User's Guide 101

A basic guide to creative writing and how to write for so many different performances.

Q:  I've heard so many incredible promos and sweeps using Mike, but I'm not such a creative writer and/or I'm too busy with other tasks. How do these guys think up great ideas and how can I get some of my own?

A:  "The sky is the limit is an over-used cliche phrase but it's entirely true when accessing my voice work.
First,the most important thing any creative should do is...have a dedicated notebook or doc folder for your writings; available at all times! I learned the value of this long before I ever stepped onto a stage in 1986. It also proves valuable in compiling thoughts for inventions, poetry, sound design, screenwriting, car repairs....all kinds of stuff!
If you're in the business of being a creative, there are probably people all around you talking and laughing about crazy scenarious and things they'd like to hear happen, never thinking they're possible; especially at parties and other social events. Pay attention...listen to the jabber!...they ARE usually possible if I'm in your arsenal! Listen to what might be "wanted" and follow up on it. "Writer's Block" is not something you should encounter with this method. If you come to a wall, just put it aside and do your other work. Something will come to you later. You needn't rack your brain trying to write a whole script in one sitting...but many will try to do just that. The end result is something that could've been much better with time to work it out. ..In fact, a spark of a thought can transform into an award winning piece after a few additional entries in your notebook. At first, you may have just a brief thought or idea written down. But after some time to run it over in your subconscious mind, additional thoughts should come to you (even at 3 or 4 AM). I used to ask people for napkins so that I could jot down ideas or jokes that came about during conversation. Continue to write things down, no matter how many other thoughts might be crossed out in favor of better ones. You'll be amazed how quickly things will begin to take shape and become a solid script or idea".          ~ Mike

Q:  Recurring or Identifying Characters...What's this all about?

A:  Stations can continue these for years and years with new characters to choose from, frequently. They can even make up their own Characters.
Recurring/changing characters can be a signature for your creative imaging and station ID's.  One example character: the world seems familiar with Brenda, the 400 lb. beauty queen.  Her voice can function in many ways for your creative uses, as can so many other characters voices.

  Brenda has been used as a School Teacher, Harassing Fanatic, Secretary; whatever her unique sounding voice lends to whatever you're writing. These type of signature voices can re-appear to enhance your many station events and contests, time after time, They're always a special treat for your listener, who is what should be considered each time you sit down to write out scripts. They will remember these audio bits and your station along with them. They'll talk about it.
Grandpa, Grandma,
  Old Willy Brown, Geeky nerds, Punk-ass dudes/teens, Ditsy Blondes,
 Gay Charles, current or "hot"celebs and so many others.

New requests are always welcome!

Q:  What about quick one-liners, like drops?

A:  This is a fantastic way to make use of what Mike can do for you in condensed material. Everyone has heard stations use drops of audio taken from TV and Movie tracks within promos, sweeps, and ID's. But they are always just drops. Quite obvious and impersonal. So, just think how easy it is to take this one step further and have Mike imitate a similar drop, only, with a more personal attachment to your station. In other words, the normal quick drop that has such generic sound, now has a station identifier or something else about your event or sweep that is personal. Your listners will be impressed with the custom moniker by a seemingly recognized voice. Use it, it works!
** This is a great way to make use of Mike when the powers above you say they want to "Simplify things in promos". Seriously, there's no way anyone cannot find a way to utilize this service, given that they have at least half of an imagination ;)

Q:  Sweeps, Promos, ID's...What are some of the more common ways I can utilize this service?

A: The most common way is in creative promotions for station events or contests.
Don't just think to use Mike for Celebrity imitations, which can be rather limiting. Try to think more "outside the box". Yeah, you've heard that phrase a million times, but here's the means to really use it. A crotchety old lady or old man, a stupid teenager kid, a realistic reporter voice, an on-scene reporter (male or female), a sci-fi nerd, a Mom, a Dad, a crack whore, a stoner, black, white, Asian and so on...There are so many, many characters to use in promos and sweepers; it's really an unsurpassed thing to have access to. Of course we all have friends and such who do a few character voices for fun, but the dimension of what Mike performs for you is on a scale that can make your work stand away from things produced anywhere else on the planet! Although the service does not extend to provide audio for parody bits, many shows can benefit from some very creative and convincing sweepers. This should be a no-brainer. Show sweeps are short and require much less effort than promos. Use them!!!

Q: Are there some basic formulas I can use when thinking of topical sweeps and promos?

A: This is not really as difficult as it may seem. Think about what is popular at the time in which you are creating. For example, if the President, certain celebrities or popular commercial VO's are hot or a topical show on T.V. Create a few quick show liners with these voices. If the hot thing is a reality show, just send some lines as reality-sounding character voices. " A frantic situation" Follow the same rules that you would, creating any other "new" sweep for the show. But include some state of mind  that you've seen work in scripts of that character. When writing for  characters or imitations, you must think in ways that character thinks and talks.  Take Star Wars, for another wouldn't be very original to have Jabba the Hutt, saying, "HI, this is Jabba the Hutt...." No matter what you choose to write after that intro, the intro itself did not lend much reality to what Jabba would have actually said. Study the subject you're writing for. Instead, think about how Jabba might more realistically come into your audio piece. This does take a bit more concentration and effort, but the end result will be something that your listeners will accept, without thoughts of immediate doubt. You must try to write text for your characters as those characters are known to exist and talk.

Q: How dramatic or serious a read can Mike deliver?

A: Very dramatic and very serious, if needed. Remember, Mike is a professional character actor and audio illusionist. He is not " voice guy who does a few 2-dimensional characters". If you're in need of some realistic-sounding, even heart wrenching testimonials or "on the street" sounding custom blurbs, just write it down and send it.  Mike will ad-lib more realistic fill-ins to make it authentic. You can select reads from your own text or perhaps one of his ad-libs.

Q: Might I Time-Squeeze or Pitch Shift Mike's audio, if needed?

A:  Sometimes you'll want to fit an additional few seconds. But please don't do it like this! Leave this for disclaimers..or perhaps do a promo concept around the Time Squeeze, as a gimmick.
If you need something read quickly, just include those directions in your script notes. The pace at which I read for each voice is dependant upon the person or character itself, and how they would read, naturally.
Quality character voices should be entertaining and/or funny because of what they say and how they say it.      ~ Mike

Q: What are some Easy ideas for Holidays or special occasions?

A:  Easy is the right word for this stuff! For Christmas, send Mike some Santa and Elves scripts. For Memorial Day, Veterans Day or July 4th, write some sweeps for Military or other relating important leaders' voices such as the current U.S. President, George S. Patton, R.Lee Ermey, George Washington, Winston Chrchill, Franklin Rossevelt, or any other useful voice you'd prefer. For St. Patrick's Day, compose some scripts for a Leprechaun. Halloween should be a no-brainer with Dracula, Scooby-Doo and other Horrific-type reads....and so on. These are easy and can make great use of Mike's abilities for some fun sweep, intros and promos. It's stuff like this with professional voice-acting that can set your station out in front of the competition who only sounds like they're "trying" to sound like something creative.

Q: I'm so busy sometimes. Can I just ask Mike to send me some audio of sweeps that other stations have requested?

A:  This custom service is set up for your own script-based requests. If you want to use similar ideas you've heard or have been told about, write what you want in script form and send it. Although he can certainly provide some great ad-libs from scripts you send, there's a lot of time and effort to be wasted if Mike were recording customized sweeps or ID's for your station, written by others, and you decide not to use them.

"Your imagination is crucial. Whatever you can think up, I want to make it happen. This is my profession and my passion.
Please feel free to make use of it!"
        ~ Mike