A meeting with Rick Dempsey

Sr. Vice President of Creative for Walt Disney Character Voices International

This past week, I had the opportunity to meet with Rick Dempsey, the Sr. Vice President of Creative for Walt Disney Character Voices International.

Walt Disney and Clarence "Ducky" Nash recording dialogue between Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (Flicker/TomSimpson)

Walt Disney and Clarence “Ducky” Nash recording dialogue between Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (Flicker/TomSimpson)

Rick has the amazing job of keeping the integrity of the voices to what Walt Disney originally created.  That means that, no matter where you go in the world, characters such as Mickey Mouse will always sound the same and say the things Mickey would say – no matter what language they speak.

It was such a privilege to get to know Rick, a fellow Master’s College graduate, better.  Here are a few of the many things I learned:

1.  Humble beginnings do not make humble endings

Rick shared how he began his producing career with his first job running coffee and mail in a producing studio.  While it wasn’t glamorous, it gave him the opportunity to make a variety of contacts (people who would eventually help him grow in his career) and serve them well.

2.  Start local and work bigger

Rick explained that many of the greatest composers at Disney (such as Alan Menken) started small by writing music for local community events or local theater.  They didn’t just immediately start writing for Broadway.  It took years of work, starting small, and working bigger.



3.  Don’t read lines to your talent

As I am looking to do more stories like The Light Princess that incorporate music and narration, Rick gave me this valuable advice:  “Don’t read lines to your talent.”  In other words, he encouraged me to find someone who can do the voice and emotions that I want, explain the scenario, and let them do the rest.  I should never try to read the lines to them or make them try to sound exactly like I perform it.

It was a wonderful meeting and I’m grateful to Rick Dempsey for taking the time to meet with me and share words of wisdom.

Question:  What are some of your favorite audio stories that incorporate narration and music?  What stories do you wish were set to music?


Over the past many weeks, I have been working on a brand new website.  There’s just some final tweaks, but the site is live and running!

I know that many people check here regularly and are signed up to my old website.  Starting tomorrow, all new posts and music will be availabley only at this site www.amymack.com.

Photo Credit Shannon Mary

Photo Credit Shannon Mary

If you have saved any bookmarks to any other link, or were following my old blog, please take a moment and click here to re-sign up for new music and updates.


P.S. Make sure you sign up soon as I will be sharing some exciting posts this week!

The Sound of Adventure

A hero pauses to take a breath, sweeping his gaze over the advancing army that overwhelmingly outnumbers his own faithful men.  Any normal mortal would have fled, but there are lives at stake.  An entire town will be overtaken if these men fall…

Turning to his faithful followers, the hero gives a rallying cry.  They had fought together before and today…well, today is a new adventure!



Are You More Vulnerable Than You Think?

Courtesy of Flicker/Michael Cramer

Courtesy of Flicker/Michael Cramer

So your friend just talked you into watching this movie you really didn’t want to see.  Maybe it’s “not your style” or, maybe, you heard that the plot line wasn’t that great.  Either way, you’d rather not be there….

But then it happens.  Just a few minutes into the movie you find yourself relating with the main characters.  When they are happy, you’re happy.  When they are sad, you might even shed a tear with them.  Sure, the story isn’t your cup of tea, but no matter how much you convinced yourself you wouldn’t like it, you can’t help being drawn in…


Man Loses Everything, Yet Survives to Write World’s Greatest Hymn

Put yourself in his shoes.  You are a very wealthy, influential person.  Everybody loves you and wants you on their team.  You lead organizations, start charities, serve regularly in ministry, and are active in your community.  You get into real estate and have multiple properties and businesses that you own.  You have a loving spouse and several adoring children.  You are, in a sense, on top of the world.

But then…NOTHING.  In just a few short weeks, all of that is gone.  Your property, your wealth, your investments – even all of your children.  Gone.

What would you do?

Photo Credit Nathan O'Nions

A Conversation with Booker White

Meeting with Booker WhiteRecently, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Booker White, the head Music Librarian down at Walt Disney Studios!  While there, Booker showed me the copy stations as well as some of the Disney scores including the new Tommorrowland, some of the old Mickey Mouse cartoons, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Even more importantly, Booker was gracious enough to talk with me about how he started out in the music business and the many different aspects of music production (especially from a music copyist’s standpoint).  Here are a few things I learned:

Jazz Roots – You Might Be Suprised

Bruno Bollaert - Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Photo Credit – Bruno Bollaert

Do you ever wonder where Jazz music came from?  I did.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a nerd  or maybe it’s my love of history and music, but I find the story behind the music as fascinating as the music itself!

About a year ago, I was introduced to the amazing world of Jazz of which (gasp!) I had previously been unaware.  Before you get too appalled

Seven things that make a hymn great – and why you should care

Photo Taken by Khrawlings

Photo Credit Khrawlings

While growing up in the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, my grandma used to come every December to stay the month with my family.  I always looked forward to these visits which were filled with baking, crafts, snow days, movies, and much laughter.

During her stay, my grandma would tell us about her childhood and how she and her sister would sing hymns together while they worked back in the Depression era, inspiring my sisters and me to do the same.  Although

Ending? This is only the beginning….

Graduation HatToday marked the conclusion of a four year chapter in my life at The Master’s College.  Although graduation isn’t until Friday, I have concluded all of my academic classes!

While I am so grateful for my time at The Master’s College, I don’t really see this as an ending – rather a beginning.  Even though I have finished my college career for now, I don’t plan on ever stopping learning.  As one person stated:

You never stop learning

You should never stop learning

Learning is not just a gift, it’s a privilege.


 Learning is one of the greatest keys to success and already, even though I just finished my last class this morning, I already know what the next three things I am going to be studying are (I’ll be sharing soon).  I have been looking at many possibilities both professionally and in some amazing new projects and will be posting along the way what I learn