Barking, Growling, Panting, and other things you do as an actor

photo (8)Today was my last day working on Lucky and the Pirates, and as is always the case at Moon Lab studios, it was a blast. We were a little short on time on November 9th, as we were recording the script, so Lane Banning, recording genius, was able to carve out some time today for me to finish up. Basically we just needed to get some more dog sounds so the animators have some more options in the toolbox.

When I got to the studio, I asked Lane to play me The Lonely Pirate song, the piece I wrote for the film, because I was so curious what the finished product sounded like, and it was great! When we recorded a couple weeks ago, we did the instrumental track first; I played accordion and Johnny played banjo. Later, when we were all there, we recorded the vocals, so I was never able to really listen to what everyone else was doing because I had to make sure my own vocals were lining up with the track. And now that I’ve heard it, I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like when it’s set to animation!

After listening to the song, I was telling Lane how I had been watching shih tzu videos on YouTube so I could make sure my barking and growling sounded legit. So just for kicks, he loaded one up while I was in the booth so we could both listen to the real thing, before I started shameless attempt to mimic. And away we went.

I was panting, howling, barking, and growling like a champ. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself when I realized I was biting my finger like it was a stick, while growling and playing tug-of-war with myself. If I were doing this anywhere else besides a recording studio, I’d be on my way to an institution. All in a day’s work, I guess.

Hey, mom! Aren’t you glad I went to college for this? (That poor lady. Today her son is imitating a pooch, and in 36 hours, he’s running away to join the circus)

 

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Lucky And The Pirates: In The Studio

Kevin B. Winebold at Moon Lab Studios

In the booth at Moon Lab Studios

Today was our recording day for Lucky and the Pirates and I realized something today: I love doing voiceover work!  I only had one experience before, doing a radio play for an NYU student, but today was the real deal.

We were at Moon Lab studios, run by my buddy Lane Banning.  I met him when we were recording the performance tracks for Warp Speed, and we loved him so much that we went back to record a demo of the show when it was finished.  It wasn’t anything the production team had planned on, but working with Lane was so much fun and such an easy process that the producer decided it’d be a shame not to bring in the whole cast to record the show as a keepsake when we were finished with the run.

For Warp Speed, the first day I was at the keyboard all day laying down the tracks, which was great because I was right there in the room where Lane was working, so I could get a little glimpse into the whole process.  And when the cast came, they were in the studio, while I stayed with Lane and just listened and gave notes, since we recorded with the tracks I already played.

Today, I got to be in the studio myself. I had my own little booth where I could just talk, bark, pant, and go nuts, and I loved every second of it.  I had never done any kind of work before where I couldn’t see the other actors, so it was really interesting.  It really makes you listen so you’re truly reacting, because that’s all you can do.  I didn’t get to see the physicality of the other actors because of the setup, so I just had to trust my instincts and it was so much fun!  And I could be as weird as I wanted to in the booth, shaking my ass like I was wagging a tail whenever I spoke, and no one could see me to make fun of me!

Before we dove into the script, I had to lay down the instrumental track for the Lonely Pirate song I wrote.  I played accordion and Johnny, who plays one of the pirates, played banjo.  We did a couple takes of the song, and then brought the cast in to lay down the vocals.  Karen and Lane figured it’d be better to get those out of the way first, so that the remainder of the time could be spent on the dialogue.

I raced from my church gig in Queens to the studio in Brooklyn, recorded the song and the script, and then had to get an Uber so I could race from the studio to a rehearsal in Manhattan with Essential Voices USA, since we have a concert coming up.

Oh, and the Uber driver and I had a fantastic conversation.  He asked where I was coming from and where I was going.  When I mentioned what I was doing with Lucky, his eyes lit up.  Several of his passengers have told him he had an amazing voice and should try and get into voiceover work but had no idea where to start.  And I’ll admit, he did have a fantastic voice.  I told him I was new to it myself, but was at least able to give him a bunch of internet resources that I have used myself.  Just another one of those great NYC moments that happens when you open up and talk to strangers!

I’m about three seconds from passing out, but luckily I’ve got a pretty relaxed day tomorrow with only one class and one rehearsal.

Sleep tight!

 

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The Katra Film Series

film-projectorTonight, I finally got to see Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid on a screen larger than my laptop.  I wasn’t able to attend the initial screening, and sadly couldn’t afford to catch it at Cannes, but thankfully Karen had been submitting the film to festivals in NYC.

The Katra Film series screens shorts by New York directors and then invites them up to chat a little about their film.  We had a couple drinks and then it was time to start watching.  There’s just something so exciting the second you see your film show up on screen. And of course, when you’re sitting with your cast, everyone around you just so happens to love the film and responds the way a perfect audience should…since they’re all in it.

But the most exciting part came not from the screening, but a conversation I had with the writer/director and dear friend of mine, Karen Goldfarb.

She told me that he next projects is going to be an animate short called Lucky and the Pirates, and she wants me to play Lucky, the shih tzu.  I’ve never done animation and I’ve never played an animal before so I’m already really excited and the script isn’t even finished yet.  But if there’s anyone that came make something happen, it’s Karen.  I mean, Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid was her first script, her first time directing and producing, and she got that baby in Cannes.  I can’t wait to see what happens with Lucky!

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