THE LATEST – JIMMY’S BLOG

Circus Couture “Lucky”

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Plenty of action has happened since my last post — i.e. Hollywood Fringe Fest, Spiegelworld workshop in New York, film projects with Light Forge Studios, the list goes on — but few things struck as special of a chord as this year’s Circus Couture event, Lucky.

Now in its seventh year, Circus Couture is a Las Vegas charity raising money for pediatric cancer research and treatment through exciting circus, fashion and art events. Every year they put on a huge circus/fashion show/performance at The Joint in Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. This year, I was “lucky” enough to be cast in their new show on October 7th as the lead character, Chance.

Being involved in such a great cause was a true blessing. This year’s event raised almost $350,000, putting the charity’s cumulative donations past the $1 million mark.

Another perk was performing alongside extremely talented friends, both old and new. From former Zarkana colleagues, to long-ago technician friends, to new clown compatriots, models, designers and more, we packed a lifetime of goodwill in a very short amount of time.

Read the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s recap.

And here are a few photos of yours truly from the show. Hope to work with these folks again in future years!

Non Stop Thrill Ride

There has been quite a lot going on since the announcement of Zarkana’s closing back in December ’15.

Mystere-ious

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Photo by Carlos Lopez

I wasted no time in securing at least a part-time/on-call gig with another Cirque show, Mystere at Treasure Island. I’ve already been rocking about a dozen shows, and it’s been a total blast. The Benny the Clown/Brian Le Petite character is right up my alley and a breeze to work on.

Voicing Loud and Clear

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The voice over career is on a steady marathon toward success. I’ve been trying to diversify my client base—from cold calls to pay-to-play sites, from friend referrals to voice over rosters—and the next step in the works is courting agents.

Have been working with a new coach in order to build up my commercial skills, Nancy Wolfson of Braintracks Audio. She’s a rockstar in the commercial voice over coaching arena, and she has a no-nonsense attitude and a very clear technical roadmap that I’m taking to quite handily.

A notable recent gig is actually close to home. I am the voice over on the on-property ads for The Donny and Marie Show at the Flamingo Las Vegas!

Also, this is my new Voice Over Website!

Boobie Trap!

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Now that I have a bit more free time on my hands, I’ll be making myself available for more interesting appearances in LA. Not the least of which is the increasingly popular Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap.

My ‘partner’ Jenna is being a real doll and joining me on Scot’s stage for the May 11th show.

Look at info and buy your tickets right here!

Punch and Judy

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Speaking of LA stages, it’s time to dust off the old theatre acting chops! Old pal and collaborator from the Defiant Theatre days Christopher Johnson has suckered me into acting in a new play that he’s writing and directing for the Hollywood Fringe Festival in LA in June. It’s a live action Punch and Judy, and yes, I’m playing Punch. Lots of stage fighting, blood, guts and guns—typical for a Chris Johnson creation. Performances will be held at The Complex in Hollywood’s Theatre Row.

Details and tickets here at the Fringe website. 

Jimmy’s New Year (SPOILER: It’s got a lot of NEW)

2016 comes in swinging, and the roller coaster of life just adds new tracks and loop-dee-loops and barrel rolls and well you get the metaphor.

Zarkana Curtain Closing

In December Cirque announced that MGM will terminate its contract with Zarkana at the Aria, and the show will close on April 30, 2016. It’s the second time in a row that a hotel closed a show I was in. I hope I’m not the bad luck charm. I began a new job search less than 30 seconds after the announcement was made.

Zarkana Stage

On to Mystere

So I’ve accepted a position as on-call clown at Mystere at Treasure Island in the role of Brian Le Petit. It’s different than a regular on-call position in that the full-time guy takes around 4 months off a year AND every Wednesday. So I’m guaranteed one night a week and a chunk of the rest of the year.

The Brian Le Petit clown role is kind of the holy grail of cirque clowning. Created by the legendary Wayne Hronek, and currently played (for the past 15+ years) by the amazing Brian Dewhurst (pictured below), it’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen, and I’m super honored to get to take a crack at it. Wasting no time, I’ll have my first performances in February and will be doing double duty with Zarkana until it closes.

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The Steady Rise of Voice Over

At the same time, I’ve been chipping away slowly but steadily at voice over work, landing a small handful of gigs and planning on taking more classes and workshops. My upcoming reduced performance schedule will afford me a lot more time to focus on VO work.

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Blowing Up

I was honored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal by having my Jimmy and Jenna act named the Funniest Act of 2015.

More Time In Front of the Camera

The short film A Man Wakes Up is winding down its whirlwind tour of the film festival circuit. There are still some screenings to come, but it’s been very well received and has even garnered some awards.

Meanwhile, much of the same team has gotten back together to film another short, this time by Anais Thomassian, aka Penny Pibbets. Titled No Soliciting, the story mainly revolves around the building of a kooky new friendship. The tall, dark and brilliant Voki Kalfayan returns in the directing chair, and Light Forge Studios again provides production magic.

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Also, two different shorts I filmed in LA in 2014 are finally starting to see the light of day. Clowntown by Cody Goodfellow and directed by John Skipp and Andrew Kasch has been making the (mostly horror) festival rounds.

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California Dreaming by Sahirr Sethhi just finished post production and will be screened at An Evening of Thesis Shorts at UCLA in February.

Let’s keep the good vibes buzzing and creative juices flowing! Happy New Year!

Demo Numero Uno! Now What?

At long last my first demo is completed and ready to take on the world!

I hadn’t counted on my first demo dropped to be my Narration Demo, I had planned for my Commercial Demo to be first, but scheduling dictated otherwise. My Commercial Demo is due any day now.

It has been an interesting, steady road with some twists and turns, and the arrival of my first demo marks a considerable milestone in the beginnings of this new venture.

But now what?

There are several people to thank at this juncture, starting with Dave Courvosier for his initial generous advice many months ago, which led me to Cristina Milizia’s force-to-be-reckoned-with Global Voice Acting Academy.

The GVAA provided what I was so desperately in need of at the beginning—an actionable plan. Everyone’s journey in VO is a different one, and it’s a Herculean task in itself to figure out how to navigate the correct steps needed to proceed. Cristina and her team took much care and thought into my background, goals, budget, etc. and laid out a very clear, month-by-month game plan. Of course it was all prefaced with the fact that it was only an outline from which to deviate from at will or by necessity.

It’s clear to me that I need to be forever a student. Constant, regular classes and workshops are a must. But for the aspiring VO talent, where do I go from there? I gotta buy a microphone at SOME point, gotta find an area to record, gotta start working on the VO page of my website, courting agents, pay-to-play sites, the list goes on! All these pieces laid out like a jigsaw puzzle, which do I grab first, then second? Cristina’s plan helped for sure, but I took her advice and deviated from it after much gut-checking and instinct-listening. For one thing, I took more time than her timeline suggested by almost double. I spent a good while with GVAA teacher David Rosenthal on both Commercial and Narration VO. Then, when I felt the time was right, the demo process began.

All the while, my local VO connection, the great Voice Actors Studio in Henderson, NV was slipping from my fingers. Our schedules were out of sync, and I hadn’t been hitting the face-to-face workshops as much as I’d planned. I know I’ll make it back there eventually to get some more invaluable guidance from the indefatigable Melissa Moats and her team.

I built my home studio, procured my mic and interface, enlisted the help from VO tech genius George Whittam, listened to tons of podcasts, commercials, industrials, set up my membership on Voices.com, practiced auditioning—basically did all the things I thought a good, budding VO professional should be doing.

I came to realize that my demos should only be produced by the best in the business. And for commercial demos, Chuck Duran at DemosThatRock.com is second to none. His price tag reflects his quality, but I was in a place financially to be able to swing it, so I began the process. I think he’s the Demo Whisperer. In our few Skype meetings, I could tell he knew the VO landscape better than anyone and was able to nail my strengths in a snap. The recording process was hard work and a real pleasure. I’m so looking forward to the results (any day now!)

As for my narration demo, I sought out THE workhorse in the Narration VO racket, Bill Dewees. He knows narration and makes mint doing it. It was a no-brainer to go to him for my narration demo. He has such a easy-going, nurturing, sage-like way about his craft, and he taught me so much in our brief time of recording my demo. I’m super pleased with the results.

But now that the demos are in, the daunting question remains—what now? Like I said, student for life. Plugging away at practice, classes, workshops, and coaching. Marketing is also an ever-present beast to tackle. I have a hard time settling on how to market myself truthfully and at the same time set myself apart from the growing number of VO talent out there.

I’m going to be calling in a lot of favors from my VO friends, both old and new, to help me in my continued journey. The marathon is underway, and I’m loving the burn!

Advice, encouragement, wisdom are always welcome in my comments or at me directly. Wheeeee!!!