Tag Archives: Shell Oil

My New Pen Pal & An Airlift To Australia… For Shell Oil

Aussie VoiceOver Talent Rhiannon Boulger records Safety Video for Shell Oil at Airlift Productions NOLA

The call came into the Airlift Productions Studios from Chicago, Illinois with a rather unique request.

Would I be available to help with a safety training project for Shell Oil concerns – in Melbourne, Australia?

Well, color me intrigued.

Stellar VoiceOver talent RHIANNON BOULGER operates as the safety training voice for Shell Oil concerns in Australia and, as the fates would have it, she was currently in the states along with her fiancé Jae  visiting New Orleans for the week.

Enter Airlift Productions & Airlift Mike.

The VO scripts were then emailed to both Rhiannon and me for the recording session. Cool!

So, Rhiannon & hubby-to-be Jae showed up via an Uber lift from the downtown Sheraton on-time, and we went to work.

Rhiannon rocks the mic to train Shell Oil employees ‘down under’ at Airlift Productions NOLA 

We phone-patched the entire session with  Jennifer at Accenture-Chicago for long distance direction & coaching.

The session went as smoothly as water off a kangaroo’s back in the outback! We nailed all four scripts, and I had the wav files on their way via an FTP site to the edit bays in Chicago for post-production within the hour.

For use at Shell Oil’s facility  ~ in Melbourne, Australia!

I teased Rhiannon throughout the session that I’d done scores of plant safety video narrations through the years, but never one that sounded so… ah, saucy.

Give a listen to just a taste of what went down at the Airlift mics, and since it IS New Orleans, we’ll deal with drugs & alcohol, here.

~ Rhiannon entertains our ‘fighting troops’ down under at Shell ~

Ah-h, the wonders of modern technology.

To have conducted a session like this and in this manner when I began the Airlift Productions Studios back in the day – the 1980s – would have been considered science fiction, unbelievable, and inconceivable.

Today in 2021… it’s par for the course. 

So pardon me, as I reach back in my bag for a nine-iron…and catch the next phone call.

Who knows? Could be my new Australian pen pal and recording gal pal from Melbourne.

Great job, Rhi! I really enjoyed working with you. And keep doin’ that voodoo that you do so well.


Rhiannon Boulger & Airlift Mike at the Airlift Studios NOLA 

“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


** Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from NOLA since 1984 **

Airlift Mike, Sportsman’s Paradise Outcast, Rebel

Veteran New Orleans Voice Talent Micheal Ziants with trusty sidekick & mascot The Shadeaux

Although I live in Louisiana, the Sportsman’s Paradise, I do not hunt and shoot animals, I do not own a gun … shucks, I don’t even play golf!

THIS is what I do.

Giving LIFE to the printed word, making simple text & fonts on an iPad or piece of paper BREATHE and create emotion in the mind of the listener is what I do.

And then, I further animate those living, breathing words with soundscapes – musical backdrops and sound effects which enhance and complement the human voice.

You know, the stuff that comes out of your radio speaker, or the flat screen TV in the background at the bar, or deep in your inner ear canal from earbuds, stuff like this….

    ** Micheal Ziants Long-form Narration Demo **

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 2020, 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. 

New Orleans Voice Talent & All-around Audio Dude Micheal Ziants, Airlift Mike

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!


   ** Airlift Mike talks for SHELL OIL **

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 Productions microphones, 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 Mike taking 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?!?

And, really, who cares if I talk kinda funny?


“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


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

Oil Prices Tumble, But Airlift Productions Gets “Industrious” Anyway

Airlift Mike On-Camera for Tim Weston, TLW Productions & Seacor Marine Worldwide

The field of VoiceOver is more than ‘hoo haa’ & ‘boom shaka laka’! While commercial voice work is positioned to cajole, pitch and sell, the industrial read has to be, well… industrious.

Industrial narration is a different bird. And here in Louisiana, Sportsman’s Paradise, it would seem that bird is becoming somewhat of an endangered species.

Through over thirty years of VoiceOver (as well as on-camera work) here in NOLA, Airlift Productions and I have helped steer many a company – both large and small – through some pretty tricky waters.

We’ve narrated and produced audio for Shell Oil, Bollinger Shipyards, Edison Chouest Offshore, Amoco Oil, and Seacor Marine Worldwide Interests, among others.

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

But America’s current oil situation, and its subsequent nationwide drop in oil prices, while causing glee for giddy drivers has been cause for major concern – as well as job losses – for countless thousands here in the Bayou State.

Count yours truly in that number.

While Louisiana continues to reel from yet another oil bust, the trickle-down effect is reverberating across the state. And as the oil money dries up, so does the Industrial Narration Voice Over work.

Get a feel for the impact of oil – to Louisiana and America – with this one video which I narrated post-Katrina for the Port Fourchon (pronounced FOO-shon) Commission, along with stunning aerial photography from Andreas Frentzos & Tim Weston at TLW Productions here in NOLA —

Port Fourchon, Louisiana’s southernmost port, and “the nerve center of oil and gas drilling and production in the Gulf of Mexico!”

The VoiceOver read for industrial concerns strips away all the cajoling, pitching and selling. It remains sober, confident and in-control, as it crosses all the Ts and dots all the Is with letter-perfect diction and tone.

On top of that, with much of this type work addressing safety concerns,  it occurs to me that teaching someone how not to DIE while on the job is not only necessary, but rather noble.

TedWilliamsCloseUpWithCardboardSignSo, as we move through the balance of 2016, Airlift Productions and I will tack into the winds of change yet again, adjust our sails/sales, keep a vigilant eye on the oil prices, and keep moving forward.

But should you happen to find me alongside this guy at the interstate overpass … with a black-magic-marker-on-cardboard sign, a PB & J will work, ham ‘n cheese preferred, but remember — ” Airlift Mike will talk – WELL – for food!”


Airlift Mike on-camera shoot with Tim Weston of TLW Productions - 2004
Airlift Mike on-camera shoot with Tim Weston of TLW Productions – 2004

“We’ve worked with Mike for almost 15-years, both as voiceover 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


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984

Airlift Mike Goes Industrial. Again.

shell oil logoIt sure has been an interesting week around the Airlift Productions Studios here in NOLA. And a day in the life of a VoiceOver artist is certainly never boring.

There is not an ocean on the planet that Seacor Marine vessels do not sail.   And multinational Shell Oil is among the largest and most powerful oil companies in the world.

This past week I had the honor of working for both of them.

Yes, the Airlift Studios were buzzing as commercial work & audio book projects gave way to industrial fare.  You know, it occurred to me a long time ago that teaching someone how not to die while on the job was not only necessary… but rather noble.

Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants working On Camera for Seacor Marine

Working alongside Tim Weston of TLW Productions here in NOLA, Wednesday afternoon I narrated Safety Videos for the SEACOR MARINE crews in an effort to get the boys out to sea from Port Fourchon safely.

Meanwhile, Friday morning, contacted and contracted by new Airlift client Launch Media in Baton Rouge, I recorded a corporate outreach effort on behalf of SHELL OIL. 

In fact, this job struck like lightning! The call and email came into Airlift after hours Thursday night, and was signed-off on, recorded, tagged & bagged by 9:30 Friday morning.

Launch Media Creative Director Wes Kennison made the request, then orchestrated and directed via the Airlift phone-patch, and wave files were relayed back to Baton Rouge for post-production.

When it comes to corporate, industrial V/O jobs, the person behind the mic has to take control… cross the T-s and dot the I-s, with letter-perfect diction. With Authority. With Conviction.  With Sincerity.

*** Airlift Mike, setting the pace for Port Fourchon, LA ***

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

Like I said, a day in the life of a working VoiceOver artist is never boring. Especially if you get to occasionally play around in front of the camera too!  From New Orleans …. 150 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico.


And teaching someone how not to die while on the job is not only necessary … but noble.

           To Communicate is the Beginning of Understanding.

                            Airlift Productions Communicates.