Sunday, June 20, 2010

They Had Voices Then

...and they still do...

For my own amusement I thought I would start a series of posts on special voices.

One of the instruments of the actor is their voice. However, in recent times - the last 20 years or so - there's been a move towards a more naturalistic style of acting and the public often seems unaware of the great voices we've enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, in our TV and movie screens.

I like to listen to audiobooks sometimes in my car as I commute to work, and also enjoy poetry readings when I'm in the mood. As a member of the audience, I've noticed that even good actors are often not the best at either of these things, or even in making a dull documentary subject interesting. Having a beautiful and special voice that can move an audience, or keep us interested in a long book, or a lovely poem, is a special gift.

My first post features three actors who I love to listen to: Richard Armitage, Sean Bean, and Alan Rickman. Click on the videos below to hear Armitage and Rickman read poetry, and Bean reading the prologue from a wonderful audiobook:

Thank you for reading and listening...more posts about my favorite voices to follow soon...

Update: has a great interview from Naxos Audiobooks with Richard Armitage, He talks about the audiobook he recently recorded, The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer. Armitage discusses the difference between acting on stage or on film and using only your voice. You can hear the interview HERE.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

TATORT - Scene of The Crime - My Favorite Police Series

Scene of the Crime, as we know it here in the US, or TATORT, is a very, very, long running (1970-present) German/Austrian/Swiss television series. The series has followed, and features, a large number of detectives in different cities throughout Germany and Austria.

For most of the US however, (thanks to the MHZ Networks) our two Tatort detectives are the intrepid duo from Cologne, Max Ballauf played by Klaus Behrendt, and Freddy Schenk, played by Dietmar Bar. The basic foundation of the partnership is the friendship between the two lead characters. Max, the boss, is the good looking one who can't commit to a woman, or even an apartment, and who often makes decisions based on his emotions rather than his intellect. Freddy is the family man, who is the rotund comic relief of the series, but in an interesting twist, also the more intellectual of the two. They are aided by their very smart Assistant/Girl Friday, Franziska, played by Tessa Mittelstaedt. (I think all women working in a very male dominated environment can relate toFranziska).

We are very lucky that after what seemed like years of repeats, MHZ Networks has now started to show new episodes of Scene of the Crime on select Sunday and Tuesday nights. In the last new episode a madman is killing off Max's old girlfriends and leaving him all kinds of ominous clues and threats. Even worse, Max is taking care of his ailing cousin's young daughter. Of course, Max is incredibly insecure about taking care of children, so family man Freddy comes to the rescue. I won't say more for those that may catch the episode in a repeat showing (believe me, there will be a repeat showing on MHZ). I liked this episode because they explored the psychological consequences of unintended acts while giving us another glimpse of the detectives' personal lives.

Scene of the Crime/Tatort has many elements that will be familiar to viewers of police detective series around the world. What gives it a different and special twist to me is that the series deals with the grey areas in life, both good and bad people are flawed human beings, and the detectives are not always smart and invincible.

If you love mysteries and police dramas, hope you get a chance to see Scene of the Crime.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Making Movies - Directors on Directing

The Movie Business

Selecting the Right Cast

From Idea to Production

How to get your Film into Theaters

Thank you to YouTube - Happy Anniversary!

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