Tag Archives: VoiceOver Marketing

Airlift Mike & Trick Or Treat In Old New Orleans

Well, it’s that time of year again, when a morning dog walk through the ‘hood yields visions of ghosts, witches & goblins, all sharing front yard space with – the blessed Virgin Mary!

Only in New Orleans.

OK, possibly in other parts of America, but never more pronounced than here in a 300-year-old city predominately old Spanish, old French – and very Catholic.

So, in the spirit of Halloween, yours truly decided this past week to do a little bit of audio trick or treating of my own.

After spending quite a bit of time re-designing my Airlift Productions website, I went to work, trick or treating…

In an attempt to find some new folks to work with, some new “playmates in the sandbox”, the Shadeaux and I went to the internet, since no one really picks up a work phone anymore, and receptionists actually answering a phone is so last century.

Airlift Mike & The Shadeaux at Airlift Productions, where Every day is ‘Take your doggie to work’ day

After doing a google search on the top advertising agencies in New Orleans, visiting each of their respective websites (amazingly, some had none), I wrote each one a rather succinct email, or simply filled-out their ‘contact page’ form.

I merely told each agency that I had been a voice talent, writer, studio owner, and audio production dude here in NOLA for the past 30 years and wanted to connect with them to discuss possible future work together.

These words were followed by an invitation for each of them to visit my website for corroborating material – audio, video, studio pics, and testimonials.

In closing, I simply asked, “May we talk?” And closed with a signature, phone number, and  the line “much respect”.

So, what happened?

After a substantial, decades-long contribution to the media DNA of New Orleans – years of audio production and voice work, shouldering the outdoor campaigns of WGNO and WNOL, WDSU and WVUE all old-school (reel-to-reel tape dubs in cardboard boxes), 17 years with the Lamarque Motor Company, ten years pro bono with the United Way, twelve years producing all the radio campaigns for The Esplanade Mall ….


Crickets…. Not a single reply.

Trick or Treat!?!

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” … er, ah, a millennial. Wait a tick, I’m in the wrong holiday!

Either way, sorry, gang, but the way my mother raised me, I see this back-handed treatment as just downright rude.

Whether I’m considered (along with my formidable studio) irrelevant, old-school & ‘dated’ – or a threat, in the business world, of which advertising agencies sure are a part,  the courtesy of a reply is appropriate.

How about one more thought.

The prophet will always be without honor in his own land.

Oh, and a Happy Halloween to you and yours.


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

Voice + Over Tips from Airlift Mike

Everything changes.  Count on it. Even – and especially – in the world of VoiceOver.  If you want to get addicted to anything – get addicted to change.  

For the Out-of-Towners, today’s Front Page News for Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 ~ courtesy the boyz down at the Times-Picayune, New Orleans

America’s most fascinating city – New Orleans – is only now beginning to return to ‘normal’ after the developments of the past weeks. 

Thrust begrudgingly into the spotlight of national and international news by (1) eccentric millionaire Texas fugitive Robert Durst – picked up downtown in our Marriott (packing a gun, mask, fake ID, and 5 ounces of pot, medicinal I’m sure) on the lam from the law… and HBO, and (2) this weekend’s machete-wielding miscreant (God rest his troubled soul) who decided Friday night to whup-up on some unsuspecting TSA agents out at Louis Armstrong …  we’re only now beginning to catch our breath.

But as I type these words, yet another parade, the annual Irish-Italian parade is marching one block from the Airlift Studios, tossing cabbages & other assorted goodies to the eager, jubilant crowds. Oh, and passing out a kiss or two.

You see – everything changes.  And the beat … goes on.

casssette gif

When I began my radio and VoiceOver career, the voice artist (we used to just call them announcers) Demo was distributed via the archaic audio cassette and reel-to-reel recording tape. Then, in the early 80s, it evolved to compact disc.  Today it just has to be available via a digital file, wave or mp3, and easily downloadable to someone’s phone, tablet, computer, or digital device.

Only problem is, from what I can gather surfing the web and various voice artist sites, many Voice dudes and dudesses are still employing Flash files on their sites to play their voice demos. Not good.

The Flash format is simply ignored by many devices, including many iOS Apple devices, like the ever-present iPad!  So the quest began for a more cross-platform compatible approach that would make the voice demo playable most anywhere and on most anything in 2015.

Ah-hah! Necessity being the mother of invention, the solution seems to be – to make Videos out of our audio. The VoiceOver audition demo, sampled, stored and uploaded as a video plays on the iPad, a Mac computer, Android phone & tablet, and, of course, on all Windows PCs. True cross-platform compatibility! For now.

Case in point, I spent the better part of yesterday in the Airlift Studios toying around with Window’s ‘Movie Maker’, available free on most all PCs or as a free download.

Airlift Productions, New Orleans

 Watch – as well as Listen – to my new Commercials Voice Demo on the Airlift Productions Website Welcome Page by clicking here.

OK, so maybe I got a little carried away, a little too artsy-fartsy with it, as I took jpegs from the studio, art work, even a shot from the banks of the MS River, to punch-up every read.  As I alternated from serious to light, dramatic to frivolous. 

This same video-from-audio approach can also be as simple as displaying a gif image (bouncing analog or digital vu meters, for example) as ‘eye-candy’ while your demo rolls before their ears.


In any event, you’ve got to love the ‘StarWars-ish’ scroll at the top as an attention-grabber, plus the ‘credits’ at the tail, which gives the listener/viewer the opportunity – the Call-to-Action –  to get you by phone right then should they choose.  Try doing that with an audio-only file.

This approach also gives the VoiceOver talent an opportunity to ‘display the goods’ via YouTube, Vimeo, or a Facebook page near you. Not bad, huh?

Yeah, we used to snail mail our cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes, digital tapes & CDs to chase voice work with UPS & Fed Ex as the middlemen. In 2015, not so much.

Like I said, everything changes.  Even the nature of change.

Best of Luck from NOLA as you chase that VO dream.


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984!

Airlift Mike Tosses An Audio Potpourri!


The life of a VoiceOver Recording Artist in 2015 is never boring. I mean, no sooner do you think you have all the answers, than they change all the questions!

In the early days of the craft we were all called ‘Announcers’, as we all tended to speak rather loudly, with perfectly pear-shaped, authoritative tones… think preachers, teachers, parents, carnival barkers and military sergeants.

In 2015 not so much.

Consumers today worldwide are more savvy. And the delivery method has become more personal. The big box styled TV set of the 1950s has given way to personal,  pocket-sized screens … and the tinny, brittle speakers have given way to earbuds and headphones.

All that being said, today’s blog is all about mixing it up – as Airlift Productions and I toss an audio potpourri that helps to capture the changes, and runs the gamut from newly-produced radio ads and audio books … to a soliloquy!

This week, tasked to amp-up the crowds at a local night club, like the old radio days – where shock jocks would walk a fine line between good taste on the radio … and the unemployment line – the very first word out of my mouth is (OMG) “S-E-X!”   (well, now that I have your attention….)

*** Airlift Mike talks (sort of) for “Legends Encore” ***


Like I said, never boring.

Back to the 1950s for a second. Not only were all TV sets huge pieces of furniture dominating your living room, all books were found doing a Dewey Decimal System search in a library, trees had to die to produce them, and they were read – page by flipped page.

Today, not so much.

In 2015, we google search and download to our personal digital device (mp3 player, I-Pod, I-Pad or phone) and LISTEN to the printed word – again read and cooed into our ears by a sympathetic, compassionate, yet dramatic voice.

My very first fully-Airlift-produced, narrated and read-by-yours-truly Audio Book is now on the market, and available for download on a digital device near you. But, fair warning, it is not for the faint of heart.


Murder in Coweta County, a true crime drama set in 1948 Georgia, well before Dr. King, Selma and the Civil Rights movement is indeed a shocker. It tackles racial prejudice, arrogant power and southern justice head-on.  Give a listen to just a bit of Chapter 7 through the Airlift Productions microphones here ….

** Micheal Ziants interprets Chapter 7 of Murder in Coweta County ~ courtesy Pelican Publishing, NOLA **

Download the entire “Murder in Coweta County” Audio Book from the krewe at Pelican Publishing across the Mississippi River in Gretna by clicking either of these links.  On sale for a mere $17.60, about the price of a good pizza. And this story will stay with you a lot longer. Truly.

But better strap yourself in for the ride first. And keep your hands and feet inside the car… and your 21st century sensitivities intact.

To wrap-up the  Audio Potpourri, the VoiceOver Recording Artist of today is always sowing seeds for future work.  We create demos to showcase our reach and talents wherein we cast ourselves in arenas within which we’d like to work.

Well, my favorite Rom-Com ever (and I’ve viewed many with the ladies through the years) would have to be ‘Love Actually’.  In the opening sequence, Hugh Grant does this reflective monologue VoiceOver shortly after the events of 9-11, while we watch loved ones embracing at the airport.

Poetic license affords a name change from Heathrow to Louis Armstrong, and for demo purposes, re-casts the V-O with none other than yours truly, and it sounds like this ….

** Love Actually Soliloquy from Airlift & Micheal Ziants **

NewOrleansVoiceOverTalentMichealZiantsAirliftProductions (2)


Airlift Productions & Airlift Mike ~ treating cold, metal microphones like warm human ears … from New Orleans … since 1984.