As I type, I have more windows open on my Mac than is strictly good for it. My world is a multi-tasking heavy one and I'm often asked what I ACTUALLY DO as a Voiceover Artist.
Well, today, dear reader, I'll give you a window (different sort) into my world.
Do you really work in your PJs?
Sometimes, but mostly I'm dressed! Voiceover work has little respect for evenings and weekends as it's always someone's deadline, somewhere across the timezones and my work means that I have clients across the world.
I do sometimes feel at an advantage when there is a fast turnaround for a job that's from the US as I have a few hours on them, but I have been editing at night before now to make sure a client in Thailand has what they need for their project, just in time. Phew.
Saying all that, It is of course up to me what jobs I accept or decline, although my default setting is "I'd love to record that for you", I do have to make sure that it makes business sense to accept the job.
What happens if you get a cold? Do you sound really husky?
I hate getting colds! Like most VOs I know, I am on a constant pursuit of vitamins and immune system boosters - the fizzing in a glass ones being my current favourite. When a cold does strike though, it's a bit tricky.. you no longer sound like the person who submitted a successful audition last week and you can't audition this week as you'll sound like you again the week after.. sigh..
I'm all for honesty and integrity.. if something urgent pops up I'll have a look at the read and see if it's something I can handle (knowing that you're only as good as your last VO), my regular clients are nice, human people and understand I'm not a robot and do get a cold on occasions - so I usually plan a day to record for them that suits them and my health! If it's not happening and they need something urgent, I often refer to folks in my network who I think will do a great job.
I try to resist the temptation of wrapping up in scarves and looking like a suffering luvey! Most of the time..
Is it just about having a great voice?
No, it's really not. As a VO, I'm actually in many different businesses; broadcasting, advertising, online learning and training, marketing, branding, corporate and internal communications etc etc.
Empathy and understanding across these businesses is essential if you are going to deliver something that works for them. I have major insight into training and elearning for example, this means that my knowledge of how the modules are used as well as the audiences for them, informs how I deliver the content.
The KEY skill, I would say is turning the written word into the spoken word.. it's about the message and the audience connecting. If your voice is good, hey, that helps create the mood.
Do you get to go to loads of great studios?
Sometimes! There is a real buzz about recording a job for a client in a cool set up in Soho.. you feel the showbiz and who doesn't love that?
Most of the time though, you'll find me on my own, working in my studio on the top floor of my house. I have a great little booth and some nice gadgets and I actually enjoy the whole recording and production process.
I spent time as a BBC SM (Studio Manager, kinda sound engineer) at the World Service so I am lucky in that audio production and tech stuff is 2nd nature to me. That said, most digital audio software is pretty easy to use these days. When I bought my microphone, I was a bit of an awkward customer.. I wanted to try a load of them and had the poor guy unpacking lots of mics and processors for me to try to get the one that worked best with my voice. Ears like a bat thanks to the BBC training!!
How do you get into Voiceovers?
It's a journey as unique as the individual VO artists I think.. some come from radio broadcasting, some come from acting. What unites everyone is the pursuit of excellence in VO as a performance craft all of it's own. It isn't just talking. It's performance of a very subtle nature. The detail of the work is minute and it is so precise.
I have theatre training, I'm a radio presenter and a sound engineer and I have always been asked to voice bits and bobs for people over my entire career.. when I left the BBC as staff in 2011 I decided to go for VO full time. So that's what I now do! I'm a member of Equity and the Radio Academy.
How do you find work?
In a combination of ways, online sites, agents, contacts and networks. I also actively pursue areas I'm really interested in working within. One much wiser than me likens VO to maintaining a garden, with lots of plants coming up at different times. I try and make sure I am constantly planting bulbs and seeds whilst maintaining the more established plants! :)
As a VO, I love my job as a VO and also as my own marketing manager, accounts person, Chief technical officer, operations manager, sound engineer, head of special projects, insight manager, legal adviser... hence lots of windows open on my Mac and the multi-tasking!
Got a question about Voiceover or how you go about working with a Voiceover?
Contact Clare now
Voice over talent and broadcaster, speaking out.