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Welcome to the Producer's Handy Dandy, a free online voiceover resource. For more than 40 years, the Producer's Handy Dandy has been the Mid-Atlantic's best talent source. Now, in addition to our familiar CD, we offer online casting convenience and advanced search capabilities.
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Craig Sechler Narrates Nova: Killer Avalanches
Just as our thoughts turn to winter, Craig Sechler narrates NOVA: Killer Avalanches for WGBH in Boston. The program airs November 19th on PBS stations nationwide.

Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. This audiobook version received an AudioFile Earphones Award from Audiofile Magazine.

Ask a Marylander where they're headed this summer, and chances are you're bound to hear "downee ocean" (down the ocean). That can only mean one place: Ocean City. "OC" is the major beach destination in the state, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to the place where land meets water each year. Now, Maryland Public Television is laying claim to the OCMD experience by creating its newest program about life and fun at the ocean -- Downee Ocean, Hon! -- a vividly shot one-hour trip to the beach, filled with loads of fun, sun and salt water taffy. From the beach to the boardwalk, from the Ferris Wheel to Fager's Island, from sunrise on the beach to nightlife by the bay, Downee Ocean, Hon! captures the OC experience - from the rich history, family traditions, and small-town charm that's kept Ocean City as one of the East Coast's top vacation spots.

Marvin Mandel: A Complicated Life, a 30-minute documentary about the 56th governor of the State of Maryland, makes its debut on Monday, February 24 at 9pm. Through interviews with the 93-year-old Mandel, archival film footage, radio broadcasts, and newspaper accounts during his administration, the documentary traces how Mandel shaped and reorganized Maryland government while defending himself in court - and in the court of public opinion. Mandel, who served 19 months in jail for mail fraud and racketeering before his sentence was commuted by President Ronald Reagan, today is widely praised for his service to the state. Mandel's conviction was overturned in 1987 and, six years later, his official portrait was hung in the Maryland State House. Today, he is credited for reorganizing and modernizing all three branches of state government. Appearing in the MPT documentary are political figures of the day – press secretary Frank DeFilippo, Senator Ben Cardin, State Senate President Mike Miller, and former Governor Bob Ehrlich – along with media who covered the Mandel administration including WMAR-TV's Jack Bowden, former state house photographer Tom Darden and reporter Karen Hosler. Attorneys and judges from the Mandel trial era appearing in the film include federal prosecutor Ron Liebman, appeal prosecutor Martin Himeles, defense attorney Al Figinski, and prosecutor Barnet Skolnik, who was assistant U.S. attorney at the time. Mandel attorney Arnold Weiner comments in the film, as does Blair Lee, son of the lieutenant governor who took office when Gov. Mandel stepped down.

Margaret Strom recently narrated a new digital signage project for the Transportation Security Administration. Produced by GMMB under the direction of Phil Allen and Debbie Ashpes, it was recorded at Georgetown Post. It will soon be seen in airports nationwide at the entrance to security areas.

Smithsonian Channel's four-part series "Space Voyages" surveys the past, present and future of manned and unmanned spaceflight. Airing on four consecutive Mondays concluding January 13, the episodes feature interviews with Jim Lovell, Gene Kranz, Chris Kraft, Jay Barbree and others.

SAG-AFTRA talent from the Producer's Handy Dandy walked away with twenty individual awards in voiceover and on-camera categories. Multiple Peer Award recipient Sheldon Smith again won Gold for his narration of MPT's EMMY-winning "Heart of the Civil War" and Melissa Leebaert, Craig Klein, Kristan King Lewman, Greg Gorton, Don Hagen, Vanessa Richardson and Jeannie Johnson won Silver awards for voiceover artistry. Moreover, Craig Klein, Melissa Leebaert, Jeannie Johnson, Bill Thomas, Erik Synnestvedt, Valerie Menzel and Anne Hall received Bronze Awards in voiceover categories while Bill Thomas also won Bronze for his on-camera appearance in "Killing Lincoln" as did Elizabeth Noone for her performance in an episode of "Criminal Minds." The gala event was attended by more than 300 from the local production community and was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Saturday, November 16. Congratulations to all from "The Mid-Atlantic's Best Voiceover Resource."

AudioFile Magazine has awarded another "Earphones" recognition to Don Hagen for his narration of "Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition," by T. Colin Campbell. The AudioFile Review commented: "Don Hagen is an excellent narrator to deliver this persuasive health audio, which was written in the first person by the 79-year-old principal author. With his intelligent phrasing, clear enunciation, and mature-sounding sonority, Hagen's performance promotes engagement and thoughtful reflection."

Wildlife expert and adventurer Steve Backshall has spent his entire life getting up close to incredible animals. Now he wants to study four ‘monstrous' animals on our planet, by entering their underwater world and getting closer to them than ever before. In ‘Swimming with Monsters', Steve joins forces with behavioral experts, scientists and extreme divers in order to dive with fascinating but deadly animals. They then locate the creatures in order for Steve to do the unthinkable - swim with them. The first two episodes premiere as part of “Monster Week” Thursday, May 23rd at 8:00pm (Anaconda) and 9:00pm (Hippos).

Helen Carey has been nominated to receive a Helen Hayes Award for her performance in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" at Arena Stage. The Washington Post called the production "a masterpiece" and continued "Helen Carey, with major-league emotional authority portrays Mary Tyrone [in] as meticulously detailed a portrait of this anguishing character as I've ever encountered." Carey's performance, also called "riveting...stunning and heartfelt" and "particularly striking" resulted in her nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play. The 29th Helen Hayes Awards will be held on April 8, 2013, at the Warner Theatre and JW Marriott Hotel. For more information about the awards ceremony and Ovation Gala, visit theatrewashington.org or call 202-337-4572.

SAG-AFTRA talent from the Producer's Handy Dandy again won nearly every award in all voiceover categories at the TIVA-DC Peer Awards celebration held Saturday, November 17 2012. Kirk Penberthy, Melissa Leebaert, Don Hagen and Elisabeth Noone won Gold awards in voiceover categories and Silver and Bronze awards were won by Craig Klein, Jeannie Johnson, Steve Ember, Penberthy, Leebaert and Hagen. Additionally, Connie Bowman won a Peer Award for on-camera performance. Charles Lipper received an award for production work and Irene Magafan picked up awards in several categories for "The Bonobo Connection." Multiple Peer Award winner Sheldon Smith narrated the evening's top prize, Washington Media Group's "Iron vs. PVC," which won "Best of DC." The evening was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Congratulations to all from "The Mid-Atlantic's Best Voiceover Resource!"

Now that the elections are over, feel like you need a getaway? How about a trip to Mars? Tune in to NOVA on PBS on Wednesday, November 14 at 9:00 PM for the broadcast premiere of "Ultimate Mars Challenge" narrated by Lance Lewman. The program was produced by Jill Shinefield and Gail Williumsen and written and directed by Gail Williumsen.

New SAG-AFTRA rates for the Corporate/Educational and Non-Broadcast contracts went into effect on November 1, 2012 and are now posted on our RATES page. Although slightly increased from previous rates, internet use of such material is now included so many producers may actually find their final cost reduced. As always, specific questions concerning rates or contracts should be addressed to the SAG-AFTRA office.

The Heart of the Civil War tells stories from some of the most fought-over U.S. territory during the War Between the States. During the war, Confederate and Union forces clashed again and again for control of strategic points throughout three counties in west-central Maryland – as the war marched north-to-south from the confederacy to the union, and back again. The Heart of the Civil War recounts the war's far-reaching impact on the lives of ordinary but battle-weary Marylanders caught up in now-famous local battles, the conflicted struggles of believers in the confederate cause living on Union soil, and the turbulent, unpredictable politics of war that ultimately helped to preserve the Union. Be among the first to view the "Heart of the Civil War" at a debut presentation, held on the actual 150th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army invading the North for the first time. On September 4, 1862, Lee crossed the Potomac River and headed towards Frederick. When: September 4, 2012 at 7pm Where: Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 West Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21701

What would it be like to see a shark attack a seal from the sharks perspective? Follow a team of engineers and shark experts as they attempt to capture the near impossible footage of a sharks-eye-view attack. Travel to False Bay, South Africa, where great white sharks put on spectacular acrobatic displays as they attack seals. If all goes as planned, the filmmakers hope to attach a Crittercam to a sharks dorsal fin, track its positioning and capture an extraordinary moment of predation. Premieres Thursday, May 24 at 7:30PM on Nat Geo Wild.

Secrets of the Chesapeake travels the Chesapeake region – east and west, north and south, from mountain to marsh – to ask locals for sage advice to discover and uncover the most unusual places to explore and things to do for the weekender. But these aren't ordinary tourist destinations. Instead, they're spots that only a native would point to: remote shorelines where beachcombers can find beautiful and rare sea glass; an island gem-of-a-seafood-shack; quiet crossroads where tragic local history comes alive. Secrets of the Chesapeake takes viewers to places they'll never forget where they'll meet people they've only read about. Premieres Tuesday, April 17, at 8:00PM EDT on MPT.

Washington DC, January 5, 2012 – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released a new safety video depicting three accidents involving combustible iron dust at the Hoeganaes Corporation in Gallatin, Tennessee. The video, entitled “Iron in the Fire,” features three computer animations showing how fine metal particles were lofted and ignited in two incidents, and how a hydrogen explosion and subsequent flash fires caused by lofted metal dust killed a total of five workers and injured three others. In the video, CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso notes that “Combustible dust is a serious workplace hazard across the country. Since the Chemical Safety Board was established in 1998, three of the deadliest accidents we have investigated have been combustible dust explosions.” The chairman said he hopes the video will drive home the point that dust fires and explosions continue to claim lives and destroy property in many industries. “More must be done to control this hazard,” Dr. Moure-Eraso says, adding “No more lives should be lost from these preventable accidents.” “Iron in the Fire” begins with a poignant remark by Christina Sherburne, wife of one of the workers killed at Hoeganaes, who spoke at a CSB public meeting on the investigation. Referring to her son and the aftermath of the accident that fatally injured her husband, Wiley Sherburne, she says, “Everything was changed that morning. And when Cody and I got to the hospital the first thing the doctors told us walking in the door was he was burned 95% of his body, and ‘we don’t think he’s going to make it.’ There’s nothing you can say to that.” The 14-minute video shows that after the first flash fire on January 31, 2011, which killed two workers, the CSB launched an investigation, discovering large quantities of the combustible metal dust on elevated surfaces, equipment, and floors in many working areas of the plant. Then on March 29, another flash fire occurred, seriously injuring a worker. Investigators then collected iron dust samples and had them tested. At a news conference in Tennessee on May 11, the CSB released laboratory test results demonstrating the combustibility of even small amounts of the iron dust when dispersed in air in the presence of an ignition source. But as the video notes, despite the CSB evidence, and the company’s own test results done previously, the company did not institute adequate dust control measures or after-the-fact housekeeping cleanup measures. The video depicts the scene just sixteen days after the CSB released its test results – on May 27th – when a hydrogen explosion erupted in the plant, after the gas began leaking from a corroded furnace pipe. The blast shook loose iron dust accumulations from the upper reaches of the building which ignited and rained down on workers. The explosion and ensuing fire killed three and injured two others. The video reports that the CSB investigators found the company did not require atmospheric testing for hydrogen or other explosive gases. CSB Lead Investigator Johnnie Banks says in the video, “It is a tragedy that five lives were lost at Hoeganaes from these accidents. The CSB believes that adhering to recommended industry practices will greatly reduce the potential of a future dust fire or explosion.” The video is available to stream or download on www.CSB.gov and may be viewed on the CSB’s YouTube channel, USCSB (www.youtube.com/uscsb).

TIVA-DC's 2011 Peer Awards ceremony was held Friday night, November 19, at the National Press Club in a ballroom filled with 300 of the people who make video production happen in the Mid-Atlantic region. Among those recognized for their work in a range of craft areas, AFTRA/SAG talent whose work can be found on the Producer's Handy Dandy again dominated the performer categories: VOICEOVER, LONG-FORM - MALE Bronze: Sheldon Smith for "Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Spanning the Bay" Silver: Lance Lewman for "Encounter on the High Desert" Gold: Craig Sechler for Nat Geo/NOVA "Extreme Cave Diving" VOICEOVER, LONG-FORM - FEMALE Bronze: Melissa Leebaert for "National Geographic: Giulani's 9/11" Silver: Melissa Leebaert for "30 Years of Leadership on HIV/AIDS" Gold: Gwendolyn Briley-Strand for "Marian Anderson: A Song of Dignity and Grace" VOICEOVER, SPOT - MALE Bronze: Craig Klein for "JKL: Spiderman" Silver: Sheldon Smith for "Energy Solutions: Three Rivers" VOICEOVER, SPOT - FEMALE Silver: Jeannie Johnson for "High Heels: Ken Buck ad" Gold: Joyce Peifer-Forbes for "Bon Secours: Services" Additionally, Brenna McDonough received two Peer Awards for On-Camera Performance and Melissa Leebaert, Galen Nemec and Jeannie Johnson were also honored in on-camera categories. Joy Haynes, Will Rosser and Gale Nemec were among the presenters for the evening.

Washington DC, October 20, 2011 – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released a new safety video on the potential hazards associated with conducting research at chemical laboratories in academic institutions. The 24-minute video focuses on three serious laboratory accidents: the death of a lab research assistant in 2008 in a flash fire at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA); a death by accidental poisoning of a highly regarded Dartmouth College professor in 1997; and a 2010 explosion at Texas Tech University (TTU) that severely injured a graduate student, who lost three fingers in the blast and suffered eye damage. Entitled “Experimenting with Danger” the video notes that the CSB has collected preliminary data on 120 explosions, fires, and chemical releases at university laboratories and other research facilities that occurred around the country since 2001, causing deaths, serious injuries, and extensive property damage. The video provides extensive information on the CSB’s investigation of the TTU accident and the resulting case study. The report, issued during a webinar on laboratory safety yesterday and now available online at www.CSB.gov, includes six key safety lessons the Board believes apply to academia as a whole. The three laboratory accidents are depicted through the use of illustrations. Dr. Naveen Sangji, the sister of Sheharbano “Sheri” Sangji, who died of injuries from the UCLA accident, says in the video, “A lost life is not just an anonymous loss of life, but real people, and families are profoundly affected. And safety has to be an absolute priority and the first priority for any laboratory. TTU vice president for research Dr. Taylor Eighmy, who appears in the video, said, “The video is immensely powerful. It tells a compelling and poignant story and should be used all the time in every university that has anything to do with laboratory or workplace safety.” CSB lead investigator Cheryl MacKenzie and investigator Dr. Mary Beth Mulcahy comment extensively on the results of their team’s investigation of the TTU explosion during an experiment with energetic materials being conducted under a funding agreement with the Department of Homeland Security. The video is available to stream or download on www.CSB.gov and may be viewed on the CSB’s YouTube channel, USCSB (www.youtube.com/uscsb).

Fred Fiske, longtime Washington radio voice, retires after 64 years
By Paul Farhi, The Washington Post Published: September 27 Fred Fiske got his first radio job in Washington after hopping off a New York-bound train at Union Station, scanning the phone book and asking local stations whether they had any openings for an announcer. Things were different in 1947. Over the years, the jobs and the stations changed, but Fiske, who turned 91 this month, stayed behind the microphone. He kept talking — through 12 presidential administrations, five wars and countless crises, infinite hairstyles, lifestyles and new technologies, and a few social revolutions. Until this week. The longtime Washington radio voice — make that the longest-time Washington radio voice — has called it a career 64 years after signing on. Fiske’s last radio commentary, a brief and modest personal retrospective, aired Monday on WAMU (88.5 FM), his radio home since 1977. “It’s been a wonderful ride,” he concluded in the gentlemanly tones that have characterized his absurdly lengthy career as an announcer, pop-music DJ, talk-show host and gently insistent, moderately liberal commentator. Fiske’s career spans a tumultuous epoch in communications, from a pre-television era in which news moved at the pace of a streetcar to the Internet age of atomized audiences and microscopic attention spans. It’s fair to say that the Brooklyn-born Fiske met and interviewed most of the leading figures of the latter part of the 20th century. As a young man, he spoke with Eleanor Roosevelt, followed by every first lady through Rosalynn Carter. Generals Omar Bradley and George Marshall chatted him up about veterans’ affairs, as did a blustery U.S. senator from Wisconsin named Joe McCarthy. Elvis Presley called in for an interview on Fiske’s pop-music show on WOL AM on the day Presley began his hitch in the Army. Any book-flacking author, movie-touting celebrity or self-promoting politician who came through town in the 1970s had to go on Fiske’s talk show on WWDC AM to get the word out. Once, a man called Fiske on WWDC and told him that he was preparing to commit suicide. Fiske kept the man talking and signaled his engineer to trace the call and alert the police, who got to him before he could act. Memorable, even thrilling, but that’s not what sustained him. “I guess, basically, I’m a ham,” Fiske says. “I started as an actor, and I enjoyed performing. I enjoyed the attention I got. I enjoyed the people I met. I like dealing with ideas and things I’m interested in. I got to be present at a lot of important occasions and met important people of the era. . . . How could you not like that?” Fiske’s radio days actually go back to the mid-1930s, when he was recruited by a teacher to appear on a network radio show called “The Magic of Speech.” He went on to act in radio dramas with the likes of Ronald Colman and William Holden and performed in Borscht Belt shows on the same bill as Danny Kaye and Henny Youngman. During World War II, Fiske was a radio operator on a B-24 crew, which survived a devastating attack by German fighters in September 1944. (Fiske won the Distinguished Flying Cross for guiding rescuers to his crash-landed plane.) Fiske has had several incarnations, each paralleling the trends and fashions of the radio business. He was an announcer on serious public-affairs programs like “Meet the Press,” back when commercial radio did serious public-affairs programs. He did newsmaker interviews. When news began to fade, he became a music personality, spinning Doris Day and Perry Como records. Eventually he became a drive-time morning personality, and then a talk-show host. But as the business began to get rougher in the 1970s, Fiske balked. While hosting “The Fred Fiske Show” on WWDC, management wanted him to adapt to the new style of confrontational radio. “They wanted me to provoke [listeners], call them dumbbells and such, to attract an audience,” he recalls. “I couldn’t do that. I wasn’t brought up that way.” Instead, in 1977, he went to WAMU, the public-radio station owned by American University, where he did a nightly talk show, which became a Saturday­ morning talk show. Since the early 1990s, after the death of his first wife, Ruth, he has been a regular commentator on local and national affairs, offering what he describes as “moderate” opinions. One measure of the length of Fiske’s career: He has spent more years on the air than WAMU has been around; the station turned 50 this year. Another measure: He’s old enough to have mentored another Washington radio legend, Ed Walker. Fiske taught a broadcasting course at American University in the 1950s, and one of his students was Walker, then a junior, who would later team with former “Today” show weatherman Willard Scott as popular radio duo “The Joy Boys.” “He gave me good grades,” says Walker, laughing. Walker is heard weekly on WAMU’s “Big Broadcast,” which features dramas and serials from radio’s golden age. “He was always very good to me and always very pleasant to be around. That comes across on the air. He never badgered people.” Fiske’s retirement makes Walker, at a mere 79 years old, the oldest radio personality continuously on the air in Washington. In his 10th decade, Fiske has the assured voice of a much younger man. His recall of long-ago events, dates and names is astoundingly quick, though he sometimes consults his wife, Sandy, for factoids of more recent vintage. Except for a cranky back, he’s in robust health. Retirement will give the couple more time to travel (they have a trip to Paris and Normandy in the works). Will he miss being at the mike? Fiske tries to be unsentimental, but the emotion comes through in the voice that has sustained him for so many years. “When I came home and told Sandy I was retiring, she said my eyes filled up,” he says. ”I don’t know. I guess she was right.”

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun September 22, 2011 Louis R. "Lou" Mills Jr., a nationally known and highly regarded recording engineer who was called "Baltimore's Godfather of Sound" and whose Cold Spring Lane studio was a destination for stars and musicians, died Friday of a heart attack at St. Joseph Medical Center. The longtime Mount Royal Terrace resident was 76. "Louis Mills was one of America's greatest recording engineers and a beloved, wonderful man who helped and inspired nearly everyone whose life he touched," said Tom D'Antoni, who had worked with Mr. Mills in Baltimore and is now editor-in-chief of oregonmusicnews.com, an online music magazine in Portland, Ore. "In all of my 35 years of broadcasting and media creation, I have never met a more talented recording engineer, or a nicer man," said Mr. D'Antoni. Greg Novik, who is now the owner of Greg's Bagels in Belvedere Square, worked as a writer and an apprentice studio musician after graduating from college at Images International, when he and Mr. Mills became friends. "Lou was a mentor to just about everyone working in this business in the city. When he was in studio, he was truly an artist. When he was producing a session, it was absolutely smooth, and when he was working the boards, he was a genius," recalled Mr. Novik. "He may have been unknown to the public, but he was a giant in the field of sound recording and production. He was a heavy hitter. He was it," he said. The son of a Crown Central Petroleum Co. executive and a homemaker, Mr. Mills was born and raised in Houston. Mr. Mills' talent for sound recording happened early. He was 16 when he recorded his first radio commercial for a Houston radio station on an old wire recorder, which predated audiotape. After graduating from San Jacinto High School, he enrolled at Rice University and had completed his sophomore year when his father, who was treasurer of Crown Central, was transferred to Baltimore. He finished his education at the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a degree in 1958 in electrical engineering. "He began working in an era before there was audiotape. He was simply a genius," Mr. D'Antoni said in a telephone interview. In 1958, Mr. Mills established Recording International, which he later changed to Flite 3 Studios, at Cold Spring Lane and The Alameda. It would become the largest movie/TV audio production facility in the city. "In Baltimore, Louis Mills is audio's godfather — and its mother, brother, mentor, and best friend," wrote Mr. D'Antoni in a 1997 City Paper profile. "The words 'audio god' have been attached to his name in more than one publication. He has, it seems, recorded everyone — from Leopold Stowkowski to Frank Zappa, from James Earl Jones to Divine — and everything, from the Baltimore Symphony for over 17 years to some of the city's most reverently recalled commercials," wrote Mr. D'Antoni. Mr. Mills told Mr. D'Antoni that one of his first jobs was the iconic Parks Sausage commercial that included the line: "More Parks sausages, Mom." Other memorable commercials that showed his artistry included "Mommy, call Hampden, Belmont five-oh-six-oh-oh," "If you don't own a cow, call Cloverland now," and "Nobody has what Tate has." In 1960, when Al Brown and the Tune Toppers came to Flite 3 to record "The Madison," which became a popular dance craze in Baltimore, it was Mr. Mills with whom they worked. In a 1971 interview with The Baltimore Sun, Mr. Mills explained that for an engineer, the "most single valuable asset is an ear for music, and the atmosphere, or karma, of the studio." One of those who worked with Mr. Mills at Flite 3 was George Massenburg, who went on to win Grammy Awards and worked with such artists and bands as Linda Ronstadt, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Little Feat. It's been said that every top recording engineer working in Hollywood or New York most likely at one time or another worked with Mr. Mills. Doug Roberts, a well-known Baltimore actor, radio personality and voice-over artist, was an old friend who worked with Mr. Mills for years. "It's been every bit of 40 years, and he was Baltimore's Godfather of Sound. I think he must have produced 50,000 radio and TV spots, and I think I've done at least 3,000 or 4,000 with him. He made the best commercials in the country," said Mr. Roberts. "He knew how to work with both the client and talent and make it better. Not many people know how to do that, but Lou did. People died to work with Lou," said Mr. Roberts. "Big stars came to Baltimore to work with him, and you were absolutely thrilled when you found out you'd be working with him." "He had such a calming way and could put me at ease. He was the best director I ever worked with," said Mary Anne Perry, who worked in radio for 17 years and, with Mr. Mills' encouragement, became a freelance voice-over artist and camera talent. "He told me I could make it," she said. "No matter how long or grueling a session was, I never saw him get upset, and he'd be gracious the entire time. When he was editing, the producer, client and voice-over would be busy talking in the room, and he'd simply hold up a finger for us to lower our voices. He was kind to everyone," said Ms. Perry. Betsy Harmatz, an engineer and producer, began working with Mr. Mills at Flite 3 after graduating from college in 1974. "Lou was a most generous person. He shared his knowledge and compliments, and took the time working with you," said Ms. Harmatz. "He wanted you to know how to do it right. He was an icon. A legend." In the City Paper interview, Mr. Mills explained his philosophy. "I don't train people. I give them access and occasionally point out things that I really hate or that they do that I really like. I just give people a shot at it," he said. Flite 3 Studios helped in the production of such movies as Barry Levinson's "Avalon," as well as "Washington Square," "Runaway Bride," John Waters' "Hairspray" and "Homicide: Life on the Street." "He was one of the first persons I met when I was in high school and went downtown looking for trouble," said Mr. Waters, with a laugh. "I went downtown to find bohemia and beatniks, but Louis didn't look like one. He didn't dress like a beatnik. He hung at Martick's and in bohemian circles," he said. "Later on, we filmed the TV station scene for 'Hairspray' at Flite 3 and did dubbing there." Jeremy Irons, Yaphet Kotto, Bruce Willis, Peter O'Toole, Albert Finney, Bill Cosby and Maggie Smith are just some of the Hollywood stars who came to work with Mr. Mills at Flite 3 Studios. Since Flite 3's closing in 2003, Mr. Mills had been working at Horich, Parks, and Lebow Advertising in Hunt Valley. "He was a classical music fan and a huge fan of Mahler's work," said his companion of 40 years, George "Ed" Armstrong, a Baltimore hairstylist. The Reservoir Hill resident was a patron of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and a member of Towson United Methodist Church. Services were Monday at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. There are no other survivors. fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

When the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity touched down on Mars in January 2004, they were expected to drive a few hundred yards and last ninety days. Seven-plus years later, the hardy robots have proven to be two of the greatest explorers of the Space Age, trekking miles across hostile deserts, climbing mountains, scrambling in and out of craters, and cheating death many times. Now comes the sad news that while Opportunity continues to roll, Spirit has reached the end of the road. Death of a Mars Rover tells the epic story of Spirit and Opportunity, and the desperate effort to save Spirit after she drove into a quicksand trap and then fell silent over a year ago. Premieres Thursday, June 2, at 8:00 PM EDT on National Geographic Channel. Read more: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/death-of-a-mars-rover-6755/Overview#ixzz1O2HcO2qI

Naomi Jacobson received the 2011 Helen Hayes Award as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Resident Play for her performance in "Richard II" at the Shakespeare Theatre. Nominated in two categories, Jacobson received the recognition on April 25, 2011, at the black-tie ceremony held at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. One of the country's most prestigious cultural honors, The Helen Hayes Awards recognizes and celebrates excellence in professional theatre throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

Explore the far-reaching effects the Chesapeake Bay Bridge has had on everything from commerce to commuting. It helped fuel the growth of the tourism industry, transforming tiny beachside resorts like Ocean City into crowded summertime destinations. Come along for an exciting look back at the monumental creation of the Bay Bridge! Will air on Maryland Public Television on April 11 & 16 at 9pm; also April 12 at 12:01am, 4am. See the trailer and program details at http://www.mpt.org/bayweek/programming.shtml

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a new safety video depicting events leading to the August 28, 2008, catastrophic explosion and fire at the Bayer CropScience facility in Institute, WV, that fatally injured two workers. The video is entitled “Fire in the Valley,” a reference to the Kanawha River valley where numerous chemical facilities are located, including the Bayer plant that manufactures insecticides, near Charleston, West Virginia. The video features a detailed computer animation showing how a series of errors and deficiencies during a lengthy startup process resulted in a runaway chemical reaction inside a residue treater pressure vessel. The CSB’s investigation found that operators were not adequately trained, new computer process equipment had not been fully checked out, and a critical safety interlock was bypassed to begin a chemical reaction. The CSB’s safety videos are provided free of charge. DVD compilations may be requested at www.csb.gov. They are available for viewing and downloading on the website, and also at www.safetyvideos.gov and on YouTube. The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

Naomi Jacobson and Colleen Delany have received nominations for the prestigious Helen Hayes Award. Jacobson was nominated as Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play, for her performance in "Henry VIII" at the Folger Theatre and received a second nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play for her role in "Richard II" at the Folger. Delany was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play, for her performance in "Pirates! A Boy at Sea" at Imagination Stage. One of the country’s most prestigious cultural honors, The Helen Hayes Awards recognizes and celebrates excellence in professional theatre throughout the Washington metropolitan area. The 27th Helen Hayes Awards will be presented on Monday evening April 25, 2011, a gala celebration bringing together 2,000 theatre makers and theatre lovers to The Warner Theatre and JW Marriott Hotel in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C.

For centuries, Islamic and Christian civilizations have coexisted, often peacefully. Yet recent factors have given rise to misunderstandings and have aroused animosities between the Middle East and the West. Through dramatic reenactments and interviews with theologians, historians and statesmen, this three-part series investigates the complex and dynamic relationships between these cultures. Discover how these warring faiths once coexisted and even thrived together and how they may one day chart a path towards a peaceful future. Begins Wednesday, February 16 on Smithsonian Channel.

Kevin Walsh will be the announcer for the 15th Annual Research!America Advocacy Awards on March 15 at the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. Each year, Research!America recognizes individuals and organizations whose leadership efforts have been notably effective in advancing our nation's commitment to medical, health and scientific research. This year's honorees include United States Senator Richard Durbin, PBS talk show host Charlie Rose, Nobel Laureate J. Michael Bishop, M.D. and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This will be the second consecutive year Kevin has announced the Advocacy Awards.

Video diaries reveals life for those committed to St. Elizabeths By Henri E. Cauvin Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, January 28, 2011; 2:37 PM People at St. Elizabeths aren't often asked what they think about life in the District's public psychiatric hospital. So when a local actress and producer named Joy Haynes came calling last year, with the idea of helping a handful of patients tell their stories on camera, it didn't take long for the hospital to find a few people eager to be heard. Haynes, who counts at least a dozen short films among her credits, was thrilled. She couldn't wait to meet the men who had agreed to participate in her video diary project. Then she did. And as she learned who the patients were and what had brought them to St. Elizabeths, Haynes was stricken with flashes of doubt. One of the men had killed his wife. Another had raped and killed a young Senate aide. Collectively, the five patients had spent more than 150 years at St. Elizabeths, each committed after serious and, in some cases, heinous crimes for which they had been found not guilty by reason of insanity. "It was, to be perfectly frank, pretty emotional," said Haynes, who is 37 and practices immigration law alongside her artistic endeavors. "I questioned myself, as far as what I was doing and exactly who I was giving voice to." But she said she thought about why she wanted to do the project. For her, the diaries were about helping the men by allowing them to share their reflections about St. Elizabeths beyond the hospital's campus in Southeast Washington. "I wasn't there to pass judgment," she said. "I was there to create the story that they wanted to tell." So the filming went on, and continued for weeks under the direction of Haynes and her co-director Ellie Walton. Bit by bit, the men learned to record themselves and the worlds they inhabit, and to craft the footage into a series of introspective narratives. On Saturday night, the 57-minute film,"Saint Elizabeths Hospital: Voices From Within," will be premiered in front of nearly 250 people, including the five subjects of the film - Lewis Ecker II, 68; Ronald Embry, 53; Kevin McCain, 54; Calvin Neal, 57; and James Snyder, believed to be 79. Shot over about four months at the hospital's campus in Southeast Washington, "Voices" offers glimpses of the old St. Elizabeths, which opened in 1855, and vivid images of the new St. Elizabeths , which opened last year. In the film, each of the diarists has a segment to himself, to talk about the St. Elizabeths he has known. Snyder, the longest-confined of the five men, shows himself kissing his rosary and composing poetry and walking on a treadmill. He talks about "knowing that I am somebody and that the years that I have spent here have not been wasted." Ecker introduces the old John Howard building, where until last year he and others with criminal pasts were housed. "The treatment was rough," he says. "It was hard, and most times, it was anti-mental health." A note's power A year ago, Haynes could scarcely have imagined a premiere like the one that will unfold Saturday night. A D.C. native and a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, she had never been to St. Elizabeths and didn't know much about it. A public television documentary about an arts workshop for St. Elizabeths patients changed that. After watching the program, Haynes decided to buy a piece of patient artwork. So she called the hospital's community outreach director, Maureen Jais-Mick, and visited St. Elizabeths for the first time. At the hospital, she took a liking to an abstract painting by a patient named Herbert Settles. After buying the 19-by-25-inch watercolor piece for $50, she wrote the artist a thank you. So proud was Settles of the note, he carried it everywhere, to the point that it was soon in tatters. When, he would ask Jais-Mick, would Haynes be back to buy another of his paintings? When Haynes learned how much he cherished the thank-you note, she was stunned. "That," she recalled, "was sort of the epiphany for me." The arts, she realized, could be therapeutic for these patients, and film could be her entry into the effort. Soon, she and Jais-Mick were talking about the video diary project and how it could work. By the end of August, Haynes, who lives in Adams Morgan, had raised about $6,000 in backing. It would pay for the cameras that the patients would use to capture their existence and help cover the other costs of the otherwise volunteer project. Looking past crimes Last year, the hospital moved into a new $161 million building years in the making. It was there that Haynes would meet the five men and it was there that she would have to begin her reckoning with what had led each of the men to St. Elizabeths. Embry, who had received diagnoses of schizoaffective disorder and substance abuse, had killed his wife. Snyder, whose diagnoses are antisocial personality disorder and alcohol abuse, had killed as well. Neal, with diagnoses of delusional disorder and substance abuse, had assaulted someone, and McCain, who has schizophrenia and alcohol dependence, had been accused of sex crimes. The most notorious of them, though, was almost certainly Ecker, who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1967 slaying of Judith Robeson. A 24-year-old aide to then-Sen. Frank Carlson (R-Kan.), Robeson was raped, beaten and strangled. Ecker was arrested days later. A diagnosed sexual sadist, he would, in his many years at St. Elizabeths, be caught more than once with sexually sadistic materials. "It is a horrible, horrible crime," Haynes said when asked about Ecker's past. "There's no changing that." But Haynes uses the project to look beyond the patients' volent acts and focus on what the men have done since coming to St. Elizabeths. Ecker, for instance, was an elected neighborhood advisory commissioner in the 1990s in Ward 8, where St. Elizabeths is located. Sitting in the hospital auditorium where "Voices" will be screened on Saturday night, each man expressed his own reasons for wanting to make a video diary. Embry wants to send a message to young people about the perils of neglecting medication and therapy. "I killed my wife," he said. "I had stopped taking my medications." Neal wants the chance to catch the world up on his life. "I think a little public view can help me, let my friends know what I've been doing for the past 25 years." Snyder sees an opportunity to amplify all the writing he has done over the years for hospital publications. "People would get to see me, the person they've been reading about." McCain wants the world to know that he's ready to leave St. Elizabeths. "You stay in a hospital to get well and go home." And Ecker just wants someone to listen and to understand that the person he once was is not the person he is. "I kind of bare my soul in the movie, and I just hope at least one person in the audience appreciates it." Staff researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report. cauvinh@washpost.com

Hundreds of production professionals from the Mid-Atlantic region gathered last night at the National Press Club as TIVA's DC Peer Awards recognized the best and brightest in the fields of film, video and the Internet. Outstanding work in craft areas such as directing, editing, scriptwriting and acting received Gold, Silver and Bronze Peer Awards. Again, AFTRA-SAG talent dominated the awards in the acting categories, voiceover and on-camera. Here are the AFTRA-SAG winners: VOICEOVER – SPOT, FEMALE Melissa Leebaert for "Obama '08 Absolute" (SILVER) * Sallie Beckner for "Supreme Court Week" (BRONZE) Joyce Peifer for "Lawsuits against Small Business" (BRONZE) VOICEOVER – LONG FORM, FEMALE Gale Nemec for "No Valentines for Trevor" (SILVER) Joyce Peifer for "Caring, Compassion, Comfort: A Tribute to the USNS Comfort" (SILVER) Sallie Beckner for "We Heard the Bells – The Influenza of 1918" (BRONZE) Jeannie Johnson for "The Ebony Legend" (BRONZE) Melissa Leebaert for "America's Outdoors: National Park Service" (BRONZE) Melissa Leebaert for "The World's Smallest Girl – National Geographic" (BRONZE) VOICEOVER - SPOT, MALE Pete Papageorge for "I Am the Guard" (GOLD) * Don Hagen for "Yarmuth for Congress" (SILVER) * Will Rosser for "Americans for Mobility Transportation" (SILVER) * Louis Levy for "Motorcycle Safety" (BRONZE) VOICEOVER – LONG FORM, MALE Lance Lewman for "Chesapeake by Air" (GOLD) Steve Ember for "Confessions of an Airplane Lover" (SILVER) * Craig Sechler for "Sizing up Sperm – a National Geographic Documentary" (SILVER) Sheldon Smith for "AHLA Hospitality Heritage Award Tribute" (SILVER) Don Hagen for "The Lentz Conspiracy" (BRONZE) Lance Lewman for "Chimps – Next of Kin" (BRONZE) Craig Sechler for "Alien Earths – a National Geographic Documentary" (BRONZE) Sheldon Smith for "Returning a River to Health" (BRONZE) ON-CAMERA – DRAMATIC, MALE Michael Gabel for "Last Call" (GOLD) Michael Gabel for "Soul Searching" (SILVER) Also of note – - Nancy Camp worked with Spark Media on the entry which received the "Best of DC" award: "Soul of a People: Writing America's Story." - Monika Samtani accepted two Bronze Peer Awards on behalf of Ms. Media: In the category PR/Marketing under $25K, for "I Drive Smart/Smart Six Program" and in the Pro Bono category for "The Faces of Second Chance." - Joe Krebs, of News 4 (WRC-TV) and former president of the Washington-Baltimore local of AFTRA, did an outstanding job as the evening's emcee, along with a very able team of award presenters: Karen Carbone, Shari Elliker, Michael Gabel and Sean Pratt. If you'd like to see and hear samples of the winning entries, TIVA will post clips at their website, www.tivadc.org, in about a week. Congratulations to our AFTRA-SAG winners!

This one-hour film chronicles the fate of the 33 miners trapped in a collapsed Chilean gold and copper mine in August 2010 and investigates the many challenges faced by both the miners and those working around the clock to bring them safely to the surface. NOVA was on-site at the San José mine in Chile by early September. Conferred special access, NOVA's film crew interviewed engineers, NASA experts, medical personnel, and key figures from the companies that provided drills and crucial rescue equipment to give a more detailed scientific account of the unfolding events. The resulting film, using footage from the scene as well as advanced animation, showcases the extraordinary feats of engineering as well as the biological and geological factors inherent in the rescue. "Emergency Mine Rescue" also examines the psychological and physiological impact of this kind of prolonged ordeal on the miners and those involved in the rescue efforts.

The Godfather of Go-Go has played countless venues over his storied career but as he promotes his new three-disc set, "We Got This," he is adding a few new ones to his long list. Last night he made his late night television debut sitting in with The Roots on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." He didn't get to perform his own song, which was kind of a bummer. But he did get to chat a bit with Fallon and sing as they came back from commercials and get some screen time during the "Freestylin' with The Roots" segment. In addition to his musical talent, Brown is also an accomplished voiceover performer. His demos can be heard at www.producershandydandy.com.

If you hear a GEICO radio commercial where someone is describing the actions of a mime, that would be Craig. This is his second booking with The Martin Agency, having recently voiced an in-store commercial for Glad as part of the Walmart Smart Network. You can also hear him every day on WETA-TV, voicing various funders and promos.

Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives. Part 1, "First Steps," examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The program explores the fossil of "Selam," also known as "Lucy's Child." Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. NOVA's cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. And NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors' brains had begun to change from those of the apes. Program airs on Tuesday, August 31, at 8:00 PM.

On October 2, 2007, five people were killed and three others injured when a fire erupted 1,000 feet underground in a tunnel at Xcel Energy Company's hydroelectric power plant in Georgetown, Colorado, located approximately 45 miles west of Denver. The fatally injured workers were trapped deep underground during an operation to coat the inside of the tunnel with epoxy using highly flammable solvents. The tunnel is several thousand feet long and connects two reservoirs with electricity-generating turbines. The video can be seen at www.csb.gov.

In 2002, the discovery of a beautiful and bizarre fossil astonished scientists and reignited the debate over the origin of flight. With four wings and superbly preserved feathers, the 130 million-year-old creature was like nothing paleontologists had ever seen before. In this program, NOVA travels to the Chinese stone quarry where the fossil was discovered–a famed fossil treasure-trove –and teams up with the world's leading figures in paleontology, biomechanics, aerodynamics, animation, and scientific reconstruction to perform an unorthodox experiment: a wind tunnel flight test of a scientific replica of the ancient oddity. Dubbed Microraptor, the crow-sized fossil is one of the smallest dinosaurs ever found and one of the most controversial, challenging conventional theories and assumptions about the evolution of flight.

Join NOVA on a voyage beneath the waves, where you'll discover a bizarre, alien-like creature like no other. It's an animal with eight sucker-covered arms growing out of its head, three hearts pumping its blue-green blood, and a doughnut-shaped brain. It has the ability to change its color and shape to blend in with seaweed and rocks, and it has a knack for switching on electrifying light shows that dazzle its prey. Perhaps most surprising of all, this animal is quite intelligent, with a highly complex brain. In this program, underwater cameras capture the extraordinary, transformative powers of the cuttlefish.

What: Screen Actors Guild Regional Branch Division leadership and the Washington-Baltimore leadership of SAG/AFTRA host a special celebration to honor Sheldon Smith, recipient of the prestigious Howard Keel Award. Who: Ken Howard, Screen Actors Guild President, Amy Aquino, Screen Actors Guild Secretary-Treasurer, David Hartley-Margolin, Screen Actors Guild 3rd National Vice President, Kirk Penberthy, SAG Washington-Baltimore Branch President, Sheldon Smith, Honoree, David White, Screen Actors Guild National Executive Director and elected SAG Regional Branch Division leaders Roberta Reardon, AFTRA National President, Bob Edwards, AFTRA National First Vice President (and Radio Hall of Famer), Paul Almeida, President, Department for Professional Employees AFL-CIO, David Cohen, Executive Director, Department for Professional Employees AFL-CIO, Julie Wright, AFTRA Washington-Baltimore Local President, Jane Beard, Past SAG Washington-Baltimore Branch President and former Washington-Baltimore Branch National Board Director, John Badila, Past SAG Washington-Baltimore Branch President, Past AFTRA Washington-Baltimore Local President and current AFTRA National Board member, Joe Krebs, Past AFTRA Washington-Baltimore Local President, AFTRA National Board and morning news anchor on NBC’s WRC-TV in Washington, Jim Bohannan, Radio Hall of Fame host of Westwood One’s syndicated Jim Bohannan Show and Marice Tobias, preeminent Los Angeles based voice-over coach (and first female director to win a CLIO award). A number of prominent political media consultants including: Tom Edmonds, Edmonds & Associates, Doug Bailey, formerly of Bailey Deardorfff & Associates (one of the “fathers” of political media consulting dating back to the early 70s), Paul Wilson, Wilson Grand Communications, Rick Reed, Rick Reed Media, Art Hackney, Hackney & Hackney, Paul Curcio, SRCP Media and John Marcus, McCarthy Marcus Hennings Ltd. Master of Ceremonies: Paul Anthony. A member colleague of Smith, Anthony is well known in D.C. for his work on PBS and in New York where he was with Sirius Radio for a time. He is the announcer for 1010 WINS NYC. When: 6 p.m. Cocktails and Dinner* 8 p.m. Tribute to Sheldon Smith Where: The National Press Club 529 14th Street, NW 13th Floor Washington, DC 20045 *Dinner is invitation only and not open to the media or public. Members of the media interested in covering this event, please contact: Pamela Greenwalt, Screen Actors Guild, (323) 549-6872 (323) 549-6872, cell (323) 440-2892 (323) 440-2892, pgreenwalt@sag.org About the Honoree and Howard Keel Award: SAG/AFTRA Washington-Baltimore Branch member Sheldon Smith will receive the 2nd Annual Howard Keel Award for his tireless contributions to Screen Actors Guild. Smith joined SAG in Detroit in 1968. Based in Washington, D.C. since 1986, Smith is an award-winning actor/narrator and perhaps the best-known voice of Republican media campaigns in America. He is a four-time winner of the Peer Award for Voiceover/Narration, most recently the 2009 Peer Gold Award for A Restless Giant - The Ever-Changing Nature of Mount Rainier, produced for the National Park Service by Henninger Productions. Smith is also the recipient of 19 Telly Awards, multiple Pollie Awards and Reed Awards, and a CINE Golden Eagle Award, among other recognitions. For more than 30 years, he has specialized exclusively in voiceover. For the past several years, Smith has presented a very popular workshop nationwide which teaches members how to convert non-union work into union jobs. Smith has also participated in every Branch Wages & Working Conditions Committee for both the Commercials and Industrial Contracts for over 20 years. Named for the legendary actor-singer and former SAG president, the Howard Keel Award is annually presented to persons who make a significant contribution to the promotion of Screen Actors Guild and to the welfare and benefit of members in their Branch, or nationally, as part of the Regional Branch Division. Keel was SAG’s 10th president (1958-59) and during his term, the SAG National Board was increased from 39 to 52 seats, allowing for Branch representation — for the first time — from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Boston.

Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed carrying out astounding behaviors that have experts stunned. They've developed survival skills once believed to be performed only by humans - like hunting mammals with tools made of sticks. What can their actions tell us about our own origins? Anthropologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Jill Preutz chronicles these chimps and the lessons to be learned about ourselves. Airs Friday, April 9, at 6:00PM EDT.

"Hot Flash," a film written by Barbie DeSantis and directed by David DeBoy, won the Grand Prize in a worldwide competition for independent short films. The film was produced by Barbie DeSantis and Ty Ford. More information can be found at http://www.indieshortfilms.net/id71.html.

Honoring Black History Month, the program aired nationwide on PBS on Thursday, February 11 and was broadcast on NPR on Friday, February 12. Featured performers include Yolanda Adams, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Naomi Jacobson has been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play, for her perfomance in The Winter's Tale at Folger Theatre. The 2010 Helen Hayes Awards, honoring excellence with one of the most prestigious theatrical honors in the country, will be presented on April 5 at the Warner Theatre and the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.

"Dogtown," now in its fourth season, takes a look at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, one of the county's largest no-kill animal facilities. On 33,000 acres of Utah canyon country, the sanctuary rehabilities sick and wounded dogs from all over the country. Airs Friday nights at 8:00 PM on the National Geographic Channel.

AARP's TV program, "My Generation," has gone nationwide on PBS and will debut here in the DC area on WETA, Channel 26, in February. The many helpful features on the program include topics such as health/fitness, reinventing oneself, finance, etc. The program is co-hosted by Greg Williams.

Earth teems with a staggering variety of animals, including 9,000 kinds of birds, 28,000 types of fish, and more than 350,000 species of beetles. What explains this explosion of living creatures—1.4 million different species discovered so far, with perhaps another 50 million to go? The source of life's endless forms was a profound mystery until Charles Darwin brought forth his revolutionary idea of natural selection. But Darwin's radical insights raised as many questions as they answered. What actually drives evolution and turns one species into another? To what degree do different animals rely on the same genetic toolkit? And how did we evolve? "What Darwin Never Knew" offers answers to riddles that Darwin couldn't explain. Breakthroughs in a brand-new science—nicknamed "evo devo"—are linking the enigmas of evolution to another of nature's great mysteries, the development of the embryo. NOVA takes viewers on a journey from the Galapagos Islands to the Arctic, and from the explosion of animal forms half a billion years ago to the research labs of today. Scientists are finally beginning to crack nature's biggest secrets at the genetic level. The results are confirming the brilliance of Darwin's insights while revealing clues to life's breathtaking diversity in ways the great naturalist could scarcely have imagined. One hundred and fifty years later, scientists decode nature's greatest mysteries—a two-hour special. Aired December 29, 2009 on PBS.

Washington, D.C. (December 1, 2009) — Screen Actors Guild announced today that Washington-Baltimore Branch member Sheldon Smith will receive the 2nd Annual Howard Keel Award for his tireless contributions to the Guild. Smith joined SAG in Detroit in 1968 and will receive his honor at the Regional Branch Division’s annual board meeting in May. “I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Smith. “To me, it reflects the gratitude I have for my membership in the Guild and in AFTRA. Being a union member has afforded me professional opportunities I would not otherwise have enjoyed and my earned union benefits have allowed me to be a full-time working actor with a long and rewarding career.” Based in Washington, D.C. since 1986, Smith is an award-winning actor/narrator and perhaps the best-known voice of Republican media campaigns in America. He is a four-time winner of the Peer Award for Voiceover/Narration, most recently the 2009 Peer Gold Award for A Restless Giant - The Ever-Changing Nature of Mount Rainier, produced for the National Park Service by Henninger Productions. Smith is also the recipient of 19 Telly Awards, multiple Pollie Awards and Reed Awards, and a CINE Golden Eagle Award, among other recognitions. For more than 30 years, he has specialized exclusively in voiceover. Among his contributions to the Guild, Smith serves as a member of SAG’s National Financial Core Task Force, and his passion is for both internal and external organizing. For the past several years, he has presented a very popular workshop nationwide which teaches members how to convert non-union work into union jobs. Smith has also participated in every Branch Wages & Working Conditions Committee for both the Commercials and Industrial Contracts for over 20 years. “Sheldon has lent his time, energy, intellect and considerable talent to an extraordinary number of efforts that have benefited not only Washington-Baltimore members, but members across the country,” said SAG 3rd National Vice President David Hartley-Margolin. “Sheldon’s service has been tireless, staggering, and offered for years without regard for recognition, making him more than deserving of this distinguished award.” Named for the legendary actor-singer and former SAG president, the Howard Keel Award is annually presented to persons who make a significant contribution to the promotion of Screen Actors Guild and to the welfare and benefit of members in their Branch, or nationally, as part of the Regional Branch Division. About SAG Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents over 120,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org .

AFTRA/SAG talent from the Producer's Handy Dandy won every single award in all voiceover categories at the TIVA-DC Peer Awards celebration held Saturday, November 14. Gold awards in voiceover were won by Kathryn Klvana, Sheldon Smith, Melissa Leebaert and Dude Walker, with Brenna McDonough, Lance Lewman, Don Hagen, Gale Nemec, Greg Williams, Leebaert and Walker taking home awards at the Silver and Bronze levels. Additionally, McDonough and Craig Sechler won Gold Awards for on-camera performances, and Erik Synnestvedt, Pete Papageorge, Lewman and Williams also were recognized for on-camera excellence. The gala evening was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Congratulations to all from "The Mid-Atlantic's Best Voiceover Resource."

The 2009/2010 Producer's Handy Dandy CD has been mailed to nearly 10,000 producers, agencies and studios up and down the east coast and across the country. If you haven't received your personal copy, you can request one here.

Please check out the demos of the newest voices on the 2009/2010 CD: Jennifer Massey, Joy Haynes, Bob Armfield , Elizabeth Parsons, Jeannie Johnson, Johnny Holliday, Victoria Ray, Bob Moore, Roberta Masters and Diana Sowle.


Congratulations to Jay Chapin at Biz Video Solutions, Rockville, Maryland, who won a Samsung 40" flat screen HDTV in a promotion celebrating the release of the 2009-2010 Producer's Handy Dandy CD.

The Producer's Handy Dandy has been the Mid-Atlantic's premier voiceover casting resource for more than 40 years. It was started by the late Carroll James in 1972 and quickly became an indispensable tool for producers and advertising agencies. Then as now, the performers featured on the Producer's Handy Dandy CD are members of SAG-AFTRA and look forward to working with you.

In addition, our online talent pool features many more performers from the Washington-Baltimore area who specialize in voiceovers. Need a young voice with a hip attitude? An accent? A mature, authoritative read? Search for the voice you need in one of 20 voicestyles. We think you'll agree that finding the right voice has never been easier.

Listen to our most recent talent demo uploads