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CAREER
A Voice Over Valentine: Why I
Love Being A Voice Over Talent

February 14, 2012

By Randye Kaye
Voice Actor & Coach

When I teach Investigate Voice Over classes for Edge Studio or answer the inevitable cocktail party "So how can I get into VO?" question, I make the hard work clear: voice over is a business.

I don't care if you have an agent or not - it is still a small business that you must run yourself - as talent, salesperson, marketing team, accountant, perpetual student, networker, and often editor and producer.

So - why do we do it? What's the payoff? The other side of the coin?

Like in any relationship that needs work, sometimes we need to be reminded of why we fell in love in the first place.

So, dear newbie or pro, here's my love list ...

Why I Love Being
A Voice Over Talent


1. Fun! This morning I got to play a baby owl (who spoke English - yeah, animation), this afternoon a16-year-old girl for an audiobook, and then a medical expert who could explain fibromyalgia. That is a blast.

2. Comfort. Yeah. I love sweatpants, old comfy sweaters, bare feet.

I can wear what I want, as long as it's not noisy. (OK, for sessions out in the real world I do make an effort. Leggings or jeans, actual shoes, maybe some make-up too.)

3. Challenge. I love the process of bringing words to life - off the page, communicating the meaning for the listener's benefit.

Who am I? Who is listening? What do the words mean? Why do I keep talking?

Those questions help immensely.

4. Ego. OK, I admit it. It's kinda cool when I hear a commercial on TV or radio that I voiced, or when I call my daughter at work and it's my own voice on the telephone system.

Or when my friends return from their honeymoon and tell me that my voice welcomed them into their room, as the VO for the Hotel Channel at the resort. 

It's like my own secret, silent, piece of fame.

5. Flexibility. 9 to 5 in one place seldom works well for me.

My husband and kids still need me, for a variety of practical and emotional reasons. I travel sometimes to promote my book - or for fun. 

Life happens. And - most of the time - I can take my voice over work with me, or arrange it so I am free to handle life's little interruptions.

6. Variety. In the course of one week, this business may call for me to write, market, voice, edit, schmooze, meet new people, thank regular customers, and blog.

This business uses everything I ever learned, it seems. The day goes fast!

7. Money. So I'm not a purist. I love being paid well for the skills I've spent a lifetime developing.

In one hour this morning I earned more than the entire week's paycheck for the last theatre production I was in. Voice overs allow me to indulge my love for theatre work, which one casting director told me is a "rich man's hobby." (sigh)

8. Excitement. If you love to learn, this is the business for you.

There's always more to learn, skills to improve, techniques to discover - from performance to marketing to technical savvy - and embracing that feeds curiosity and  eagerness to explore new possibilities.

9. Laughter. Gotta tell you, the voice over community is the best. Whenever we are able to work together - preferably in person, but virtually works too - I laugh more than with almost any other group of people I know.

10. Community. VO talents are the most generous I have ever met - with their time, their knowledge, their talents.

Maybe it's because many of us work solo so much of the time, but when we gather it's a total blast.

VO groups and forums (Facebook, LinkedIn, VO-BB, etc.), tutorials (YouTube - a wealth of free knowledge), webinars, and (best) in person (recording sessions, classes, seminars, gatherings like Faffcon and Voice 2012) ... this is a community like no other.

Giving back, sharing tips, adding humor to the world.

If you've earned your way in - welcome! If you've trying to - it is worth it.

Now what's YOUR favorite thing about being a voice over artist?

ABOUT RANDYE ...  

Randye Kaye has over 20 years of experience as a voice talent, stage/TV/film actress, and radio personality, with a long list of major clients, including Priceline.com, Dannon, Kyocera, Big Lots, Burger King, Executone, Continental Airlines, MISTO, Toshiba, Verizon, and many more. She provides a trustworthy and intelligent voice for countless websites, e-learning courses, phone systems, on-hold messages, promos, industrial narrations, audiobooks (children, adults), science/medical/technical instruction, video games, travel/real estate/museum tours, and live events. She is also a voice over coach with Edge Studio in New York City and Connecticut.  

Email: randye@randyekaye.com
Web: www.randyekaye.com

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Comments (8)
Rick Lance
2/15/2012 at 5:25 PM
A LOVEly article, Randye! And a good reminder too.

It's easy to forget these points sometimes when we're in the thick of it or working with a difficult client. Boy, did I have one this week!

Thanks for your heart warming thoughts!
Paul Bellantoni
2/15/2012 at 5:16 PM
Yeah, after 15 years in my first career (opera singer, filled with TONS of obsessive crazy rather selfish and backstabbing types), I couldn't be more thrilled with the awesome colleagues I have met and worked with/for in my nearly 4 years in VO.

Plus some of the characters I get to voice are even MORE fun than the opera ones...although I do miss the cool costumes...

I guess know one HAS to know what I wear at the mic at home !
Ken Budka
2/14/2012 at 12:40 PM
Thanks Randye - an inspiring list that recharges my passion for this business. I love receiving immediate feedback when trying new voices and approaches to a project. Just recording in general is one of those technologies that never ceases to amaze me - taking an analog sound, converting into an electronic format, and then converting back to analog form to listen to it. Human ingenuity.

Plus any work that allows your dog to hang out with you throughout the day is great in my book (as long as the UPS guy doesn't ring the bell during a session! ;-).
Andy Boyns
2/14/2012 at 9:17 AM
If asked to put it in a nutshell, I couldn't have done better! Excellent article!
I M
2/14/2012 at 8:58 AM
Thank you for "nutshell-izing" (!?) the VO people and profession: friendly and helpful to the core! Happy V-Day, All! God bless!
BP Smyth
2/14/2012 at 8:52 AM
Wonderful article, Randye. You clearly love what you are doing. Personally, I love this profession as well, for many of the same reasons you have described. Voice-over is a marvelous profession. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do. After four decades of being on the road with the architectural profession, with tight time schedules, nasty traffic, and dealing with "assorted" personalities face to face, on a daily basis, I'm now enjoying the laid back "hermit" lifestyle of VO.

-BP

Alan Sklar
2/14/2012 at 8:47 AM
Randye
One of the reasons I love the biz is that I get to hang around with folks like you.
Hugs,
Alan
Bettye Zoller
2/14/2012 at 12:58 AM
Great article, and I agree totally. When I first began voice overs (I moved from being a studio singer and vocal live performer in resorts, RCA Recording Artist tired of the "road"), the first thing I loved was the friendship, the sharing, the good folks who loved doing voices, just like me. The theatre crowd had been "different" and not so friendly. The musician crowd, ok. Friendly when you were not competition. Voice folks just were NICE.

And I love my recording studio and being an audio engineer, but it does get lonely sometimes - not like the "old days" when we used to record in big studios with other vo talents. But we still network often.

Hey I'm an "Edge Studio" associate now. Proud to be. All best to you.
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