Tag Archives: TV VoiceOvers

Tah-Tah 2016! Hello-o-o 2017!

janusAs the calendar page turns, the balls drop, and the fireworks sizzle, together with the rest of America, allow me to wrap-up the old and welcome the new from New Orleans’ Airlift Productions.

To the ancient Romans, the god Janus (from whom we get the name of the month January) represented this rather two-faced sentiment.

Looking back . Yet forward. All at the same time.

Airlift Productions & I sure have had a wild and varied ride through the fall & early winter, but that’s the way we like it.

Variety, after all, is the spice of life. And in New Orleans, we certainly like our spices. 

What a roux!

From television commercial work to web-based holiday greeting cards …  from Christmas sentiment to radio imaging, through the past couple months, Airlift & I sure have stirred the pot.

Wendi Berman drops the mic with Airlift Mike on behalf of Right Hat & Manatt

Tasked by Chicago-based ad agency Right Hat to provide the audio for an internet law firm’s Holiday Greeting Card, I called on the talents of NOLA-based actress Wendi Berman.

Together, we recorded a rather clever “Night Before Christmas” parody involving the holiday office pressures of a harried and frustrated thirty-something office manager.

Oh, boy. Oh, joy.  Happy Holi-daze, cubicle worker bees!

Meanwhile, back at Airlift Productions, the roux thickens….

Airlift Mike working the Children’s Hospital Telethon in NOLA on WDSU-TV

Yours truly, Airlift Mike, got behind the mic, as well as drawing-up the storyboard with all the “creative”, for the gang at Mr. Sparky.

Working with video wizard Todd Schmidt and sales point guard Nathan Ales, I helped to cook-up this entree on behalf of the electricians down at our local Mr. Sparky.

Straight-ahead. No BS. “Electrifying”, you might even say, and now energizing flat screens all across metro New Orleans.

Television spots with vision, internet-based holiday cards … yet, as they say in the advertising world, “but wait, there’s more!”

Educational software pioneer – and my own personal BFF – JOHN LEE and I have been through quite the odyssey the past quarter century.

Katherine Lee records "Daddy Lessons" at Airlift Productions NOLA
Katherine Lee records “Daddy Lessons” at Airlift Productions NOLA

Together, we’ve not only created a trail-blazing approach to teaching America’s kids how ‘to cipher’ with a program that merges math text books with the computer and the internet … we’ve also seen each other through having and raising kids!

So, I get this call from John’s daughter Katherine a couple Sundays back looking for some help in putting together a very special kind of Christmas gift for her dad.

We call it “Daddy Lessons”, and it goes like this….

Katherine brought me a karaoke track from Beyonce’ Knowles, we dropped her voice into it, then added pictures from the family album at strategic points to deliver a powerfully poignant message for her daddy.

‘Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’… let alone a dry eye to be found around the Christmas Lee house.

Great job, Kat-gal!

Variety? Ya think?

And I haven’t even gotten into more radio imaging sessions for Mike Church and his Crusade Network or recording Hip-Hop artist Staxx (Greg Baptiste) for the Real Deal Nation label & Jason Jones.

1407-nighttime-pomonacrateLooking back, 2016 sure has been quite the year around the Airlift Productions studios … with fun & exciting projects, working for and with some wildly talented & fascinating individuals.

Let’s ‘face’ it. 2016 or 2017, whether you’re looking back – or forward – the view from Airlift on Pomona is outstanding.

Happy New Year, y’all!


blackstoneaudiologo“I had the extreme pleasure of working with Mike of Airlift Productions for a project in 2016. He was professional, courteous and most importantly, fun to work with. Mike is patient and very thorough with his recording, making sure that what you want is done before he powers down the gear for the day. 10/10, I would work with him again.” -Jared Garcia, Sr. Recording Engineer for Blackstone Audio and Downpour.com


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans 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

Notes On Recording Annie’s Quvenzhane Wallis At Airlift Productions

“Annie’s” Quvenzhane Wallis records VoiceOvers for Chrysler-Maserati at Airlift Productions … from Hushpuppy to Annie

So, what DOES a ten year old do in between starring in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (for which she earns the Best Actress Academy Award nomination) and helping all of America re-boot the Little Orphan Annie franchise?

Well, she heads to Airlift Productions in New Orleans to pick up a part-time job recording national television & radio work for Chrysler & Maserati with Airlift Mike, that’s what!

Hired by a Los Angeles-based ad agency that found my website, I vacuumed-up the Airlift red carpet in February to welcome little Quvenzhane, her stage mom and brother to come play in my sandbox for a day.  And what a day.

Although, I must confess that I was caught a bit off guard when the agency declined the phone patch offer … and told me that yours truly could coach and direct her through the reads.   Really?

The youngest Academy Award Best Actress Nominee Ever records VoiceOver at Airlift Productions
The youngest Academy Award Best Actress Nominee Ever records VoiceOver at Airlift Productions

OK, so let me see if I’ve got this straight …. I’ve been tasked to record – and direct – the Academy Award’s Youngest Best Actress Nominee in it’s history through an entire VoiceOver session?

Oh, it went fine.  The ads were a follow-up to her Superbowl 2014 spot for Chrysler-Maserati, wherein they’ve got a ten year old girl “manning-up” to pitch their automobiles! I kid you not.

LISTEN to just some of our session together – out takes included, her ‘back-cracking’, watery eyed sneezes… and just plain being a sweet, and often overwhelmed, ten year old little girl in this never-before-heard exclusive audio clip —-

 “Annie” & “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Quvenzhane Wallis cozies up to the Airlift Studio mics for Chrysler-Maserati, Feb 2014

Honestly, this little Houma, Louisiana born cutie is the real deal.

In “Beasts of the Southern Wild” her grit, character, gumption, and tenacity were showcased, and all of America is about to be charmed by her grace & style when “Annie” hits  theaters across the USA for Christmas next month. 

In the meantime, should you catch any of her work in the advertising realm, now you know the rest of the story … sincerity & searing honesty from the mouths of babes, courtesy Airlift Productions.

And should I happen to catch you around the mall cineplex for “Annie” next month, the first tub of overpriced popcorn & a soda are on me. Cheers!

Quvenzhane & Micheal Ziants spending some time together at Airlift Productions, February 2014

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984