San Francisco is this goodie on behalf of the Armanino crowd…

** Armanino Radio :30, produced by Micheal Ziants at Airlift **

And to wrap-up the ‘Yin~Yang’ fall post, as the Louisiana Governor’s race looms – Trick or Treat – the call came into the ‘firehouse’ for some help with some boys (ironically, also in San Francisco) heading-up an Anti-David Vitter TV ad campaign.  Oh boy, oh joy!

Jamie Neumann Records VoiceOver/Vice-Over at Airlift Productions NOLA
Jamie Neumann Records VoiceOver/Vice-Over at Airlift Productions NOLA

Could I help out recording NYC-schooled, NOLA-born ‘n bred Jamie Neumann reading the riot act?…. shouting ‘fire’ in the crowded political theater… calling, in effect, the front-runner a whore-monger?!?!

Oh, sure, why not.  Sample just a taste of the phone-patched V-O session from a week and a half back, here ….

** Jamie’s ‘Anybody But Vitter’ phone-patch session excerpt **

From New Orleans, a town that pretty much invented the ‘piano player in the cat house’ thing, and where the only thing folks like spicier and hotter than their food – is their politics, why not?

Besides, as a life-long political atheist and outsider, I say, “Hey, let the best man win!”

Fall in the air, fur flying, leaves falling, mud on the tires – and the flat screens. Things just seem to get more interesting all the time around the Airlift Productions Studios. More Interesting.  And hotter!


HarlonMillerRecordsVoiceOverAtAirliftProductionsNOLA“Airlift is THE place to go for a top quality demo. With Mike behind the board you are in very capable hands. His vast knowledge and command of all things audio blends with his laid-back fun environment to bring out the best in any voice.  Airlift has the experience and all the tools necessary to make a voice-over reel that is on par with anything you would find in New York or LA!”

– – – HARLON MILLER, Voice-Actor

Hear Harlon’s most bodacious demo now at HarlonMiller.com 


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984!

Airlift Productions Gets “Handy” for the New Year

New Orleans VoiceOver Talent Micheal Ziants – along with The Shadow – at Airlift Productions, where EVERY day is ‘take your doggie to work day’

One of the things that I’m most thank-full for as this New Year of 2015 dawns is the opportunity to use more of my God-given talents. Long the VoiceOver guy and audio producer, I’ve had few chances this century to truly flex my creative writing & advertising muscles.

You know, ordinarily the client sends along the copy, and as the voice dude and producer, I simply interpret and record those words to a wave file and send them along. What a gift it is to create that string of words … and then put them into my own mouth!

As a case in point, this thirty second spot airing all over the New Orleans TV market for the New Year. Imagine being tasked with pounding the drum (ever so softly) for a local home improvement outfit that is today expanding their services & products … and taking-on Lowe’s and Home Depot. Really? Really.

Southland Plumbing TV :30 spot for New Orleans ADI – written and envisioned by Micheal Ziants at Airlift Productions, for Nathan Ales of Ales & Associates, January 2015

So, let’s open with a truncated aphorism.  A what?!? Yes, a saying that we’ve all heard,”Home is where the Heart is”, and then twist it a bit.  Add a colorful N’awlins colloquialism “For true!” And we’re off to the races.

It all adds up to setting the homeboys – a local, family-owned business for nearly 50 years – apart and head-and-shoulders above the ‘big box boys’, all the while playing the strings of the heart.

And it all comes out of the hometown flat screens like this ….


*** Southland Plumbing TV :30, written, voiced & audio-produced by Micheal Ziants; Video editing by Todd Schmidt, on behalf of Nathan Ales at Ales & Associates  ***

Nathan Ales and I go back years! He was actually a ‘sales dog’ at Q-93 Radio when I first came to work there in the 1980s, and it was his job to sell that Mike McCann dude.

His affable, quip-filled approach has disarmed many a wary advertiser and always delivered for his clients.  I’m thrilled that we’ve re-connected here in the 21st century and the Southland account is one of our first joint ventures.

Nathan Ales of Ales & Associates, along with wife Debbie
Nathan Ales of Ales & Associates, along with wife Debbie

So Nathan, with his unique blend of street savvy, charm, and moxie does the selling and lining-up the accounts, I handle creative, voice over and audio production … and then hand it over to this guy – meet Todd Schmidt.

The multi-talented Todd Schmidt - actor, raconteur & video whiz kid
The multi-talented Todd Schmidt – actor, camera man, photographer & video whiz kid

Todd has just an amazing skill set – while not working with the poker-hot TV series “American Horror Story” or finishing-up the new “Trumbo” film (this guy stays way too busy), he hangs out with Nathan and me and brings his video wizardry to our projects.  Catch more of his magic here on the web at Schmidt VFX . Remarkable!

Lucky and indeed fortunate I am to be running with these dudes in 2015.  Audio …  and now ‘Creative’ and Video to-go! What can the boyz and I cook up for YOU today?

Airlift Productions Recording Studio ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984

Kitty Cats & Games & Lasers, Oh My! ~ Courtesy Airlift Productions

Artist’s rendering of Airlift Mike at the Mic ~ Airlift Productions, New Orleans

Boy, is it just me, or is it HOT in here?  Things around the Airlift Studios have really heated-up as of late!  While thick in the audio book recording sessions –  New Orleans TV & Radio have been calling.

Working alongside that rascal Nathan Ales, we’ve teamed-up to put together a radio/TV campaign for Davor & his krewe at the Laser Tag of Metairie Family Entertainment Center on Veterans Boulevard, just outside New Orleans towards the airport.

And perhaps we had just a little too much fun with this one.  Guilty as charged.

The TV thirty – with the masterful touch of digital artist and video ace extraordinaire Todd Schmidt – has the cutest little digital cartoon kitty cat playing all the games at Laser Tag.  You see him shooting basketballs, riding bumper cars, firing lasers… even sliding down the bowling alley to make a strike!

The spot is called “While the Cat’s Away –  the whole Family plays at Laser Tag Family Entertainment Center”.

Laser Tag of Metaire, which also includes a rockin' Bumper Car ride
Laser Tag of Metaire, which also includes a rockin’ Bumper Car ride

The radio campaign – which airs on N’awlins B-97 Radio starting this week plays-off the excitement of the whole experience – including pop dance music with stereo laser wash sound effects … and a ‘kitty cat’ call-back to the TV spot at the tail end.

Crank-UP your computer speakers, blow some dust off ’em,  and check-out these Airlift-produced radio :30s here ….

~ Laser Tag of Metairie “PARTIES” ** :30 Radio for B-97 Air ~


~ Laser Tag of Metairie “JEDI KNIGHTS” ** :30 Radio for the B ~

In your face, pulse-pounding, ratcheted-up, yet fun & exciting!  If you live in or around the metro New Orleans area, you’ll have to keep an ear and eye out for them.

In the meantime, I’ll see you around the Laser Tag arena on Veterans Boulevard.  My arena name tag says ‘SkyWalker Mike’!

Oh yeah, Sorry! But the Shadow demanded equal time — Arf! Arf!

Airlift Mike and the Shadow, a doggie with powers & abilities far beyond those of mortal dogs


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984