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 ‘TV’

Friday Fun – Andy Marriott and the Central tea tray…

Posted by MikeCooper on October 16, 2009

I’d forgotten about this one, till Trish Bertram reminded me. My old mate and colleague, Andy Marriott, from his days at Central Television in Birmingham (circa 1999, I’d guess by the ident in use?)

A great example of what can happen when a nutty announcer finds a co-operative transmission controller to help out. Happy days…

Any more? Keep them coming! And have a great weekend!

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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 – 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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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 »

The Black Widow – now on the web

Posted by MikeCooper on June 22, 2009

“The Black Widow: A Web of Suspicion” is the first of two programmes I revoiced recently for the UK’s Crime & Investigation Network. It premiered last night.

A look at the bizarre life of Sandra Bridewell, a beautiful Southern belle and wealthy socialite who became known as the “Black Widow” when three of her husbands ended up dead and Sandra pocketed big life insurance payouts. The programme follows detectives and newspaper reporter Glenna Whitley as they investigate Bridewell’s trail of death and deceit and prepare to spring a trap for her.

The programme airs again today at 3pm on Sky channel 553 (or 4pm on the “+1” service on Sky 554). If you miss it, keep an eye out for it in my TV Schedule on my website. In the meantime, or in case you’re outside the the UK or don’t get Sky Digital, here are two short clips: one from the start of the programme, and one from midway through. I hope you enjoy them!

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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 Week on the Mike (18 – 24 April)

Posted by MikeCooper on April 28, 2009

Last week was quite a week, with lots of “personal” stuff going on. Fortunately that didn’t get in the way of it being a great week for voiceover work, though!

On Monday I travelled up to Manchester for an all-day session on Tuesday at my agent’s,The Voiceover Gallery. The client was putting together an eLearning package aimed at youngsters with dyslexia, the aim being that by using the software they could teach themselves to read and spell. I hope to have more details of this ambitious project when it’s closer to completion, but for my part it included reading out a dictionary of over 3,000 words and then the prompts and cues for the software and tutorials. For a while it looked like a second day might be in order to finish off, but we managed to crack it in a day, which meant I came back on Tuesday night as planned.

This was good news, as it meant I could squeeze in another session for Matinée Sound and Vision in Reading on Tuesday for their client, WhP in France at short notice, and score brownie points with the nice ladies in the office there.

Thursday saw me over at Sky for the first of two appearances during the week: the first session was to record a week’s worth of continuity links for History, which are on air this week here in the UK. If you have what used to be The History Channel as part of your Sky or Virgin package, you’ll hear me introducing all the programmes until last thing on Sunday night. (Sky 529 / Virgin 234 and in HD on Sky 545)

Saturday saw me back at Sky, narrating two documentaries for the Crime & Investigation Network (Sky 553 / Virgin 237). They were both Bill Curtis Special Reports, being reversioned for the UK market. One features the story of Sandra Bridewell and is entitled “The Black Widow: A Web of Suspicion”, and the other, “A Killer on Campus”, tells of the shocking massacre carried out by Sueng Hui Cho on the campus of Virgina Tech in 2007. I hope to have transmission dates for both of these programmes shortly and will post them when I do.

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Mike’s Week on the Mike (30 March – 5 April)

Posted by MikeCooper on April 6, 2009

The highlight of my Week on the Mike this week was narrating a two-hour Easter special for the National Geographic Channel. Called “Jesus: The Man from Nazareth”, it gets its first showing this Saturday, 12th April, at 5pm, with a repeat on Easter Sunday morning at 10am. It’s an attempt to find out who the “real” Jesus was, by looking at evidence from the time and comparing that to the stories we’ve come to regard as fact. I found it fascinating to voice, and hope the finished product is as enjoyable to watch. (National Geographic is available on Sky Digital 526/7, Virgin 230, Tiscali 112, and in Ireland on UPC 215.)

Cardiff-based See What You Mean, who I’ve worked with previously, also came to me this week and asked me to provide the voice for a piece they were putting together for Capgemini, and it’s always nice to be able to add another Blue Chip company to the client list!

Aside from the regular Film24 stuff, I spent the rest of this week making phone calls as part of my attempt to move into the ISDN Voice market for commercial radio ads, and I’m pleased to say that’s met with some modest success too. At time of writing I should be on air on radio stations in Northern Ireland, Sussex and Shropshire, with more to follow.

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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.

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