Monday, December 15, 2008

New podcast (toy job)


I've got too many important things to blather about to not post on this particular blog for so long.

This is not one of those important things. ;-)

I've got a new podcast up for the toy job over at my Emergent Game Technologies Product Management podcast / blog site.

This is a "preview" podcast for Gamebryo 2.6, but 2.6 released last month, and I'm just now getting around to posting the audio for the interview with Dan Amerson, technical director for Gamebryo.

It's not all that sexy, but it's audio, and it's out in the wild.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Adam in Austin for AGDC

Starting today, I'll be in Austin for a week for the Austin Game Developers Conference (the conference proper starts next week).

It's hopefully going to be wicked busy, but you can track me via Twitter and Brightkite.

I'd like to meet up with you if we can.

Of course, this is all pending Hurricane Ike (especially since I connect through Houston this morning).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Adam's POV

Casting Director Bonnie Gillespie told me the first of my guest columns is now live at "The Actors Voice - POV".

It's entitled "Living a Life of Desperate Creativity (Take 1)" It's tertiarily about my recent move from my established acting scene in Austin and my trying to make inroads in North Carolina. What it's really about is how important this whole acting thing is to me and about personal accountability in my craft. Wonderful, scary stuff.

Check out the column, let me know what you think, and take advantage of all of the wonderful resources Bonnie provides across her myriad sites. She's one of those precious ones that loves the Biz and loves actors, and is busy in the industry six ways to Sunday -- but it's not in a "frantic, scattershot, undirected way"; rather, it's a focused, "I'd rather burn out than fade away" kind of way. Bonnie's a gift.

Enjoy ...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Adam travelling to LA

I'm off to Los Angeles for a whirlwind trip for the toy job (EGT), and likely won't be fitting in any auditions or even game developer / publisher meetings while I'm there (and likely couldn't give you any deets if I was).

But for those Web 2.0ers who want to keep lightweight track of me (and for the moderately stalk-y minded), you can follow me on brightkite or twitter (no need to use both - they should be in synch).

Regardless - it's LA, and that's a recharge.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another place to catch my voice

Besides auditions, gigs, and related out-takes, for the voice acting side of my acting, there's kind of another place you can catch me.

Over at the Unofficial Emergent Game Technologies Website, I've posted the first of (hopefully) many podcasts I'll be doing for EGT.

This is part of how I'm merging my acting and toy job, in hopes of staving off the insanity that could be brought about by double-mindedness.

So, if you're into video games, podcasts, snarkiness, or all of the above, check out the post (you can also subscribe to the RSS/Podcast feed here).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Actors, don't be putzes

This ticks me off.

Are you video game fan? Are you an actor (similar to me) who at least partially got into the voice acting side of the Biz to do video games?

Then don't be this guy -- someone who spills the unannounced beans on a video game sequel.

Hey, it's a brave new InterWeb 2.0 world, but that doesn't abdicate the actor's responsibility to protect a potential client's intellectual property. And I wouldn't be surprised if this violates the Breakdown Express terms of service (the audition notice service for which he's a subscriber).

If you're a client, wouldn't this make you think twice about posting your breakdowns? If you're Breakdown Express, wouldn't you be worried that this yutz could cost you business, because clients would inappropriately paint you with the same distrust brush?

Hey, I'm an actor, and a blogger, and a subscriber -- but I don't blab.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

On creativity and composition

My last post was pretty hefty, and there's no easy way to step down from it in a measured way that wouldn't be more orchestrated than it was genuine.

So, instead, I'm goning to dive right in with my next post and talk about boobies.

OK, not per se, but at least I've set an appropriately low bar on the thematic weight side of things, and have much more ceiling.

Moving on.

I so dig I'm not associate with them in any way, but I've been a fan of the package that is their company and offering and product for a long time.

They make hilarious T-shirts, riffing or springboarding off of retro and pop culture love, and they do it in creative (if not brilliant) ways.

An all-black shirt that says, "There are 3 ninjas on this shirt [try to find them]".

"Your epidermis is showing."

(Two pictures of bags of ice and a picture of a baby.)

But like I said, it's not just the logos and the products -- it's the package that is the company.

Take this shirt, "I drink your milkshake":

(If you're unfamiliar with the deriving song, I envy your blessed naïvité.)

The shirt is funny by itself; it plays on pop culture, and has an odd, stilted old-school graphic juxtaposition against what's in essence a jug-happy metaphor.

But what finally prompted me to write about these folks are there ads (which I usually see on

I snagged a pict of this ad, because you could take almost any of them, and match what works alone in the graphic above, magnified with A) an appropriately attractive (but not stereotypical) model, who's B) animated and bought in during the shoot, but in a C) realistic, living, non-posed way.

Tie to acting? Creativity and "being" (not faking).

(Let along the obvious example of smart branding and leveraging pop culture.)


Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Other Side of Something Horrible

I haven't posted on the acting side in a while.

I've had good reason.

Here's the MP3 -- and remember, this is my "Ramblings" blog ...


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Voice acting in Condemned 2

Video games and cartoons got me into voice acting.

Condemned was one of the best (and under-rated) launch games for the Xbox 360 (playing in the dark with surround sound almost made me soil myself).

Now, Condemned 2: Bloodshot is on its way, and SEGA's released a very cool VO session video.

Check it out to see VO Director Art Currim (Black Powder Media) work his magic with some talented folks.

Enjoy performances from André Sogliuzzo (protagonist Ethan Thomas), Dave Mitchell (Agent Dorland), Phil LaMarr (Lerue/Bum), Henry Dittman (SKX/Pilot), Keith Szarabajka (Inferi), Angel Parker (Agent Rosa), and Michael Bell (Magic Man/President).

Oh, and there are some interesting bits from Associate Producer Marty Caplan, Lead Designer Frank Rooke, Cinematics Director Rocky Newton, and heaven forbid we forget the ADR Group

Don't necessarily take technique tips from all of the performances. While they're all talented actors, voice over is a unique skill set, and some of these folks aren't necessarily experienced in voice acting -- but kudos to them for getting the chance to leverage their acting chops in new ways, and watch Art give concrete microphone technique and acting direction.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

On voice acting and pole dancing

A week ago, I was at the Game Developers Conference, which turned out to create multiple unexpected opportunities on the acting front.

Now that I'm formally in the video game industry, the weeks up to, during, and after GDC have been a new level of insane as I transition from outside-in hobbyist to lifestyle professional.

And it's been really, really good on the acting front.

A quick summary of acting-related events in and around GDC:

Voice Acting:

My company did a tech demo for this year's GDC that is, in essence, a mini level of an on-rails shooter game. There is a lot of voice over, which I stayed out of even though I'm (A) a professional voice actor, and (B) know the audio house in LA to whom we subcontracted for the voice over work.

This about drove me insane to not be involved. In some ways it should have been a lock for me to exploit the opportunity to get my voices all over the project. But I made a professional decision to stay out of the way, avoid any conflict of interest issues, and support the teams in my official capacities to make the project successful (which it was -- beyond expectations).

Soooo hard.

But, I was inadvertently rewarded when -- the Friday before GDC -- the team wanted a voice over intro for the game. With no time to ramp up the contract house, I grabbed my home recording equipment and put down a track (after spending way too much time trying to find an XLR cable, since mine are in storage, Chapel Hill is no Austin, and it took our phenomenal office admin Brady to save the day and chase down a cable).

The game is an homage to video games and 1950s B-movie horror flicks, titled "Forbidden Terror on Space Station Z!", so my voice over is cheese ball, AM-style schlock (I even compressed it a bit so it had the AM-radio crackle vibe), and a lot of fun. You'll be hearing it soon in various places, and I'll put a version on the site here, too.

I also was able to provide reference audio for a little boy audio clip that -- recorded by a voice actress and missing the creep factor -- was too bright and girlish, and didn't work for its place in the game. So I edited it closer to what we wanted, and our audio contract folks were able to take the original audio and match it more closely to my reference audio.

Theater Presentations:

Part of my job as a product manager for my company is to be a public face at events like GDC, so I did about ten theater presentations over the few days of the show. I totally dig emcee gigs, so I enjoyed the chance to present to the masses and do some carnival-style barking to fill our theater when attendance was low.

I also got the chance to practice my actor listening chops in a new way. I was co-presenting with a Swedish licensee for one of the presentations, and we did the presentation differently every time. I reacted well off of him, because I knew my part cold, but listened to what he had to say, and responded accordingly (and freshly) each time. That was an unexpected opportunity to practice my madd acting skilz.

Pole Dancing:

The GDC Microsoft XNA party started out far too slowly. When this kind of thing happens, I have a tendency to work to make something happen. Sometimes that manifests in different ways.

Turns out the party venue had mini stages with brass poles on the third floor (no, I don't know why).

Regardless, since things were moving slowly on the entertainment front, a co-worker turned to me at one point and said, "I bet you won't pole dance for twenty dollars."

He then proceeded to pull out $40, then $60, at which point I stopped the bidding war, pocketed the money, strode across the dance floor (after a brief hug with the technical director of a huge entertainment company), hopped up on the stage, and shook, shimmied, and spun around the pole like the pretty, pretty man I am.

I then hopped down, handed his money back to him, and ordered a drink.

Because, sober as I was (and as much as I like money), the truth is he had me at "I bet you won't" and "pole dance". I didn't feel good taking his money.

I'd already decided I'd do it without any additional incentive.

Over think it? No. Be scared or embarrassed? Why?

"I bet you won't" to me as an actor is like saying "don't" to a two-year-old -- it goads me into action.

I'm an actor. Bring on the pole.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

On faking it

I like the commercials for the new 2008 Cadillac CTS.

A man or the woman, calmly driving, talking about turning on their car, and being turned on, with subtle through-line undertones of power and sexiness that aren't overdone.

That is, I like most of the commercials. One is a horrible example of faking in acting, and it possibly damages the Cadillac brand subconsciously for viewers.

If you haven't seen the commercials, there are those with actors, and those with actresses.

One of the actresses is phenomenal. Poised, sophisticated, in control, and high-class sexy. Her commercials are fun to watch.

The other actress might be all of the same, but I can't get past the fact that she's faking. Horribly.

See, these people obviously aren't actually driving the CTS when they're filming the commercial. But this second actress -- you can tell she's not actaully driving.


Watch her hands. Watch her wiggle the steering wheel back and forth as she vaudeville mocks driving a stationary car. Which is faking in acting, and that irritates me as an actor that doesn't want to fake. But it also damages this high brand.

Think about it -- if the steering is that loose, and you have to work that hard to drive a CTS -- why would you pay that kind of money for that kind of car.

Faking. It's not just bad for actors who care about good acting -- it's bad for products those actors represent.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Love ya! Mean it!

I just got back from a week in the Big LA, Los Angeles -- La La Land, Latte Land, HueyWould, GlitterTown, etc.

I really like that burg. I like the glitz, the glamour, that it feels like everyone (CEOs to baristas) work really hard to keep up appearances -- hell, I even genuinely like driving in LA (other than in torrential rain).

I met with a lot of brilliant people at a bunch of different (and different types of) companies. I'm a studier of people, and I'm fascinated by people navigating (or navigating badly) perhaps the weirdest social network in the world.

Here are some of my observations.

Treat receptionists, administrative assistants, and personal assistants well. I'm a firm believer in being a respecter of persons independent of role, folks in these roles work ridiculously hard, and I'm grateful for the work they do. Add to that the power these people have in this geography, and you'd be hard-pressed to justify abrasiveness in these situations. I literally shook my head at a visitor blowing off someone behind the front desk, and then almost laughed out loud when they didn't get in to their scheduled appointment.

There was even a scenario where I let a PA set up my laptop for a presentation. I'm super tech saavy (and obviously know my own computer), so while this was a no-brainer for me, this was part of his job for this meeting. Me canning my ego and getting out of his way made the setup faster than it would have been with us both trying to do it, and showed his competence to the bigger group.

Get names right -- especially names of important people in the Biz. Say you're talking to "Grand Pooba A" for a media deal, and you keep miss-calling him "Grand Pooba B". And it turns out "Grand Pooba B" is his peer, and they're at odds with each other as to how they each see the project moving forward. Mixing up names is a bad move anyway (it implies you don't value the person), but in this glitterati scenario, it can remove you from the game.

Leverage the superficial. People in the Biz are some of the most brilliant and creative folks anywhere. But I've been in conversations where they've dismissed me, and doing something like pulling out a super-sexy, little-known phone (not the iPhone -- that's so last year), can bring attention back to me. I don't want to manipulate, but I do pay attention to subtle cues so I can leverage common ground that we're all excited about.

Love the franchises. The meetings I took last week were gifts. Part of what made them gifts (aside from busy, talented people taking time out of their production schedules) is the meetings were all built around creative franchises core to how I grew up or where I am now. Being able to connect with artistic and technical folks at a fanboy level made the conversations more exciting, collaborative, and productive. Plus, in many ways, I am arguably the target audience for at least three of the projects, so that sanity check validation was key for them and for me. This is my personal favorite, as it's so fun. To get to work on the stuff I love? True giftage.

I got a ton more out of last week, but this post already has the double whammy of being a bit preachy, and overly vague as I steer clear of exposing the actual meetings or franchises.

So I'll call this bit o' rambling good for now, and hope it was helpful for folks who maybe dismiss the importance of these little social bits.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Another reason to be unafraid

I was at my brother-in-law's gymnasium the day after Christmas, and I watched various kids of various ages try various things, interested in what they were trying, when, and why.

Turns out the more comfortable a kiddo looked, the more likely she was to try something daring (hanging from the higher of the uneven bars, jumping from stacked mats into a foam pit, sliding on the big slide -- whatever).

The more secure they felt, the more gutsy stuff they tried.

This got me to thinking about adults in general, and me in particular, and the fact that the more secure I feel, the more gutsy stuff I'm comfortable trying.

And since everything comes back to living, and the more I learn about life the more I learn about in my acting, I was struck with some life/acting lessons from the observations.

Taking risks while comfy -- having supportive cast mates, coaches, directors, and so on -- is great, but it's kind of the low bar for me. I work to train myself to take risks when I'm not comfortable.

This means while I can do daring stuff in a comfortable place (supportive director, professional working environment, etc.), I don't need that comfortableness.

If I train myself to make gutsy choices and "tear it up" without the crutch of security, I'm much more useful in the industry (being an actor is a freaking uncomfortable gig).

And when I am working with a supportive director and professional cast and crew (which, frankly, is way more fun)?

Watch out for the fireworks.