66: The Oral History of the Retro Encabulator with Mike Kraft

In the manufacturing industry, the Retro Encabulator needs no introduction. However, there’s a good chance you don’t know the actor behind this infamous technobabble video. His name is Mike Kraft, a long-time actor and voice talent, and today, he shares the whole story behind Allen-Bradley’s viral Retro Encabulator video.

In this episode, Mike takes us behind the scenes of how the video came to be and the things he’s learned in his career by working in different industries.

On the acting side, Mike shares how to deal with rejection and his tips for acting success. Mike explains how announcer-style videos are going out of fashion, which is why it’s so important to know what you’re talking about rather than just pretending to.

We also get a hint into whether we’ll ever see a Retro Encabulator reboot anytime soon…


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. The Retro Encabulator was a spin-off of the GE “Turboencabulator,” originally written and created by Detroit-based talent Bud Taggart as part of Chrysler’s “Master Tech” video series.
  2. Being a voice actor in this industry means you get to learn lots of different things, which is even more important now. You need to know what you’re talking about to be authentic.
  3. Nowadays, presenting or announcer-style videos are going out of fashion. People prefer to listen to subject matter experts than actors.

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The original GE Turboencabulator spec sheet

Tweetable Quotes

  • “The reality of it is you can’t be everyone for everybody all the time.”
  • “Know what you’re talking about. And be just the best version of yourself you can be, and don’t try and be an announcer.”
  • “The way I describe my job poorly is I pretend to know what I’m talking about. That’s essential.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

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What We Discuss with Mike

  • How the Retro Encabulator video came to be
  • Why you get to learn a lot about different industries as a voice actor
  • How to deal with rejection
  • Why announcer-style videos are going out of fashion
  • The story behind the ‘Silver Man’ character
  • Whether the Retro Encabulator will ever get a reboot

Voice-over talent Mike Kraft

Recommended Resources

  • Retro Encabultor, the best viral technobabble video on the internet
  • Rockwell Automation, parent company of Allen-Bradley, who really should be taking way more credit for their involvement in the Retro Encabulator video. Hit them up on Twitter and see if they’ll take Mike up on his offer to make a “Retro Encabulator 2.0” video!
  • Retro Encabulator IPA, brewed in collaboration with the engineers and electricians of Great Lakes Brewing Company, Retro Encabulator IPA uses a modial interaction of Simcoe, Centennial, Cascade, Citra, and Mosaic hops for an enhanced magneto-reluctance and capacitive diractance. Confused by the jargon? In layman’s terms, Retro Encabulator is a hop-charged IPA with grapefruit, tangerine, and tropical fruit flavors and a slightly chewy malt body. Part of our Small Batch Pilot System series.

Connect with Mike

To reach out to Mike with voiceover and voice acting inquiries, please listen to the episode for Mike’s email address.