Today we’re discussing Chris Evans in Lightyear (and why Tim Allen may not have been cast), how Amazon is building a competitor to Clubhouse, NYT’s new audio product, saving the quietest places on earth, how storytelling influences your heartbeats and Vox Talk community spotlight.
Mentioned on the show: Quietparks.org
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Hi there and welcome to Vox Talk, your weekly review from the world of voice over. I’m your host, Stephanie Ciccarelli from Voices. In today’s show, you’ll hear all about Chris Evans in the upcoming Lightyear film, Amazon’s competitive threat to Clubhouse, the New York Times gets into Audio, one man’s quest to save the quietest places on earth, how narrative drives heartbeats and as always, the Vox Talk Community Spotlight.
News 1: Chris Evans in Lightyear / Tim Allen
Ever wondered how Buzz Lightyear became Buzz Lightyear? The beloved Toy Story character, originally voiced by Tim Allen, will soon have his own origin story with Chris Evans, best known for his work as Captain America, voicing the title role.
While many people are questioning why Tim Allen wasn’t cast in this film, it helps to remember that the animated feature is not portraying Buzz Lightyear the toy as we knew him, but the man (or character in this case) that the toy was fashioned to represent. The original inspiration for Buzz Lightyear was Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon, following Neil Armstrong’s historic moon walk.
Evans tweeted his excitement, mentioning that this was the fulfillment of a childhood dream, not unlike a similar social post by another Hollywood Chris about his wish coming true to be the voice of Mario.
For those of you keeping score, there have been other actors who voiced Buzz Lightyear before, namely Patrick Warburton in the TV series “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command” and Pat Fraley in “Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.”
The trailer doesn’t show much of Evans’ voice work. What we do hear of Buzz Lightyear’s famous catchphrase is the ‘and’ of to infinity and beyond. Lightyear is slated for cinematic release June 17, 2022.
LIGHTYEAR Trailer (Pixar, 2022)
"I’m covered in goosebumps. And will be every time I watch this trailer. Or hear a Bowie song. Or have any thought whatsoever between now and July cause nothing has ever made me feel more joy and gratitude than knowing I’m a part of this and it’s basically always on my mind"
For a trip down memory lane, catch the original trailer from 1995 for Toy Story on the Vox Talk blog:
???? TOY STORY (1995) | Full Movie Trailer | Classic Movie
News 2: Amazon Building a Competitor to Clubhouse
As reported in the Verge, Amazon is next on the list of companies getting into the live audio game. The company is building a new app, codenamed “Project Mic,” that gives anyone the ability to make and distribute a live radio show, complete with music, according to a presentation viewed by The Verge. This project’s big goal is to democratize and reinvent the radio. The app will be focused on the US initially.
There will be a number of ways for listeners to interact with Project Mic in addition to using the app, including Audible, Amazon Music, Twitch and Alexa-equipped devices. The app experience will also be optimized for the car, functioning in some ways like a radio.
To learn more, visit The Verge article linked from the Vox Talk blog.
News 3: New York Times Audio
Do you listen to articles on news websites that use AI voices? If you’ve been pining away for a more natural, human delivery replete with comprehension and context on news sites, you’re going to be very excited about what the New York Times is working on.
“New York Times Audio” is a new listening product designed to help you understand the most important stories of the day. It includes news, opinion, narrative storytelling and more.
Audio has become central to how New York Times journalists help people understand the world. Since “The Daily” launched in 2017, millions of listeners have turned to it every weekday. Since then, The Times has developed robust and wide-ranging audio programming that reaches 20MM listeners each month.
Now, The Times is working to incorporate that audio journalism into its digital experiences. They have begun recruitment for testers to participate in a new experience called “New York Times Audio.” Curated by Times journalists and editors, “New York Times Audio” is an app that will help listeners engage with the latest news, ideas, criticism and stories that matter to them.
Last month, The Times began experimenting with “Listen,” a tab in its news app that features a selection of signature Times stories read aloud by the reporters who wrote them. Have you tried this feature?
To learn more about the Times’ new audio product or to apply to be a beta tester, check out the links on the Vox Talk blog.
News 4: Gordon Hempton, Acoustic Ecologist
After all that noise, it’s time for some peace and quiet. Silence is golden after all, right?
Newsweek reports that after the Great Quiet descended during the COVID-19 lockdown, we saw what the power of silence could do—to our overstimulated brains and to the natural world. It was so quiet from March to May 2020, that scientists determined this "seismic silence" to be the longest period of quiet in recorded history.
Even so, out of all that quiet, there are places that are quieter, still. Acoustic Ecologist Gordon Hempton, also known as The Sound Tracker, is on a mission to save the quietest places on our planet. Hempton has spent the last four decades seeking out vanishing natural soundscapes around the world.
Hempton is also a co-founder of Quiet Parks International (QPI), a nonprofit that seeks daily access to quiet worldwide. He helped establish the first "Quiet Park" in the world in 2019 in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest with a vision to create 265 more of these quiet parks, including some in urban, densely populated places like the first Urban Quiet Park in Taiwan.
During his “One Square Inch of Silence” project in 2005, Hempton highlighted Olympic National Park in Washington State as what he considered to be one of the quietest places in the US at the time.
Where’s the quietest outdoor space you’ve been, and, can you put a price on quiet?
"If silence is golden, then quiet is gold," Hempton says of the economic value of quiet, "As the rest of the world gets noisier, silent seekers entering the ecotourism market to experience the antidote to toxic noise are going to be worth millions of dollars."
To read more about Gordon Hempton’s work, we’ve linked to the full Newsweek article on our blog as well as embedded a great video detailing the work of Quiet Parks International. To learn more about Quiet Parks International, visit Quiet Parks Dot Org.
Gordon Hempton, acoustic ecologist, Newsweek
“One Man's Quest to Save the Last Quiet Places on the Planet”
News 5: Storytelling Makes Hearts Beat as One
Have you ever thought about how storytelling impacts your life? How about your vitals?
According to the Wall Street Journal, when people listen to the same story—each alone in their own home—their heart rates rise and fall in unison, according to a new study published last month in Cell Reports. “The fluctuations of our heart rates are not random,” said Lucas Parra, a professor of biomedical engineering at City College of New York and a senior author of the study. “It’s the story that drives the heart. There’s an explicit link between people’s heart rates and a narrative.”
WSJ affirms that this finding aligns with a mountain of research showing that our brains sync up when we interact in the same location, participate in the same activity, or simply agree with each other. The new study goes one step further; it tests whether our heart rates become synchronized while taking in the same narrative—even though we’re not in the same room nor even listening at the same time as other listeners.
To read more about this study (and its connection to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), visit the WSJ link on the Vox Talk blog.
Storytelling Makes Hearts Beat as One
Vox Talk Community Spotlight: Lívia Zita
Stephanie: Welcome to the Vox Talk Community Spotlight! This week, I’m pleased to share the stage with voice talent and translator, Livia Zita. After seeing a great post from her on LinkedIn, I thought it would be wonderful for Livia to share about her work. Thanks for joining us today!
Livia: Thank you, Stephanie. My name is Livia Zita and I’ve been a singer for the past 20 years and am now making my move over to full-time voice over talent. I was born and grew up in Hungary and I moved to the States when I was about 17 years old. So that’s why I speak both English and Hungarian proficiently. And the thing with bilingual voice overs is that quality translation and VO services together are very, very hard to find, especially when it comes to a language like Hungarian that only about 10 million people speak worldwide comparatively to the world population, which is, what are we at now, 8 billion? For me, I love languages and I love performing voice acting for many mediums and I absolutely pride myself in being able to accurately translate not only the words that are in the script but their feelings and emotions that are being conveyed in that script. There’s so much between the lines. I found that it’s a bonus that my English voiceovers come with an accent that just makes your ears happy!
Stephanie: Thank you, Livia! That was very inspiring. If you can relate to what Livia shared, be sure to join the conversation in the Voices Community Forum in the Vox Talk category.
That’s how we saw the world this week through the lens of voice over. Thank you for joining us! If you’re subscribed to Vox Talk, let me know! I’d love to hear from you on social media. If you’re not yet subscribed, what are you waiting for? Follow Vox Talk wherever you get your podcasts. For Voices, I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli. Looking forward to spending more time with you next week. See you soon!