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An Article For Your Family ...
Understanding Voice Talents
Note: The author and voice over talent / coach Elley-Ray Hennessy host the Double Divas Weekends - intensive voice over training in Canada, in Toronto (Sept. 9-11), Calgary (Oct. 14-16) and Edmonton (Nov. 4-6). For details and to register, write or call 604-459-5559.
By Deb Munro
Voice Talent and Coach
So you are living with a Voice Talent. I will first send my condolences and my congratulations (LOL)!
I am hoping to prepare you for what is about to become a part of your lifestyle; the good, bad and even the ugly.
I want to start by thanking you in advance for your support in your loved one's chosen career.
This isn’t an easy choice for your loved one because there can be much ridicule - like, "That isn’t A REAL JOB.”
And many talent have to prove themselves talented and skilled enough to even try to pursue the career.
Don’t get me wrong, this can be a very rewarding and lucrative career. But what you will see (especially in the beginning), is a lot of trials and tribulations.
I hope this article helps you to understand your loved one's chosen path and find the best ways to support it for your sake and theirs.
Sounds like a scary thing already doesn’t it? It’s not, believe me, but it does take a special touch and a ton of support to live this kind of lifestyle - not only for the talent, but for the entire family.

I can only imagine what it's like as a family member to watch as the actor spends tons of time and money on training, then on setting up and learning the equipment (which can make or break a talent right there), and on to marketing, creating websites, spending more money on logos, branding items and pay-2-play sites, giving away services for next to nothing in the very beginning - and more.
Then to graduate to the next level where they are actually auditioning and booking jobs.
You will watch as your loved one auditions, gets shortlisted, becomes excited and then more often than not loses the job ... over and over again – with the booked job here and there in between.
We as talent don’t always consider what you as a family member watch.
It must be hard to watch your loved one put so much into something for what might seem little NO reward.
But just as the talent might not consider your feelings as much as you'd like, perhaps you’re not acknowledging theirs.
Of course, the talent is let down when they don’t get the job and they are often desperate to book the job - but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t okay with the peaks and valleys in the road that lies ahead.
Hopefully with the right coaches and the right support system, the talent will learn how to accept these ups and downs and realize it’s just all a part of the process.
Not everyone books all the time. Even the top actors of our time got TONS of no’s before they ever got yes’s .. they just don’t show you all the trials they went through to get where they are today.
The challenge is that you are going through some of their trials with them, so it does directly affect you as well. But I encourage you to let your emotional side go and to not feel sorry for the talent’s letdowns.
Instead, be there with support through all their hopes and dreams.
They have a ton of pressure on their minds (especially if they are the breadwinner), and I’m sure if they are income-dependent on this craft, they are harder on themselves than you could ever be.

On the other hand, we as talent must respect how much time and effort we can afford to put into our craft.
If your actor is quitting work or is unemployed and focused only on a full-time career in voice over, but not able to book any work or is not ready or just not making enough to cover the bills, this is another matter entirely.
However I assure you that if they aren’t pulling their weight (especially if they are the "Man” of the house), they are more concerned about it than you are.
As talent we have to be realistic and take this craft one step at a time.
As a family member, it will take a lot of team work and a ton of understanding on your behalf, to support a voice talent who works at home, auditioning and recording voice overs.
For instance, you will be asked for:
1) Support
2) Understanding
3) Patience
4) Quiet time. During recordings - no running water, please don’t walk on the floor above the recording area, try to minimize noise, don’t mow the lawn or run the sprinkler, keep the stereo and music down, keep the kids quiet (one of the hardest on your list).
5) A second ear. Let them know as a listener and product consumer what you thought of the project they are working on. They need your 100% honesty, but tread lightly here as there are tactful ways to do so, and remember that you are not an expert.
6) Become involved so you can so you can understand what they are doing.
7) Understand that they can’t take time off, as this is a 24/7 job.
I take a studio equipment wherever I go, and my family has to get used to it because there is no such thing as a paid holiday. If I have to voice for an hour or two each day while we are on holidays - well, I get it done before breakfast. If I don’t take the job, I could lose about seven years worth of business with that one client!
8) When traveling, be prepared for MANY last minute bookings that will affect the times you leave, the places you stay and more.
9) Book voice over-friendly vacation destinations - with Internet access and a quiet area (controlling air conditioning, for instance.)
This all takes time, patience and a lot of understanding. But working together, you CAN all succeed!
Deb Munro is a leading voice talent, coach, and owner of Chanti Productions, in the Vancouver, B.C., Canada area. She offers private voice over coaching by phone and Skype, and workshops in many Canadian cities.
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Comments (2)
Kelley Buttrick
9/9/2011 at 2:51 PM
LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!! Thank you! Like Susan, I forwarded it to my husband.
Susan Manhire
9/9/2011 at 9:57 AM
I loved this article, Deb. I'm going to print it out and share it with my husband. While he has been really understanding and patient, II believe he will get more insight into the VO career challenges by reading your fine words. Thanks, Susan
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