OIART Student Blog - Michelle

Jun.08 / 2015
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Finding the right person to perform voices for our animated projects is a fun task that I discovered helps us meet very interesting people and make lifelong connections. My search started with the goal of finding someone who had the right vocal tone and the ability to give a performance that would bring the characters on screen to life. I had no idea it would lead me to meeting one of the most interesting characters of my OIART journey.

I started by auditioning several talents and eventually came across a voice actor by the name of Jack Cherry who had a voice that immediately caught my attention; it was deep and full of personality. Without much hesitation, I asked Jack to come to OIART and record for the part of my project’s main character, Jack (the same first names was simply a fun coincidence)! 

I soon discovered that the world of recording technology wasn’t foreign to Jack. Long ago, Jack worked at Colombia Records, supplying all the parts to the assembly line in order to put together 8-track and 2-track tapes. Aside from Colombia Records, I learned that Jack is a man who has worn many hats. He has not only tap danced and flown Cessna 150 planes, he has experience with unloading box cars, framing houses, truck driving, and various odd jobs which lead him to working at a steel company. He had an industrial accident at the steel factory that gave him the means to be retrained as a computer network specialist. Jack took this as an opportunity to become a computer networking teacher at CDI College—he even won a cruise to Cozumel for being one of the top instructors in Canada!

Throughout the years, many of Jack’s colleagues and friends have commented on how unique his voice is and it drove him to start a career in voice acting. He recently signed up at Voices.com and then came across my ad on Kijiji. Our recording session went incredibly smoothly, as Jack has a natural talent for voice acting. Not only was it a fun session full of many laughs, his performance helped add a new level to my project. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him and be a part of his very unique journey in life! Thank you, Jack! I hope we cross paths again in the future.

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For all those interested in a tid-bit of audio recording history, below is a write-up by Jack did in regards to what he did at Colombia Records when he worked there: 

During my final weeks of high school, I spent a full two days job hunting in Toronto. At Columbia Records, the receptionist said someone would contact me. Assertively, I told her about all the time I spent and said I wanted to speak to someone that could tell me now if there was some type of job. She took me to the personnel officer that said I was a bit forceful and anxious ... so he hired me! I wound up supplying all the parts to the assembly line to assemble the 8-track and cassette tapes.

Columbia got so busy producing off-label" product (Warner Bros. Quality, Sony, etc.) they decided to run a night shift. Here's where I got trained to make the master tapes for the production line. The recording studios would send us the final mix 2-track tapes. My job was to time all the tracks, divide by 4 and then sort the selections into 4 even programs. This was for the 8-track master tapes. I took the timed selections and divided them all by 2 to create the cassette tape masters.

Next, I Dolby limited, compressed, boosted and did whatever was necessary to get the "hottest" possible tracks and then recorded them onto a 1-inch tape that was run through an 8-track reel to reel recorder. We then recorded a signal at the end of the tape that told the production machines to cut the retail tapes at the end of the program. 

This tape was then loaded into a cage about 4x5x1.5' wide. The ends of the tape were spliced together and mounted on an 8-track playback machine that stood about the size of a refrigerator. This machine was intern electronically attached to about 12 reel to reel recording machines, each about the size of a washing machine. The main machine was started and the other slaves followed. The main machine then cycled past the heads and transferred the programs to the slaves. The tapes on the slaves were called pancakes and were not in any type of spool. When the run was done, the pancakes were sent out to the assembly room where they were processed into the actual 8 tracks.