MY LIFE AS A VOICE ARTIST

I’ve always included this as part of my creative talents, although I must confess, it has been the least utilized. I flirted with the idea of trying to get work in this field, but the odds are just as staggering as getting that movie role, or selling that screenplay. In the end, I chose to pour my efforts into those other areas.

 

My recent performing work in REPS Showcase radio drama recreations such as announcer roles in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Suspenseand The Halls of Ivy, and even starring roles in productions of Supermanand, my personal favorite, the episode of Escapecalled Three Skeleton Key, have made me focus more on this aspect of my creative world.
My earliest vocal experimentation came in high school when my pal Rich Bitting and I would voice all of the characters in plays were recorded on a cassette deck. I developed an old man voice during those years that later resurfaced to great comic effect in the 50-part radio series Anytown USA in 1984. This time it was Scott Snyder and myself creating all of the male roles in this soap opera parody, aided by two talented women: Sheri Clark and Dawn McWalter. These shows still crack me up! When I

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was in the Army we would have all night Anytown parties listening (and drinking) to all three hours of the insane series.

I tried some voice acting on The University Radio Theaterproductions I wrote and directed with mixed results. During this same period I worked in broadcast radio as an overnight disc jockey, a career that I could not replicate when I moved to Los Angeles. I was an okay DJ, but nowhere near good enough for the big time.

I did find time to actually study voice performance with two great teachers. The first was Johnny Rabbit, well-remembered deejay on WXOK St. Louis in the 1960s, whose real name was Don Pietromonaco. He taught voice acting in Los Angeles up until his death in 1997 and was a dear man to be around. I vividly remember his memorial service, and the kind words Casey Kasem shared. The other man I learned volumes from was Dick Orkin, the man who created and performed the legendary Chickenmanradio comedy series out of Chicago in the 1960s. Anytown USA owed its style and pacing to this classic series.

Whereas I have done a few voiceover bits over the years, including the new web series Creative Continuity, it is still one area that I’d love to explore in more detail and with more discipline. So, let me add that to my list of things to do…

I’m just saying…