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SAG FOUNDATION VO SUMMIT
Q&A With Voice Talent Jim Tasker:
'Get As Much Mic Time As You Can'

February 17, 2012

(VOXtra) - Jim Tasker has arrived at what many would see as the top of the voice over career ladder.

A full-time voice actor for the past 12 years, he's currently the voice of CBS Sports, The Amazing Race and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He's also now voicing the Underworld Awakening campaign for Sony/Screen Gems.

So, Jim: How'd you get UP there?

THE VOICE-OVER SUMMIT

Jim is a panelist at the lead-off Promos & Trailers session of the SAG Foundation Voice-Over Summit 2012, on February 21 at the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab in Los Angeles.

From then through April 10, the Summit presents eight sessions on all facets of voice over genres, marketing and home studio technology. Proceeds benefit the Lab, which was created to further the success of budding voice actors. (Click here for Summit details and registration.)

And with the help of star voice talent Joe Cipriano, VoiceOverXtra has asked several Summit leaders and panelists to answer set questions about their experiences and advice for success.

Today the questions go to Jim ...

Jim, how long does it take to become a full time voice actor, and what are the keys to success?

As with any profession, any time given to perfecting your craft is time well spent.

The length it takes to become successful in this business is a tough question to answer as it depends on many variables. 

For me, I worked 7 years in post production to hone my skills before I was able to get an agent. It was the time I spent every day behind the microphone and also directing the likes of Don LaFontaine, Mark Elliot, John Leader, etc., that was invaluable to my growth in this business.

For someone who is just starting out, I suggest getting as much microphone time as you can. Record yourself using different emotions while you speak until you are comfortable reaching that voice when you need it. 

Producers seldom have time to wait for a talent who has trouble getting the right emotion in their performances, so it helps to be able to reach what is needed quickly within yourself.

And take classes. Even as a working professional who sees an average of 25 scripts per day, I still take classes and see my vocal coach Marice Tobias on a regular basis to get a "tune up." 

The Don LaFontaine Voice Lab is a tremendous asset to aspiring voices and professionals alike.

How much diversity in skills do you recommend?

When I started in this business I set out to not be a "one trick pony." 

This takes a lot of work to perfect each voice, but I have found that the time spent perfecting different voices was well worth it. 

Many have perfected one read and do extremely well with that read - because of this, my best advice is to find out what voice or voices are comfortable to you and make them your own.

Is there a defining moment when you felt, "I've made it in voice overs!" ?

First, it was the moment I realized about 12 years ago that I no longer needed my job as a promo producer to support my family because my voice work was keeping me busy and gainfully employed.

The second time was when I got a call to be the voice of Disney's Soapnet Cable Channel.

And the third time was when my home studio was built. Nothing makes you feel more like a professional voice over than having a home studio.

Finally, Jim, what gives you the most FUN as a voice actor?

Just the job itself, really.

But taking that further, running through different emotions on different scripts is really fun for me. 

When I hear the finished product, I get great joy when I hear how I connected the visuals and the copy. Often we don't get visuals because we are working from home to a remote studio.

In trailers, nothing is read to picture, so when I see something in the theater that I read and it sounds amazing, it's always a thrill.

Thanks, Jim!

All the best to you! See you in the booth!

For details and to register for the SAG Foundation Voice-Over Summit 2012, please click here, or visit:
www.sagfoundation.org/content/sag-foundation-voice-over-summit-2012

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Comments (1)
Roy Wells
2/18/2012 at 8:44 AM
Great article Jim! I, for one, intend to act on all your advice. Thanks again.
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