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Aether Age: Helios - THE TRAILER

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The Aether Age: Helios anthology, edited by Christopher Fletcher & Brandon H. Bell due soon in 2010 from Hadley Rille & M-Brane SF. Trailer produced by T.C. Parmelee; Voice actors, T.C. Parmelee and Paul Rothschild.
Samples of my business narrations for your listening pleasure...
*UPDATED for sound & content*

Audio Tour Guide - Detroit
One of several reads of Audio Tours I provide. Mature, knowledgeable.

Real Estate Audio Listing
Real estate audio listing for realtors' & investors' properties. Friendly, informative.

Voicemail - Doctor's Office
Detailed voicemail for doctor's office.  Straightforward, professional.

These are not official VO Demos. If you'd like me to submit an official narration or audiobook demo, please let me know via email, tcparmelee (at) gmail (dot) com. Otherwise, enjoy! Feel free to leave comments!

Hey Podcasters!  Here are a couple disclaimers you can use for your show.  They're direct links, so right click, "Save Link As" and have at it!  All I ask is that you credit me on your website with a link to here, FB or Twitter (@TCParmelee). C'est tout. OH, and let me know you've done it so I can thank you profusely.

Basic Disclaimer
"The following presentation contains subject matter that some may find objectionable. Listener discretion is advised."
Download (7 seconds)

Mature Disclaimer
"The following presentation contains mature subject matter that is suitable for adults only. Listener discretion is advised."  Download (8 seconds)

NOTE: These are basic stock disclaimers. If you'd like a customized disclaimer, I'm just an email away... tcparmelee (at) gmail (dot) com


“We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give.”
-Winston Churchill

 To answer the question above, HELL YEAH, it’s worth it to lend your voice.  To an extent.  There’s a line between volunteering and working for free. Let me define the two...

Volunteering: Donating your time, energy and resources to a project you believe in.  At some point, appreciation & gratitude is shown, monetarily or otherwise like fashion.  Example: I read for the reading- & sight-impaired. This organization throws banquets, offers gift cards, free movie tickets, and more to say “we appreciate you”.  I also read for podcasters who are not rolling in donations. They help promote my paid narrating services.

Working for Free: Being expected to repeatedly donate your time, energy and resources to a project you believe in, without any appreciation or compensation.  'Nuff said.

Where the Line Becomes Blurred

Last week I was reminded how some fiction podcasters view their readers as volunteers, never expecting to receive one red cent for their time.  Needless to say, it pissed me off. It wasn’t the first time I’d come across this mindset. Over the last year I’ve heard the following…

“The narrators/voice actors know it’s voluntary, they shouldn't expect money…”

This is being perpetuated throughout the podcasting world. Even though donations & sponsors are there to cover bandwith and writers, the narrators should be happy with….

“They get exposure & experience…”

Exposure to whom, exactly? More podcasters that expect them to work for free as well? And the talented narrators who aren’t in this for exposure & experience shouldn’t expect anything? Voice actors gain experience through a myriad of ways – classes, auditions, reading for the blind, workshops, etc.

      I’m way past the age where I think that some huge label audiobook producer is out scouting for new, raw talent in the world of podcasting and will happen across a story I narrated and offer me a huge contract. That’s not why I lend my voice.  I donate my time & voice to authors and podcasters I feel a connection to. I, and other narrators (amateur & pro) BELIEVE IN YOUR WORK.

“If a voice actor asks about money for reading a story, I know they’re not in it for the creative aspect of it…”

Huhwhaaa? Huge insult. I’m an actor, a voice actor & dancer. I’m not rolling in the dough.  There’s about 386,000 other avenues I could’ve traveled down if I just wanted to make money. We’re ALL about the creative process! 

      Also consider this… Some anthology podcasts pay their writers as little as $20 to use their work. That payment means the world to the writer. It tells the writer, “your creation is worthy of compensation.”  I remember my first pay as an actor, a dancer and voice actor.  It wasn’t anywhere in the realm of ‘industry rates’, but being told monetarily that my creative efforts were worth something to someone was the greatest feeling in the world.

Before You Blow A Gasket...

Even if your podcast isn’t huge and may never see $30 in donations, put some thought into how you can offer something to your readers & narrators. Mention in your podcast what they do (jewelry, blogging, legal aid, etc) and promote them. 

 

Narrators Kept in the “Volunteer” Status…

A majority of fiction podcasts out there don’t pay their narrators OR writers because they’re just starting out, or the listener base doesn’t warrant substantial donations.  I completely understand and respect that.  However, when the listener base grows, here comes the sponsorship dollars, donations and requests to help pay for bandwith & writers.  Again, understandable.  Bandwith can get pricey and the writers absolutely deserve it!

I’m baffled as to why the narrators are held in the “volunteer” status when everyone else involved receives compensation, though.  To me, it’s a one-can’t-do-without-the-other type deal. 

There are bad readers, good readers, then there are storytellers.  Bad readers will take a fantastic tale and turn it to merde in under 2 minutes. A bad reader will cost the writer & podcaster their listener base.  Good readers will take a decent tale and hold the listener’s attention, maybe inspire a retweet or two.  Storytellers, whether professional or not, will take a mediocre, good, or great tale and send it over the top, having your listeners begging for more. Between the writer’s words and the storyteller's voice, a magical world is created and the listener goes on that journey. You know the difference, your listeners know the difference. 

I’ve listened to some … scratch that, I’ve tried to listen to some stories that were narrated by people that just should not narrate.  This isn't snobbery talking, this is reality.  Me knowing how to cook doesn’t make me a chef. Me knowing how to fix a car doesn’t make me a mechanic.

 

In Closing…

I absolutely did not write this post to bash podcasters. Hell, I’m about to produce one (with the intent on paying narrators). I know how much work goes into each production, and your listeners cherish you!

I wrote this to express that there are voice actors-narrators-storytellers here on the interwebs that deserve the courtesy of being respected for our dedication.  We are not afterthoughts, nor are we a dime a dozen.  Again, if you don’t have the funds to pay us we understand and will still lend our voices. Be aware that sincere, heartfelt appreciation without being thought of as perpetual volunteers will go a long way. Treat everyone involved with the deepest respect & gratitude.

If you are among the podcasters who are silently grateful and haven't gotten around to it, make a point to thank your narrators, for "Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."

And I truly thank YOU for taking the time to read this.

Recent Vocal Activity

Audiodrama
TwinStars, Episode 209 (airs May 2010) as Yuki

Podiobook Series
Garaaga's Children (airs Spring, 2010)
"The Things I Do for Love" as Collette
by Paul Elard Cooley

Audio Anthology
Links are to direct downloads, right click, "Save Link As"

Nominated for a 2010 Parsec Award, "Best Spec Fiction Story (Short Form)"
ShadowCast Audio Anthology,
Episode 20
"The Voice" by Andrea van Scoyoc
Guest Host & Narrator

ShadowCast Audio Anthology,
Episode 15
"Letty" by Amanda Borenstadt
Guest Host & Narrator

ShadowCast Audio Anthology,
Episode 10
"Darkness Comes" by Lark Neville
Narrator

Story Narration
"Broken Vessels" by Brandon Bell
Narrator

10 Reasons to Listen to Short Fiction Audio

1.  The Authors. Just. Amazing. Never have I come across such ORIGINAL, rich, vibrant and yeah, twisted tales! A few of my favorites include Daniel Jose Older's "The Collector" (dark thriller), Lark Neville's "Darkness Comes" (dark & metaphysical thriller), and Brandon Bell's "Broken Vessels" (dark thriller). I have at least 20 short tales I keep in rotation on my BlackBerry. The stories may be short, but they'll stick with you for a long time.

2.  Variety of Genres. Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy, Thiller, Crime, Mystery and MORE are all available and found on the internet in short audio fiction form.  There's something for everyone, of all ages! I've provided a list below to get you started. 

3.  Whets the Palate For More. Quite a few authors have full-length novels - some published, some yet-to-be. Short audio fiction gives you a taste of their genius. For example, Scott Sigler, is the best-selling author of "Infected", "Contagious" and "Ancestors". From his bio, "Scott built a large online following by giving away his self-recorded audiobooks as free, serialized podcasts. His loyal fans, who named themselves “Junkies,” have downloaded over eight million individual episodes of his stories."

4.  The Narrators & Hosts.  YES, I'm a narrator, but this isn't a self-serving pat on the back.  I'm a lifelong audiophile, very much familiar with the Big Dogs of the audiobook world.  I have my favorites - CJ Critt, Scott Brick and so on.  However, there's a little added je ne sais quoi, I hear in the voices of my favorite Short Fiction narrators - Kate Baker, Daniel Jose Older (no one else can ask, "why you floatin', ma?" like Daniel), Steve Eley, Jason Warden, Paul E. Cooley & Kate Sherrod. I feel it's genuine passion of the story and belief in the author's creation. The narrators & hosts of short fiction don't treat these recordings as "just another gig" or job... it's a passion.

Yes, I have the Champagne Pink BB. I've affectionately named her Bubble.5.  Portable. Short fiction tales easily go where you go. Treat them the same as music. Download them, add them to your iPods, mp3 players, smart phones...  No CD's to carry and keep track of, or drop in a parking lot accidentally kicking it and watching it skitter play-side-down finally landing in a puddle of water with that iridescent film floating on top.

6.  Update-able. A great majority of the short fiction tales are done as podcast episodes on audio anthology sites.  The hosts add new stories weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.  These sites almost always have a way for you to be notified of  updates without you having to remember to check them.  RSS feeds, email notifications, iTunes, pod-catchers for mobile devices) are the methods used most often.  I've listened to over 100 short tales (probably way more, that's first glance into my podcast file) in the last 4 months through my PodTrapper for BlackBerry. 

7.  Minimal Time Investment. There was a time I would delve into a 20-hour audiobook in a heartbeat.  Lately I haven't had the time to do so.  Short audio fiction tales run 30-45 minutes long (same length as the average commute, or treadmill workout), and there are even 10-20 minute tales available which are termed "Flash Fiction".  For those with the same time constraints but would like to hear longer  or episodic tales, there are some phenomenal serialized sites, oft-referred to as podiobooks. 

8.  Cost-effective.
  A vast majority of them are FREE. No catches, obligations, no subscriptions or mailing lists (unless you wish to be notified of upcoming episodes).  If you don't care for a particular story - and you usually know within the first 90 seconds - simply delete it, try another.

9.  It's Old-School, Pulp-Style.   Crime/Thriller author Seth Harwood describes it best, "You can think of this as a throwback to two old forms of crime distribution: either the pulp magazines or the old-time radio plays that introduced detective adventures to early listeners on the radio. The point of the pulps was the same as what I’m doing: to use the least expensive means to get good crime stories out to eager consumers."  Anthology podcasters across genres went old-school for your listening enjoyment.

10.  Return of Childhood "Story Time".  Being read to takes me back to story time as a kid. I always LOVED story time, whether it was with my family, albums of old time radio shows, at the library, wherever! It's the reason I'm a narrator and lover of the spoken word.  Short audio tales offer a quick jaunt away from reality. My child-like excitement (read: giddiness) still flares up when I listen to these stories. And speaking of Old-Time Radio Shows, there's a site that offers those as well for your enjoyment

Highly-Recommended Starter List:
*Contains stories I've narrated.
**Soon to have stories I've narrated.


Feel free to share this article, repost, retweet! Just assign proper credit, kthxbai!
"Even before I began my podcast I had listened to thousands of stories and books through the audio medium. There are stories that stay with you long after the experience, likewise there are voices that do the same. Famous names, the late Frank Muller, the remarkable George Guidall, and David Aaron Baker, are some examples.

In this same vein I've had the privilege of meeting and using the services of T.C. Parmelee. She is a consummate professional, her readings are the equivalent of watching a movie in HD versus watching on UHF with rabbit ears. If you ever get a chance to hear her, or use her for a story, you should know you're not just getting a voice, but steroids for your story, and you get it in the package of a consummate professional."

Jason Warden, Editor/Administrator
The Shadowcast Audio Anthology
Visit ShadowCast Audio for a direct download of this 39-second promo for use in your podcast!!
The favor will definitely be returned!

Performance and Post-Production by Me, the TC...
AWESOME background music by Daniel José Older


Grow Your VO: Character Database

"How do you change your voice so easily? You flip back and forth between characters so effortlessly!"

This didn't happen overnight.  This happened LONG before I took the leap into the business. Voices, tones, accents and dialects have always fascinated me.  Ever since I can remember, I've always repeated things people have said for one reason or another.  If you really listen to the life around you, you'll hear so much more than you see.  Movies, theatre, tv shows and (of course) audiobooks play into that as well.  I've taken it to another level as a voice actor... I made a database.

I carry two notebooks with me.  One is my steno pad which is my To Do list.  I like the physical act of writing it down and it keeps me focused.  Just my thing... My other notebook is a small spiral notebook that contains my voiceover mentoring notes, marketing ideas, and what I call my character database.  This is a ever-growing list of lines I hear that struck me as "Fun to Try".  I have lines from various movies: 200 Cigarettes, Hustle & Flow, Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil and so on.  

The tv series, "LOST" provides a treasure trove of learning opportunities for the voice actor!  Practice material abounds through dialects, accents, inflection & delivery.  Korean, Australian, North American, Scottish, Mancunian, British, & Southern dialects can be heard in each episode. 

HERE'S YOUR EXERCISE
Season 3, Episode 11 titled "Enter 77" includes a scene with an Arabic accent in a monologue spoken by Amira, who was once tortured by Sayid in Iraq.  Click here for the video.  The scene runs from 2:29 to 6:38.  The transcript is below. Her opening monologue is breathtaking.
 

AMIRA: After my husband and I first arrived in Paris, I was afraid to ever leave our apartment. So I would stare out in the window into the alley, and I would see this cat looking for scraps. One day some children came into the alley and trapped him in a box. I watched them light firecrackers and drop them in the box. I could hear him howl from three stories above. So finally, I had a reason to leave my apartment. I rescued this cat and I brought him home. He sits with me when I read, sleeps with me, and he purrs. But, every once in a while, he will bite me or scratch me. He does this because sometimes he forgets that he is safe now. So I forgive him when he bites me, because I remember what it is like to never feel safe. And that is because of you. So today, I ask only one thing of you: I ask you now to show me the respect by acknowledging what you did to me. That it was you who questioned me, tortured me and that you remember me.

SAYID: I remember you. I remember your face. Your face has haunted me ever since I left Iraq. [crying] I am sorry. I am so sorry for what I did to you. I am sorry.

AMIRA: I forgive you. When my husband return, I will tell I made a terrible mistake, that it was not you, and he will release you.

SAYID: Why? Why are you letting me go?

AMIRA: We are all capable of doing what those children did to this cat. But I will not do that. I will not be that.

I saw the scene when it originally aired in 2007 and loved it immensely.  It's still just a potent in 2010, in possession of the dvd set. Her delivery is so intense.  You hear so much more than her accent.  You can hear & feel the torture she once endured, how deep she had to dig to overcome it.  Her compassion for all living things, including... Sayid, her former torturer. Remarkably, her voice was devoid of anger.  There was deep indignance & determination. 


SO, HOW CAN I USE THIS?
There's so much to work with here.  Try it in three takes. First take - just reading it with the accent.  Second take  - reading it sans accent but with the emotion.  Third take - both accent & emotion.

What I've taken away from this scene is:

  • reference for an Arabic accent
  • reference to delve into the feeling of abject pain & surviving it (once I feel it, I can emote it)
  • reference for a powerful emotion that isn't anger or joy

I've done this and other scenes in my "database" this way.  I've repeated & held on to them and now they're just part of my character database, able to be recalled on command when a particular role calls for it. 

Like I said, this didn't happen overnight - but it DID happen.

Authors: 5 Reasons to Go Audio

Authors, writers, novelists... if you've ever given thought as to how to grow your reader base, give this mini-podcast a listen.



WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:
 
"Tisch T.C. Parmelee is a great voice actor. I had heard her work for voice overs, commercials, dramatizations, and so forth prior to her recording my story, Broken Vessels (originally published in M-Brane SF) as a promotional tool for my blog. I knew she would produce a professional recording, but I got even more: a unique interpretation of the material that served to illuminate the heart of this story (you can feel the gravity of her performance) AND one of the most popular features on my blog.

I'm sure there are myriad of ways in which her talents could be used by all sorts of venues. Speaking as a creator of textual content, having a professional podcast version of my story for download has been one of the most successful promotional tools I've used.

When I took on the co-editor role in the Hadley Rille/ M-Brane SF Aether Age Anthology, one of the first decisions made was to seek Tisch's expertise in preparing the audio version of the anthology. This work is near and dear to our hearts and we'd not trust in just anyone's care." 

 
Brandon Bell
writer --
http://nithska.blogspot.com
editor --
http://aetherage.blogspot.com

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About TC Parmelee

Greetings! As you can see above, I'm Tisch "TC" Parmelee!

I give large & small businesses, educational institutions, entrepreneurs a sophisticated, yet personable sound.

Incredibly gifted authors also provide the setting for me to put my narration/storytelling chops to work!!! My narration of "The Voice" is up for the 2010 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form).

Not only is my diction & enunciation impeccable, my gifts of verbal nuance & character development bring a story to life.

Whether you need a sophisticated, persuasive, musical, smooth, sultry, knowledgeable, humorous, cheeky, approachable, professional or sarcastic tone... or a little of everything... you'll get it.

My character reads have included: Midwest, British, Southern (Texas, Cajun, Uppercrust Georgia), New Jersey/New York, Shakespearean, Arabic, Cuban, French dialects. Semi-fluent in French.

"I knew she would produce a professional recording, but I got even more: a unique interpretation of the material that served to illuminate the heart of this story (you can feel the gravity of her performance) AND one of the most popular features on my blog..."
--Brandon Bell, Author, Editor Aether Age Anthology

"...Her voice enthralls listeners. Even those who may not normally listen to audiobooks find themselves captivated by her storytelling..."
--Lark Neville, Author

"...If you ever get a chance to hear her, or use her for a story, you should know you're not just getting a voice, but steroids for your story, and you get it in the package of a consummate professional"
--Jason Warden, Editor/Administrator, ShadowCast Audio Anthology


FREE CONSULTATION - QUICK TURNAROUND - SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

Contact me today!














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