My VOICEOVER PHILOSOPHY
I’m a performing songwriter. And to be a truly uncompromising artmaker, you must allow income to come and go, because you prioritize creativity over marketability. So I’ve taken different day jobs in the past to supplement, but they take a lot of time and energy away from making art. I feel very lucky to have found voiceover work. It’s a day job of sorts, but it uses and expands skills that feed right back into my original art, and it allows me to create every moment while I’m voicing.
Let me wax spiritual: what I didn’t know about applying myself to voiceover work every day is that it helps me discover who I am. Seriously. I sit in a dead-quiet booth every day, aligning with stories, so that I can communicate them to others. I have to own them. I have to, essentially, become the author. I might digest ten or fifteen scripts a day, when you count auditions and paying work. And stepping so completely into all these perspectives, in rapid succession——some with which I even disagree——gives me a highly unique opportunity to grow in my understanding of others, as well as feel the harmony or dissonance of that particular story within my own person. It's an exploration of self that has turned out to be like no other in my life.
Success in voiceover is a long game. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and I didn’t start making a full living at it for the first few. As I've grown in my abilities, I've become an increasingly powerful magnet for jobs I'm truly aligned with: a gorgeous animated piece for Greenpeace, a funny video for Google Trivia, a cinematic commercial for an organic baby food company that soothes all kinds of families undertaking the difficulties of breastfeeding, a narration for a labyrinthine art installation in The Netherlands… I now have lots more freedom to pursue my original music, and my whole life feels in harmony with my core vibe.
If you’re a CLIENT, I can promise you I’ll always treat you and your script with care, communicate well, and work according to professional industry standards. See my Policies and Workflow here.
If you’re a FELLOW VOICE ACTOR, I can promise you I’ll always work according to professional industry standards, where practices and fees support the deceptively complex skills involved in our work. See my Policies and Workflow here.
[UPDATE SEPT. 2019: NOTE THAT I’M NOT TEACHING AT THE MOMENT, BUT IF I WERE, I WOULD ADVISE STUDENTS TO READ THE FOLLOWING.]
If you’re a STUDENT, here are some things to know:
I teach both beginning and advanced voice actors. My intention is to help you approach a script from the inside. Whether it's a used car commercial, a PSA about getting tested for STD's, an explainer for a bank app, or a narrative about the life of an acclaimed choreographer, we'll approach it as if it's your own story. Lessons and classes are interactive; students have lots of time to read and and receive feedback.
Note that I focus on the categories of voiceover that require actors to play themselves: commercials, explainer videos, narrations under about 30 minutes, on-hold messages, etc. Audiobook narration and character voicing for animation/gaming are related fields and require many of the same root skills (and, yes, my coaching is intended to lay a foundation that will be very helpful in those fields), BUT be aware that modes of acquiring character and audiobook work are different, not to mention that those jobs tend to be quite low-paying until one reaches celeb status.
Voiceover isn't for everybody, and even if it is for you, you must treat it as a long game. It really is an artform. My coaching is intended to help beginners decide if working in this field is worth the inner (self) work, and to help established talent feel more confident in connecting with scripts. The by-product, with persistence, can be higher income, more confidence, and killer skills with a studio mic and editing software!
To be a successful voice actor, you have to have easy access to a studio space, even if it's a closet or basement. You'll have to buy some equipment, pay for a demo, and buy an annual membership to an auditioning service, or work with an agency (agencies can be very hard to connect with right away). And your booth needs to sound really, really good. I do my best to steer you toward the best resources.
PRIVATE COACHING (in-person or via Zoom/Skype) can encompass script reading, coaching on how to use the main voiceover websites to get work, a general Q&A about getting started in voiceover, and/or a coached demo recording (this must be edited and finished elsewhere). If you’re interested in PRIVATE COACHING, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about availability. Session is confirmed once payment is received, here.
CLASSES take advantage of the group setting for rich feedback on your script performances, plus provide the practical info you’d get in private coaching session. For more info or to register for an upcoming class, go here.