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Let’s Make a Podcast

Podcasts have made my life better. I binged S-Town and was brought to a complete standstill when I heard the final five minutes of the second episode. I listen to Tony Kornheiser’s podcast daily. He is even more entertaining on the podcast than he is on PTI.  I listen to Bill Simmons, Conan O’Brien, and Oprah. When Diane Rehm left radio, I missed her. Now she’s back in my life with her podcast.

If you are not familiar with podcasts, let me explain to you the way I explained the concept to my mother. Imagine if talk radio had a DVR and you had access to a million shows. Yep! There is an entire world of audio content waiting for you at your convenience.

I listen to podcasts while I drive, sleep, exercise, mow. I listen while I cook, clean, fold clothes. I enjoy doing things that once bored me to tears, because now I can listen to a podcast while I sit on a hard, wooden chair in a drab waiting room, drinking stale coffee as my car gets a new set of tires. Even that sentence is boring. But my wait time is not – because I am listening to a podcast.

Which brings me to this ultra-cool announcement. I am producing a podcast with best-selling author Penny Reid!

Here is the announcement Penny posted on Facebook:

“Green Valley Views and News Podcast! IT’S COMING! 
The Green Valley Views and News Podcast is coming in August and will feature Chris Brinkley reprising his role as Cletus Winston. Cletus will be talking about all the news fit to be spoken and will have many, many, many special guests from around Green Valley. Joy Nash will be reprising her role as Jennifer and will be sharing 1-recipe per episode, including her infamous banana cake. 
Chris Brinkley (as himself) will also be using the second part of the podcast to interview local Nashville musicians, authors writing for 
Smartypants Romance (i.e. in the “Pennyverse”) and reading excerpts of their upcoming books.”

I get to host, interview, act, produce, and be a part of something that is going to be great. Thank you Penny!

My ultimate goal is to give back to the podcast universe what the podcast universe has given to me. We’re in the audio lab now cooking up the magic recipe now. Stay tuned…….

Sometimes advice is planted like a seed within you and sprouts years later when you least expect it.

One piece of advice I heard several years ago now rings true to me. I think I would have had more success at an earlier age if I would have understood the meaning of the words. Instead, I stubbornly fought against it. The advice was simple and enigmatic, like something Mr. Miyagi would say to Danielson in The Karate Kid. I heard the words, but I didn’t put it all together. Until later.

The advice:

“Take what you consider to be your weakness, and lean into it.”

As I read it again, I fully understand my lack of initial comprehension. It is vague advice that is counterintuitive. Why would I “lean into” my weakness? A weakness is a disadvantage.

My perceived disadvantage was my Southern accent. Let’s just say that I sounded like I was from Tennessee. Because, well, I am from Tennessee.

In high school, I decided I wanted to be a sports broadcaster, therefore, I needed to speak General American. I wanted to sound like Marv Albert, Vin Scully, and Jim Nance. I diligently studied voice and diction, linguistics, and dialect in college. I learned all about my Southern accent and did everything in my power to make it go away. Then years later, when my career passion turned to voice over work, I would occasionally audition for projects that required a genuine Southern accent. I knew I knew how to do that. My accent had been my long-time foe. I knew it well. We had battled and I had won. To my surprise, I began getting a lot of work that spotlighted my natural Tennessee accent. Those projects were my most lucrative and prestigious. Apparently, I was good at it. So, I embraced it- “leaned into it.” When I realized that my perceived weakness was my greatest strength, my voice over career blossomed. My Tennessee accent separated me from the masses. It was genuine. It was me.

Thanks for the Advice

Sometimes advice is planted like a seed within you and sprouts years later when you least expect it.

One piece of advice I heard several years ago now rings true to me. I think I would have had more success at an earlier age if I would have understood the meaning of the words. Instead, I stubbornly fought against it. The advice was simple and enigmatic, like something Mr. Miyagi would say to Danielson in The Karate Kid. I heard the words, but I didn’t put it all together. Until later.

The advice:

“Take what you consider to be your weakness, and lean into it.”

As I read it again, I fully understand my lack of initial comprehension. It is vague advice that is counterintuitive. Why would I “lean into” my weakness? A weakness is a disadvantage.

My perceived disadvantage was my Southern accent. Let’s just say that I sounded like I was from Tennessee. Because, well, I am from Tennessee.

In high school, I decided I wanted to be a sports broadcaster, therefore, I needed to speak General American. I wanted to sound like Marv Albert, Vin Scully, and Jim Nance. I diligently studied voice and diction, linguistics, and dialect in college. I learned all about my Southern accent and did everything in my power to make it go away. Then years later, when my career passion turned to voice over work, I would occasionally audition for projects that required a genuine Southern accent. I knew I knew how to do that. My accent had been my long-time foe. I knew it well. We had battled and I had won. To my surprise, I began getting a lot of work that spotlighted my natural Tennessee accent. Those projects were my most lucrative and prestigious. Apparently, I was good at it. So, I embraced it- “leaned into it.” When I realized that my perceived weakness was my greatest strength, my voice over career blossomed. My Tennessee accent separated me from the masses. It was genuine. It was me.

D-Day in HD

I have never met Clarence “Mac” Evans, but I feel like I know him. In 2014, I voiced the younger version of Mac for the D-Day in HD documentary produced by The History Channel. If I were to meet him today, I would shake his hand and simply say “thank you”. I would thank him for the incredible bravery that he and his fellow soldiers showed on that fateful day. It is truly unforgettable.

I was told by the film’s casting director that Mac and I sounded alike. Our cadence and voice would match as my younger voice would blend into his. My role was to repeat lines from the transcript of Mac’s on-camera interviews conducted for the documentary. When actual footage of the invasion was shown, a younger version of Mac, my voice, was used. His words were simple, yet powerful. He was a humble man who didn’t want to garner attention for his heroic sacrifice. It was obvious to me that he hadn’t talked about that day very much. High school history teachers probably spend more time discussing D-Day than Mac Evans. The unfortunate truth is that he lived it and therefore didn’t need to discuss it. Thankfully, he shared his story for The History Channel.

Months after the recording sessions were over, I sat in my living room on D-Day, June 6, and watched the finished product with tears in my eyes. Mac Evans was truly a hero, as were all the young men who were called upon that day. Their first-hand accounts of the events were raw and honest. It stirred me in a way that I never expected. This year marked the 75th anniversary of the event. Several D-Day veterans returned to Normandy and told their stories. As a voice actor and narrator, I have told hundreds of stories. But none have had more of an impact on me than the words of Mac Evans.