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.

Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Friday fun – at Carpet Madness now!

Posted by MikeCooper on August 21, 2009

A voice acting lesson from Jane Horrocks and Joanna Lumley – two ladies who both make a lot of money from this business we call “Voice”. Watch and learn… (opens in new window)

“It’s carpets! It’s madness! It’s Carpet Madness!” Indeed! Surely a lesson for us all?

Trivia: Joanna Lumley is a fan of gherkins. (Her father famously fought in a gherkin costume in the second world war – but seriously…)

I’d like to post some more amusing voiceover clips in the coming weeks, and I have a couple of great ones lined up – but if you know of more then drop me a line. Meantime, have a great weekend!

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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 »

Mike’s Week on the Mike (16-22 March)

Posted by MikeCooper on March 22, 2009

I’m pleased to report another busy week. There’ve been several appearances at the BBC World Service in my regular role as newsreader, plus I was also asked to the promotions department there to voice a corporate video for the Digital Radio Mondiale consortium (of which the BBC is a part) ahead of a couple of conferences in the coming weeks.

Wednesday saw me making one of my regular trips out to Reading to Matinée Sound and Vision to add my voice to an online training course being produced by WhP in France. Then on my return, I voiced another corporate in my home studio for Hi-Gloss Productions here in London for a client of theirs in the UAE. Thursday found me at the Palace of Home Shopping, with some promos for QVC, and Friday rounded things off with my regular continuity work for movie channel Film24.

Finally, my week on the mike extended to a night of karaoke with my mate Toby on Friday, which was terrific fun! If you’ve always wanted to try karaoke but the idea of singing to a whole room of strangers puts you off, then why not try private karaoke with a few of your friends? We visited Lucky Voice in London’s Soho, and had such a good time that they’re worth a plug here too!

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Mike’s Week on the Mike (9-15 March)

Posted by MikeCooper on March 14, 2009

It’s true that I wouldn’t want every week to be as madly busy as last week was, and thankfully things calmed somewhat this week, which allowed me time to go looking for new work and to sign up for some more online directories.

Aside from the usual BBC World Service and Film24 commitments, the London Oncology Clinic asked me to provide the voice for their latest online video, describing the various forms of scans used with cancer patients. They had really good feedback to the first one, which we did last year (which is here). The new video will be up in a couple of weeks, and I’ll post a link when I have one.

Good feedback too for F1 driver, Nick Heidfeld’s new website, which went live recently. I’m the English voice for the Web TV sections on the site, and the third segment went online this week. It’s a feature on Nick’s visit to CeBit in Hannover, and you can find the video here.

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A bad day at work?

Posted by MikeCooper on October 12, 2008

Let’s be honest: we all have our “off-days”, don’t we?

When reading the news, I’m prone to slips of the tongue as much as the next announcer (talking about the “presidential erection” and a certain country’s “gash-rich regions” are but two of my more hapless examples), but a couple of things have caught my eyes and ears this past week that have reminded me that, as bad as some of my days sometimes seem, someone else is probably having a complete ‘mare.

Thing number one arrived via email last weekend and provoked a heated debate among my radio colleagues, as well as on the internet at large. It’s an interview between Hardeep Singh Kohli, who Wikipedia describes as “a Sikh writer, presenter, broadcaster and reporter of Indian descent from Scotland”, and Les Ross, a Birmingham-based local radio presenter who the BBC likes to describe as “a West Midlands radio legend”.

I have to say, I’ve been a bit of a fan of Les since my teenage years, at which point Les was well into his second decade of presenting the breakfast show on BRMB. His quick, slightly camp and irreverent way of getting effortlessly from 6 to 9am was a joy to anyone who was listening. And listen they did! Of late, whenever I’ve had occasion to listen across his afternoon show via the ‘net, I’ve begun to wonder if the magic is wearing off. And this little piece of car crash radio has, I’m afraid, done little to reassure me.

OK, the Alan Partridge caption may be being a little unfair to someone whose career has survived thirty-odd years pretty much unscathed until now, but you can kind of see their point. Whoever’s to blame (and the debate on that one will run and run), it’s truly local radio of the worst kind, and cringe-making in the extreme.

Even Les, though, must thank his lucky stars that his day never got this bad… It’s like “Carry On Up The Bulletin”. My favourite bit is when the other guy rushes in and you can hear the newsreader “sssssshhh”-ing, and saying – I’m assuming, as it’s all Greek to me – something like “Keep the noise down! Can’t you see I’m On Air!?” Having this week had my own studio door flung open just in time for me to turn around at the end of the bulletin and spit the words “…BBC News!” at the offender (who scampered like a startled rabbit back into the newsroom), I do sympathise. There but for the grace of God, and all that…

And finally, I’m very glad that I missed this particular combination of end-of-story words by an hour, the dubious honour falling to my colleague, Jerry Smit. For those who know the BBC term, I could make a joke about a “Hard Post” here…

Listening last week to Angus Deayton’s Radio 4 tribute to his friend and collaborator, Geoffrey Perkins, reminded me of one of my all-time radio favourites, which certainly deserves a mention here. Radio Active, anyone?

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