Stephen Lyons - International Voice-over
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The Voice

The Magazine on the Internet for Voice-overs
& Radio Commercial Producers

ISSUE No.11 - MAY 1997

Well. Here I am, three days down the line from VOX '97 and still wondering whether my demo tapes were taken by interested producers, a devious voice-over or just someone who's out of cassettes. The discovery of an empty cassette box in the ladies loo also prompted the theory that there was a showreel mainliner amongst us. For the last two days I seem to have spent more time on the phone talking to people about how good the bash was than I have on the line making money! I spent half the evening as Debbie Gripton - a simple name-tag problem, not a surgical one. Everyone seems to agree, though, that once the crabaret was over, a brilliant time was had by all. If you'd put 18 dinner tables on the concourse at Waterloo station, in the rush hour, you'd have an idea of what dinner looked like. Who needs conventions when there are friends to talk to? Egos were put away as the growing paranoia and despondency brought on by the ISDN way of working were swept away by a huge wave of happiness. There has never been a night like it in the history of ILR and there must be more. All credit to Kim Prior, Tony Aitken, Lois Lane, Jacky Davies, and Peter Dickson for introducing semi-strangers and reuniting so many old friends. Ed.

Lara Falmer Pomkinson's - Social Diary
The report from VOX97
Well darlings, it was all simply too fabulous! Seldom has your correspondent spent an evening surrounded by more glamorous and squeezable luvvies. It's now Sunday afternoon, and I'm recovering with a massage and cream tea by the rooftop pool at the Berkeley, and reviewing my notes on what for my spondoolies was the social bash of the year. The first casualty of the event was joint organiser Tony Aitken, whose gorgeous pouting daughters made off with his glasses while he was having an afternoon swim. After a certain amount of furniture disruption, he claimed them back. Incidentally. Gorgeous George tells me she's getting more voice work than her Heavenly sister Henri, and they both claim more than Dashing Dad.
Soon it was time for cocktails and, my dears, the clothes! Best frock of the night went to Viking's Steve Paget, blinding passers-by with his electric blue suit - almost as dazzling as Rob Rackstraw's Silver Dream Fiat Buzzbomb in the car park! Other great outfits included the delightful dress Caroline Tudor was almost wearing, and Celia Drummond's bewitching Latin clinger. Barry Short and Taff Girdlestone tied for Best Hair, and other notable sights were Jimmy Hibbert's suede wingtips, Helena Breck's ethereal ensemble, Tim Craig's Bryan Ferry jacket, Chris Slack's lime green shirt and Shaughan Ferguson's multi-changing paisley casuals. On the style front, stand-outs were Alan Bailey, Karl Svenson, Jonathan Booth, David Allen, Pavel Douglas (of course) and Mark Adnitt. At Nicral's pre-dinner drinks, Catherine Oates made the world's shortest speech. Some unkind onlookers suggested it was meant to be longer but she dropped out! Then it was time for dinner, followed by Uncle Simon and Auntie Adrian's cabaret, and well deserved flowers for Kim Prior.
The dancing proved illuminating, with Brown's shirt darkening with honest sweat as he gyrated energetically on the floor, joined for most of the evening by the Metro girls and Jane Jermyn. Virtually the whole company then repaired to the bar, where animated conversations, all perfectly modulated, continued until dawn's light touched the verdant lawns of Moor Hall. Ian Swann's dog made a guest appearance around 2, Barry hugged everything in sight and Taff paid for his weekend on the fruit machine.
Breakfast followed all too quickly for most, but the Full English restored the spirits as Steve Lyons, at his most charming, worked the room. Those seemingly the worse for wear included joint organiser Peter Dickson (shades from the get-go), Duncan Wells (Marlboro and Nurofen), Nick McGurk (faraway look) and Jane Jermyn (Jackie Onassis stroll through lobby).
As the stragglers paid their bills and wandered out to their cars, your correspondent was feeling very smug, having won a private bet with herself that Ian Britton would be the only one fit to drive.
VOX 97 - The Hangover!
Whether you did, you didn't, or you just wish you hadn't, you can now see the evidence! Negatives available by negotiation!

Voice-over Colin Day was recently astonished to discover that he was either extremely ill or had passed away. His astonishment was firmly based on the fact that it was news to him. A colleague had been almost too frightened to call to see how he was but had eventually plucked up the courage and discovered the truth. Colin would like to assure all his friends and employers that he is alive and well and available for work as usual.

Finally, after 18 months of false starts and almost moves, Galaxy 101 is moving to it's brand new state of the art (Honest guv. Gospel!) studio complex in the centre of Bristol. With five studios, Clyde desks and lots of other impressive techy type things the change is un- believable. For all voice overs, the new address (as of Tuesday 27th of May) will be:

Galaxy Radio
Millennium House
Bristol BS1 1SE

Phone - 0117 901 0101
Fax - 0117 901 4666

Kenny (Dillon) would like to hear tapes from any voices that he's not currently using, and keep the usual avails faxes coming!

We were producing a series of testimonial commercials for a fast food client. We recorded the members of a focus group as they tasted a new and very large hamburger that was going to be test marketed in a large city in the south. We assembled five spots with people raving about the new product and, in a fit of whimsy, we produced a sixth spot to play for the client's amusement that ended with this quote, "Well, it don't make you sick or nothin'!" And to make the testimonial even better, we edited in a belch between 'you' and 'sick.' It was a very funny spot. When the agency played it for the client, they laughed and approved the other five spots. The agency called us for the dubs, and that was that. We thought. The spot with the special testimonial was separated from the others on the master reel by a huge amount of leader tape, which the new assistant engineer didn't notice when he made the dubs. Instead of five spots, six got sent out. Two weeks later, an agency employee was returning from vacation and happened to be driving through the test market early Sunday morning. Which is when he heard the "Well, it don't make you (*belch*) sick or nothin'!" spot on the air. It turns out the joke spot ran in rotation in the test market for a week. And during that time, the new hamburger became the number one seller for the client.

Brian Savin, Commercial production Manager at B.R.M.B., is appealing! Contrary to all the rules of sensibility, in August, he is going to cycle from St Petersburg to Moscow! 450 miles in eight days! Brian hopes to raise at least �2,000 in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind. THE VOICE is throwing �10 into the sponsorship pot - will you join me? Mail me!

Quality Street? A case of wine? A gourmet dinner? A year's supply of Pot Noodle? There are so many ways to woo a commercial production department. Rumour is though that at one northern station it's Star Wars Tazos from Walkers crisps that could be the key to a busy year!

One night a V/O's wife decided to try Jack Daniels, his favourite hard liquor. When she put their two daughters to bed that night the youngest girl said, "Mommy! You're wearing Daddy's after- shave!"


Only if it also needs listeners!

[Part of a campaign devised by Chris Denning for British Actors Equity Association]

Supplied by Tim Craig, Metro Comm. Prod. + additional material courtesy of Red Rose & Radio City
"The frequency should help reverbitate the success of the campaign."

"Yes, you get that with blind people - when their sight goes another one of their senses - like their vision - improves to compensate."

"Hard singers are good to find."

"Jack is another name for Bobby."

"If that isn't the ket calling the pottle black."

[After explaining that Sherlock Holmes couldn't be used in a radio ad because of copyright] "Couldn't you spell it H-O-M-E-S."

"You cease to amaze me sometimes."

"Starting at 8.30 p.m., the quiz starts at 8.30 p.m.."

"I've got two word to say to you - Lancaster University Management School."

You're the kind of guy who goes to the bank for fifty quid and asks for it in eights."

"People round here just take me for the piss."

"Everyone was buying us free drinks."

Dear Ed.,

Your editorial, "The rise and fall of the long distance runner" (The Voice March 1997), gave an interesting perspective on being a voice-over in the ISDN age - perhaps it might be a useful exercise to have a radio station's perspective too. Towards the end of what you might as well have termed "the good old days", I was working at two different stations using session voices. Socially, yes, it was good - voices drove an awfully long way to see us. We took them out to lunch occasionally, but this was to the detriment of the quality of commercials. The day after session day, commercial breaks would be full of the last booked voice , trying alternately to give a hard hot-rocking read for a concert, a soft sell for pine furniture, and a crap american voice for a bowling alley. In the end, unless you had a tremendously good voice you couldn't do a good job for all the commercials, and unfortunately you couldn't have a good voice all the time. Aside from the voice casting problems, the session system also gave us problems in minimum session fees, cancelling voices at the last minute because we only had two commercials to make and, yes, we ended up doing many commercials ourselves if they were needed in a hurry. A five voice commercial took two-and-a-half weeks to make. Today, it would take under an hour. Is it a wonder, therefore, that, by and large, we embrace the chance to do ISDN sessions? It's not the engineer that books the voice anymore, it's the individual writer. There's less hopeful "MVO - Hard Sell" on a script and more "MVO - Joe Particular" - more writing to a specific voice's capabilities, rather than wondering whether a certain voice would do a good read. In short, it's casting, not guesswork.. I can see exactly why voiceovers hanker after the session days: :it was good for you, you got free coffee, you got to do a variety of voices, you got to meet people, you got to have fun, you got a far bigger share of the money. Given the chance, you'd probably like to go back to them. But writers and producers are more than happy with ISDN working, thank-you-very-much.

Harsh but fair tips for getting used more often:

*Contact EVERY scriptwriter- they call the shots and give you the work.
Keep tabs on all moves.
*Contact EVERY engineer- they give you more work when the writer
doesn't specify a voice.
*Send faxes every week (unless the station doesn't want them).
*If we don't use you for more than three or four weeks, it's probably because we've forgotten about you: Pick up the phone and talk to us!
*Talk to other voiceovers regularly.
*Send lots of chocolate
*Don't get paranoid!

James Cridland - Hallam FM

Publisher & Editor
Stephen Lyons, Cwmcaddon, Ochrwyth, Risca, South Wales NP1 6EL

No.1 Sept '95| No.7 June '96| No.8 Sept '96| No.9 Dec '96| No.10 April '97|
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