Wouldn't it be great to make a ton of money, set your own schedule, and wear shorts to work? You can do it! Just spend the next 20 years or so perfecting your craft as one the Country's Top Voice Over Artists like Ralph G. and Eric W. here at Studio Center. You'll need talent, availability, versatility and PATIENCE. Sounds GREAT! Is it? Let's ask them.
Me: Good afternoon, Gentleman and thanks for spending a few minutes with us today. We’re here for the inside scoop on being a Top Voice Over Artist.
Eric: Hi, thanks for asking me in…
Ralph: (Looking over shoulder) Wha?...Who?...Me?! Um, I just followed Eric in here ‘cause I thought there were snacks.
ME: Is this the BEST job in the World? Tell the truth!
Eric: You know it is…I get to be me…and dozens of other characters without being diagnosed with a personality disorder.
Ralph: Absolutely! I get paid to talk (something I’d do anyway), every day I get to be an “Actor” without the inconvenience of having to learn my lines, and, since I’m never seen, this job doesn’t violate the terms of my Witness Protection Program!
Me: What got you in to Voice Over Work?
Eric: One of our producers, Peter Pope actually. We worked in radio together and he suggested I give voice acting a try.
Ralph: After years of scraping together bill money as a stand-up comic/videographer/animator, I was blessed to land a gig “warming up” the audience for a sitcom produced for The Family Channel (now FX). I do a lot of cartoon and celebrity voices, so I was soon working as a staff announcer, writer and producer for the kids’ block. The other staff announcers kindly let me know about the World of Voice Work, and sent me on the path that led me to Studio Center!
Me: Describe a typical Work Day.
Eric: Get up…do tongue yoga…choose shorts…pre-read scripts…do sessions…spend family time…go to bed.
Ralph: Ah, the typical day! Up with the sun at noon. Croissants and mimosas on the veranda with my lovely wife. A quick gallop on my favorite steed Residual. The limo ride to Studio Center! Aperitifs and bon mots with my fellow “talent.” Polite rebuffs of fans and groupies (called “Voicies”) on the way to the booth. Choosing magnanimously to stand while I perform, instead of reclining and being fed grapes and ambrosia between takes. Takes? Merely one. Accept gushing adulation humbly. Then, off to the airport for a private jet ride with my family to view the latest solar eclipse, stopping only to read to the poor orphans at Saint Marcel’s Home for Children of Foreign Mimes.
Me: Really? A jet? I always see you pull up in a beat up Ford Windstar.
Ralph: Ah! That must have been Tuesday! You see, this was my clever way of demonstrating how no two days are ever alike at the good ol’ SC! May I call Studio Center “SC”?
Ralph: M‘kay…My point is, since STUDIO CENTER is available round-the-clock, a voice actor’s workday can start at 8 a.m., noon or even at midnight! Calling any day at Studio Center “typical” would be a misnomer. (And if MISS NOMER cannot fulfill her duties, I will serve as the runner-up.)
Me: What was your favorite session ever?
Eric: I always love doing spots I know my kids will hear. I was the voice of Spiderman once (A Blast!) but a toy called “FlyWheels” debuted a few years ago and it was all over Nickelodeon… loved hearing my little boy scream, “It’s you Dad!”
Ralph: That’s easy! This one: “Edinburgh Blues”
Chris White and Jay Lockamy are terrific!
Me: Ok, what was your Nightmare Session of ALL TIME?
Eric: Doing Freddy Krueger…couldn’t sleep for weeks!
Ralph: I still wake up in a cold sweat over the four hour session doing a Gilbert Gottfried voice over and over for a client who argued vehemently with the president of his award-winning ad agency about why his young children’s opinions about marketing should matter more than any of the professionals working on his campaign. The session almost ended at three hours, but I made the mistake of saying goodbye in a voice that sounded something like Homer Simpson, which kicked off another round of debate…because his kids sometimes watched that show.
Eeesh, I feel unclean.
Me: What advice would you give to someone who passionately wants to make Voice Over Work his or her career?
Eric: Become a mimic…try to replicate voices you think you have inside you…and s-t-r-e-t-c-h…diversity is the key. We have our “money” read – but to be successful, you need more voices in your bag of tricks.
Ralph: (Attempting a serious demeanor. Somewhat succeeding.) If you want voice acting to be your profession, you have to approach it professionally. By that, I mean, you have to work hard to develop the unique skill set that working announcers have mastered: manipulating their voices, interpreting scripts (“copy”), and delivering performances with such constraints as 60 second time limits, emphasized selling points, character accents, etc., Add to that, the common workplace courtesies of being on time, acting respectful, keeping perspective, etc. and possessing the most important skill of all: LISTENING…Wait, what did Eric say? I wasn’t paying attention.
Me: Last question. If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Eric: Donating plasma.
Ralph: I dunno, probably looking in the kitchen for those snacks.
Me: Bonus Question. What is your favorite Production Company?
Eric: Studio Center! By the way, Ralph puts the STUD in Studio. Just sayin’
Ralph: (Clearing his throat and saying in a friendly, believable, non-announcery voice, like many of the fine reads you’ll find here. )
Why, William, that would be STUDIO CENTER!