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."

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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.

 

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