Baseball Dads by Matthew S. Hiley
Dwayne Devero is just like you and me, except that he’s had enough. Tired of the poor decisions being made all around him—from the politics of his son’s little league team to his wife’s philandering—Dwayne decides that breaking is better than bending.
What follows is a wild ride full of sex, drugs, murder… and children’s baseball, led by a man who will stop at nothing to bring a little honor back to his family, his community, and to his favorite game.
Part Office Space, part Bad News Bears, and part Dexter—Baseball Dads is a pitch black comedy in which one man takes on the duty of bludgeoning honor back into a sometimes dishonorable world.
Dwayne is done with people living life wrong. You’ll do it right, or he’ll bury you under the bases at the ballpark. It’s just that simple…
I've been looking forward to this one coming out for a few months now. This hilarious crew of misfits and ne're-do-wells made for an irreverent comedy that was a blast to narrate. I've never spent so much time laughing in the booth. Dwayne is a legend who brings Batman style justice to his community at the business end of a baseball bat. That being said, Russ was hands down my favorite character. He'll make you either blush, cringe, or chortle out loud on nearly every page.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way Matt wove this story together and I look forward to reading what he comes out with next!
Be sure to check out Matt's other books on his website.
Now on Audible!
“Work harder. Make a plan. Get better feedback... You’ll know it’s better feedback, because under the initial flash of pain and defensiveness, you’ll feel caught — ‘Shit, I thought I could get away with that’ — and know in your heart that if you address the issue, your work will be better.”
Allison K. Williams
What a piece of wisdom. This post me think of a conversation I had with a colleague who had gone through the ringer of life, pain, and training, and had begun to find initial success in the industry only to hear comments from fellow artists that “Ugh, everything just falls into your lap. Must be nice to be YOUR type these days” (which lets be honest is just an industry accepted way to be a true p.o.s.). It strikes me that those artists were using their jealousy of a colleague’s success as an excuse to explain their own lack of growth instead of as a springboard to launch them toward their goals. They couldn’t conceive of the years and training that they weren’t privy to. Talk about a lack of perspective.
I like that this writer doesn’t dismiss feelings of jealousy. Don’t gaslight yourself into feeling bad about how your unconscious responds to others’ success in your field. But don’t be foolish enough to let it make your heart grow small.
“Whose success is making you sick, and what are you doing about it?”
Check out Allison's full blog post at Brevity Blog.
This is a fun little boost happening for the rest of the month. I love working with AHAB. My first job with them was when I realized: Heck, if they're taking me seriously as part of this industry then it's time to stop beating around the bush and take myself seriously too. Such a great resource.
Reposted from Ahab's Instagram
"We're super excited to announce our March Voice of the Month! Congratulations to Josh Innerst!
Josh Innerst is a theatre artist and audiobook narrator based in the Midwest, where he also works in Film/TV. Josh has spent most of his career on stages across the country such as the Utah & Colorado Shakespeare Festivals, Cleveland Play House, and many years as a company member at the American Shakespeare Center. When he's not onstage or in the booth, Josh passes his time cooking, traveling, and spending time with his wife and dogs.
We'll be taking a BTS glimpse of some insights and experiences inside the recording booth throughout the month. Continue to learn what important piece of advice Josh received 👇
Ahab: What’s the best advice you’ve received as a voiceover actor that you would share to someone just starting out in the industry?
Josh: During a coaching session with Narrator.Life, the wonderful Vikas Adam gave me some great advice: If you're away from your booth on a theatre contract and feel like you're unable to sharpen your narration skills, make it a daily practice to pick up some text and cold read aloud for 10-15 minutes a day. It can be anything: a novel, a magazine article, a short story, etc. Keep honing your cold-read skills, and you'll find that once you're back in the booth, you'll be sharper than you were when you left."
The other day someone brought up the pros and cons of working with a live director and I immediately thought of how invaluable Art Insana was throughout this book I narrated for Penguin Random House last year. He set the tone each session by taking time to chat about our days and life in the biz for a few minutes at the top and over breaks. It was such a minor thing but breaking out of the “GO! GO! GO!” mentality of getting the book recorded as-fast-as-possible and actually slowing down to breathe, joke, and chat with a fellow artist was such a gift.
Straight-record sessions with a good live director are like carrying an advocate for the audience in my ear. If I'm trying something that makes sense in my head but isn't coming across clearly, I have immediate feedback from a fellow artist who is working to make the audiobook—and by proxy me—sound as good as possible. And my experience working with Art showed me just how the energy that a director brings with them into the studio can make a project memorable in all the right ways. He turned what was at times a heavy story to tell into an absolute joy.
I particularly enjoyed listening to him tell stories about the pace and process of the amazing narrators he’s worked with over the years, chief among them being the late and much loved Frank Muller. He was the reason I became interested in voice acting in the first place, and it was lovely hearing how much of a dream he was to work with.
I’m so grateful for the generosity and attention to detail that Art brought to this project.
I couldn't sleep last night. Last time I checked the clock it was approaching 2:30 and it would be a while yet before I finally nodded off. Was it caffeine from too much coffee? Was it eager anticipation for our early morning student matinee?? Was it good old fashioned anxiety at the state of the world???
Alas, no. It was the 2017 movie adaptation of The Dark Tower directed by Nikolaj Arcel, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey—perhaps one of the most poorly received films in my lifetime.
Warning: This is a nerd post through-and-through so if you're not a Stephen King fan, this may not be for you...
That movie was a stone cold bummer partly because so many quality versions of the story were scrapped on the pathway to this particularly unfortunate manifestation.
And what kept me tossing and turning was the realization of why I disliked the thing so much. And it was such a small thing too. Literally. Because let's be honest there was so much to like! Especially for someone who loves the books (I've read them through more times than I can count) and who also LOVES terrible movies.
We were finally getting a major studio, big screen version of one of the most popular stories published in living memory. McConaughey as Walter was great casting—that blend of humor and menace bubbling just under the surface. Idris Elba as Roland was #ChefsKiss. He carries himself with a focus and intensity that can bore it's way through a mountain.
And I loved the idea that this version of the story would be a different trip through the Tower, perhaps one in which Roland carries the Horn of Eld with him to the end. I didn't even mind introducing Jake in a way that mashed several books together, despite skipping over Eddie and Susannah (arguably the most interesting characters in the series). Melting the plot of the final book into a smorgasbord of the first and third was confusing, but I was on board. After all, this is a different journey to the Tower than the one we read in the books.
Granted, all of that made for a fairly messy movie. But I don't mind, the story itself is messy and at times beyond confusing. And let's be honest, I love a good mess of a movie. Most of the Bond films? Are they legendary classics that I enjoy, Yes! Do they stand up as finely crafted cinematic masterpieces... Eh... Temple of Doom: Let's be honest, if it wasn't for Short Round, Harrison Ford's sex appeal, and eyeballs in the soup, I'm not sure it'd be all that memorable of a film. And CLUE!? Easily my go-to most often watched movie. But, c'mon. If it wasn't for the magical chemistry of the cast, that script would be just another forgettable game-to-movie adaptation.
And I was soooo ready and rooting for The Dark Tower. I remember sitting in the movie theater before it started and saying out loud, “I don't care how bad this movie is. We're going to Mid-World!”
But back to my sleepless night and the small thing that ruined it all: Speed-loaders. Doohickeys that enable you to quick load a revolver. But these were fancy. Gimmicky little pieces of steampunk tech. Roland carries them around his gun belt, flips them up in the air, the nifty little gadgets whir around all fancy-like, fall perfectly into the cylinders, and bang-bang-bang-goes-Frankie's-gun.
One problem with that: ROLAND. HATES. GADGETS. He loads his guns by hand. Blazingly fast. So fast, Eddie can't see his fingers move for their speed (and granted we did get an instance of that which I cheered for). But even when Roland is incapacitated with infection or arthritic pain, he still fumbles each bullet into the cylinder one-by-one. He would never to use a tool where his own hand would serve. No shortcuts or clever little machines for Roland of Gilead. He doesn't think around corners, he barrels through the wall and brings the house down around him.
It was such a tiny little thing, but it kept me up because it revealed just how little the filmmakers understood the basic character of Roland and hence why the movie would go on to flop. Roland despises and mistrusts gadgetry and complex machines. He disdains what he calls “quick shooters” because of how easily they jam. He relies on the quickness of his eye, the keenness of his mind, and the intent of his heart.
Eventually I managed to fall asleep and now in the cold light of day, I want to go back and rewatch The Dark Tower to see if it still disappoints. Because at the end of the day, it's just a movie. And it was an endeavor that employed hundreds of artists for which I will always cheer. But ultimately it failed because the director and producer forgot the faces their fathers and despite possessing near perfect source material, managed to make one of the most anticipated, worst movies in recent memory.
I hope that someone, sometime, somewhere manages to get it right. I look forward to reaching that level of the Tower.
For after all, there are other worlds than these...
I stumbled across a fascinating little article about the role that Lectors-people who would read books and newspapers aloud in factory settings-played in keeping workers entertained throughout the day.
It reminded me of when I worked in my dad's machine shop through high-school and college. I plowed through a significant number of audiobooks while operating the CNC Machine or cleaning up the shop at the end of a long night shift.
Looks like narrators have always been out there doing the good work!
Here are some great pics/blurbs from the article...
"The readers, elected by their peers, were actually marvelous actors
and would not simply read the book but literally act out the scenes
in a dramatic fashion upon a podium set up in the middle of the factory."
"The workers would each give 25 to 50 cents of their weekly salary
to elect a fellow workman to act as “the reader” in which he would
read aloud not just only newspapers, but even classical works of
literature such as Tolstoy or Dickens."
"The lectors were forced out of the factories when what they were reading was
deemed too radical. This caused widespread strikes and work slowdowns."
Check out the full article at Rare Historical Photos here
Few people have done so much to make audiobook production more accessible and reliable than Steven Jay Cohen so despite staring down the barrel of a dystopian future devoid of human performance, I'm going to listen when he says of AI:
"Panic, anger, fear, hatred — all of these will work against us as we try to figure out how best to move forward.
I don’t think there is much value in taking a luddite stance against the technology since historically, that has never worked out well for the group doing the protesting...
We are too early in the state of change for anyone to predict where this will all end. Now is the time to explore how each of us might adapt the art of what we do into other venues, other media. Now is a time of experimentation. Now is a time to take some artistic risks, and to learn."
In our culture we LOVE product but rarely understand the value and necessity of investment. This is an issue in almost every industry but one I feel keenly each time I'm cast in a show that expects broadway quality performance but with a three week rehearsal period.
Producers will always demand the gold but will rarely supply the necessary time/tools. Eventually, those insisting on the cheapest path of least investment will burn through their staff and their company will suffer. If you doubt this, go chat with some costume shop managers about why their departments have such a high turnover.
(and now back to books)
I'm curious to see if/when publishers understand that this technology can be an effective tool instead of just the cheapest alternative to paying human beings a living wage.
Now on Audible
Southern California, 1996: a peaceful, scenic day in the coastal community of Santa Monica, except that there is a meter maid lying next to the sidewalk–dead. Fresh from a messy divorce case, North Hollywood private investigator Clive Wilts is on the case to find the killer before the bodies start stacking up and the city streets become a parking free-for-all.
North Hollywood PI Clive Wilts once again becomes an unwilling local celebrity when he happens into the media-embellished case of The Santa Monica Sniper.
This is the third book I've worked on by Eric H. Heisner and I've thoroughly enjoyed each one. This one in particular had a light and ready sense of humor throughout.
I'm looking forward to many more Clive Wilts stories.
Well, time flies when you're having fun and I just realized that I haven't posted an update in a good long while. So here goes!
This past winter saw my busiest months yet in working with my agency and pursuing work on camera. In November, I found myself wandering the hills of Kentucky with a rag-tag group of frontiersmen for an upcoming TV show.
It was a fun ensemble with an amazing crew who successfully pulled off a complicated shoot that bounced between shooting on location, both in the mountains and actually on the Kentucky River, as well as in a gigantic green screen studio. The highlight for me was getting to cross paths with our Armorer, Steve Auvenshine, who was the Armorer for Peter Weir's 2003 film, Master & Commander. His eye for details and for crew safety was inspiring. My main takeaway from the experience is always to bring a knee brace when you're traipsing through the forrest. Maybe bring two.
I'm looking forward to being able to share more once the episode airs.
Then earlier this month, I was lucky enough to be on set for an upcoming Warner Bros film that shot in Southern Ohio. I was a day player just in for a single scene, but getting to work alongside artists who were household names before I was even born was a bizarre and wonderful experience.
Again, I look forward to sharing more info once I'm able to!
Other than that, I've been focusing on my commercial work. I have a few different spots currently running around the country and it's fun how many random people will reach out to say, “Hey, did I just see you in a Wayfair commercial!?” I enjoy being on commercial sets as they need to run like a well oiled machine in order to check all the boxes required by the client. Watching a crew that is able to efficiently communicate with each other what they need as a unit, is a great lesson in both both good practice and good communication.
That's all for now. More updates to come!
“Yes, the world is ablaze, but I am holding the torch. My fellow bluebirds will understand.”
What happens when a man drinks a gallon of rum per day for a year? Many things.
He falls in love with a bar. He befriends the homeless. He goes broke. He ends up in jail. He convinces himself that the world is burning. He turns into a bluebird. Most importantly, though, he laughs. He laughs because he has to, because it’s the only way to fight off the truth
It's audiobook release week for this wonderful new book written by Matt Gibson. It's a sardonic exploration of grief, solitude, addiction, and friendship in the underbelly of Southern California. My favorite character to develop throughout the book was a gentleman named Pancake, an unhoused schizophrenic who is hilarious, tragic, slightly dangerous, and at all times deeply human. Something about him made me think of Donald Merwin Elbert (A.K.A. Trash Can Man) from The Stand by Stephen King. Less fascinated with fire but still willing watch the world burn.
Part J.D. Salinger—part David Sedaris—part Hunter S. Thompson—this book had me in tears in the booth and was a joy to read. Listen to it with a glass of something cold that clinks. Then be sure to drink some water and go hug the people you love.
Find it on Audible and be sure to check out Matt's other work while you're at it!
I'm an actor and voice over artist. Shakespeare pays the bills but I make the food...