Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Early September happenings.



Hello from a sunny Soho.



                                                                                                                                                              

So much has been happening lately that I haven’t had time to write the blog. Does that sound like a good excuse?



Highlights:

We haven’t just been basking in the sunshine lately, we’ve actually been doing work too. Here are some of our favourite jobs:


3. Laila Morse (aka Big Mo from Eastenders) came in to record a piece and she was wonderful.

2. Gorgeous Tara Palmer-Tomkinson came in to record some commercials and we got a snap of her with Chris.
1.  We met Colin Salmon!

 
























Radio:

Charles is this week gracing the airwaves for Radio Derby. You can hear him from 1pm-4pm every day and judging by his facebook entries, he’s having a great time.


Sitcom:

Our Beth and her writing partner Amy Shindler wrote a sitcom called “Pat and Cabbage”.  http://www.itvmedia.co.uk/pat-and-cabbage The first episode is on ITV1 on Thursday 5th September at 8.30pm.  We’re so proud of Beth and Amy, and we can exclusively reveal that it is really very good.  Here’s a link to the trailer on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS7mr5wUx80


You can contact us through our facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/A1-VOX-Sound-studios-in-Soho-London/180123040975  



Monday, 8 April 2013

Is it April already?

Hello! It’s been very busy here lately and here are some of our highlights:


New Bin!
We got a new bin! It’s terribly exciting, so exciting that I couldn’t work out how to take a picture of it without getting myself caught in its general shininess. Still, I suppose that’s why I’m answering the phones and not in charge of the technical stuff in the studio…


Dog!
If you’ve been following our facebook page you’ll see that we had a dog and his owner in the studio. Stephane and Laika were out for their daily walk when he got a call for a voice-over and so he bought Laika with him! She was the friendliest, loveliest dog and is welcome back any time.



Training:
Charles has been doing some one-to-one voice-over training recently helping a very nice Man who’s going to voice a documentary type series and it sounds like it’s going brilliantly. Whilst we were out for lunch the other day, Charles surprised both me and the waiter when he asked for a bag of the restaurants’ used wine bottle corks. I was a bit worried that Charles had some kind of cork sniffing problem, but it turns out that he uses them in training! Something to do with developing enunciation, apparently. Of course that must explain all the old corks I keep finding in the green room….


Her Majesty:
While we’re on the subject of Charles’ shenanigans he casually dropped into conversation the other day that he wouldn’t be in the office as he was in charge of the broadcast of BBC Radio Oxford’s Maundy Thursday coverage. Here he is in “Hello” Magazine. http://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/2013032811826/queen-oxford-easter-service/ Oh ok, there isn’t really a picture of Charles, but The Queen looks lovely.


Highlights:
We’ve been fabulously busy lately and some of my favourites (in reverse order) were:

3. Peppa Pig coming in!

2. A lovely man voicing a talking washing machine

1. An ice-cream advert being recorded while it was snowing a blizzard outside!


Of course you’ve seen how terrible I am at taking photos (reference the Bin) so you’ll just have to take my word for these fabulous voice-overs. I’ll do better in future I promise.


Being Social:
Come and say Hello on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/A1-VOX-Sound-studios-in-Soho-London/180123040975 when you’re there next, we’ll also be on twitter soon too.


Lastly – enjoy spring now that it looks like it’s here.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Hello! Want to know what's been going on with us lately?  Well, read on....

 

A1 VOX Museum:
Last week when it was almost spring like (or was that spring?) I had a few days leave and went to visit the Jane Austen museum http://www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk/. It was perfect; we got to see her writing desk, her garden, her beautiful house and her wonderful gift shop! It all made me wonder what an A1 VOX museum would celebrate in years to come. Would it be the microphone in Studio A which has been used by the great and the good of showbiz,


Would it be the wall of photos outside the booth?

Is that Basil Brush?!


Or the control desk where Chris weaves his magic?



 Lastly, perhaps it would be a spotlit picture of a well worn pencil, resting on a script in Studio B.






Game of Thrones bingo:
Chris and I are big fans of both the books and the TV series, Game of Thrones so I was excited to meet Owen Teale (http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Owen_Teale) a couple of weeks ago (we didn’t take a photo, we were just a bit too giddy). Owen plays Alisser Thorne of the Night Watch in the show and he makes a great “Man of the Black” and was happy to talk to Chris and me a little about his character. It was such a treat. Then, Ralph Ineson (http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Ralph_Ineson) who plays Dagmar Cleftjaw, an ‘Ironborn Reaver’ popped in a couple of times too. I’m not sure what we’d do if the boy who plays evil King Joffrey came by but I’m sure we’d be ever friendly and professional!



Lunchtime celeb spotting:
I’m sorry to report that I haven’t seen any celebs in Soho in 2 weeks – I assume they’ve got wise to my search and that they are all slinking around in disguise now. I’ll try harder in future. However, our Tracy spotted Louie Spence in the restaurant downstairs!



A1 VOX studio A celeb spotting:
Not sure why I’m searching high and low in Soho for Celebs when they’re right here making themselves comfortable in our studio. This week alone we’ve had the very very tall broadcaster and historian Dan Snow, and the very very cool actor Philip Glenister.



Nothing funnier than a talking animal:
Whilst working very hard, I happened to find myself on YouTube looking at ‘funny voiceovers’. I’ve watched the first clip of this video 5 times and it is still making me chuckle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ1HKCYJM5U







Thursday, 21 February 2013

February 2013


Hello, didn’t February come round fast?

It’s been an action packed fortnight at A1 VOX, Chris has had a successful operation on his dodgy knee and Jamie wore the studio manager hat while he was recovering. I don’t mean that literally, there isn’t an actual studio manager hat, but there really should be. We’ve been recording ‘on hold’ messages for clients like mad this week, I’m a big fan of a good hold message because although we’d all love our phone call to be answered within 3 rings (like we do at A1 VOX!), it’s just not always possible, so I do like to be told what number in the queue I am, or how desperately someone is rushing to answer my call.

Last week, for the 3rd time in 2 months, Charles took the big silver suitcase that resides in our office and disappeared for a few hours. I’ll admit that the first time this happened I thought he was a spy, but I’ve since learned that he was doing an outside broadcast for one of our clients…… The mysteries of the silver case have now been revealed to me, as a collection of cables, microphones, stands and recording devices. Every crucial component is duplicated, as failure is not an option when we’re recording Very Important People saying Important Things. Although the majority of our work is studio based, we’re always ready to go out when that’s what’s called for. For a busy CEO and his/her Corporate Communications Team, that can make the difference between needing to allocate a 15 minute window and setting aside a whole hour or two in a packed diary. All part of the service here at A1 VOX!

Recently one of our clients paid us a surprise visit and called me to get directions. I realised I was no help after I told him we were ‘a door next to the Italian restaurant’; there must be 5 Italian restaurants in Old Compton Street (I know this because I’ve stopped and salivated over all of their menus). So, I took this photo to show where we are, we’re the blue door sandwiched snugly between ‘La Porchetta’ and ‘Maison Touareg’. Notice how the sun is shining on our windows!




Incidentally, if you go to see the comedy film “I Give It A Year”, you may just catch a very similar view to the one above in one of the movie’s later scenes, as some sequences were shot just across the road from us.


I’ve been Celeb Spotting during my lunch breaks in Soho and so far I’m very excited to report who I’ve seen –

  1. Barry from Eastenders aka Sean Williamson was in Pret eating a toastie.
  2. DJ Neil Fox (aka Dr Fox, Foxy etc) walking along Old Compton Street with his kids.
I suspect that there are heaps of celebs sauntering cleverly past me every day practically begging to be spotted, so I’ll make sure I keep my eyes peeled on my sandwich runs in the future.

Our Critch starred in the last episode of series 3 of Miranda. You may have seen him as the chuckling airport security man – he was fabulous of course!

Lastly, we were very sad to hear of the death of Richard Briers, he had been to A1 VOX many times – taking advantage of our handy location here in theatreland - and we all thought him a true gent. Charles has some very fond and funny memories of him which he’s been sharing with Tom and me this morning. He was always good-humoured, courteous and a thorough professional.

Well, the sun is coming out in Soho and all looks beautiful, we hope it’s shining on you too!







Friday, 1 February 2013

New Girl


Hello, and welcome to the first 2013 A1 VOX blog. If you’ve been keeping up with the blog (and why wouldn’t you have been?) then you’ll know that Sarah left in December with such a lovely final blog post which made it very hard for me to follow!

So, hello! I’m Cass, and I’m the new Operations Manager at A1 VOX. I’m the one who’ll be answering your calls, making your bookings, replying to emails, checking availability, updating the website, answering your questions, making your complications less complicated, printing out scripts and talking about the weather. I’ll also be making sure that we don’t run out of milk so that we can make you copious cups of tea when you come and see us.

Before writing this post, I did some research on writing blogs – most of the advice was to write about what you know, which is tricky as I’m quite new to the voice over / sound recording business but I can write about what I learn and I will try to do so in future blogs. However what I do know is good customer service and everyone here at A1 VOX has tripped over themselves to be helpful, lovely and kind to me in my first month – and they don’t even seem to try hard, they’re just naturally like that! It’s fab!

So what does A1 VOX do? Well, in a nutshell it’s a sound studio. We can link via ISDN or Source-Connect all over the world so that people can get together remotely and record in digital quality. Or we can record and edit for you and send you the files. It all sounds so simple and Chris makes it look so graceful, but that’s why he’s doing it and I’m not; Because I’m sure if I did it, I’d hit the button that was a well disguised ejector seat. With Chris at the helm, the voice artist can sit back and just concentrate on their script, safe in the knowledge that we’re looking after them and that no-one will ever eject them through the roof.

It’s been fascinating to listen to adverts being made, somehow getting my head around the fact that the recording and directing was being done in Scotland while the voice was sitting in our studio in London – and it all sounded crisp and clear. So clever!

One of the (many) lovely things about A1 VOX is the location; we’re set in fragrant, vibrant Soho, in the middle of theatreland, and there is always so much to see and do! It’s so nice to go for a quick wander at lunchtime and find or see something new; there are always people to watch and windows to shop in. It’s been a long time since I worked in Central London so I’ve been taking time to reacquaint myself with Soho and Covent Garden which is hardly a chore. Much has changed, but so much has remained beautiful and it’s quite exhilarating to be back here.

If you do happen to need a friendly and flexible sound studio in central London then do please give me a call, although maybe not right this minute as Chris is editing something that sounds eerily like a Dalek and we don’t want to scare you off.

Have a joyous weekend and I shall write more next week about life at A1 VOX.

Cass.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

December Swan song


Ho Ho Ho and a ‘vocalicious’ welcome to the A1, festive blog.

I am sad to say that this will be my final insight to the happy goings on at Soho’s friendliest studio as I will be leaving A1 VOX next Friday.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a mahoosive thanks to you all for following the blog, and for being such great friends of A1 VOX.  This will be the last blog of 2012, and my last ever (sniff, sniff), but A1 VOX is going nowhere so watch this space.

We have the lovely Cass joining the team in the New Year, and boy wonders, Jamie and Tom, will be running the show until Christmas, so never fear people you are in good hands.  

So whilst temperatures drop and winter tightens its grip on Britain, A1 VOX’s Lucy Scott, (aka Petrie), has been at it again.  By ‘at it’ I mean bracing herself with fellow swimmers as they brake the ice over a frozen pond and take a morning dip – as you do!?

If you happened to be in the Farnham, Surrey area last week you may have stumbled across the mad members of Lucy’s self made group the Frensham Aquatic Recreational Team.   These crazy dudes brave sub-zero temperatures and wade out into the chilled waters of Frensham Great Pond in Surrey several times a week – whatever the weather.

So as they all submerged themselves into the icy depths of nature Lucy explained:

‘It makes you feel euphoric for the day, although it takes several hours for your core temperature to warm up’

Mulled wine after a brisk winter walk makes me euphoric, so I think I will be sticking with that if it’s all the same to you Lucy.  Brave, brave lady!

Lucy and her group even made it into the metro with their chill-tastic antics.  Check out their photo:


Chris has been busy in the studio as we have just acquired Source Connect. 

Source Connect enables audio professionals to work with clients and talent from all over the world in real time.  Studios can affordably record, collaborate, or monitor sessions anywhere in the globe using Windows and Mac.

We also have our Skype line in place for anyone who prefers to link into a session that way.  We recently had an Italian and an American client who both chose this method and were very happy with the end result. 

 It means that there is no additional cost for calling in on a phone patch, the artist and client can see, as well as hear one another, and this creates a splendid interactive environment in which to work.

A1 VOX - Technically Sound – we may be small but we are pride ourselves on keeping abreast of the latest ‘this and that’.

Part One of the refurb has now been completed and I for one cannot wait to drop in at A1 VOX and see the continued jazzing up at 20 Old Compton Street.   

Plans are afoot for the second studio in 2013, so plenty of positive changes to A1 VOX come the New Year.

It has been nice seeing some of my favourite guest voice artists in my final weeks at the studio.  Jayne Sharpe has been in.  She always brings a smile to my face…and often wet socks for us to dry (don’t ask)…..Redd Pepper always entertains with his deep voice, and diet advice, and I am glad that I got to hear him in action one more time before leaving.


Being in this job you get to meet such a range of people and celebrity, and the day to day variation is phenomenal.  I will never have a job like this again and will cherish all the memories of the last five years. 

Working with so many lovely people – many of them reading this blog right now – has been the best part of all.  It is a truly lovely industry to work in and I have this blog to look back on whenever I feel A1 homesick.


A big mention has to go to Charles for employing me in the first place and for being a great boss man and all round top bloke!  I will miss my daily musings with both him and Chris, and of course all the shenanigans of the wonderful A1 VOX Team.

So all I have left to say is cheerio to one and all – it has been an absolute BLAST........DIVE!!!!!!!!!


Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Sarah and all the team at A1 VOX.

Monday, 5 November 2012

November Musings

I am writing this sitting next to a roaring fire with a crisp apple juice on the go and thinking over last weeks happenings at A1 VOX.




As always, it has been a mixed, and joyful bag of delights.



Phase one of 'refurb-gate' is now complete – HUZZAH!



We can plunge forward into the cool part of deciding chairs, tables, and d├ęcor, to go with the funky, streamlined rooms. Exciting times at A1 VOX, and it sure is a wonderful  thing to be working in a fresh environment.



Plenty of people have trodden a path through the A1 door this week but perhaps the biggest challenge of all was welcoming English actor, writer, and director, Mr Steven Berkoff.



Steven has a reputation for being utterly careless about conventional, conversational decorum, so it was with some trepidation that Chris and I geared up for the early morning session.



Steven arrived and was a little gruff to begin with but Chris and I turned on the A1 charm....not under, or overdoing it you understand….and the three of us seemed to find a common ground.



In fact, once settled, he only really proffered (through the use of fairly strong vocabulary), his thoughts on our building, parts of Soho, and the fact that he thought there was some sort of mess in the hallway, (which actually turned out not to be a health and safety hazard as decreed, but a piece of harmless fluff!). That aside I think we got off lightly!



We were on tender hooks as we connected with the client in South Africa and had fingers, toes, and microphone wires crossed that all would go well. As is always the case, (but especially with foreign voice sessions), we had carried out a line test ahead of the booking.  This is to make sure that both studios have the correct settings marked down to alleviate any technical error on the day.



This booking was no different, and Chris and our friends in South Africa had everything sorted meaning we could breathe a collective sigh of relief once the session had commenced successfully.



Steven is best known for his performances in villainous roles, such as Lt.Col Podovsky in Rambo: Fist Blood Part II, General Orlov in Octopussy, Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop, and Adolph Hitler in the epic mini-series War and Remembrance.



He studied Drama in London and Paris and among the many adaptations he has created for the stage, directed, and toured, are Kafka’s Metamorphosis, The Trial, Agamemnon and Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.



Steven employs a style of heightened physical theatre known as “total theatre”. Drama critic Aerks Sierz describes Berkoff’s dramatic style as “in-yer-face theatre”:



“The language is usually filthy, characters talk about unmentionable subjects, take their clothes off, have sex, humiliate each other, experience unpleasant emotions, become suddenly violent. At best, this kind of theatre s so powerful, so visceral, that it forces audiences to react: either they feel like fleeing the building or they are suddenly convinced that it is the best thing they have ever seen, and want all their friends to see it too. It is the kind of theatre that inspires us to use superlatives, whether in praise or condemnation”.



However the man himself is perceived, there is no denying that he is immensely talented and has done a huge amount for theatre. In his own words:



“There is something about theatre that draws people together because it’s something connected with the human soul. All over the UK, the performing arts link people with a shared humanity as a way to open the doors to the mysteries of life. We should never underestimate the power of the theatre. It educates, informs, enlightens and humanises us all”.



In fact Steven has stated that he takes Hollywood roles only in order to subsidise his theatre work. He regards many of the films he has appeared in as lacking artistic merit. So put that in your artistic pipe and smoke it Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, and Daniel Craig, to name but a few of the big names that Steven has worked alongside in film. – EEK!



We also entertained the boyish good looks and cheesy smile of lovable Ben Shephard this week.



Ben famously fronted GMTV for a decade but left before its overhaul to become Daybreak.



It seems that Ben has no regrets about quitting the early morning show:



“Every now and again I did five days and it was brutal. Towards the end of the week I was so tired I felt jet-lagged and my skin looked transparent – it’s tough”.



I remember when Charles was doing his ‘earlies’ on Radio 2. He would come straight into A1 VOX from the beeb carrying his lunch and proceed to eat it at his desk by 10.30 in the morning. Of course he had been up since 3am so for him it was actually way past lunch time and he would be blooming ravenous – a very odd life to lead indeed!



Ben wasn’t short of work after his early rituals came to an end and even got to feel, ( aforementioned A1 visitor), Julie Walters boobs! 



He was doing a behind the scenes ITV special on the set of Harry Potter and she was dressed as Mrs Weasley, explaining about the padding she had to wear:



"As we were stood in the Great Hall of all places, she invited me to have a feel.. and I did.



She quipped ‘I think you’ve touched the real thing there Ben!’ It was hilarious!”.



Ben has now joined Sky Sports to co-present Goals on Sunday with Chris Kamara as well as selected UEFA Champions League matches. Being a West Ham fan (come on you irons!), and a self confessed sports enthusiast, he is more than a little excited about his new role:



“The chance to indulge my passion for football and to work on what is without doubt, the most technically cutting-edge channel on TV, is something I’ve aspired to for a long time”.



Ben was suited and booted on his arrival at A1 VOX and looking every inch the TV presenter. He had his trademark smile plastered on his face and a cheeky grin for everyone. He was a pleasure to work with and I bet his wife and boys are very happy to have him back.



That concludes our round up for this week – next week I will be celebrating one year of wedded bliss! Can you Adam and Eve it!? So please tune in, in two weeks time, to check out the comings and goings of your friendly, technically sound studio overlooking the Soho Savannah.