Juneau residents may not know John Bevens' face, but if they own a Sony PlayStation, there's a good chance they've heard his voice.
Bevens, an actor, voice-over artist and director of two media agencies, grew up in Juneau and Haines. College and work brought him to Arizona, where he has voiced characters and provided narration for three PlayStation releases, including the top-selling "ATV: Off Road Fury."
"I did all the crashes and moans and screams and yelps," Bevens said with a laugh. "It gives you a chance to really kind of do some (crazy) things in the recording booth. You're trying to get the air to leave your body quickly if you feel like you've impacted a tree. ... I was socking myself in the stomach a lot."
Bevens, who spent several weeks in Juneau visiting family during the holidays, also narrated the PlayStation game "Missile Command" and played French jet-skier Rafael Martin in the just-released "Splashdown."
"I really enjoy the character work, just doing the off-beat stuff," Bevens said. "I do so many different things with my voice. It changes for every project, it seems like. It's good; people never 'niche' you."
Larry Hodge, president of health-care consulting company H/P Technologies in Phoenix, has worked with Bevens on a number of projects.
"I think he's got a real good ability to be on the cutting edge," Hodge said. "A lot of our efforts have been out there ahead of everybody."
Born in Cottage Grove, Ore., Bevens moved to Juneau with his family in 1968. In 1974, they moved to Fairbanks, then to Haines, where Bevens graduated from high school in 1983.
A year of college at University of Alaska Fairbanks and a job as account manager for radio station KQRZ in Fairbanks followed.
"That's where the voices started," Bevens said. "That actually turned out to be where I (fit) - offering clients a little more of the creating, using humor and sound effects and the crazy voices. I found a little bit of success there."
Bevens moved from radio to television in early 1988, taking a job selling airtime and producing TV spots at KTVF-Channel 11, Fairbanks' CBS affiliate.
"I'd find them, sell them, write them, be in them, produce them," Bevens said. "I got to do everything in the process and get them on the air."
He performed in Fairbanks light opera and drama productions in his spare time, playing
characters ranging from Tony in "West Side Story" to Dracula in "The Passion of Dracula."
In 1991, Bevens moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting. He graduated with a major in broadcast management and sales, and a minor in communications, and took a job at KTVK-Channel 3 in Phoenix. After two years, he decided to start his own company.
"I had done some free-lance producing in video and really enjoyed that, so I created a company called Media Architects," Bevens said. "It kind of turned into a full-service creative agency."
Media Architects produces and places video and audio advertisements, designs Web sites and builds corporate logos and images. The company grew quickly, but Bevens found himself looking for another outlet for his personal creative pursuits. To that end, he founded National Creative in 1999.
"That's where I do a lot of the voice-over and on-camera work for a lot of clients in Phoenix and California," Bevens said. "They've just kind of evolved into two different things."
Today, Bevens is focused on building client bases and doing projects for both companies. Through Media Architects, he helped H/P Technologies build a successful Web promotional campaign.
"He was able really to increase our marketing efforts two-fold," Hodges said. "More exposure, better graphics, a deeper media penetration. We worked together over a year and it was a really wonderful project."
Bevens' efforts with National Creative brought him work as a PlayStation narrator and actor, and appearances and stunt work in NBC Movies of the Week, including "Robin Cook's Terminal."
Both Media Architects and National Creative operate Web sites, and Bevens hopes to continue expanding contacts outside of Arizona.
"You plant a lot of seeds and do little projects and sometimes they jump out and surprise you," he said. "I'd love to help out businesses in Juneau, because almost all my family's here."
Genevieve Gagne-Hawes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.