A Different Kind Of Paycheck

Voice over has been called a ‘lucrative’ career by many simply by virtue of its perceived physical ease and huge paychecks. Sometimes–but we really get rewarded in this business in many different ways: that odd mix of accomplishment and ‘guess who did it’ when the job is finished and airing; the ‘mountaintop moment’ when you book it; the intense focus and taut self-direction when auditioning. Geez–we haven’t even mentioned money yet!
But what happens when you book a job and –personally–get a lot more out of it than you bargained for?
I’d always worked toward and dreamed of the opportunity to work on an audio book and the chance finally came with a recent project via A great paying job that was right in my wheelhouse! Having never read the original work (but being very familiar with the subject matter), I was surprised to find out that the book (“Ever Increasing Faith” by Smith Wigglesworth) was not just a book in the traditional sense, but a collection of his sermons–transcribed during the time of his groundbreaking ministry. This was not going to be a narration–it had to be a portrayal!

Portraying historical figures accurately can be a real challenge because people remember them! Portrayals must bring the integrity of the characters existence and yet leave room for the artistic interpretation, however nuanced. With some of these characters there is a video or an audio reference along with a caution to not just imitate. For others, there is detailed documentation, eye witness accounts and photos that will help flesh out a general, a president, a dictator–or an evangelist.
Wigglesworth was widely known for his miracle services where great spiritual outpourings would occur. A plumber by trade and illiterate until adulthood, his is a fascinating story of great manifestation based on the simplest truths. Not eloquent of speech (nor timid by nature), he constantly found himself in front of thousands, ministering all over the world at the turn of the 20th century. In fact, many of today’s  preachers have a close connection to the principles espoused by this man. So–how do you portray such a figure? Pretty much the same way Wigglesworth functioned…by faith! But in the faithful presentation of such a powerful figure comes the unexpected benefits. A deepening…an enlightenment…an education…a renewed passion and awakening to what lies within you by way of Gods mercy and love.
Others have experienced much the same thing: Jim Caveziel, Max Von Sydow, Robert Powell all spoke of a profound difference when playing the role of a certain Galilean carpenter. Ben Kingsley said performing (Ghandi) “was one of my greatest challenges”. Several actors have taken on historical roles and by virtue of their performances, have elevated the characters to unforgettable and iconic status (Charleton Heston, Yul Brynner, Mel Gibson).
I’m pretty certain that I have NOT had that effect upon this character–rather this character and the portrayal of same has left a lasting, nay, indelible mark upon me, my outlook and my own demeanor.
Yes…voice acting is VERY lucrative in many different ways…
God Bless–and Happy Voicing!!

You CAN do it!!

Recently I’ve found myself doing a lot of personal interaction with folks (the best way to really communicate). Whether it’s questions about booth etiquette or audio description or whatever, a lot of people are trying to move forward and better themselves. But along with stepping up the game, comes the gnawing creeping feeling of–failure! ‘What if I can’t do it?’ What if it doesn’t work?’ What if they don’t like me/it?’


Two things I always like to tell people. 1. The talent or gift or anointing (if you will) that you possess will make room for you. We all have something that’s in us that we can share with others. You have it in you not FOR you, but for all of those around you to be encouraged, inspired and uplifted. Because there is a NEED for your talent, there is definitely a place for it–and YOU (Prov. 18:16–man=manKIND).

The second thing is no matter what state your career (or life) is in–never, EVER surrender!  Re-tool; re-boot; re-start;  re-consider and reCOVER!  Something my big sister Rosalind taught me: When you can’t see your way clear, step back (for a moment, deep breath); then step up into the Spirit and look down at the larger picture. You will see your solution, your place and I daresay, your victory. Never devalue or belittle yourself or your talent. When you value yourself properly, others will have to follow suit (including those clients who think VO is ‘just talking’).

As always, this blog is suitable for inspiration or bird cage lining, depending on your greatest need! Have a fabulous time and–HAPPY VOICING!!!

The Gift

My gift is unique.

My gift opens doors and destroys barriers.

My gift allows me to educate and instruct.

My gift gives me a chance to bring fantasy to life.

My gift, once set in motion, continues to do what it was purposed to do.

My gift can entertain and uplift.

My gift can aid those who can’t do for themselves.

My gift can enlighten and influence others.

By using my gift on a regular basis I, too, take part in its many benefits.

My gift IS a gift–not to be tainted with selfishness or ill will, but used for the enhancement of all.

I am a voice actor.




Finishing School

…Hello all you wonderful people.! Here we are-knee-deep into a new year and hurtling headlong toward the future. In the midst of the hustle, bustle, sturm und drang, I hope you have a chance to put things into perspective. This blog post is a reprint from 2011, but the meaning and sentiment are just as topical now as ever. Enjoy…

…so it’s 2:17am (I had a loooong nap) and I’m waiting to record yet another strange and fun-filled character…just need a little more info from my client. So, between brainstorming scripts and voicing pink zombies, I have a moment to reflect.
The denizens of ‘The Hole’ have seen a lot of changes recently–changes in location, equipment and life. We’ve said ‘goodbye’ to precious friends and family and we’ve said ‘hello’ to exciting and wonderful new opportunities and acquaintances. New friends are always cool ’cause they don’t know your foibles yet and old friends are cool ’cause they KNOW you and still love you anyway!

I am especially grateful for renewed purpose–some things never die, they simply wait for your maturity. I’m sure someone out there has a project on hold or a dream not yet realized. I was reminded of my own unfinished ‘business’ during conversations with friends and family recently. And not just reminded, but spurred into action by an inspiring message by T.D. Jakes about ‘the grace to finish’.

Image result for finish line

Time, the surprises of life and sometimes our own decisions push us into ‘I’ll do it later’-no matter how noble, necessary, or near-to-the-heart the project is. The only catch to that thinking is we don’t know how much ‘later’ we have left. So-not fatalistically or in panic- but earnestly and with direction, I look forward to ‘finishing in phases’ as T.D. put it. Reaching up on the shelf in the closet of my mind and heart to dust off that project and re-taking it one small step at a time and celebrating each step as I make it.
Now it’s on you. Well, you didn’t think I was gonna finish all this unfinished stuff by myself, did ya?!? We’ll work towards completions and finishings together and help each other along the way, if need be.
Now, get busy and remember–time is on YOUR side.
Happy Voicing…

The 60 Year Old Voice or It’s Never Too Late (unless your skull is being used as a geranium planter)

Eight years ago (12 years after my mid-life crisis. He’s 19 now and calls himself ‘The Closer’) I embarked on an adventure for the ages. A complete and total career (and life) change–a decision to take the visions and voices in my head and unleash them (in a good way) on the masses of mankind. How’s THAT for drama?

Since my last audio production stint in St. Louis (a full 30 years previous) things had changed. A LOT!! Analog became digital, audio studios moved from back lots to garages, basements and closets and thanks to technology it was now possible to produce broadcast quality audio from the comforts of home.

Sounds like a sweet set-up. All I have to do is get myself a computer and a mic, read in a deep voice and the cash just rolls in, right? Heh, heh, heh–no.

Reading, training with others, constant regular practice, constant skill sharpening and investing in the right equipment is the order of the day. The Great Don LaFontaine didn’t become the great Don LaFontaine without being ready when the opportunity arrived. Somebody didn’t show up for work and Don was ready. Not because of his legendary voice (it wasn’t legendary yet), but because he was available and had the skills. Dreams CAN come true, but you need to invest in them–in YOU. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunities, fun collaborations and great projects that I’ve been blessed to be a part of. But without the work ethic that’s needed to present yourself as a professional, voice over becomes a ‘hobby’ and not a lifelong craft.

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What has the 60 year old voice learned?

  • that no matter how gifted or talented, any ‘blade’ must be sharpened before it is effective.
  • that it’s better to show up on time and ready for work–or they’ll never remember your name.
  • that no matter how old you (or your dreams) are, you can still blow the dust off of ’em and (with a LOT of help from your friends) make them real.
  • Listen to ALL criticism–throw out the bad stuff.
  • that having a voice that is being heard is a powerful tool. Some of that power should be used to help the powerless–those who may not have a voice. A voice that is shared will get stronger everyday.
  • Reject rejection and never give up!

And finally–The people who hire you (and you audition for) deserve your absolute best! And that includes your attitude: toward the script, the director, the engineer, the equipment and all those others who are listening. Humility gets you remembered; haughtiness gets you edited out.

The Legendary (?) Herb Merriweather is extremely grateful and God-ly thankful to be turning 60 this year and has plans to voice epics, laugh at himself and enjoy his time “In A World…” for at least another 60 years…



Thanks, Dad–For Everything!


For being so excited by the news of our impending arrival, that you actually say YOU are pregnant, too.

For the 2:00 am feeding/changing. They’re a lot more fun when you do ’em!

For smiling and lifting us up when we face plant into the floor.

For having tea with The Dainty Ladies Social Society (and having the prettiest hat!)


For hitting all those grounders, tossing all those footballs, kicking all those soccer balls, dribbling all those basketballs and training, chauffering, and coaching some of the greatest athletes on the planet.

Thanks for putting aside selfish attitudes and maintaining a relationship with me–even though you and Mom (might not be) together anymore.

For coming to our rescue in the middle of a cold, rainy night (AFTER you advised us to get that spare tire. We didn’t.)

For some of the greatest fashion faux-pas in history (love me some Dad Plaid)!

For working all those crazy hours for my (choose one): a. skateboard  b. college education  c. Hello Kitty Ensemble  d. music lessons  e. all of the above

For bailing us out of jail after we went out with those people you warned us about.

For some of the corniest gags, re-told stories and best slapstick this side of The Stooges (‘Pull my finger–NOT THAT ONE!!!’)

For making Momma giggle. I don’t know what that means, but when Momma is happy, we is ALL happy…

For loving us, caring for us, coaching us, covering us, backing us up, praying for us and all points in between.

Thanks, Dad–for everything…

Welcome to–‘The Hole’…


As an “old school” creative artist, I find that I have to surround myself with pads of paper and scads of pens/pencils/markers. Mainly because creativity is unpredictable–it may hit you anywhere, anytime! Many times I’ll come home from a day of networking (or just working) with all kinds of napkins, notes, scribbles and scratches–all creative tidbits to be acted out, acted upon or optioned for action in the future.
My longsuffering and lovely wife, Cora (watching as I empty my pockets of all this ‘creativity’)immediately ushers me and my stuff into the one place in our home where my creative crap is not only welcome, but necessary. The sanctum sanctorum known as ‘The Hole’!

‘The Hole’ (better known by its nickname-‘The Hole’)is the place of peace…the cove of creativity…the oasis of artistry. It’s a place where lunacy and alliteration collide with very interesting effects. Birthplace of Big Mike, Tuff Guy Percy and a host of other unusual characters, it is less man-cave in it’s usefullness but more like an intimate sound stage. Indeed, sound takes center stage as we work with voices, music and sound effects to come up with something that will inform, entertain and amuse.
Here are some of the house rules of ‘The Hole’:
1. All are welcome (especially kids…they always hang around outside listening to all the mayhem going on inside.)
2. It’s a place of solace–not only do I show up to work, but I also show up to meditate and pray.
3. No cussin’ spittin’ or fightin’ (although some yellin’, screamin’ and singin’ is allowed!)
I’m sure that everyone should have a special place to pray, create, work and laugh. It may not all happen in the same room, but be sure to carve yourself out some precious space: to be who you are, to sharpen your craft, exercise your gift and entertain the world! 

God Bless–and Happy Voicing!

Happy Mother’s Day To Those Who Didn’t Give Birth (but they didn’t let that stop them)

I don’t have any pictures of her, but 59 years ago Ruby Blevins (later she married Leroy Smith) took on a herculean task–trying to turn me into a useful, productive member of society. My stepmom (through arrangement with my REAL mom–it’s a long, crazy story) loved me, shaped me, sharpened me and turned me loose on an unsuspecting world. 

She was a fanatic for education, so she surrounded me with books of all kinds–everything from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen to Alex Haley to Mickey Spillane to Iceberg Slim. She was a believer and a disciplinarian and (although she never went) she made certain I was in attendance in Parochial school (which was like church everyday). I was blessed with a mother who was a bit older so I was exposed to history and discussion other kids my age had no knowledge of.



I remember scratching her head for her while she yelled at the television when watching ‘Wrestling at the Chase’. I remember her sneaking shots from a glass hidden behind the toaster. After a few ‘cocktails’, she would go to the piano and play ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’. She would play–and I would sing. I remember she had the loudest, goofiest laugh I’d ever heard on a woman. Her laugh (which always ended with a loud ‘OOOoooo, LORD’) was laugh-inducing.

I remember her always for her work in my life–her patience, her discipline, her sacrifice. I wasn’t her kid–but you’d better not try to say that to her…

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO THOSE WHO DIDN’T GIVE BIRTH (but they didn’t let that stop them)…

Blind Media Professionals Open Hollywood’s Eyes to Watching TV

Blind Media Professionals Open Hollywood’s Eyes to Watching TV

Make Media Accessible Event and Live Streaming Interactive Webcast Set for May 14; Entertainment Industry, Educators and Disability Community Invited to Attend 
Los Angeles, CA. (April 29, 2014) — Nationally renowned video description expert Rick Boggs, of Audio Eyes, LLC. and his team of production professionals who supply video description for broadcast TV networks, will demonstrate the process they use to produce effective video description in a May 14, 2014 event and webcast at

The event, “Inside Video Description: How Pictures Become Words,” will take place from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. (PST) in Burbank at the Dolby Labs, Umlang Theater, 3601 West Alameda Avenue BurbankCA 91505, along with the live interactive webcast on

“This is a unique opportunity to bring together Hollywood executives, TV producers, educators and a number of professionals from within the disability community to reveal state-of-the-art techniques on ways professionals with vision loss are adding value to the description production process,” says Rick Boggs, whose company, Audio Eyes LLC, provides accessible media services to the entertainment community.

Boggs and his team will demonstrate his company’s Quality Control Process to those attending the event as well as broadcast it online in partnership with the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), the nation’s largest free-loan educational described and captioned media library.

Boggs believes all these communities have a great deal to learn from one another in making commercial and educational media accessible.

Josh Miele, director, Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC) agrees. “We all find ourselves wondering how to make media more usable and enjoyable for persons without sight.  We wonder about the cost and the time involved in making media accessible, and how to tell whether the video description accommodation is effective and worthwhile to students and consumers,”

In particular, Miele and Boggs believe this process offers the film and television industry, the creators of America’s most powerful cultural and economic export, a new opportunity to make media inclusive and to work inclusively with “disabled” professionals.

A television celebrity host and a nationally renowned video description expert will lead a demonstration and discussion to review the process and to answer questions.

“Holding the event in Burbank will give executives and producers from Hollywood who attend the chance to see firsthand the live demonstration of the critical video description quality control process, with plenty of time to ask questions about how the process can impact their work,” says Boggs.

He adds that blind consumers who attend the web event will be invited to submit their comments and questions live during the video description process.  He also notes that those with vision loss will have an unprecedented opportunity to learn about professional opportunities in the field of accessible media.

About Audio Eyes: The company is a leading provider of video description and accessible media for broadcast television networks, major movie studios, independent filmmakers, educational institutions, and government agencies. Based in Los Angeles, Audio Eyes was founded by Rick Boggs, a blind audio engineer and pioneer who has championed the inclusion of blind professionals in the production of description and accessible media. His commitment saw him awarded the California Governor’s Trophy and the Barry Levine Memorial Award for Audio Description. Audio Eyes describers, engineers and producers have delivered Video Description for first run and syndicated TV shows, theatrical movies, DVDs, award winning documentaries and online published videos. Additionally, they have extensive experience producing audio dramas, audio books, music, radio programs, radio ads, and a variety of business-to-business audio products. For more information, visit

About The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP): The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides the nation’s largest free-loan educational described and captioned media library. DCMP also offers an accessible media information center, providing information on accessible media, a database of accessible media available for purchase, and guidelines for vendors and other wishing to learn to add description and captioning to media. DCMP has also developed an accessible event/webinar platform, providing an accessible event experience for attendees who are deaf or blind. The DCMP is administered by the National Association of the Deaf and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. More information is available online at

For information contact:

Rick Boggs: 818-439-9698


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Micah Grossman: 818-815-5865



Ruth Dickerson: God Bless The Queen

…”That’s Esther McIsacc and the Gospel Girls singing ‘Showers Of Blessings’. And you are listening to the ‘Showers Of Blessings’ program. I’m your host, Ruth Dickerson and we are going to continue on with the music because when the praises go up, the blessings come down.”

gospel music image

The smooth, comforting voice that spoke those words has opened thousands of night-time radio broadcasts in Los Angeles. For over 50 years, the great Ruth Dickerson has presided over gospel music; speaking in mellow, measured tones and ministering to all insomniacs. She was more than a ‘radio personality’.  She was a gospel music historian, playing everything from the obscure to the popular; she played the hits and some of the misses. When people talk about ‘free form radio’ and it’s influence during the 60’s and 70’s, it was Ruth Dickerson who was among the first in broadcasting to go beyond a playlist and play music that was neither heavily promoted nor performed by ‘stars’. It was simply great music and she would put it on the air, no matter who wrote it!

My first night in the KALI 900 AM studios with her was both exciting–and harrowing. Having already been coached by my sister Rosalind (“Don’t screw up! Don’t try to talk on the air! Sit quiet and LEARN something!”), I didn’t want to make any mistakes–or turn out to BE one. She came into the studio that night carrying two huge cloth shopping bags full of CD’s and cassettes. She had a box of Vinyl LP’s in her car. She had everything from Sister Rosetta Tharpe to the O’Neal Twins to James Cleveland to Mahalia Jackson to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Mass Choir (featuring a young musician by the name of Kirk Franklin). Her music collection was a combination of star power mixed in with ‘who was that’. She looked over her glasses at me sitting there grinning at her. Before I knew it, she was introducing me on the air! In the 3 seconds that it took her to say “Brother Herb Merriweather” and turn on the mic in front of me, my tongue swelled, my eyes popped, and a lump the size of East St. Louis rose in my throat. I remember mumbling something about being blessed to be there and thanks for the opportunity. Sister Ruth KNEW she had surprised and stunned me. She smiled and started showing me how to keep the music logs.  As time passed she allowed me even more on-air opportunities, even referring to me as her ‘co-host’

on the air image

She was a wonderfully stern teacher who loved God and His music. She didn’t suffer fools nor foolishness as was evident in the way she chided preachers and laymen alike about doing things the right way.  She was set in her ways and that was a good thing because more often that not, her way was the right one. She instructed me on matters of radio etiquette and advertising principles. She worked with me and gave me substantial airtime to read announcement and commercials. But it wasn’t all work and seriousness. I had built a rapport with the late night/early morning listeners and we started ‘The Coffee Club’–with listeners calling in with their freshly brewed beverages in one hand while making requests over the phone.

I was especially saddened and hurt to hear of her passing last week. She was like a grandmother to me–guiding  and instructing me fearlessly and challenging me to rise above the ‘mess’ that she used to dislike so much.

She has gone on to be with the Lord her King–and on to her new job as program director and night-time personality on HEVN Radio…