Join professional voice actor, audiobook narrator, and author Mike Lenz as he shares stories from some of the most amazing and inspiring people from all areas of the voice-over industry to help you achieve your dream of becoming a professional voice actor.
119 - Charlie Lovett Interview
Charlie Lovett was born in Winston-Salem, NC in 1962 and grew up as the child of a book-collecting English professor. He spent his summers in the rural North Carolina mountains and felt an early affinity for the countryside. He was educated at Summit School, Woodberry Forest School (Virginia), and Davidson College (NC) and in 1984 went into the antiquarian book business with his first wife, Stephanie. About the same time he began to seriously collect books and other materials relating to Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Lovett now has a large collection of Carrollian rare books and artifacts, including Carroll’s 1888 typewriter and one of six privately owned copies of the first edition of Alice in Wonderland. Lovett has written or edited nine books about Lewis Carroll, including Lewis Carroll: Formed by Faith, the first full length study of Carroll’s religious life (UVA Press, 2021). He has served as the president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, as editor of the London based Lewis Carroll Review, and has lectured on Carroll in the US and Europe at the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, UCLA, Oxford University, and elsewhere.
In 1997 Lovett received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts). During his work on this degree he researched and wrote Love, Ruth, a book about his mother, Ruth Candler Lovett, who died when he was two years old. Maya Angelou called the book “tender, sensitive, and true.”
After completing his MFA, Lovett lived with his wife Janice and daughter Jordan in England for six months, becoming closely connected to the village of Kingham, Oxfordshire. Ten years later, he and his wife purchased the cottage they had rented in 1997 and renovated it. They now spend about 6–8 week a year in Kingham, and have traveled extensively throughout the UK. His experiences in England are the basis for several of his novels.
For eleven years, beginning in 2001, Lovett served as Writer-in-Residence at Summit School in Winston-Salem, NC. He wrote plays for elementary and middle school students, nineteen of which have been published, including, Twinderella, which was chosen from over 750 entries as winner of the Shubert Fendrich Playwriting Award. His plays have been seen in over 5000 productions in all fifty states and more than 20 foreign countries. Lovett often makes author visits to schools to see productions, talk with students, and hold master classes.
Lovett’s break-through as a fiction writer came when he combined two of his passions—rare books and the English countryside—to write the Shakespearean mystery The Bookman’s Tale (Viking/Penguin, 2013), a New York Times bestseller and Barnes and Noble Recommends selection which has been translated into several foreign languages. Parade Magazine called the book “[A] delightful tale of love and bibliophilia.” His next novel, First Impressions (Viking/Penguin, 2014) was another literary adventure, this one starring Jane Austen. People Magazine called it “a delightful novel that weaves together a modern love story and a literary mystery involving Jane Austen.”
In 2015 Lovett curated a major exhibition called Alice Live! at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and wrote the introduction to the new Penguin Books edition of Alice in Wonderland. 2015 also saw the publication of his Christmas book, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge (Viking/Penguin) which USA Today called “[a] clever, merry, and, yes, convincingly Dickensian reimagining of this Victorian tale.”
Lovett’s novel The Lost Book of the Grail (Viking/Penguin, 2017) is set in an English cathedral library, reaches through centuries of English history, and tells the story of bibliophile and Holy Grail enthusiast Arthur Prescott
118 - Mike Lenz Update
On this episode I share some thoughts on Systems Thinking and hiow the VO industry is really a Complex System (and what that means for you!)
I also talk about my VO course available over at vosuccess.com and some of the changes that are coming in the New Year.
I also touch on the importance of creating authentic relationships and growing your network and the importance that my faith has played in my journey.
Lots of great stuff this episode!!
117 - Val Kelly (MAVO 2020) Interview
Val Kelly is a bilingual, French/English Voice Actress. Val started her voice-over career in 1999 after being told her whole life how "cute" her voice is and that she should do something with it... and so she did....!!
Val has been actively booking Voice-over work for years now and had her commercial demo produced by Emmy award winning sound designer, recording engineer and producer "Uncle Roy" Yokelson. Val is currently working on her animation & animal sounds demos. Val's specialty is in voicing characters for cartoons, talking toys, apps, videogames, children's e-learning, radio & tv commercials and short films. Her clients include "Hasbro toys", "Hungry Howie's Pizza Place", "Essence Cartoons", "Roam and Wander", "Mymoonah", "The Foreign Candy Company", "Theory Films", independent YouTube videos and many more. Val is the hostess of her own podcast called "Live with Squacky". It's a unique and lively, interview style show that dives into the worlds of voice acting and entertainment.
In addition to being a Voice actress, Val is the Owner/President/CEO/Executive Producer of Mid-Atlantic Voiceover, LLC. Val is in charge of running all aspects of the company and is the Executive Producer for the Mid-Atlantic Voiceover "Get Inspired" Conference as well as the Mini MAVO online conference that take place in November. The Mini MAVO2020 Conference will take place on November 6-8, 2020 online.
116 - Jim Seybert Interview
Jim Seybert has been telling stories for more than sixty years. As a young boy he would dictate stories, telling his parents to "write this down." Fast-forward to the present, and Jim lends his clear, confident voice to some of the most interesting stories of the day: military histories, political commentary, true crime, heroic memoirs, and great fiction.
When he is not recording in his studio on California's pristine Central Coast, he walks quietly along trails in the Sierra Nevada, cooks gourmet meals for friends, and watches films with his wife Rhonda and their Chihuahua, Lucy.
115 - Edoardo Ballerini Interview
Edoardo Ballerini is a two time winner of the Audiobook Publishers Association’s Best Male Narrator Audie Award (2013, Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter; 2019, Watchers by Dean Koontz). He has recorded nearly 300 titles, from classic works by Tolstoy, Dante, Kafka, Whitman and Camus, to best-sellers by James Patterson and David Baldacci, and spiritual titles by The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn.
On screen, Ballerini is best known for his role as junkie "Corky Caporale" on The Sopranos (HBO) and as the star chef in the indie classic Dinner Rush. He has appeared in over 50 films and tv shows, including a series regular role in the critically acclaimed Quarry, (Cinemax) and recurring roles in Boardwalk Empire (HBO), 24 (Fox) and Elementary (CBS).
Ballerini's work as a narrator has garnered international attention. Articles on his work and career have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), Aftenposten (Norway) and MediaPost (US), among others. In 2019 he recorded Robert Alter’s translation of The Hebrew Bible in its entirety. In 2020 he added Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace to his growing list of titles.
He is also a two time winner of the Society of Voice Arts Award, and was recently named a “Golden Voice” by AudioFile Magazine, an honorific bestowed to only 30 narrators in the magazine’s 19 year history.
Other authors Edoardo has voiced include Tom Wolfe, Eve Ensler, Italo Calvino, Carson McCullers, Jay McInerney, Stendhal, Stephen Greenblatt, Jeffrey Deaver, Danielle Steel, Chuck Palahniuk, Louis L’Amour, Adriana Trigiani, Isabel Allende, Stieg Larsson, James Salter, Paul Theroux and Jodi Picoult.
Besides narrating audiobooks, Edoardo is also a regular contributor to Audm, where he voices articles for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, and many other publications.
He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and lives in New York.
114 - Sarah Puckett Interview
Sarah is a fan favorite for her sweetly husky voice and her passion for creating a unique audio adventure every time. She has brought over 100 books to life in audio.
Providing full narration and production services from her Midwestern home studio, American actress Sarah Puckett provides a clear and passionate read that engages listeners.
Sarah is professionally trained in narration acting, production, and audio engineering, blending these elements together to create a unique listening experience that draws the listener deeper into the story.
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This podcast has helped me realize I’m not alone in my quest to VO/VA work. I found my VA coach on one of these episodes.
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Mike is a fantastic interviewer. He invites a wide array of voiceover professionals and just let's them talk. They get to tell us newbies (me) how they got started, their ups and downs, as well as the challenges of the voiceover industry. I have really started to burn through his catalogue and find them extremely helpful! I'm binge-listening! I already know I made the mistake of doing a 6 week group VO class that ended with cutting a demo. As Val Kelley stated, "it just sat on the shelf collecting dust." To hear someone that successful talk about certain mistakes and how they overcame them is nice to hear. Thank you Mike! Keep doing what you are doing! I love your interview style.
I’m just starting out in my own journey and the things that I have learned by listening to Mike and his guests have help prepare me in so many ways, not just in technical knowledges, but what to expect from the industry and the culture of the VO community. If you are interested in voice overs, this is a great resource!