Earlier this summer I attended a regional church meeting at which several speakers were scheduled to address us. One among them was Bro. Joe Whitmer, whom I had never met nor heard speak. I missed his introduction, because I was fiddling with my tablet while getting it set up to take notes. I believe he was the 2nd or 3rd speaker, and while I was taking notes, and appreciating the talk, his voice jumped out at me. Nick and I had been on the look out for some good voice talent, because we had planned on using book trailers to promote the book. Obviously, we would need a good Santa voice, but our Santa voice would need to be different than the typical depiction. However, we weren't entirely positive as to what we were actually looking for. I wrote to the side of my notes, for Joe's talk,- "Possible Santa voice", but at the time, it was just a thought. After the meeting, I asked the man behind me whom the mystery voice was, and I recorded next to my note- Joe Whitmer. I now know it was inspiration that led me to have such a thought.
For the last several months, Nick and I have been operating on the idea that we had one potential candidate for the voice of the "Old man" whom neither of us knew from Adam. Recently, we realized that getting Joe would probably be a long shot in the dark. We had no connection, nor idea of if he would be interested at all, much less willing to humor us. I even began to wonder if the voice I had listened to for about 15 minutes would be a good fit. So, we tried to come up with a contingency plan. I practiced my best "old man" voice in my truck for a few days, and when Nick and I worked together, we both shared our best impersonations. however, we found that, no matter what we did, we couldn't make ourselves sound believable, and we really didn't know of anyone who we thought could sound like what we wanted, because we still weren't really sure, ourselves, what exactly we were looking for. So, with our self-imposed deadlines looming, we fired a total shot in the dark. I looked up Joe's number on the church directory, and proceeded with the cold call. It was, needless to say, a little awkward, and for Joe, completely out of left field. He asked me if it was a crank call...but as I proceeded to explain and pitch the idea, he said he would give it a shot.
So, cutting to the chase, when Joe arrived this past Friday night, clearly a little skeptical at what we were doing but willing nonetheless, we introduced ourselves, and our families, and got to work. We didn't want to take a lot of his time, as he had to drive over an hour just to get to my place. First, we planned to have him read the story out loud to us to get in the rhythm of things. A few lines in, smiles crept onto mine and Nick's faces. The spirit of the story entered the room, and in our hearts, and we knew we could not have hit more of a home run. Joe has a gritty rasp in his voice. It is formidable and experienced, yet warm and kind. It is the voice of a real person, not a magical being. It is one that operates on faith, and that is exactly what we wish to convey in our story. Ladies and gentlemen, in the next couple of days we will be launching the teaser for "The Gift Giver", and will finally hear the voice of our main character.
In the process of putting this thing together, we have felt led in pretty much everything we have done. We have come into contact with some amazing talent that we have been so blessed to work with. From getting tips on how to even start something like this, to finding our amazing illustrator, to stumbling upon an editor, to finding Joe, to securing rights to music, commissioning original music, and generally getting things done in effective and efficient ways, we have been so blessed. I really believe this project transcends our natural abilities, and I'm so excited to see it progress.
There is a lot more going on and we'll try to get some more info on that on here soon. For now, stay tuned, and thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!