Jeff Kafer'sVoice-Overload World:
Poking Fun With 'Simple Truths'
August 23, 2011
By Kelley Buttrick
Voice Talent & VOXtra Staff Writer
Jeffrey Kafer knows the voice over industry and doesn’t hesitate to expose the humor in its truths via his popular comic series Voice-Overload.
"I don’t think I’m funny,” says Kafer, whose comic series can be found at Voice-Overload.com.
"It’s really just speaking the truth that no one else wants to say out loud,” he explains.
The full-time voice over talent has seven years in the business and specializes in audiobooks, including creating his own audiobook publishing company, Springbrook Audio.
FROM REAL LIFE
Inspiration for the lives of Voice-Overload characters Mike, Zeek, Boss Man and Sallye Cougarstein come from what he sees and hears from other industry professionals, especially on Facebook.
He gets permission to turn their stories into a three-panel comic and sends a free print if he’s truly inspired.
"I’d love it if people come to my wall and start posting stories (facebook.com/Voiceoverload),” says Kafer. "It’s important to sustain the comic.”
MEET THE CHARACTERS
Voice-Overload features the industry trials experienced by:
Mike (left), not a newbie, but a young guy who hasn’t found his way around the voice over world yet; Boss Man, who doesn’t know how to work with voice talents and is notoriously cheap; Sallye Cougarstein, an almagamation of those coaches who can’t seem to work as talents so they suddenly become teachers; and Zeek (right), essentially a graphic representation of the comic’s snarky creator who also makes some mistakes - especially when dealing with clients.
One of Voice-Overload’s biggest fans is James Alburger, co-director of the VoiceActing Academy and author of The Art of Voice Acting, who chose to use some of the comics in the latest edition of his book.
"When he started, I kept getting his comics on a regular basis, and they just jumped off the page,” says Alburger, who used Kafer’s comics to sum up various chapters.
"His insight in being able to communicate the real truth and honesty of what the voice over business is all about in a three-panel comic strip is brilliant.”
In addition to using the comics in his book, Alburger and business partner Penny Abshire commissioned Kafer to create a comic for their VOICE 2010 conference, where Kafer also donated a bound copy of all of the Voice-Overload comics as a door prize.
Voice-Overload has many fans in the industry, including voice over talent Rowell Gormon.
"Kafer has a cynical, snarky streak I can appreciate. Anyone can simply whine and complain about something,” Gormon says.
"It takes a special talent to condense the vexing issue into a few words and find a sardonic ‘summing up’ for a punchline.
"Using the cartoon format allows one to get away with saying things you might not get away with in real-life conversation."
Kafer doesn’t set out to hurt anyone, but says there really is no taboo topic for Voice-Overload.
"There are no sacred cows I won’t poke fun of. It’s a matter of how much fun to poke of them.
"There’s a fine line between poking fun of everybody and picking on a few bad apples in the bunch,” he explains.
"Pretty much any topic is fair game. I want everyone to have a laugh at it and not come away with hurt feelings. I’m just making light of our industry as a whole, and the misconceptions about it.”
Voice-Overload fan Abshire, voice actor and VoiceActing Academy coach, appreciates Kafer’s sense of humor.
"We are in a creative business where we are constantly being rejected. It’s just the nature of the beast,” she notes.
"If we can’t take that, then we’re in the wrong business. He doesn’t set out to offend anyone, but he doesn’t walk on eggshells either. I admire that.”
Kafer doesn’t consider himself an artist.
"I can’t draw to save my life,” the first-time cartoonist says.
"It took hours and hours to get those figures in the comic to look the way they look today.”
Initially he used stock figures from an online service, but then wanted to move the series to his own website, forcing him to create original artwork.
Voice-Overload started in black and white but is now in color, and all work is done on the computer rather than by hand.
"I use the same file each time for the characters, and they don’t have mouths,” Kafer notes. "I just paste on different mouth styles like smiles, frowns, indifferent and snarky, based on what they’re saying.”
At times, he will create new art when props are required, like one comic requiring bunny slippers that took hours to create.
The characters’ outfits are based primary on how easy they were to create, and generally, the characters don’t have hands and feet because hands are so difficult to draw.
Kafer hopes readers will continue to provide him fodder from their own industry experiences so that Zeek, Mike, Boss Man and Sallye Cougarstein can continue, as we all do, to live and work in this business.
Jeff Kafer web: http://JeffreyKafer.com.
Audiobook web: http://audiobook-voice-over.com.
Voice-Overload Facebook: www.facebook.com/Voiceoverload.
ABOUT KELLEY ...
Author Kelley Buttrick is a versatile15-year voice over talent and staff writer for VoiceOverXtra who also has extensive experience in marketing and on-air roles in broadcast media, newspapers and business. Her work experience on many sides of the microphone gives her a unique 'big picture' perspective for each project.
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