Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ted Williams records first voiceover for Kraft

I've stayed out of the discussion about media wunderkind, Ted Williams, and his instant fame and financial success until I saw him in session in the voice booth when I watched his Kraft video. There's a moment in the video where Ted is uncomfortably asked where the spots he's voicing will air. I was surprised they didn't toss him a bone after his stilted replies. While many others have been expressing how wonderful it is that this guy has a chance of a lifetime (which is TRUE and an amazing event), with my naturally glass is half empty, cynical, outlook I see someone very vulnerable who is being used as a marketing tool and eventually will be tossed aside by those hoisting him on the throne. Dr. Phil was concerned about Ted slipping back to the booze and drugs. I think the industry may eat him up first.

Is he really that good of a voice actor that major businesses, not Clucky's Chicken Shack or Jim and Jenny's Giant Shoe Warehouse, but big names in the business and entertainment world like the Cleveland Cavaliers, MTV and as we see, Kraft, would hire him for their voice work? SunSpots supplies many of those types of companies with professional voiceover talent and I guarantee if we told our clients we have a man here who has virtually no experience, doesn't know how to interpret copy, is a stereotype of a formal announcer, but has a rich baritone voice and is very humble and sweet natured, they'd pass...they might pass on using us too for suggesting him. For us, as a voice talent agency, he'd probably not get a second listen to his demo due to his overly announcery, non-natural style and slight speech impediment (the sibilance). I've felt a little sad for those male voice over talent who have the strong announcer style, have paid their dues, sharpened their skills, done their marketing and who watch the bread and circus Ted Williams event unfold. And I think, unlike the majority of poster's comments I've read, that his story and current fame actually doesn't benefit the voiceover industry as a whole. Sure, it's benefitting us that the public gets to see what we do ("Look Darlene they wear headphones and read words on paper...whooo doggy! Hell, I can do that!"), but the true beneficiaries are the remora who are attaching themselves to him for their profit. I'm pleased to see some true kind hands extended to him without wanting something back within the industry. Joe Cipriano was very generous offering Ted help and some very honest talk about the good fortune lightening bolt that Ted was struck by.

Someone on one of the voiceover forums I read mentioned how this seems like a very real case of "The Emperor Wears No Clothes". The media is feeding its viewers the idea that Ted is incredibly talented as a voice actor. He does have a deep and expressive voice. He certainly has a gracious attitude to all around him. Ted Williams is indeed a very humble and seemingly very likable man. I imagine standing on the side of the road for 10 years asking people for handouts will do that to you. He's had a long time to sharpen his thankfulness, gratitude skills and step and fetch with just the right smile and tone allowing him to continue to stand on the side of the road for so long and ask for money.

So I wish Mr. Williams the best of luck at handling his success and hope that he can find some people that have his true interests at heart, not just his financial interests either. My wish also is that every one of the professional voiceover talent out there, not the wannabes (those who want to do it for the money and not for the love of the craft), but the truly talented people, get a shot at the greatness one day.

Here's Ted Williams Kraft video enjoy!

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