Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Found some stuff while I was cleaning the garage

Way back in 2000 I decided to drop out of college. I was majoring in psychology and creative writing in St. Louis when I decided that, college was fucking stupid. I liked writing, but hated being critiqued. I didn't like hearing that my writing wasn't 'creative' enough.

The straw that broke the camels back was when I was writing my mid term short story. I think I have it somewhere and if I can, I will try and find it and post it. Anyway, the story was about a guy who was waiting for his girlfriend's plane to land and he watched it crash. The story was about his search for his girlfriend.

The got a D on the paper because my teacher didn't like it. It wasn't that it wasn't well written or true to the heart, but she didn't like the subject matter. That's when I decided to quit college and pursue a career in radio.

I enrolled at a Cleveland broadcasting school in June 2000. I had a blue flame of ambition coming out my ass. My goal was to be the best.

I loved the behind the scenes of radio. All the equipment. The people. It awesome to see a jock [short for disc jockey, but since the advent of the computer, discs are non existent in radio] go into a break and then come off the air and yell at an intern.

After I got my big break as an intern for a new radio station in Cleveland [Kiss 104.9] I decided I wanted to be a voice over talent [VO]. I lacked the natural voice or pipes for big voice spots, but I was convinced that I could produce spots better than anyone else.

So once I got my feet wet watching the real producers make commercials and imaging spots for real radio, I went full steam into broadcasting school.

Well today I was cleaning out some boxes when I found my first demo CD. I ripped it and listened. I cringed. Listen to it. It's the most awful thing I have ever heard. My voice is high, I don't sound comfortable, and I am trying to sound like I know what I am doing. I put in music changes on a spot just to fill 0:60 of air. I cringe.

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By the way. I got an A on that project. My instructors notes on this project was, good edits, no pops. I mean, it wasn't the best VO in the world, but the fundamentals were there I guess.

Well towards graduation we had something called radio days. It's when the class is an entire radio station for a day. We make it as realistic as possible. We have a sales department where sales guys fill out sales forms for commercials, and they hand it to the production department where they will make the commercials. There is an imaging department where the producers make the station come to life over the air. We have jocks, music. I mean everything.

I did everything in my power to get the imaging directors job. I wanted to be the voice of the radio station. The instructor said that I didn't have the pipes for it, but somehow I talked him into letting me do it.

I went to the Kiss and asked for the imaging guy there for help. He offered up the studio for me to use, but only after hours. Never when the station is open. So one night after hours, I got to use a full studio for my producing. It was like golfing on a nice golf course. Your game is enhanced. Either by more focus, or because the equipment you are using. It just sounded better.

My station mates and instructors were getting scared because I wasn't producing anything in school. I was writing all the scripts because later that night I was going to go to the station and produce them. I never brought anything for anyone to listen to. I didn't care what they thought. It was going to be great, but they were getting nervous. When everyone's grade was hinging on my work, people get nervous.

The last thing they heard were the 1st two spots I posted. What was I going to come up with. They didn't know that for the last 5 months I spent every hour of my free time at the radio station learning. I would sit in the studio for hours watching and listening the producers work. I once spent 12 hours sitting in a corner just to watch and learn. After a while I was asked to do guest VO's. Small bit parts that no one would ever know was me, but I could hear it. Driving down the street I could hear myself on the radio. I thought it was the coolest thing.

When I came into class 2 days before our radio station was to air, this is what I had for them. I have montage'd 4 of them together.

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I was getting better.

It wasn't too long after the radio days that I was given an award for being the most professional radio student in my class. It was like getting valedictorian. It was an honor.

When I found out my girlfriend was pregnant, I got out of radio, but kept my contacts alive there. I talked with them as often as I could, and I was always longing to get back to what I had in those first days. I listened to the radio and recognized every single voice between the songs. I knew Jesse did the Europa Commercials, and AJ was the voice as was Chase. I could say I knew these guys.

It wasn't long after I left my first wife some years later I decided that I was getting back into radio, but I was going to be a free lancer. My business plan was 2 pages. I didn't think it through, but I managed to build an in home studio and I got a few clients.

Enter the company I call:

It was a way to do what I loved to do. I was signed on with a radio station in Chicago called the Loop and I provided character voices. My first official client was Crazy Ray in Chicago. My brother did a Kermit the Frog voice where we made Kermit out to be an asshole. It was hilarious and once I get my hard drive from my brother and extract the files on it, I will post it. It was about 2 weeks later I was sending him fake movie trailers and he was sending me more scripts and ideas for me to produce more and more for him.

After I lost my real job I tried to make my little company work, but was met with nothing. I couldn't get anyone to sign with me and pay me. I ended up selling off my mixing board and monitors when I needed money to pay the rent, and my girlfriend [now lovely wife] was moving in. She didn't want me to sell any of it because she saw how it made me feel. Creative. I spent a lot of time with my younger brother who is now in Chicago studying improv doing voices, and trying to polish my craft.

So as I was sitting here typing this, I found the demo I sent out to many talent agencies before one of them picked me up.

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I dropped my talent agents when I realized that they were just a place where I could go audition, but no one was working for me. I don't know what I thought they were supposed to do, but I stopped going in because they were a cattle call shop.

I am not perfect, nor am I the best, but I really miss it. I have even toyed with the idea of podcasting my blog. I don't know that anyone would listen. I need to get more equipment to make it happen, but I have the computer and software, just the pre amp for my microphone.

I would love to start producing again. I sit at home and play with music all the time. I try to mix and beat match Rhianna into Tony Bennett. I can't quite get it, but it's just something to do.

I will just put it on the list of things I want to do, but can't find time for.

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