Talkin Toons With Rob Paulsen
Starring Rob Paulsen and special animation (primarily cartoon, but also anime and video game) guests.
Techjives network (can stream or download for free)
Special pay episodes on Rob's Patreon site
Runtime: each episode varies, between 30 min and 90 minutes, averages 60 minutes.
The Short and Sweet
An entertaining and inspirational series of podcasts that sneaks in educational value when you least expect it.
A cartoon Emmy and Annie award winning voice over artist, Rob Paulsen is a legend amongst his peers. If you look at his imdb, one can see he has worked with almost everyone in the cartoon field, in either a co-lead (Yakko from Animaniacs, Pinky, and iterations of TMNT as Raphael and Donatello) or in supportive roles (Tiny Toons, Jimmy Neutron, Doc McStuffins, T.U.F.F. Puppy, and many many more).
The series of podcasts initially started when Mr. Paulsen had some downtime at a slight pause in his career. He felt he needed to do something with that time, and this is the result. In retrospect, this was a bit a bad time for him, but in the end a good thing for him and his future listeners of the podcast. Soon the podcast grew into a full scale celebration of cartoon and animation voice artists and their associates (producers, musicians, casting directors, agents), and Mr. Paulsen seemed very happy to host and hold court with his friends and show their greatness to the world.
Once it got its sea legs (just several episodes into the series), this series went from good to very good to great very quickly. Mr. Paulsen found that his series was best served overall as a vehicle for guests and ensembles. His strengths as a podcaster work very well as a collaborative host, and can play off the other voice actors he personally knows. Which is by the way, a lot. As a man "firmly ensconced in middle age", he serves as an excellent bridge and source of voiceover lore, often playing the role of the hilarious big brother who still has the wisdom of your father in his podcasts.
In almost every podcast, Mr. Paulsen's demeanor is one of graciousness and happiness that he does what he does. His guests always echo the sentiment in one way or another also. They seem to be happy they can be celebrities, but not all the time. As voice over artists, few know who they are by sight, or know them by voice, since they often use different voices in the roles they play. They can show up at a convention, be a superstar, and then eat a pizza down the road in peace and quiet if they wish.
The other aspect of Rob and the guests he hosts is that underneath all the friendliness and mutual admiration, they are incredibly professional and astute at their gig when called upon, even when acting flippant. Voices come out of nowhere, and advice gleaned from years of experience come out in between the voices of Yakko, Pinky and Carl Wheezer as well as his guests. Disarming and delightful at once.
The podcast itself has different flavors. The lion's share are interviews with groups of voiceover artists (the cast of Jimmy Neutron, Animaniacs, or all anime voice over artists, for example). These podcasts have the feeling of a big party of friends that can barely stop long enough from laughing to continue. It's spontaneous at times and a bit whacky, but also has the air of inclusiveness. One feels invited to the podcast, almost a participant. The message come across if one can cut the mustard, you would be invited to their reindeer games with open arms.
Another flavor of the podcasts are individual interviews. These are more intimate affairs, mostly from whenever Rob was doing his podcasts from fellow voiceover buddy's homes. They are still very amusing, but one also gets more intimate and granular stories. If you like biopics, you will like these. Many of Mr. Paulsen's listeners enjoyed them so much, he has taken to making more of these through his Patreon site in addition to his regular Talkin Toons.
The final type of Podcast is where Rob has no guests, and does general announcements of his appearances in Cons or coaching seminars. He then does Q&A with his listeners. These podcasts tend to be a bit dryer, as Mr. Paulsen is a social animal and does best playing off others. But they are full of good, direct information and are well worth listening to.
All in all, the main points that Mr. Paulsen evangelizes through his podcasts are this:
- Always keep learning from everyone around you. Teach and be taught, graciously.
- This is a hard business to get into, but if you are good enough and don't give up, you can get in.
- Rob says "a high tide raises all boats". Competition is good, as long as one takes it in the spirit of raising everyone's level of proficiency. No need to be cutthroat about it.
- Respect your peers, always. Don't cut people's legs out from under them. Give to them and they'll give back.
- Even if you work hard in the voiceover industry, stop your complaining. You'll never work as hard as a factory worker or shoveling asphalt in august.
- The people who work in the industry are like a fun loving family that love new people as
much as they love the people who they have worked with in the past.
- Be confident, but stay humble and stay gracious. Be honest but stay kind. Be truthful in your life and through your life as an artist.
- Cartoon voices are still acting. Acting comes first, voices are an extension of the acting, not the other way around.
- All cartoon voice over people are awesome in their skills, and then there is Frank Welker, who is a deity amongst voiceover deities.
I have enjoyed seeing Mr. Paulsen's growth into a podcasting and social media mavin. Listening to him grow into a new aspect of his field, to put forth the effort to grow in another direction. His initial surprise at the rapid growth of his podcast was endearing.
Listening to his understanding of his responsibility as an ambassador to people's childhood dreams was also touching.
In conclusion, Talkin Toons was my first foray into initial study into the voiceover field. Its friendly but truthful demeanor was intoxicating and kept me coming back for more.
As Mr. Paulsen says "Laughter's the best medicine: the cool thing is, you can't O.D. and the refills are free". You may not be able to O.D. on his podcast, but you sure as hell can become addicted to it.
EG Daily's Up Close and Personal Voice-Over Acting Seminar
Starring: EGDaily, BillFarmer, DebiDerryberry,JeffDanis, et al.
Runtime: 2 hrs 39 mins
$2.99 - $9.99 Rent or Buy off off Amazon.com
The short and sweet
A solid introduction to voiceover by a top notch voice over artist. Worth at least as much for it’s practical life survival skills as well as voiceover, the seminar resonates with combination of realism and hope for people entering the profession.
If you don’t know E.G. Daily, you should. Your childhood or your children’s lives probably heard her voice every week for years without knowing it. If you read her IMDB entry, one can’t help but wonder at her accomplishments in voiceover. She’s the voice of Buttercup in the Powerpuff Girls,Tommy Pickles from the Rugrats, Mockingbird in the Avengers animated series, as well as weaving in and out of hundreds of cartoons in roles large and small, and also an on screen actress. Have I mentioned she’s also a very accomplished singer? In short, this woman has done a lot. Through this video she shares the wealth of her life experience through the lens of voiceover.
Although the seminar is somewhat organic and conversational, it is roughly broken into 2 parts:
Part 1 starts with an introduction to E.G.’s work, and how her career started. From her time as a singer who couldn’t afford her own band to being a voiceover superstar, the actress many times noted that her being open to new experiences “or offshoots” , “pushing one’s edges” and following one’s passions has led to her life and career blossoming. Throughout the seminar, you also get to see the ways that E.G. and her associates (headed up by Bill Farmer and Debi Derryberry) come up with voices and the techniques they sometimes employ to bring them to fruition.
Even though this seminar is full of great introductory advice for voice over, a significant amount of time was spent on E.G. discussing her battle with depression and anxiety, and how she learned to manage and overcome it.
I personally found it very interesting, as the discussion gave the conversation a unique perspective and gravitas. The tale she weaved of her life had a somewhat cautionary tone, but ultimately, she emerged from it and took the listener to a place of hope. This isn’t a place of juvenile happiness though. It’s an adult place of a woman that radiates strength, and understanding of herself through much self-contemplation and analysis. Her time in the psychological crucible in turn allowed her to gain a powerful empathy for others who also have had similar issues.
I found myself admiring a person who could give a frank discussion on the topic in such a way that evoked neither pity or sadness in the telling. Her tale was simply honest and true, and be shining a light on her depression, the ghosts of the past had nowhere to hide. I think her story also lent the listener a sense of her humanity to the listener. We often see celebrities as monolithic, people who can’t or shouldn’t have problems given their status amongst us. Knowing that even a person as skilled and full of humor and life as E.G. could still have feelings of doubt and anxiety (and the very real reasons behind it) shows a humanity that rings through her speaking style the whole time.
After discussing the root causes of her depression, she then talks about how she figured out how to overcome her fears and anxieties, a topic she applies through her seminar. This isn’t tedious subject matter, because it’s very important. She is telling people because she doesn’t want them to forget. You can tell she wants her audience to succeed in their voiceover careers in general, and life in particular.
After discussing this topic, she talks briefly about how some other voice over actors got started. She then has a live discussion with Bill Farmer (the voice of Goofy), and how he got started. This is only a few minutes, but a delightful time, with his (and later E.G.’s other guest speakers) perspective on the subject of voiceover.
The wrap up of part 1 deals once more with fostering feelings of positive outlook, and how to do this for life in general.
PART II: The Bare Bones of Voiceover
This section was more what I expected when I purchased this video. Not that part 1 wasn’t useful, far from it. In this section, E.G. not only used her considerable knowledge to enlighten us on this topic, she also had the fortune to call on her fellow voiceover actor Debi Derryberry as well as her agent, Jeff Danis to lend strong assists and perspectives to the subject.
E.G. and Debi then proceeded into actual voiceover techniques. Everything from rudimentary home studio creation to how to use the mic and studio etiquette are covered. The methods are useful, but more interesting I thought was how the listener might then start try to think of other ways to make interesting voices they may not have otherwise considered before.
E.G. then gave several lists of coaches, demo producers, voiceover agents and books to read to help the beginning voiceover actor develop his or her craft.
Jeff Danis, EG’s agent then took the stage to give a common sense discussion on what agents look for when signing on talent. His advice in a nutshell was uniqueness, great acting skills, diversification of skills, and patience with onself. With E.G. standing besides him, it’s not a surprise he signed her early on in their careers, as she exhibits all of the skills and traits he looks for in someone.
Afterwards, A primarily open ended and candid Q&A followed.
Sometimes it was a clarification from the audience about the above topics, and sometimes new questions on voiceovers were asked. There were also new and interesting analogies from E.G. personal life that reinforced her advice on the subject matter.
Finally, the wrap up was a reiteration of hope and telling people to go for it no matter your age or circumstance. Coming late into this game myself, I found it resonating with me. And I hope it will for you too. I would highly recommend this to new voiceover actors, as well as people who would be interested in an illuminating biopic of a top notch talent in the field.
A brief explanation to the method of my madness:
This is my first review for voiceover and voiceover related topics. So why am I posting a review on social media first? I believe many voiceover artists (myself included) at least know the basics of their craft; that is to say, voice acting. It is after all, the product that they are selling. What they don’t know is the business side of the coin. In general many of us know little about self-promotion, either through ignorance or apathy to the process.
Learning marketing and self-promotion needs to become at least as important as auditioning and even the acting part of the profession. People can’t hire you if they don’t know who you are, even if you are (in one’s mind at least) a voiceover deity. But don’t despair - I have many other books, webinars, and videos that pertain directly to the craft of voice over that I’ll be posting about in this series.
I have found Twitter to be a very easy and engaging social media platform. Even with the meager marketing instincts I have and without any education on Twitter, I found it useful to spreading the word about my business. Twitter has already directly boosted engagement on my website from nothing to several hundred unique hits a week. However, I knew I was just starting to understand it's capabilities, and it was time to learn more.
Overview of contents:
Short and Sweet:
Simple, easy to read and informative and the price is a sweet deal.
Mr. Clarke starts with a simple introduction on what Twitter is, and the bare bone basics. Even here, I found a few interesting bits and pieces. If I would have read his intro before I took up Twitter a few months ago, I would have saved myself a few initial headaches (when I started, I didn’t realize Direct Messages were a bad thing, for instance). He also explained in brief a few of the tools that still I didn’t know what their purpose was. This was just the first few pages, so I think first time Twitter users would appreciate this part right off.
The chapters that followed were short, sweet, and full of information. Each chapter built upon each other, and easily read and understood. I was able to enact changes to my Twitter account within minutes .
Chapter 1 covers a boiled down explanation of direct and indirect marketing. This is information that can be applied to any platform or marketing idea.
Chapter 2 covers how to setup a well made Twitter profile. Topics like how to pick a twitter name, and what to put in one's bio.
Chapter 3 gives solid ideas on what to tweet about, how much to tweet, where to get the information, and how to tweet in proportion to your other tweets without ticking your readers off with too much spam and salesy stuff. A nice bit of advice!
Chapter 4 indicates when the best and worst times to tweet are. It’s worth paying attention to, because otherwise, your tweets might just get lost in the other feeds coming through much more easily. This is useful as a gauge only, and the author admits different times might work better for different businesses. At the very least, an excellent starting point.
Chapter 5 speaks about how to construct a well made tweet. The size of the tweet, and use and placement of hashtags. Also how to say things in a tweet. I found this very interesting and useful. Also it made sense. Many times I would read his words and think “of course!” why didn’t I think of that? I found this very useful tidbit that makes this chapter worth the price of the book to make the tweets as short as possible, so people have room to retweet. I never thought of that!
Chapter 6 talks about how to gain followers fast without doing anything that would anger the Twitter gods. Mr. Clarke talks about how to follow, who to follow, and also ways of making yourself appear to be an established expert of your field. This is a chapter in which the author states that it still will take some work on one's part to grow one's followers, but it is logical and consistent and makes total sense.
Chapter 7 delves into ways to engage followers through contests, chats and streaming, the author gives solid information on what to use and how to use various Twitter friendly sites. This is something I never thought of, and the information can be used for other kinds of social media. really, a lot of the book has principles that can be applied to other forms of marketing.
Finally Chapter 8 gives information on making many of the skills taught in the previous chapters automatic through various websites. This is especially useful to the time crunched business person (and who isn't?)
All in all, I found this a great introductory read that gets you up and moving quickly. It is a short, (76 pages) easy to read book with lots of information, told with tongue and cheek humor by the author that keeps the reader awake through the grind of the technical aspects of Twitter.And at $2.99 on Kindle, well worth the small investment of time and money.