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requiescat in pace announcer joel crager

Announcer Joel Crager

Word from Roy Yokelson of Antland Productions that network announcer Joel Crager had passed away Thursday. He is a voice you knew well, primarily for his work on ABC.

A great interview with Joel from 2006 can be found here.

This video contains Joel’s intro for the ABC Monday Night Movie – I remember it well. Keep a good thought for Joel’s family today.

MEDIA RELEASE – Pathmark and Food Basics Call on O’Connell for In-store Radio

audio'connell Media Release

MONTVALE, New Jersey, July 29, 2010 – – With over 140 grocery stores across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware, Pathmark grocery stores retained voice talent Peter K. O’Connell for their chain-wide, in-store radio production. This is in addition to the broadcast radio commercials O’Connell had voiced for the chain.

Additionally, O’Connell also completed in-store radio production for Food Basics, a grocery chain with 12 stores across Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Both Pathmark and Food Basics are part of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P.


A professional voice talent since 1982, some of Peter K. O’Connell’s professional voiceover credits include productions for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Shell Oil, Starz Cable Channel, New Jersey Alliance and New Jersey Tourism, J. Walter Thompson Advertising (JWT), 2K Games, Cleveland Browns, Tops Friendly Markets, Island Press Publishers, Harlequin Enterprises, First Choice Power, Pathmark Supermarkets, Crosby Stills & Nash, Fashion Outlet Mall, Junior Chamber International, Peek N’ Peak Resort and Spa, Devaweb and The Advertising Club of Buffalo.

audio’connell Voice Over Talent is a worldwide, English language-based voice talent business. The company provides voice talent for commercials, animation, corporate narrations, documentaries, broadcast voice imaging, audio books, podcasts and messaging on-hold (MOH). Founded in 1982, industries served by the audio’connell include advertising agencies, media and broadcast production companies as well as both large and small businesses around the world. Sister company International Voice Talents provides similar services, using professional foreign language male and female voice actors.

Mr. O’Connell also owns Voice Over Workshop, which provides professional voice over training to novice and experienced voice talent world-wide.

audio’connell Voice Over Talent, International Voice Talents and Voice Over Workshop are all a part of O’Connell Communications, LLC.
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Company Media Releases ON LINE:

Company Name Pronunciation:
au·dio·o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-oh-kah-nel) or au·di-o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-kah-nel)

Company Name Spelling:
Use lower case letters- audio’connell or audio’connell Voice-Over Talent

Company Web:

Company Blog:

O’Connell Voice-Over Resume:
See resume here





reinforcing the art of voice acting

Chris Greene and Tess Spangler take instruction from Toni Silveri at The Western New York Voice Actors Workshop

Performance ruts are the bane of any actor: stage, television or voice.

Yet left to our own devices (and ultimately ALL of us are) we can mindlessly fall into these ruts… a kind of “sameness” in performance that hurts a script, a vocal tic that we ourselves don’t notice, a subtle elocution mistake…or anyone one of a myriad of other problems that a producer might not be bothered by, a client wouldn’t even notice but is stuff that we as performers are responsible (if only to ourselves) for avoiding or fixing.

You might say – ‘well if the producer or the client doesn’t care, why should I?’

My short answer is: because it’s your job as a voice over performer.

My longer answer is: if that’s you’re attitude about your voice over performances, this post and probably this blog are not for you.

Smart performers know that in addition to guts checks and their own eyes/ears, they need omniscient observers. Call them coaches, trainers or whatevers, be it individually or in a group, this resource helps keep performers honest.

My life schedule does not always allow for regular voice acting classes but when it does, I have a wonderful place to go.

The Western New York Voice Actors Workshop is an amazing resource in our area, similar to the many architectural, geological, artistic, historical and human treasures with have in our area (aside from civic pride, there are facts and history on each of those areas to back up the “treasure” claim).

The Workshop exists because of one person but is successful because of many. For me, this is how my journey with the workshop began and how the art of voice acting is reinforced for me.

Toni Silveri, who has held her weekly Workshop for many, many years prior to my involvement, hosted a local workshop starring Pat Fraley some years ago. That was the first time I met her (as well as Pat) and it was also about the time she was starting her voice talent agency, All Coast Talent. At the end of the Fraley seminar, she asked if she could sign me to her agency and I did.

But I didn’t immediately join her classes. Not sure why (probably time constraints) but eventually I did that too. As Robert Frost once wrote “…and that has made all the difference.”

So what’s the difference and why does it benefit me? I’ll gladly tell you but to what effect I don’t know because learning is a deeply personal and individual activity. How this class impacts me might cause a different reaction for you (not better, not worse, just different). You have to find what works for you.

For me, I need the omniscient listener…that’s Toni. Whether I am not delivering on a performance or whether she has a new idea to insert or whether she has just one minor note to give me – it registers. In my head it usually clicks and allows me to both do as she’s asked of me and also make a mental note to hold onto that nugget for another time. Her ability to crystallize her direction for a performer is a gift. By it, Toni is sharing the tools she’s collected over her years of performing and taking stage acting and voice acting classes. As just one example, I find it a bit more credible taking character voice direction from a former Smurf. Yup.

Also of great value are the insights I get from the fellow students. There is an important point to make here – while Toni can bring everyone together, (barring some sort of crazy extreme circumstances – holding a class outside when its -40F, etc.) it’s the students that create the learning environment. They/we do it by our professionalism, our abilities, our willingness to learn, our willingness to support each other and (the big x factor) our personalities. Presently, it’s a joyous mix and Toni is the mixologist.

I sort of feel at the end of a class like it restores my faith in voice acting. It’s not that I’d lost the faith but rather to be around people who understand such a niche area (ever try and talk about voice acting at a cocktail party – blank stares followed by the ever famous “oh, look at the time!”), who have “been there” (are there) and can speak the (albeit somewhat self-fish, poofy and sometimes a bit odd) language that a voice actor needs to hear to get an evocative performance (whether its a :10 second commercial or an hours long audio book) is very helpful to me.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Ultimately, wherever your place in the world, I hope this post incites you to seek out training, to find the individual or group instruction that helps make you a better, stronger performer in your art. Today I have mine and I am grateful for everything it gives me.

the value of celebrity voices

If some group or organization wants to bring attention to a cause or event, the easiest way to do that is by celebrity endorsement.

If the famous person is well liked, chances of the group or organization’s “ask” being answered (donation, signature, whatever) are probably better.

Celebrities like to do this because many of them are big-hearted and like to help.

The challenge is so many celebrities are supporting so many causes, the message can fade pretty quickly.

To wit (don’t I sound ejukated) the Gulf Coast Oil Disaster – I’m sure there have been telethons and maybe a concert and I’ve been outta that loop (that’s the fade part I spoke about). Doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means that their message (the event organizer’s message) didn’t resonate with me or get my attention. Theirs is a hard job.

But today I saw a YouTube video freezeframe (that still image that marks where a video screen is located) with Sandra Bullock holding up her index finger. That visual caught my eye and I watched. And I listened. And I thought you might want to too.

Theirs is a hard job – getting the message to everyone – but not an impossible job.

voices of vision in toronto september 23-25, 2010

My friend, the great Canadian voice talent and singer Jodi Krangle, will lead an all-star group of presenters at the first ever Voices of Vision event for voice actors September 23-25 in Toronto (yes, my favorite city in the world).

Backing up Jodi (who didn’t ask for this star billing but I’m giving it to her anyway and SHE can explain it to her fellow presenters 🙂 ) are Deb Munro (another of my favorite Canadians – it was at her seminar that Jodi and I first met), M.J. Lallo, Pat Fraley, Bill Holmes. The event will be hosted by Elley-Ray Hennessy.

I hope if you have the chance that you will attend.

working with the end in mind

Actor James Gammon (photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

Which end?

THE end.

The thought was brought to the fore when I was reading the New York Times obit of actor James Gammon.

Clearly a talented performer what caught my eye was the end of the story when actor and writer Sam Shepard said:

“This was a guy who could act circles around most other actors,” Mr. Shepard said, “and he never pretended to be other than a working kind of actor.”

When “The Late Henry Moss” was first produced at the Magic Theater in San Francisco in 2000, he recalled, it had a starry cast that included Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte and Cheech Marin.

“I mean, a bunch of notoriously famous guys,” Mr. Shepard said. “And every single one of them would come up to me, alone, and say, “Who’s that Jim Gammon guy? Where did he come from?’ “

How is your work and your work ethic viewed by those around you now?

What will be the legacy of your work in the mind of others?

It’s not your primary goal of course (performing, working, paying bills are more immediate concerns) but it does give one pause to reflect.

Now is the time that you are/can shape that legacy.