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  • The Art of Connection

    Discovering Connection with Charles Duhigg’s Supercommunicators I just finished listening to Charles Duhigg’s audiobook, Supercommunicators, and wow, it was an eye-opener. As a voice actor and narrator, I felt like he was speaking directly to my craft. Duhigg dives into the secret language of connecting with others, breaking it down into three types of conversations: practical, emotional, and social. What really hit home was the idea of empathy. Duhigg says that understanding and addressing people's needs lets us connect on a deeper level. This is so relevant to my work. When voice a project, I need to be totally aware of my audience - feel what they feel, understand their needs and make that emotional connection. Duhigg’s insights on practical conversations made me rethink how I approach scripts. Clear and effective communication is key, no matter what story I'm telling. It’s about getting the message across without any fluff. Emotional conversations are the heart of storytelling. Duhigg points out that tapping into emotions makes a story stick with you. This is what I aim for every time I step into the booth. I want my voice to move people, to make them feel something real. And then there’s social conversations—the glue that binds relationships. Understanding social nuances can make or break how my work is received. It’s about building rapport with clients and connecting with the audience in a genuine way.

  • Don't Burn this Book

    Burn Book by Kara Swisher is a delightful tech tell-all I've recently started listening to Kara Swisher's podcasts "On" and "Pivot," the latter co-hosted with entrepreneur and NYU professor Scott Galloway. Both are brimming with tech insights from two brilliant minds. Inspired by their discussions, I immediately picked up Swisher's new audiobook, Burn Book: A Tech Love Story. Swisher offers a candid account of her experiences as a tech journalist, sharing her admiration for figures like Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban, as well as her complex interactions with Mark Zuckerberg and Elon. Swisher's confidence and deep knowledge of the tech industry are evident throughout. She is a masterful debater who can hold her own against anyone. With decades of experience, Swisher dissects (or burns depending on how you interpret it) the world of "tech bros" with effortless skill and authority. Her intimate understanding of the tech landscape shines through in every chapter. I highly recommend checking out her podcasts as well: "Pivot" with Scott Galloway, and her solo venture "On."

  • Conversational Cliches

    It might not sound like an announcer but are we telling a story? As voice actors, we're constantly riding the wave of change in our industry. Casting specs are like the compass guiding us through this sea of opportunity. They're not about faulting casting directors or clients; they're more like snapshots of what brands are craving at the moment. Our job? To interpret these snapshots and bring them to life in our own unique way. It's a bit like walking a tightrope – balancing patience, talent, instincts, and keeping cool in the whirlwind of trends, deadlines and snap decisions. Think back a decade. The buzzword in casting specs was "conversational." Brands wanted voices that felt like grabbing a drink with a buddy – laid-back, friendly, and definitely not like an announcer. But fast forward to today, and we've taken a quantum leap. Now, the goal is to sound unlike any typical voiceover artist. They want raw, unpolished, even a tad inexperienced – a far cry from the rehearsed "conversational" tone we've grown used to. What's wild is that sounding conversational has kind of become a cliché in itself. Striving for authenticity, that overly slick, commercial vibe just doesn't cut it anymore. We have had to step up our game, investing in top-notch home studios to give us that pro edge. It's the difference between sounding like a seasoned pro and someone recording an audition on their iPhone in a noisy store. But are our studios, our sound - even that turning us into predictable dinosaurs? Recording on the go in an airport - is that the new authentic? Maybe so. For me, embracing this shift means reinventing my voice and tackling the challenge of sounding fresh and green, even after years of delivering polished performances for satisfied clients. It's reinventing and retraining my voice, abandoning the comforts of muscle memory and embracing vulnerability. While scary. it's a journey, with its fair share of bumps, but it's also a testament to our adaptability as artists in a constantly evolving field.

  • Inside the Mind of Brad Mehldau

    Rick Beato interviews pianist Brad Mehldau YouTuber Rick Beato recently interviewed one of my favorite pianists of all time, Brad Mehldau. The music community was stunned by this interview, including some of his peers. I had been waiting for something this in-depth for a long time. What I love about this video is the fact that Brad explains musical concepts in jazz and beyond in the most logical, calming of ways, almost like an ASMRist or therapist would. I'm never confused throughout the interview mainly due to Rick's great interviewing skills. The whole video is inspiring from start to finish.

  • Remembering Michael Cuscana

    Blue Note Records' legacy attributed to legendary Producer/Archivist In recent times, it feels like we've been losing important figures in the music community too frequently. Just this month, we said goodbye to saxophonist Casey Benjamin and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, among others. But the most recent loss that hit me hard was that of Michael Cuscana, the legendary producer and re-issue maestro behind so much of the best jazz music. Michael Cuscana was a key player in the revival of Blue Note Records during the 1980s and 90s, working alongside then-president Bruce Lundvall. He co-founded the iconic Mosaic Records in 1982, a label that kept the spirit of Blue Note alive through rare releases and comprehensive reissue box sets. For anyone like me who fell in love with jazz and Black American Music through vinyl, Michael Cuscana was a guiding light. Mosaic Records was where you went if you wanted the complete Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Orchestra live at The Village Vanguard or the entire works of Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams. Michael was responsible for carefully archiving original recording tapes and deciding what gems to reissue from the original masters. His impact on the music and the preservation of its legacy cannot be overstated. His dedication to bringing out the best of Blue Note and other jazz classics ensured that generations of music lovers could experience the magic of these recordings. He leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire and delight enthusiasts for years to come. Rest in peace, Michael. Photo credit: Jimmy Katz

  • Experience the Speed

    An Amtrak Getaway from Springfield to New Haven Subscribe for more trains & such >> In the past three months alone I've taken the Vermonter twice, once to Northampton and most recently to Springfield, MA, a recently upgraded train station still in partial disrepair. On the way back home from a random day of railfanning at Springfield, I was fortunate enough to take a surprisingly super fast Amtrak Hartford Line from Springfield MA to New Haven. Our train was a short one, led by Heritage Locomotive unit 145 with two veteran Amfleet Passenger Cars. At times it felt like we're going to fly off the track. But the crew was wonderful. I figured, if they're not worried, I'm not worried. Christian is a Voice Actor & Narrator who loves trains, travel, coffee, and all things audio. Follow along ❤️ on Instagram + YouTube

  • Gritty Beauty of NYC

    Watch footage of the city in the 1970s New York City in the 1970s was a world away from its current bustling, polished state. It was a time of contrasts: Studio 54 parties alongside riots in the Bronx, a burgeoning music and art scene set against the backdrop of peak advertising culture and political upheaval. Recently, I stumbled upon insane footage from this era on my YouTube feed, and it made me reflect on my own experiences. I experienced a brief taste of NYC in the 1980s as child as well has having lived there for nearly 20 years so I feel fortunate to have witnessed a slice of its dynamic history. Looking back, the city was a melting pot of creativity, grit, and resilience during those times and beyond, leaving an indelible mark on those who experienced it.

  • All Aboard the Book Train

    As a former NYC resident, I thought I knew all the secrets of the city's iconic landmarks. However, it wasn't until this morning that I stumbled upon a fascinating discovery: the New York Public Library's book train. Although it was unveiled back in 2016, I somehow missed hearing about it during my time in the city. The concept is simply ingenious – an entire system operating beneath the library's floors, designed to transport books efficiently from one location to another. Each compartment of the book train is capable of carrying up to 30 pounds of books and can navigate both vertically and horizontally throughout the library's intricate network. Every library should adopt this system.

  • The Marsalis Legacy

    Branford Marsalis named Artistic Director of Music School well, isn't this exciting news? Branford Marsalis, the renowned saxophonist, has just been appointed as the Artistic Director at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans. For me, it's a moment of nostalgia and admiration. I vividly remember growing up, mesmerized by his unforgettable saxophone solo in Sting's "Englishman in New York." That moment ignited my passion for his music, leading me to explore his entire discography. And I haven't stopped since. What strikes me most about Branford's new role is his commitment to preserving the family's musical heritage. I can't help but think how proud his father, Ellis Marsalis, would be. It's not merely about the music; it's about carrying forward a legacy and imparting wisdom to future generations. Branford's decision to embrace this responsibility is truly commendable and reflects his dedication to nurturing the next wave of musical talent.

  • Are Open Gangway Train Cars the Future?

    In my nearly 20 years of navigating New York City's ever-changing transit system, I'd thought I'd seen it all, whether it was the revival of the Second Avenue Subway line, the extension of the 7 train to 34th Street Hudson Yards or the recent arrival of LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. Of course, just as I departed the city, the MTA unveiled Open Gangway cars to make things more exciting for subway riders on the C Line, a project years in the making. Stretching from 168th Street in Washington Heights to Euclid Ave in Brooklyn, riders will now be able to walk all the way through the R211T cars without feeling boxed in. Photo credit: Marc A Hermann

  • On The Tracks of Nostalgia and Discovery

    I had the pleasure of rediscovering some of the nostalgic train spots that I haven't visited since my college days. Living in Connecticut has its perks, and having a car allows me to embark on these journeys of reminiscence. Alongside revisiting old haunts, I also ventured to explore new locales along State Street by the Hartford/Springfield Line in New Haven and North Haven. Weekends always seem to bring about intriguing moments, especially for a rail nut like myself. Today's highlight was spotting an Amtrak Vermonter consist adorned with three P42 engines, accompanied by a friendly wave from the engineer (you'll have to slow it down to see his hand) Additionally, there was the sight of what appeared to be a CT Rail train with Mafersa coach car leading the way with a distinctive RS2M horn—commonly associated with the Metro North, New Haven, Hudson, and Harlem Lines. This is the epitome of railfan nerddom. Subscribe for more trains & such >> Christian is a Voice Actor & Narrator who loves trains, travel, coffee, and all things audio. Follow along ❤️ on Instagram + YouTube

  • Bob Edwards: A Voice to Remember

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve been enthralled by the resonant and omnipresent baritone voice of Bob Edwards, which likely influenced my career path. The former NPR Host of Morning Edition and The Bob Edwards Show passed away recently at the age of 76. His voice accompanied me throughout my daily routines growing up- returning home from school, in the kitchen, in the car, and even in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. His vocal presence was felt by many over the airwaves and will be deeply missed.

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