December: Sam Beman - User of the month

We're delighted to introduce you to one of our most active Zoobe users, Sam Beman! He kindly agreed to do an interview with us so we can get to know more about the man behind these fabulous Zoobes!

Sam is an actor, DJ (Smooth-B) and comedian. In March 2015 he married his wife Sarah after his proposal at Disney World! Sadly, only one month later he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease Lymphoma Stage 4. Let's find out more about Sam, his story and his variable voice.

Hey Sam! How are you doing? Let's start with a little introduction of yourself. Tell us a bit about your life.

My name is Sam Beman and I was raised in the South of the United States. I've been into voices for a long time. Back to when I was 12 years old, that's when I really started mimicking other people that I would hear, such as friends and famous celebrities. The friends part always got me in trouble, because they often did not find it so flattering!
I went on to do voices over the years. When I was 19 I got into acting at the Spring Opera House in Columbus, Georgia (US). From that moment on up until last year (2014), I've basically introduced new characters, voices through everything that I have done such as musicals, drama and comedy,

How did you respond when you received your diagnosis of cancer? How did your family and friends react?

I got married in March and the very next month I got put into the hospital because I was in a critical condition. The doctors did some blood tests and said that something was wrong. I didn't know that my kidneys were shutting down the night that it happened. Through a lot of extensive tests they found out that I had Hodgkin's disease Lymphoma stage 4 and that I could have died. My family were devastated but they were also hopeful because they knew that God was still in control and he was still good. It's been a painful journey but also a blessing. Every time I go into the cancer centre to get a chemo treatment or infusion shots, I would just say: "God, please help me to be a blessing to anybody I come across." I was able to use my voices to try to entertain them. That was my stage. I went from being on camera to being in the hot seat getting some sort of infusion or injection and just trying to bring some joy to somebody with the voices that I do.

When did you start using the Zoobe app and how did you find out about it?

A couple of months ago, when Zoobe was aired on the Today Show I started using the Zoobe app. The Today Show has been a daily part of my routine since I've come out of the hospital. Every morning I watch Al Roker, Matt LaurerNatalie Morals and so on. That day Al was showing off his Zoobe voice through a smurf and I was thinking "I'm gonna get this right now!", so I immediately downloaded the app and started using it.

Which are your favourite Characters?

It's funny, because there are a lot of characters in there, that I don't even know who they are, but my step children do!
I like the little dinosaur, Tyranni. Every character I come across I try to give some type of personality. I just look at it and think about what this character would be like and I start creating it. Tyranni to me is a poet, so I do these little poems with the particular voice.
There are so many characters and I've used a lot of them. As I'm a big Ghostbusters fan, I really love Slimer too.
Another one I got the other day is the viking, I'm looking forward to using that one.

Would you like to have other characters in the Zoobe app?

OH YES! Yes, there are a few. Number one, which I know is tough because of copyrights, is Mickey Mouse. I do his voice already and it brings people joy. I've noticed that out of all voices that I do, kids to grandparents enjoy Mickey Mouse and his voice but unfortunately I can't do it right now with the Zoobe app, which is a little sad.

 I know again it's Disney's property but Yoda would be HUGE,because everybody can have a good time with Yoda and it's probably one of the top voices that I do. Also I would love to see more male characters,

Where do you publish your Zoobes?

I typically share on Facebook and the videos are addressed to anybody, the voices that I do are people of all ages.With the four children that are under my care, I've noticed they love the voices and things I come up with. The subject matter can hit them and older adults enjoy them as well.
I also sometimes share them on Twitter and sometimes I send them through text.
I did upload them to YouTube, but I had too many videos so I need to create my own Zoobe channel because I've got a variety of other videos that people want to watch as well.

Which settings do you use?

I do like the ability to switch the background, that's nice. Sometimes I'll look at the animation and think "oh, what if he or she was here?" and nearly everybody who uses this app thinks the same thing. I have seen some videos where it hasn't been thought about what background to use as there was a random photo of a face, it's funny. But for me I typically take my camera out and shoot a setting. 
I never do the voice pitch, I personally don't do that as I can control my own pitch. 

What kind of feedback do you get?

I noticed on Facebook, there will be a number of likes and occasionally people will comment "Lol, that was so funny.","This made me laugh., "I needed this today!" or "That made my day". It makes me happy when I touch people through my voices.

When is your high time producing Zoobes?

I usually produce Zoobe videos in the morning, as it is the only time of the day where it's just me. After 12pm it seems like the rest of the day I'm busy with family and so on. In the morning I'm the most creative and I create 3 to 5 videos a day. 

What is special to you about the Zoobe app?

Just giving me the freedom to put my voices into work in a sense is awesome because it allows you just to be creative. For people who do voices it's a dream come true!

Have you got any tips for beginners or other Zoobe users on how to create wonderful Zoobes?

Think out what you want to say first! I've even let the kids use the app and they love it! What ends up happening is that I'll hit record and then they start talking for 5 seconds and they are done. Don't you want to say anything? They haven't really thought it out. I usually rehearse, I'll practice what I'm going to say and then I record. I've noticed there are a lot of people who don't even use their own voice, instead they use the radio to record a popular music song. But I would say think about what you want to say first. And of course, if you want to change the background, think that one through. Where would this character be, where do you want them? If it's the little tiger do you want it in the microwave? Then it should be inside the microwave! Whatever you want to do, just make it look interesting and compelling and have fun with it. 
Try new voices if you can! Experiment! Everybody has at least one impersonation, a dialect, or something that they can do, just be yourself.

Thank you Sam, it was a pleasure talking to you, keep up the great work! We wish you all the best!

You're welcome! I'm looking forward to the new characters and functions that you will come up with in 2016! See you.

To find out more about Sam, check out his website and Twitter account: