Gobs on Sticks

Thoughts mostly (but not always) about the voice-over business, from London Voiceover Artist, Mike Cooper

  • About the author

    My name is Mike Cooper. I'm a full time Voiceover Artist living and working in London, and this is my blog. Find out more about me on my main website (there's a link further down this column), or if you'd like to hear some of my work, check out the files below.

Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Friday Fun – Mitchell and Webb do Sky Sports!

Posted by MikeCooper on October 9, 2009

Sky Sports’ promotion effort is, to use the words of one popular UK retailer, “never knowingly undersold”. For years a large percentage of Sky’s promos have been voiced by one man: London-based Bruce Hammal. Bruce has a terrific and instantly recognisable signature voice, and he’s the one you’ll hear telling you that “live from the Sky News centre, this is Live at Five”, amongst other things.

But a pedigree such as his is ripe for rip-off, as demonstrated here by David Webb in the BBC’s “That Mitchell and Webb Look” in 2008…

“The giants of Charlton play host to the titans of Ipswich (making them both seem normal-sized…)”

Send me your suggestions for Friday Fun voiceover clips using the Comments field below – and have a great weekend!

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Posted in Comedy, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Friday Fun – the all-action Almera!

Posted by MikeCooper on October 2, 2009

Not strictly a voiceover parody this week, but a great ad from a few years back that made me laugh out loud. I give you Nissan’s “all-action Almera”, in the style of The Sweeney…

“You’re so uptight, Guv!”

“YES! Even my hair’s tense!”

Share your favourite voiceover spoofs and parodies via the Comments field and add to the Friday fun next week. Have a great weekend!

Posted in Comedy, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Film24 Promos Online

Posted by MikeCooper on October 1, 2009

The nice boys at Film24 have been kind enough to send me some of the promos I’ve been voicing recently. Here’s one now…

You can find more from Film24 on Sky channel 157 and on their website at Film24.com

And you can see more of my promos on my facebook page – just click on the “Video” tab at the top of the page. You can also sign up as a “fan” if you like!

Posted in Broadcasting, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Friday Fun – Pinky and the Brain take on Orson Welles

Posted by MikeCooper on September 25, 2009

Last week I brought you the famous Orson Welles “Frozen Peas” clip, and I promised that this week I’d bring you a reply to it. In this clip from the Warner Bros “Animaniacs” series, Maurice LaMarche brilliantly spoofs Orson Welles’s descent into despair in a Pinky and the Brain “mockumentary”.

I trawled the internet for this, as the YouTube video has been removed “due to a copyright violation”, which seems a shame as it’s a classic. My advice? Watch this while you can – but make sure you listen to the Orson Welles clip first, if you haven’t already!

“Get me a jury and show me how you can say in July and I’ll… make cheese for ya!” Nice twist for kids telly, compared to the original!

If you know of any great comic voiceover clips or spoofs, let me know using the comments field below and I’ll share them next time. Meantime, have a great weekend!

Posted in Comedy, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Killer on Campus – a clip online

Posted by MikeCooper on July 17, 2009

My “Killer on Campus” programme aired for the first time last night on The Crime & Investigation Network. It’s a UK re-version of a Bill Kurtis Special Report from the US, which goes beyond the headlines and the news clips, providing context to the Virginia Tech bombing, asking the questions on everyone’s minds: Why did it happen? What brought someone to commit such senseless murders? How will society put an end to the epidemic of school shootings?

Here’s a clip from my YouTube channel:

The beady-eyed amongst us will notice that the channel logo in the top right hand corner shows it’s lifted from the “+1” service. Last night’s thunderstorms here in London knocked out my satellite reception while it was showing the first time. Thank heaven’s for repeats!

To find out when this programme is showing next, visit my website and click on “TV Schedule”.

Posted in Broadcasting, Television | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mike’s Mid-June Voiceover Update

Posted by MikeCooper on June 17, 2009

The year is whizzing by faster than I seem to be able to keep track. This weekend it’s the longest day of the year already, which means it’ll soon be Christmas, no doubt. I’ve been keeping busy the last few weeks with some interesting new projects.

A couple of weeks ago I voiced a documentary for an independent film-maker based in Sydney, who’s producing a programme on the preparations for next year’s football World Cup in South Africa. The programme is still in the editing stages, but when it’s finished the idea is that it will be shown at various festivals and sold to interested broadcasters. I’ll post an update on this in due course.

An interesting meeting at Pinewood studios at the start of the month revealed some great new programmes coming to Film24, for whom I work as a continuity announcer. These include “Sordid Lives: The Series”, which will be airing on Film24 from the start of August. Think “Desperate Housewives”, but set on a trailer park, and with Olivia Newton John and Golden Girl Rue McLanahan, and you start to get the idea. Andrew Burns, CEO of the channel, has some other new programming ideas up his sleeve for the next few months too, all of which should bring exciting improvements to the schedule.

Also this month I’ve voiced a science documentary which will soon start showing in museums in the United States. Called Planet You 3D, it’s been produced by Chedd-Angier-Lewis, in Watertown, MA, and will shortly get its premiere at the Health Museum in Houston and the Museum of Science in Boston, before hopefully rolling out to science centres across the United States. You can read the production blog (including the very nice things they said about me) here.

Aside from these projects it’s been the regular round of corporates, including jobs for Capgemini and British Gas, commercials for radio stations in the UK, and my ongoing work for the BBC World Service and the History Channel. And outside work I’ve been trying to get to see as much of the ICC World Twenty20 cricket as I can – after all, I only live ten minutes from Kennington Oval!

Posted in Broadcasting, Documentaries, Freelancing, news, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Google Calendar 101. A personalised TV Schedule.

Posted by MikeCooper on June 6, 2009

Today I set up a Google Calendar, which details when programmes I’ve voiced are showing on various channels here in the UK. I started doing this mostly for my own benefit, so I could keep track of the growing number of programmes I’ve now added my voiceovers to. But I realised midway through that it might prove to be an interesting website addition. If there’s a way of extracting the data to Twitter for automatic Tweets just ahead of the billed times then that would be even better still, but let’s go one step at a time!

I’ve included channel numbers for Sky and Virgin in the “location” field (crafty, eh?) and also flagged up days where I can be heard as a station continuity voiceover for History and Film24, as well as the BBC World Service. The next step might be to add links to clips from the programmes, but I’m not sure that URLs can be embedded in Google Calendar entries (any thoughts?)

There’s no way to automate the process of adding new showings or altering late changes, unfortunately, so that will have to be a weekly task for yours truly, but at least now the bulk of programmes and their billings are in the system, they can be “duplicated” to new showing times as needed, with top-ups as I voice more material.

After some playing with the options and embedding the resulting code into a fresh page on my website, I now have a rather nicely-presented TV Schedule page, which you’ll find here.

The cost of all this? Absolutely nothing, other than my time. And the beauty part is that, as a Public calendar on Google, it gets indexed by You Know Who, too…

Posted in Broadcasting, Documentaries, news, Radio, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mike’s Late May Update

Posted by MikeCooper on May 27, 2009

It’s been a busy month, all told. I’ve been writing furiously for the History Channel (which now prefers to be known simply as “History”). They’ve asked me to become a regular continuity announcer for the channel for the next little while, so I’ll be popping up between programmes there quite a lot for now, and I’m actually on air all week this week (26-31 May).

WhP, in France, asked me to produce some voiceover material for the Renault Academy last week, which I delivered this week. A complex project which involved a lot of editing to produce files which could be split up by an automated process. I learned a lot about the new Mégane Coupé in the process, should anyone ever call on me to do a repair.

Meanwhile, IC Group in Winnipeg, Canada, approached me to voice the British version of some training materials for Brit Insurance.

And tomorrow I’m looking forward to voicing a documentary programme about the preparations for the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with a producer based in (wait for it…) Sydney, Australia!

Never let it be said that I don’t get around…

Posted in Broadcasting, Documentaries, Freelancing, news, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mike Cooper Narrates Easter “Jesus” Special for National Geographic Channel (UK)

Posted by MikeCooper on April 2, 2009

I’m delighted to have been asked to narrate a two-hour special for the National Geographic Channel for transmission over Easter.

Called “Jesus: A Man of Nazareth”, it looks at who Jesus really was and explores some of the truths behind what we’ve come to accept as facts over the intervening millennia.

More details to follow…

Posted in Documentaries, news, Television | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mike’s Week on the Mike (23-29 March)

Posted by MikeCooper on March 30, 2009

Not so much of a week on the mike as a week loosely connected to it. Sure enough, Film24 and the BBC World Service featured, as they do so often, and on Wednesday we put the first series of “Dinosaur Secrets” to bed for the History Channel (that’s all fourteen episodes now in the can).

What made this week particularly interesting were two events I attended: the first was on Tuesday and was entitled “ProGob 2009”. This was organised by some people who work in television continuity and presentation, and was a gathering of those in the industry in London. I met a few people I’d not before, watched one or two few people I know quite well get amusingly squiffy (you know who you are), and had quite a fun time in the bar at Soho House myself.

Then on Thursday night I found myself back at The London Studios on the South Bank, for the final goodbye to the old London News Network Transmission Centre. I worked in TX at the South Bank for nearly nine years, first as an announcer for Carlton Television, and then (doing that “hopping to the other side of the glass” thing I do) as a Network Director/Transmission Controller for the ITV network, until I left in late 2002 to go to the BBC as a News Director. Thursday’s event marked the official end of ITV transmission from central London (though the last programme was switched to line the previous Friday). ITV’s Southern Transmission Centre is now based at Chiswick Park, under the auspices of Technicolor Network Services. My time on the South Bank was overwhelmingly a happy one, and though this event was tinged with emotion, it was great to see some familiar, though recently absent, faces.

Posted in news, Television, Voiceovers | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »