There are lots of folks who think that voiceover work is all about the voice. Sure, there’s an element of truth in that idea. When we audition, many times the final choice the client makes is based on whose voice most closely matches what they’re looking for; but be careful how far you carry this idea.
To think that a specific kind of voice is the “perfect” voice for our work is just silly. People with all sorts of voices are doing well. Small voices. Big voices. Deep voices. High voices. Smooth voices. Squeaky voices. Voices that rasp. Voices that sparkle. When I meet someone new, someone who isn’t involved in voiceover work, he or she will often say “you have a perfect voice for that kind of work.” Which is really nice, but not really true. In fact, with the kinds of things I see on many auditions these days, mine is exactly the opposite of the kind of voice they’re looking for.
It happened just the other day when I went to the first audition I’d done outside my home studio in 9 years. The director at the audition session said “Nice voice, but you sound kind of announcer-ish. Can you be more conversational?” I did my best, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t exactly what they were looking for, especially since I didn’t book the job.
However, as with most things, there’s good news with the bad. Sure, lots of people aren’t looking for my voice, but some people are. Enough people are. (And really, I couldn’t do all the voiceover work in the entire world. I don’t know all the languages. And again even if I did, I’d never get any sleep.)
I love working with every one of my clients. I love telling their stories. Some are short. Some are long. Some pay lots of money. Some pay less. But every one is fulfilling and interesting and I can hardly believe I get to do this work for people. It’s so much better than working for a living. If you are one of my clients, please know that I’m not kidding when I say I love working for you. And I love hearing from you, including the times (as just happened the other day) when you have to tell me your clients went with someone else. That’s all right. We’ll work on something else, soon enough.
And if you’re a voiceover talent reading this, then know that even though you’re not right for every job, you will be right for some of them. Enough of them. If you need more training to be right for enough to make a living, then get more training. If you just need to practice more to get to that level, then practice more. Keep pushing forward, one little bit at a time, every day. You’ll get there.
And remember, it’s not about your voice, it’s about the story your client needs you to tell. Keep your focus on the story, on what your client needs. The rest will take care of itself.