Tag Archives: terri doty

The More You V.O.

Many before me have answered these questions & others like them:

“How do I become a voice actor?”

“Got any advice for someone trying to break into the industry?”

“Do I need a demo and/or agent?”

Yet, despite their best efforts, the inquiries continue. So here is my attempt.

Voice Over (or V.O.) is everything from voice acting (cartoons, videogames) to narration (film, documentaries, audiobooks) to commercials (television, radio) to industrials (training, corporate) to… You get the idea. There is a plethora of things you can do in V.O. and some of them might actually pay well.

Don’t let the promise of a big paycheck fool you. Voice Over is one of the most competitive fields in the entertainment industry (2nd only to modeling). With advancements in technology and gear being readily available, the competition out there is nothing to sneeze at. Years can go by before you start seeing any real success (if you see any at all).

Find other ways of earning a buck. Many of us are working on several projects at any given time and/or have second/third/fourth jobs. A voice coach of mine once said: “It’s nice when you can pay a bill from a gig… Even nicer when you can pay the bills.”

Voice Over artists (artists in general really) can’t let the negatives get them down. It’s all about developing a thick skin and not dwelling on the gigs you didn’t book. Having a good attitude can do wonders.

Not all of us came upon this work in the same way: I was called in on a whim by a director and they were crazy enough to keep bringing me back. Others had a friend of a friend hook them up… Or they were discovered through an audition… Or their agent sent them… There is no foolproof way to break into the industry.

Having acting experience wouldn’t hurt your chances. If it’s been a while or you haven’t taken classes, it’s never too late to start (or return). Any kind of class (V.O., Improv, Singing, Drama, etc) would be beneficial. Teachers are always gonna be there and all it takes is typing a few words into whatever search engine is your poison.

Brand spankin’ new to the whole process? You’re not ready to record a demo. You should be practicing on your own (it doesn’t take much to set up a rig). Listen to yourself on a regular basis and get feedback from those that aren’t afraid to be honest. Learn what you’re capable of and get out of your comfort zone. Once you’ve done that, then consider doing a demo. Know what kind you want to do (character, commercial, narration) and what you should feature. Studio fees, writing copy, directing, producing, and all that other loveliness can be sorted out with research.

No, you don’t need an agent to do Voice Over. Plenty of people work without representation. If you want to go that route, don’t apply for just any ol’ agency out there. Find the right one for what you want to do (Can’t say it enough: RESEARCH!). If you get signed, congrats! If you don’t, keep moving forward (apply again, ask for feedback, stay positive).

That’s probably a good place to stop (or start for some of you).

Hope this helped.

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Trite of the Living Doty

ImageYou’ve got red you.”

Originally intended for this to be a small post because of an incredibly hectic week and this is probably the wordiest one I’ve done so far. Should’ve known better. As a devotee of the undead, I’ve never been able to keep things short, simple, and/or sweet (especially sweet) when talking about anything related to zombies. Live and learn I guess (insert cliche ghoul reference here). It bears reminding that all of this is 100% subjective (it is a blog after all) & I’m likely to forget more than a few things worthy of note.

ImageFun Fact #1: Six years ago, my boyfriend (current husband) arranged for me to meet Mr. George A. Romero. I was more than a little nervous about the meeting.  It’s always a gamble when coming face to face with one of your idols. You run the risk of being severely disappointed. What if it turns out he’s a jerk (Looking at you, other horror icon that I won’t name)? Lucky for me, he was a perfect gentleman. We talked about zombies (duh), filmmaking, and sandwiches (I was starving at the time). He even signed a Dawn of the Dead script for a buddy of mine. If you ever get a chance to meet Romero, be cooler than I was.

Image Fun Fact #2: The theme of my wedding? Yep, you guessed it. My fiancée (still current husband) and I had just finished doing sound design for Zombie Manor. The guys that run this fantastic haunted house knew how frustrated we were with finding a venue and offered to throw the wedding reception. Zombies of all ages provided entertainment, drinks, & food while friends and family celebrated with us. To top it all off, Eat My Cake. made this beyond amazing wedding cake (which was the brainchild of the baker and my husband). Even the zombies got a slice of red velvet, though they stayed in character and only ate behind the scenes.

ImageFun Fact #3: In 2006, I attended a Zombie Survival Seminar held by Max Brooks, the author of The Zombie Survival Guide & World War Z (both of which he signed for me). The seminar itself was actually full of practical survival information (zombies optional). He also laid out a variety of scenarios and had volunteers play out commonsense solutions to the uncommon zombie threat. Met up with him after his talk, he was super cool and geeked out over my Night of the Living Dead hoodie.

Top 5 Flicks (in no particular order):

ImageRead Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess and liked it enough that I was excited for the film. The way they play up the audio is a big reason I enjoy Pontypool so much. It actually reminds me a lot of the old radio plays. Many of the scares and chills are left to your imagination. Minimal cast and sets, but the actors (both on and off screen) do a lot with the little they’re given.

ImageZombie (or Zombi 2 if you prefer) is one of those films that you have to be in the mood to sit through. It is not for everyone. If you’re used to things moving at a fast pace, you might want to steer clear of this and anything else Lucio Fulci had a hand in. This was my first Fulci flick and I’ve been a fan ever since. I will say (as someone in the dubbing industry), the dub can be a bit distracting at times. Still love it. I mean, come on… Who doesn’t love a zombie fighting a shark? I’m also a sucker for real special effects over computer generated ones.

Image Shaun of the Dead is the film that made me love Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost. I should also be thankful to them because this also made me aware of Spaced (which is equally awesome). The tagline “A Romantic Comedy With Zombies” is right on the money, though I would never attempt to make friends that hate horror films sit through it. Its funny, cute, sad, and, at times, kind of scary. The zombies themselves (extras and all) are a big reason I love this film. They just did such a great job (makeup, walk, effects, groans, all of it).

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Another Fulci film? How can this be? The Beyond will always have a special place in my heart. I’m fully aware that saying that about a horror flick might be a bit odd, but its the truth. I’d never seen this movie until I went on  my first date with this kind of cool guy… My husband. Ew, emotions! Gross! Bleh… His choice in flicks definitely paid off. I freaking LOVE this film (even with the dubbing). We do our best to watch it at least once a year, preferably on our dating anniversary.

ImagePretty sure I saw Dawn of the Dead (1978) before I saw Night of the Living Dead (which will bug me to know end. Thanks OCD!). Though I liked Night and didn’t despise Day (can’t say the same for the remake), Dawn is what made me love the “Of The Dead” franchise (before Land, Diary, & Survival came along and shat the bed). Blatant commentary on consumerism AND zombies? Yes please!

Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Flicks:

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Friend, after what I’ve seen tonight you could tell me an evil spirit rose up from the dead and decided to posses the entire town and I would believe you.Dead and Breakfast is probably the campiest zombie flick that I like. A friend of mine lent it to me and warned me of the cheese factor. It didn’t really seem like something I’d like at first. After the DVD sat on my shelf for several weeks, I finally watched it… And loved it. Did I mention there’s a dance number?

ImageZombies, exploding heads, creepy-crawlies… and a date for the formal. This is classic, Spanky.” I’d forgotten how much I loved Night of the Creeps until I saw Slither a few years ago (watched it for Nathan Fillion, don’t judge me). It reminded me so much of it that I went out and bought it (Night of the Creeps, NOT Slither). I think I originally saw it because I’d recognized Jason Lively (Rusty Griswold from European Vacation) while flipping through channels and just kind of kept watching it. And Tom Atkins is in it. You can never go wrong with Tom Atkins (don’t quote me on that).  So bad. So very, very bad… But that’s what makes it so much fun to watch.

ImageWell, it’s a puzzle because, technically, you’re not alive. Except you’re conscious, so we don’t know what it means.” Return of the Living Dead is one of those films you watch at a party or a sleepover. I usually hate when a flick has zombies saying “Brains!” (or speaking at all), but it works for Return of the Living Dead. The cheese is probably a major factor there. It knows how bad it is and just keeps going. It won’t stay dead.

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She’s history! I know what to do, I’ve read the comics! Total… bodily… dismemberment! Darn those cursed Sumatran rat monkeys! Dead Alive (also known as Brain Dead) is another one of those party movies. Great to add a commentary track to and the more the merrier. For those that haven’t seen it, extreme gore fest… So much chunky blood. If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, this is not the zombie movie for you. May want to have a vomit bag handy. I saw this when I was about ten years old and, even then, I thought it was more of a comedy than a horror movie (Mom did not agree).

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In the brain and not the chest. Head shots are the very best.” My only real complaint about Fido is that I don’t get to hear Billy Connolly’s lovely voice. Then again, he is playing a zombie. Fido is the newest edition to the Robinson family. In this world, you’re not out of the workforce just because your heart stopped beating (depressing, isn’t it?). Young Timmy Robinson grows to think of Fido as more of a friend than a servant and mishaps ensue. I consider this more family comedy than horror. That might be a stretch for those that hate blood and guts, but its a cute little movie.

Keep in mind that the original lists were much longer than 5. In the end, I felt less was more. If you’d like a recommendation, the comment section is your friend.

There are still so many flicks I need to see (no, I haven’t seen World War Z & I’m VERY on the fence about it), shows I need to watch (In The Flesh is top priority), books I need to read, and collectibles I need to… well, collect.

I wish I could say I’m up to date on video games, but I’m not. I play arcade games whenever I get the chance (Resident Evil, House of the Dead, etc), but that’s about it. As much as I would love to ramble on about zombie games, I can’t. Someone will have to school me on what’s worth buying for PS3.

“Why do you love zombies so much, Terri?”

I just do.

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Abnormal Check Out

We all have things we want to do before we check out, right?

atGC

I have been able to cross off some major stuff on my list: find true love, be on television, save someone’s life, be in a parade, see an opera, make a difference in a child’s life, yell “You work for me, don’t ever forget that!” in someone’s face… What? Like your list doesn’t have a few abnormalities.

Sigh… Fine. My Bucket List might feature more than a couple of things that border on the bizarre.

Exhibit A: Unmask someone.

UnmaskMaybe I watched one too many Scooby-Doo episodes and horror flicks growing up, but unmasking someone just sounds neat. Unsure how I’d accomplish this one, but there’s no way I’m taking it off my list. “Who’s been dressing like a scarecrow and scaring away all the amusement park patrons? If only there was someone here that could help solve the mystery!“… Enter Terri stage left.

Exhibit B: Stop a wedding.

WeddingStopFull disclosure, I did have the opportunity to pull this one off before, but the potential aftermath stopped me from seeing it through. If I’m really gonna do this (if only for a second), it would probably need to be the wedding of someone I don’t know at all. Oh the possibilities.

Exhibit C: Slap someone in the face with a glove.

Glove SlapDon’t get me wrong, I’ve slapped several people in the face over the years, just never with a glove. The glove would just add a touch of class to the whole slapping experience. And I don’t hate the idea of being able to work in “I demand satisfaction“.

Exhibit D: Push someone wearing a tuxedo into something.

Tuxedo80’s-style preferably (best at a dance or wedding). They have to land in either a cake (three or four tier) or some kind of liquid (dirty pool, punch bowl, mud, you get the idea… NOT toxic sludge). And its got to be someone acting unruly. Think Johnny Lawrence in the original Karate Kid (you know, the one where they actually do karate) or Matt Wilson from Encino Man.

Exhibit E: Pretend to be a Time Traveler

Victorian ClothingBeen a sucker for time travel since Back to the Future. Though I wouldn’t want to do it McFly-style (maybe if I had a flux capacitor that ran off garbage instead of plutonium and hoverboards worked on water without the need of an additional power source). More like Doctor Who (shocking, I know). This would require a budget for costumes, my favorite being a Victorian ensemble. I’ll settle for any period clothing where I’d really stand out and make people question my sanity (you can also refer to them to this blog). And then there’s the question of location. Where to stage this little thingy thing? Hm….

Exhibit F: Make a voodoo doll.

Voodoo DollI’m talking about a real voodoo doll, not something I can buy at the local novelty shop. I guess the reason I haven’t done it yet is that I haven’t found someone I care about enough to hate that much. Maybe someday (and people say I’m not optimistic).

I can’t be the only weirdo out there. What’s on your list?

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Zombies Optional

Zombies

Since I’ve made it no secret that I’m a fan of zombies, there’s a question I get asked often: “What’s your zombie plan?”. It would be really easy to go off on a tangent about what I’d do if thrown into such an unlikely scenario (i.e. Walking Dead, anything in the Romero universe, etc). No matter the setting, it tends to come down to the skills someone possessed before the life they knew went away.

So rather than go on and on about the best weapons to kill a fictional creature (again, I do love me some zombies) or what to do if a member of your group has been bitten (kill them, duh), I’ve thought about skills I have and lack that could prove useful for the end of the world… Zombies optional.

Have: Common Sense

CommonSense

Sadly, enough people lack something that is supposed to common that its worth noting as a skill. Kind of sad when you think about it. Yay for me! Boo for them.

Have: Plant Knowledge

Plants

Before eating the purple berries (Remember what happened to Ralph on The Simpsons?), ask yourself: “Edible or Poisonous?”. More useful than you might think, especially if you have a pet that likes to eat plants.

Have: Basic Hand to Hand/Self-Defense Training

SelfDefense

Gotta love having a dad that worked at a prison and a mom that played football. Terrifying at a high school level by the 4th grade. Still thinking about taking more classes though.

Have: Physical/Mental Fitness

Fit

Relatively anyway… What? Is Rick Grimes perfect? Shut up, I know he’s fictional.

Have: Familiarity and Experience in Bartering

Barter

Haggling would come in pretty handy when dealing with fellow survivors. Despite the odd looks you may receive at your local grocery, stocking up on non perishables is never a bad idea.

Have: Knowledge of Basic Geography

Navigating

Being able to navigate with or without a map & compass can save your tuchus. Trust me. If it sounds like there’s a story there, there is. Alcohol required.

Lack: Medical Training of Any Kind

First Aid

Instead of screaming “Oh my God!” over and over again, I suppose it could benefit me to take a First Aid and CPR class. Learning the Heimlich Maneuver and how to treat Fractures/Dislocations/Burns wouldn’t be a horrible idea either.

Lack: Knowing How To Find Water and/or Purifying It

Water

Do I really need to explain why this is important? No. The answer is no.

Lack: Basic Cooking Knowledge

Cooking

I’m not the world’s worst cook, but I wouldn’t consider myself great. And that’s with things like microwaves, stoves, and all that other convenient stuff.

Lack: Speaking Another Language Fluently

Language

Knowing bits of French & Spanish can only get a girl so far.

Lack: Knowing How To Start a Fire

Fire

Without matches or a lighter, I’m completely clueless. Though I could “Lord of the Flies It” and just use my glasses. Hm… Maybe Lord of the Flies isn’t the best reference.

Lack: The Ability to Hunt

Hunting

This is one I’m definitely not looking forward to learning, but it would be nice to know a little. I really hate firearms though, so I’m going with a bow & arrow!

Lack: Knowing How to Build Shelter

Shelter

Oddly enough, I don’t think my ability to make a reservation at the local La Quinta is going to be very helpful when the chips are down.

I’ve got some work to do.

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Wishful Cosplay

RiverSong2Cosplay has been a popular topic for the past few years, at least for me. Before I started going to cons I knew little to nothing about it. Which is not to say that I’m anything close to an expert now.

Many make cosplay an artform. You should see the time and effort some people put into these costumes. I can’t help but stare and be in awe when these characters so many know and love come to life.

If you cosplayed…?

When I do finally get the courage and means, I think my first cosplay would be River Song from Doctor Who. Though I’m not sure I could do the character justice. Alex Kingston is an absolute vision! Seriously.

Option 1:

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From the beginning of Series 6 (The Impossible Astronaut). Simple enough to find the appropriate pieces and a good start.

Option 2:

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From Series 5 (Time of the Angels). A bit dressy for a con perhaps, but stunning. Hollywood Glam + Sci-Fi = This

Option 3:

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From Series 4 (Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead), the first time The Doctor met River. This would require a bit more effort than your average outfit. Prerequisite: Advanced Cosplay

Option 4:

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From the end of Series 5 (The Pandorica Opens & The Big Bang). This probably my favorite of all of them. It could get a little hot, but I’m thinking it might be worth it. Flawless victory.

Of course, there is much more material to pull from. For those curious, the first photo is from Day of the Moon in Series 6 and shows up later in A Good Man Goes to War. Great outfit, but not really something I’d personally want to try.

Any other wishful cosplay?

Stay tuned.

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First 5 That Come To Mind

Contrary to popular belief, I do watch movies that aren’t in the horror genre.

Can you list some of those, Terri?

Sure thing! Though it would be quite a long list. Tell you what, I’ll just list the first five that come to mind immediately..

1. Eagle vs Shark

ImageI discovered this while channel surfing years ago and have loved it ever since! It was written and directed by Taika Waititi, who some of you may remember from the sadness that was Green Lantern. You’ll also recognize Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. Romantic comedy, pretty depressing at times. Worth a watch!

2. Punch Drunk Love

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Speaking of depressing… Yeah, Punch Drunk Love isn’t for everyone. Yes, it has Adam Sandler in it. I know that’s a big turn-off for a lot of people, it was for me. But once I gave it a chance I realized this flick does what most Adam Sandler movies rarely do- Have him portray a real character, not the cliche Adam Sandler bologna (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, etc) that everyone knows and some love.

3. Rushmore

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I’d previously attempted to sit through Bottle Rocket and just couldn’t. Rushmore is where Wes Anderson got me. Originally, I saw this just because Bill Murray is in it (I love me some Bill Murray) and found myself just loving the film because… Well… Its a great film. Yes, its full of awkward. Yes, I found myself not loving the lead numerous times throughout, but I don’t think you have to.

Noticing a theme of awkwardness… Moving on.

4. Shall We Dansu?

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The cool part about getting a degree in TV/Film is that you get to watch a bunch of movies. The uncool part? You have to analyze the crap out of every one of those (and sometimes realize that the movies you held so dear actually suck). One of the flicks I was made to watch was Shall We Dansu?. I was hesistant at first because it was a film about an unhappy businessman who takes dance classes… Who would like that? Turns out I would like that. Its so much more than that tiny little description  and I’ll always watch it if its on. Hell, even my husband likes this flick.

5. Rear Window

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As a film student, I love the thought that was put into the set designs. As a movie lover, I’ve always had a soft spot for Jimmy Stewart. Though I think I originally saw this because I’d heard Raymond Burr was a bad guy and, at the time, I hated Perry Mason because I was forced to watch it with my grandmother. I suppose I should be grateful to Raymond Burr because Rear Window is one of my favorite flicks of all time.

That’s all I got for now.

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More about Off Key…

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More episodes to come! I’m sure episode isn’t the right word, but it seems more appropriate than issue or page or whatever else. Cinthia, the talented artist, & I are already chatting away about future scripts and stuff. Thanks so much for all the kind words and Off Key love! It really means a lot!

As I’ve previously stated, Off Key is loosely based off our experiences working together at a store most are pretty familiar with. Decided not to mention the name, but I have mentioned it several times on That Anime Show and in passing. In the comic, we refer to it as “Strings Attached“.

There are very few good things that came out of working in music retail. Not that I regret the two years that I spent there, I don’t. Though I would never want to work there ever again. So many stories can never be told… But I’ll do my best. That’s what inspired this little comic to begin with. Its actually kind of therapeutic.

Looking forward to doing more!

-Terri

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