Jay Smack VO – Mack Trucks

What says tough, capable, legacy and hard work more than Mack Trucks?  Before you answer consider also what says modern, forward-thinking, intelligent, environmentally-friendly and EV more than Mack Trucks?  It was a pleasure working with the team at Colle McVoy to bring this project to life as Mack powers into the future.

Pets – More Human Than You, Man

(ABOVE: My furry friends, Jackie and Frankie, LOVE their time at the park. Jackie rides in the trailer in the background. She also wears a sweater sometimes because she gets chilly. Yeah, I know.)

Storytelling. It’s everything. EV-ER-Y-THING. Whether you’re voicing a one-day-only sale for a single location furniture store in a tiny off-the-map town or a national Super Bowl spot or narrating a documentary.  Whether you’re sound designing a YouTube video that might get 50 views. Whether you’re creating a motion graphics piece for Microsoft that the world will see.  Whether you’re selling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door.  (Is that still done or do they do what happens in my town which is to set up outside Publix or on the sidewalk in Carytown?)  It’s all storytelling.  And storytelling is about connection.

A common list of elements that go into storytelling include:

1. What is it about?

2. What do they want?

3. What do they do to get it?

4. Why does it or doesn’t it work?

5. What do they do about it?

Plot, setting, characters, point of view and conflict or tension.

Common formulas vary a little, but that’s essentially it. But the thing(s) that pulls us in more than almost anything else is when the elements matter to us.  Can we relate to the story?  Can we see ourselves in it?  That’s the human element.  And what makes us feel more human, more vulnerable, more emotional, more real, more alive than kids and pets? Let’s put the kid part aside for a moment since, well, kids are actually human. This space is not conducive to a debate on parenting or ethics so we’ll confine our narrative to pets. And when it comes to pets, pet owners know in the back of their minds, no matter how much they push it away that their time together is very, very limited. It’s temporary. So the love between pets and owners often burns white hot.

The APPA (American Pet Products Association) reports that pet industry sales rose to nearly $137 billion in 2022 and that pets are present in 66% of U.S. households. Many of those households likely had a tv on and tuned to the 2023 Super Bowl when everybody’s favorite Super Bowl spot aired – the Farmer’s Dog spots in which the loyal family dog joins the family as a puppy,  becomes a full-fledged and very loved member of the family, shares experiences shown in montage as he grows up, and inevitably, grows old.  We’re spared the emotional nuke of seeing the dog pass or any hint of it, but we surmise that it’s coming; sooner rather than later.  And it’s something we ALL relate to.  Cue the waterworks. Connection made.  Bam.  We all immediately think of our own pets and work hard to push out of our minds any notion of them not being with us forever.  It’s powerful storytelling.  And it’s all based on a true story.  Director Goh Iromoto tells that story figuratively in the spot and literally in the article linked below.

No matter how big the budget of a movie telling stories about CGI superheroes or wizards or space villains and heroes, the stories that lean into and embrace their human-ness are the ones that grab us firmly and unrelentingly by the heartstrings and do not let go.  We relate to the purity, simplicity and complexity of actually being human.  And isn’t it funny that the creatures on this planet that make us feel most human – are animals?  Animals that share our homes, our lives, our experiences and our hearts.  And when we tell our stories, they’ll be some of the main characters.

Read the full article and comments from director Goh Iromoto

Jay Smack VO – new spot for GameDay Collections

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes.  Funny “interesting”, I mean.  I first approached this copy with an NFL Films, John Facenda-type of read in mind.  That was based on the direction and the subject matter.  But the client actually directed me away from that a little. And the end result was much better and more appropriate than what I had envisioned.  That’s the beauty of collaboration and highlights the subjective nature of creativity.  There’s never one answer, but when you work together to find what best serves the project it’s win/win. #voiceover #jaysmackvo

Good Eye Podcast – RJ Zimmerman – Untapped Keg Podcast

RJ Zimmerman has been sober from alcohol, drugs, gambling and other addictive substances and activities for 8 years.  He started the “Untapped Keg” podcast to address and create a community of people who are trying to life a fuller life without the barriers that certain substances and activities can create.  But also included in that community are people who want others to live according to what is best for them and choose to indulge in certain substances and activities within reason and responsibly.  He talks about a culture that all but requires people to partake lest they suffer exclusion and how it makes living a sober life by choice that much more difficult.  He talks about the importance of connection with one’s self as well as family and friends.

Untapped Keg website

On Apple Podcasts

On YouTube

Good Eye Podcast

Good Eye Podcast – Maryfrances Porter – Nonprofits and Strategic Data

Nonprofits can sometimes be at a loss to paint a detailed picture of the impact they’re making.  “Just HOW and HOW MUCH are we helping our constituents and our community?”  Maryfrances Porter of Partnerships for Strategic Impact can help answer that question and many more.  Nonprofits often don’t know what they know and think that the mission is enough.  By using detailed data they can learn so much that it can lead to evolution and adaptation of that mission and sometimes even changing the nature of the mission itself.




Good Eye Podcast

WRIR’s River City Limits – 4-1-23

This episode was originally broadcast on WRIR‘s local music show (one of them anyway) River CIty Limits, which runs every Saturday evening at 5 and hosted by a revolving line-up of DJs.  This episode of RCL features new music from Bucket, Cream Dream, Jonathan Vassar, DUST~, McKinley Dixon, Crucial Rip, Horsehead and Honest Debts and more local music that’s not as new.  It also features a single by Deau Eyes, the recent winner of the Newlin Prize for Richmond area music.

Much of the music played on River City Limits and the Studio B RVA podcast can be found on my Bandcamp page.  As much of the music as possible played on both shows is purchased.

Full playlist:

BUCKET – World Turned Upside Down – NEW


twain – King of Fools

JONATHAN VASSAR – A Thousand Miles a Minute – NEW

DUST – Gourmetsh – NEW

McKINLEY DIXON – Run, Run, Run (Kitchen Table Session) – NEW

CRUCIAL RIP – Violent Retribution – NEW

Erik Larson – Nomen Est Omen none

DEMONS – Inauguration Day


GNAWING – Gimme Tinnitus – NEW

SPOOKY COOL – I Lick The Sweat off Your Back

V.E. – I Started A Joke -Bee Gees cover

SAMMI LANZETTA – The Bordlerline

DEAU EYES – Make Some Time -won the Newlin Award

STRAWBERRY MOON – You, Me, and Mystery

PPIRANHA – Placate

PRABIR TRIO – Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva


HORSEHEAD – Grains of Sand – NEW


WKNDR – Color of Your Love



BEARSTORM – Why We Can’t Have Nice Things




Good Eye Podcast – Fear The Reaper, Not A.I. – audio

In this Good Eye BLOGcast, I muse on the advancement of A.I. and its effect on people and industries that, historically, have been the exclusive domain of humans.  As a voiceover artist, whoddathunk that computers would one day be gunning for my job.  But I’m convinced that you need to face these advancements head-on.  Lean into what makes us human.  What other choice do we have?

Fear the Reaper, not A.I.

A quote regarding AI by Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan from a recent email:

“AI won’t replace people. People will be replaced by other people who use AI.”

This quote gave me pause and helped me to look at this issue from a different angle. As a human voice actor, I believe the threat of AI encroaching on businesses, vocations and territory traditionally held by actual humans is real and must be taken seriously. But if you’re in an industry that AI’s digital eyes are watching hungrily (we can’t help but ascribe animalistic traits to non-living things, can we?) how can you take action with Sullivan’s wise words ringing in your head? Ringing in your head in the form of a human voice, hopefully.

For starters you can get with it. Understand it. Study it. Use it and get a feel for its reach. Whether it’s ChatGPT, synthetic voices, or transcription software. Realize its potential and learn how you can capture what it offers to your benefit. Burgle the gold from its lair. Even if that means a fuller understanding of what benefits AI brings as it relates to, in my case and the case of my fellow voice artists, voice and voiceover technologies. Try to find out where that lines leads and ends and the benefits of decidedly and exclusively human contribution begins. AI’s “emotions” are algorithmic, not intuitive, not emotional, not empathetic nor compassionate.

While AI can offer speed and efficiency that no human can match, it does not tote with it the need for compensation aside from a fee or subscription and will never call in sick or sue its employer for wrongful termination. The presence of AI should be a motivator. It should be a source of inspiration, a reminder to know yourself deeply and lean into the aspects of yourself and your human-ness that ONLY YOU can bring. It is those aspects that will set you apart not only from AI, but from everyone and everything else. That should be cause for celebration. If not, just ignore it, turn your back on it and hope for the best at your peril. Maybe it will just go away. But what do I know? I’m only human.

Good Eye Podcast – Bryan Berry and Aaron Lee – Leadercast RVA

Bryan Berry and Aaron Lee are both leadership coaches.  And they both wish there was a better way to describe what it is they do since they both focus on people and how they work together.  They’re bringing Leadercast RVA to town on May 3 at Main Street Station for a diverse lineup of speakers.

Our conversation ranges from coming to terms with the person in the mirror, old leadership styles versus new, leading by dealing with people as the individuals they are and following your passions as the best means of becoming successful.

Bryan and Aaron share their experiences and what brought them to this point including Bryan literally facing death more than once.  And we talk about some of the speakers and what you can expect at Leadercast RVA.

River City Limits on WRIR 3-4-23

Playlist post on WRIR website

Much of this music can be found on my Bandcamp collection

2023 0304 RCL Jay Smack Host


Ships In The Night – Sun One (Aurora mix)
(Aletha Levanthal – orig. from Cville)
New remix EP dedicated to a friend who passed away

Buck Gooter – Time Flies (pre-release track)
Ghost Brain
Released in April

WKNDR – Middle Aged Agitator Single
Released Feb 24

GIF FROM GOD – Knife Goes In, Guts Come Out
Digital Red (released yesterday March 3)


Omen Stones – Skin Self
Released in Dec

Appalling – Father Inferior Sacrilege
Nov 2022

Pyramid Mass – Wars Monolith
Jan 20

B4NK M4CHIN3 – Days Like These
Leisure, Recreaton and Stability
-members of The Seymores, Dynamic Truths, Coral, Fudge, Dark Little Rooms

The Mitras – Caroline

Benjamin Shepherd – Thirty Hour Day
Charlie Glenn – piano

Hotspit – Meltng Point

Keep – Dasani Daydream

Book of Wyrms – Sodapop Glacier Nov 2022

Byzantne – Purity Nov 2022 Charleston WV


Justn Golden – Ain’t Just Luck Hard Times and A Woman

Drook – Soap

David Brookings – If I Don’t Make It Back
Cali via Richmond – was here 3-2

DUMM DUMMS – Halogen

Colin Phils – Totokon
June 2022

Cut The Architect’s Hand – Contempt As A Weapon

Hail Hornet – Disperse The Curse

Stinking Lizaveta – Witches and Pigs (Philly)
Were here recently
Name is a Dostoyevsky reference

Jim Ivins – Me And My Bones

Large Margin – Smothered and Covered

Merciful Zero – Melonite Kingdom

NO BS! Brass – Undying

V.E. – I Stared A Joke

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