Getting out of the car, my friend Flavio said, “Next time we come to the cinema, I’ll lend each of you a white cane – that’ll really freak everyone out if they think the driver is blind too!”
Flavio had lost his sight in a road accident aged 15, but twenty years ago was an excellent example to me of how he was still higher functioning than most people I knew. Parachute jump fundraisers perhaps pushing the limits further than I’d want to go, he’d just started a Fine Arts degree at university, specialising in tactile art – after all he used to ask me to check his socks were in matching pairs…
It shouldn’t be surprising that he also enjoyed television and cinema, but if even then there were accessibility tools for the hard of hearing (closed captions, signing) the age of audio description had yet to come.
As a teenager I’d had the chance to assist for a short while with a project for an audio newspaper for the blind, and in 2010 enjoyed catching up with Herb Merriweather at the Los Angeles Radio Reading Service.
Herb, and the crew at Audioeyes are the driving force behind a project bringing accessibility to the blind audience, in a way that would have hugely benefitted my friend Flavio’s experience all those years ago – audio description.
Here’s news about an online event on May 14 (date to be repeated!!) through which you can learn more about this exciting voiceover niche, and facility for the blind. I know it’s exciting, because in a recent Skype conversation with Herb Merriweather, I had to scrape my tablet off the ceiling!!!
What happens when you put blind people, entertainment professionals, and educators in one place? Video Description Magic! That’s what happens.
SAVE THE DATE
May 14, 2014, Audio Eyes, an accessible media company, will make history, and you can be part of it! The first ever, live, crowdsourced description event will allow you to contribute, in real time, to the magical process that will make a feature film accessible and enjoyable for people with vision loss. Ask questions, make comments, influence the final script!
Never heard of description? Learn how TV programs are made accessible for people who cannot see the screen. Did you know that video description is available on your TV every day? If you tried to share a YouTube video with a blind friend or relative, how would they know what was on the screen?
Educators and entertainment professionals may wonder about the cost and time required to make a video accessible. Log on and hear answers from the blind professionals who are making a difference in the media industry.
All blind consumers are encouraged to log on and help demonstrate how your opinions can make description better.
Join Audio Eyes and the Described Captioned Media Program for this
ground-breaking, live web event, and make magic happen:
Inside Video Description: How Pictures Become Words
May 14th, 12:30 – 2:30PM PDT
Crafting any voiceover demands far more than just reading the words off the page. Focus, creativity, imagination, interpreting the character in the copy, attention to detail, and much more besides. This is especially true for audiobook readers, as they work to find the right mood for the narration, and worry about how many chapters can be finished before bedtime.
However, in spite of this concentration on completing what for many has been described as a marathon work, it has become apparent that many are forgetting to record a vital piece of the manuscript. The page numbers. Recent research, as found from BOMUS.org (the Bureau of Made Up Statistics) demonstrates that at least 99% of audiobook narrators fail to include page numbers in their submitted recordings.
Together with my son William (his 8th birthday at the end of this month) we have devised a new service to assist already over-burdened narrators to compensate for this oversight.
In preparation for the recent VO Peeps meetup with Simon Vance we prepared this video demonstration.
The VO Peeps meetup with Simon was a blast – even though based in Istanbul it meant waking up at 4.30am. Anne Ganguzza, as ever, put together a great programme, and if you haven’t joined eith in person (for those close to Orange County), or online, I thoroughly recommend watching out for the next event she organises. No excuses, especially if you’re in the same or close time zone! (They usually aim to start at 6.30pm PST)
In my last post, one of the videos I featured was a great clip featuring the voice talent of Lisa Biggs and some toys she voiced, together with Diane Merritt as they fortuitously passed through a toy store. It was purrrfect! The monkey was unavailable for comment (he’d been sold out!) but happily Carolina Now took the opportunity to bring these two Voxy Ladies together for an interview this week, and the monkey has lots to say!
A little bird tells me that a couple of the toys which Lisa has voiced will be featured in this Monday’s broadcast of the Ellen Show – hopefully I’ll get the chance to see it here soon in Turkey, but a thought came to me: wouldn’t Lisa Biggs be a great guest for the show!
On the one hand if Ellen is indeed going to have the toys on the show, then as the voice Lisa would bring an extra dimension, or as the French might say a “je ne sais crois” to the spot. What a great and inspiring story she has to share (as we heard in my “Person Behind the Voice” interview from last year). Lisa has it all – perfect Ellen material! (I hope Lisa will forgive me for that, but as she says, “I mean, you have a gift. You have a dream… Anything you want to do, you can do! You got to make it happen.” )
Cuddles the Monkey & Daisy the Kitty sing a Duet for Ellen DeGeneres
Well, it’s a blog, so we didn’t really stop the press, but here’s a NEW, and SPECIAL message from Lisa to Ellen!
Cuddles, Daisy, and Lisa’s Voice!
Yes, Ellen… make the gang complete, or do a follow up to talk with Lisa about the great things she’s accomplished and the great projects she’s involved with to help kids – look forward to seeing the show
What an amazing weekend it was: just one or two hours’ sleep and global interactions. Sharing news, a recording session, and the opportunity to hook up live with Joe Cipriano’s book launch party – with a simultaneous international side party too boot!
Taking part in the VO Peeps “Living On Air” book launch with Joe Cipriano!
If you didn’t already know, I’m excited, and feel privileged, to have such great friends – in the real, not just “Facebook” sense – around the world, and constantly amazed that technology enables us to keep in close and very real contact with each other. Apart from facilitating some fun and creative opportunities, this also provides inspiration to keep me moving forward.
Back to Saturday, a couple of weeks ago now… starting locally (probably while all in the US were still asleep) I came across this great example of Mehmet Onur’s work for the “YouTube Music Awards”. Don’t worry if you don’t understand Turkish – just enjoy his voice!
It has to be said that although we often do communicate via various messenger apps, I’m very fortunate to be able to easily visit him as when recording he always makes me sound great, and he makes a great coffee!
No trouble with language with the next clip, especially if you speak cat, as this is a wonderful conversation between Lisa Biggs, and a toy cat with Lisa Biggs’ voice – caught live in a toy store which she just happened to visit with Diane Merritt on a road trip to Nashville.
Yes, Lisa and Diane are always purrrrfect, and I just love the synergy they both produce. They’re both a constant reminder to me that you get out of something what you put in to it. In short: they rock! Thanks to Diane for uploading this to YouTube…
Then came a message from my buddy Ted Mcaleer in Seville, Spain, wondering if I was available to record a short dialogue. We hooked up on Skype, recorded our two voices locally, and then he edited them together. A fun little job, and I decided over the coming days to use this to experiment with the animation software Muvizu. I plan to write a separate blog about this in a day or two, but it would be cruel to keep the results from you here, so here it is (this was my first attempt at animation, so forgive that it’s not more polished!)
The big event of the day was to happen several hours later – in fact in the middle of the Turkish night.
VO Peeps, organised by the wonderful Anne Ganguzza, hosted the launch party of Joe Cipriano’s new book, “Living on Air”. As the first honorary international VO Peep I’d love to be more involved with all the wonderful activities and events which Anne organises. With our time zones (for events set in the evening PST) so much in conflict this isn’t always easy, but I was determined to be there to support Joe for the launch. In fact it was a great time hooking up with the live stream on UStream, and given an extra dimension with a separate Google video hangout joined with Ted Mcaleer, Suzanne Roberts, and Mehmet Onur.
As you will have seen from the photo at the top of this post it was like being there in person, and here’s the pre-recorded shout out I sent.
Now was it just me, or does Joe Cipriano look like he’s hanging on my every word in that clip?
Q: What’s the best way to explore a country? A: Make a TV series!
A month or so back many were vicariously travelling with me along the Black Sea coast, along the north of Turkey through my Facebook photos. Well, for those lucky enough to be here now, you can now watch the series every Saturday at 10am on Ülke TV.
In fact, Çay Molası has confirmed my role as a professional tourist, having played a tourist earlier this year in the two TV series Seksenler and Umutsuz Eve Kadınları (Desperate Housewives)!
This was a tremendous experience, and a great way to get to know the region where my wife and so many friends grew up. Also interesting to have the opportunity to be co-presenting in Turkish – quite a challenge, but exciting to discover that I now have yet another string to my bow!
An Englishman, Andy Boyns, and a Turk, Gözde Şerbetçi, jump into a caravan and start to explore Turkey. Visiting the beautiful sights of Turkey, their share their exciting moments with you – beautiful images with two different perspectives.
Travelling along the Black Sea coast, first discovering the walking sticks of Devrek, then continuing through Zonguldak, Amasra, Sinop, Ordu, Rize, and beyond to get their fill of this wonderful region.
Discovering history, nature, people, culture, and daily life the duo who explore with excitement from start to finish …
Follow their adventures through Turkey’s 81 provinces.
Congratulations to Dan Leonard and George Whittam for 100 episodes of EWABS!!
Since it’s the “East West Audio Body Shop”, and Istanbul, Turkey is known as the bridge between the East and the West (according to most of the corporate videos I record!) seems like we have a close affiliation!
Sunday Nights at 9:00 pm Eastern 6:00 Pacific on UStream.tv
To honour the occasion here’s a quick shoutout to the programme
EWABS is the first interactive, online talk show for voice actors with their own voice over studios.
Dan and George answer your questions and solve your home voice over studio problems.
Weekly features include “Studio Pix and Clips of the Week”, “Dan’s Tip of the Week”, and special guests ranging from celebrity voice actors to agents.
The comedy-drama series “Desperate Housewives” is reaching the second series finale in its Turkish incarnation “Umutsuz Ev Kadınları”. Andy Boyns joins the cast for Episode 78, broadcast on Fox TV (Turkey) on Sunday, 9th June at 7.45pm (*Please note this was rescheduled).
Filming scenes for two days earlier this week, this was a interesting opportunity to visit the huge film set in Beykoz, as well as performing on location in Kuçukyalı, Istanbul. Here part of an American family, Andy plays the part of a father (Tom) visiting the family of his son’s girlfriend with his wife. Mark, the son, is played by Cristian Chistol. Wife, Katherine, by Katharina Weithaler (www.katharinaweithaler.com).
Family photo: Andy with Cristian Chistol & Katharina Weithaler
A great pleasure to have the chance to perform with the main characters, too, among others: Bennu Yıldırımlar, Özge Özder, and Levent Can.
Bennu Yıldırımlar & Andy Boyns
Andy Boyns & Özge Özder
Levent Can with the visiting Americans – Katharina, Andy, & Cristian
If you want to pay for cloud storage, don’t read this. If you love amazing free opportunities read on!! Last year I blogged about a 50GB cloud storage offer from Box, but thanks to a great heads up from Dave Courvoisier, here’s an offer which is potentially huge in comparison (as if that wasn’t enough). Copy.com has recently launched, is a service not dissimilar to Dropbox, and their current sign-up deal is amazing…
Copy.com is currently offering 15GB for sign up plus an extra 5GB for installing the Copy app on either your computer, tablet, or phone. If you refer the service to others you’ll also earn 5GB for each referral who installs the app.
First, cloud storage is a great way to back up data, either for security or to enable you to access your files from different computers or devices. Flash drives are great, but can you really trust them? External drives are sometimes incompatible between different computers… DVDs… well, they take up room and are hardly mobile. Furthermore I once had a colleague who after losing data on numerous occasions to viruses, and accidental deleting, religiously backed up onto an external device. This was fine until a burglar stole both her laptop and external drives.
One of my favourite features to have come to the phone apps since then is the ability to automatically backup photos from my phone when I’m connected to wi-fi. Of course the draw back is that photos quickly use up memory space, and this emphasises the benefit of using more than one service, and snapping up all the free storage space you can! I see it as an investment. It’s inevitable that one day I’ll use it, so gather you cloud while you can!
First of all a huge thanks to the 1000+ people who checked out my article last week, “Andy Boyns Goes Back to the 80′s in TV Role!”, and especially those who were able to watch the broadcast on Tuesday and sent their generous feedback.
For those who weren’t able to catch the broadcast on TRT1 (the episode will be reprised this Tuesday, 9 April at 7.50pm on TRT1), MinT Productions have made it available on YouTube, so here it is in its full glory!
Seksenler - Episode 57 (Full)
The visiting tourist (me! See below for approx entry times) appears to have lost both his bag and his way…
As he, and the locals, struggle with a language barrier see how helpful and friendly they are – even bringing out the best china for the first time in his honour…
For those of you reading this who have never visited Turkey, you may not appreciate the brilliance of the script. Oftentimes the best comedy is adjacent to reality, and in the 12 years I’ve lived in Istanbul I’ve experienced the generous hospitality shown to foreigners here, alongside the humorous misunderstandings!! Even yesterday when I was visiting a neighbourhood in the heart of the city and asked directions (at a balloon shop!) explaining that I couldn’t check from my phone because its charge had finished, I was invited to sit a while, put my phone on charge and enjoy a cup of tea and a chat. Fortunately I now know Turkish well enough to do that. I love it here!
To help those of you who are linguistically challenged, but would like to see my role in Episode 57 of Seksenler (from the video above) here are some approximate timing to help you… I would however encourage you to watch the whole video, imagining yourself as a visitor, and see how much you can understand from body language and tone of voice. Since when I came here I spoke no Turkish, these were skills I had to rapidly acquire… it’s not so hard, really.
Approx Entry times (Scenes with Tom the Tourist):
37:22-51:46 (very short gaps between scenes)
Catch new episode of Seksenler every Tuesday On TRT1 at 7.50pm
Book now to attend the latest TEDx Reset event in Istanbul, taking place on April 12 and 13, 2013 at the TIM Show Center, Maslak.
The theme of this year’s event is “Critical Crossroads”, and I am certain it will be a thought provoking experience. Having attended the previous two events, I’m looking forward to attending again this year to be both challenged and motivated. Don’t worry about language problems – with simultaneous translation everything will be available in both English and Turkish!!
It’s been more than three years since TEDXReset adventure has begun. In 2010 we started out by “resetting our minds”, where we questioned all that we know, all the we’ve assumed to be true, all the rules, all our beliefs and we asked ourselves “What if?” in the year 2011. In 2012 we decided to set foot on new directions, while we were listening to those who had the courage to start the journeys, to overcome obstacles and those who came back and restarted their journeys the puzzle in our minds was “Quo Vadis?”(Where Are You Going?)
For the past year and actually for years, centuries, for many lives on end we’ve been travelling. The journey didn’t start just yesterday and certainly it is not over yet. Every day we take new steps, sometimes forwards, and sometimes backwards, sometimes to the right and perhaps to the left. And every day we make new decisions, about which path to take. But this time it seems a little different…
This time the transformations/change is fast enough to make us dizzy, and it is happening in such close proximity, that perhaps we might even be at the very center of it.
All around the world, in the Middle East, in our own land there are sweeping winds of transformation. Ideas, forces, beliefs, societies, cultures, power structures, frontlines are changing. There is no way we can stop the time; change is imminent. Technology is no longer limited to smart phones, tablet computers, or the tools we use, there is much more it and it’s constantly transforming us in the process. Everyday we create new versions, and then even newer versions of ourselves and of our lives. New social lives, new ways of working, new spaces, new forms, new designs. This transformation is so rapid that sometimes we don’t even get a chance to “stop”, “to think”, “to understand the alternatives”, “to choose”, until we decide to create our own alternatives. Therefore, we believe that, this time we are at a much more “Critical Crossroads’!
I look forward to seeing you on April 12 and 13, 2013 at the TIM Show Center, Maslak.