Snakes on a phone call--from Samuel L. Jackson

Scenario time: You've been pumped for the upcoming cheesy horror flick "Snakes on a Plane" ever since snippets of Samuel L. Jackson's dialogue started circulating around blogs and forums. But, for one reason or another, you can't get your friends to go with you. What's a moviegoing geek to do?

There's only one logical answer: Get Samuel L. Jackson to call your friends and tell them to see "Snakes."

It sounds a little outlandish. But thanks to a publicity tie-in between "Snakes" distributor New Line Cinema and audio technology start-up VariTalk, it's possible. The VariTalk software is basically a really souped-up version of text-to-speech (remember "Fred?") with the capability to create personalized messages in a voice based on that of an actual person--in this case, Samuel L. Jackson. As a result, by selecting a few options about yourself and the person you're calling (what his/her occupation is, defining physical characteristic, what he/she does for fun), you can piece together a pretty funny phone call. And it really does sound like Samuel L. Jackson.

(Imagine what a piece of VariTalk software could've done for Ferris Bueller.)

The options for the "Snakes" personalized messages are a little bit limited. I was, tragically, unable to get Mr. Jackson to call up my state's senators and encourage them to make the opening day for "Snakes on a Plane" a federal holiday, nor could I have him call in to NPR's "Car Talk" and complain about snakes in a gas tank.

Nevertheless, it's a fun (and free) way to get those less-than-enthusiastic friends of yours pumped for the movie that's undoubtedly going to be the next "Titanic."

Tech Culture
About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET


Love heavy and clunky tablets?

Said no one ever. CNET brings you the lightest and thinnest tablets on the market.