From ‘Traxer JON ATKINSON of his first booking with…

“Hi, I had a big day recently and I wanted to share it with you.

I have been plugging away for quite some time now on Voice123 and although I have gotten some good feedback, I could never bust through and get that first job. This has been very frustrating for me because as Sam pointed out in my last private, with my skill set I should be getting work. Well, a couple weeks ago I got an email. Someone liked my audition for a character in a podcast. After some back and forth a contract was offered, signed and a recording date set.

The night before my session I staged my studio in a way that would have made Marty Scorsese proud. Camera angle for the laptop, lighting, extra acoustic wall panels to make the room look like a real studio. No paper script, iPad on the copy stand.

I spent the rest of the evening going over my audition, finding that voice again. Analyzing my full script, building my back story. Making a scene. Thinking about what else they might ask of me. I had done my research, this podcast is a novella by Pauline Hayton that will be serialized into multiple parts. I researched the production company that hired me as well. What I found informed me that I had better bring it when the time came. It’s a big, busy, well established company run by a very accomplished woman.

That morning, I logged in to Zoom 15 minutes early feeling about as nervous as a long tail cat in room full of rocking chairs. I thought back to a class I had with Melissa Grey last fall. She told us some anecdotes from Elizabeth Gilbert and Jane Fonda about the relationship between fear and creativity. I could almost hear her voice telling me “you are an actor, you have prepared, now go be brilliant”. I looked around my studio and thought about how everything, the design, the components, the technology and the knowledge how to use it came from him. I thought about Vicki, Chuck and Roni, My first teachers. Sirenetta, Frank, Anna, helping me make Baby steps. moving up to advanced classes, growing, eyes opening. And of course, Sam. My mentor. My thoughts turned back to Melissa. The skills she taught me would be put to the test today. Monologue into a dialogue.

Just then my host showed up on screen. Rebeca Seitz, owner of 1C productions. And to my relief, she could not have been nicer. She was in no hurry to record. She just wanted to get to know me first. Told me she knew all about Santa Cruz, almost attended University of Santa Clara. She then told me all about herself and her company. They do books, audio books, podcasts, TV and film. She has also developed the PodPair. A fan box concept. Treats and hobbies that pair with the stories.

‘Now’, she said. ‘You are on the phone in this scene, your partners lines have already been recorded. They are fresh in my ears. I want you to run through your lines and if your intentions or attitude is off or you miss your cues I’ll stop you and redirect. OK?”

“Yep!” I replied. “And we’re rolling”

I rolled right through and she didn’t stop me. I looked back at the screen and she murmured “beautiful” “ and said “Jon, that was perfect, I’m not going to ask you to do it again”. “wow” I said, “thanks, but we can’t do just one take, right?” “No’, she said “ I want to do another take, but I want you to use a different voice.” “What did you have in mind?” I said. And she surprised me. She said “ your voice, I want your deep voice. But twenty years older and really sad. You got that?” I looked down, searched, looked up and spoke in a voice I had never heard before and have no idea where it came from. “That’s it” she exclaimed. “That’s the voice I heard in my head, that’s it!’ I said “and we’re rolling” I went through again, and again she didn’t stop me. She said “I don’t know which one I’m going to use, but I love them both” we wrapped it nicely, she said she enjoyed working with me and will be again soon. Talk to her assistant about getting paid and get a head shot and bio to her. She puts them up on the podcast.

All was done as asked and Thursday I got a Email from Rebeca saying the preview is up and go ahead and tell the world about “Grandma Rambo” the story of a woman who goes looking for adventure and gets more than she asked for. Starring Gale Van Cott and an international cast from the U.S., Canada, England and India. There is a jigsaw puzzle that goes with the podcast and its sales help support the Magulong School in India. A real place that appears in the story. Go check out the preview and listen when the podcast drops on April 15th. Available free on all podcast platforms.

I would like to close by saying thank you to all at Voicetrax who helped me get to where I am today. My Vo journey has been an improbable one, and it would have never been possible without you guys. And the kicker? My character’s name, Sam!

Thanks for everything, Jon

P.S. I’ll have some more booking news soon…”

We bet you will, Jon, and congratulations!  For more details on the project (scroll down to the artist credits!), just click the image below: