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Can Your Voice Be Right For Every
Job? A Voice Chameleon Says 'Yes'
September 25, 2014

By Gary Terzza
Voice Talent and Coach (UK)

Are you trying to fit your voice into all auditions? If so, you could be scuppering your chances of getting more voice over work.

Spreading yourself too thinly - becoming a voice over chameleon - is not a good idea.

What exactly is a voice over chameleon? Put simply, it is a voice talent who tries to do everything. They assume their voice is adaptable enough to attempt innumerable styles and appear to have no awareness about the sound their vocal cords make - nor of their own limitations.


For example ...

If a voice over chameleon with a light youngish voice spies a job that requires a 'Morgan Freeman style delivery' he goes for it, maybe because he once did an impression of the actor at a party! He tries forcing his larynx down to his boots and pumping up his chest to achieve the bass notes required. He fails of course, because he sounds like he is 'putting on a voice'. 

Another chameleon sees a voice over project for a high-paying commercial. The age range is specified as 'young mum, 30s'. What the heck, she may be in her late 50s and sound great at being a favorite aunt or kindly grandmother, but she needs the money, so why not give it a try? Needless to say, the client is unimpressed - it was not what was asked for in the brief and our delusional opportunist has done herself no favors at all.

Both chameleons have wasted their time AND their client's.


Having a good, solid notion of what you sound like is so important in voice overs.

How do you describe your voice? Husky, smooth, light or deep, perhaps?

Maybe you have a very specific vocal sound, or you might not even know how to give yourself a voice description. If that is the case, you should start now because you need to be confident about what you are offering. 

But wait - the voice over chameleon has a misguided view of their abilities and sound. He may know how to describe his voice, but has a misplaced view on his competence.


Of course there will be people who say 'hang on a minute, a voice actor has to change her delivery to reflect the mood of a piece.'

Indeed she does, but that does not mean every voice over job is going to be suitable for her.

If a director or producer asks you to add more energy and drama to a read, then that is what you have to do. You can't deliver every script in the same way.

However, that does not mean auditioning for jobs that are way out of your comfort zone.
Gary Terzza is a UK voice over coach based in London. He is also a long established voice over artist with a client list that includes Channel 4, BBC, ITV, Pepsi-Cola, Symantec, BAE Systems and Hitachi.


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Comments (1)
Debby Barnes
9/25/2014 at 4:24 AM
Another healthy + helpful reminder, GT. Staying in one's 'wheelhouse' is key. We can't be all things to all people,(...a VO "Gumby", as I call it.) even though we'd like to be.
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