Entries Tagged as 'commentary'

movies give out sound awards for a good reason

I was never going to use my Radio and Television degree in college for anything to do with movies. I liked movies but the production process is too slow for me.

But with my production knowledge and awareness, I respect the work that everyone in the film making process performs.

I bring up movies because this week is a bit of a movie production milestone (a real one, not an advertised one). The 9th and final episode completing the original Star Wars story will premiere on December 20th.

Yes there will be future episodes that will no doubt tie in bits of these past 9 stories and some of the past actors but this 9th movie really is a fork in the cinematic road for this franchise.

Huge history, huge budget, huge pressure. Editor’s note: I really enjoy Star Wars and have seen them all (even the bad ones). I am NOT , however, what you would call a Star Wars fanatic. I know some, not all, of the characters and some of the movie’s back stories but hardly all of them. I am not Star Wars obsessed but I enjoy the movie making spectacle that it brings. In other words, I like the movies but I do not live the movies.

I was watching the final The Rise of Skywalker trailer which was masterfully produced in all aspects. I’m thinking as I watched it that even if you are somehow new to Star Wars (maybe based on your age), should you know nothing about the series, you’d probably see this movie just based on this trailer.

Of course the visuals are vital to this trailer, the graphics smartly guide this short story…but the sound and the trailer sound design really actually grabbed me more than the visuals the first time I saw this trailer. And yes, it IS only a trailer but I think THIS is trailer is exceptionally well done.

Certainly there is the iconic Star Wars theme played in the second half of the trailer (the part of the trailer I like the most)…and the orchestral arrangement for this trailer I thought was especially moving.

But the sound mix with scene sound bites, sound effects and music are so good, this trailer could almost be a stand alone radio spot as is.

Listen here to the audio part of the trailer that I think could be a radio spot FIRST.

 

SECOND, watch the full trailer here. Then let me know what you think.

 

of background singers…and voice actors – same church, different pew

20 Feet From StardomAs you well know – if you know me at all – I am notorious late to seeing, listening or experiencing quality movies or music or events. I’m just busy and I have other priorities.

My feeling is I will see it or hear it or experience it when I am supposed to. I believe I have that kind of fate or guidance…spiritual or instinctive guidance, helping me through life and I appreciate it very much.

So when I tell you that in December of 2019 I have only now seen to 2015 Academy Award winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, you won’t be surprised.

Neither will I be surprised that you probably haven’t seen it either, because it’s a documentary and they don’t get the promo that blockbusters do.

Voice actors need to see this movie.

The brief synopsis is that this movie studies (quite movingly) the history and impact that background singers have made on popular music. You hear from rock stars you know (who’s respect for background singers is immeasurable) and from people you might not know but whom you have heard and sang along with.

As you witness the movie unfold, you will be amazed.

But the movie also studies why amazing singers prefer to stay in the back ground…or try to step forward without always resounding success.

Sound much like voiceover to you?

I think it sounds EXACTLY like the voiceover industry and if you are a voice talent, checkout Netflix or another streaming service and revel in 90 minutes of culture, talent, history and…personal reflection.

I hope this helps.

New O’Connell TV Affiliate SHOW Promo Demo

Peter K. O'Connell Television Affiliate Show Demo

Affiliate promo voiceover work is one of the best parts of this business for a voice actor…it’s always new, the evolution of it is fascinating if you ever study it (even over just the past few decades), new shows, new news teams…the change keeps it interesting, I think.

Match that constant change with some really smart Creative Services Directors, who always come up with new promotional ideas for shows and events, and the voiceover work doesn’t feel so much like work.

My new television affiliate show promo voiceover demo includes not just my voiceover work (which I think is pretty good) but it also includes some of those great promo concepts that I mentioned, including shows like Ellen and Family Feud. The concepts and my reads are show-friendly, advertiser-friendly and overall…very brand-friendly for the stations.

The television affiliate news demo that I recently produced has a different feel – still promotional, but news is often times more serious than entertainment programming and so news promos need to have a more serious edge.

Both types of promo are right within my wheelhouse. If you’re a CSD looking for a new show or news promo voice for your television station (no matter the market), listen to the demo BELOW, please get in touch with me and let’s talk. Thanks.

LISTEN TO THE NEW PETER K. O’CONNELL TELEVISION AFFILIATE SHOW PROMO DEMO:

PBS updates their network logo

PBS logo Old vs New 2019There are a few brands that get a lot of attention when they change their logo.

The first one that comes to my mind is Pepsi. You may have other examples.

Some people think that when companies change a logo, it’s meaningless. We marketers call those people soulless. There’s nothing we can do to help them….or their pocket protectors. 😉

When the big TV networks’ logos change, it’s still a big deal. While the big 5 networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS) themselves seem to be losing the cultural influence they once had, due to the preponderance of programming choices from streaming sources…broadcast TV networks still get a ton of viewers.

So PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) changing its logo this week on the eve of its 50th anniversary is worth noting from a branding and marketing perspective. PBS’s programming remains unique in many areas because it offers so much content not found on commercial or cable services. It is also a vital brand to over 300 PBS affiliates around the country.

So let’s take a look at what PBS did.

PBS Logo 2019Right off the bat, the new PBS logo is blue. But not just ANY blue. That’s PBS Blue. Corporations, like PBS, love to stroke their corporate egos by creating a unique color and making up words about what that blue signifies.

You know what PBS Blue signifies? BLUE! Sheeesh! Next item.

For perspective purposes, I should let you know that the circles (aka “the shield”) on the old and new logos are pretty much the same size. That might give you some clues to the changes.

Within the circle (or shield) the heads in the new blue logo are bigger…not a bad move in the digital age. And while it may look like PBS didn’t really change the heads on the shield that much…they actually did.

The “neck” is shorter in the new logo, the noses are slightly less pointed and (in a part I find hysterical, given the brand) the noses are slightly raised.

Also bigger (quite obviously) is the PBS wordmark. I think bigger is better for this logo. It’s designed in a sans-serif font that was (here we go again) custom designed for PBS and is know as PBS Sans typeface.

If you’re thinking it looks very similar to about 3 or 4 fonts from your Microsoft Word font catalogue, you’ll get no argument from me. Those are your tax dollars at work, folks.

The final word? It’s a nice redesign and better than the old logo (although I thought the PBS logo of 1984 was pretty classic – see the video link below). I think if I was custom designing a font, I could have crafted something more visually interesting then what they ended up with…but they didn’t ask me now, did they? 🙂

WATCH THIS if you want to see a cool video on the history of the PBS logo.

 

good work(s) do NOT go unnoticed

Catholic540AM StAnn Oct2019 Peter K. O'Connell

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio broadcasting live from St. Ann Catholic Church in Clayton, NC in October 2019 (l-r) Pastor of St. Ann’s Fr. Peter Grace; Catholic 540-AM Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell and Divine Mercy Radio Chief Engineer Keith Flanary

We each have talents to share.

Hopefully, when our talents are good enough, people pay us and we make a living. I’ve been fortunate in that vein with my voiceover work since about 1982.

Maybe you believe, as I do, that when you have good fortune in life that many do not (making money, having a job etc.), we should try to give back to our communities in whatever ways we think can have the most positive impact.

I’m not taking just about our financial contributions…although those are great!

This kind of contribution is about that kind of community work where we are doing the work…whatever that means for each of us…based on the charity or organization we each support.

Wherever we exercise our extra efforts, our good works do not go unnoticed.

Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives Past Presidents 2013

Founded in 1942, the highly respected Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives gathered their active Past Presidents for this 2013 photo. 

Maybe similar to your experience, my community work started after college, as a member or sometimes chairman of a volunteer board. My community work has supported professional, civic, educational and Catholic groups who requested my help. Looking back from today to about 1987, there have been a lot of groups.

Quality not quantity is the main thing, though, and my work helped each of those groups in some way; I certainly felt good doing the work. Yet I admit, as I got older and had a family, I cut back on my charity activities…the two main reasons being time and I was just tired, complete with a kind of “been there, done that” attitude. Decades can to that to a person.

In 2016, when I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina (having lived in Buffalo, NY since birth), I realized that I needed to start over in a number of ways, including my community work.

Catholic 540 AM Divine Mercy Radio On-Air Pledge Drive Spring 2019

Live on the air during the Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Pledge Drive in Spring 2019. (l-r) Divine Mercy Radio’s Volunteer Director of Programming & Production and Pledge Drive Host Peter K. O’Connell with co-host John Dornan, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Raleigh

Having done some volunteer voiceover work for a Catholic radio station in Buffalo, I decided to see if Raleigh had a Catholic radio station. I found Divine Mercy Radio. This was 2016 and Divine Mercy Radio was broadcasting on just a pair of low-powered FM’s at the time (WSHP and WFNE). They were broadcasting programming from two national radio networks: EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Ave Maria Radio. But my new Raleigh Catholic radio friends were on a mission to grow and I was up for the ride.

They needed voiceover and radio help…no one at the station had professional radio experience. But they had heart and a can-do, no-quit spirit. I began overseeing the on-air production work for the two stations. In February of this year, when the secured the AM-540 frequency they asked if I would also volunteer to oversee this 10,000 watt radio station’s programming too. WETC-AM became Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio and our team was off to the races!

This radio station is 100% listener supported (by its own choice). Our friends at the Diocese of Raleigh have kindly endorsed us since we started but they do not fund us. We are an independent radio apostolate.

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Raleigh North Carolina

Divine Mercy Radio Chief Engineer Keith Flanary, Board Chair Betty Rogosich and Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell during the Spring 2019 On-Air Pledge Drive

With a very dedicated group of my fellow volunteers (nobody is getting paid) the station has achieved a great deal in only 8 months. This includes successful live on-air pledge drives, on-site remotes at parishes and community events (I got to host both the drives and remotes, which is great fun) and many other events. All this with little more than duct tape and chewing gum (well, maybe a little more…but not much more).

Volunteering at the station selfishly allows me to achieve two things: participate in the greatest parts of radio without the corporate drama that can sometimes accompany such a gig (sans drama, radio is still one of the best gigs ever) and also to use my particular talents to grow a really worthy volunteer enterprise.

And as I said, our good works don’t go unnoticed.

The radio station board (I’m just a volunteer, not a board member) asked that I represent Catholic 540-AM at the 20th Annual EWTN Catholic Radio Conference in Alabama. EWTN Radio has over 375 radio network affiliates, many more established and significantly larger than Divine Mercy Radio.

In addition to insightful education and the sharing of best practices among attendees during the national conference, the EWTN Radio Network also recognizes the best work among their radio affiliates for on-air production. There are only three categories, winners take all.

Peter K. O'Connell, Volunteer, Divine Mercy Radio

Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell accepts the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Crystal Microphone Award for Best Affiliate Top of the Hour ID for Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio

Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio took home the Crystal Microphone for Best Affiliate Top of The Hour ID.

Think about that for just a moment.

375 EWTN U.S. Radio affiliates (many long established with very talented radio pros), only 3 possible awards to win and Divine Mercy Radio in Raleigh/Durham takes home the hardware.

We have been on the air for only EIGHT MONTHS and we snagged a very prestigious national award from the largest religious media network in the world.

We don’t do all this volunteer radio work for for awards or accolades.

But this national recognition IS encouraging, as well as humbling, for all of us.

PLAY THE AWARD WINNING TOP OF THE HOUR ID.

 

EWTN Foundress Mother Mary Angelica was famous for saying, “Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.” I don’t know if this award is miraculous but given what has been accomplished by our team just since this past February, it feels a bit ridiculous in the best possible and most complimentary way for EVERYONE involved.

WETC_logo_Catholic_540AM_DivineMercyRadioEach and every volunteer at Divine Mercy Radio won this award because without their work in so many areas, there can be no Top of The Hour ID and no award to win…because there would be no radio station.

WE ALL won.

OUR good works didn’t go unnoticed.

Neither will yours.

only 11 more states to go!!!

AlabamaFor the few poor souls that continue to read this blog, you are aware that I am on a quest – before I die – to stay overnight in all 50 states.

As you’ll recall, my rule is I cannot just drive through the state.

As I write this from the Admirials Club in Charlotte, NC. I am returning from Alabama (Birmingham)!!!

So here’s the updated count of the states I have officially visited in my life:

1. Alabama!!!!!!
2. Arizona
3. Arkansas
4. California
5. Colorado
6. Connecticut
7. Florida
8. Georgia
9. Illinois
10. Indiana
11. Iowa
12. Kansas
13. Kentucky
14. Louisiana
15. Maine
16. Massachusetts
17. Maryland
18. Michigan
19. Minnesota
20. Missouri
21. Nebraska
22. Nevada
23. New Jersey
24. New York
25. North Carolina
26. North Dakota
27. Ohio
28. Oregon
29. Pennsylvania
30. South Carolina
31. South Dakota
32. Tennessee
33. Texas
34. Utah
35. Vermont
36. Virginia
37. Washington
38. West Virginia
39. Wisconsin

Thus, I am left with only these 11 American states still to visit:

40. Alaska
41. Delaware
42. Hawaii
43. Idaho
44. Mississippi
45. Montana
46. New Hampshire
47. New Mexico
48. Oklahoma
49. Rhode Island
50. Wyoming

If you’re going to travel, you might as well make it fun!