Monday, April 17, 2006

Am I more famous than I think?

Often, actors are thought of as having enormously inflated notions of their share of the public mindspace. And someone of my insufferable arrogance might be expected to follow in this noble tradition of thespians afflicted with delusions of grandeur. But could it be that I am actually more famous than I think I am, rather than less?

I was surfing the net, engaged in a typically vain activity: searching for reviews of a History Channel documentary I narrated. It's part of their highly-touted "10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America" series. (The Episode is "Gold Rush".) The seventh result of my Google Search was this. His review of the episode was luekwarm, but what struck me was the following quote:

Narrated by voice-actor Zachary Drake (you'll recognize his voice from numerous documentaries and commercials), this installment of "10 Days" comes off as nothing very special.
This lept out at me immediately and of course my ego began to inflate. I had thought of myself as something of a fledgeling voiceover artist. But it turns out that the author of this review (one Raul Burriel by name) is convinced that his readers would recognize my voice! Maybe I am famous ALREADY, and just don't realize it yet! Maybe everyone has heard my deeply moving performance in the role of Bodrus, a shopkeeper encountered about 6 hours into the 2002 computer game Dungeon Siege. Or maybe everyone tuned in to hear my radio commercial for Ford, even though it only aired in the Bay Area during baseball games. Or maybe an industrial for Borland Software touting their Integrated Development Environment was my breakout performance. Or that indie film I was in that hasn't even been finished yet (and the only relevant Google hits you get when you search for it are my own resume and that of one of the other actors.)

At any rate, if I have in fact done "numerous documentaries and commercials", I demand that the producers of said pieces immediately 1: Give me my money; 2: Inform me which documentaries and commercials I was in, so that I might add them to my resume; and 3: Send me copies of these works posthaste so that I might admire my undoubtedly sublime performances.

Upon further reflection, what I suspect happened is that the dilligent Raul Burriel, who wished to comment a bit on each of the narrators (others include Martin Sheen and Campbell Scott), Googled me, found my voiceover page (it's the first thing that comes up if you Google "Zachary Drake"), listened to my demos, and naively assumed that the commercial and narration segments presented therein were from real work I had done. Poor fool. He doesn't know how voiceover demos are produced. If you don't have enough REAL work, you pay your demo producer to FAKE IT. And when I made that demo, I had done NOTHING. Nada. Zip. How do you think I got my first work? By making that demo to prove I could do it! Here's how it works: You use real scripts, but you overdub phoney music and sound effects to make it sound like a real commercial or narration. It costs a lot of money. It takes a lot of time. But if it fooled one reveiwer into thinking my voice is a household sound, it was worth it! To say nothing of the modest amount of work it actually has generated for me, including probably the very History Channel documentary about which Mr. Burriel was so pointedly unenthusiastic.


Blogger Anthony said...

Yikes! It looks like it's just as competitive here in the States as it is in Singapore. Small fish, small pond versus big fish, big pond and all.

9:44 PM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

To top it off, the director of the indie film I mentioned in this post just e-mailed me that he actually SAW the Gold Rush show, not knowing I was in it. And he did NOT recognize my voice, even though he acknowledges that it's highly recognizable and I had a starring role in his film (and it was not a silent film!).

10:14 AM, May 01, 2006  

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