I Am A Professional Voiceover Actor. Ask Me Anything.

Yep, been at it freelance for 18 years. And I'm not above shamelessly plugging my pipes here on EP.

Nyxie Nyxie
51-55, F
28 Responses Feb 12, 2010

A spoken word hour! Sounds like fun, dub! How does that work, exactly?<br />
<br />
I should amend my earlier comment about casting agencies. Those who aren't client-paid will charge the talent a 10-15% commission on whatever they get paid for a job, but that isn't really unreasonable, since they've gotten you the gig. However, anyone who charges over 15% is gouging, IMO.

aha! so I've mainly encountered fakes.I had a feeling.<br />
lookout,rich corrinthian leather seats.<br />
actually I'm more interested in storytelling and such,have been hosting a spoken word hour for a few years...hit or miss,but a good discipline.

George: Some are, some aren't. I do a lot of interactive voicemail work. You can usually tell the computer-generated voices by the weird inflections. However, they are getting better as the technology advances.<br />
<br />
Dub: Absolutely not. Legitimate casting agencies don't ask talent for any kind of fee. They make their money from clients who are looking FOR talent.

oh,I have plenty of demos,I have trouble choosing!<br />
don't those agencies want a fee upfront?<br />
(rehearsing...mi,mi,mi,mi,lalalala~the door is ajar!)

Dub!! My main squeeze, a/k/a EP's El Lagarto, is a big fan of Ken Nordine and his word jazz albums! It's too bad he doesn't get around here much anymore. I'm sure he'd have a lot of say on the subject! :)<br />
<br />
I agree with you about Peter Coyote. He is an excellent narrator. Stacy Keach also gets a lot of that work, and for good reason. He's wonderful. Narration work is a great place to go when you're too old to make money on camera anymore!<br />
<br />
Re: breaking into V/O for $: If you're serious and you don't already have a 2-3 min. demo, I'd recommend putting one together and getting it online. Mine's up on YouTube. Then get listed with a local casting agency. That's the surest way of getting actual paid work!

this is a timely topic for me.I've been an avid community radio volunteer for many years,have plenty of experience and production skills(though I am admittedly pretty old-fashioned)and have been meaning to break into commercial work,hopefully something not too soul-killing...meanwhile I plug away,continuing to hone my skills and be more consistant.someday I'll get a bit of pay once again...I suppose.this radio voice of mine is a guaraunteed hit,I'm told-time to rethink my staunch anarchist outlook...(?)<br />
for the record,my fave voiceover actor is Ken Nordine,who also did very engaging "word jazz"albums,and for books on tape and other film narration I admire Peter Coyote greatly.and of course Clara Peller-how could we forget her? (hahaha)

Thanks george. Most of my work that would be heard publicly is regional, but my larger-scale claim to fame is that I am (at least I think I still am) the voice of the Brookstone Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer! I did the track about 10 years ago. Pretty funny, huh?

Lilt: Don Pardo is (amazingly!) still alive. I haven't watched SNL in so long, I have no idea if he still does the V/Os for it.<br />
<br />
McN: Don't know Percy Rodrigues. Will look him up.<br />
<br />
NancyDrew: Thanks! I don't know how cool *I* am, but sometimes the work is! :)

What a cool gig! What a cool chick to have such a cool gig!

Whatever happened to Don Pardo?

I looked him up. Yes I recognize the voice. Wow, he was all over. Very talented.

Scoobs: I was a big fan of the late Don Lafontaine. He was the guy who did those movie trailers, remember? "In a world...where Bruce Willis had hair..." ;D You know who I mean. He also did a goof on it in a Geico commercial a couple of years ago. What a set of pipes!<br />
<br />
unobserver: Yes, I have found that this is pretty much true everywhere for this work, especially in advertising. You are cast the way actors are, for your type. I get a lot of "mom" type roles, as well as "mature spokeswoman." That's just the kind of voice I have.

Do you find yourself getting typecast? (My husband also does radio ads for several stations, and he always gets the "high energy" ads, for example. Every energy drink, etc. that buys ad space has Mr. Uno's voice on it.) Just curious if it was a common thing, or just him.

Do you have a favorite narrator or performer?

Frito: It took awhile before I thought I might do anything long-term with it. It still isn't really a career for me - it's a sideline. <br />
<br />
HGFAN: No, because I don't like being illed.

Do you talk like a voicepver to your family and friends, because i would ill someone if they voicedover me all the time...

After your 1st voiceover at the radio station, did you decide this could be a career?

Thanks, Faucon.

Darn!

Ummm....yes? Only for personal use, however. ;)

Nyx. Have you ever read poetry as performance pieces, especially the works of people who are very close to you?

Ha! No. That would be fun, though! Most of my work consists of radio and TV ads, phone interactive voice response and voicemail, industrial videos (such as training or demonstration videos) and online narration for website features.

Hi, unobserver! Good question. I think for most people who do this, there is a discernible difference. Your normal speaking voice is usually completely un-self-conscious, because you're not thinking about inflection, enunciation or tone as you speak, you're just communicating. When you're working from a script, even if it calls for a "real person" delivery (which is the trend these days), you have to think about those things while trying to make it sound as natural as possible. So while it might not sound announcer-ish, it still isn't how you would speak in an everyday conversation. Hope that makes sense!

Is there a distinguishable difference between your normal speaking voice and your "radio" voice?

I'd love to do radio plays, Ernie, but I haven't had any opportunities presented. I'd do it on a local level for free, just for the fun of it, but I haven't heard of anything in my area. Does sound like great fun, though!<br />
<br />
Sorry, McRonald.

Only in the shower, McN. ;)

Thanks, LiL. I've met a few people who do these, but I know that some of those electronic device voices are computer-generated.

Thanks, notdarcy! It really isn't all that glamorous. I don't do it for a living, only as a sideline. But I've been at it awhile. As for your questions:<br />
<br />
First ever voiceover,and how did you get it? This would have been when I was working at a radio station as a copywriter and was being trained to do production. Unfortunately, I don't remember what it was for. Probably a local car dealership or something. I AM sure, however, that it was awful. ;)<br />
<br />
Favourite voiceover that you ever did? I wrote and produced a series of radio spots for the station I worked for that were for a local sewer service. Luckily, the owner had a great sense of humor and he loved crazy stuff. They were a blast. And we won a couple of awards for them.<br />
<br />
Voiceover you'd most like to have done? I came very close to being the radio and TV "voice" of a large city hospital. I had even recorded the first few tracks at the studio. However, at the last minute the client decided they wanted someone else. (I was already the second person they'd hired.) I could have made a tidy sum, not to mention gotten a lot of major market exposure. It was The One That Got Away. :(<br />
<br />
Voiceover you did where you most wish you hadn't needed the money... Easy. Furniture liquidation spots. The. Worst.<br />
<br />
Great questions, ND! Thanks! :)