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Sounding Presidential


Now that we’ve got likely candidates, their performance style is getting more defined. We witnessed an interesting moment recently when the Donald did his first teleprompter read. It was kind of eerie, watching him carefully deliver a prepared speech, sweeping the room back and forth between monitors and modulating his voice in a manner we hadn’t heard before. He’d clearly been coached and clearly needs more.

Doubtless that will come, but the difference was so pronounced, his personal challenge will be to mitigate the caution with increased confidence. As with all good readers, he needs to infuse a higher degree of believability into his delivery, in order to sound more real. For some talents, this comes naturally. For many, it’s an effort that must be planned and prepped every time. There was an interesting moment during his speech in which he actually said, Hey, this is hard! Yep, takes practice and patience, don’t it?

Hillary, on the other hand, has been doing this for 30 years, and it shows. The confidence is there and so is the swagger. The problem though, has the most to do with her regulating pitch and volume. She tends to get carried away in large crowds and instinctively yells at full gale to feel she’s being heard, the result of which is the Hillary Screech and brother, you know it when you hear it.

One wonders how much coaching each of the candidates are subjected to and how much they both take to heart and/or tolerate. It’s hard to imagine Trump sitting still long enough to repeat a rehearsed phrase more than once, let alone work on his delivery repeatedly. He’s gotta be Me.

Hillary’s ego runs from some bizarre outfits (how about that pink one?) to the sheer volume of her yelled challenges. The campaign trail is a game board with thousands of pumped-up voters demanding a support-worthy performance. How aware they both are of their vocal delivery from moment to moment will be a contributing factor in their success, from remote accusations to head-to-head debates. This is gonna get interesting.

///James Mandell


Political Voiceovers on Bias Vs. Neutrality

political voiceoversPolitical Voiceovers .us is a division of Voiceover LA, one of the largest non-union voice talent agencies on the West Coast. Based in Los Angeles, the vast majority of our actors live within driving distance of our studios, which means they have access to our full-tilt production facilities and a live session engineer when recording, who is there to not only assure a pristine product, but to add a second set of ears during the process. Now there’s a political advantage.

To offer the widest choice in political opinion, we strive to maintain a neutral stance online, and prefer not to restrict clients to one camp or the other, as most of our actors are comfortable maintaining their own neutrality. Some of our competitors present their talent apropos of strict party lines and that’s fine — if you don’t mind missing out on a voice that might have been perfect for your spot.

We’re glad to discuss personal preferences if they’re important, especially if your spot will play nationally. It makes sense to be sure the same voice hasn’t just endorsed the opposing point of view in your market! But especially for state and local ballots, it’s rarely an issue, and for the most part, our actors’ main concern is to convey the message you have in a dramatic and believable presentation that gives it the weight you’re expecting.

And in the event there is a conflict, we’ll make sure you’re aware of it, and help you find additional choices that will solve the dilemma. So choose with the assurance we’ve got your back. And wouldn’t it be nice we were all voting for ballot initiatives that offered a little more of that…?

James Mandell

Politicalvoiceovers.us, a division of VoiceOver LA,

Your west coast link to non-union voice talent and full-service audio production


Political Voiceovers on Bias Vs. Neutrality

Political Voices on the Singles Scene

Political VoicesWith the first votes counted, the field seems littered with losers.  Last night in Iowa, the three Rep frontrunners and two Dems pretty much ran the table, leaving a trailing field of single digit runners gasping for air.

Carson leads the pack @ 9%, Paul at 5, Jeb! at 3%, Carly, Kasich, Huckabee and Christie at 2,  Santorum @ 1 (gulp) and Gilmore at 0 (can’t wait to hear the upbeat spin on a score of ZERO…) Clinton squeezes through the front gate with Saunders literally clenching her neck, while O’Malley also racks up a giant Egg.

So the Republicans have some perspective to endlessly debate, speaking of which, will these debates simply continue endlessly? And the Dems reveal that it’s a two-person race (as if) that will now doubtlessly get a bit more emphatic.

So where does that leave the Singles at the dance, not a wallflower among them? As of this writing, Huckabee has wished us well. Santorum, Gilmore and O’Malley are ostensibly toast and moments away from relinquishing their moment in the light. Which leaves six single-digit Republicans the task of re-energizing their base, firing up their own resolve and declaring that New Hampshire is now – and always was — the Center of All Things Meaningful and True.

Will they all remain, and if so, will their base stand up and underwrite their financial underpinning? One wonders how many candidates would have made it this far had there been no super-packs to pick up the flight tab to NH. This will likely be the most expensive election in history, financed in great part due to the bitterly tenacious groundswell of change in Washington so many people are demanding. And now that Trump has breakfasted on some humble pie, there could well be a re-ordering of Reps, come the next nomination vote.

And Bernie! His Millennial support base is growing exponentially, adding to the drama that seems to keep building, ensuring (Ensuring, ha!) a barnstorming campaign that will keep the fur flyin’ for the rest of the winter. And if so… well, let’s let this stew simmer for a moment, shall we?

James Mandell

Politicalvoiceovers.us, a division of VoiceOver LA,

Your west coast link to non-union voice talent and full-service audio production


Political Voices on the Singles Scene

Let the Games Begin


A cure for cancer. Parties united. Keep America safe. Create more jobs. OK, who’s talking? If it’s my favorite pol, I’m good with all that! Otherwise, are you kidding me? As the Iowa caucus nears — and remember, a caucus is raucous, and the candidates’ rhetoric is sharpening, emotions are heating up.


Quick review: a caucus is an open election, not a secret ballot, as it is in a primary. Several states still use the caucus method, minted back in colonial times, in which groups of vocal delegates can actually sway other delegates to change their votes at the last minute. It’s a literal shouting match and can be surprising and unpredictable.

Iowa votes first, with 30 delegates up for grabs. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, being first is Iowa’s elongated place in the sun every four years, and makes the outcome incredibly important from a psychological standpoint, as in: “the candidate who won the first caucus…” That winner will stand alone for eight influential days of victory dancing, until the New Hampshire Primary, a secret ballot vote, on Feb 9, with 23 delegates up for grabs.

This first primary is famous for its position as well, not to mention the old saying “As New Hampshire goes, so goes the nation,” referring to their winner usually taking the national election. Which in reality, only seems to happen about half the time. No matter. Between New Hampshire’s 23 delegates and Iowa’s 30, recent candidacies have risen or died, and with so many Republican runners this year, we may see a few out by the third week in February.

The South Carolina Primary, with 50 delegates, follows on Feb 20 and the Nevada Caucus closes the month on Feb 23. Then comes Super-DUPER Tuesday, March 1, which oughta seal the weaker candidates’ fates, with 13 states and 565 bound delegates up for grabs. March 15 is now the date for merely Super Tuesday, with another 6 states and 361 delegates in winner-take-all votes, which will result in more than half of all delegates having been sorted out and committed to their candidates.

With the Republican Convention slated a month earlier than last election’s date, this time coming in mid-July, these next few months will doubtless reveal the shape – and the tenor – of the fun that’s to follow.


The Dance

cheek to chek

According to which poll you read, Donald Trump has either ceded first place to Ted Cruz or remains firmly in first place. Either way, there is movement afoot and as a result, a lot of nervous chatter among Republican Party campaign strategists.

Mr. Trump has made his most provocative statement to date, declaring his intention, should he be elected, to freeze all Muslim travel into the United States. There are no fine lines, no exceptions. And the freeze would last as long it takes to figure things out, he more or less stated.

How this would affect diplomatic traffic, business, entertainment and basic American Muslim family travel appears to be a non-troublesome detail he hasn’t addressed, but in the meantime, he’s masterfully galvanized world opinion that has ignited a torrent of judgmental disdain. From his own party leaders, to leaders around the world, to the entire Muslim community, the pervasive reaction has been one of shock and anger. With one significant and powerful exception: his home support base.

Once again, Trump supporters have stood firm and behind the one candidate they feel is a true outsider, who speaks his mind, from telling Jeb he’s a loser to cussing on-mic, and voices the concerns of millions of disaffected Americans who are disdainful of government and afraid of their well-being at home.

Trump is the only candidate to resolutely express a biased and formerly politically incorrect opinion yet continues to prove that he can dominate the campaign and the news cycle in doing so.

The larger problem that poses is in how the Republican Party can come to grips with supporting their possible nominee while condemning his platform. And even more troubling, the concept of another candidate prevailing next summer while Trump maintains a strong enough base to break away and run as an independent, despite his recent assurances of loyalty.

That was the thinking back in September, when the party strong-armed all the candidates into promising to support whomever won the nomination. It’s generally agreed Trump was the reason for the oath in the first place, because of fears he’d split the vote and turn the election.

Now, at this moment, the struggle is about finding a way to support him despite his hard-edged foreign policy, while other candidates continue to fight for, and gain ground. And to somehow find an acceptable level of agreement in both supporting the front-runner and preventing Trump from simply tearing up the paperwork and waltzing off on his own.




At the Turn

Horse Racing

In the blue silks, it’s Hilary in a walk.

And in the red, with two months until the Iowa caucus there’s half a dozen Rep riders lookin’ to bust a move.

Trump holds the lead despite insisting New Jersey was awash with partying Muslims post 9/11. Confronted by fact-checkers and rivals claiming no such thing, he’s the tenacious comer, whip in hand, running ahead of the pack.

Carson is fading, post-Paris. The unabashed candidate has freely admitted he’s weak on international knowledge but promises to be smarter, later. Cruz is on the inside rail, urging on his Evangelical base, decrying all things progressive and slamming the refugee door. Rubio is trotting his smarts and boyish charm with steady maturity and measured responses that are smooth and practiced. Christie is charging towards New Hampshire with major newspaper editorial support. While Paul is six lengths back, mired in libertarian isolationism that separates him from the pack and the rest of the roiling world.

Could Carly be the perfect vice presidential filly,  the Clinton counterweight to clinch the female vote? Can Kasich’s nagging and calling Trump out resuscitate his current Hey-I’m-standing-here status?  And Jeb! On the Texas walker. Uh, Jeb?

Has it ever been this contentious before? Oh my, yeah. In 2008, all John McCain could see at this time was Mike Huckabee’s butt. In 2012, Newt Gingrich was virtually lapping Mitt Romney.

That’s the thing about horse racing.  And it looks to be the time the insiders start hunkering down and hugging the rail. You can almost hear the faster hoof beats, the rhythmic snorting, the snarls of determination. It may be an 18-month slog but no one can accuse it of being boring. Even the Democrats.